Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Left on Wikileaks

I am sometimes unsure what to think about Wikileaks.  On the one hand, I’m very big on transparency and openness. I have long felt that the negative effects of secrecy tend to outweigh the positive ones.  On the other hand, there is some information that must remain secret for the benefit of the nation and those helping us.  The identity of Afghans cooperating with us, for example.  The gripping hand is that Wikileaks—and its strange founder Julian Assange—have already demonstrated a tendency to edit and editorialize their leaks to support a political agenda.  And their standard of “journalism” appears to be very low indeed.

It appears that even the Left is growing concerned, as well.  To wit:

A group of human-rights organizations is pressing WikiLeaks to do a better job of redacting names from thousands of war documents it is publishing, joining the list of critics that claim the Web site’s actions could jeopardize the safety of Afghans who aided the U.S. military.

The letter from five human-rights groups sparked a tense exchange in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange issued a tart challenge for the organizations to help with the massive task of removing names from thousands of documents, according to several of the organizations that signed the letter. The exchange shows how WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange risk being isolated from some of their most natural allies in the wake of the documents’ publication.

The list includes both Amnesty International and Soros’ Open Society Institute.  Assange has responded by asking them to help him redact documents.  But you don’t see the New York Times asking other people to redact their documents before the are released.  Reading through documents and redacting dangerous portions is what journalists do on a regular basis.  Assange has admitted that they didn’t even read all the documents before releasing them.

As I said, I’m generally in favor of openness.  But I think we need someone else as the standard bearer.  It’s becoming clear that Assange’s interest is more in embarrassing the US government than in actually illuminating issues.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/12/10 at 08:43 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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