What we might learn from WikiLeaks

I’m strongly in favor of the efforts of WikiLeaks to help create some transparency in our Government.

Unlike the authoritarians that seem to dominate much of our media, many of whom appear to want to kill or imprison the leakers and yet have no desire to hold government officials accountable for their crimes, I see WikiLeaks as a balancing force.

Sure, the ability of government to conduct delicate affairs in secret sounds attractive until you have a situation where practically everything is classified and the government routinely lies to its own citizens.

So I’m, as usual, in agreement with Glenn Greenwald:

Nonetheless, our government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat. And few organizations besides WikiLeaks are doing anything to subvert that regime of secrecy, and none is close to its efficacy. It’s staggering to watch anyone walk around acting as though the real threat is from excessive disclosures when the impenetrable, always-growing Wall of Secrecy is what has enabled virtually every abuse and transgression of the U.S. government over the last two decades at least.

In sum, I seriously question the judgment of anyone who — in the face of the orgies of secrecy the U.S. Government enjoys and, more so, the abuses they have accomplished by operating behind it — decides that the real threat is WikiLeaks for subverting that ability. That’s why I said yesterday: one’s reaction to WikiLeaks is largely shaped by whether or not one, on balance, supports what the U.S. has been covertly doing in the world by virtue of operating in the dark. I concur wholeheartedly with Digby’s superb commentary on this point yesterday:

My personal feeling is that any allegedly democratic government that is so hubristic that it will lie blatantly to the entire world in order to invade a country it has long wanted to invade probably needs a self-correcting mechanism. There are times when it’s necessary that the powerful be shown that there are checks on its behavior, particularly when the systems normally designed to do that are breaking down. Now is one of those times. . . . .As for the substance of the revelations, I don’t know what the results will be. But in the world of diplomacy, embarrassment is meaningful and I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing for all these people to be embarrassed right now. Puncturing a certain kind of self-importance — especially national self-importance — may be the most worthwhile thing they do. A little humility is long overdue.

I am quite interested to see what we will discover in the coming days regarding the drug war.

Of all the information contained in the WikiLeaks files about Mexico, 80 percent refers to the issue of drug trafficking and communications made from the Embassy during the governments of Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon.

All told, there are 8,300 documents in the current WikiLeaks dump (not yet released) with the tag “narcotics.”

I’m sure most of them will be embassy communications discussing how to fight the drug war “better” and there will be minimal new revelations. There could be an embarrassment or two regarding just what we did provide in Plan Mexico.

What I’d really like to see is a WikiLeaks dump of DEA administrative files and internal ONDCP memos. That would be a treasure trove. Any whistle-blowers out there?

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22 Responses to What we might learn from WikiLeaks

  1. kaptinemo says:

    Considering the House of Death case, I, too, would very much want to know just who knew what and when.

  2. Dudeman says:

    Maybe Kevin Sabet is a sleeper agent?

  3. Pete says:

    @dudeman… LOL

    @kaptinemo… No kidding. It would be very interesting to see if the House of Death is talked about in these State Department memos.

  4. Rhayader says:

    I was just hoping yesterday that Wikileaks would turn its gaze on the drug war at some point. It’s certainly big enough in both worldwide scope and the sheer amount of misinformation involved to warrant that sort of pressure. Man, would that be a nice day.

  5. Chris says:

    drugwarleaks.org is available

    but who cares, all that matters is if someone is willing to step forward and provide the information. Doesn’t matter where it gets posted.

  6. we don’t really need to see any “secret” documents about the drug war or drug warriors when the stuff that is publicly available makes the truth so glaringly obvious.

  7. malcolm kyle says:

    What we are witnessing practically everywhere in the Americas is a coercive prohibition campaign that brings neither a partial nor a total solution to the drug question. Unless its premises are challenged, a permanent sense of a “clear and present danger” with regard to narcotics will be fostered both in the United States and in Latin America – which, in a circular way, will only serve to justify the existing repressive policies. The role of the US Southern Command in the Latin American front of the “war on drugs” is key to the prohibitionist paradigm.

    Instead of another state-led “coalition of the willing” to fight drugs in a new location, what is needed is a broad, social alliance with bold ideas that could lead beyond the current failed model of counter-narcotics. What is clear is that the current prohibitionist kulturkampf needs to be replaced. The answers will not come from SouthCom’s Miami HQ, but from Latin America’s civil societies.


  8. darkcycle says:

    Secrecy is the enemy of democracy. Period.

  9. NorCalNative says:

    Yes, Glennzilla is awesome. In fact a link I got from Glen, called the “NARCOSPHERE,” that is a great site to learn about the drug war at our Southern border.

    It turns out that the anti-drug money the U.S. sends to Mexico is in turn used by the “President of Mexico” to kill off his rival cartels.

    Every Mexican President has his own “favorite” drug cartel. And, much of the violence in cities such as Ciudad Juarez is due to U.S. money being used to eliminate the competition so that ONLY the President’s chosen cartel is protected.

    Readers of Pete should appreciate the articles at the Narcosphere.

    And, Wikileaks is the best thing to happen to this Empire in a while. We need an honest media and this shows what pawns most American journalists are.

  10. DdC says:

    Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership”

    Ecuador Offers Residency to WikiLeaks Founder as He Faces Threat of Espionage Charges

    WikiLeaks’ Next Target: American Bank?

    Now sista Sarah shows what side of Democracy she’s on…

    Hunt WikiLeaks chief down like Osama bin Laden:
    Sarah Palin demands Assange is treated like Al Qaeda terrorist

  11. DdC says:

    Amazon Drops WikiLeaks Website

    Report: British Police Await Arrest Warrant for Assange

    Attorney Confirms WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange in Britain, Responds to U.S. Attacks
    As the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks continues to publish secret U.S. diplomatic cables, its founder Julian Assange is facing international arrest over allegations in Sweden. In the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced WikiLeaks is the target of a criminal probe, and some politicians have accused him of violating the Espionage Act. We speak to Assange’s attorney in London, Jennifer Robinson. [includes rush transcript]

    Instead of Focusing on Assange, U.S. Should Address WikiLeaks’ Disclosures of Torture
    UN Special Rapporteur Juan Méndez:
    One of the leaked U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks urges diplomats to gather intelligence about “plans and intentions of member states or UN Special Rapporteurs to press for resolutions or investigations into US counterterrorism strategies and treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo.” We speak to Juan Méndez, the new UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He has called on the United States to investigate and prosecute torture committed under former President George W. Bush. He also said he hopes to visit Iraq and Guantánamo Bay to probe widespread torture allegations. Méndez says, “We seem to be focusing on whether disclosing [the cables] merits some kinds of action against Julian Assange… I am very concerned about the documents that show that thousands of people first imprisoned by U.S. forces [were] transferred to the control of forces in Iraq and perhaps even in Afghanistan, where they knew they were going to be tortured.”

  12. Common Science says:

    Assange’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ ruse?

    ‘Assange is wanted in Sweden to face allegations of sexual crimes committed in there in August, which he denies’:


  13. claygooding says:

    The allegations of crimes committed by Assange will be flying out of the politicians mouths as they try to recover the loss of face,and they must make him sound evil enough to draw attention away from their political careers
    going down the drain because instead of supporting causes
    and policies,as they state in public,they are time bombs,just waiting to bring the clauses and policies that got them elected down.

  14. darkcycle says:

    Julian Assange is my fucking hero. (I haven’t believed in heros since I was twelve years old.)

  15. Snake oil.... says:

    Thanks Pete for bring discussion on this subject.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    Secrecy is the enemy of democracy. Period.

    I would add lies to that statement also.

  16. DdC says:

    WikiLeaks to Target Drugs
    November 30, 2010

    US has lost faith in Mexico’s ability to win drugs war,
    WikiLeaks cables show

    Mexico drug war: John Bolton asks ‘Where is WikiLeaks when we need them?’

    Nov 28, 2010 … Publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.

    WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists. We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices.

    WikiLeaks relies on its supporters in order to stay strong. Please keep us at the forefront of anti-censorship and support us today. You can also read more about WikiLeaks, our mission and objectives.

    “Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.” – Time Magazine

  17. Cliff says:

    December 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    Secrecy is the enemy of democracy. Period.

    I would add lies to that statement also.

    “Truth is treason in an empire of lies.”

    Ron Paul

  18. malcolm kyle says:

    The BBC just announced that WikiLeaks is back up as WikiLeaks.ch which automatically transmutes, at least in my browser’s address bar, as

  19. Snake oil.... says:

    December 3, 2010 at 2:57 am
    December 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    Secrecy is the enemy of democracy. Period.

    I would add lies to that statement also.

    “Truth is treason in an empire of lies.”

    Ron Paul

    Wow , thats a head bender.

  20. Duncan20903 says:

    We really need to catch them red handed to make this go away. Over in Africa people who want to adopt monkeys will will put nuts in a jar just large enough for the monkey to get his hand into the jar. He grabs as many as he can. But now his hand won’t fit through the jar opening. The monkey refuses to let go of the nuts. A nice man in a yellow hat comes along and the next thing you know the little monkey is working for a slave driving organ grinder and getting paid peanuts.

    So, what do we put in a jar to make Know Nothing prohibitionists to do the same? It really shouldn’t be that hard if we can figure out the right bait. Know Nothings have lower intelligence levels than the monkey so with the right bait it will be a slam dunk. Perhaps a book entitled “Isn’t there anyone who cares about the chilled wrens?”

  21. DdC says:

    Lets just change the name of Ganja to Anomaly.
    That ain’t pot orificer, its an anomaly. Totally legal.

    Just do Nothing Doughnut Munchers

    WikiLeaks thread

    “If a ruler hearkeneth to lies,
    all his servants are wicked.”

    ~ Proverbs 29:12


    Raid nets church’s ‘sacramental’ marijuana June 11, 2003
    Lori Phillips, 45, was home alone, and she said it was terrifying when the officers burst in about 7 p.m., their faces covered with ski masks. She was arrested on suspicion of violating state drug laws, handcuffs that she says were painfully tight were placed on her wrists, and she was jailed overnight at the Kent City Jail.

    “It terrorized me,” she said. “They kept yelling,
    ‘Where are the guns? Where is the money?”

    “I like your Christ,
    I do not like your Christians.
    Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    — Mahatma Gandhi

    Mrs. Laura Bush accepts the fact that her daughters use marijuana, doesn’t seem to care, and casually acknowledges having sold it herself while she was in college.

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