Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Some varied footnotes to the preceding

- Donna Smith of National Nurses United put things in perspective. She noted that "123 people died today" and not one of those deaths had anything to do with WikiLeaks. They died "because they lacked enough money to buy healthcare services."

- A columnist at The Economist writes:
With or without WikiLeaks, the technology exists to allow whistleblowers to leak data and documents while maintaining anonymity. With or without WikiLeaks, the personel, technical know-how, and ideological will exists to enable anonymous leaking and to make this information available to the public. ...

The basic question is not whether we think Julian Assange is a terrorist or a hero. The basic question certainly is not whether we think exposing the chatter of the diplomatic corps helps or hinders their efforts, and whether this is a good or bad thing. To continue to focus on these questions is to miss the forest for the texture of the bark on a single elm. If we take the inevitability of future large leaks for granted, then I think the debate must eventually centre on the things that will determine the supply of leakers and leaks. Some of us wish to encourage in individuals the sense of justice which would embolden them to challenge the institutions that control our fate by bringing their secrets to light. Some of us wish to encourage in individuals ever greater fealty and submission to corporations and the state in order to protect the privileges and prerogatives of the powerful, lest their erosion threaten what David Brooks calls "the fragile community"—our current, comfortable dispensation.
I know which side I'm on.

- The BBC has a nice summary of the issues various raised by the released cables, at least the first group, by country.

- On Monday, the BBC published an item saying that WiklLeaks had published a cable including a list of facilities that "the US describes as vital to its national security."
The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.
I included this because I just found it amusing that the article included a helpful link to the text of the offending cable.

- The Guardian (UK) has been live blogging related news; it's worth checking for updates, assuming they keep it going and it wasn't just for the day of Assange's expected arrest. And BTW, can you honesty look at the photo of Assange on the Interpol poster and not see it as Bill Mahrer in a white wig?

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