Transcript on the right; annotation on the left.
May 26, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Wikileaks responds with line by line refutation of the new documentary We Steal Secrets. {via}
posted by dobbs (114 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wikileaks Will Win.
posted by colie at 11:17 AM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I heard the filmmaker Gibney interviewed on the radio about WikiLeaks on NPR. He was awfully harsh, specifically about Assange. It made me wonder whether he went into the documentary with a preconception about what WikiLeaks was or whether he came to his opinions while researching his film. Either way he wasn't pretending to be an unbiased documentarian. Which could make for a better documentary film, but it's no wonder WikiLeaks hates it.

I particularly appreciate how WikiLeaks calls out Gibney for focussing on Manning's gender and orientation issues as "This is Gibney's frame for Manning's alleged acts throughout the entire documentary: that his alleged acts represent a failure of character, rather than a triumph of conscience". I got that same vibe in the NPR interview: he's invited to "tell us about Manning" and he jumps right in to "a very slight, effeminate young kid" and "He was gay at a time of 'don't ask, don't tell' and he had a lot of emotional problems."

On one hand Manning's gender atypicality is reportedly an important part of who he is, and if you want to understand him you need to understand it. Particularly to the extent it made him feel an outsider in the military; there's no character flaw in that, but it could explain how he broke ranks. OTOH going on national radio and starting out by saying "he's kinda faggy" as the way of characterizing someone is blowing the loudest of dog whistles.
posted by Nelson at 11:22 AM on May 26, 2013 [53 favorites]


I have it on good authority that the catatafish didn't go bass to mouth or ass to trout.
posted by Talez at 11:23 AM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


OTOH going on national radio and starting out by saying "he's kinda faggy" as the way of characterizing someone is blowing the loudest of dog whistles.

That, along with the "Toto" bit, made it a bit of a puff piece from NPR, for me. Having grown up with my diehard leftist dad putting NPR on the radio at every opportunity, I'm a bit dismayed to see how far center-right it has become these last few years. Very little questioning of where Mr. Gibney's armchair-psychiatric evaluations of the subjects of his film come from, nor any questioning of the underlying "two war" statement for lack of any official declaration of any war — or any state to have a war with, nor any discussion of the content of the cables and what criminal behavior their secrecy hides, which might have motivated their publication.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interviewer: You work for WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is now very famous in Iceland because of the big Kaupthing leak.

Julian Assange: You know, we got this letter from the Kaupthing lawyers telling us that under Icelandic banking secrecy law we deserved one year in prison, so we thought we would come to Iceland

Daniel Domscheit-Berg: And see for ourselves.

Julian Assange: And see for ourselves.


Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yer?

See the løveli lakes.

And face the law in this Scandinavian country.

These guys are way to caught up in the own dramas. Wikileaks might win, but Assange won't.
posted by three blind mice at 11:56 AM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


They use ø's in Sweden now?
posted by brokkr at 11:59 AM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


They use ø's in Sweden now?

I consider Monty Python an expert on Sweden.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 PM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]




That's a pretty impressive demolition of the movie, practically frame-by-frame.

It's hard not to see the movie as a hit piece. You can see many types of obfuscation here:

* outright falsehoods.
* omission of important, well-known information.
* dramatic editing to extract tiny quotes out of context.
* use of pejorative adjectives to disparage Wikileaks and Assange.
* incorrect claims and summaries by the narrator

A quote that stuck out for me:

> Throughout the film, Gibney propagates the idea Assange had been “fishing” for the leaks or that Manning had been “persuaded” to leak. This is factually incorrect but also buys into the dangerous proposition that journalists and publishers can be conspirators by virtue of their interaction with confidential sources. The US government is attempting to argue that any news organization that deals with confidential sources can be put into prison for engaging in "conspiracy".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:35 PM on May 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


A neat little interface - you can highlight quotes and post URLs to them.

This quote from Bradley Manning was something I found very moving....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:39 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]






I particularly appreciate how WikiLeaks calls out Gibney for focussing on Manning's gender and orientation issues as "This is Gibney's frame for Manning's alleged acts throughout the entire documentary: that his alleged acts represent a failure of character, rather than a triumph of conscience".

Iraq War veteran on Manning, the media and the military: A former Army Specialist in Baghdad explains why the Wikileaks source deserves our country's respect
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw's interesting but frustrating link says:

> It's never been clear to me why journalists should get any special treatment under the First Amendment, [...]

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; [...]

That's a super-basic mistake - particularly for a "journalist"!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:50 PM on May 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


That's a pretty impressive demolition of the movie, practically frame-by-frame.

No, not particularly. From complaining about the title onwards it's a wall of petty complaints and quibbles, the output of an organization that sees anything less that a pure hagiography as a hit peice. And then we get on to the bit about the rape where they swerve into pure conspiracy theory.

People who enjoy this, enjoy it, it's a handjob intended just for you. But I see it less of a vindication than a confirmation that Wikileaks has succumbed to being entirely about itself.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


> People who enjoy this, enjoy it, it's a handjob intended just for you.

"Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."

Do you have anything specific? Some reasoning? Some facts? A logical argument?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


[Seriously, don't make this into yet another Wikileaks thread where everyone is awful to each other.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Where to start? The first paragraph, to be honest, it's pure nonsesnse quibble.

Later on there's a stand out but where the documentary mentions the cables as something that brought Wikileaks into the public eye that provokes a screed on how they were always the biggest most important thing ever.

The evassiveness around the rape bits, of course, disgusting as usual.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wikileaks has succumbed to being entirely about itself.

Let's see, how can we refute this?

Virtually Everything the Government Did to WikiLeaks is Now Being Done to Mainstream US Reporters


Assange is, sadly, almost entirely about himself and not a worthy hero on many counts who has already done a fair share of the damage that has been done to Wikileaks. But it must be repeated constantly: Assange is NOT the issue, especially not the sexual misconduct allegations (which even the people making the allegations don't consider 'full rape').

Although the following must be noted: The New York Times is now in full solidarity with Fox News over this issue. If given a choice what organization should be the future of journalism (and currently there are only two choices), which do YOU choose, Wikileaks or Fox News?
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:10 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I see it less of a vindication than a confirmation that Wikileaks has succumbed to being entirely about itself.

I'd agree with that. From the standpoint of the ostensible mission of Wikileaks, it's bizarre that anybody considered this type of rebuttal to be necessary or a good idea. And much of it isn't even really rebuttal. For example:
Narration by Alex Gibney:
After a five-year investigation and trial, Julian pled guilty to 24 hacking offences. He was sentenced to 3 years on probation.

Note:
In fact, the judge said: "There is just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to — what's the expression — surf through these various computers."
This isn't a point-by-point list of substantive factual errors. In large part it's just, "We dislike how we're being portrayed," which as Artw points out, is a conversation about the "we."
posted by cribcage at 1:11 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Assange is NOT the issue

Then they should get rid of him, and stop producing a smokescreen for his evasion of a trial.
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


> The first paragraph, to be honest, it's pure nonsesnse quibble.

They are objecting to the title "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks" on the grounds that they have never "stolen secrets" - and have never even been accused of "stealing secrets". They also go one further, by pointing out that the phrase "We Steal Secrets" was actually invented by the head of the CIA/NSA to describe what the US government does!

Objecting to the very title of the movie because it says something objectively false is hardly a "quibble".

> Later on there's a stand out but where the documentary mentions the cables as something that brought Wikileaks into the public eye that provokes a screed on how they were always the biggest most important thing ever.

I couldn't find that section - but it's absolutely true that Wikileaks was very well-known before the cables. (As I pointed out above, it's really easy to link to quotes within the document...)

> The evassiveness around the rape bits, of course, disgusting as usual.

There are a dozen Notes relating to the alleged rape, each with at least one corroborating link. Can you point out specifically some question that's raised and not answered, or one of these Notes that you think is evasive?

Do note that (from a previous link in this thread) the UK government's own spy agency seems to believe that the alleged rape is in fact a frame-up - source...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:23 PM on May 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like this is the thing I fundamentally don't understand about Wikileaks: it was always something bigger than any one man, a collaborative effort that's a natural fit for anonymity and secrecy. Why has anyone, let alone the somewhat self-involved Assange, been allowed to take all the credit and suck all the attention for it?

The only way this would make sense to me is if Assange was an actor hired to play a decoy, so that the national intelligence services would waste their time going after him and ignore the real Wikileaks principals.

Maybe I just have a bias for Anonymous-style networked and decentralized activism?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:24 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Do note that (from a previous link in this thread) the UK government's own spy agency seems to believe that the alleged rape is in fact a frame-up - source...

Following the link...

The messages appear to contain speculation and chatter between GCHQ employees, but Assange gave little further explanation about exactly who they came from.

And that is why Wikileaks is horseshit in one paragraph.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


They also go one further, by pointing out that the phrase "We Steal Secrets" was actually invented by the head of the CIA/NSA to describe what the US government does!
I heard an interview with the director recently. This was basically the first thing that he said, and if I remember correctly he did it without being prompted. He then commented on what he believed to be the self-unawareness of Hayden in being critical of Wikileaks while also saying such a thing.
posted by Flunkie at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2013


The evassiveness around the rape bits, of course, disgusting as usual.

You know, it's a text file. You can actually search it. And therefore all of us can see for ourselves whether what you say is true or not.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]










>...it was always something bigger than any one man, a collaborative effort that's a natural fit for anonymity and secrecy. Why has anyone, let alone the somewhat self-involved Assange, been allowed to take all the credit and suck all the attention for it?

Plenty of attention gets thrown at him, especially since there aren't many other names as publicly associated with Wikileaks. Some dissolutions later, the organization has lost some of the checks and balances for Assange's ego, and their financial and donation issues aren't helping either.

Not that any of this truly eliminates the freedom of information. I just wish we weren't so easily distracted (and he weren't so easily inflated).
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2013


The evassiveness around the rape bits, of course, disgusting as usual.

You know, it's a text file. You can actually search it. And therefore all of us can see for ourselves whether what you say is true or not.


Yes?
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Good faith discussion and please do not turn this into the Artw show. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:39 PM on May 26, 2013


RE: So, you like making people do your homework for you?

I don't know what you have against them based on your previous comments, but their responses to the rape allegations don't seem to be evasive or conspiracy theories. Nothing personal, but I do want to clear the air for people reading the thread.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 2:45 PM on May 26, 2013


This quote from Bradley Manning was something I found very moving....

You know, I have a lot of sympathy with this one element in Manning's motivations, I do. But the bit where he dumped basically three or four decades worth of diplomatic cables - that's where we part ways. He, like all people with access to that kind of data, took a pledge. He should have honored it, or said he couldn't do the job. All of Manning's, and Wikileaks', rationalizations about redactions and about how better the world would be if blah blah blah - they're just that, rationalizations. (And oh, by the way,whoops! Someone published the secret password, so all the redactions went right out the window anyway, how convenient.) The cables really are irrelevant to the Iraq/Afghanistan abuses, they're reason enough for Manning to get life in jail.
posted by newdaddy at 2:47 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Johann Georg Faust: You know, women who come forward with accusations of rape frequently retract later. Sometimes (I guess) it's because they were bullied into making the accusations. Most times it's because they've been threatened by their rapist, or so intimidated by the court system that they decide it's not worth it. That's why we let the justice system sort out what happened, rather than saying "Oh, she took it back, nothing to see here!" And that is exactly what Assange is evading.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:58 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This:

Note: This is false. There are no charges. Julian Assange is not charged and has never been charged in Sweden. The matter, formally, is at the stage of "preliminary investigation". The fact that an Interpol Red Notice was issued for Assange's arrest and extradition, leading to his detention for more than 900 days, all without charging him, is one of the principle abuses in the case. The audience can't possibly understand the abusive nature of the situation after having been misled by Gibney in this manner.

...would be the standard line of attack for Assange apologists, asides from the ones not employing the "not real rape" line. There's sundry other examples of that sort of quibbly innuendo attempting to suggest the case should not be taken seriously of you want to Ctrl-F for it.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


That, along with the "Toto" bit, made it a bit of a puff piece from NPR, for me. Having grown up with my diehard leftist dad putting NPR on the radio at every opportunity, I'm a bit dismayed to see how far center-right it has become these last few years.

I promise you: NPR hasn't changed. You have.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:04 PM on May 26, 2013


RE: I'm sure you're right about the delicateness of sexual assault cases, but from what I understand, Assange is more concerned about a possible extradition to the United States than he is about dealing with these cases directly. There's no telling how things would change if they could just try him inside the embassy or if the US promised not to extradite, so that just makes our argument messy and hypothetical if you'd still like to continue.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 3:19 PM on May 26, 2013


> You know, I have a lot of sympathy with this one element in Manning's motivations, I do. But the bit where he dumped basically three or four decades worth of diplomatic cables - that's where we part ways. He, like all people with access to that kind of data, took a pledge. He should have honored it, or said he couldn't do the job.

If you read his testimony, even just what's in the original article, he did in fact take the pledge in good faith - but then he found repeated evidence of what he (and a lot of other people including myself) consider to be war crimes, as well as a great deal of dishonesty.

Does such a pledge really oblige you to cover up war crimes?

And I'm curious as to what you would have done with this, were you Pfc. Manning - particularly given that you had extremely limited time and resources to work with? Just gone back to work?

Do note that Wikileaks did in fact contact the US government to ask them to work with Wikileaks to redact any material that would threaten anyone. The US government refused to do this; they said that "harm reduction" was not something they did, and simply threatened everyone with legal action.

By classifying everything as "secret", by using the "secret" label as a universal catch-all to hide misdeeds and even crimes from the public, the government has systematically debased the "secret" label over decades.

When faced with the fact that crimes are being committed with impunity because of the "secret" classification, you have two choices. You can say, "Secret is secret - so the government wins forever, they can do whatever they like and class it secret," or say, "THEY are the ones who debased the concept of secret, they are the ones who are using it to commit crimes, they are the ones who are attempting to use my honorable pledge to cover up their dishonorable secrets. My conscience does not permit me to participate in the coverup of crimes."

I'd also say that if you're going to claim that "it was wrong," you need to point to one person or organization who was harmed by the release of those cables - except of course the government agencies who were embarrassed and humiliated.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [19 favorites]


Well, Artw, all your arguments seem to proceed from the assumption that Mr. Assange is in fact a rapist who is simply lying about everything. (Actually, no one has charged Mr. Assange with actual "rape" but we can let that pass...)

If you were to assume that Mr. Assange is innocent until proven guilty, then these are the sorts statements that an innocent man would make, pointing out how the documentary does in fact distort the record dramatically.

Do note that the statement that you quote is factually correct... yes?

Now, Mr. Assange has offered publicly and repeated to go to Sweden to face these charges under one condition - that the Swedish government guarantees that they will not extradite him to the United States. And despite claims to the contrary, they have every ability to make that guarantee - while it's the Swedish prosecutors who make recommendations about extradition requests, all of them must be approved by the Swedish government. (Source.)

I would say that his fear of being extradited to the United States is perfectly reasonable, as the United States government has repeated stated that he is guilty (not even suspected, but guilty) of multiple serious crimes, some of which potentially carry the death penalty. I think it's a certainly that if he ever fell into the hands of the US government, he'd never see the light of day again.

Yet the Swedish government refuses to give him any such assurance.

If all they are interested in is settling this case, why would they not give him this assurance? What possible reason would they have not to do this, if all they are interested in is dealing with the sexual abuse charges?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:42 PM on May 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do note that Wikileaks did in fact contact the US government to ask them to work with Wikileaks to redact any material that would threaten anyone.

It's not at all plausible that the U.S. government would help vet documents to be publicly released against their will, even under the rubric of 'harm reduction'. To do so would condone the release and accept responsibility for harm as a result of the release. Asking for U.S. help was cynical at best.
posted by fatbird at 3:45 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, Artw, all your arguments seem to proceed from the assumption that Mr. Assange is in fact a rapist who is simply lying about everything.

I am observing that he is evading trial.

If you were to assume that Mr. Assange is innocent until proven guilty

I'm assuming he should stand trial.

I would say that his fear of being extradited to the United States is perfectly reasonable, as the United States government has repeated stated that he is guilty (not even suspected, but guilty) of multiple serious crimes, some of which potentially carry the death penalty. I think it's a certainly that if he ever fell into the hands of the US government, he'd never see the light of day again.

And we're solidly in conspiracy theory land again.

Yet the Swedish government refuses to give him any such assurance.

Why the fuck should they?
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Artw, I mostly agree with you about Assange. But I don't think it's conspiracy theory land for Assange to think that the US government would toss him in the oubliette if they got their hands on him. The US government has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to lock up non-citizens without trial, and I see no reason they would treat Assange any better than any other poor bastard in Gitmo.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:57 PM on May 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


Anyway, here's the previous thread in which the whole rape/extradition/red notice/subtle differences in the Swedish system thing was discussed to death. Suffice it to say I remain deeply unimpressed that they've thrown the whole bag of talking points on that in this "rebuttal".
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it is in the Pinterest Skeptics thread that somebody said in response to "if you have time for Facebook you have time for working out" that you can't work out from your iPhone/iPad. It looks like being hysterical about Assange is the one case where you can.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 4:01 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish I had more time to respond to Lupus Yonderboy in depth. In short I can say-

I don't believe every cable Manning distributed documented a war crime. I am doubtful he actually could have read them all, even. Also, the government, just as individuals do, has reason and expectation to legitimately keep some things private.

Who was hurt? Every trusted relationship between the US and another country. Other countries have a reason now to doubt the ability of our country to keep its own secrets, which they didn't before. That is substantial and means something. It undermines our own ability to pursue diplomacy. Just because something doesn't have a price tag or an immediate death count associated with it, does not mean it has no value. Manning had no right to make all of these decisions unilaterally and without regard to consequences.
posted by newdaddy at 4:02 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, an "argument" like "And we're solidly in conspiracy theory land again." is not in fact any form of argument at all...?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


But the bit where he dumped basically three or four decades worth of diplomatic cables - that's where we part ways. He, like all people with access to that kind of data, took a pledge. He should have honored it, or said he couldn't do the job.

And what of the government employees who have dishonored their pledges and hidden their activity in classified files? What kind of punishment will they receive, and who will prosecute them, and how would we know if they have been violating our pledges if we are never allowed to know what they are doing?

All of Manning's, and Wikileaks', rationalizations about redactions and about how better the world would be if blah blah blah - they're just that, rationalizations. (And oh, by the way,whoops! Someone published the secret password, so all the redactions went right out the window anyway, how convenient.) The cables really are irrelevant to the Iraq/Afghanistan abuses, they're reason enough for Manning to get life in jail.

If your support for the persecution of Bradley Manning is based on "blah blah blah" then we can at least agree on one thing.
posted by tripping daisy at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, an "argument" like "And we're solidly in conspiracy theory land again." is not in fact any form of argument at all...?

What can I say? You contention is that Julliann Assange is being extradited to Sweden not because he stands accused of crimes there but because he can be extradited from there to the US, and somehow he can't be extradited from the UK, though he was quite happy being in Sweden before he faced charges there, and none of this has anything to do with simply wanting to avoid trial for the crimes he is accused of? And this isn't at all a conspiracy theory?

Good luck.
posted by Artw at 4:13 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pretty good article on why concerns over the red notices, etc are a smokescreen: No exception for Assange: Rape apologetics and the left
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


> I don't believe every cable Manning distributed documented a war crime

Neither do I. And no one has ever claimed that.

> Also, the government, just as individuals do, has reason and expectation to legitimately keep some things private.

You should in fact address my actual arguments...

1. If the government persistently and repeatedly uses secrecy to cover up crimes, then they have voided their right to secrecy.

2. Given that Pfc. Manning had only very limited time and resources to process this data, instead of e.g. putting the data on file sharing, he decided to give it to what he perceived as a trusted source to edit.

and particularly this one, which seems to keep getting lost.

3. No individual appears to have been hurt by the leaks, so clearly Wikileaks was pretty accurate in avoiding the release of documents that would cause legitimate harm.


> Who was hurt? Every trusted relationship between the US and another country.

No doubt, since the United States was revealed to have lied.

> Other countries have a reason now to doubt the ability of our country to keep its own secrets, which they didn't before.

Long before Pfc. Manning's the world knew that literally millions of people had access to classified information - and that over half a million alone had access to "top secret" information (source). No one should have had any impression that the United States was "keeping secrets" by spreading them over millions of people...


> That is substantial and means something. It undermines our own ability to pursue diplomacy. Just because something doesn't have a price tag or an immediate death count associated with it, does not mean it has no value.

But this would have been revealed even if Bradley Manning had only released exactly those cables that definitively proved that crimes were committed, yes? The fact that some of this information was incriminating and some wasn't is therefore irrelevant to your argument...

(And some of those cables which didn't reveal crimes did turn out to be really useful to the world - like these ones.)

So what you appear to be saying is that even though you can't name any specific damage to anyone at all, this abstract right to "secrecy" trumps the right we have to learn about crimes that the US government committed.

Sorry - the US government has systematically abused the "secret" label for years to cover up crimes while doing a terrible job at actually keeping that secret information secret. If as a result of their criminal activity and their ineptitude they have a little more difficulty conducting the threats and bluster that they pretend is "diplomacy" I for one am not going to lose a moment's sleep over it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:30 PM on May 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's funny that people are both defending the secrecy of diplomatic cables as a necessary part of the international system, and also accusing folks of conspiracy theories who speculate that the US, UK and Sweden might have made some secret deals regarding the trial or extradition of Assange.
posted by chortly at 5:15 PM on May 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's interesting how as soon as the military and "top secret" become involved it's ok to use a person's sexuality as a cudgel against them. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


> > It's never been clear to me why journalists should get any special treatment under the First Amendment, [...]

> The First Amendment:
> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; [...]


Journalists aren't the only people who use the printing press. I understand that "the press" is often used as a nickname for the news industry, but I suspect that that is a neologism.

By one interpretation the first amendment is enshrining the profession of journalism as having additional but unspecified protections. By mine (and presumably the author of Artw's link) it is enshrining for everyone a general right to publish. I don't know which interpretation the courts have followed.

For comparison, the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights has an analogous bit, Article 19:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
posted by swr at 6:27 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, they've never brought the perpetrators in the Collateral Murder video to trial? Do we even know their names? Are they hiding out in an embassy somewhere?
posted by destro at 6:56 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


So what you appear to be saying is that even though you can't name any specific damage to anyone at all, this abstract right to "secrecy" trumps the right we have to learn about crimes that the US government committed.

I'm sorry, but that's not it. We are all of us lessened and damaged, when our government cannot be believed to credibly keep a trust with another country. It undermines diplomacy. When George W. Bush wanted to go to war, the first thing he did was sell out the credibility of the State Department and the intelligence community, because they didn't have a price sticker on them and he couldn't discern their value. You're making the same mistake. In reality, building and keeping the trust of partners is the accretion of thousands of individual acts. It has tremendous value.
posted by newdaddy at 7:21 PM on May 26, 2013


Surviving 'Collateral Murder': Soldier relives infamous WikiLeaks video

Ethan McCord is also the author of the letter I linked above.
posted by homunculus at 8:04 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is this one of those irregular verbs? I refule, you quibble, he wriggles on the hook?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:10 PM on May 26, 2013


2. Given that Pfc. Manning had only very limited time and resources to process this data, instead of e.g. putting the data on file sharing, he decided to give it to what he perceived as a trusted source to edit.

It's hard to argue Manning was some kind of crusading reformer when he couldn't even be bothered to read the material he was betraying.

If he found some single egregious thing in the diplomatic record, something that cried out for justice, then he should have taken it to the Inspector General, or Congress, or the press, yes. But that's not what happened. He instead dumped every scrap of diplomatic correspondence he could access, without regard to relevance or value. Don't ennoble Manning by confusing him with a whistleblower - this was an act of vandalism and hubris.
posted by newdaddy at 8:15 PM on May 26, 2013


> You're making the same mistake. In reality, building and keeping the trust of partners is the accretion of thousands of individual acts. It has tremendous value.

You're conflating a lot of things in that word "trust".

In particular, there are two separate and unrelated parts. There is "trust" that you will do what you say; and there is "trust" that you can keep a secret.

That first trust has only been abrogated inasmuch as the United States has been shown to be systematically dishonest by the release of the actual facts. If the United States chooses to be a filthy liar, it is no one's fault but their own if this fact is released to the world.

Frankly, any country that's stupid enough to trust the United States really does deserve what they get. I would think after the the United States made up a pack of lies and trashed a sovereign country, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, that only the feeble minded would ever take them at their word again.

Regardless, on the first trust, you're arguing that it's wrong that the United States' lies were revealed. Honest people throughout the world disagree with you there.

And, as I argued above, given that it has always been well-known that the United States allowed literally millions of people to see this information, you'd also be pretty damn stupid to "trust" the United States to keep secrets.

But above and beyond, there's the claim that this all trumps war crimes - that the United States' supposed right to secrecy (hey! why don't WE have any right to secrecy, eh?) is so important that they can use it to cover up warcrimes forever.

Again I repeat - given that the United States has relentlessly used the "secret" label to cover up lies and war crimes for decades, they have abrogated every right to their stupid, childish "secrecy".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:20 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


> this was an act of vandalism and hubris.

As opposed to murder and tyranny?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:27 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Don't ennoble Manning by confusing him with a whistleblower - this was an act of vandalism and hubris.

I quoted Pfc. Manning's reaction to seeing warcrimes above, but I think it deserves posting inline, to make sure people really read it:
...the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely "good samaritans". The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote "dead bastards" unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass. While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew's lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew – as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times. Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle" unquote. The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body – or one of the bodies.
The fact that you expect him to have gone through hundreds of thousands of documents in what he quite correctly evaluated as a very few days before he was arrested is, well, hard to stomach.

When it comes down to it, Pfc. Manning saw these crimes and his conscience led him to report them. Despite the endless denunciations, the fact is that no one has pointed out one negative thing that resulted from this - except a realistic re-evaluation of the ethics and effectiveness of the United States, something which a rational person might consider "richly deserved".

Pfc. Manning had a conscience and acted on it - knowing full well that he would destroy his life, but willing to take that responsibility. He has never denied what he did or tried to shirk the consequences, and this is why he's a hero to millions while you are some random internet commenter, and why he will be remembered in a century when you are forgotten dust.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:31 PM on May 26, 2013 [20 favorites]


But above and beyond, there's the claim that this all trumps war crimes - that the United States' supposed right to secrecy (hey! why don't WE have any right to secrecy, eh?) is so important that they can use it to cover up warcrimes forever.

Ok, please, show me the war crimes which were revealed by leaking the diplomatic cables, specifically? At the time, I don't remember any people going to jail as a result, trials at The Hague, public unrest, congressional investigations, grand juries, UN resolutions. I missed it. I'm willing to be enlightened on this issue.
posted by newdaddy at 8:37 PM on May 26, 2013


Ya know, I remember when Wikileaks was just some organization that posted stuff that whistleblowers made public. No one could accuse them of anything untoward.

Then they became effective.
posted by JHarris at 8:40 PM on May 26, 2013


> Ok, please, show me the war crimes which were revealed by leaking the diplomatic cables, specifically?

If the United States had wanted to protect those diplomatic cables, they were given every opportunity. Wikileaks offered to work with them to redact any damaging cables, and they completely refused, saying that they didn't do harm reduction. Their argument was basically this: "You cannot release any of these cables, crimes or not, we will not help you separate out the crimes from the non-crimes, and if you release any of them we will get you wherever you go."

Now, as I did point out above, releasing those diplomatic cables has been cited as one of the chief reasons for the Arab Spring, but I don't really expect you to care about that.

Again, I bring up the argument that you aren't addressing: given that the United States has systematically used the "secret" classification to protect themselves from the consequences of their criminal activities for decades, that "secret" classification has been completely debased by the United States itself. Why should we take their secret classification seriously when any perusal of the cables makes it clear that they don't?

Frankly, why any rational human is bothered that the United States' pathetic and sordid little secrets were revealed baffles me. I defy to you to identify even one "secret" that would be better off left secret.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:54 PM on May 26, 2013


I get the feeling though that some people see dumping the diplomatic cables as a proxy act of outrage or protest against Things The US Has Done Wrong. You know, you're welcome to think that way, but by and large it's a pretty poor expression of that. Very few people registered it that way, it was barely a blip in the news, it didn't change anything. Mostly it was revealed that the State Department in private was pursuing what it's publicly stated goals are, over all those years.

Bradly Manning would have been better served by not breaking the law, and instead writing a book, starting a party, running for office. Whatever his opinions of the government, no one is going to hear them.
posted by newdaddy at 8:55 PM on May 26, 2013


> Mostly it was revealed that the State Department in private was pursuing what it's publicly stated goals are, over all those years.

Great then, we are in agreement that the release of those cables hurt no one.


> Whatever his opinions of the government, no one is going to hear them.

Right, aside from international coverage of his trial and his statements about the government in every major newspaper of the world, and even on this very page, no one is going to hear them.

Sorry for the snarky tone... but really...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frankly, why any rational human is bothered that the United States' pathetic and sordid little secrets were revealed baffles me. I defy to you to identify even one "secret" that would be better off left secret.

Nuclear launch codes?

I defy to you to identify even two, two "secrets" that would be better off left secret....
posted by newdaddy at 9:01 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Nuclear launch codes?

I quickly searched through the Wikileaks cables. I don't believe there are any nuclear launch codes there. Citation REALLY needed.

Again - you're claiming that the Wikileaks diplomatic cables caused damage to the United States - I'm claiming that not one of them was better off secret. They're all public - please identify the secrets that should not have been released.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:03 PM on May 26, 2013


> Mostly it was revealed that the State Department in private was pursuing what it's publicly stated goals are, over all those years.

Great then, we are in agreement that the release of those cables hurt no one.


Peace, Lupus, I'm calling it a night. I concede I'm not going to change your mind about this.
posted by newdaddy at 9:08 PM on May 26, 2013


Thanks, newdaddy - I appreciate it. It's important to have open and respectful discussions, even if not everyone agrees at the end.

Can't resist: nuclear launch codes.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 PM on May 26, 2013


The article doesn't so much refute as disagree with the documentary, and it seems rather of a piece for them to think that a million little objections (many of them pretty dubious on examination) is the same as substantive rebuttal.

(The defense of the title here is pretty funny, insomuch as it reminds me of the frequent "copyright infringement isn't stealing!" cries.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 PM on May 26, 2013


Mostly it was revealed that the State Department in private was pursuing what it's publicly stated goals are, over all those years.
Great then, we are in agreement that the release of those cables hurt no one.
This seems like quite a leap. It's not difficult to imagine, for example, a publicly stated goal of opposition to a particular dictatorial government, plus an internal memo noting the identity of a person helping towards that goal while living under the jurisdiction of that government.

I'm not claiming there is such a case in the cables; I don't know one way or the other. All I'm saying is that a blanket equivalence between "privately pursuing its publicly stated goals" and "no one could possibly be hurt by revealing the details of that private pursuance" does not make much sense to me.
posted by Flunkie at 9:48 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


At the time, I don't remember any people going to jail as a result, trials at The Hague

An accused American war criminal will never stand trial at the Hague. Just look at Kissinger. But if the Europeans ever tried to arrest one, that could be quite exciting.
posted by homunculus at 12:14 AM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, they've never brought the perpetrators in the Collateral Murder video to trial?

I don't know about the perpetrators, but the family of the man driving the van (including the wounded children) demanded justice years ago, and were supposedly promised some kind of payment, but I don't know what finally happened with that.
posted by homunculus at 12:36 AM on May 27, 2013


>Frankly, why any rational human is bothered that the United States' pathetic and sordid little secrets were revealed baffles me. I defy to you to identify even one "secret" that would be better off left secret.

Nuclear launch codes?


Sigh. What is this, a comedy act?

There are legitimate secrets, yes, and nuclear launch codes are one of them. But at the same time, the United States tends to classify lots of things that don't need to be secret.

When Metafilter comes up for its periodic Wikileaks thread, I can be sure that there will be a respectful and constructive argument on both sides, free of kneejerk put-downs and snide assertions of the other side's idiocy. Just like all our even-headed Occupy threads. 🍔

>Having grown up with my diehard leftist dad putting NPR on the radio at every opportunity, I'm a bit dismayed to see how far center-right it has become these last few years.
to sir with milipedes: I promise you: NPR hasn't changed. You have.

One week ago.
posted by JHarris at 12:47 AM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


In other leak news: Leak Inquiries Show How Wide a Net U.S. Cast
posted by homunculus at 1:14 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of gender and this documentary, note this from the NPR interview:

GIBNEY: Interestingly enough, [Assange] also has a balcony from which he can make Evita-like speeches from time to time to the assembled crowds below.

GREENE: Anyone who's trying to think of himself as famous wants to give Evita-like speeches...

GIBNEY: No doubt.


Of all possible people, why Eva Peron?
posted by doctornemo at 6:04 AM on May 27, 2013


Was it right of John Dean to go "off the reservation" and tell the investigating committee what he did?
posted by marienbad at 8:08 AM on May 27, 2013


Does anyone know what became of the alleged 300 Iraqi translators and other US collaborators whose names were revealed by the doc leak? They seemed like the ones most vulnerable to real harm.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:15 AM on May 27, 2013


/notes that the embassy seems to have been unstormed for a good year now.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on May 27, 2013


I've followed this thread with interest and dismay. Whether or not you agree with Wikileaks' mission, and whether or not you like Julian Assange, this Wikileaks rebuttal to We Steal Secrets represents a high level of discourse that should be encouraged in the news media. It is well-reasoned, well-written, restrained, and factual. It addresses errors and narrative omissions, provides ample citations for claims, and generally does a good job of stating Wikileaks' side of the story.

The opinions of some here make me wonder if they even read the rebuttal before forming an opinion, and if they read the same thing that I did. I'm not saying I agree with Wikileaks in all matters (I don't), but if you want to defend your organization against perceived slander, this is the right way to do it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:06 AM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


to sir with millipedes sent a helpful MeMail in which he explained the problem with my "one week ago" line above; the linked thread has to do with PBS, not NPR which despite my knowing they're separate entities are still often conflated in my mind. Sorry about that, thanks, 'peedy.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 AM on May 27, 2013


@ klangklangston
"The article doesn't so much refute as disagree with the documentary... a million little objections."

If you want just the top 10 objections that's been posted here:
http://www.swedenversusassange.com/We-Steal-Secrets-Talking-Points,79.html
posted by blankdawn at 11:56 AM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


The opinions of some here make me wonder if they even read the rebuttal before forming an opinion, and if they read the same thing that I did.

Fair enough. But for my part, I'll say this is a pet peeve of mine on MetaFilter. This thread may contain knee-jerk comments from people who didn't read the article, but it also contains reasoned criticisms. You're joining in to condemn the knee-jerk comments, which is fine and I agree with you, but you're also blindly ignoring the reasoned criticisms and talking as if they don't exist while posting your own conclusory approval. That doesn't elevate the conversation; it just pretends to.
posted by cribcage at 12:16 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


blankdawn, that's mighty useful right there. I think many of us have balked at reading a line-by-line takedown of a whole movie, but having a Cliffs' Notes version handy helps greatly.
posted by JHarris at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2013


I have severe doubts that several of the people defending it have actually read it.
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


cribcage: You're joining in to condemn the knee-jerk comments, which is fine and I agree with you, but you're also blindly ignoring the reasoned criticisms and talking as if they don't exist while posting your own conclusory approval.

Fair enough, but I feel like the knee-jerk comments are dominating this thread, by a crowd that is eager to reheat the same old Wikileaks argument. If we want to look at the reasoned criticisms, here's one:

cribcage: This isn't a point-by-point list of substantive factual errors. In large part it's just, "We dislike how we're being portrayed," which as Artw points out, is a conversation about the "we."

No, it's not a point-by-point list of substantive factual errors---there's a healthy dose of opinion---but it does correct substantive factual errors. For example:
  • "Selective editing. The interview is edited to cut out the NASA scientist's punch line--no files were, in fact, deleted. "
  • "Gibney falsely attributes the 2009 "Most Wanted Leaks" list to Julian Assange. It was compiled by human rights NGOs, activists, lawyers, journalists and historians nominating the censored documents they considered the most important to uncover."
  • "Throughout the film, Gibney propagates the idea Assange had been “fishing” for the leaks or that Manning had been “persuaded” to leak. This is factually incorrect but also buys into the dangerous proposition that journalists and publishers can be conspirators by virtue of their interaction with confidential sources. "
  • "It is false that Daniel Domscheit-Berg was the second full-time employee of WikiLeaks. He volunteered full-time for WikiLeaks during 2009. He was uninvolved in WikiLeaks for most of the significant events of 2010, until he was suspended in September of that year. "
  • "The film makes this suggestion without basis – and it has since been proven to be factually incorrect: Manning makes clear in his pre-trial statement that no one at WikiLeaks pressured him into giving any information and that he made his own decision to send documents"
And those are just from the first few pages. To dismiss it as "we dislike how we're being portrayed" makes it sound like baseless whining, when in fact there is a fair amount of substance behind their grievances.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:59 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fair enough, but I feel like the knee-jerk comments are dominating this thread

The issue with saying this is that it comes off as trying to be reasonable and "fair and balanced", but at the same time avoids talking about any specific comment.

I agree it's extremely likely at least a few people commented without reading it, or just skimmed it, etc. However my issue with this approach is that it really comes off every time it's brought up as "those people who don't agree with my viewpoint must not have read the same material". Reaching? Maybe. But it really stinks of that every time I hear it.

I think it's more constructive to having an actual quality discussion to just ignore the noise in that sense, rather than make snide indirect comments in its direction.
posted by emptythought at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2013


[Folks, people are discussing this thread in MetaTalk, please take metacommentary about it over there?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2013


To dismiss it as "we dislike how we're being portrayed" makes it sound like baseless whining

It doesn't imply baseless, but yes. The point is that there's a question whether it's appropriate to respond at all. If your mission is to distribute information, then do that. Don't become the story. If Nature published an article maligning Wikipedia compared to Britannica, it's not appropriate for Wikipedia to "respond."

Also, all factual errors are not necessarily substantive factual errors. I pointed out one example. There are others. And I'm unclear why Daniel Domscheit-Berg's precise status matters, but if there's going to be quibbling about exact terminology then I find it problematic that the documentary apparently uses the phrase "second full-time member" yet WikiLeaks's rebuttal pivots to answering something different, "second full-time employee."
posted by cribcage at 2:54 PM on May 27, 2013


"unbiased documentarian" Ain't no such thing. Most good filmmakers have POV. They're not the same as network news journalists, reporting the only news. Don't make that assumption.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:26 PM on May 27, 2013


"If you want just the top 10 objections that's been posted here:
http://www.swedenversusassange.com/We-Steal-Secrets-Talking-Points,79.html
"

Eesh, if those are the top ten, they're pretty crappy.

1) Wikileaks "steals secrets" like copyright infringement "steals" mp3s. It's colloquial, and getting bent out of shape about that just sets the agenda for petty complaints.

2) Wikileaks solicits nominations for "most requested leaks," which is close enough to "requests leaks" that it's a bullshit quibble.

3) The movie does cast Manning's actions in terms of being an outsider, i.e. GSM under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But Manning's motivation isn't simple, or single, and from reading the transcript, that's pretty well implied. SF Pride considers Manning's orientation to be motivation enough; arguing that deprecates the political motivation is fair, but more an aesthetic complaint than a factual one, given Manning's current testimony.

4) The dinner for Free Speech was, in fact, for Assange's legal defense fund. The second, related statement that the two causes are conflated is not rebutted by showing a single web page where you can donate to either.

5) The WikiLeaks foundation considers everything they've released "major." Gibney doesn't. Releasing Kissinger's correspondence is interesting for scholars; releasing Collateral Murder was big news for the world.

6) The seriousness of the U.S. pursuit of Assange is debatable. The Wikileaks critique is of three separate moments in the documentary. One in which the woman, Anna, is saying that her complaint has nothing to do with Bradley Manning (to which it seems caddish to disagree), another in which the U.S. not filing any charges is attacked because you know, maybe they could except we just have a rumored anonymous source claiming there's a secret indictment out there somewhere, and the third that Equador granted Assange asylum for dubious reasons. That's the place they're on the best footing, and even that's not great, as it just relies on the tautology that if Assange's application was accepted, it must have been persuasive.

7) Assange/WikiLeaks charges lying by asserting that Assange never said something, because Davies wasn't even at the dinner where it was supposed to have been said, except that Davies didn't give any location in the testimony they cite.

8) This is another one where it makes the protestations look dishonest and hollow generally. Gibney says that Assange went to England to avoid answering questions about "sex charges." Wikileaks makes a big deal out of this, saying it's a lie because charges haven't been filed. But Swedish law has the inquiry first, and Assange skipping out is avoiding answering questions about sex charges. This is especially mendacious given the big deal he makes out of the U.S. having pocket charges waiting.

9) More nonsense — Wikileaks is on much shakier ground whenever they want to defend Assange's personal life. In this one, they complain that because the women wanted Assange to have an AIDS test, and Gibney asks why Assange would refuse, Gibney is essentially implying that Assange has AIDS. Ignored is the possibility that Gibney's implying Assange might be an asshole.

10) And just on and on and on against these women. Like, that Anna had volunteered to organize a WikiLeaks talk for the Social Democrats means that saying she was volunteering for Wikileaks is a lie.

It just ends up reading as apologetics by true believers rather than any serious refutation of anything substantive in the documentary, at least based on reading the transcript.
posted by klangklangston at 10:57 PM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I kinda feel like we should be able to say that Wikileaks has done some vitally important work and also was sloppy and over-reached, and that Assange appears to both be a brilliant visionary and kind of an asshole. I don't know why we have to pick sides here. Revolutionaries are never all good or all bad.
posted by empath at 12:20 AM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


"true believers"

Ah yes, 'believers' - the smear the media cherishes most for all Wikileaks defenders.

I'd rather believe Wikileaks AND Assange than any bullshit in the New York Times or wherever.
posted by colie at 11:22 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right, don't bother addressing any points. Glom onto the "true believers" bit and decry it while you embody it. That'll be persuasive.
posted by klangklangston at 1:02 PM on May 28, 2013


Hi, Believer!

What are you a 'True Believer' in?
posted by colie at 2:58 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]




The Doco Julian Assange Detests

On the critique of his film, Gibney has no doubt Assange is the author. But rather than seeing the film in the Ecuadorean embassy, where he has been living for a year since the British Supreme Court ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sexually assaulting two women, Gibney believes the WikiLeaks founder was responding to a transcript based on an audio recording made during a screening that misses much of what's in the film. ''An audio recording wouldn't have picked up the [internet] chats from Bradley Manning [to hacker Adrian Lamo who reported him to US authorities] because they're printed onscreen,'' Gibney says. ''They're not spoken.''
Gibney says the WikiLeaks' claims about the film are ridiculous. ''There are no factual errors and there is nothing misleading in the film,'' he says. ''It's a series of Julian's opinions. First of all, it's a little galling [for] me as a filmmaker to have people tweeting around the world about a transcript, which is, after all, inaccurate and a very incomplete transcript.''

So what does it say about Assange if he has critiqued the film this way?
''He's a little bit to me like the Wizard of Oz, that moment where Toto pulls the curtain away and you see a man desperately manoeuvring the levers trying to burnish his image.

''It's [fitting] in a metaphorical sense that Julian, in his response, leaves out all the words of Bradley Manning. It's as though he wants to stay at centre stage. He keeps thinking about his image, while Bradley Manning is about to go on trial. That's where the attention should go.''

posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on May 30, 2013


Assange was on Democracy Now yesterday, talking about the film, Bradley Manning and Jeremy Hammond.
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Newdaddy wrote: Ok, please, show me the war crimes which were revealed by leaking the diplomatic cables, specifically?

The leaked diplomatic cables were embarrassing, but I think the USA came out pretty well. None the less, they provide details of the USA's illegal renditions, for instance. Even if the facts of the renditions were mostly known, we didn't know about other countries' responses or that, e.g., the USA was subverting foreign judges to prevent prosecution and conviction of the people responsible. Here's a Wikipedia article on some of the other revelations from the cables. The worst of it is really just USA officials' and employees' bribery, child prostitution, and obstruction of justice; there's nothing that really amounts to war crimes.

At the time, I don't remember any people going to jail as a result, trials at The Hague, public unrest, congressional investigations, grand juries, UN resolutions. I missed it. I'm willing to be enlightened on this issue.

Surely you're joking. There have been no people going to jail because there was a conscious decision to have no prosecution of officials over human rights abuses from the previous administration, just as there will be no prosecution of officials in this administration. For there to be trials at The Hague I suppose the USA would have to cooperate, something which is vanishingly unlikely. There have been trials - and convictions! - overseas, but once again: the USA wouldn't cooperate so the convictions were mostly symbolic.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:22 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]




Assange reviews Eric Schmidt's new book: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]






















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