Monthly Archives: July 2010

Secrecy Makes Us Stupid

‘Need To Know’ Basis Is ‘Need To Be Dumb’

The big sensational news in the last couple of days has been Wikileaks’ big leak of US military files which has put a detailed picture of how the war is being fought in Afghanistan, as well as placed Mr. Julian Assange front and centre in some people’s scopes.

Today’s response was this idiotic claim in this article here.

ADA executive director Neil James said much of the 92,201 assorted US military, intelligence and diplomatic documents leaked by Wikileaks would not be new to anyone familiar with the Afghanistan war or wars in general.

But this latest material went well beyond justifiable whistleblowing, he said.

“Put bluntly, Wikileaks is not authorised in international or Australian law, nor equipped morally or operationally, to judge whether open publication of such material risks the safety, security, morale and legitimate objectives of Australian and allied troops fighting in a UN-endorsed military operation,” he said in a statement.

Mr James said there were many alternative avenues available for legitimate dissent which did not endanger our troops.

“Moreover, as an Australian citizen, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange may also be guilty of a serious criminal offence by assisting an enemy the ADF is fighting on behalf of all Australians, especially if the assistance was intentional,” he said.

You can almost feel the mouth-breathing reactionary blow-hard breath of the man through the monitor. 🙂

First of all, the kind of security reasons for secrecy people are ascribing these documents is frankly, overblown.The other point to be made is that Mr. Assange’s position is not of dissent as Mr. James understands it, but of disclosure.

We as a democratic nation are deprived of these documents that describe just how this war is being fought on our behalf. As most of it is covered under a blanket of ‘security’, and military secrecy, we are forced to bracket all notions of our conduct of war as we consider our options in Afghanistan. In that light, it’s hard to argue the risk put on our troops is so much larger than the risk the secrecy puts upon our democracy.

And this is the wider problem we already have with our democracy. The politicians of our day are necessarily dumbing down the discourse to the point that they become simple soundbites for the 6 o’clock news. We have entered an age of endless superficialities and an abhorrence of detailed analysis by the media. This has left the public largely wonder why there is such a gap between the high-minded rhetoric and the actual reality of how policies are carried out.  The truth – and somebody did say it was the first casualty in a war – is that when we as a society enter into agreeing with the power that there ought to be secrets that we as a citizenry are not privy to, we are essentially saying we aren’t good enough to know. And this deliberate state of ignorance makes us easier to control for the state but also absolves us of the hard task of considering the problem at hand.

Mr. Assange himself has let blast at the blogosphere. He says that most bloggers do not run with the provided information.

It’s all bullshit. It’s all bullshit. In fact people write about things in general if it’s not part of their career because they want to display their values, to their peers who are already in the same group. Actually they don’t give a fuck about the material. That’s the reality. So very early on we understand from experiences like this that we would have to at least give summaries of the materials we were giving. … and if we didn’t put it into a summary and into a context, it would just fall into a gutter, never to be seen again.

I am chastised, Mr Assange. It is true, my stupid little blog is so inadequate, I write about such inconsequential things; it is written for my friends who are in most part, not even amused – for they barely share my values anyway – and yes, I am part of the exact bullshit of indifference you so despise, but I am in support of your position. Please continue.

As for Mr. James at the ADA, he’s barking up the wrong tree.

1 Comment

Filed under General