Monday, November 29, 2010

We Await Wikileaks Investigations into Iran. Still Waiting...

On Twitter, John Rentoul is running a series called 'Questions to which the answer is no'. I have another one for him.

Are there any lengths to which Julian Assange will not go to slag off America and compromise the security of the west?

Judicious use of leaks and proper investigative journalism is one thing. To do what he has done on Wikileaks today is quite another.

I might have a little more sympathy with him if he ever used information gained from Iran or North Korea, but all he seems to be interested in is bashing America.

One day he will go too far and endanger lives. That is, if he hasn't done so already.


Simon Lewis said...

Of course. Would he like it if Iran attacked Sweden and the US said..sorry..but we can't help.
As you know I am a Labour supporter and maybe it would traditional from my politics to bash the US but I believe the US is fundamentally a voice for good. There are some things that need to not be released in the public domain. Still, perhaps what has come out will show people that Israel is not the enemy and Iran is and the Arabs know it.

ascorbic said...

I'm sure if he received leaks from in Iran or North Korea he'd publish them. You can't really beat him up over the fact that his best source is American.

Not a sheep said...

But the USA is the great Satan and so fair game...

john in cheshire said...

What has been released is information that has been paid for by public money. Why shouldn't the public see what it has bought?

Benedict White said...

May be but the stuff that keeps turning up from the US was the result of 1 person leaking once, because some idiot decided 2.5 million people needed access to all data, so he took a copy and leaked the lot.

If an Iranian did the same wikileaks would carry it. They won't because Iran may have an idiot for a president, but he isn't actually in charge, unlike GWB. So there is no one central place a disaffected person can leak all this info from.

As for Wiki leaks having something against the US, I would reiterate this is just one leak, the fact that it has been coming out in dribs and drabs shows the lengths people are going to to redact information.

And yes, in this case the USA needs to be taught a lesson, which is that it should never ever allow all its data to be accessible by so many people in this way. Harsh way to learn it, but at least it won'y happen again.

DocRichard said...

Iain, I do not recall you taking this view of the so-called Climategate Wikileaks. These were used to damage the interests, not just of the West, but of the entire world, by casting doubt on the integrity of the scientific community. The AGW "sceptics" use of "climategate" has probably delayed the necessary decarbonisation of the global energy system by months or even years, which is to the detriment of all humanity.

Inconvenient as the climategate leaks were, the scientists and environmental movement dealt with them and evaluated them. They did not try to kill the messenger.

Leaks will always occur where there is contentious information. In the Internet age, governments no longer have the power to suppress unwanted leaks by controlling the press.

We are in a new situation now. The best advice to embarrassed US diplomats is - Get Used To It.

Anonymous said...

Correct - this is just another example of that branch of racism which is anti Americanism.

Glyn H said...

Weird is it not; the left has always sought to undermine our free and capitalist society and supported Russia, China, Allendes Chile, Cuba et al - my lefty cousin used to buy Skodas as they were made in a communist country - and also supports those corking little places that seek to destroy our freedoms. You know, the IRA, Iran, Libya before Gaddafi wisedup.
Funnily enough they like keeping African dictators in Mercs and Japanese fake Land Rovers and demand we feed their downtrodden masses instead of looking to the root of the problem; dear old socialist one party states and communist corruption as of old and still very apparent today!

HampsteadOwl said...

It is a dangerous argument that what Wikileaks have done is politically-motivated and that their guilt could be offset if they dished out the same treatment to the other side.

Compromising national security is wrong, and not made less wrong if you also compromise Iran's or North Korea's. Applying relatavism here just gives Assange the leeway he needs to wriggle off the hook.

Meanwhile, to john in cheshire (sic), if you have to ask that question, there is no chance of you being able to understand the answer.

Unsworth said...

Not too sure how anyone can say with any certainty what Wikileaks (Assange) might or might not publish. So, those who feel that could maybe tell us what the basis of their assertion actually is. Are they privy to Mr Assange's thoughts?

Samuel Dale said...

I don't agree with you here. You need to give an example of how lives have been put at risk by disclosing diplomatic gossip. I can't think of one serious and meaningful example of a situation where anyone is endangered by this information.

It sounds like government scaremongering. There needs to be a bloody good reason not to publish and I can't see on in this scenario.

Glyn H said...

Just seen DocRichards comment: how can one confuse the exposure of the ludicrous Mann/Bradbury/Jones little cabal of bent inward looking and defensive scientific nonsense with the release of the present stuff?
Some of today's info is funny enough. But who did not know Brown was volatile, unpredictable and politically weak or that the Coalition might not work out? (think I'd rather have Dave's lot than Obama's today; how times change!). But some of this stuff, that too much free access has seen nicked is potentially very dangerous, only an egotistical dickhead would put it out, especially if said dickhead had an agenda against the US and was also half batty to boot.

David Lindsay said...

I hope that the Israelis and the American neocons are very proud of the company that they are keeping here: several of the most repressive, backward, misogynistic, Jew-hating and anti-Christian regimes on earth, with which they have lined up to demand the nuking of an emerging democracy with a high culture, with more women than men at university, and with reserved parliamentary representation for Jews, for Armenians (how different from NATO, and putatively EU, Turkey) and for Assyrians (how different from "liberated" Iraq).

neil craig said...

It is possible he does not have access to Iranian & North Korean inteligence (though the recent murder & attempted murder of Iranian nuclear scientists suggest it at least is relatively permeable). Perhaps Iain if you have access to such sources, as your complaint seems to suggest, you will pass them on.

JMB said...

"What has been released is information that has been paid for by public money. Why shouldn't the public see what it has bought?"

We will have to write off in the morning for a copy of your police record and tax record as that is also paid for by public money. Can you let us know your CRB and tax number so we call get a copy.

Roger the Shrubber said...

So wikileaks has got enough of a bit of PR to distract Ian from his usual activities. I thought wikileaks had all sorts of leaks, it's just that this is a shade more important/embarrassing than what's really in a Nandos piri-piri sauce, hence the press is a bit bigger.

Of course I'd imagine if Biteback had been offered the publishing rights.. any qualms currently being held would still be there.. and you'd turn it down.. right?

Brian said...

How did the alleged leaker (a private FFS)pass even the most basic security vetting and background checking? It's a good idea to share intelligence so that everyone with a need to know is in the loop - that was one of the needs flagged up by the 119 inquiry - but allowing a temperamentally unstable character access above his limited pay grade is the real crime. As with the psycho psychologist who shot 13 isn't the real culprit Political Correctness ?

Guy de Ferrer said...

GYAC, you really are a tool of the establishment. Wikileaks believes in open government, everywhere. They published what is leaked to them and verified. Trying to smear Assange with potential deaths caused by publishing correspondence between people the public pay for is a little rich. Perhaps you have forgotten how many civilians died in Iraq when the US and our government acted on lies, then tried to hide them.

David Anthony said...

Well, let's not forget that Wikileaks is merely a conduit here. The information is being leaked from inside the American Government, they need to resolve that security flaw before taking down Wikileaks.

Chris said...

pull our troops out of afghanistan, the americans dont think much of us ,so let them get on with it.

Weygand said...

"I might have a little more sympathy with him if he ever used information gained from Iran or North Korea"

Why do you presume that he wouldn't?

And as the other accusation that everything is being disclosed,ie no editorial control, it is hard to claim there is some US bias or any bias at all, as eventually everything will be in the public domain.

That the US is the recurrent theme might just have something to with the fact that they are US documents.

Jimmy said...

"I might have a little more sympathy with him if he ever used information gained from Iran or North Korea, but all he seems to be interested in is bashing America."

Or, presumably, if he were working for Damien Green

Ed said...

I agree Iain 100%, lets also put the feet of Iran and North Korea near the fire.

But I wish to take you to task on another matter if I may?

What happened to your Seven Day Show (episode 51) with your partner in crime Mr Sheppard?

You have ruined a very enjoyable habit I formed over the past 50 or so weeks.

bah humbug, shame etc



Nigel said...

I might, in turn, 'have a little more sympathy" for the US government if they viewed their own private citizens' correspondence as confidential.

And whatever happened to "if-you've-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide" ?
Or does that just apply to us ?

As for lives in danger, how many people do you know who have died of embarrassment ?

Arf said...

Wikileaks published details of Iranian nuclear accidents not so long ago (the ones possibly linked to Stuxnet). They've been used for quite a few such things Iranian opposition wants to get out there anonymously.

As for North Korea, not the easiest regime to penetrate. They can't publish what they don't have.

Should also be remembered that Wikileaks was founded primary as an outlet for Chinese dissidents, thus why it's banned in China.

Unknown said...

Some strange contributions to this post.

It was rumoured that the late Col Penkowski (anyone remember him?) was fed alive into a furnace; the event was filmed and shown in a KGB training course.

With examples like that, one may easily understand why N Korea and Iran do not suffer the same embarrasments as the USA; they learn ther craft well.

Governments must keep secrets; the people must trust governments to use their cloak of secrecy well. Surely a democracy can work the rest out.

gadfly said...

You are right, there are leaks and there is whistleblowing. Whistleblowing is usually done with the intention to correct a serious wrong or prevent something bad from happening; it does not mean just releasing sensitive information for a laugh.
As such, with reference to whistleblowing, the argument about putting human lives in danger does not stand, because it is not the whistleblower who endangers lives, but those on whom he blows the whistle.
If we allowed this intimidating argument to be used against whistleblowing and whistleblowers, then anyone in a position of power would be able commit any wrongful act and then use human lives as a shield against exposure.

diogenes1 said...

hello, wake up. how can one junior american download all this stuff and hand it over to Wiki?

This is a very sophisticated operation, Wiki is just the pawn

Gareth said...

"Judicious use of leaks and proper investigative journalism is one thing. To do what he has done on Wikileaks today is quite another."

So leaking is okay if you're one of the club but not okay if you are an outsider?

The media in this country is mostly atrocious, lazy and, when it comes to politics and Government, happy to be fed stories by Westminster and Whitehall.

The private Arab view that Iran is dangerous and needs dealing with being at odds to Arab public view that they are all against the US is enlightening. A bit of transparency in that region wouldn't go amiss. Why should it take a leak for the public to know that? What are the Saudis afraid of? How can that region move forward to some kind of peaceful stability if they and their Western counterparts are so utterly content to be two-faced.

As for the mostly inane gossip this appears to be it the leak makes Hillary Clinton's comment that this 'attacks fabric of responsible government' is laughable. They want an elite of international politicians, they protect an elite of international politicians, and as Dave says - sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Why are US forces bombing terrorists in Yemen when the Yemeni Government has plenty of resources to do it themselves? The two-faced nature of this cabal of globe trotting halfwits from many nations including ours deserves to be uncovered.

Hamish said...

The Yanks need to move out of last century.
Rusty technology, clanking attacks on reds under the bed, and a naif belief that being gay or in any way sexual means you are a security risk.

A reasonable but angry man said...

Wide of the mark again, Iain. Bit like your recent alarming excursion in support of the law-breaking Woolas. And your unquestioning support of the bigotted YAB. Is there a trend? Has the fire left your belly? Never had you down for a bien pensant member of the Establishment. Have lunch with Mr Kampfner.

Nigel said...

>>very sophisticated operation<<


You might try reading the news before propagating conspiracy theories, diogenes.

Nigel said...

'Questions to which the answer is no'

Government having done all they can to abolish privacy for the individual, should we hesitate in returning the favour ?

Katabasis said...

I used to read your blog quite regularly Iain.

However you have increasingly shown that you are another member of the quisling political class, and completely off the map on a number of issues.

Tom Paine has summarised the issue best: [Assange] "has provided a useful litmus test. People you should like and trust admire his courage and worry about his future. People you should fear and despise call for his head.....Look around you. All over the place, people are revealing their true colours."

You've certainly been revealing yours Iain.