The Stupid 365 Project, Day 66: Clearing Things Up

December 6th, 2010

First, the dates on these little missives from the land of confusion.

Had an an-mail this morning from a friend wanting to make sure I was okay because (a) she hadn’t heard from me lately, (b) the site had apparently been down for a while yesterday, and (c) I hadn’t posted for today.   Underlying the question was a certain anxiety that perhaps the government had taken me down (or, perhaps, out) because of yesterday’s WikiLeaks post.

I’m still here, and Julian Assange is still on the loose, as far as I know.  And I hope he stays that way.

The date confusion is because, when I started doing this, I wrote the blogs first thing in the morning and posted them around 10 AM.  Then, a few weeks back, I started writing them in the afternoon before the post date and putting them up in the evening, so they were actually dated a day early.  So yesterday’s fatal post, about Wikileaks, is dated December 4 although it was written for December 5.  I haven’t actually missed any posts.  So far.

(Hi, everyone.  I’m waving to prove it’s me.)

Second, my support for Assange isn’t so much because I think he’s a world hero (although he may prove to be).  It’s more dismay and disgust at the extra-legal ways the government has taken after him — someone whose actions, despite all the gasbag whooping about GRAVE DANGER TO INDIVIDUALS, can’t be shown to have actually harmed anyone.  Yes, he caused damage to our self-esteem.  Yes, Sarkozy is probably making a stink about being describes as a vain little peacock with lifts in the heels of his shoes, and Berlusconi is livid at being described as a priapic reprobate, and Ghadaffi, or however the hell he spells it these days, would rather that attention had not been called to his pneumatic blond “nurse,” but that doesn’t really qualify as harm.

By the way, my mind boggles in a really threatening way at the image of why Ghadaffi needs her to dress like a nurse.

But no soldiers, no sources, no “contractors,” no overdressed diplomats, seem to have been bruised in the aftermath of any of the WikiLeaks releases.

Third, it’s interesting to note that this global manhunt and the massive campaign to discredit and take down WikiLeaks came not immediately following the release of the “diplomatic” (there’s a badly chosen word) cables, but rather on what was thought to be the eve of a new release: buckets of documents detailing the misdeeds of the major American banks.


Since the Brits have failed thus far to fold, Assange was interviewed two days ago by the Manchester Guardian, and he let loose this amazingly condensed paragraph of analysis of the current American political system — which, he implies, has become a financial system supported by both parties, which are indebted to it.   I needed to look at this a couple of times (he did it off the top of his head, but I couldn’t read it that way), but when you read it, consider this: If this is what he believes, what’s the story those bank documents tell?

And if what he says isn’t true, why is it that there is no longer a whit of difference between the two increasingly greedy, increasingly feeble American political parties?

This answer was given in response to a question about why WikiLeaks has focused lately on a nation with widely-vaunted  freedom of speech.

The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be “free” because a change in political leadership rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.

Ixnaycrats — where are you when you’re needed?

11 Responses to “The Stupid 365 Project, Day 66: Clearing Things Up”

  1. Laren Bright Says:

    Wait…Is this December 6th or 5th or 7th? Is that Daylight Savings Time or Daylight Wasteful Time? Do we receive interest on the daylight we save?

    Assange is in the UK because he’s accused of sex crimes in a Scandanavian country (of all places) by a government that can’t get the persons upon whom he allegedly committed said crimes to press charges.

    And we started hearing Christmas music the day after Halloween.

    I don’t remember stuff like this when I was growing up. But, then, shortly thereafter they invented fire and the rest is history.

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Hi, Tim

    The way the U.S. government is trying to control who reads the Wikileaks site, which has been widely reported lately, does make me a little paranoid about stating my opinion about Wikileaks online so I know what your friend may have been feeling when she wrote to you out of concern.

    What the heck, we’re still supposed to be able to speak our minds, right? Not quite China yet are we???

    You know, I get why some people are pissed off at Assange, I really do. He’s spilling the beans in a willy-nilly fashion, and some more restrained critics would say, in a very irresponsible manner, but honestly I am not surprised by much of what has been revealed. Especially what has been revealed about the military actions in Afghanistan by journalists outside of the mainstream media.

    Do I think it’s okay to reveal what targets the U.S. considers most vulnerable to terrorist attacks? No, not particularly.

    But nor do I want some in the U.S. military to kill innocent civilians, and torture prisoners being held by U.S. forces under the guise of making our country safer, and having carte blanch to do so. These kinds of military actions generate far more hatred and revenge against our troops than I think most of us can even begin to imagine, and maybe telling the world about it is also generating more hatred and revenge, but when, dear God, is this ever going to end?!

    In some ways I think that this is the one area that Wikileaks performed a service. I for one am not content to let the war go on forever. What I fear is that too few people really care about any of this because they are constantly being told the lie that the war is for our own good. This so called war on terror has been a disaster and no one in the government wants to say so. Argh!

    But I digress, back to Wikileaks.

    One highly regarded veteran reporter who appeared on the BBC seems more than a little crabby about the Wikileaks information dumping. He fears that the real danger of Wikileaks is that whoever is deciding what they leak has got more than a little say in how a story will be perceived since they are only releasing what they believe to be relevant to a story. Consequently, he believes that investigative journalists will be very tempted to get lazy, stop doing their jobs, and instead just wait for information to show up on Wikileaks.

    I suppose that is a real temptation but I hope for everyone’s sake that journalists who pride themselves on solid fair reporting are not going to wimp out on us, EVER.

  3. Gary Says:

    Western troops in helicopter gunships shooting unarmed journalists, for God’s sake! Including one from Reuters.

    Yes, it caused a fuss when it was first leaked. But after that it almost sank without trace. Isn’t there anyone out there who can SEE what that’s saying? Assange has done SO much for the public interest that any errors of judgement he might have made along the way pale into insignificance.

    And it’s not Assange’s fault that Government security stinks. The grumbly old men who run our world are so out of touch that they wouldn’t recognize RSA if they fell over it.

    If Assange hadn’t done it, someone else would have. And rightly so.

  4. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Laren — Yes, and these are charges that were dropped several months ago. The sex was consensual, according to the record, but there was a disagreement over condoms. Quelle coincidence that Sweden turns the heat up right now. Gee, I don’t suppose that . . . naahhh.

    Suzanna, that’s a great essay, one I’d almost like to run as its own blog. (Someone on Twitter tweeted about yesterday’s and our traffic went through the roof. About 80 people, almost all in Europe, signed on to follow me.) I share your, uhhhh, concern about whether we’re poking our heads up here even writing about it, but it’s our fucking country, too, or at least it used to be. This is not our father’s America, and I’m afraid Assange is right when he says that a change in political party doesn’t actually change anything at all. And the professional media, which twenty years ago would have broken part of this story themselves, have their noses out of joint because WikiLeaks is doing it for them.

    And what about DickyLeaks — that gremlin Cheney leaking Valerie Plame’s identity. Didn’t hear the government nattering on about DANGER TO INDIVIDUALS then.

    Hi, Gary — great to hear from someone else who’s as ticked off as I am. And remind me — has it been nine years that we’ve been looking for a guy in a cave? What about all this extra-legal firepower we’re aiming at Assange? Maybe we should get that angry at bin Laden. I agree with you that something is rotten in the state of Denmark (substitute name of your country, if you live here).

  5. Suzanna Says:

    DickyLeaks — that was the first really hearty belly laugh of the day. Thanks for that.

    There is so much hypocrisy regarding how Valerie Plame was treated. But then I wouldn’t have expected anything different from Shrub and his evil side kick.

    I thought we were through with all of that nonsense. It was really horrifying for me to finally realize that Obama isn’t really any different in his thirst for the status quo. He just sounds smarter.

    Can’t say I blame the journalists who feel a little out of sorts about Wikileaks. Journalists do not like getting out scooped. Especially ones who have had to literally risk life and limb in battlefields half of their lives to get a story.

    So much has changed since the information sharing revolution.

    Thanks for keeping up the interesting topics and responses. Lots of food for thought.

  6. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanks, Suzy, although it seems to have chased pretty much everyone away. But zat’s okeh. I’se in bidness 4 mahself. Y’know?

  7. Suzanna Says:

    Say wat? Shoo, dat weren’t you dat chased yer peeps away. Prolly that gasbaggy comment I made ’bout da war ‘n all. Oh well. Sorry ’bout dat.

    Don’t ya worry, yer peeps’ll come back ‘gain, real quick like.

  8. EverettK Says:

    Nothing’s chased me away. I’ve just been too damn busy reading some silly book. I’ve gotta stop and eat breakfast pretty soon (or go to bed, I’m not sure which…)!

  9. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Boy, Zanna, this dialect just rings with authenticity. And I started it. You’re better at it than I am, though. And you’re right — look: EVERETT’S BACK!!!

    Hey Everett, thanks for the enthusiasm about LITTLE ELVISES — I had no idea whether you were reading eagerly or holding your nose. Or, perhaps, both. But I’m glad you’re back and glad you’re liking the book.

  10. EverettK Says:

    Oh, I be back, I be back.

    And you be bad. You be SO bad. You be SOOOOO bad that you be good. You be so good, that…

    Oh, hell. F-ing GREAT follow-up to CRASHED, man. And I don’t say that lightly! I just finished and sent you my notes on it. Now I just wish there was somewhere I could post a 10-star review! I’ll have to write my review now, while it’s all fresh in my mind, and hang onto it until you publish. 🙂

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    When the hell did this come in? (And thanks, Everett.) This just now showed up in the in-box, and it’s dated four days ago.

    SORRY, Everett. This slipped past me somehow, and it shouldn’t have.

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