Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx dips another paw in the Wikileaks

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My stump-tailed mascot informs me that if she dips any more feet into this ever-growing lake of leakage, she’s gonna be swimming. Well, hop in, sez I–the water’s turbulent, but so far, it’s fine. And here are some of the choice bits I found bobbing around in it today:

Mark Pesce calls Wikileaks “a blueprint of things to come”. Ms. Manx’s fave quote:

“The mythology of power – that leaders are somehow more substantial, their concerns more elevated and lofty than us mere mortals, who must not question their motives – that mythology has been definitively busted. This is the final terminus of aristocracy; a process that began on July 14, 1789 came to a conclusive end on November 28, 2010. The new aristocracies of democracy have been smashed, trundled off to the guillotine of the internet, and beheaded.”

L’état, c’est mort.

At Salon.com, Dan Gillmor comes out with a qualified defence of Wikileaks, arguing–correctly–that it is a use-it-or-lose-it matter when it comes to freedom of speech. Ms. Manx concurs, but thinks the bit about governments needing to have secrets is hooey. Secrecy, the Stumpy Cat reminds us, is what got all the leaked-on governments into such a pickle in the first place. It covers a multitude of sins. Isn’t it time the sinning stopped? Then, like magic, all need for secrecy would evaporate. (And so too would all those massive, murderous boondoggles otherwise known as intelligence agencies.)

Also at Salon, Glenn Greenwald takes on the legal angle of the Wikileaks case. Straight from the top, we learn that any legal case against Wikileaks itself would be a shaky one, since the prosecutors would have to prove that damage was done–basically, that someone had died–as a result of the leaks. So far, not a shred of hard evidence exists to that end. Instead, we got a flurry of lawless, panicky (and largely futile) countermeasures taken by feds and corporations in various countries. Lacking the lawful grounds on which to prosecute Wikileaks, it seems that the authorities have decided to go the persecution route against the most famous individual attached to the organization. Which probably explains the singularly strange timing of those sexual-assault charges against Julian Assange.

And speaking of those, feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic takes on that angle at Feministe. She also decries the way the “shoddy, sensationalist reporting” of the media has “muddied the waters” on the issue of withdrawal of consent. Ms. Manx thinks this is right-on.

Lindsay Beyerstein, writing at Big Think, opines that “the case against Assange may be baseless, but that doesn’t mean the allegations against him are trivial or nonsensical.” True that, and Ms. Manx is content to sit back for now and see how it pans out. Since he has surrendered to the authorities, it remains to be seen whether even those charges–on the face of them, unrelated to Wikileaks–have any merit. Fine, let’s have a trial–that’s how things work where rule of law is still respected. For all we know, Julian Assange may even clear his name! Given what we already know about the CIA ties of one of his accusers, the odor of hinkitude is strong here. And again, Ms. Manx says–consider the timing. Consider also that the initial warrant against Assange was bungled. And the charges were withdrawn, only to be pressed again. Is something rotten in the state of Sweden? Certainly. And, as a feminist, Ms. Manx thinks it’s a damn shame that a decent piece of anti-rape legislation–something other feminists have fought so long and hard to get, and that so many rape victims have to work up the courage to use–should be misused in this way. If this is not a smear campaign against Wikileaks, with the pugmarks of the CIA all over it, Ms. Manx says she will eat my most indigestible hat.

Meanwhile, back to the censorship front. Ms. Manx says she’s seen all kinds of disingenuous explanations for why Twitter won’t report #Wikileaks or #cablegate as a trending topic. The main one: the mysterious Twitter Algorithm. My gosh, you’d think they were Google or something. There’s nothing mysterious about it; if there’s a promoted tweet, that means someone is paying to make sure something trends. It’s hard to imagine, to use but one particularly irritating example of a bogus trend, Venezuelans being so enamored of Justin Bieber that they would resort to not one but several hashtags to keep HIM trending; at least two of my Venezuelan tweeps (one of them a student in his late teens) say that they know virtually no one down thataway who even likes the kid. And lo! Ms. Manx’s suspicions are confirmed. In fact, #Wikileaks and #cablegate ARE getting much more tweetage than the Biebs. Failing to report, the Stumpy Cat opines, is also a form of censorship, especially if it’s so deliberate that it requires equally deliberate countermeasures to circumvent.

And finally, Juan Cole, as usual, gets to the real meat of the matter, calling the thing by its right name: McCarthyism. Did anyone seriously believe that smear campaigns and witch-hunts died with the most odious US citizen ever to openly engage in them? In fact, they are just as illegal as a lot of the things being leaked in the diplomatic cables–smear campaigns and political vendettas against foreign leaders, particularly those who don’t toe the State Dept. line. As Cole rightly notes, if it were really a matter of treason, or exposing state secrets illegally, there are plenty of books on Amazon–and probably plenty of other PayPal clients–that would be much more worth dropping than Wikileaks.

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1 Response to Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx dips another paw in the Wikileaks

  1. “The most odious US citizen ever to openly engage” in smear campaigns and witch-hunts? Joseph McCarthy?
    All due respect to Ms. Manx, but next to the Foxheads, he’s a rank amateur.

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