« profile & posts archive

This author has written 1117 posts for Larvatus Prodeo.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

139 responses to “Rundle on the current conjuncture: the GFC, Wikileaks and the reconfiguration of state power”

  1. Kevin Rennie

    I’m looking at the climate change aspects of the cablegate. First post: Climate Cablegate: Lowering Expectations at Copenhagen

  2. paul walter

    Its trying to inject a note of oprimism for flagging progressive spirits. Its a fair summary when pitched against the response of international capital to 2007, epitomised in the sheer arrrogance of the new Brit government.
    But it means progressives wil have to be on their toes and be prepared to work hard this time. We found out after asking them politely for our civilisation back, that we were only to be subject to a brusque brush off. So, if we want to be free, we will have to wrench it back, using what tools are available.
    The first martyr appears to be Assange, but millions more across the world are already suffering far worse, for Globalisation.
    we have to remember Australia is atypical of the world. Any number of people from Tony Abbott on, who would gladly have us even more disempowered than we already are and unde r the same pressure and living conditions that many others less fortunate are, across the globe.

  3. anthony

    The more that the fused political-media-administrative elite try to write it off as “entertaining anecdote”

    PEOPLE WILL DIE as a result of these not surprising revelations

  4. Ken Lovell

    As opposed (@ 3) to the peace and security which the world has enjoyed under the benevolently secret reign of our imperial masters in Washington. And BTW writing something in capitals DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE.

    The absence of any sense of moral proportionality amongst conservatives always amazes me. It’s like the current screeching outrage about airport security: “Killing and immiserating any number of those Islamic bastards to keep me safe is only fair, but how dare you cause me some minor inconvenience at the airport it’s an infringement of my constitutional rights!?”

  5. Thomas Paine

    ‘PEOPLE WILL DIE as a result of these not surprising revelations..’

    This is the sort of establishment retort that the likes of Cheney, Bush,Rove, Howard ….and so on would come out with. It is a trash response and an absolute LIE. Its the equivalent of Godwin’s Law.

    It is this type of thinking, the knee-jerk defensive reaction to ever protect the power of authority, that allows the likes of Bush, Cheney, Howard, Blair to outrageously deceive countries, lead us into filthy dirt holes and wars that bring about the death of tens of thousands, where the real reasons are hidden…. because there is no transparency, no ability to hold anybody to account, no way to attain truth and so forth.

    People always forget that Governments are the employees of the people, not their owners, they are to work on behalf of the people for the explicit benefit, meant to reflect the values and so forth of the people. But the Government that has protection from truth goes about its business of supporting only the powerful and rich and always look for ways to protect their power and keep them form accountability.

    Thomas Paine would spew on a rationale such as yours. Ha!

    There should be many more wikileak types sites around,so much so that Govts and organisations will know that the dirty behaviour will not be hidden, that accountability will come there way.

    So the ape case is of course a fabrication in order to pressure this guy. And the basis of the case? Err they say it was consensual until the condom broke and that he wouldn’t stop on request after that. Errrr Wonder which organisation the women work for?

    And of course he has signed his death warrant if he has leaks against the major banks as they are more akin to mafia than corporations. They have assassinated threatening Presidents, a pesky peasant will be easy meat for them, and people will blame the US govt in any case. This guy should release what he has on the banks whilst he is still living.

    And if the gillard govt seeks to try and persecute this guy as well, then you will know for certain that gillard is as right wing as Abbott and a traitor democracy as Howard.

  6. Kim

    Err, um, I think Anthony’s use of caps in this instance was meant to signify IRONY.

    As you were…

  7. paul walter

    #3, Any employ of wit in response to these transgressions will be met with UNCOMPROMISING FORCE!

  8. FDB

    Clearly, and not for this reason alone, anthony needs to visit more often.

    But seriously guys, did you read past the all-caps, or are they really that effective at befuddling the mind?

  9. Thomas Paine

    Regardless of wit, half-wit or no wit. The statement is the typical type that conservatives have and will trot out.

    Conservative ‘commentator’ O’Reilly in the US reckons this guy should be executed.

    Too bad the US bovine population are not as sensitive and testy as the French. Decades of media brainwashing, hedonism and misinformation have made most of them as farm animals. Easily lead and duped masses….until the penny drops that is…then there will be all hell to pay for the powers that be.

  10. Paul Burns

    Since Anthony was using itony he has clearly understood that the content of the vast majority of these cables is mostly, though not entirely, pretty low level shit of no interest to anyone except future, and now present, historians. If the various countries’ imtelligence services didn’t already know the US (or the Saudis or the Chinese or etc, etc) held opinions like this, they should shut those intelligence services down, as they obviously don’t know how to do their jobs.
    Or as one foriegn diplomat said to Hillary – “You should see what we write about you.” Or words to that effect.
    There is something more than synchronicity going on here, though. Very very weird. Does anybody know the astrological panetary aspects. Is something squaring or sem-squaring something?

  11. FDB

    How ungracious.

    I think you owe anthony, nay the entire interweb, an apology now Thomas. Even if you didn’t before.

  12. Katz

    All that is solid melts into pixels.

  13. P.J.

    “PEOPLE WILL DIE as a result of these not surprising revelations”

    Anthony and the Wiki leaks founder will be first cab off the rank if they think they can get away with it.

  14. P.J.

    Should read I agree with………

  15. FDB

    PJ – you’re threatening anthony with death for making an ironic blog comment?

    Okay Thomas Paine – you’re off the hook.

    Biggest-Idiot-on-Thread baton has been passed.

  16. P.J.

    They wont murder the Wiki leaks founder.He will die from an ingrowing toe-nail.

  17. Nickws

    I think the more the Wikileaks leaking goes on the worse it looks when compared to either the Pentagon Papers or any number of lawful FoI revelations. It’s just too anarchic, too lacking in any coherent intellectual structure. The fact this Assange guy doesn’t actually give a toss about crafting a brief other than ‘teh people have the right to know’ is quite dismaying, as I think the genuine reporters at the Guardian or Der Spiegel are being let down by having to rely on such a militantly ignorant source. Ideally the shonky Wikileaks middle man would be cut out of the equation, and we could still have access to these cliffnotes about how the world is actually run.

    There’s just bound to be some kind of boy-who-cried-wolf effect further down the line, too.

    I know he’s got his detractors, but I’d have thought today’s piece in Crikey would cause them to think again.

    Actually Kim, IMO the merits of this Rundle piece attacking the power of the state is slightly undone by my existing conception of Rundle never having had much to say about the abstract power of the state. Plus it’s obvious he primarily wants the power structure to receive new management, not be replaced by some communist libertarian paradise. My prediction about Guy inevitably moving to call for a kinder, gentler Hansonism stands. That’s sadly what Margot Kingston did, and Guy isn’t Margot’s bottom.

  18. paul walter

    An unnecessary slight on Kingston, who is someone who has at least tried to contribute to her world rather than just feed off it.
    This to prop up s red bogy night terror?
    Come on, its the twenty first century.
    Get with the programme, #17.

  19. Kim

    @17 – Nickws, with all due respect to Margot Kingston, I don’t think she’s in the same intellectual class as Rundle.

    attacking the power of the state

    I’m not sure that reading’s justified. Rundle’s piece traces and analyses a shift in the state’s power and strategems. It doesn’t necessarily have any implication for being pro or anti state, or for what Rundle “wants”.

  20. Katz

    The internet revolution enabled the creation of an extra-national portal through which the secrets of the nation state and nationally-incorporated corporations can leak.

    These pre-internet institutions have grown to an enormous size, employing millions of people. These people are employed because these institutions of the state and major corporations desire to make their control as complete as possible.

    Yet the size of these institutions and their grandiose ambitions compel the placement of access to information into more and more hands. These employees cannot be controlled. Either for reasons of commitment and ideology or for reasons of personal animus some of these employees will seek to undermine the institutions for which they work. These institutions are confronted with a crisis of loyalty.

    The internet provides these discontents with an instantaneous opportunity to act upon their animus. Wikileaks may be shut down. Julian Assange may be assassinated. But the opportunity for the creation of replacements is limitless.

    These institutions had better learn to live with this reality. Either they must trust less and therefore seek to achieve less, or they must learn how to teach the people to ignore what they learn.

    I predict that ordinary civilians will quickly learn to play their part in complying with the perceptual dissonance required to go on living their lives as if they did not know certain information. This perceptual dissonance represents the dead end of Mill’s hope for an active, informed citizenry.

    Very quickly, Wikileaks will come to recognise that the only information worth leaking is that which directly pits the interests of one institution of the state or corporation against others.

    At that point Wikileaks will become part of the struggle not against oligarchies, but rather, between oligarchies.

  21. FDB

    Kim – the keywords in Nick’s spray:

    “my existing conception of Rundle”

    Katz – the easiest way to thwart wikileaks is, I dare say, already being planned or is in progress. Flood them with plausible, deliciously naughty but false information.

  22. Katz

    Katz – the easiest way to thwart wikileaks is, I dare say, already being planned or is in progress. Flood them with plausible, deliciously naughty but false information.

    That will work for the relationship between oligarchies and the citizenry. but is won’t work for the relationships and struggle between oligarchies.

  23. FDB

    Oh, I dunno.

    If you ‘leaked’ a bunch of untrue stuff about your own organisation, then before providing the proof that it’s all lies you could make some lovely mileage out of exactly how other players respond.

    In any case, all that’s required is to destroy the credibility of wikileaks or its imitators, and keep doing it regularly, and before long it’s business as usual… whistle-blowers will wind up worse pariahs than ever.

  24. FDB

    Look, ah… nobody tell Teh Global Corporate Conspiracy about this, okay?

    It’s just, y’know, a silly thought bubble.

  25. Katz

    You’re describing the relationship between espionage and counterespionage organisations.

    Their world is full of disinformation, black propaganda, false flags, trojan horses, and the like.

    Naturally, some of this stuff achieves its intended purpose. But on the other hand, every now and then, these organisations strike gold.

    The world of espionage is a perfectly serviceable analogue for this new world of borderless information.

    And in any case often the lies tell a truth of their own.

  26. Nickws

    Nickws, with all due respect to Margot Kingston, I don’t think she’s in the same intellectual class as Rundle.

    Kingston has been a very good analyst of actual policy, that’s what she was trained to be as a journalist—so in my book she was a truly superb political writer when she was at her dissident best. Stuff like that can’t relegated to ‘lesser intellectual class’ just because she’s never really played at being a theorist. (And to be honest I only brought her up because I’ve seen Rundle make the exact same mistake as she did RE the merits of allying with conservative no-nothing populism to achieve progressive aims. There was actually a discussion here about it: the Rundle-says-the-Greens-need-a-prolife-senator thread. I see a direct line between that and what he’s written above.)

    No disrespect to Rundle’s intellectual heft, but he just doesn’t know how to use it for examining hard details of substance. Hence I’m always pleasantly surprised whenever I read something by him that teaches me a new fact.

    Rundle’s piece traces and analyses a shift in the state’s power and strategems. It doesn’t necessarily have any implication for being pro or anti state, or for what Rundle “wants”.

    Oh, and it would seem to be deeply influenced by an essay Julian Assange wrote about the state’s conspiratorial form of governance & what teh people can do about it, http://cryptome.org/0002/ja-conspiracies.pdf.

    Funny, my original thought was that it was all someone like Monbiot.

    paul walter @ 18—I wasn’t sligthing Kingston for anything other than her advocacy of “Pauline Hanson was fundamentally right, just sadly misdirected.” You believe the same thing as Margot did, I take it.

    the keywords in Nick’s spray:

    “my existing conception of Rundle”

    Too true, FDB, too true.

    He often impresses one as a static thinker, doesn’t he?

  27. FDB

    “You’re describing the relationship between espionage and counterespionage organisations.”

    I believe the publication angle differentiates the current developments somewhat from the boys club cloak and dagger shenanigens of old though.

  28. Joe

    Nickws, you cannot seriously believe what you just wrote?

    I think the genuine reporters at the Guardian or Der Spiegel are being let down by having to rely on such a militantly ignorant source. Ideally the shonky Wikileaks middle man would be cut out of the equation…

    You only want media-savvy operators dealing with the media?!! Imagine for a second that Wikileaks releases the computer-trading algorithm used by Goldman-Sachs. The fact of the matter is that, this information (of great interest to the public), hasn’t managed to walk into any of the serious news-outlets and can’t do so, without the news outlet being silenced, aka. taken before court, bought off, careers ended, etc. etc.

    And as for your opinion of Rundle: nowhere does he “attack the powers of the state.” He remains descriptive, throughout. You may disagree with some of the description… (but that’s why it’s an opinion piece.)

  29. j_p_z

    [stifled giggles]

    “Something has happened, and it is worth trying to work out what…”

    Hmm… well okay, but what was it that a certain British PM once said?

    “Events, my dear boy, events.”

    I’m reminded of a great comment that a tutor once wrote in the margin of one of my dreadful college papers:

    “Avoid this sort of nonsense. Remember what Adam said to Eve in the garden — ‘My dear, we appear to be living in an era of transition.'”

  30. Joe

    j_p_z,
    hey that’s ok too, but transition is inherently transient, and you can understand the interest, if only as an intellectual folly, of trying to work out where the apple is going to land — to completely mangle metaphors.

  31. Ken Lovell

    Nickws @ 17 maybe I’m reading too much into this:

    The fact this Assange guy doesn’t actually give a toss about crafting a brief other than ‘teh people have the right to know’ is quite dismaying, as I think the genuine reporters at the Guardian or Der Spiegel are being let down by having to rely on such a militantly ignorant source.

    But the idea that journalists must have ‘a brief’ is a pernicious idea at the core of everything that is rotten about the MSM. I would have thought ‘the people have a right to know’ is a fine philosophy. The fact that anyone sneers at it, as if it’s self-evident nonsense, indicates the extent to which some people have become captives of the MSM’s own deeply flawed conception of itself and its parasitic relationship with the unaccountable executive government.

    Assange is not a reporter, contrary to your comment. His organisation facilitates the publication of documents provided by third parties. Good on them. People have been pointing out the evils of secret diplomacy for more than 100 years and it’s great that someone has finally found a way to help end it, although I fear the new era of openness will be short-lived.

  32. j_p_z

    Ken Lovell: “But the idea that journalists must have ‘a brief’ is a pernicious idea at the core of everything that is rotten about the MSM. I would have thought ‘the people have a right to know’ is a fine philosophy. The fact that anyone sneers at it, as if it’s self-evident nonsense, indicates the extent to which some people have become captives of the MSM’s own deeply flawed conception of itself and its parasitic relationship with the unaccountable executive government.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Uh-oh, better stock up on canned goods and ammunition, people. I just agreed 100% with Ken* — the Mayan apocalypse must be right around the corner!

    * — well, maybe more like 98%… after “its parasitic relationship with” I would’ve added a few more things besides government.

  33. Ootz

    “the Mayan apocalypse must be right around the corner!”

    JPZ is that a veiled reference to Cancun?

  34. Joe

    US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee

    The Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has called for whoever leaked the 250,000 US diplomatic cables to be executed.
    […]
    His fellow potential Republican nominee Sarah Palin had already called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be “hunted down”

    Now, it’s ok to hide behind stupidity. But people need to wake up and take these idiots seriously:

    Sarah Palin:
    “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaida and Taliban leaders?”

    Palin’s the subject of serious discussions about who’s going to be the next president of the US. Her solution to every problem is the same: “You don’t agree with me, I’ll shoot you!” I’m not joking, go and look yourselves… Sometimes there’s a bit of packaging, but this is her sole strategy for problem solving.

    The US democracy has given us:
    Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama (– I’m skipping Bush sr., IMO he was sort of an exception.)

  35. Ken Lovell

    Joe @ 37 it’s fashionable now amongst US conservatives to furiously refudiate the idea that the country is a democracy. It’s a republic, they insist. You know, like ancient Rome under the emperors. That’s why they hate Obama … he’s such a crap emperor.

    Palin would be much better. A kind of 21st century Caligula.

  36. Joe

    Ken,

    but the terrible thing is that this line of argument is actually predicated on the two major political parties’ names: Republican and Democratic. People are actually so poorly informed that a lot of them think the republicans aren’t democratic and vice-versa.

    But I know what you mean, I’ve had the argument myself with people. “Thank god we’re not a democracry,” they say…

    Honestly, you have to feel sorry for Obama. He’s just not in charge. He’s at the controls, but the train’s out of control. If I was him, I’d be playing basketball with the kids as well. He’s probably one of the most reasonable people in the US-governmet but from here it just looks like the meat-grinder isn’t dong him any favours and it’s the conservative reaction, which is really frightening.

  37. paul walter

    A ray of sunshine, Krugman is. By the grace of god go we.
    Had me back to the seventies and the recession that followed the upswing of the previous decade or two. Painful lesson that, for some of my generation.
    We grew up thinking it just got better. we took it for granted. Then the bubble burst after the outrageously expensive Vietnam/Cambodia war and the first oll shock exacerbating the first signs of stagflation, already. Sunday morning after the Saturday night before.
    What a shit, if it wasn’t for the resources boom, because we are certainly no wiser than anyone else.

  38. Katz

    I believe the publication angle differentiates the current developments somewhat from the boys club cloak and dagger shenanigens of old though.

    Depends how old is “old”.

    Cold War intel wars involved leaks to publications and all the arsenal of disinformation, and all the rest. Open source intelligence in fact makes up the large majority of intelligence work.

    An organ like Wikileaks simply broadens the front for this kind of war.

    “Cloak and dagger” comprises only a filmic sliver of the world of intelligence.

  39. Mercurius

    PEOPLE WILL DIE, “irregardless” of what anybody does, or doesn’t do 😉

    Sorry for late to the joke.

  40. Joe

    Here’s a link to the Guardian, following the latest developments: WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates

    This is interesting to follow:
    The US is letting the mask slip a bit as it leans on Amazon.com, which stops serving the wikileaks.org site.

    Most telling is still the reactions of the likes of Palin and Huckabee, who would like to liquidate a dissenting voice.

    There’s much more detailed information about how it’s effecting particular countries, which is worth looking at. And even an almost direct answer to Nickws’s question from above:

    When we first started, we thought we would have the analytical work done by bloggers, and people who wrote Wikipedia articles, and so on.

    It will be interesting to see, what the result is for countries like North Korea, who have been, it would seem, strategically undermined by the wikileaks revelations. A lot of countries have had core corruption exposed, or at least alluded to: Turkey, for example. Saudia Arabia is fascinating: while sponsoring Al Quaieda, they would also like to see the shi’ites in Iran bombed by the Israelis. It shows the difficulties of dealing with “pre-industrial societies” structured as they are by tribal, religious, etc. relations.

    Also waiting to see what happens financially and politically in the Eurozone. Oil and other resources are also critical in all of this, as well.

  41. PinkyOz

    “May you always live in interesting times” apparently.

    I just wonder if we are going to end up with some uneven results. We are kicking the support columns under the US and Europe (rightfully so based on what we have seen so far) and possibly (well, likely) under some shady dealing by some corporations while leaving some pretty shady international characters to continue to do damage.

    I hope there is some will out there to take some quite possibly difficult actions against some very powerful nations/organisations out there that have excaped the sort of scrutiny that Assange applies.

  42. jane

    ….it’s the conservative reaction, which is really frightening.

    As it is here and from what we’re hearing, in the UK.

  43. jules

    Its a pity this article doesn’t even mention the leaked Kaupthing bank document.

    That might have been a good one to focus on. As well as the response of Iceland to the whole debacle. I’d love to see the Irish equivalent of that Kaupthing bank leak right about now.

  44. dave

    “Something has happened, and it is worth trying to work out what, while it is going on.”

    I’m sorry but for all his considerable writing prowess, when Rundle pens a line like that I really switch off. I mean FFS something is always happening, you know may you live in interesting times and all that sheet. Sure the internet might have upset the apple cart but that particular truth is far more complex than simply saying the state has lost control over the flow of information (if total control ever existed).

    The seeds for dissent are perpetually sown however growing conditions are rarely this conducive. I would give Rundle more credit if he actually had something substantial to say other than merely drawing together some fairly obvious symbols.

    And I know it was IRONY but it is the case that 100’s of thousands have died in Iraq and Afghanistan while the privatisation of the US military continues unchecked.

    In 1950 Dwight D. Eisenhower said “Every gun that is ever made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army and became a US president.

  45. Katz

    If Eisenhower delivered his Farewell Address in 2010, Palin and Huckabee would call for his assassination.

    Palin and Huckabee are the Kornilovs of the failing ancien regime of the US: equal parts ignorance, desperation, denial and murderousness.

    Obama is, of course, Kerensky: an insurgent who has trapped himself into fulfilling the commitments of the regime he replaced.

    In America, there is no Lenin.

    This time round, Kornilov will win.

  46. Paul Burns

    KL @ 38.
    I’ve read pretty widely both in the original documents and secondary sources pertaining to the founding of the USA. There’s such a mass of material both primary and secondary, that I can only give impressions, but my impression is that for the majority of the founding fathers republicanism took precedence over democracy. The forms of government were democratic but the ideology seems to have been republican. And yes, they did base their republic primarily on the Roman Republic. In fact some theorists of the Republic apparently went of a great deal of trouble examining earlier republics, working out why they failed, and instituting checks and balances to ensure the American republic did not fail. Of course, to some extent the theory went cactus when realpolitick came into play. The earliest American governance can only be described as a muddle. They have of course got much better at managing a system that to a certain extent has gridlock built into it, becausae the checks and balances to prevent the corruption of power, which is why the checks and balances of two year electoral cycles, limited tenure of the presidency etc don’t always work. Partly this is because American capitalism is a slightly later accretion, that led to an elite of the rich rather than an elite of the aristocracy, the latter being the final outcome of the revolution, sadly, despite the fact that the vast majority of the revolutionaries, theorists aside, came from the lower orders.
    So Palin isn’t wrong. She’s simply following one strand of the original revolutionary ideology. There has always been a tension between republican and democratic ideology, and one might argue it is mirrored in the US party structure.

  47. su

    And along those lines, Dave, there was Blackwater desperately looking around for alternative revenue streams during a security hiatus and setting itself up as the new Pirate King, sorry, Pirate hunters, until awarded a new security contract in Afghanistan. History repeats itself as tragedy and farce simultaneously.

  48. Ootz

    “I just wonder if we are going to end up with some uneven results.”
    Pinky, I thought that was the whole idea of asymmetric media/journalism? such as wikileak.

    Dave, at least Rundle is ‘daring’ to draw his circles wider and leaves room for the reader to explore consequences and possibilities for her/himself. Rather refreshing in contrast to the same old same vomit (sorry, cud maybe more civil) dished out by the majority of the MSM hacks. I sometimes go back to some of his previous ambles through major unfolding events and he often then not makes more sense in hindsight.

    Katz, there is no guarantee that wikileak is not already being ‘used’ by the spin element of cloak and dagger establishment.

  49. akn

    Of real value from Rundle:

    The states?—?the EU and the US?—?had a relationship only to the economy, not to the nation, and promptly bailed out the former at the cost of the latter, stealing their life, to pay off debt.

    And Katz:

    All that is solid melts into pixels.

  50. Robert Bollard

    Paul @50,

    “Democracy” was a dirty word until quite late in the 19th century. The American founding fathers were classicly educated and modelled their republic on Rome not Athens. Athenian democracy is not celebrated in classical literature but, mostly derided.
    Hence the establishment of a “Senate” which is deliberately undemocratic, and was even less so in its original version where the senators were not directly elected but appointed by the states, which,in turn,still had,for the most part, extremely restricted franchises. Manhood suffrage was won eventually (by, I think, the 1820s or thereabouts). Of course, many of the inherently undemocratic features of the senate (some of which have been transposed onto our Australian system)remain – only half the chamber being elected each time, the bias in favour of small states, the absurdity of the fillibuster rule etc.
    “Checks and balances” were built into the constitution to check both democracy and tyranny which were seen as the Scylla and Charibdis between which the Republic had to steer.
    Of course, there were variations in emphasis. Jefferson was more inclined towards democracy than Adams or Hamilton. But Hamilton was more influential in drafting the Constitution than Jefferson.
    But the fact remains that the American Republic was explicitly designed to be an oligarchy like the Roman Republic – that’s what a classicly trained enlightenment thinker meant by the term “republic”.

  51. Craig Mc

    I thought it was Stephen Stills.

  52. anthony

    … as if millions of ironic observations suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced

  53. anthony

    Regardless of wit, half-wit or no wit. The statement is the typical type that conservatives have and will trot out.

    Imagine if we could make fun of people by imitating them … we could call it barody or something.

  54. anthony

    Since Anthony was using itony he has clearly understood that the content of the vast majority of these cables is mostly, though not entirely, pretty low level shit of no interest to anyone except future,

    Close Paul Burns but remember the inherent tension and symmetry in the gag – the exaggeration is diminished and the sang froid is posed as disingenuity.

  55. Nabakov

    Speaking of disingenunity, remember when protests against increased surveillance and access to personal data and profiling proposals post 911 were countered with cries of “If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide”?

    Sousveillance. It’s a bitch isn’t it?

  56. Fine

    Paul Burns, that discussion about how a democracy is different than a republic is really enlightening for me. Suddenly, it starts explaining a few things I’ve absolutely not got about the USA.

  57. Thomas Paine

    This is particularly serious issue. Though we can sit here and enjoy our masturbation with witty little lines and think ourselves oh so clever.

    Meanwhile out in the real world ..

    ‘University Of Calgary Professor And Senior Advisor To Canadian PM Calls For Julian Assange Assassination On National TV’

    ‘It is not a good week for Wikileaks. Following yesterday’s Interpol arrest warrant, also yesterday, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. On CBS News. On Live TV. ‘

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/university-calgary-professor-and-senior-advisor-canadian-pm-calls-julian-assange-assassinati?page=4#comment-770320

    And of course Palin wants him dead as well, Clinton wants him locked up and the gillard government looking at how they can persecute him on behalf of the USA as well.

    All for embarrassing a thoroughly corrupt government.

  58. moz

    Fine: me too.

    Nabakov: Sousveillance has always been a great tool. I love the way the internet has made it easier to do again. One thing to remember is that in the olden days when most people lived in small communities that was the way it was for everyone. I think it’s a win, simply because most people can’t handle a community bigger than 50 or so before they switch into “my bit, and them”.

  59. Nabakov

    “Though we can sit here and enjoy our masturbation with witty little lines and think ourselves oh so clever.”

    Whaddya mean “we”?

  60. Katz

    Katz, there is no guarantee that wikileak is not already being ‘used’ by the spin element of cloak and dagger establishment.

    Quite correct, Ootz.

    Just as likely is that some of these conversations recorded and passed up the line by US diplomats are mere kite-flying by one regime or another.

    So far, the State Department revelations have been a yeasty lode of multifarious but often dubious provenance and intentions.

    They represent the sort of lucubrations that are inspired by marginal overindulgence in the local liqueur distilled from mares’ milk and one too many attendances at folk-dancing festivals.

  61. akn

    The wikibio for Tom Flanagan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Flanagan_(political_scientist), is entirely predictable reading. Apparently he regrets making death threats on international prime time but it ought to get him to Chancellor at least.

  62. Liam

    John Robb:

    Wikileaks and Al Qaeda’s Open Source Jihad are both open source insurgencies.
    While there are obvious differences between the two, what’s more interesting is how they are similar. Namely: as open source insurgencies both groups use systems disruption (the ability of small attacks to create outsized damage to large networks) as their means of attack.
    While there are lots of ways to use systems disruption, one of the most common is to use it to impose a “tax” on the opponent’s system. However, in this form of attrition, the goal isn’t moral capitulation it is systemic collapse (a loss of cohesion)…

  63. silkworm

    I bought my first book at Amazon yesterday, and I just found out about Amazon’s bowing to pressure to drop Wikileaks this morning. If I’d known about this earlier, I would have used the alternatives to Amazon to buy my book. In any event, I fully support a boycott of Amazon, and encourage others to join the boycott.

  64. dave

    Gillard (the working class champion) said on Fairfax radio

    …she was receiving briefings on the Australian security officials’ assessment of the documents.

    ”They are assessing the implications for us, so we will work through that,” she said.

    ”I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website – it’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do.”

    Of course themultitude of information warfare teams employed by the various security agencies around the globe are powerless to subvert the flow of public data on the internet or prevent its dissemination…except, oh dear who would have thought

    WikiLeaks offline in USA, Europe

  65. dave

    Liam – you preempt my thoughts, I was just wondering how long before terrorism and wikileaks get used together…

  66. Paul Burns

    Fine & co,
    Robert Bollard’s points are very pertinent as well.
    I don’t quite know if its going to far to say democracy was viewed until about broadly the late 1830s (I’d put its gradual -stress on gradual – acceptance in England and Australia but not Europe a little earlier than Robert) – was viewed a bit like we view Al-queda today.
    Another interesting point is the role of individualism. We see American individualism as an adjunct or offshoot of capitalism. In my view it was not. Individualism, particularly as it was expressed in the Continental Army and the state militias among the lower ranks (though not the officers who saw themselves as gentlemanly aristocrats)was very much a revolutionary ideology. Again, it was adapted to capitalist ideology, not the other way around.
    One of the things I find weird about the fuss over Assange is he is actually expressing the kind of American individualism that was lauded in the late 18th century, and very much harnessed to revolutionary ends – revolutionary ends which were ultimately betrayed by the ruling American aristocracy, within a few years of the end of the War of American Independence when the hoi=polloi got out of hand with tha Whisky Revolt (I think that’s the correct term.( Basically, the Revolution had to be tamed.
    For those of you who might want to follow up on this might I recommend the following books:
    Gordon S. Wood The Radicalism of the American Revolution
    Gordon S. Wood The Creation of the American Republic
    Pauline Maier From Resistance to Revolution. Colonial Radicals and the development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776.
    Gary B, Nash The Unknown American Revolution.
    Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People at War. The Continental Army and American Character, 1775-1783.

    Hope youse don’t mind 🙂
    PS. Wood can be hard-going, but he’s worth it.

  67. Katz

    linkHere’s how Wikileaks can be dangerous:

    The UK government assured the Obama administration that it would limit the scope of an inquiry into the Iraq war.

    A US London Embassy cable reported a British official, Jon Day, assuring US officials in 2009 that Britain had “put measures in place to protect your interests” during the inquiry.

    Such a revelation sets one faction of the governing classes in Britain against another. For the sake of credibility, the aggrieved parties will be compelled to seek some kind of redress.

    Alternatively, the Foreign Office can admit that they told lies to the Americans, because they could.

  68. Fine

    Thanks Paul Burns.

  69. Paul Burns

    Katz @ 70.
    Doesn’t it make you wonder what Howard did? Or for that matter what Labor is doing re the war in Afghanistan? Does me.

    Shit – it ewas the Whisky Rebellion @ 69. And, if you’re wondering about the oreigins of democracy in NSW (ha-ha!) you can’t go past Peter Cochrane’s Colonial Ambition. Foundations of Australian Democracy.

  70. Katz

    PB,

    Gallingly, no Australian government has consented to having even a whitewash enquiry into any of our Bush-inspired military adventures.

    You would think that either Rudd or Gillard might have wanted to know how Howard learned of Saddam Hussein’s Dreaded Human Shredding Machine.

    Clearly, SHDHSM constitutes a severe malfunction of Australia’s intelligence gathering apparatus.

    One might have thought that an honest government would wish to know how such a mistake had been made and how to prevent it from happening again.

    But no.

    Perhaps both Rudd and Gillard know that Howard’s shredder disinformation wasn’t a mistake.

    Therefore, one may conclude legitimately that both the Rudd and Gillard governments perceived there might come a time when they too might tell deliberate lies and have them misidentified as “mistakes”.

    Who knows when the next time might be when even a Labor government may have to lie in support of fighting in an American-led war?

    In those circumstances, even a whitewash enquiry may be too inconvenient.

  71. Katz

    Yes Kim.

    The more elderly among us may remember the outrage when the Iranian regime issued a fatwah against Salmon Rushdie for publishing a book.

    Iran’s reaction seemed demented, fanatical, medieval, and if it weren’t so dangerous, laughable at the time.

    Who’s laughing now?

    Bush’s Crusade Endless War on Terror has turned many westerners into Ayatollahs.

  72. Jacques de Molay

    WIKILEAKS editor-in-chief Julian Assange might be unpopular with the US and its allies, but he’s still mummy’s little boy.

    Mr Assange’s mother, Christine, who doesn’t even own a computer and has been keeping up with her son’s exploits through the media, said her son was a “seeker of truth”.

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/wikileaks-founder-julian-assanges-mum-defends-her-son/story-e6frea8c-1225964232832

    No doubt some of this is to fuel his big ego but I’m 100% behind what WikiLeaks is doing. The fact govt including our own crap Gillard Labor govt want to silence him and shut it down speaks volumes of the public good he’s doing. Sure it might end up costing him his freedom or even his life given he’s now an enemy of the state and according to some troglodytes a “terrorist” but history will show this man was a trailblazer for truth and transparency.

  73. OB

    Julian Assange stood up to a bunch of powerful, greedy, lying bastards and exposed the corruption of our most powerful world leaders.

    What will his reward be ?

    Julian Assange will be heavily mocked by the media in order to make you dismiss his proof – He will probably be framed for uncommitted crimes in other countries to destroy his credibility and make you hate him. He will eventually be imprisoned for the rest of his life and then erased from public knowledge for whatever is made most popular on the news.?

    That’s if he doesn’t die in an “accident” as soon as the news of the leaks are getting lukewarm. This has nothing to do with sexual anything, I am certain of at least that. This is how countries operate when you screw with them. Textbook SOP.

  74. codger

    Katz, relax, the red rodent is on the job…

    Ms Gillard told Fairfax Radio she was receiving briefings on the Australian security officials’ assessment of the documents.

    “They are assessing the implications for ‘US’, so we will work through that,” she said.

    “I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website – it’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do.”

    So there. Move along, nothing to see here. Us’ll be ok.

  75. Razor

    Margo Kingston . . . heh!

    How’s that website going?

  76. Joe

    Make sure you have a look at Kim’s link to salon above. Very interesting commentary on the distorting role of the media in the US.

    Nonetheless, [the US] government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat. And few organizations besides WikiLeaks are doing anything to subvert that regime of secrecy, and none is close to its efficacy. It’s staggering to watch anyone walk around acting as though the real threat is from excessive disclosures when the impenetrable, always-growing Wall of Secrecy is what has enabled virtually every abuse and transgression of the U.S. government over the last two decades at least.

  77. Phillip

    ” … In America, there is no Lenin. … ”

    Something for which to be truly thankful.

  78. Nickws

    Joe @ 28: You only want media-savvy operators dealing with the media?!!

    Joe, my fear is that Assange is very media savvy, and yet all this media savvy of his is quickly becoming all for nought, as he’s a publicity hound who has no interest in either citizen journalism, polished journalism, constructive activism, etc.

    Long story short I think he is totally lacking in the communication & polemical abilities of Pilger or Chomsky or Nader or Ellsburg (it takes a lot to get me to express admiration for the talents of those first two, but yes, they were very talented at what they did, as was Nader before he became a political spoiler).

    There is just no there there with Assange as a journalist or activist. Hence these massive information dumps to the Guardian and Der Speigel where they are left to sift through the information. It’s all filler for WikiLeaks-as-Assange, he doesn’t feel the need to provide any context for it beyond what he can fit into a television soundbite.

    (Which begs the question—where the hell is his cadre of WikiLeak organisers, his board of advisers that is supposed to function as a brainstrust? It doesn’t exist, does it?

    That is absolutely mental. How is WikiLeaks supposed to have a future, how is it meant to grow if it’s a one-man band?

    Even Nader has never given up on building networks of activists who can build on what he is doing, and give it the legitimacy of collective, ‘peer reviewed’ action.)

    Imagine for a second that Wikileaks releases the computer-trading algorithm used by Goldman-Sachs. The fact of the matter is that, this information (of great interest to the public), hasn’t managed to walk into any of the serious news-outlets and can’t do so, without the news outlet being silenced, aka. taken before court, bought off, careers ended, etc. etc.

    This is a good point, but it is a purely tehnical one RE Assange as long as he remains nothing more that a glorified hacker. I certainly want the public to have access to more info from the US banksters, don’t get me wrong. His strength as a website administrator don’t make up for his weaknesses as a serious collator of information.

    And as for your opinion of Rundle: nowhere does he “attack the powers of the state.” He remains descriptive, throughout. You may disagree with some of the description… (but that’s why it’s an opinion piece.)

    Eh, my original criticism of Rundle was that he was presenting himself as the kind of philosophical (as opposed to situational) anti-authoritarian that he just isn’t is.

    I see the pro-Guy hivemind defense of the man is to say it’s wrong to say he’s being an anarchist or whatever in the quoted article, and not that he would be a hyprocrite if he were to claim as much (that is that he’s just decided we need to get rid of the state). Though I suppose that’s still more constructive than the standard anti-Guy hivemind critique of him being merely an egotist (a critique I don’t want to stoop to using).

  79. Nickws

    @ 31: I’m not sure if Nickws would write off the large majority of public sentiment in Ireland at the moment for telling the EU and IMF to get stuffed – unified under the slogan “default” – as populist or Hansonite or whatever.

    Kim this is really damned unfair, nowhere in my criticism of the quoted article did I say G.Rundle is referring to controversies & events that don’t exist. All I ever said was that IMO his past, quite relevant attempts at narrative construction have shown a tendency to go off the rails (spot the Kingston reference). And as of now I haven’t formulated an opinion on this Irish default that isn’t going to happen, so in that respect I suppose I must be a neoliberal agent provocateur, as is anyone who is wedded to reality.

    My reference to Guy’s latent Hansonism is because I’m convinced he’s proven himself gullible enough to side with those other, less progressive, more fugly narrative constructors. The collapse of the ‘money power’ will no doubt give him some opportunities to grab at least one weak conspiracy-based argument and use it as his own (I’m sure he’s capable of making Matt Taibbi look like a piker). I’ll be impressed if he refrains from doing something like that.

    @ 32: But the idea that journalists must have ‘a brief’ is a pernicious idea at the core of everything that is rotten about the MSM. I would have thought ‘the people have a right to know’ is a fine philosophy.

    I agree, but see my comments about how Assange-as-WikiLeaks fails the test of providing a rigorous alternative to these MSM conventions, that he fails to meet the standards of others who’ve gone before him.

    Assange is not a reporter, contrary to your comment. His organisation facilitates the publication of documents provided by third parties. Good on them.

    Wouldn’t you be relieved if he actually had the background of a Robert Fisk type guy? I know I would be.

    Ken, I fear that Assange has no organisation, despite his protestations to the contrary.

    I see him as a Matt Drudge type, only this just happens to be a Leftwing self-styled lonewolf crusader who has access to useful primary information.

    When Assange crashes and burns I suspect that’s the end of WikiLeaks, and that any online group who tries to fill the void in getting material from whistle blowers made public will be discredited, tarred with his brush.

    (That said I think he did a great service by releasing the footage of the Bagdhad helicopter attack, as the media coverage of the US’s actions in that war had been sanitised far too much for far too long. IIRC the My Lai massacre reportage was five years after the American ground escalation in Vietnam—the images of that Apache attack on unarmed civilians became public seven years after Bush declared ‘Mission Accomplished’. ‘Nuff said.)

  80. Joe

    must see commentary on wikileaks:
    Jay Rosen

    (starts a bit slow, stick with it.)

  81. dave

    /me prods the LP moderator….

  82. paul walter

    Nick, it was any thing but, “unfair”.
    If you stopped shopping around for Rundle strawmen, you’d see a real and egregious example of Hansonism, under your nose; you already have it with the city of London and Wall St!
    “Excluding”, nimby,ignorant of the most basic and important things, self-absorbed.
    Intent of locking out the masses to avoid any tiresome adjustment to reality, from themselves..
    Nick, have you been to Kim ‘s “Irish Morass” thread, yet?

  83. paul walter

    I can understand righties bashing Kingston, but with lefties, it gets a bit hard.
    Kingston destroyed herself and was destroye by others very high up in establishment msm,, inattempting exactly the same brave pioneering endeavour at WD that has been attempted here.

  84. paul walter

    Then how can you say that Nick’s comments are not “unfair”
    ?
    Were they anythingbut, a cowardly swipe at someone “down” who cant fightback, as part of an efort to discredit the useful analysis presented by Rundle.
    no where in the world ae the tendencies of Hansonism, as to exclusion, more explicit than in the the culturally inbred world of the establishment and high finance amd politics.
    The premeditated callousness of Big business and politcs is as apparent as the ignorant prejudices of Hansonists, to anyone who can overcome their own prejudices and ignorance, for an objective look.

  85. paul walter

    Meh!

  86. guy rundle

    Nick

    some of your criticisms of me, the piece and Wikileaks are simply in error, some appear to misinterpret it, some make no sense. To address in rough order

    first – re the wikileaks cable release – there hasnt been a mass release yet, so they cant be accused of a disorgansied document dump – about 1000 cables have been released to the media, structured around key stories.

    second – what’s wrong with mass information releases?you dont have to be anarchist to believe that can be a good thing. you criticise assange for not being an interpretive writer. so what? neither is, say, an activist running a protest movement. it’s for others to write the interpretation

    third – you seem to suggest i’m plagiarising assange. ive referred explicitly to a couple of his papers on information and power in previous articles. this one was just drawing that in to a wider frame.

    fourth – you accuse me of anarchism and then hansonism, or something. As i noted in an earlier article, the document dump cant be defended in all circumstances if youre not an anarcchist (which im not). I wouldnt advocate and wouldnt support document dumping against, say, the left Bolivian government, as i noted in Crikey days ago.

    fifth – Hansonism. You’re using that briefly meaningful term for right populism, with its economic policies of portection, anti finance-capital etc. You seem to be making an elementary confusion between right populist views on these matters, and a wider critique. It is right populist to suggest that the ‘money power’ is some alien parasite, lying on top of the ‘real’ economy. It’s not right populist to say that finance capital has gained a degree of transnational power over other economic levels that is making local independence possible. It’s right populist to protect aussie jobs for aussie workers, in all circumstances. it’s not right populist to suggest that a community might want to protect – via subsidies, tarriffs, etc – key sources of life ie food, basic industry, etc etc. Ask Haiti what happens when you don’t

    sixth – you’ve taken some things ive said about the social politics of the greens as, yawn, ‘hansonism’. when youve only got one dimension of political measurement, everything looks like a line. My argument on the greens was that they should disconnect some of their social policies – euthanasia, same sex marriage, even drugs – from party policy, and thus recognise that some issues are incimmensurable to a left-right spectrum. abortion is one of them. as i recall i simply pondered allowed whether the Greens to incorporate an anti-abortion senator and not suffer the consequences. as i recall, i thought it was a bridge too far. but it’s nothansonite to suggest that the Greens could reposition the relationship of their political elements.

    seventh – you seem obsessed by my motives, assange’s motives, ect while wanting to disown such. who gives a shit? stick to the facts and the material, lest others judge you for a certain tone of ressentiment and pique running thru yr posts

  87. jules

    Dave @69.

    I don’t think Robb is linking wikileaks with terrorism the way some jerks in the US are.

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/08/global-guerrilla-julian-assange.html

    Dunno about the OODA loops, but the rest of the article is good enough. Assange, well what he represents, targets “secrecy”, in the same way Nigerian rebels target oil pipelines and Somali pirates target international shipping. Terrorist orgs do the same thing – identify a vulnerability and attack it.

    Assange seems to think that secrecy is a vital part of injustice, and to a fair extent he’s right. Without secrecy only a monopoly on violence can entrench and protect injustice. The Kaupthing Bank leak alone is proof of that, tho it certainly doesn’t provide “justice” on its own.

    Wikileaks have a history of providing access to documents that are sposed to be inaccessible. I hope you all remember the blacklist that they listed. Have a look at some of the other things they have leaked.

    In some ways its a pity that Rundle didn’t get a bit deeper into their actual role over the last 5 years. Earlier this year Robert M wrote an article on LP about the Stuxnet worm. There is speculation about its role in a possible nuclear accident in Iran. IIRC wikileaks were the first to provide evidence of that accident. (Its impossible to check at the moment cos they reckon their site is overloaded.)

    Then there is Barclays Bank and the Guardian last year:

    It is why tax-collectors in several countries have to rely on moles tipping off websites such as Wikileaks or information dumped on to CD-Rom. But with this particular high-street bank and at this time, there are two important things that can be done to try and correct the imbalance.

    If thats true, and to a certain extent it probably is, then there is far more to wikileaks than just pissing off the US govt. Its worth having a look at the effect the site has had when it leaks documents that have nothing to do with the US or its controversial foreign policies.

  88. Enemy Combatant
  89. PinkyOz

    I’m not sure what to think of any of this. Sometimes it looks like Wiki leaks is plain destructive, and others it looks like it’s chipping away at large and negative influences in the world and maybe (just maybe) giving us half a chance at getting our heads back in the game of needs rather than wants.

    Will undermining the shady characters in western societies really improve anything? Or will more just grow in their place, or will they be replaced by eastern shady characters? Will we drive those forces underground or just force them into more confrontational ends? Have we even scratched the surface of the layers of the problems that hold our tenuous existences on this planet?

    It’s an impossible choice, for all we know the next leak could be the one that sets us on a path to the nuclear war that we have so desperately tried to avoid for the last 60 years, or it could completely fizzle, or anything in-between. I wonder just how ready we are for those consequences.

    Sigh … I guess this is why I am no Julian Assange. I couldn’t pull that trigger, even knowing the path that we are travelling seems to lead us closer to self-destruction.

    Watch this space …

  90. paul walter

    What wonders a hot shower and quick snooze can work!

  91. Peter Kemp

    Julian Assange Fired From IT Job At Pentagon:

    “We gave him his first warning after the whole Iraq and Afghanistan war diaries thing, and strike two was when he forwarded that video montage of Nicolas Cage yelling to the entire staff,” Defense Department human resources director Curtis Shannon said. “But we just can’t overlook this latest offense. Even if he’s the only one who knows where the spare USB cables are…

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/julian-assange-fired-from-it-job-at-pentagon,18572/

  92. paul walter

    Yes, 95.
    That is just the sort of thing that would sh-t them to tears.
    I wonder if it got a run in the Murdoch press or its media arm, the ABC?

  93. su

    Does anybody know the astrological panetary aspects. Is something squaring or sem-squaring something?

    In the spirit of treating irony as earnestness- I see nobody has answered your v. important question Paul Burns: mercury(communications) is conjunct mars(action planet, malefic) and they square the conjunction of jupiter(wisdom, public relations, benefic) and uranus(sudden shocks, the tearing apart of traditional structures). Splains everything

  94. Peter Hume

    “The Reagan and Thatcher victories detached economy from state politically, deregulating finance.

    Uh-huh? And the Fed is…? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are…? The Bank of England is…?

    One can only wonder at the abysmal ignorance or deliberate dishonesty that would motivate the author’s comment.

  95. Katz

    Well yairs, Peter Hume.

    There is no doubt that neither Thatcher nor Reagan completely deregulated their economies or their financial systems.

    Nevertheless, it is also true to say that both systems were less regulated at the end of their administrations than they were at the beginning of them.

    Perhaps Rundle should have said “less regulated” but to fail to do so is hardly a hanging offence. People of good will understand what he meant to say.

  96. Paul Burns

    su @ 102,
    Seriously? Ah, that explains everything. No Neptune so this could go on for a bloody long time.

  97. akn

    Jules @95 has it right. Assange is a serious player with a solid theory rather than the anarchist renegade as he is he is so often portrayed. The interface between citizenship/employee status combined with phenomenal communications technology is allowing people to act as citizens even as they are systematically denied citizenship by their employers. They act as citizens by exposing the perfidious conduct of their employers. In so doing they correctly rate their rights and obligations as citizens over and above conflicting demands by employers to (often) act illegally.

  98. su

    There is a conversation on Online Journalism Blog called Leak-o-nomy:The Economy of Wikileaks that explains why Assange does not feel it is his role to provide “context”, he explicitly states that journalists do this better and that Wikileaks can make that investigative journalism both cheaper and less litigious:

    The cost per word in investigative journalism is high. We make it a little bit cheaper for them. If you can bring these costs per word down you can get more words of investigative journalism and publish even in a company that wants to maximize profit, because we do some of the expensive sourcing. And there is another really big cost, namely the threat of legal action. We take the most legally difficult part, which is not the story, but usually the backing documents. As a result there is less chance of legal action against the publisher. So we help them to bring their costs per word in investigative journalism down

  99. su

    Apologies, those scare quotes were not meant to be in there, poor comment editing on my part. It also occurs to me that leaking documents en masse is in part a strategy in an arms race between Wikileaks and people responsible for DDoS attacks and other attempts at removing Wikileaks from play. Once documents are in the public domain they can never be retracted. The more constricted the flow of information, the more time the US and other governments have to find ways of shutting it down forever before all the source documents are released.

  100. Joe

    Peter Hume says:

    And the Fed is…? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are…?

    Well, I for one am all ears, Peter? What are they? Honestly, of course…

  101. harleymc

    The Reagan and Thatcher victories detached economy from state politically, deregulating finance. The transition from the EEC to the EC/EU detached state structures from nation, translating them into a European super-state. The spread of the internet in the late ’80s and ’90s changed the relationship of information to state, making it materially impossible to regulate information flows via old means of censorship and control.

    Nice summary, Reagan and Thatcher seem to be such minor characters in the radical changes that have occurred in the past 30 years.
    We still have deaths and privations from poverty, disease, war, patriarchy but I know that when the Ron and Maggie show was happening I was yearning and agitating for change. The models I was using back then harkened back to the Spanish civil war. I was so wrong.
    The fights against those hideous inequities are slowly melting with connectivity. Small farmers can now find out what their crops are worth via phone rather than getting ripped off by middle men, Wikileaks, each honor killing gets more and more attention focused, Iran nearly gets over the line fighting the secret police, pricing/ licensing battles about AIDS drugs are now global not just local…

    I’m not sure what the next 30 years holds but I’m ready to be both horrified and delighted.

  102. Joe

    wikileaks is now no longer reachable via it’s domain name. You have to use the IP: http://213.251.145.96/

    The US owns the internet, people. Be very careful…

  103. sg

    further to su at 108, large document dumps force governments to scramble to make spin out of them, rather than controlling the spin the way they do with targeted leaks and individual stories. It increases the chance of catching them out.

    Compare the scrabbling response to the wikileaks event with the way police in the UK have lied their way out of trouble when they murder an innocent – they can make a single claim (“he was running away”) and it can take days before the truth comes out, by which time the original story is stuck in the public consciousness. Not so with these mass document dumps.

  104. dj

    hmm, something is happening at the Guardian right now and I see on Twitter several ppl have raised whether it is being ddos’ed or whether too many ppl just want to read what Assange had to say.

  105. Ootz

    @ 112 makes sense sg

    This is all smoke and mirror stuff. Would not any ‘intelligent’ agency be rather more interested in arresting the originator of the leak than pursuing the publisher of the leak?

  106. Katz
  107. Paul Burns

    Alternatives to Amazon:
    Alibris – and there is the advantage they take money out of your account straight away, so you know exactly how much you have left.
    Abe – excellent service, good prices – far better than Amazon. Will send you books Amazon won’t. However it may now be an Amazon subsidiary, taken over a year or so ago. Not sure. But I did read something.
    Bibliobooks – have only just started using them the past couple of months – they can be very slow with seliveries but they’re good for rare books.

  108. Glenn Condell

    Assange wonders what exactly it means to be an Australian citizen:
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/australia-has-abandoned-me-20101204-18kpq.html

    It’s a fair question.

    I wonder too what it means to be a Swedish Public Prosecutor’s Office. Just as ‘Australian citizen’ implies a person’s affiliation with Australia and infers that person’s civil rights to legal and personal protections by that country, so too the name SPPO would seem to indicate a body that prosecutes people on behalf of the public interest of Sweden (and its’ citizens)

    The interests of Australia and Sweden do not lie behind the recent actions of their governments against Assange and Wikileaks. You don’t need to be Einstein, or even Britney Spears, to know the piper’s ID. We are really only citizens of our own countries up to the point we pose a threat (real or imagined) to another (or rather, to one particular other).

    What we need now are a few more noble moles to provide leaks for Wiki, one in Canberra and one in Stockholm, each providing Sunlight (TM) disinfectant in the form of panicky emails between powerful people in those nations, which reveal how early any idea of national sovereignty and the protection of their citizens was jettisoned at the belligerent behest a more powerful country, to which we are unfortunately allied.

    It’s hard to believe Assange is criticised here for not being Chomsky. It’s like being disappointed in an apple for not being an orange. Assange is the messenger, a brave bird dodging missiles to bring nuggets of truth hidden under a huge and immovable rock called ‘legitimacy’ that none of the rest of us can penetrate, though we can smell the foul odour it emits. Shoot the messenger if you like but do us the courtesy of keeping your trap shut when in a few years time that great stone rolls forward to crush you.

    In a hundred years, if we still have historians, they will write about Assange as a catalyst who managed on an a shoestring to begin to unravel the power mafia that is now eating the US, with the rest of us on the dessert menu. He will be seen as the anti-Obama, a man who stepped forward to force genuine global change by confronting privilege and secrecy, as opposed to someone whose function was to talk change while ensuring stasis.

    While Obama is the greatest disappointment in history, Assange may be one of it’s more useful surprises. I for one feel proud he’s one of us – whatever that means nowadays.

  109. Lefty E

    Me, Im just not convinced that secrecy improves the quality of decision making in any bureaucratic field. It tends to make it more capricious, inconsistent, and insular.

    Id say Assange is doing everyone a favour in the long run.

  110. Geoff Honnor

    “This is all smoke and mirror stuff. Would not any ‘intelligent’ agency be rather more interested in arresting the originator of the leak than pursuing the publisher of the leak?”

    The suspected originator is a gay, 22 year old US Army PFC named Bradley Manning currently under arrest in Kuwait. He was one of around 2.5 million people working in US government agencies who have regular access to this so-called ‘top-secret’ info. I fear the abolition of DADT has been set back a generation….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/us/09manning.html?pagewanted=all

  111. Joe

    Actually,

    this is more like the ATO, centrelink, etc. The real mistake was made in the design of the system. The user who ended up leaking the information was designed into the system — the agency should be blaming itself. And maybe even apologising, but that’s not the way things are done at the moment. The agencies of this world cannot, dare not be wrong!

    What insecurity lies at the heart of this behaviour?

    Smile or die!

  112. Fascinated

    So do we ditch amazon and pay pal?

  113. Katz

    Rudd’s tough talk about taking out China militarily was his Hillary Clinton-induced hard-on talking. Rudd is a hopelessly addicted power junkie. Proximity to the US Secretary of State is the closest thing to uncut heroin there is.

    Rudd tumescently opined that if China could be induced to join the world system then the world (i.e., the US and its satellites) should war with China.

    Gimme a break. When Rudd was committing this act of diplomatic frottage on Clinton, China already owned a large part of the world system.

    Rudd is a deep embarrassment to all thinking Australians.

  114. Paul Burns

    Agreed, Katz.
    But even more deeply embarassing is our shadow foreign minister’s asking if Gillard shared Rudd’s view. Its been a while now since I read about it, but I distinctly remember a Defence White Paper under the Rudd Government causing some slight embarrasment with China because of its assumption that the yellow hordes to the north would descend upon our dearly beloved country or some such thing. Now, that doesn’t sound a great deal different to Rudd’s statements to Clinton. The really disturbing aspect of this US cable is our apparrent willingness to send Australian boys to be killed in Pakistan on behalf of the US. Now that I do not like.

  115. Katz

    I missed the stuff on Pakistan, PB.

    It [the WikiLeak] also reveals Mr Rudd offered Australian special forces to fight in Pakistan once an agreement could be made with Islamabad.

    The rider, agreement with Islamabad, would appear to be the deal-breaker here. I cannot imagine a situation where a government of Pakistan would agree formally to foreign troops operating on their territory.

    The question is, would Islamabad be prepared to turn a blind eye to foreign troops operating in Pakistan? And vitally for Australian interests, would Rudd have agreed to deploying Australian troops in Pakistan on the basis of that subterfuge?

    Inevitably, that kind of deployment would become known, with dire political and diplomatic results.

    More importantly, any deployment, whether open or clandestine, serves as the first step into a quagmire.

    And I can think of no greater quagmire than Pakistan anywhere in the world.

    Unless it is true that Rudd was thinking of a clandestine deployment of Australian troops, I’m prepared to give Rudd a pass on this one.

  116. Lefty E

    Agree, I always thought the Rudd’s govt position on China was about as subtle as a brick – considering his personal experience there. This leak confirms it – though Katz is right that he was humping Hilary’s leg at the time and may have said something silly while on heat.

    This – on top of Mclellands utterlty lickspittle performance on Assange, and 10 years of Howardite arse-licking make me once again realise what a pack of lightweights we are on the world stage.

  117. Paul Burns

    Yairs, and with his constant calls for Hillary and now Obama to resign, I’m beginning to wonder whether Assange is a bit of a rightwing prick, who, on balance, should be used for entertainment purposes only, but otherwise ignored. Didn’t hear any such calls from him when GWB was in, that I can recall.

  118. Katz

    Hang on, PB.

    As far as we know, Wikileaks didn’t have any dirt on GWB, etc., while they were in office.

    Remember, WL is a creature of the leakers. No leaks, no WL

    Obama is simply the stiff inhabiting the Oval Office when the leak occurred.

    We are looking at a brand new thing here — the universal dead drop. It’ll take some time for governments, media, leakers, and citizens to get their heads around the as yet unknown implications of the universal dead drop.

    Grace Slick may have been thinking about these matters when she sang “We’re doing things that haven’t got a name yet.”

  119. Paul Burns

    But if Assange is unpoliticized why is he calling for the resignation of Obama and Hillary? Shouldn’t he just be letting the leaks doing the talking? Mind you, I can understand how he’s pissed off. All the harassment etc. It would have to get you down.

  120. Fran Barlow

    PB asked:

    But if Assange is unpoliticized why is he calling for the resignation of Obama and Hillary? Shouldn’t he just be letting the leaks doing the talking? Mind you, I can understand how he’s pissed off. All the harassment etc. It would have to get you down.

    I doubt he’s doing so to help Newt Gingrich or Mitch McConnell, both of whom say they’d like him treated as an enemy combatant.

  121. Paul Burns

    Fair enough, both Katz and FB.
    it was just a thought that was buzzing round in my brain for a while.

  122. Geoff Honnor

    “But if Assange is unpoliticized why is he calling for the resignation of Obama and Hillary? Shouldn’t he just be letting the leaks doing the talking?”

    He looks to be an equal opportunity America-hater Paul. Obama, Hilary, GWB – it’s all the same to Julian…..

  123. Joe

    The conspiracy files #245…7123:

    Remember how people were wondering what Hilary was up to and why she suddenly came to Australia. How strange, everyone was thinking? Yeah, sure The Big O couldn’t make it and so, in his place, the big ‘aitsch – and now… Assange being Australian and all… we see that the Ruddster was totally played. What an amateur?! I mean honestly, he’s such an egomaniac.

    God, Rudd’s a total loser.

  124. paul walter

    Sad thing, Geoff Honour, the intro drop of Wikileaks latest, indicates they may well be worthy of that contempt you accuse Assange of demonstrating toward them.

  125. Nick

    01/12/2010 Julian Assange TIME Interview: Full Transcript/Audio

    07/2010 VIDEO: Julian Assange at TED: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

    Geoff, does he say anything in either of these interviews that makes you believe he’s an “America-hater”?

  126. Katz

    Gillard’s mantra:

    Kerry, I don’t want to disappoint you in what will be my last interview on your show, but I am not going to comment on the details of leaked cables that are making an appearance on WikiLeaks.

    Gillard wants to pretend that the world is exactly the same as if WL never existed.

    The world knows that this pretence is mere denial. The weight on the new known facts about the world will necessitate all governments around the world to abandon this pretence long before the 250,000th document is revealed. As soon as important governments stop pretending, all governments must stop pretending.

    The question is, which leak will make Gillard start commenting on details? This is not a question of if. It is a question of when.

    Given this fact, it would be wiser for Gillard (or any head of government) to start talking earlier rather than later.

    For sure, the Chinese at some point are going to ask openly of a government observing a vow of silence, “What to you have to hide?”

    At that point Gillard will be compelled to answer. The longer she delays, the harder it will be.

  127. Katz

    Nick, why, oh why, do you hate haters of America haters, so?

  128. Link

    I’m a bit amazed that Rudd and Clinton could be so stupid as to have such a frank conversation committed to paper in the first place. Haven’t these people heard of ‘the cone of silence’.

    I am chuffed that Assange is an Australian, but don’t feel terribly confident that he won’t be ‘disappeared’ only to fall beyond next week’s news cycle. I think Wikileaks is one of best thing that has happened in the name of ‘truth, justice and liberty’. It’s no wonder politicians of all ilk hate him so.