covering mirrors

The 2nd installment of wikileaks, Cablegate, has been partially released, as in 1/000.

The story behind the whole data-spill seems to have been initiated by Bradley Manning, 22, one of those we like to cheer about in terms such as our brave men and women serving in harm's way. Until he was locked up in solitary confinement, Manning used to be an intelligence analyst with the Army, outside Baghdad. In his own words, the facts were: "I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like 'Lady Gaga' … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing ... [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history." He said that he "had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months." He even anticipated some reactions, "Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public ... Everywhere there's a US post, there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format ... It's beautiful, and horrifying." Stated motivation: "Information should be free. It belongs in the public domain."

Now, how symptomatic is this for the state of our empire, er, nation? Did we need a 22-year old to come and show how ugly empire is? Below are what can be two answers:

Monsey, NY

This is what I call treason!
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New York

To Commenter #4, [Dovid] I'd say, No, compiling and releasing documents, 'none of which was marked top secret,' is not treason, it's democracy in action.

For a truly treasonous act, see the outing of an undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame, who had worked for years setting up very successful false operation directed at uncovering 'weapons of mass destruction.' Her husband told the truth about the lies being that would justify getting into war, lies told by very powerful and deeply unpatriotic war profiteers, and she was 'outed' in revenge. She--and our country--continue to pay the price; the war profiteers continue to go free.
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I'd posit that running a large and complex system like the US, implies effective and efficient control mechanisms.  Effective as in get the job done, efficient as is make those controlled do the control themselves.  Efficiency comes wrapped in all the talk about our being a nation of laws, fighting for human rights and justice for all.  So, is it that a smart young man, driven by patriotism, enlists with the Army, yet his self-control breaks when he gets deployed and sees our relations with the world out there being so different from what we espouse at home?  

From a slightly different angle, let's review all the above from a 1992-perspective in Hollywood, a year after the official demise of the USSR due to our upholding higher values. You'll recognize Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, from 'A Few Good Man' in the You Can't Handle the Truth-moment.


To each his own, but considering the mounting problems we face, both internally and internationally, I'm afraid that not wanting to know the truth is akin to covering mirrors in the house after someone died.  It may be efficient but hardly effective.  

12/12/2010 Update
Whatever one may think of Bradley Manning, who took an oath when joined the Military, the situation with Julian Assange is a whole different matter.  Being on offensive will erode our standing, it's about principle not about any one individual.  We should accept OUR mistake(s), e.g. of not setting up proper systems, and leave Assange in peace. The earlier we do this, the less painful for all involved. This is neither the way to set an example, nor the type of example you want to set.

A Lincoln or Roosevelt moment?

The latest elections were remarkable for lacking surprise, no wonder many don't bother to vote!

The democratic machinery may be a little overrated to take us out of the many-decades-in-the-making slump. Somehow, the voters are still to figure this out, for this being one among the few dramatic swings, which otherwise would take several electoral cycles to happen, which shows that people still think they control the machinery by playing with a fake knob. Not to forget the enlightened skeptics, who may or may not vote, they think not much can be done anyway since the system is complex, as in don't bother to learn anything about it with the idea of improving. They hope, yet pass it for thinking, that somehow whatever it is they have been doing would keep them in their positions, while the world turns upside down round them. Of course, you recognize their ivory towers as skewers for the meat and vegetables exposed to the flame.

To return to major political/electoral swings, the one before was when we thought Obama and Democratic majorities would go for change. I guess, the 2010 swing is to appease the folk on the right, whereas the one before, in 2008, was to appease the left after 8 too many years of aggravation under Bush the lesser.

That we are going for a gamble has become obvious. It is not so clear how things will go from here. Internally, everybody is going to take a hit on everything they hold in cash--see the $600Bn as fuel for inflation eroding cash and confidence. Another way change will be effected internally is by virtue of the recommendations of the Obama's bipartisan debt-reduction commission.
"Cap revenue at or below 21% of G.D.P.”
“Lower Rates”
“Reduce the Deficit”

I read these to mean, status qvo on taxes and cut spending! The conservative approach towards taxes is to keep the elites happy, cutting the federal budget to size is to say 'swim or sink!' to the rest. The risk here is for the most people to perceive that budget cuts are somewhat unjust. If the twin issue of taxes & budget splits the electorate along the same line, I am afraid, it's time we reckon a Lincoln or Roosevelt moment in our nation.

But then again, we may also have war. No, it's not about Bush's open wars. For one, it could be economic war. The other countries are probably running through their options after the recent G20 in Seoul. Nobody wants to give up an inch, make it centimeter, or at least not in the open. If the Chinese-American relation gets rebalanced anew round an exchange rate, chances are that conflict is postponed. Otherwise, it's maybe wise to stock up on some trinkets; of course, I'm joking.

For another variant on the last point, brush up on your pre-1914 history. A good place to start may be here: Is globalization enough carrot...

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