Someone Should Tell The State Dept That The State Dept Is Hosting World Press Freedom Day

from the left-hand-meet-right-hand dept

Apparently all of the folks with an ounce of PR sense in the State Department were busy responding to Wikileaks issues. That’s about the only explanation I can come up with for why the State Department still decided to push forward with its announcement that it will be hosting UNESCO’s ‘World Press Freedom Day’ next May, right as it’s been attacking Wikileaks left and right for showing how a free press really works. Of course, the other possibility is that whoever put out the press release actually hoped it meant freedom from the press for a day…

Of course, it gets even more ridiculous as you read the details of the press release:

The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

Yes, “some governments”… like the US as it attempts to stifle Wikileaks. At the very least, this suggests a State Department that appears to be entirely tone deaf to the concerns over its response to Wikileaks.

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Comments on “Someone Should Tell The State Dept That The State Dept Is Hosting World Press Freedom Day”

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37 Comments
rstr5105 (profile) says:

So does anyone else see...

Does anyone else see what I do here…

US puts pressure on companies that do business with wikileaks because they do not like what wikileaks is doing.

Visa, Mastercard and Paypal among others, (those are the three that I view as significantly important to cablegate) terminate services as far as Wikileaks is concerned.

USG does everything in its power to discredit Wikileaks.

and then…

This farce of a holiday celebrating “free” press.

My head can follow the trail, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

1984 anyone?

Chuck says:

Limits

Maybe I’m the only one who will say this, but there is a difference between a free press and flow of information and what Wikileaks is doing. Pointing out hypocrisy or shining light on shady contracts and dealings and such is all and well, but releasing classified intelligence documents that were illegally and treasonously obtained is irresponsible and dangerous. I hope that Assange rots in prison either for his current charges or any other charges because his behavior is putting lives at risk, along with anyone else who is conspiring to endanger lives (and you can’t say that a list of targets and locations being openly published is not risking lives). I support a free press and flow of information, but all freedoms have limits and they usually involve your freedom encroaches on some other person’s freedom, and I’d say that the freedom of the press usually ends when it encroaches on another person’s freedom to stay alive.

Also, for those who are insulting government employees, in my experiences, those pointing out the lack of intelligence of people or you’ve never met, interacted with, or know anything about or that make sweeping gross generalizations, usually are pretty inept and unintelligent themselves and in the bottom 50% of their own workforce (i’m not insulting anyone else, but in my experiences, i’ve noticed a pattern).

Private Sector says:

Re: Limits

I’m sorry to generalize, but most government employees are overpaid and uninspired. They may very well be intelligent people, but that is often contradicted by their blinded devotion to the system, and lack of efficiency or motivation.

I bet this was on the calendar, and some guy in a cubicle who writes press releases was just doing what he was told to do in a meeting 30 days ago. So often in government the left hand does not know what the right is doing….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Limits

Should we really be trying to protect this?

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/07/report-wikileaks-cab.html

So perhaps in the evil world of Realpolitik, in which there is apparently no moral compass US private contractors won’t smash to smithereens, it made sense for DynCorp to drug up some Pashtun police recruits and turn them loose on a bunch of little boys. But according to the leaked document, Atmar, the Afghani interior minister, was terrified this story would catch a reporter’s ear.

Pierre Wolff (profile) says:

Re: Limits

Hey Chuck, have you actually had a chance to read any of these cables for yourself? See any names at risk there? How about sharing one example since you seem to believe so many are at risk? Just pick out one doc w/one name of a person that you think should be worried. Really curious to see what you come up with.

Chuck says:

Re: Re: Limits

I’m sorry, but I have an actual job and life, so I haven’t taken to reading 250,000 documents for fun, and asking for a specific name is quite pointless. I don’t know the people stationed or working at the places on the list Critical Foreign Dependencies list, but I imagine that Jane Doe or John Smith or (insert common name in the country where any of those places are) would be safer without publicizing the importance of their location to the world. Imagine you’re walking in Compton, or East St. Louis or southwest Detroit and I come by and scream “Hey, this guy has no weapons and is carrying $1000 cash”, how safe will you feel then? Now imagine you’re in a hostile part of a foreign country surrounded by people who hate you just for being alive and I tell them that bombing you would cause critical damage to America, how safe do you feel then? Take yourself out of your safe mother’s basement and put yourself in the shoes of people who work or serve in hostile environments, they don’t enjoy their “Critical Dependence” being publicized to our enemies, putting them at risk of never seeing their families again.

ignorant_s says:

Re: Re: Re: Limits

Chuck- I am glad you have an “actual” job (as opposed to a fake one) and a life, though I would venture to guess that most posters on this site have lives too…unless we are conversing with artificial intelligence…Hmmm.

While that is great for you, because we know how many people do not have “actual” jobs, “terrorists” or people who would like to bomb America’s critical dependencies are well ahead of this game. This information is compiles in a certain document, yes, but its no state secret where the US gets most of its insulin. That information is widely available.

The reason that you fear these places as becoming “targets” is because the US is well hated around the world as a result of self motivated foreign policies that have left many innocent civilians dead, starving, poor, in a constant state of war, you name it. I am sure neutral Switzerland has a list of “critical dependencies” too. Do you think these “terrorists” think daily about bombing Switzerland’s dependencies?

By the way, Mom just came down to the basement to tell me that some of our Congress people and senators are now calling for Assange to be put on a list of “terrorists”. Hmm What do you think Chuck? Is he a terrorist in your sense of the word?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Limits

Pointing out hypocrisy or shining light on shady contracts and dealings and such is all and well, but releasing classified intelligence documents that were illegally and treasonously obtained is irresponsible and dangerous.

and the difference between the two is…..

in the eye of the beholder.

Actually wikileaks has made significant efforts to prevent dangerous consequences – and asked the US government to identify material that had the potential to cause actual harm.

The goverment refused to do this and so any danger is their fault.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Limits

Pointing out hypocrisy or shining light on shady contracts and dealings and such is all and well, but releasing classified intelligence documents that were illegally and treasonously obtained is irresponsible and dangerous.

One of the main uses for classifying information in the first place is to hide bad conduct. I guess you never heard of the Pentagon Papers case, huh?

So in your view, all anybody has to do to hide evidence of misconduct is to just classify it. And that’s just what people have been doing.

What an idiot (or worse).

Anonymous Coward says:

Critical infrastructure protection

you can’t say that a list of targets and locations being openly published is not risking lives

Actually, I’m fairly confident that Wikileaks’ publication of the 2008 Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative (CFDI) list (CI/KR organized by region) is not “risking lives”.

At worst, it indicates a program badly adrift?in need of immediate Congressional oversight. Alternatively, at best, it’s merely a very incomplete list of some facilities that you can look up in the open literature.

Roger says:

Are you all still in high school? The documents were stolen. Their content consists of the private communications between members of the diplomatic corps of many countries besides our own. This is not a “Pentagon papers” or “Iran-Contra” affair. This is not a “free press” revealing the illegal or unconstitutional actions of our government. This is sensationalism and egoism in the name of “transparency.” No government, no matter how liberal, would tolerate Wikileaks actions, as, indeed, we are seeing vis-a-vis the comments from other nations. The latest “revelations” could prove fatal to personnel and sensitive installations around the world. To dismiss this possibility as mere assumption is , at best, naive. The articles in this “blog” seem naive, in and of themselves, and IMHO elicit narrow-minded and uninformed reaction. I know you’ll be disappointed to learn that I can’t see devoting any more of my time to such nonsense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

?Germany accuses US over ‘missing’ Afghan funds, WikiLeaks cables show: Berlin claims that ?50m contribution disappeared into US treasury coffers with 15% ‘administrative fee’ taken by army?:

Ivo Daalder, the US ambassador to Nato, told Washington that the German complaint raised “serious political concerns”.

“The appearance that the US is charging allies an excessive fee for the use of monies they have donated to the ANA [Afghan national army] trust fund may be difficult to explain away during a parliamentary debate. Brandenburg is probably correct in arguing that issues such as this could make it more difficult to encourage nations to donate to the trust fund.”

This one may also be difficult ?to explain away? during a Congressional debate.

Who’s pocketing the money? Shouldn’t the U.S. Congress be at least as concerned as the German Parliament?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/12/05/Wikileaks

Here, in The Guardian, is a leaked cable describing an intervention with US officials in Afghanistan by Canadian ambassador William Crosbie, who seems competent and level-headed. He is depicted as urging the Americans to lower the boom on that schmuck Karzai over obvious election-fixing, pointing out that this is politically important to Canada: ?We must be prepared for confrontation with Karzai on this issue, he said, or risk losing credibility among our own population if we go along with a rigged election.? Well, yep, we all did go along with the rigged election, didn?t we, and how?s that credibility looking? ?

So here are two sides of it: Crosbie has offered to resign, on the grounds that this cable and others expected to leak will damage his ability to work with the Afghan government. And, since it seems like we have an intelligent dude there who?s saying the right things to the right people, that would be harmful. Bad, bad WikiLeaks.

On the other hand, as a Canadian I really want to know why the fucking hell are we sending our young people to get killed there? Our senior official on the ground is telling everyone that the team whose side we?re on are corrupt and stole the last election and are ?making his blood boil?? The fact that our government has kept this intelligence secret while extending the Canadian mission is making mine boil. Thank you, WikiLeaks.

There you have it. Not simple.

ignorant_s says:

Re: Re:

So what if I am in High School, Roger? I still have enough intelligence to look at this from a critical perspective. Most of the sensationalism and egoism I see is coming from the media and US and other governments who clearly want to keep this stuff under wraps.

If the government or corporations were behaving properly, well then there would be nothing to hide. Information leaked by whistleblowers that reveals illegal or bad behavior of government actors and corporations should be put in the public domain, and the people who have the balls to publish it should not be imprisoned for doing so. They are performing an essential public service.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Are you all still in high school? The documents were stolen.

No, they weren’t, and to say they were is a lie (congratulations). The originals were left in place.

This is not a “Pentagon papers” or “Iran-Contra” affair.

You know that the Pentagon Papers were classified too, don’t you?

The articles in this “blog” seem naive, in and of themselves, and IMHO elicit narrow-minded and uninformed reaction.

The “narrow mind” seems to be yours.

I know you’ll be disappointed to learn that I can’t see devoting any more of my time to such nonsense.

If only that were true.

Dr. Brian Oblivion says:

Irony has died; is satire far behind?

This is how irony dies, gasping and coughing up blood.

The shark has jumped America.

If only the state and business could cooperate so effectively when faced with actual terrorist threats as opposed to the metaphorical variety who dare to expose to the light of day what is done in the name of America by its own political class.

Assange was painted as a terrorist and calls for assassination were offered up as a valid remedy. The hysterical response from the powerful facing exposure to sunlight reveals more than probably the documents themselves.

The political class has an opportunity to pretend that the ideals America was founded on are still true and that our respect for a free press and our love of liberty outweigh the vanity of the state itself.

Sadly that’s asking far too much from the vain and greedy charlatans that the modern political class has become.

Wikileaks must be made an example of so the poodle press doesn’t get the wrong idea.

Will the state resist the temptation to demand extradition from Sweden or will the independent nation of Sweden and natural ally of the United States be able to politely decline the invitation?

Never mind. Assange is a dead man.

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