Published on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Wikileaks: Time to Celebrate, Time to Mourn
It's time to celebrate.
It's a big win for Internet-based indy media that WikiLeaks.org posted its "Afghan War Diary" based on 90,000 leaked
Thanks to the Internet and new technologies, it's easier than ever for a whistleblower to anonymously leak documents exposing official abuses and deception, easier to copy and disseminate vast quantities of material, and easier for journalists and citizens to cull through all the data.
I spent hours with Dan Ellsberg this weekend at the Progressive Democrats meeting in Cleveland, where he spoke after a screening of the brilliant documentary, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" .
In 1971, it was Henry Kissinger who called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in
Today, the "most dangerous man in the world" may be Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. At least that's how he's seen by the various governments that have threatened to prosecute him for revealing their secrets. But as a stateless and office-less news organization operating in cyberspace, WikiLeaks is almost untouchable.
Throughout this decade of war, Ellsberg has been an evangelist beseeching government employees to engage in leaking and "unauthorized truth telling" . His prayers have now been partially answered - with Assange boasting that the 2004-2009 Afghan war logs constitute "the most comprehensive description of a war to have ever been published during the course of a war."
The Internet has changed the game since the Pentagon Papers, says Assange: "More material can be pushed to bigger audiences, and much sooner."
If Ellsberg is the most important whistle-blower in
Launched less than four years ago with a focus on helping Chinese dissidents, the donation-supported  WikiLeaks has continuously posted material embarrassing to business and governments. In April, WikiLeaks posted horrific video of a 2007
The video leak led to the jailing of 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning - suspected now in the Afghan leak. To its credit, WikiLeaks is raising money for Manning's defense.
This is also a time to mourn.
Because some things don't seem to change - like endless war, based on deceit.
Nearly forty years after the Pentagon Papers were leaked by Democratic military analyst Ellsberg, a Democratic White House seems bent on public deception and cheerleading on behalf of an immoral war that can't be won.
Team Obama decided to escalate the Afghanistan folly, knowing all that the public now has access to thanks to WikiLeaks - such as NATO killing of so many civilians  ("blue on white" events); Task Force 373, a "black" special forces unit  that sometimes kills kids or Afghan allies as it hunts down insurgents; widespread Afghan animosity toward U.S. forces; allied troops firing on each other ("blue on blue" incidents); a steady increase in Taliban attacks.
All the color-coded military jargon  can't obscure the reality that dishonesty often infects the original incident reports or intervenes soon after, before any public statements are issued. Remember the lies about Pat Tillman's death .
When Ellsberg leaked the papers, the Nixon White House prosecuted him for espionage and burglarized his psychiatrist's office searching for dirt - after failing in court to prevent newspapers from publishing the papers.
The Obama White House didn't try to stop the New York Times from publishing the Afghan logs (hopeless since WikiLeaks had also provided them to foreign publications - Germany's Der Spiegel and the British Guardian, whose initial coverage focused much more on civilian casualties  than did the Times.)
But the Obama administration denounced WikiLeaks as "irresponsible" and non-objective - and argued that the president had announced "a new strategy" for
Asked by Der Speigel whether he, following in Ellsberg's footsteps, was "today's most dangerous man," Assange responded: "The most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war. And they need to be stopped."
Obama recently asked Congress for $33 billion more to pay for his 30,000 increase in
Will they be stopped?
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs