Last night, Wired posted a two-part response to my criticisms of its conduct in reporting on the arrest of PFC Bradley Manning and the key role played in that arrest by Adrian Lamo. I wrote about this topic twice -- first back in June and then again last Sunday. The first part of Wired's response was from Wired.com Editor-in-Chief Evan Hansen, and the second is from its Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen. Both predictably hurl all sorts of invective at me as a means of distracting attention from the central issue, the only issue that matters: their refusal to release or even comment on what is the central evidence in what is easily one of the most consequential political stories of this year, at least.
That's how these disputes often work by design: the party whose conduct is in question (here, Wired) attacks the critic in order to create the impression that it's all just some sort of screeching personality feud devoid of substance. That, in turn, causes some bystanders to cheer for whichever side they already like and boo the side they already dislike, as though it's some sort of entertaining wrestling match, while everyone else dismisses it all as some sort of trivial Internet catfight not worth sorting out. That, ironically, is what WikiLeaks critics (and The New York Times' John Burns) did with the release of the Iraq War documents showing all sorts of atrocities in which the U.S. was complicit: they tried to put the focus on the personality quirks of Julian Assange to distract attention away from the horrifying substance of those disclosures. That, manifestly, is the same tactic Wired is using here: trying to put the focus on me to obscure their own ongoing conduct in concealing the key evidence shining light on these events.Here's the link that got it started: "Trolls versus The Thought Police" and a copy of the As It Stands: "Don't feed the trolls" article I wrote about. Here's the link from Ernie Branscomb's blog article, "Not Fair." Be sure to read the comments.
But now that I've written critically about Wired, I'm suddenly converted into a dishonest, ethics-free, unreliable hack. That's par for the course. That's why so few people in this profession are willing to criticize other media outlets. Journalists react as poorly as anyone to public criticism; it doesn't make you popular to do it; it can terminate career opportunities and relationships; it's certain your credibility will be publicly impugned. But journalists need scrutiny and accountability as much as anyone -- especially when, as here, they are shaping public perceptions about a vital story while withholding important information -- and I'd vastly prefer to be the one to provide it even it means that the targets of the criticism don't like it and lash out.
Ultimately, what determines one's credibility is not the names you get called or the number of people who get angry when you criticize them. What matters is whether the things you say are well-supported and accurate, to correct them if they're not, and to subject yourself to the same accountability and transparency you demand of others. [Emphasis added]
(2) From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks -- the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy -- have been . . . America's intrepid Watchdog journalists. What illustrates how warped our political and media culture is as potently as that? It just never seems to dawn on them -- even when you explain it -- that the transparency and undermining of the secrecy regime against which they are angrily railing is supposed to be . . . what they do.
WikiLeaks, for that matter, is not just Julian Assange, but a geographically distributed network of people and servers, and it has promised that the work of facilitating the release of documents from governments and corporations will continue. The U.S. Justice Department, if it pursues a case, will have to answer the question: If WikiLeaks is a criminal organization, what of its media partners, like The New York Times?While that's an important question for the Nation, what about here locally? How complicit is the Times-Standard and their editors for publishing Dave Stancliff's As It Stands wanton character assassination that assaults the very legitimacy of the U.S Constitution? When the U.S. government can accuse, prosecute, convict and throw people in jail and torture them for life for what they "supposedly" think, not do, character assassination is extremely serious and potentially life-threatening.
To understand why I've (Greenwald) done so, and to see what motivates the increasing devotion of the U.S. Government and those influenced by it to destroying that organization, it's well worth reviewing exactly what WikiLeaks exposed to the world just in the last year: the breadth of the corruption, deceit, brutality and criminality on the part of the world's most powerful factions.
As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning.*** Greenwald's expose defines why I had to engage this issue with local newspaper, the Times-Standard.
It's unsurprising that political leaders would want to convince people that the true criminals are those who expose acts of high-level political corruption and criminality, rather than those who perpetrate them. Every political leader would love for that self-serving piety to take hold. But what's startling is how many citizens and, especially, "journalists" now vehemently believe that as well. In light of what WikiLeaks has revealed to the world about numerous governments, just fathom the authoritarian mindset that would lead a citizen -- and especially a "journalist" -- to react with anger that these things have been revealed; to insist that these facts should have been kept concealed and it'd be better if we didn't know; and, most of all, to demand that those who made us aware of it all be punished (the True Criminals) while those who did these things (The Good Authorities) be shielded.To see the list of just some of what WikiLeaks has offered, click this link.
Well… every once in a while, a situation that’s one-in-a-thousand is met by a guy who is one in a million. It may be that Assange is, somehow, up to this situation. Maybe he’s gonna grow in stature by the massive trouble he has caused. Saints, martyrs, dissidents and freaks are always wild-cards, but sometimes they’re the only ones who can clear the general air. Sometimes they become the catalyst for historical events that somehow had to happen. They don’t have to be nice guys; that’s not the point. Julian Assange did this; he direly wanted it to happen. He planned it in nitpicky, obsessive detail. Here it is; a planetary hack.
I don’t have a lot of cheery hope to offer about his all-too-compelling gesture, but I dare to hope he’s everything he thinks he is, and much, much, more.
Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?
• There’s no such thing as a “temporary” tax Cut. If Congress is unwilling to allow tax cuts for wealthy Americans to expire in the midst of economic crisis now, then why would it allow this so-called “holiday” to end in one year? The short answer–it wouldn’t. Americans should expect that when this tax “holiday” ends, restoring Social Security’s funding will be portrayed by those opposed to the program as a massive tax hike, rather than the legislated end of the “holiday”. That leaves Social Security permanently dependent on general fund revenues rather than worker contributions which have successfully funded the program for 75 years. If extended, this payroll tax cut would then double Social Security’s 75 year projected shortfall.For all of these reasons, the National Committee does not support proposals to cut the payroll tax. America’s seniors understand the vital role Social Security plays during these difficult economic times and they’re not willing to trade promises of possible short-term economic gains for real and measurable damage to this vital program which would impact generations of Americans to come.
• This 2% payroll tax cut is the beginning of the end of Social Security as we know it. Worker contributions have successfully funded the program for 75 years and that critical linkage between contributions and benefits is what keeps Social Security a self-funded program. Proposals like this threaten the program’s independence, forcing Social Security to compete for limited federal dollars.
• Cutting contributions to Social Security isn’t the best way to stimulate the economy. The Tax Policy Center reports the wealthiest 40% of households benefit most from a payroll tax cut. According to The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, extending the “Making Work Pay Tax Credit” is a much better and targeted stimulus.
Majoritarianism is a traditional political philosophy or agenda which asserts that a majority (sometimes categorized by religion, language, social class or some other identifying factor) of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the society. This traditional view has come under growing criticism and democracies have increasingly included constraints in what the parliamentary majority can do, in order to protect citizens' fundamental rights.From my point of view it's all about anarch and mob rule and George Wills has a good article on this subject and how it is affecting this country in his New York Times: The case for engaged justices - Herein lies the argument for why this country should leave WikiLeaks and Julian Assange alone.
This should not be confused with the concept of a majoritarian electoral system, which is a simple electoral system which usually gives a majority of seats to the party with a plurality of votes. A parliament elected by this method may be called a majoritarian parliament (e.g. the British parliament).
Under a democratic majoritarian political structure the majority would not exclude any minority from future participation in the democratic process. Majoritarianism is sometimes pejoratively called ochlocracy (commonly stated as mob rule) or tyranny of the majority by its opponents. Majoritarianism is often referred to as majority rule, but which may be referring to a majority class ruling over a minority class, while not referring to the decision process called majority rule.