Let’s help the US government learn

Although an ad hominem anti-Wikileaks stance is to be expected of an intelligence insider like Paul Monk (“Hardly the Pentagon Papers of our era”, The Australian, 4/1), I would ask him why, if the leaks showed the “nuance and scruple…not authoritarian conspiracy” of the U.S. government, are they employing black ops to hunt Assange down?

Obviously Monk disagrees with Assange’s political objectives, but begs the question by concluding from this that the leaks were morally irresponsible. His aim was not “to help the US government learn” – as if they were naive children who didn’t know what they were doing was wrong – but to shine a light into dark corners.

The idea that the leaks should provide “finished analysis laying out the judgments of senior officials” shows a profound misunderstanding of both the principles of transparency and the new media.

This piece is typical of how conservatives are struggling to respond cogently to Wikileaks: their old authoritarian wing would cheerfully slaughter Assange and commandeer the internet itself if it could, while the newer libertarian Right is drawn to the idea of total government transparency and finds the U.S.’s machinations distasteful, but fears agreeing with the Left!

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