Glenn Greenwald / Salon – 2010-12-31 18:16:34
(December 25, 2010) — Throughout this year, I’ve devoted substantial attention to WikiLeaks, particularly in the last four weeks as calls for its destruction intensified. To understand why I’ve done so, and to see what motivates the increasing devotion of the US 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.
A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon’s own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence — zero — that any of WikiLeaks’ actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media — even in the face of all these revelations — continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing Newâ„¢ in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National Securityâ„¢ through its disclosures.
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:
Wikileaks Releases Video Depicting US Forcs Killing of Two Reuters Journalists in Iraq.
— Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2010
â€˜Ha Ha, I Hitâ€™emâ€™: Top Secret Video Showing US Helicopter Piltos Gunning Down 12 Civilians in Baghdad Attack Leaked Online.
— â€¨Daily Mail, April 7, 2010:
Iraq War Logs: Secret Order that Let US Ignore Abuse
— The Guardian, October 22, 2010
Iraq War Logs Reveal 15,000 Previously Unlisted Civilian Deaths
— The Guardian, October 22, 2010
Clinton Ordered American Diplomats to Spy on UN Officials
— Foreign Policy, November 29, 2010:
Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe
— Mother Jones, December 1, 2010:
US Maneuvered to Stop High Court Cases
American embassy issued threats over the cases of ‘Guantanamo’, ‘Couso’ and ‘CIA flights’ – Politicians and Spanish prosecutors collaborated on the strategy
— El Pais, November 30, 2010:
The Day that Barack Obama Lied to Me.
— Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer, responding to the cables from Spain, December 1, 2010:
US Pressured Germany Not to Prosecute CIA Officers for Torture and Rendition.
— ACLU, November 20, 2010:
The CIAâ€™s El-Mosri Abduction: Cables Show Germany Caved to Pressure from Washington.
— Der Spiegel, December 9, 2010:
Yemeni President Lied about US Strikes.
— Sydney Morning Herald, November 29, 2010:
Contrary to Public Statements, Obama Admin Fueled Conflict in Yemen
— Salon, December 9, 2010:
Wikileaks: India â€˜Torturedâ€™ Kashmir Prisoners
— BBC, December 17, 2010:
UK Training Bangladesh â€˜Death Squadâ€™
— BBC, December 22, 2010:
UK Agreed to Shield US Interests in Iraq Probe: WikiLeaks
— Reuters, December, 1, 2010:
Wikileaks: Pope Refused to Cooperate in Sex Abuse Investigation.
— MSNBC, December 11, 2010:
Wikileaks, Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup.
— The Guatemala Times, November 28, 2010:
WikiLeaks: China Behind Google Hack
— CBS News, November 29, 2010:
WikiLeaks Cables: US Special Forces Working Inside Pakistan
— The Guardian, November 30, 2010:
Wikileaks Reveal the Obvious Dangers of Afghanistan
— Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post, July 27, 2010
Afghanistan War Logs: Massive Leak of Secret Files Exposes Truth of Occupation.
— The Guardian, July 25, 2010
Those are just some of the truths that led WikiLeaks — and whoever the leaker(s) is — to sacrifice their own interests in order to disclose these secrets to the world.
Author’s Bio: For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot Act?, a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released in May 2006.
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