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Semiformalishmaybe

International Spin the Bottle

Two more thoughts on Wikileaks cable releases:

  • First, the daily release of a few more documents is like a game of spin-the-bottle between people who really don't like each other all that much
  • Second, this is (finally!) a perfect chance for everyone to see the boogeymen of every nation. Most nations, being made of people, are a little bit crazy - instead of facing their problems and attributing them to competing visions of the good, corruption, or other real causes, they'll have some imaginary(ish) foe on which they'll blame everything. This might not be the whole country - some nations are factional or regional, and the crazy is much stronger in some of their parts. Typically (but not always) the least thoughtful factions will do this the most. In the United States, our Tea Party (and anyone courting them) will blame everything on the United Nations or on Socialism. In most Arab countries, Zionism (or Mossad, occasionally deservingly) is blamed for everything from the Lebanese civil war to homosexuality. The crazy kinds of Socialism like to blame class interests on every societal ill.. Iran considers this matter an American plot(!), and so on. The neat thing about this international scandal is that finally we have an event for every society to parade their fears and lies over the same event. For the very skeptical, they can at least see that there's a grant human tendency to re-use the same scapegoat for everything under the sun, as the scapegoat of many of these nations is another injured nation with its own scapegoat. This is the same nonsense that we can see every day when reading enough national newspapers, conveniently gathered in one place. But ... maybe this lesson isn't really necessary - anyone open to the idea might already see it.
On the latter point, I would be tempted to say that nobody intelligent could fall for these easy rationalisations, but I know at least a few highly intelligent people who've built a conspiracy theory for themselves. It's weird (particularly for the few who use socialism as they boogeyman, given that I'm part of the very slim percentage of Americans who are actually socialist).

On that topic, it's interesting that Interpol has Assange flagged for arrest for rape. Knowing the foreign policies involved, I would not be surprised if the US (or Russia, or Israel, or really any country) is putting heavy pressure on anyone possible to nab Assange in any way possible. However, also having known a number of other people of his personality type, I'd consider him much more likely than the average person to have done such things. Additionally, when governments lean heavily enough, it's hard to trust a justice system - we may never get a satisfactory answer to whether he did it (presuming this is a case with a clear answer - there are cases where consent is muddy to judge).

It's interesting that the Chinese Firewall is blocking the site now, and they've gone to extra measures to catch proxies - I believe China's sensitive to the revelation of their position regarding North Korea (or perhaps concerned about what may be released next).

Some ... interesting (despicable, I think) positions on the Wikileaks Cable release:

  • Amazon.com has decided to stop hosting them (after a very brief stay). This might be another good reason to Boycott them.
  • Attourney General Eric Holder, for suggesting that Assange be liable under US laws (being neither a citizen nor a resident nor a presence in the US), and in particular for suggesting use of the Espionage Act of 1917 as a basis for prosecution.
  • Peter King (R-NY House, will be head of Homeland Security Committee) - Wants Wikileaks designated as a terrorist group (he has a number of other "interesting" quirks that in a more ideal world would make him unelectable)
  • Joe Lieberman (you know who he is) - pressured Amazon to drop Wikileaks. Has made things up about the costs of existing Wikileaks releases. Has tried to pose Wikileaks as an attack on American transparency(!). (Note: I may be biased - Joe Lieberman is one of the American politicians I dislike the most)
  • It's not hard to find others calling for prison or dealth for Assange...

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