Saturday, December 04, 2010

Going Through the Motions

I suppose the US is officially still claiming to the The Free-est Country Anywhere And At Any Time. I'll have to admit, though, that I'm a little surprised at what a small and shoddy effort they're putting into the maintenance of the charade, in these latter days.

Did you all see this crap?
In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff

The directive applies to both government computers and private devices that employees or contractors might carry in their briefcases and pockets or have in their homes. It does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems, a White House official said Saturday. And it does not prohibit federal employees from reading news stories about the topic. But if they have “accidentially” already downloaded any of these documents, they are being told to notify their “information security offices.”

[ ... ]

The Library of Congress has joined in the push, blocked visitors to its reading rooms, or anyone else using its computer system, from accessing the WikiLeaks site, noting that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
And in other news:
Columbia University’s Office of Career Service is said to have passed around an email warning students that if they read WikiLeaks or make comments related to the releases it would render them ineligible for any government jobs in the future, based on a warning sent by a former student working at the State Department.

State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson insisted the warning wasn’t an official Department directive but added that making public comments or posting links to WikiLeaks content wasn’t “a good move for any US citizen.”

Efforts across the US government to restrict access to the documents are having limited success, although Sen. Joe Lieberman (I – CT) did succeed in getting the WikiLeaks website removed for a few hours following a threatening phone call to Amazon.com.
Well, with all due respect (and that ain't much, for sure) to State Department spokescreature Nicole Thompson, let me say this about that:

1. The WikiLeaks organization has performed an essential service to the public -- the international public, at that -- that the big-time professional journo-harlots are no longer willing to do. What Mr. Assange and his associates have done is wonderful. Tragically, I suspect he -- and others -- will be paying a heavy price for disseminating the truth; and, at least in the US, I suspect further that the revelations WikiLeaks have made won't make much difference. If productive US public outrage is what was wanted, well, sorry -- after all, Christmas, New Year's, the BCS bowl games, and the NFL playoffs are all coming up. Still, in this, the most public comment that a nobody like me can come up with: three cheers for WikiLeaks! Hip, hip, hooray!

2. I won't post a link to WikiLeaks here, simply because it's currently useless, what with all the DDOS attacks and other cyberthuggery that our charming government and its overseas subsidiaries are doing. Right now, the best I can do is post a link to this article, which its author says he will update as often as he can with working links to mirror sites and other such workarounds. Three more cheers for Antiwar.com, while we're at it!

3. Finally, your tax dollars at work: notice above how Joseph "the Weasel" Lieberman is spending his time: making threatening phone calls. Truly, a worthy son of the Stern Gang, and perhaps the most effective of the many US senators owned by the Israelis.

Seriously, folks, doesn't it seem to you that the whole US imperial enterprise is really starting to rip and run in more and more places, like a rotten old stocking? Things seem to be picking up speed quickly, like a boat on a narrowing river just above a high falls. Myself, I've got my fingers crossed for a Soviet-style collapse, without a huge bloodbath. Wishing isn't predicting, though.

3 comments:

akaGaGa said...

Actually, the directive sounds more like it came from the Queen of Hearts, not DOD or the White House ... unless things are worse in DC than I thought.

And I agree the stocking looks shredded to bits. I expect a whole foot to come storming through anytime. The question, then, is whose foot and what it's stomping on.

Mimi said...

That rotting stocking analogy made my day, Jim. BTW, I'm mailing a modest check to the Wilileaks "Defence" (don't those brits write funny?) Fund tomoorow.

Jim Wetzel said...

Mimi, that sounds like a great idea. I'll have to consult my own itty-bitty exchequer (you're right, they do talk funny!) and see if I can follow suit.

akaGaGa (may I call you "aka" for short?), you make a good point about what the foot's going to be doing. As Jesus said in Matthew 5 about the un-salty salt: "It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." I think I hear some heavy footsteps approaching.