Friday, December 03, 2010
White House to federal employees on WikiLeaks: “Don’t stuff beans up your nose!”
by Larry Geller
That’s called “reverse psychology” and it probably works sometimes. You tell someone not to do something, and so they do it.
WikiLeaks has our government scared shitless. After Sen. Lieberman convinced Amazon.com to dump WikiLeaks off of their cloud hosting, and after other ineffective actions such as deleting their domain name, the latest seems to be an order by our government to its employees not to look at the cables.
As if that will work. Not only have many (most?) federal employees already read cables in the newspaper or on the web, if they haven’t, this order may get them busy finding out why Uncle Sam doesn’t want them to look.
6:15 TPM gets memo of Office of Management and Budget ordering all federal agencies to bar employees from going to WikiLeaks sites. White House confirms. "An administration official confirms that the OMB sent the email, adding that it follows guidance the office made earlier this week telling agencies to review their information security procedures." [Greg Mitchell (The Nation), Blogging the WikiLeaks—Day 6, 12/3/2010]
The order will, of course, draw attention to just how much the US is afraid of the revelations in the cables, and so even more news agencies around the world may carry them, and more people will be encouraged to read them. They’ll want to know just what scares Uncle Sam so much. For example, this just in:
Lebanese Newspaper Publishes U.S. Cables Not Found on WikiLeaks
Nearly 200 previously unreported U.S. diplomatic cables were posted on Thursday to the website of Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar. The cables, from eight U.S. embassies across the Middle East and North Africa, have not appeared on Wikileaks' official website or in the Western media outlets working with Wikileaks. Al Akhbar, which defines itself as an "opposition" newspaper, is published in Arabic. It has posted all 183 cables in their original English but promises readers a forthcoming Arabic translation. [The Atlantic, 12/3/2010 ]
I feel sorry for federal employees who obey the order and surrender their rights to read what they like. Also, they’ll just be uninformed. New cables are sprouting up that may or may not have even come from WikiLeaks. Why should they be the only ones who remain ignorant? Do we want federal employees to be unaware of what the government is doing? That doesn’t make sense.
The al Akbar web page, passed through Google Translate for you (if you’re not a federal employee), is here. That page links to documents you haven’t seen yet in the Western press. They have been posted in the original English.
Speaking of our democracy crumbling, Democracy Now reports this bizarre threat which Columbia University students received:
The State Department’s WikiLeaks censorship has even been extended to university students. An email to students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs says: "The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. [The State Department] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government." [Democracy Now, 12/3/2010]
So the students get a lesson in government censorship. If they want to learn about our country’s international and public affairs, the leaked cables are a great resource. They could hardly have a better textbook. Besides, it does no good to tell students not to stuff beans up their nose. They’re going to do whatever they want with the material. Those cables are the subject of discussion in social media already, especially the social medium of the classroom.
(Check out today’s Democracy Now (12/3/2010) for a debate on WikiLeaks.)
I think our government will have a lesson. Cables might start popping up like weeds. Interest in high in European media. It won’t even matter if they manage to do something bad to Julian Assange. Their statements and actions only reveal to the world the true state of our democracy.
I’m guessing that they can’t help themselves, though.
I thought President Obama was a constitutional scholar. The scary part is I know he knows better, but has rationalized in his mind that because he is President and a good guy that it's okay to bend the constitution just a little.
It reminds me of the dolt who doesn't like a story about him that appears in the newspaper so he goes out and tries to buy up every copy.
Did you hear that PayPals has cut off WikiLeaks? Perhpas those who support WikiLeaks ought to be boycotting a certain local on-line enterprise set up by PayPal's owner/founder.