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Leaked CIA document and the war on Wikileaks

Glenn Greenwald has just published a subtle article about a leaked CIA document and the increasingly aggressive war being waged on Wikileaks, the site that anonymously publishes leaked sensitive governmental, corporate, organizational, and religious documents.

The first part of the article deals with the leaked document, entitled “CIA Red Cell Special Memorandum; Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission. Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough. (PDF)” (and also uploaded to the Internet Archive for the IAdeposit project). This hubristic document announces “Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters” and describes PR strategies for shoring up public support for the continued war in Afghanistan.

But the more interesting and disturbing part of Greenwald’s story concerns Wikileaks. Greenwald interviewed Julian Assange, the Australian citizen who is WikiLeaks’ Editor. The interview shed light on Wikileaks’ work in exposing the secret activities of governments and corporations and also how the US and other governments are targeting Wikileaks as an enemy of the state and trying to destroy the organization — for more see last week’s NY Times article “Pentagon Sees a Threat From Online Muckrakers” and Wikileaks own editorial on the subject.

…In 2008, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center prepared a secret report — obtained and posted by WikiLeaks — devoted to this website and detailing, in a section entitled “Is it Free Speech or Illegal Speech?”, ways it would seek to destroy the organization. It discusses the possibility that, for some governments, not merely contributing to WikiLeaks, but “even accessing the website itself is a crime,” and outlines its proposal for WikiLeaks’ destruction. Greenwald also points out the proposed law in Iceland which would provide meaningful whistle blower protection to groups like Wikileaks.

As the Pentagon report put it: “the governments of China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam and Zimbabwe” have all sought to block access to or otherwise impede the operations of WikiLeaks, and the U.S. Government now joins that illustrious list of transparency-loving countries in targeting them.

…The need for independent leaks and whistle-blowing exposures is particularly acute now because, at exactly the same time that investigative journalism has collapsed, public and private efforts to manipulate public opinion have proliferated. This is exemplified by the type of public opinion management campaign detailed by the above-referenced CIA Report, the Pentagon’s TV propaganda program exposed in 2008, and the ways in which private interests covertly pay and control supposedly “independent political commentators” to participate in our public debates and shape public opinion.

I highly recommend reading Greenwald’s article. It’s eye-opening on so many levels.

The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters. Glenn Greenwald. Salon.com. March 27, 2010.

[HT @JeremyScahill!]

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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