Down the Rabbit Hole: Finding ‘Evidence’ of WikiLeaks’ Crime—Part II of II

Building on yesterday’s post, today I examine some more implications of the claim made by The Times of London that it found the names of Afghan informants in the secret war logs released by WikiLeaks. In particular, what is the veracity of The Times’ claims? And what about the moral culpability of newspapers who have criticized WikiLeaks, but also cooperated in the release of allegedly harmful information.


 The Times of London said it found Afghan informant identities in files released by WikiLeaks in two hours. Really, two hours? The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel each had a month with the data and found nothing of similar magnitude, not to mention the time WikiLeaks spent reading and searching the data. Why hasn’t The Times of London been specific about which reports contain this alleged information? The records are public, after all. And if their intent is to protect those named in the reports, why haven’t they cooperated with official sources like the Pentagon so that charges can be brought against WikiLeaks either in a domestic American court or an international court with broader jurisdiction? For all the talk of right and wrong, nobody has been very willing to go after the wrongdoer. Julian Assange has appeared on the NBC’s Today Show with Meredith Vieira and sat for interviews with CNN. He isn’t exactly keeping a low profile, hoping that this charge will just blow over. Some would say he enjoys the limelight. Whether he does or doesn’t, why haven’t charges been brought? It’s strange that the obvious answer sounds almost conspiratorial—that no Afghan informant names were released and these accusations are an extension of a bankrupt Western press in coordination with hypocritical governments.

Another way in which the Western press often seems bankrupt, besides its failure to fact check important assertions, is morally so, particularly The New York Times. The Times’ moral stance against WikiLeaks publication was not linking to the documents in its story on them. Assange was correct to call this behavior ‘pusillanimous’. If The Times feels it is operating in a vague moral world as it acts as a conduit for information that might or might not serve the public, fine, but if it says it objects to WikiLeak’s release of the documents (which was in large party the story of the WikiLeaks release), then have a little backbone, why don’t you?

The point goes toward a larger one, that of moral responsibility. Merely reporting on an issue that is surrounded by moral questions isn’t good enough anymore. Perhaps it was at one time, but today (as I’ve documented) when organizations use news media as a medium to fight public opinion wars, an ‘objective’ telling of events is most likely the least true.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less