Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks have devalued their brand

Although I'm not blogging much at the moment, I feel I have to comment on the recent wikiLeaks 'disclosures'. Having an outlet for real whistle blowing, for things that really matter, would be a real asset to the everyone. However, finding out that US diplomats make frank assessments about the world at large is a million miles away from that. It's almost embarrassing that Julian Assange thinks that this is newsworthy, because all it means is that the US diplomats are doing their jobs. In my opinion, WikiLeaks has seriously devalued its brand.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

what a boring post Mr gay banker. Stick to the theme you set for yourself or stop the blog. Think about it: you have an opinion about Wiki, so what, why is it blogworthy????? where's your edge?

Justin said...

@ "Anonymous": The entire point of blogs is to voice personal opinions... And opinions on this issue at this time are certainly newsworthy enough for major news outlets across the globe... And who says that one cannot shift "themes" for one blog post without being obligated to stop blogging... Really?

GB said...

Thanks for your support :-), Justin. I recall having to make this point before when I wrote a cautionary tale about monogamy, but it looks like I need to say it again:

"Just to make sure no one is in any doubt, this is the way it works. I'll write whatever I want. My postings might be little episodes in my life, Dear GB replies, stories like this one, or whatever I feel like at the time. And then readers are welcome to leave comments criticising my views, giving different opinions, even criticising my writing style LOL ("... the tone of voice a bit twee"). But please don't try and deny me my right to freedom of expression on my own blog!"

Anyway, in case anyone hadn't spotted, I don't have time to blog at the moment but I'm still alive! Hopefully one day I'll be able to start posting regularly again :-).

GB xxx

TPEditor said...

The nonsense of it is the assumption that our diplomats are not dictating similarly frank and detailed critiques for their masters at the FCO and the Cabinet Office about politicians in the US. It's what they are being payed to do.

And as for what that prize pratt, Randy 'How very dare you' Andy, has to say ... who give's a flying fig.

Keep on with it GB and remember what it say's over the door at Al Murray's boozer, 'my 'house, my rules!'

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is good to see a blog that picks up on issues that are hot topics, especially current affairs.

PS - Happy 21st for tomorrow GB...

Andy
xoxo

BenC said...

Forbes have a long but interesting interview with Julian Assange. He says there have been more leaks now they are better known and tries to justify concentrating on the big leaks.

Wikileaks seems to be distracted by big leaks which as you say don't seem to contain much of great significance. The page with the old leaks including the BNP membership list and Kaupthing seems to have gone and he says the submission form doesn't work any more. Maybe something they're working on will change our minds but I agree it seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

"However, finding out that US diplomats make frank assessments about the world at large is a million miles away from that."

This is rather a gross oversimplification. True, much of the documents come as absolutely no surprise (you'd have to be naive to think that diplomats don't spy on each other or say bad things behind their back), but there are several significant hard pieces of evidence of very serious crimes that you appear to have short-sightedly overlooked.

http://www.alternet.org/world/149015/7_shocking_wikileaks_revelations/

Perhaps you should make an effort to actually read through the documents before making a half-assed attempt at being a pundit, instead of presumably just getting a soundbyte from a crappy news blog or an RSS news feed.

GB said...

My point, most recent anonymous commenter (whoever you are), is that wikileaks SHOULD focus on crimes. Instead, we have a huge pile of 'leaks', which tell us little that we couldn't guess. Some of your 7 shocking revelations which are meant to justify what WikiLeaks are doing are underwhelming to say the least, e.g. "Iran might have long-range missiles". If a small number of crimes are visible in cablegate, those are the cables that deserve to be made public. By making the rest public, WikiLeaks are simply embarrassing themselves.

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

"wikileaks SHOULD focus on crimes."

You appear to have missed the point of Wikileaks. It it not a place of revealing simply crime, but publishing secret documents that reveal misconduct by governments (and businesses, etc) the public would do well to know about. For instance, Australia's internet censorship list is not technically a crime, but that does not diminish the importance of Wikileaks publishing the list.

But silly me! The current leaked cables only show "that US diplomats make frank assessments about the world at large" and only a "small number of crimes". I mean, who cares about publishing gross censorship abuses or serious diplomatic failings or plans to spy on UN members, right? Hey, while we're at it, why don't we just ignore the evidence of crimes altogether? After all, according to you there's only a "small number" apparently.

Thank goodness I discovered your blog to tell me that there's only evidence of a "small number of crimes". I mean, here I was wasting my time actually reading the documents on Wikileaks instead of just taking the opinion of an investment banker with no experience whatsoever in the realm of journalism or politics. How foolish I was!

GB said...

I wonder who this recent commenter is, and why he remains so anonymous?

Anyway, I'm glad he thinks that Wikileaks is a place for "... publishing secret documents that reveal misconduct by governments (and businesses, etc) the public would do well to know about". What's less clear is why he thinks ordinary diplomatic cables fall into that category. Doesn't he think that when honest diplomats do their job, they should have a right to do so without having their private thoughts made so public?

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

"ordinary diplomatic cables"

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/contractor-bought-afghan-policemen-drugs-boys-cable-reveals/

Yep, just some 'ordinary diplomatic cables', certainly no coverups of drugs or pedophilia to be seen here.

What's it like being caught with your foot jammed firmly in your mouth over and over?

GB said...

The recent anonymous commenter still seems to think that just because a few diplomatic cables may be worth publishing, then that means that they should all be published. There's no doubt in my mind that the cable about "Critical infrastructure and key resources located abroad" puts innocent lives at risk. What did the people who work in those locations do wrong, because they're now potential terrorist targets? Luckily I keep my feet jammed firmly on the ground :-).

I'm also not the only columnist that thinks WikiLeaks isn't doing what they should be doing. See for example this article. That columnist makes the point that over the past 50 years, leaks of diplomatic cables would have contained genuinely damming evidence of government behaviour. What we're actually seeing is exceedingly mild by that yardstick!

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

"Still, rather than exposing ineptitude, the secret documents actually reflect well on U.S. policy and diplomacy.

Take a moment to think over the sensitive U.S. diplomatic and military documents that could have been revealed over the past half-century. There would have been reports of attempted assassinations, bribes and the procurement of prostitutes for foreign leaders, or the illegal use of torture."


Wait, so Obama pressuring Spain not to go after Bush for torture "reflects well U.S. policy" and isn't a case of revealing the defense of "illegal use of torture"?

Well fuck me, every day must be opposite day in your world. Perhaps you shouldn't pick articles that make you like a total twat.

GB said...

Today another Bloomberg columnist wrote a good article about WikiLeaks. The article had the following conclusion:

"[Julian Assange] may be right when he says the sexual charges against him are political in nature. They’re also a pittance if, as many fear, his crusade against government secrecy results in real heroes getting killed."

The recent anonymous commenter (whoever he or she is) needs to learn how to balance all the facts, rather than just focussing on a few items which might support their case. I said several comments ago that a few of these cables deserve to be published. But by publishing all of them, I feel more strongly than ever that WikiLeaks was seriously devalued its brand.

GB xxx

n.f. said...

First off, the damage was done the moment the US decided to make hundreds of thousands of classified documents available to hundreds of thousands of Americans. That was just plain dumb. Second, and with respect because I both enjoy and admire your blog, you're missing the point. Wikileaks doesn't have a brand. It's not part of any establishment. It doesn't exist to behave in a considered and responsible manner. It exists to make the world a more open place. . .and presumably to provide a living for its staff. And for me what it has done is point out how those who administer our lives demand to do so in secret, because in that world secrecy adds status and because they do not like being held accountable. Of course there is a great deal of information that does need to be kept secret. There is also a vast amount that doesn't, other than to save someone's embarrassment. The assumption is made that 'we', the common people, aren't equipped to handle the truth. Worse, that we're not worthy of knowing it. Believe me, as someone who was once part of it, that culture of secrecy is wholly detrimental to society. In your own financial world you must have seen examples where a little more openness and transparency could have averted scandal and tragedy. It's this that Wikileaks and other organisations exists to try and change. It's not blameless, might even have a hidden agenda but thank fuck it exists. Check out Cryptome.org some time. And did you see John Pilger's documentary the other night? If the media had done it's job and the public had known the truth about Iraq, there was no way the UK would have been part of that invasion.