Movie Night: “We Steal Secrets”

Comments now enabled — FYWP!

The new review at Mother Jones reminded me I’m looking forward to seeing this, once it goes “on demand”. NYMag‘s movie reviewer, David Edelstein:

Before I saw Alex Gibney’s documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, I figured Gibney would be kicking the same government hornet’s nest already inflamed by his protagonist, Julian Assange—or some other nest, there being so many hornets and soul-sucking ghouls and dark subterranean forces in this and the last presidential administration that we’re practically living in Harry Potter World. But Gibney ended up following his story into other, even weirder areas. He comes to view the whistle-blowers, the cyberguerrillas in the war against all forms of secrecy, from a sort of psycho-anthropological perspective: Here, he says, is how the culture created them. And here’s how it destroys them. By the time this twisty, probing, altogether enthralling movie hits its final notes, the crimes against the Constitution and humanity have been upstaged by personal demons. Which is our woe as well….

Do you know all this? Much of the material is out there, but Gibney has a talent for creating a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to experience the full scope of this ugly, scary story. It’s not just Assange’s colleagues who talk. A few ex-CIA and Defense Department officials appear surprisingly sympathetic to the abstract idea that there are too many secrets. But what to do about that? We Steal Secrets is a documentary with the overflowing texture of fiction. It’s The Hacker’s Tragedy.

Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating, last week:

Gibney, an Academy Award-winning director who has previously turned his critical camera on the U.S. detention policy in Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron in The Smartest Guys in the Room, and the Catholic Church in Mea Maxima Culpa clearly has little sympathy for the institutions targeted by WikiLeaks or their claims for the right to confidentiality, but the film also makes a convincing case that the hubris and paranoia of Assange has done irreparable harm to the cause of transparency, echoing an argument made by many former WikiLeaks collaborators.

A few days ago, I had the chance to speak with Gibney by phone. An edited transcript…:

How did your opinion about WikiLeaks change during the making of this film?

I certainly changed my opinion of Assange, and I just my thinking about what was important about this mechanism, this electronic dropbox, which I thought was so important. I now think the publishing mechanism of WikiLeaks is what’s terribly important. My mind also changed about Bradley Manning.

But in terms of the larger issues about transparency and classification, not so much.

How did your views on Manning change?

I think he was caricatured by the military as someone who was going through a lot of personal problems and just dumped these documents in order to vent his rage over his own personal problems. The more digging we did, I found that to be a terribly unfair characterization. He certainly was going through a personal crisis. But I think he also had his own political consciousness and was disturbed by some of the things he was seeing. He may have been naïve about the ultimate use to which his leaks might be put, but I think a key part of his motivations were the motivations of a whistleblower even if he didn’t behave like a traditional whistleblower.

The title of the film, We Steal Secrets, is a pretty accurate description of what WikiLeaks does, but it’s actually a line spoken by [former CIA director] Michael Hayden to justify some of the activities of the U.S. diplomats in the cables. Is that mean to suggest that there are similarities between the ways that WikiLeaks and the U.S. government operate?

It was intended to put what WikiLeaks does in context. If the head of the CIA is looking you right in the eye and says “Let me be candid, we steal secrets. That’s what we do,” and he’s saying we do that to protect our citizens, okay, we accept that. But then there are times when leaking secrets protects us all also. It was a way of, with a bit of irony, trying to put this whole idea of stealing and leaking secrets in a larger context. It’s not so simple. Sometimes secrets are improperly kept and overclassified and leaking them can be a valuable thing, just as stealing secrets from foreign governments or terrorist organizations might be a way of protecting the public.

But there was also a suggestion made by several of Assange’s former associates in the film that he has begun to act more like the very organizations he opposes. Do you agree with that?

I think that’s true. I’m sorry to say he started to behave more like a CIA agent than he would like to admit…

94 replies
  1. 1
    Yatsuno says:

    And the floodgates open…

  2. 2
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    second.

  3. 3
    dewzke says:

    and the site looks fucked

  4. 4
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    OT: The head of Code Pink went on Fox to say that she couldn’t let Obama keep blaming Congress.

  5. 5
    Redshirt says:

    3 days I’ve been here. No food. No water. No light. No reason.

    Torture – but why? I don’t know anything about anything.

  6. 6
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    To the point of the post, is it true assange is such a douchebag? everything I’ve read suggests he is. And, while I think the project is worthwhile, goddamn, but they get some grade-A assholes to front for these efforts. I guess it goes with the territory.

  7. 7
    Yatsuno says:

    I’m sorry to say he started to behave more like a CIA agent than he would like to admit

    I’m not surprised by this. Assagne turned what was supposed to be a horizontal organisation into his own personal fiefdom where he made the rules and stomped on those who threatened his ego. He became that which he hated the most.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): :: facepalm ::

  8. 8
    Yatsuno says:

    For Medea. And Jeebus fuck.

  9. 9
    the Conster says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    And the firebagger/teabagger circle is unbroken. What a fucking surprise.

  10. 10
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Yatsuno: This is what happens when the main egotist also happens to see the project as a means to an income.
    I mean, really–is ANYBODY surprised that the project flamed out so spectacularly?

  11. 11
    Redshift says:

    A few ex-CIA and Defense Department officials appear surprisingly sympathetic to the abstract idea that there are too many secrets.

    “Surprisingly”? And only a few? That seems odd. Virtually everyone I’ve ever met who works with any sort of government security thinks there are way too many secrets, and it’s a big problem.

  12. 12
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @the Conster: well, I guess I can hope that enraged tpartiers will fill town halls this summer demanding to know why they don’t impeach that tyrant for not closing gitmo. As long as they’re shouting “close Gitmo”, there’s some progress. “Close Gitmo” has not exactly been a cry heard too often from the rightists.

  13. 13
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Redshift: I don’t know how many briefings I’ve been to, and saw something classified secret or secret noforn, and the briefing included video with the little ‘CNN’ icon in the corner.

  14. 14
    Yatsuno says:

    @Soonergrunt: It’s funny because there is a specific point where you can see the purpose of WikiLeaks slowly drift off towards Assagne’s need to slight the US over exposing wrongs wherever they happen. I’m certain they had tons of info on corruption in Russia an China but nothing was ever released. It’s a clear sign of losing the plot. And he used Manning and left him twisting as the fall guy.

  15. 15
    eemom says:

    Also too — don’t forget HRC is TOTALLY gonna turn all this bad shit around, come 2017.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    All three cats continue to be absolutely freakin’ obsessed with their new nekoflies toy. Charlotte was bugging me to bring it out all morning before I left for work and all evening after I got home.

    Always good to have that $20 be well spent.

  17. 17
    Redshirt says:

    He sells
    the secrets
    that you keep,
    when you’re
    talking in
    your sleep.

  18. 18
    eemom says:

    oowee, just my comments being eated?? whuzzup with that? FYWP haz a brain!

  19. 19
    Soonergrunt says:

    @eemom: nothing in the filter as of midnight, CST.

  20. 20
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @Redshirt:
    Secret lovers, yeah, that’s what we are
    Tryin’ so hard to hide the way we steal
    ‘Cause they belong to someone else
    But we can’t let go
    ‘Cause what we feel is, oh, so real
    So real, so real. So-oh real

  21. 21
    Steeplejack says:

    @dewzke:

    Did you see this?

    It might occur to you that the site apparently is not fucked for everybody and that there might be something about your particular situation/configuration that is causing problems. But no one can help you without more specific information than “the site looks fucked.”

    But by all means continue to curse the darkness, if that’s your thing.

  22. 22
    Yatsuno says:

    @eemom: It has become aware…

  23. 23
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Talking in Your Sleep – the Romantics

    The hair alone is worth a few seconds.

  24. 24
    eemom says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    She’s deleted two of my comments so far. Believez you me, I can pass a Lawyers Suck/Cool Kidz Hates Eemom and Burnsy/and….and……oh yeah, SUPERFUND! lie detector test, on this point.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    … and, yep, there goes the last nail in the coffin of my patience for the firebagger crowd. Bring on the fucking meteor already.

  26. 26
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Yatsuno: Well, one of the more obvious tells that this whole wikileaks thing was a load of shit from the get-go and that Assange is a con-artist–a very talented con-artist, but a con-artist none the less is where he went to avoid prosecution in Sweden. Equador isn’t exactly known as a bastion of freedom and transparent government. A couple of his ardent supporters say he raped them, and he turns that into a plot by the US government to assassinate him. I’m pretty sure if we wanted him dead, we could have done it in far less convoluted fashion, and since we’d be blamed anyway, why go to the trouble of doing it covert if we were going to do it at all? And of course, the idiots buy it hook, line, and sinker.
    The sign of a master con man–keep the con going as long as possible.

  27. 27
    eemom says:

    Kind of pathetic, actually — when a FPer on a blog like this one can’t take the heat to the point of actually deleting comments, instead of responding to them.

  28. 28
    Soonergrunt says:

    @eemom: why delete those others and not the one to which I am responding?

  29. 29
    eemom says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Ask her.

  30. 30
    Redshift says:

    @Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound: Hmm… Somehow I can’t see the Koch brothers paying for busloads of them to get to town halls on that issue.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    And Code Pink goes full metal Nader into the dustbin of history, collaborating with the fascist fucks of Faux.

  32. 32
    Mike E says:

    Loud noises!

  33. 33
    magurakurin says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Never been a big Wikileaks fan. I never really thought they revealed anything all that big. The supposed blockbuster video of the helicopter attack in Iraq just wasn’t what people claimed it to be. It was supposed to show the American pilots as cold- hearted killers on an out of control rampage. But it just doesn’t come off that way to me. It seems to me like those men had amazing restraint and fire discipline as they waited and waited for the permission to fire. That and the facts of the actually situation were not revealed. There was a fire fight happening on the next block, which the pilots were well aware of. What was shocking to me was all the shock that people showed when they saw an image of actual warfare. What did those people think was going on in a war zone? And most of those “outraged” probably supported the decision to send those men there in the first place. As I remember support for the Iraq invasion was at 90 percent when it started.

    fuck Julian Assange, rapist asshole.

  34. 34
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: She exposed her ratfking and unfamiliarity with junior high level civics.

  35. 35
    Alison says:

    @magurakurin:

    fuck Julian Assange, rapist asshole.

    x10000

  36. 36
    Soonergrunt says:

    @magurakurin: And then the Army released the entire video, which was almost twice as long as the one WL put out which shows them asking questions and waiting for orders,and so forth and various other things that WL edited out. So much for exposing the truth.
    Yes, we cheer and talk shit when we think we’ve killed bad guys. Guess what? They cheer and talk shit when they think they’ve killed bad guys (meaning us, of course.)

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    Ĉiuj miaj komentoj nun aperas en Esperanto.

  38. 38
    Yatsuno says:

    @NotMax: :)

    I tried learning Esperanto once. Not real sure why I stopped.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @Yatsuno

    Exactly the same thing with me.

    Probably stopped because I had no one to practice it with/on.

    Then again, my mother speaks 9 languages (might be more by now; she was studying Chinese back when she was 80), so was used to growing up understanding (though it was often handier to pretend I didn’t) and speaking a smattering of all sorts of stuff.

  40. 40
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @Yatsuno:
    I don’t think that is fair. Assange has an ego and got caught up in the ‘fame’, maybe. But he isn’t the one who left Manning hanging, so to speak. That is entirely Lamo(?) & the US govt.

  41. 41
    David Koch says:

    David Plouffe is a fucking genius!

    Hiring Code Pink (aka Margaret Dumont) to make Obama look great — what a masterstroke. You couldn’t buy that kind of publicity.

  42. 42
    Lumpy says:

    Liberals seem to think Assange is a Good Guy because he’s leaked some things which support their causes. But remember that Wikileaks leaked the private emails from British scientists which supposedly showed them cooking their data (debunked later, but too late). That fiasco set the climate change movement back at least 10 years IMO, maybe more. I don’t see Wikileaks as agents of good, I see them as agents of chaos. They have allegiances to nobody. In addition, there is high probability that Wikileaks is already (or could become) a source of disinformation (even unwittingly). Maybe having some filters on the flow of information is a good thing, if you think political stability is desirable.

  43. 43
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Debbie(aussie):

    But he isn’t the one who left Manning hanging, so to speak. That is entirely Lamo(?) & the US govt.

    How so Lamo and the US government? Unless “left hanging” has a different definition in Oz, neither encouraged Manning to leak and then walked away, afaik.

  44. 44
    Yatsuno says:

    @Debbie(aussie): Lamo turned him in to the military, so he betrayed him. But Assagne promised initially to help with a defence fund that never came into fruition. Then when called on it, acted like he barely even knew Manning. He left Manning with no defence and no follow through on his promises of assistance. That left him hanging.

  45. 45
    David Koch says:

    @eemom:

    when a FPer on a blog like this one can’t take the heat to the point of actually deleting comments, instead of responding to them.

    Are you saying a post on transparency degenerated into censoring and concealing comments. No contradiction there.

  46. 46
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Henry Gondorff: You have to keep this con even after you take his money. He can’t know you took him.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00.....=qt1438439

  47. 47
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @Yatsuno:
    I didn’t know that. Thanks for the Info. Makes me sad. I so want there to be people that do the right thing because it is the right thing, you know; people with principles.

  48. 48

    Paranoia, paranoia
    Everybody’s comin’ to get me
    Just say you never met me
    I’m runnin’ underground with the moles
    Diggin’ holes
    Hear the voices in my head
    I swear to God it sounds like they’re snoring
    But if you’re bored then you’re boring
    The agony and the irony, they’re killing me, whoa!

  49. 49
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Debbie(aussie):

    Have you ever watched Chinatown? Sometimes doing the right thing is also doing the wrong thing.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Even the liberal Code Pink, eh? That’s too bad.

  52. 52
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    That second link in the Foreign Policy snippet contains a shining example of a Chinatown situation. Hint: It’s the part about Belarus.

  53. 53
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I’m in a tizzy because of the screw up on our addition that resulted from us “doing the right thing” by informing the city about a sewer line running across the footprint.

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): What the fuck is with that? I’m not firing on all 8 at this time of the morning but the article seems to be two separate movie reviews!

  55. 55
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    Oh, that’s what happened! I saw you mention something about that briefly earlier this week, but I never caught the fleshed-out version. Sucks, man. Hope you can get some sort of variance.

    So the city forgot that the sewer was there, huh? I recall having to hunt down buried gas and electric lines when I was doing my community service, but the city I was doing my service in didn’t own those lines. Easy to see that kinda thing lost in a bureaucratic shuffle. But sewer lines?

  56. 56
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    What the fuck is with that?

    Well, I’m not Anne Laurie’s editor, but even if I was, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Don’t they have mental exercises geared specifically towards you Boomers that help make these sorts of things less confusing?

  57. 57
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)@raven:
    Am sorry to hear about your troubles. Hope it is all sorted soon. Also hope the surgery your wife had is showing some success.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Ha! That is the stance our builder is taking after we received a notice yesterday that we (he) didn’t do a proper site survey and it was our responsibility to pay to have the sewer moved. In the final paragraph of a lengthy letter explaining why we can’t build the city utility manager said they recognize that there are other issues with the line and that they are willing to move it. The catch is that they need to do a study and think it would take “several months”. We were so fucking happy to hear that news that we collapsed on each other near tears. I sent it to the builder and he seems very unhappy and wants to know if we called a lawyer.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): It’s not Anne’s it’s the article itself although I think maybe you were not talking about the movie review?

  60. 60
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    No, I wasn’t talking about the review, but this link within.

    @raven:

    Yes, because it’s the federal government that’s so fucking hard to navigate, amirite? Government at the local level is so. much. better.

  61. 61
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Whoa, I see! And and antisemite named Israel !

    As far as the government, I am mixed. We got some fucked up old sewers in this area and the fact that they are willing to work with us is pretty positive. I can’t imagine that taking legal action against them would make the process go any faster and very well could result in us not getting to build at all.

  62. 62
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    Oh, yeah, I wouldn’t press ’em too hard on it.

    Are you in Athens proper?

  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    @raven

    What can one say about your unwanted journey into bureaucratic Kafkadom?

    May it go as smoothly as it possibly can.

    Oh, and to state the obvious, do make sure that you are cc’d on every letter sent to your lawyer by the great gray powers that be, and that the lawyer is cc’d on all correspondence sent to you.

    Any others in the neighborhood who have built additions? Might have some pointers.

  64. 64
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Yea, were three blocks from the city maintenance yard. What is saving us, besides the fact that I contacted a friend who happens to be a commissioner, is that this old nasty line runs UNDER a house two doors down. We can’t build a slab over 20 ft of the line but there are already houses over it.

  65. 65
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    So is this line you’re dealing with active, or was it made redundant at some point in the past?

  66. 66
    raven says:

    @NotMax: This is really tough. Many houses on our block are connected in front but the sewer serving them turns from the street down the side of our house and then across our two backyards (we own the house next door) and then under the next house to and continues under the street and under at least one more house. So we are not just dealing with ourselves. Had our builder, a friend for now anyway, done a proper site survey the permit would have never been issued. With so many properties involved it makes sense that the city has to has access. If something happened and they needed to get to it a whole bunch of people would be “in deep shit”. I called a high powered lawyer but can’t talk to him until Tuesday. I cannot imagine anything he could do to make this happen faster so I’m not too crazy about spending money in that direction. What I’m feeling from my builder, between the lines of his email, is that it will fuck up his schedule with other work to delay ours. I just told him we needed to talk in person this weekend.

    eta Maybe they would let us build since they have promised to move it but I doubt it. If it got damaged everyone would be cooked.

  67. 67
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): It is THE active sewer line for the block. Fucking manhole is right at the back of the existing house and it turns right there.

  68. 68
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @raven:

    Aww, fuck.

    Well, I hope it gets better for ya sooner rather than later. I’m off to sleep- need rest for the Champions League final this afternoon. And Wings-Hawks later on.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): It did get better, for three days the word was that after tearing down our deck, cutting down trees and starting the grading, we were dead. We have new life. Our builder may not have the time to wait but we do. I hope he doesn’t want to play hardball because we have no contract and have not payed him a dime. Xin Loi mofo!

  70. 70
    Fred says:

    @Soonergrunt: There is a lot that seems fishy about the way the swedish case came about and has been handled by the swedes.
    Firstly the Reinfeldt administration is suspect by their association with one Karl Rove. Anybody doing business with that scumbag gets bonus demotion points from the get go. And if there is anyone with reason to want to keep the past burried it is Rove.
    Anyhow, Exactly why can’t the swedish investigators take a 60 minute flight to London to interview the guy? Noooo, it’s extradition or nuthin’. Now I know the swedes are sticklers for proceedural propriety and all but come on folks, just get the information and then figure out if there is a case.
    Then of course there is the case. The two victims had to meet at a speech engagement by their assailant to figure out that they had been raped? Really? I’ve never been raped but I think I would know it if it was happening to me and I wouldn’t need to compare notes to figure it out. Maybe that’s just me.
    But to give the women here a break, they claim to have just wanted some help (from the police?) getting Mr. Assange to get a STD test and it was the prosecutor (national not local as one would normally expect) who decided there was a crime to go after.
    Julian Assange may be a dusch and I’ve heard it said that he kinda screwed the Wikileaks pooch by making himself a high profile symbol but… I don’t have an ax to grind here but the way this thing unfolded stinks like last months fish.

  71. 71
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Fred:

    Exactly why can’t the swedish investigators take a 60 minute flight to London to interview the guy?

    It’s not simply an interview, it’s an indictment. The prosecutors have everything they need to go forward with their cases. They need Assange in court in Sweden to formally make the charges. What’s fishy is how this “interview” meme is the narrative still being pushed by Assange’s supporters. If you can swallow that tainted morsel, how many more are you going to swallow before you keel over dead from food poisoning?

  72. 72
    Todd says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    OT: The head of Code Pink went on Fox to say that she couldn’t let Obama keep blaming Congress.

    Next time she pulls a stunt like that, I hope some overzealous cop splits her skull open like a ripe melon with a maglite.

  73. 73
    debbie says:

    @Fred:

    Actually, I believe the women want him to take an AIDS test because he was far too manly to use a condom. This is a bit more consequential to them.

    His refusal would be in keeping with his Wiki actions. There is a type of human being who believes their cause is so worthy, it will transcend their own shortcomings. And then what actually happens is they subvert their cause with their sense of entitlement. At the end of the day, Assange couldn’t give a fuck about Wiki. It was all, and only, about him.

  74. 74
    Another Halocene Human says:

    OT: The head of Code Pink went on Fox to say that she couldn’t let Obama keep blaming Congress.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): And another authoritarian finds her forever home. Awww.

  75. 75
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Yatsuno: because it was pointless?

  76. 76
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): Steve Jobs by all accounts was just such a douchebag, but 1984 marketing projects aside, IBM is not as scary as the US State Dept.

  77. 77
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @debbie: Yeah, far left movements are full of them.

    Some of them troll this very website.

  78. 78
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Chris: The love ballad of Jane and Grover wasn’t the last straw?

  79. 79
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @magurakurin: I thought the leaked cables started some shit off in North Africa that turned into the Arab Spring. Isn’t that HIGHLY significant?

  80. 80
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Fred: You mean there’s a country where there are charges for sexual assault below “forcible rape”, that “she was unconscious, so what’s the harm” is not exculpatory, and you don’t get all charges dropped as a courtesy because “she’s a slut/whore, she went drinking with me and fucks me all the time, anyway”.

    Yeah, I guess that might be a problem.

  81. 81
    jamick6000 says:

    @Another Halocene Human: you’re talking about this guy, right?

    @Todd:

    Next time she pulls a stunt like that, I hope some overzealous cop splits her skull open like a ripe melon with a maglite.

  82. 82
    ericblair says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    because it was pointless?

    Esperanto, that is. Yep, there are a whole pile of real languages to learn that are actually useful, have hundreds of years of literature and poetry, and open up new possibilities for you. Can’t see the point of learning Esperanto or Klingon or Quenya, although if someone needs an Esperanto to Klingon translator you can pretty much name your price.

    Most of the problems with secrecy in the government aren’t to do with actually concealing information (that’s different). It’s bureaucratic power. By overclassifying information, you can make others jump through hoops and come begging to you to get what they need. The intelligence community is especially bad about this, and has been forever.

    Also, at a very fundamental level secrecy is identity. The only way you can prove that you are you online is by secrets hidden somewhere, either in your head, on a card, or in a biometric profile. If someone else has this, they are you. A world without secrets is a world with no identity besides an anonymous unreliable profile, and you can’t trust anyone or anything. Might soudn good if you’re a hacker anarchist, until you realize that someone else has got the private key to your bitcoin wallet.

  83. 83
    Todd says:

    @jamick6000:

    Cry, hippie, cry….

  84. 84
  85. 85
    bargal says:

    @Alison: Rapist? Really?

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @bargal: Alleged rapist.

  87. 87
    W. Kiernan says:

    HEY RAVEN! Is that a public sewer line? Is it across your private property, and if so did the city have an easement to put it there? If the sewer line does need to be relocated, are they planning to put it in a pre-existing easement, and if not, how much are they willing to pay for an easement across your private property? Perhaps you can make a deal with them.

  88. 88
    lawguy says:

    @Yatsuno: I have no idea what that means. How is Assange acting more like a CIA agent? Agents tend to be kind of quiet and undercover don’t they?

  89. 89
    lawguy says:

    @Soonergrunt: Your points are very well taken, or rather would be if any of your statements matched reality.

  90. 90
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Ye gods. I think I have an old Barbie with that hairstyle.

  91. 91
    belieber says:

    I will look forward to stealing it on Piratebay.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: I honestly am disgusted by your attempt here.

  93. 93
    Donald says:

    I strongly suspect Assange is an asshole, but can’t understand (or rather, sympathize with) people who think this is more important than what wikileaks uncovered. I care more that our government didn’t prosecute torturers and pressured others not to do so, that we and the government of Yemen lied about an airstrike that killed civilians and that the Guardian newspaper wrote a series of stories based on wikileaks documents on how the US government knew the Iraqi government was torturing its captives and ordered soldiers to look the other way–

    link

    But yeah, sure, all this pales into insignificance next to the flaws of one egomaniac. I think that if I go see any documentaries in the near future, it’ll probably be one put out by Jeremy Scahill or someone else who seems to have a sense of perspective.

  94. 94
    ed says:

    Donald wrote above in the comment thread: “I strongly suspect Assange is an asshole, but can’t understand (or rather, sympathize with) people who think this is more important than what wikileaks uncovered.” Exactly. That’s where I put my x100. Even if Wikileaks has ironically become similar in some ways to what it is fighting, that is completely irrelevant to what it has exposed, and neither Julian Assange’s personality nor his management style mean that he or Bradley Manning should die (it’s extremely easy to find people declaring that one or the other or both should hang, over and above the fact that both are threatened with the death penalty in the US for espionage). Weird that most of those people who want Assange & Manning to hang seem to think that the much more important question, whether the criminals exposed by Manning/Assange should also suffer the consequences, is unimportant.

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