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Dec 3, 2010

WikiLeaks -- time for a register

What is required now is a sign up registry for the two complete logs (with Cablegate still to come), by which media outlets, journo schools and individual groups could sign up to cover manageable chunks of the material, and then link back whatever work they get out of it, to the register.

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The first four stories on the UK news tonight were all either created by, or transformed by, the WikiLeaks Cablegate releases.

The governor of the Bank of England has been revealed as no benign public servant, but a player, trying to push the incoming government towards a harsher, more purely Thatcherite economic policy, and worried that they lacked the guts to do it; the Sri Lankan President was greeted with a huge demonstration supercharged with revelations of government involvement in massacres of Tamils; the “special relationship” is being battered by revelations of non-reciprocity on extradition, spy flyovers and the like; and even the separate news of Russia’s winning the 2018 World Cup was set in the context of its utter corruption — something that many people now felt they knew as much about as the elite, dictating the policy we should take towards them.

How long this will go on no-one knows. But while it does, power relations are being subtly transformed in ways that may have effects for some time to come. Once WikiLeaks manage to secure service, and eventually place the Cablegate logs online, there will be three huge volumes — the Iraq logs, the Afghan logs and Cablegate — which effectively constitute an alternative history of the present.

But simultaneous to that begins the third level, which is the gradual and systematic interpretation and synthesis of it. WL has done some of this already, data-mining for comprehensive body counts etc, and groups all over the world are taking separate chunks of it, but what is required now is a sign up registry for the two complete logs (with Cablegate still to come), by which media outlets, journo schools and individual groups could sign up to cover manageable chunks of the material, and then link back whatever work they get out of it, to the register.

The register — which could have multiple indices, so that for example the Afghan log register could be sorted alphabetically, by zone, by event type, etc, as the log itself is — would not be prescriptive or exclusive. Multiple people could sign up for the same patch if they wanted, but the effect would be for people to sign up for blank spots and fill it out.

From that register, a second level interpretation and synthesis would come, of thousands of reports in different forms — and they would in term form the platform for a third level whereby meta-analyses and studies could be done. These would include cross-referencing between the different logs, to build up a larger picture.

Quite possibly, I’ll now be told there is such a thing, and pointed to it.

If there is, it’s not clearly visible. And if it were done, not everyone would wish to openly be a part of it. But it strikes me that it’s the essential corollary to creating a countervailing informational power, which is WikiLeaks aim. Effectively a multiply-sourced, alter-interpretation would start to reframe reality in ways that “critique” itself is not able to do.

The abysmal nature of mirrors troubles us. All will be Tlon.

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40 comments

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40 thoughts on “WikiLeaks — time for a register

  1. Gederts Skerstens

    From Venise: “…Are you suggesting North Korea is a leftish thing…”
    It may be. If any of their starving citizens tries to find food in China, across the border, to feed their kids, and get caught and sent back, they’ll get beaten and sent to jail.
    A standard Leftish Thing.

  2. whoknows

    PS to the above, before another reply, I am not suggesting Nth Korea is a ‘leftie’ thing either – it is a brutal dictatorship with a broken people and a broke country. The pretense the army operates under is that of fear. They all toe the line.

  3. whoknows

    Well GEDERTS SKERSTENS I do love your take on Nth Korea – true as it is with a touch of fun sarcasm.

    But while I understand the difference between reality and perception I wonder at your inference that I am in some way ‘left’ thinking or tending some ‘religious’ view. This deduction of your does appear to have a perceived reality to it, when in truth the reality of it is not based on such a perception at all.

    I also fail to grasp seeing the greatest good emanating from the Conservative Right only. For me the greatest good comes from those who see no separation of who they truly are and how they live without the need to judge, irrespective of race, religion, culture or politics.

  4. Venise Alstergren

    GEDERTS: Are you suggesting North Korea is a leftish thing. It may have started out as Communism, and Kim Il Sung certainly paid a lot of lip service to Communism, but his son, Kim Jong il seems to have has given up any pretence of the left. And is now another right-wing dictator. His son, Kim Il un, if rumour is to be believed, will be even worse.

    Why do dictators love the goose-step? Is one of the greater mysteries of life.

  5. Gederts Skerstens

    WHOKNOWS continued the lefty take: “…If only reality wasn’t moulded into individual perception…”

    Reality and Perception are two different things. A human, ant, crayfish or bacterial view of the world may have some correspondence with reality but doesn’t affect it. It affects the creatures’ behaviour but doesn’t alter the underlying reality in any way.
    The Conservative Right holds Truth as the greatest Good. Something to be pursued and found for its own sake.
    The Left, or other Religious, see Truth as more or less irrelevant in human affairs. Behaviour is everything and you can allocate huge resources to alter Perception. The common term for the disjoint between Perception and Reality is Fantasy, or when enforced by some human agency, Lying.
    A fine example of Lefty Lying in action are the huge North Korean ‘Oh How Happy We Are’ parades. Emaciated, rouged-up skeletons beaten into a particular Perception marching with the horrible rictus that simulates a smile in totalitarian societies. Oh How Happy We Are!

  6. Venise Alstergren

    WHOKNOWS: Let’s agree to start over again. 🙂 😎

    “”It is their deceitful decisions that created the threat of reprisal.”” Seldom has a truer sentence been written. Cheers V 🙂

  7. whoknows

    ”@VENISE ALSTERGREN One last reply to you my friend, I wasn’t attempting to use any comment to suggest you were from the far right in your thinking. I do not see any implied reference that it was your opinion I was referring to.

    I merely made reference to what is the established political line, both here and in the US, that the WL document releases “will place troops at risk.”

    Here, let’s agree – that is rubbish!

    It is their deceitful decisions that created the threat of reprisal.

  8. Venise Alstergren

    PS: “”@VENISE ALSTERGREN – The comment you refer to is a far right response, the warmongers response, the corporate few who gain from such exploits response – not mine!””

    For you to suggest that I come from the far right, reveals you have not read any of my remarks either.

  9. Venise Alstergren

    WHOKNOWS: You waffle on in ever decreasing circles without actually saying something significant and until I read this:- “”Call me fanciful and a dreamer, but show me that any religion, culture, religion or race has solved the riddle so far and I’ll consider joining.”” I imagined you to be of a religious bent.

    I went on to read “”what decisions made by politicians who now defame WL’s have they made that puts our country and the men & women who serve in these horrondous wars at greater risk.”” I found to be obscure.

    If I’ve inadvertently misunderstood your confusing syntax I apologise.

  10. MLF

    @WhoKnows, I like your style. Thanks for the link on Greg Mortensen. I look forward to learning more.

  11. whoknows

    @MLF – I do agree with you. Rudd’s diplomacy is not in question for me either. His position while said in private cables to Hilary Clinton was also clearly known by the Chinese Politbureau. He also discussed their position with Tibet. So diplomacy can be conducted with integrity and clearness. He didn’t show one face to them and another to our allies. And it wasn’t necessary.

    From this position human rights, trade, and methods of resolving conflict can be discussed. When we attach blame, or external judgement to resolve issues then sensitivities arise and it becomes a question of pride, culture, religion or race.

    Remove these from the discussion and seek common ground that (even with the “baddies”) for as wrong as we may see their actions, they are people with children etc., but they only see, through generations of “learning”, that war, dominance and conflict is the way to achieve what they want. I do believe when a human is reached and their heart sees a different way, that change will occur. Call me fanciful and a dreamer, but show me that any religion, culture, religion or race has solved the riddle so far and I’ll consider joining.

    Not that Greg Mortensen will change the world but he is one American working with the “worst of the worst” as far as the west is concerned, with warlords, Taliban etc., and is changing their view one village at a time and even getting the Muslim elders in these villages to see the importance of education for females. No war we’ve been involved in spending gazillions has achieved that. He is being employed by the military to educate on how to use diplomacy to create change.

    A bigger stick than theirs will not achieve this and as long as we view aggression with this response, we will support it’s continuance. It is an attitudinal change that needs to happen, one by one, by many.

    FYI: http://tinyurl.com/agtayx

  12. whoknows

    @VENISE ALSTERGREN – The comment you refer to is a far right response, the warmongers response, the corporate few who gain from such exploits response – not mine! As I went on to say: One has to ask (and this was my point) what decisions made by politicians who now defame WL’s have they made that puts our country and the men & women who serve in these horrondous wars at greater risk.

    For the record I am not a supporter of the “have and have more’s” corporate maneuvers of war at the expense of men and women. I see it as the most unpatriotic act one can do – and that WL’s is exposing this is fantastic!!

    Maybe you don’t see my point – did you actually read the entire post or just react to the first line? Save your guile for those against the need for change, as I for one support it and will energetically live to create a better place my my kids and theirs
    and yours.

  13. Venise Alstergren

    WHOKNOWS: Clearly you don’t know. “”It can also be seen that the release of WL documents puts our country and troops at risk.””

    What absolute bollocks. The far right live in fear. Julian Assange’s only crime is to make the USA, look like the morally bankrupt entity it is. He has made them look foolish. And, since the American’s own Australia, our PM has merely jumped to attention and saluted.

    Out there, in the real world, leaders and politicians will be using these Wiki-Leaks to sort out how the information was available in the first place, and how to prevent future leaks.

    I see you weep no tears for all the people, in different parts of the world, who have died in America’s war on the planet. AKA The Pax Americana.

  14. MLF

    @WhoKnows – that said, i.e. my previous post, I do like the sound of the world you imagine.

  15. whoknows

    Reality is constant.

    The first doctor who pronounced that humans had their own circulation system was denounced by the church that held that reality was, it was where the spirit resided in a person and as the body was dead, had left. Reality was that the earth was flat. Reality was what human awareness thought it was and is.
    In-truth reality resides within each one of us and we through years of external ‘conditioning’ separate from it. This is not religion as such as its reality has twisted the truth for earthly gain, not true individual empowerment.

    If only reality wasn’t moulded into individual perception, we may find more peace on this earth. For instance if we were ALL in one orchestra and our reality allowed us to tune our instrument anyway we liked, welcome to the current world view. If we all had exactly the same tuning, but expressed it depending on what instrument we were, it would be still be an individual expression, but in harmony with another.

    Imagine.

  16. MLF

    @WhoKnows, since when are we the bad guys?

    So many comments on this issue are anti-war, and rightly so. But lets not forget the harsh reality that, for example, the Taliban are not the good guys. Al Qaeda exists and they want to kill quite a good number of us ‘Westerners’. That the Sunni and Shi’a factions in Iraq are killing each other. That the Israel/Palestinian situation continues to present a real and ever-present danger to millions of innocent people.

    “It’s not a position where one thing is said to a country’s face and another behind its back, that is not diplomacy, that is a tactic to deceive. And deception only leads to mis-trust and gain at another’s loss. Some would rather see a different world for our children to grow up in. Imagine.”

    I mean, really, we can’t just say “we don’t like China/Iran/North Korea/Taliban/Zimbabwe ‘s positions on human rights, civil liberties etc, so hey, we’re just not going to talk to you”.

    The world doesn’t work like that. Our political system and values enshrined within suggest that we believe in human rights, democracy and (yes, unfortunately) liberal capitalism. We believe in these things and we believe that states who have regimes that deny their citizens these things are, well, not so much of the nice.

    But we can’t just ignore them and we can’t go in there and say “dude, you suck”, we have to do something down the middle and this IS what diplomacy is. That the former PM was/is realistic about what may need to occur re: China is a testament to both his understanding of a complex international situation and his commitment to the security and prosperity of this country. That was his job.

  17. whoknows

    It can also be seen that the release of WL documents puts our country and troops at risk. One has to ask what decisions have been made politically that may have already put our country at risk and for what purpose? Do we care or think what has been decided, whether it is a Howard, Downer, Blair, Bush, Cheney etc., or current political decision, must be for the good of us all?

    If we believe it hasn’t affected us so what’s the rant for change about, then that’s the best environment for the continuation of deceit and decisions made without question.

    Any decision that effects community, is public domain or we will just have to sit back and wear it.

  18. whoknows

    At the moment the WL dump is massive and it can bring into question “let’s release everything, anywhere, anytime” but the point is not to sanction tapping your and my telephone calls, ( which would already be done if it is seen fit to do so) but the point is the contradictions, lies and shift in what is said and what is seen to be done. If exposure of the truth for a damn war in Iraq or Afghanistan shows that it it for economic and corporate gain of western business and we’re fed the “let’s bring democracy to a suffering nation” line and factored in is the possible / real possibility of troops being killed for that, then exposure is necessary.

    The duplicity of conduct that causes billions of dollars to support this offshore, in our interests apparently, is the hypocrisy of the way it is done now and is counter productive to anyone but the benefit of corporate interests.

    This is a paradigm shift and while WL may be forcing the issue and even making the status quo wake up and comment, ‘transparency’, ‘openness’, and ‘full disclosure’ stated by Obama and Clinton as virtues of a government with vision will be held to account. It’s not the start of bearing all to everyone, but diplomacy in it’s true sense – with regard to issues of peace-making, trade, war, economics, culture, environment and human rights.

    It’s not a position where one thing is said to a country’s face and another behind its back, that is not diplomacy, that is a tactic to deceive. And deception only leads to mis-trust and gain at another’s loss. Some would rather see a different world for our children to grow up in. Imagine.

  19. Gederts Skerstens

    Scoogsy had qualms about Reality.
    Relax. Reality is a Constant. Gather Symposia, fix elections, announce that the guy on the balcony is the Father of The People.
    Reality Rules. Eventually, there’s enough time for the People’s Pals to piss off with Billions of the people’s- generated wealth.
    Here’s a little challenge that no Western Lefty ever answers: Should Comrade Mugabe be shot for crimes against humanity?

    (Clearly a joke. But let’s see how the Comrades spin it, just for fun.)

  20. Venise Alstergren

    GEDERTS SKERTENS: “”You can’t ‘Reframe Reality’. Not understanding that is pretty much what defines the Left. Reality is a constant.
    That’s why absolutely nothing gets altered via Wikileaks. It’s all true and truth runs the show.””

    Surely the one thing that has become of so little value is truth itself. Thanks to the crooked MSM it is the perception of truth which prevails today. And who has the money to purchase this ‘perception of truth?’ The media barons, the mega-billionaires, and your ordinary common, or garden, hacks, Andrew Bolt, The writers at the Oz, Janet Albrechtsen, Piers Ackerman, et al. The National Party Lobby lies every time one of their pollies opens his mouth, and the religious Lobby. Orthodox Jewry, Islam and the Roman Catholics, have been passing on lies, deceits, and fairy tales for centuries. If their believers can be sold the ultimate pup-namely that God is incestuous triplets, then what chance has truth got?

    Julian Assange probably does have the truth. However, unless he can market it he will have wasted his time.

  21. Scoogsy

    Where were the calls befire the wiki leaks release on making the diplomatic cable network open to the public? Where were all the calls for classified documents to be made freely available to the public? Where were the calls for the FOI act to be removed, and make all documents, regardless of their content made publicly available on one internet page?

    As recently as today, wiki leaks reveaked the locations of sites the US considers of importance to national security, and if revelaed could jepardise US missions?

    Im all ears, really. Is the above information really necessary to be released? This is the sort of information terrorists will be looking for.

    I can understand a scandle being uncovered, but the releasse of private conversations between people? Perhaps we should ask for video and microphone setups streaming to the web big brother style in the PMs office, in military command centres, in ASIO and ASIS, child protection agencies, hey why not have all phone records freely available, including the general publics? I mean, at least some of that information affects me one way or another, so I should have access to it… Right?

    Diplomacy is a delicate thing. Do we expect highly educated, experienced and street smart dipoomats to be working in this field with the responsibility of negotiating and dictating foreign policy with the rest of the world – id say we hope for that. Do we expect that they need to run all of their conversations past… Well everyone on the planet with an internet connection?

    Just because the information is in a format that is easily distributable, doesnt instantly mean the information should be freely available. Nor does it reduce the impact it has on being released.

    I really hope that the information that is put out there means that politicians have to straighten up and start being a little more honest, but that doesnt mean this bulk dump is right and justified.

    We all love to be arm chair critics of everything going round, from celebrity text messages to Andrew Johns, and anything else thats trial by media. Then when the dust settles, and the heads have rolled, your often left wondering “whas that the right and fair thing to do?”

    Of course your defending the WL release crikey – this is a media field day. Just because your on the other side of the popular opinion on this doesnt mean you cant keep reporting on it.

    Will we ever learn…

  22. whoknows

    *agrees….with open sharing…..(apologies) stumbled on the word association of ‘agree’ and ‘Hilary Clinton’….

  23. whoknows

    Also nice to see Hilary Clinton ages with open sharing of information thanks to the internet:

    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/135519.htm

    It’s a rather lengthy speech, but worth a look.

  24. whoknows

    Ah nice to read comments that actually comment on the news – anyone notice that a lot of American comments (Huffington Post for instance) tend to spend most of their time wacking each other over the head disagreeing with each others comments.

  25. Gederts Skerstens

    Mr. Rundle on Wikileaks & Reality: “… countervailing informational power, which is WikiLeaks aim. Effectively a multiply-sourced, alter-interpretation would start to reframe reality in ways that “critique” itself is not able to do.”

    You can’t ‘Reframe Reality’. Not understanding that is pretty much what defines the Left. Reality is a constant.
    That’s why absolutely nothing gets altered via Wikileaks. It’s all true and truth runs the show.
    So who didn’t know the Afghan government were self-serving, the Russians the same barbarians as ever or the Middle-Eastern nations ready to get at each other’s throats?

    No falling Governments, no broken alliances, no cancelled contracts.

  26. MLF

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – thank the lord for the BBC.

    BBC News – At a glance: Wikileaks http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11914040

  27. Sputnick60

    The deck chairs on the Titanic are almost full – go IceBerg.

  28. AR

    Wonderful irony – no other government dare act on International Warrants against people who have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, bLIAR & Shrub to name just two, but ours hurries to kowtow to the Hegemon on someone who exposes the lies & hypocrisy of the Evil Empire, among others.

  29. 1gmd

    It is an amazing thing that the land of the free and the home of the brave with its enshrined right to free speech is so loathe to face up to the reposnsibility that this actually entails – self examination.

    Secondly while jihadist websites continue to operate freely and spew their filth – wiki leaks suddenly comes under massive denial of service attack and closure of servers in the US – what is the rationale working here? when free speech is the anathema of the mainstream media and the apparatus of our western democracies and the hate mongers can still flourish?

    Shame on the Government of Australia and its so called allies

  30. Socratease

    @shepherdmarilyn:

    Ecuador has offered him sanctuary to spit in the US eye

    That has been officially denied:

    ‘In Ecuador, [President] Correa said that his country has not made a formal invitation to Assange and that the ministry declaration, made by Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas, was “spontaneous” and personal in nature.’

  31. nicolino

    Apropos the Governor of the Bank of England’s “let them eat cake” statement. That’s a bit rich coming from a banker when it was those sods who started all this.

  32. JakeS

    There’s the beginning of something here: http://cablesearch.org/

    The problem I see is that as the attacks on the wikileaks website continue it will have to fragment across the net in order to survive. That open the possibility of falsified cables. In fact I dont know why the US didnt go down this route – make multiple copies of wikileaks with different content and then just claim that its all a big crock.

    In the meantime its nice to see the f**kers squirm

  33. AussieBonzaMate

    Maybe contact WikiLeaks as this was tweeted 29/11/2010.

    wikileaks: Tomorrow we will provide information on how other media groups can apply to for embargo access to #cablegate info.

    URL: http://twitter.com/wikileaks/statuses/9003850094608384

  34. John Boyd

    I say again, can’t we get away from the moronic use of the suffix ‘-gate’ to indicate some sort of wrong doing?

  35. jungarrayi

    Talk about a classic “shoot the messenger” scenario.

    The noises coming out of the “authorities” really are a case of “thow doth protest too much”.
    It’s a bit like talking about “people smugglers” instead of refugees.
    The evil “leaker” rather than the material being leaked.

    As for Guy Rundle’s suggestion, brilliant!
    A bit like such as the International Year of Geophysics or the Genome Project.

  36. Rena Zurawel

    KLEWSO
    Didn’t you know that our ‘investigative’ journalists write with a prompter?.

    Out of many articles written about anything, there is one I would never forget (nor forgive):
    I think it was in Sunday Mail, about dr. Haneef trying to blow up a highrise in Gold Coast. I am not sure whether that was supposed to be a Q1, but there was a photo of dr. Haneef looking at a highrise as a proof of his intention.

    On another occasion, a young journo told me that she loved South America so much that she was studying Spanish language because she wanted to work in Brazil.
    Ever since I lost all my faith in journalism.

  37. Venise Alstergren

    By the time Senator Conroy has imposed his internet filter no Australian will be able to access this sort of information. Which hits that idea over the head in Oz. Of course, if we Australians allow him to get away with it, in the name of protecting Oz kiddie widdies from porn, then we will have lain on a wooden cross and asked the executioner to crucify us.

  38. klewso

    I find it odd that conventional “specialist” journalists, working in these fields with their connections and “ears” didn’t know anything of what these revelations have exposed – or if they knew, they weren’t telling (as if any such “data” was “Need to Know” as opposed to anyone else’s “right to know” what the powers that be actually get up to ,while being so well paid, for what the actually do?)?
    Maybe that’s what’s so far up so many collective noses?

  39. shepherdmarilyn

    Ecuador has offered him sanctuary to spit in the US eye. I think Australia’s reportage has been beyone woeful, they are only interested in helping the government destroy Assange.

    Just like they have with Hicks, Habib, Jack Thomas and other poor sods.

  40. puddleduck

    God bless Iceland.

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