Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Investigating With Humor (in a governmental sort of way)

The CIA has a new task force, the WikiLeaks Task Force. Which they are calling by its acronym, WTF.


How appropriate.

Here in Seattle, we have our own acronymical error, the South Lake Union Trolley. (which they renamed, but not before a whole bunch of people capitalized on the error, and had t-shirts printed with the slogan, "Ride the S.L.U.T.!" And I have to wonder, does the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin mind that the CIA stole their original acronym, Wisconsin Tourist Federation?

The CIA is, of course, telling us that WikiLeaks has proved (by virtue of these massive file piles they've been leaking) that it's a bad idea to share information, even when everyone already knows it - but they just don't like to talk about it. Things like, "Boy, Putin's a dick." Who knew?

But I think it's just about time that the CIA got a tiny sense of humor.

The entire WikiLeaks brouhaha has left me interested but cold-ish. I haven't read everything out of these archives, since I have a life doing other things, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who are smarter than I, who do have the time and the inclination to read a lot of dry data, and/or truly bass-ackwards opinions about Latin American leaders (what is this, the 19th Century?). But what Julian Assange is doing, along with all the WikiLeaks crew, is finally showing America what its government is doing, and even at the most superficial levels, what they're seeing is a bunch of frat-boy types acting like they know better than everyone else (because information is power, and having power requires you to use it in wasteful, indiscriminate and criminally stupid ways). The Tea Party folks are right about the government, but then the progressives are, too. Strangely enough, they're right about the same things at the same time, but for totally different reasons. For example: the government involves itself in too many foreign intrigues (Tea Party: bad; Progressives: bad). Now, the Tea Party is all for going after bad actors in the world, so long as the corporate media tells them which ones to go after. Progressives are also for going after bad actors in the world, but only if we're doing it for totally altruistic reasons, and not because the country we're invading or attacking or whatever has resources we might need. Reality may lie somewhere in the middle, or is perhaps nowhere to be found at all. Remember, the Afghan war was a "good" war in the beginning...

(don't talk about the TAPI pipeline)

So, while Assange is getting himself arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a couple of Swedish ladies (and feminists debate whether or not they were actually raped), the digital dump continues. Assange is threatening to release a bunch of documentation about Bank of America should he be threatened with anything resembling jail time. I wonder if there's a correlation there: Assange is threatening to blow the whistle on a bank (a really BIG bank), should the Americans get their hooks into him, or the Swedes actually put him on trial. Is that actually a threat with merit? Does outing BofA constitute a threat to national security? For Sweden? I have to wonder what's on the BofA docs...

The CIA is bothered by the whole "digital" thing, because, you know, once the document is available digitally, no amount of encryption or protection or "security" can guarantee that it won't get into foreign hands, or worse - onto the NEWS. Perhaps that's what makes all of this a very good thing indeed. If the CIA and the State Department don't want to be arrested (or interviewed on the telly), maybe they'll start acting in a way that actually helps people rather than just doing what will keep them employed till next fiscal year. Or what will keep them politically viable ("Invade Iraq? OK!").

Unfortunately, I doubt (unless the legislative arm of the US Government actually cared what other countries thought of the United States) these people will change their behavior. So long as it's "America - Fuck Yeah!", no one has to do anything different. We're number one, right?

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