31 October 2010. Add Notes.
30 October 2010. More on this 5 November 2010 at NYU.
Wikileaks Threatens Journalism and Espionage
Sharing Secrets at Arms Length
Cryptome: This New York Times attack on Wikileaks and Julian Assange makes the case for why Wikileaks and those like it cannot trust journalists any more than spies. Both journalists and spies hide behind law and special privilege. In that process information is manipulated to serve their own interests foremost and the public's interest second.
On a spectrum from lawful journalism to criminal espionage, Wikileaks-types fall in the middle. The two ends work in concert, repecting one another's regime, aiding and abetting, and are disturbed by the interloper which does not play by the rules the two have evolved, or worse, use the techniques of one against the other in reaching the public.
Leaks are a means for journalism to profit from illicit information. In turn spying benefits from the way leaks are treated by journalism for public consumption, that is, "authentically and responsibly." Both deny what is obvious complicity. Both work with unidentified sources. Both exaggerate the importance of their product by marking up the value of the information with "you-just-have-to-trust-us" authenticity and credibility without fully disclosing the basis of the mark-up nor the sources of the information.
However if an interloper attempts to use the means and methods of distributing dressed-up information as do journalism and spying, all hell breaks loose in the two castles. Not about the information provided by the interloper which is eagerly used, but by the claims of the interloper to marketable and valuable authenticity and credibility.
So the two legacy information exaggerators go on the attack, each in their seemingly own way but actually quite the same. How dare the interloper presume to be capable of authenticity and credibility of the legacy distributors?
This is the Times's vainglorious argument: we will take the information, for free, thank you very much, then transform it into our "reputable" product. The same with spies. In the end there is little difference among thieves who steal open and leaked information and bump up the price as if exploiting sweat labor.
The Times, like spies, are overconfident from long practice that their conceit will prevail despite its hoary bombastic public relations stream -- check the mottos and stars on the wall. And the bombast for both works so long as only the two support each other, as a two-back beast.
A man in the middle attack throws them for a loop, shakes the foundation of their claim to exclusive authenticity and credibility. Thus they are obliged to work in concert to destroy the threat to their economic well being, or find a way to bring the interloper into the lucrative rigged game.
Bluntly, both are frightened enough to play very dirty, to ratchet up the threat to national security level, thereby invoking extreme measures across their actionable spectrum from legal to illegal.
Here "journalism" means all those who traffic in press protection, open and secret.
"Espionage" means all those who traffic in official secrets, legal and criminal.
"Leaks" means trafficking in restricted information, doctoring, spinning, editorializing, marking-up value. Also known as press releases, advertisements, editorials, op-eds, columns, propaganda and other planted espionage products.
"Wiki" in Wikileaks means the unrestricted trafficking -- consumption, debate, recycling, marketing, converting to secrets -- in material published by the initiative.
To its credit Wikileaks appears to be much less centralized than wikis such as Wikipedia and the secret global espionage network of wikis, governmental, business and criminal -- as far as publicly known.
All wikis eventually become heirarchical, inept and secretly manipulative of participants under cover of being democratic, successful and under threat from the outside by envious inferior competitors, as with nations and other authoritatives.
"Authoritatives" means those who traffic in power, philosophy, knowledge, wisdom, responsibility, authenticity, reliability, protection, security, privileged access to deity and secrecy about their operations, and exaggerate their superiority to non-authoritatives. Within every authoritative is an authoritarian hoping to avoid exposure as a coward terrified of insignificance thus addicted to secrecy to hide shame. Example: architects. I am an architect.