2 July 2009
Another Cryptome note in response to a reporter's RFC on Wikileaks:
Wikileaks is a most admirable venture. My reservations are its self-promotional aspect, and its secrecy about its operation, its love of authoritativeness, which are likely due to its being run by those trained in journalism wherein advertising and privileged access to information, and magnification of its importance, are taken to be essential to marketing success. I see advertising, secret operation, authoritativeness and magnification, as distorting forces to foster illusion over truth, weaknesses shared by governments, in particular their PR departments and especially the spies which must forever threats to thecommonweal.
If Wikileaks wants to complement spies by using prevarications and hustle as fodder (orchestrated spy briefs and leaks) for fools, why not, the best of culture does the same -- exchange of means and methods between official liars and critics mandatory, and rewarding.
As you know the rise in secrecy around the globe has led to a fair-sized industry capitalizing on getting what is secret into the public domain. Secrecy boosters love this well-paid game as much as the secrecy diminishers do.
It takes an aficionado to relish the arcane, fabricated, yes, even prefabricated, minutae being generated by all sides of the secrecy-leaks enterprise. Most stuff leaked, as far as I can tell, was made for that currency, novelistic, journalistic purpose. To sell, if you will, lurid tales and data of nefaria, dressed in the deceptive finery of national secrecy and as ever concomitant leakage to seemingly legitimate the value of that withheld.
Too many leaks, you will understand, diminishes the brand or worse, promotes obessive fast fooding of producers and consumers.
For example, take a look at the White House blog recently instituted for public comment on classification. Read the hoary de-secrecy practitioners plying their trade along side others who believe the backscratching debate on policy is worthwhile rather than diversionary.
Secretkeepers and leakers have their common interests, now as in the long history of complicity in manipulating access to public information for private gain. The leak industry is now a government-endorsed operation -- sometimes illusioned as freedom of the press, FOIA besotted.
Cryptome's model for information handling is the public library, open to all, filled with material not terribly dramatic, but holding magically liberating items available to seekers of their own version of truth, and not at all vetted for release by authorities -- governmental, commercial or private.
Excepting porno, to be sure, and the far worse porno of national security secrecy.
Attribution to anonymous sources has become a scourge and a big threat to open information. The method empowers those who link the sources and the public and is direly subject to corruption, distortion, lying and plain old self-aggrandizement of the linker.
Cryptome uses the method, our notiorious "A," and we know of what we speak. It is very untrustworthy. It promotes secrecy rather than diminish it. The linker invests in the role more than the source and the public. It is essentially uncontrolled andunreliable.
The locution of "anonymity granted because the source is not authorized to disclose," is pernicious finery meant to vaunt the publisher's role in high-faluting concealment for the sake a supposedly higher calling. No differenct than the rationale used by criminals, officials and scoundrels.
A PhD would call it literary log-rolling.