greenwald: what wikileaks revealed to the world in 2010

The incomparable Glenn Greenwald, December 24, 2010.
Throughout this year I've devoted substantial attention to WikiLeaks, particularly in the last four weeks as calls for its destruction intensified. To understand why I've done so, and to see what motivates the increasing devotion of the U.S. Government and those influenced by it to destroying that organization, it's well worth reviewing exactly what WikiLeaks exposed to the world just in the last year: the breadth of the corruption, deceit, brutality and criminality on the part of the world's most powerful factions.

As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning. A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon's own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence -- zero -- that any of WikiLeaks' actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media -- even in the face of all these revelations -- continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing New™ in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National Security™ through its disclosures.

It's unsurprising that political leaders would want to convince people that the true criminals are those who expose acts of high-level political corruption and criminality, rather than those who perpetrate them. Every political leader would love for that self-serving piety to take hold. But what's startling is how many citizens and, especially, "journalists" now vehemently believe that as well. In light of what WikiLeaks has revealed to the world about numerous governments, just fathom the authoritarian mindset that would lead a citizen -- and especially a "journalist" -- to react with anger that these things have been revealed; to insist that these facts should have been kept concealed and it'd be better if we didn't know; and, most of all, to demand that those who made us aware of it all be punished (the True Criminals) while those who did these things (The Good Authorities) be shielded.

See the column for headlines and screenshots.


Jymn said...

My admiration for Greenwald has grown over the past month. His diligence and honesty in regards to his coverage of WikiLeaks is the stuff of legends. He is taking so much heat from journalists for doing what they should be doing - reporting, analyzing and uncovering. No wonder journos are so pissed at both Greenwald and WikiLeaks - he's making them look like the cheap suits that they are.

laura k said...

So true. Greenwald is a shining light for us all.

allan said...

Greenwald also had an excellent interview with Nir Rosen, author of "Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World".

I chuckled at his first comment ("I've been working as a journalist since April 2003, when the war in Iraq came to an end"), but it's a very serious, in-depth must-read:

"Every family that I've met in Iraq, or Iraqi refugees as well, has been touched by kidnapping and murder and rape and displacements. You have half a million Iraqis today living inside Iraq who are homeless, squatting in illegal settlements, living in shacks made out of tin cans and cardboard — I saw a house made out of used air conditioners piled up on top of each other — living in massive pits of sewage, stinking of shit, flies all over the place. And, of course, let's not forget you had hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, murdered, disappeared, tortured to death with power drills, with beheadings, their bodies found weeks later in garbage dumps. Hundreds and hundreds of villages in Iraq totally destroyed ... torture is routine and systematic now. If you get arrested, you get tortured. Corruption is rampant; it's one of the most corrupt countries on Earth. Services are terrible, almost no electricity, dirty water, terrible malnutrition, kids not going to school. It's just a destroyed, brutalized and beaten place where the worst kind of people have taken over."