Wikileaks again

by Henry on January 6, 2011

This Vanity Fair piece on the journalistic politics of Wikileaks is well worth reading – it’s the most comprehensive account of the evolving relationship between Wikileaks, the Guardian and other news organizations that I’ve seen. I think (this perhaps reflects my preconceptions as much as anything else) that the piece provides implicit support for two propositions.

First – that Wikileaks-type organizations need strong connections with more traditional media if they are to succeed. Assange seems to have been quite canny at playing different news organizations against each other, but he needed substantial connections to the media to get the word out.

At the time of his meeting with Davies, Assange had repeatedly voiced frustration that his leaks hadn’t received the attention they deserved. The Guardian’s Rusbridger recently looked back through old e-mails from Assange, from a period when Assange was trying to get more notice. “In many ways, he was right,” Rusbridger says. “People weren’t paying attention.”

Here, Wikileaks is like the blogosphere before it became partially integrated with traditional media. There was a lot of interesting – and newsworthy – material that used to float about on blogs, but unless it was picked up by traditional media, it had little or no political impact. The most often cited example of blog influence – Trent Lott’s forced resignation – is best understood as a story of how blogs focused traditional media attention on a story that they had not viewed as newsworthy – but if the media had not been able to find a hook (provided by Lott himself) to start circulating the story again, it would probably have had no impact.

Second – that Wikileaks type operations need some kind of organizational infrastructure to work properly. The article discusses at several points Wikileaks’ perpetual need for money, and difficulty in doing what it wanted to do with its material because of lack of money and organizational resources.

Taken together, these suggest that Wikileaks-type phenomena are nowhere near as invulnerable to concerted state action as some of the more glib commentators have suggested. It needs money and proper organizational structures to work. The piece hints that the current version of Wikileaks – which seems an awkward amalgam of open source style volunteerism and personality cult – is on the brink of collapse. It also needs to be able to build and maintain connections with external organizations, both to get resources in, and to get information out. These present obvious vulnerabilities. They also suggest that it will be far more difficult to create a multitude of mini-Wikileaks than it appears at first sight. You need more than a secure connection and a website to make this model work. At a minimum, you need enough of an organization to be able to build and retain links with bigger media.

Finally, the most interesting consequence of Wikileaks is not that it has released much genuinely new information into the world (there are some consequential facts that were not widely known, but they are a relatively small part of the story). It is that it is redefining the boundary between facts that ‘everybody’ (for political elite values of ‘everybody’) knows but that are non-actionable in the public space, because they are not publicly confirmable, and facts that are both perceived as politically salient and confirmable, and hence are legitimate ‘news.’ Wikileaks means that many issues that are known are now also confirmably known, and confirmed as being known by the gatekeepers of public knowledge. I strongly suspect that this would not be true if Assange had not struck alliances with respected media organizations. The interesting action is precisely in the interaction between media organizations and organizations like Wikileaks, which are neither traditional sources nor media organizations themselves. This relationship is what will largely determine how the balance between ‘news’ and politically salient but non-actionable information shifts.

{ 54 comments }

1

Straightwood 01.06.11 at 5:49 pm

Gatekeepers have their limits. Evidence of a spectacular nature cannot be suppressed, and leakers will become increasingly empowered by the successors to Wikileaks. This is a technology battle that the few cannot win against the many. Elites today rely primarily on Internet sources for news, and distrust commercial news media. The masses will follow.

2

jonesing 01.06.11 at 6:55 pm

Yeah suppression of facts is a difficult trick in a wired universe. If it isn’t Assange guarantee it will be others who will probably do it better. It puts the power players on notice so there is a definite plus side to the exposure this story has received… despite efforts in some quarters to turn Assange into the resident evil.

3

SamChevre 01.06.11 at 7:01 pm

Evidence of a spectacular nature cannot be suppressed, and leakers will become increasingly empowered by the successors to Wikileaks. This is a technology battle that the few cannot win against the many.

This only works if the evidence is widely believed to be true.

Anyone can put up a website and post whatever leaks they get, but without a fairly good institution to vet leaks, it is easy for the few to put enough junk out that nothing on that site is believed.

4

SamChevre 01.06.11 at 7:05 pm

Following up–that was one of the way the peer-to-peer sharing networks were squeezed by the music industry. By the time I quit using Kazaa, more often than not a clean, properly-tagged music file with a fairly fast download speed was deliberate junk (random loud noises, rattling and crunching, etc.)

5

Alesis 01.06.11 at 7:47 pm

Reading the Vanity Fair piece I’m moved to respect just how strong the resentment of perceived virtue is in political culture. In between occasionally interesting theories on the environment which breeds and sustains Wikileaks the author can’t help but to sneer the very concept of of a transparency advocate or a newspaper that treasures aggressive investigative journalism.

It is some what amusing how she struggle to square her presumption of Assange as ” An unwavering advocate of full, unfettered disclosure of primary-source material” (something he has never claimed) with the reality of Wikileaks’ decision not to release the vast majority of the cables in its possession but it begs the question of why this urge to bring the “do-gooders” down a notch is so prevalent.

Why is it that discussion of Assange’s supposed venality, egotism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness etc always find their way into the forefront of the issue, leaving any focus on what was actually revealed in the background.

Is it just an addiction to the meta-story and it’s attendant poetic license or are they (or we) really just that jealous?

6

Ralph Hitchens 01.06.11 at 7:53 pm

I’m wondering if Wikileaks is a “one-trick pony.” Hasn’t everything from “Collateral Murder” to the diplomatic cables come from SIPRNet downloads by PFC Bradley Manning?

7

Salient 01.06.11 at 7:59 pm

Hasn’t everything from “Collateral Murder” to the diplomatic cables come from SIPRNet downloads by PFC Bradley Manning?

Technically true but not worrisome, as those are just the most recent two leaks from Wikileaks, and they did seem to get a ton of stuff from that source. There’s earlier stuff too, though, and they’re sitting on aplenty for the future, allegedly. Some Bank of America stuff is due out in 2010.

8

Bloix 01.06.11 at 8:04 pm

No, not true, not technically or otherwise.

“The governmental and corporate document leaking site, Wikileaks, has been awarded Amnesty International’s New Media Award, for its role in the production of the revelatory document, “Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances, Sep 2008″. The attribution of this award is indicative of recognition of the work done by the site by bodies similarly concerned by the exposure of human rights abuses. Moreover, the accolade should function as an alert to the mainstream press to the exisitence of a penetrative and useful journalistic resource.

“The report was based on evidence provided by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, which suggested that more than 500 men were killed or made to disappear in a police campaign. As expressed by Wikileaks, this may have been ‘with the connivance’ of the Kenyan Government. The document is not publicly available in Kenya. On Friday, a UN special rapporteur investigating the events called for the resignation of the top Kenyan officials, emphasising the political significance of the evidence revealed in the report, and the utility of the online resource in global campaigns for social justice.”

http://www.editorsweblog.org/newsrooms_and_journalism/2009/06/wikileaks_receives_amnesty_international.php

9

Straightwood 01.06.11 at 8:04 pm

Consider the instrumentality effect: 16 GB on a thumb drive, 20 megabit broadband connections, anonymity servers, and unbreakable encryption. The technological floodgates for leaking are wide open.

10

Barry 01.06.11 at 8:14 pm

Bloix, it’s traditional to give some hint of what you’re replying to.
(although this information is the sort of thing which should be posted in any discussion on Wikileaks)

11

nnyhav 01.06.11 at 10:06 pm

more curious in turning it around to reflect on news orgs outsourcing investigative journalism with an added de-liability of plausible deniability …

It is through its Web site that The Guardian has established much of its international reputation, and the paper seems more comfortable than many of its rivals wading into the world of “crowd sourcing” and so-called citizen journalism. While other newspapers are putting up pay walls around their content, Rusbridger is committed to keeping the Guardian site open.

(cf Bady’s latest on some medial disingenuousity on Zimbabwe.)

12

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall 01.06.11 at 10:30 pm

It’s really been bothering me that the Wikileaks cables contain nothing regarding the “strategic” reasons the US is at war with Afghanistan and Pakistan – namely their fierce competition with their main economic rival (China) over Middle East oil and gas resources. There are unclassified Pentagon documents on the Internet regarding their desire to see energy and mineral rich Balochistan secede from Pakistan and become a US client – just like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the other former Soviet republics. Yet there’s nothing about this in the cables. Nothing about CIA support for the Baloch separatist movement and their efforts to disrupt operations at the Chinese-built port (to create an energy transit route for Iranian oil and natural gas direct to China) in Gwadar, Pakistan. And nothing about the CIA training young Baloch separatists in bomb-making and other terrorist activities.

I blog about this (with a great map of Free Balochistan) at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/12/30/the-us-as-a-semi-failed-state/

13

jonesing 01.06.11 at 10:35 pm

#8… exactly right.

14

jonesing 01.06.11 at 10:37 pm

Make that #9 – Straightwood.

15

Daragh McDowell 01.06.11 at 11:23 pm

I’m sorry, but is @12 seriously claiming that the post-Soviet ‘Stan’s are US client states? That would certainly be news to President Nazarbaev…

16

leederick 01.06.11 at 11:40 pm

“Assange… needed substantial connections to the media to get the word out… Here, Wikileaks is like the blogosphere before it became partially integrated with traditional media. There was a lot of interesting – and newsworthy – material that used to float about on blogs, but unless it was picked up by traditional media, it had little or no political impact.”

I don’t think that’s true. I think the real problem is that Assange’s doesn’t know what material he’s sitting on. It’s impossible for him to know: there are 250,000 cables – if you read one every 2 minutes for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, by my maths it would take you 4 years to finish them all. And that’s just the reading – I’m excluding any work to understand their context.

So – given he doesn’t understand it – the problem with dumping it are: (1) that he’ll have huge trouble redacting sensitive material, people are saying that’s an ideological issue, but I think it’s really just a manpower problem, and (2) who the hell is going to have time to go through and find what’s in there? So the contacts with the media is really a way to outsource the investigative journalism (and he’s set up a very clever economic mechanism to achieve this by getting newspapers compete for a scoop come a deadline through some variant of an all-pay auction).

It’s not a PR problem about how to get the news out about a story he already knows about: he didn’t need media connections to get the word out on the ‘collateral murder’ video.

17

Bruce Baugh 01.06.11 at 11:57 pm

Straightwood and others: You’re missing one of the things Henry wrote about: It is that it is redefining the boundary between facts that ‘everybody’ (for political elite values of ‘everybody’) knows but that are non-actionable in the public space, because they are not publicly confirmable, and facts that are both perceived as politically salient and confirmable, and hence are legitimate ‘news.’ There is a huge difference between information available to someone willing to look for it and information that influences public debate and action. This is Gramsci’s beat, and it’s worth reading or re-reading some about hegemony as a concept before being too happy about the bare existence of material out in the unclassified world.

18

J. Otto Pohl 01.06.11 at 11:58 pm

Re: Daragh McDowell

It would not just be news to Nazarbaev in Kazakhstan. It would also be news to the presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and most notably Turkmenistan as well. I do not think any of the Central Asian states could have ever been classified as US client states. But, it is certain that today they are not. They all have much closer relations with the Russian Federation than with the US.

19

nobody 01.07.11 at 12:11 am

Straightwood, who are the “few” and who are the “many”? In this case it seems the “few” are Assange, Bradley Manning, and, presumably, a handful of miscellaneous supporting actors; the “many” pretty much every state, much of the mass media (excepting those – the NY Times, Guardian, et al. – that have worked with Wikileaks), and much of (in the US, anyway) public opinion.

And to SamChevre’s point, even if the “few” are the powerful, they certainly have the resources to easily drown out jonesing’s “facts in a wired universe” by saturating said wires with attention-grabbing crap, minimizing their impact, if not their release. Hell, it’s an old business model – hence much of the web, US commercial television and radio, etc.

20

CharleyCarp 01.07.11 at 12:15 am

Re 12 — I’ll look around, but supporting an independent Balochistan is, imo, too insane even for US policy-makers of the prior Admin.

If true — and I strongly doubt that it is — that would certainly justify the effort the ISI seems to be putting into defeating the US war effort in Afghanistan.

21

Wax Banks 01.07.11 at 12:45 am

Why is it that discussion of Assange’s supposed venality, egotism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness etc always find their way into the forefront of the issue, leaving any focus on what was actually revealed in the background.

Same reason the media fawning over David Simon and “The Wire” stopped the minute he started accusing the major news outlets of catastrophically failing to do their jobs. There is no creature so contemptibly thin-skinned as a newspaper type writing about newspapers, by the look of it. File such structural criticism under “existential threat” to the media industries, I guess.

22

weaver 01.07.11 at 2:10 am

<i.Wikileaks-type organizations need strong connections with more traditional media if they are to succeed.

Note that the only reason this is true is because of the twisted priorities of legacy media (well, to be precise, the “selling audiences to advertisers” business model media). Wikileaks began giving privileged, ahead-of-the-pack access to certain media outlets because they’d noticed no-one was covering the stuff they’d simply published on the web. Why? Cause if everyone has it then no-one has an “exclusive” so it’s not worth reporting. Dropping anonymity to make Assange the spokesman was also an accommodation with commercial media priorities for personalised narratives.

Unfortunately this deal with the devil lead to the cable leaks being reported in the most trivial manner imaginable and sparked off an entirely predictable media-cult-of-personality obsession with Assange the man. So Wikileaks is pretty much screwed whatever approach they take, and will be so as long as our media remain a collection of advertising platforms rather than conduits of information, and as long as readers and viewers remain the product rather than the customers.

23

weaver 01.07.11 at 2:13 am

Wikileaks-type organizations need strong connections with more traditional media if they are to succeed

Note that the only reason this is true is because of the twisted priorities of legacy media (well, to be precise, the “selling audiences to advertisers” business model media). Wikileaks began giving privileged, ahead-of-the-pack access to certain media outlets because they’d noticed no-one was covering the stuff they’d simply published on the web. Why? Cause if everyone has it then no-one has an “exclusive” so it’s not worth reporting. Dropping anonymity to make Assange the spokesman was also an accommodation with commercial media priorities for personalised narratives.

Unfortunately this deal with the devil lead to the cable leaks being reported in the most trivial manner imaginable and sparked off an entirely predictable media-cult-of-personality obsession with Assange the man. So Wikileaks is pretty much screwed whatever approach they take, and will be so as long as our media remain a collection of advertising platforms rather than conduits of information, and as long as readers and viewers remain the product rather than the customers.

24

J. Otto Pohl 01.07.11 at 6:23 am

Re: Baluchistan

The map of “Free Baluchistan” also has a “Free Kurdistan” that incorporates large areas of Turkey and Iran as well as northern Iraq, a “Shia Arab State” composed of southern Iraq and a big chunk of eastern Saudi Arabia, a “Greater Jordan”, and a much enlarged Yemen. Surprisingly despite redrawing much of the map of the Greater Middle East it leaves the borders of Israel/Palestine untouched. Israel is still depicted with in its 1967 borders and the West Bank as occupied. Honestly I do not see Turkey losing about a quarter of its territory to a “Free Kurdistan” anytime soon.

25

Nick L 01.07.11 at 8:45 am

Re: Baluchistan and #24

Not this again… That map is prank by New York Post wingnut Ralph Peters. Look at the acronym spelled out by Saudi Homeland Independent Territories.

See also
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001131.html

26

Daragh McDowell 01.07.11 at 10:27 am

@J Otto Pohl

Absolutely correct re: all the Central Asian states – the Nazarbaev line was meant to be more snark than anything. You could make an argument for Uzbekistan being a client of the US after 9/11 and prior to the Andizhan massacre, but it would be an extremely weak one, and it will be interesting to see how Kyrgyzstan goes as the new parliamentary government finds its feet.

27

Barry 01.07.11 at 10:30 am

Straightwood

“Gatekeepers have their limits.”

Yes, but those limits can be very useful; the MSM held back a lot during the Bush administration, aging the news until it became history.

28

ajay 01.07.11 at 12:24 pm

27: it’s the NYT Two-Step. First of all, you don’t report the allegations in May because they’re unproven. Then when proof turns up in December you don’t report it either, because it’s old news – the story was out there in May.

29

a.y.mous 01.07.11 at 12:45 pm

Picking up on the redefinition of boundaries, this whole episode on diplomatic cables brings a more pertinent question. Who exactly are the enemies one must now spy on? After Enron, even corporate secrets are no longer that. Everything’s available for everyone to know, already. So, what’s to be “found out”, in terms of “you knowing something I don’t”?

30

Chris E 01.07.11 at 12:49 pm

“Everything’s available for everyone to know, already. So, what’s to be “found out”, in terms of “you knowing something I don’t”?”

We only have the diplomatic cables that were shared between the diplomats and 2 million of their closest friends. There are whole swathes of stuff that don’t fall into this category.

31

a.y.mous 01.07.11 at 1:29 pm

I’ll explain more on this rambling as I go along with this thought, but to ask the question again, anything official is now summon-able, legally and/or technologically. The increasing judicial oversight of the executive and the legislature (and this happening all over the world, no just in the west) has created a situation where no decision, let alone action, can be taken without a disseminable trail established before-hand. As a consequence, what is going to happen is known ahead of time, one’s agreement or disagreement with it notwithstanding.

note: judicial, executive and legislative do not begin with capital letters, since I’m not talking of the Govt. alone, but the functions performed by any group – companies, families, academia, etc.

32

fred lapides 01.07.11 at 1:46 pm

well the barn door is open and lord knows what has come out…meantime, we are for or against Assange, the Wikileaks idea (are you right or Left?) and the MSM, always no good, right?

Actually, I am more concerned with putting myself in charge of the entire Secrets stuff and ask myself what I would have done to prevent further massive leaks from the system…what is done is done, and you like it or not, but how will those in power change, fix, amend, make secure the way things get done in the future? We are told that diplomacy can never be the way it had been–no one trusts us to keep secrets…is this so? Can it be fixed?
Ideas welcome…

33

Barry 01.07.11 at 2:37 pm

“I’ll explain more on this rambling as I go along with this thought, but to ask the question again, anything official is now summon-able, legally and/or technologically.”

Well, no.

34

bianca steele 01.07.11 at 2:41 pm

a.y.mous@31: I’ll explain more on this rambling as I go along with this thought, but to ask the question again, anything official is now summon-able, legally and/or technologically. The increasing judicial oversight of the executive and the legislature (and this happening all over the world, no just in the west) has created a situation where no decision, let alone action, can be taken without a disseminable trail established before-hand.

Please do, but before that could you say what political affiliation you claim?

35

Shelley 01.07.11 at 4:35 pm

I want to see him releasing information about the real powers: not government, but the multinational corporations.

They’re always the elephant in the room. There, I think, there could be no moral qualms about whether it’s good for everyone to know and see.

36

a.y. mous 01.07.11 at 6:08 pm

Barry, but yes. Not helpful, isn’t it?

Don’t you you fix delivery dates with the hospital in advance? I’m told some hospitals have online reservations for child births, but of course, only if your ObGyn is affiliated with that hospital. Aren’t business processes patented these days? If you have anything more than 250K per year, you will bloody well give advance information, even if all you want is steak and potatoes, a good Shiraz is even tougher.

Bianca, I’m old school Republican in American terms. Tory in British. Neither meaning what they did, nowadays. Spelling and grammar here on Crooked Timber shows I’m very aged, though actually, I’m quite young. Big family. Recognisable offline name. Lots of land and rent. Nice lifestyle for four generations. I still am entitled to implement my agenda.

37

Barry 01.07.11 at 6:26 pm

a.y. mous 01.07.11 at 6:08 pm

“Barry, but yes. Not helpful, isn’t it?”

You missed my point, which was that you made a massive, sweeping claim, with nothing to back it up.

38

a.y. mous 01.07.11 at 6:38 pm

Commuting is a bitch. Alcohol, bitchier.

Barry, name one type of information that cannot be summoned. The Iraq files were splattered all across the Lords. Communiques between ministries, notes between ministers, you name it, it was got. France now is facing the Renault issue. Corporate plans scuttled by rivals is now national espionage. Russia, Japan, Brazil with its Amazon papers, India with its cellular phone scam, China – nothing is secret there. So, what do you think is un-summon-able?

39

Ralph Hitchens 01.07.11 at 7:26 pm

I should have caveated my earlier comment (#6) — I know Wikileaks had a lot of other important disclosures but it seems as if the Manning downloads really kick-started the controversy. For my part I think “Collateral Murder” to be among the most significant Wikileaks disclosures from the standpoint of examining and rethinking US military actions in Iraq, the rules of engagement in particular. That this war was a catastrophic strategic miscalculation is beyond dispute, but it certainly seems as if it might have waged with greater care and attention to the universal truths of counterinsurgency. (I am not expressing this opinion from an uninformed, academic perspective.)

40

a.y. mous 01.07.11 at 8:00 pm

Ralph, WL has still to dump something on Wall Street. That too without dipping into their insurance file we all have torrented.

41

Martin Bento 01.07.11 at 11:05 pm

First of all, I’ve heard so many people, including in this venue, say that Assange has been “charged with rape” that I wondered if I had missed something. He has not been charged, but is wanted for questioning. Is extradition without charges even normal?

As for the symbiosis with the MSM, I don’t think he would need their help again to get publicity: that was a contingent fact of a certain state of play.At this point, the wikileaks stories belong more to him than the MSM. He is being protected by them, however, in that, as the article makes clear, the US govt. does not want to prosecute the NYT or other “respectable” media, and one of their problems is finding a way to nail Assange that does not touch his media accomplices.

42

eddie 01.08.11 at 12:36 am

All throughout the wikileaks coverage there’s been major attempts to distract the audience. Talk about the national security, the hacking, the celebrity tittle-tattle. Anything but talk about the war crimes.

But the VF article seemed worse than that. It appears yet another old-media death-throe; trying to make a mythology of continuing relevance. Certainly what you say is right; that wikileaks needs links with old-media to gain relevance in the eyes of the chatterati. But I don’t think this applies so much to their direct relationship to the public who increasingly reject old-media.

43

CharleyCarp 01.08.11 at 6:18 am

44

a.y.mous 01.08.11 at 9:35 am

Charley, that looks like a MS-Word export. Even if MS has improved Word’s export filters, there is http://blog.didierstevens.com/2008/05/07/solving-a-little-pdf-puzzle/

Reached a stage, where you don’t put anything in that needs taking out. Once in, it *will* be recovered. A one-way hash too is not that safe for small search spaces, License Plates, CC Numbers, Personnel IDs, etc. http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/03/howto_recover_text_from_blurre.html

45

Chris E 01.08.11 at 12:10 pm

@a.y. mous “Barry, name one type of information that cannot be summoned. “

What was on the agenda at Dick Cheney’s meetings with the heads of various energy companies?

46

bianca steele 01.08.11 at 4:53 pm

@36
A true Clark Rockefeller, obviously.

47

Barry 01.08.11 at 5:42 pm

Adding on to Chris E’s reply:

The deliberations of the SCOTUS in Bush vs. Gore.
The deliberations between Bush and Cheney about going to war with Iraq.
The negotiations between Bush, Cheney, the Fed and Wall St.
Paulson’s role as Treasury Secretary and ex GS CEO.
Many, many senior editorial/publisher decisions on coddling the Bush administration.

The full list of CIA black sites, who was put in them, with whose help, what was done to them, and who did it. SCOTUS’s conspiracy with Cheney on that.

The decisions about destroying Iraq – how much of it was deliberate (this was an Israeli goal) and how much accidental.

48

CharleyCarp 01.09.11 at 6:06 am

44 — So, you can post an unredacted version of the opinion I linked?

49

a.y. mous 01.09.11 at 8:10 am

LOL! Charley, traffic is bad enough. You want me to out-manoeuvre black helicopters? Barry, you can subpoena minutes of meetings, even agenda. They are recorded. If you want a document that evaluated such meetings as “motherhood, democracy, apple pie and a dollar for a 100 miles” or “evil world takeover designs blueprint pinky extended muahaha” with an official seal, you are being stupid., If what you would like to say is that Barry and CharleyCarp should have default access to information, the answer is no. That does not mean the information cannot be got.

50

a.y. mous 01.09.11 at 8:12 am

Bianca, the other R. Sometimes spelt with an M.

51

bianca steele 01.09.11 at 5:36 pm

@50 Let me remember my Barnett: you mean Montmorency? (Boo-hoo, I guess I’m too fixated on being able to be sure you’re not a psychopathic impostor to take advantage of the helpful technical information you have to bestow. I guess it would be better if I could learn to get along with the people who inhabit this comments-section society instead of trying to impose my will, especially against someone so apparently popular as the a.y. mous is. Become as a little child and all that.)

This is way off topic and Henry would be absolutely right to shut it down. Also, getting into these things even with the best intentions ruins my whole week.

52

Barry 01.09.11 at 8:07 pm

“Barry, you can subpoena minutes of meetings, even agenda”

Your original statement was about what was available online, not what could (theoretically) be discovered through (very long and very expensive) legal processes.

53

Harald Korneliussen 01.10.11 at 7:29 am

SamChevre wrote: Anyone can put up a website and post whatever leaks they get, but without a fairly good institution to vet leaks, it is easy for the few to put enough junk out that nothing on that site is believed.

See also: Cryptome, wikileak’s ideological predecessor.

54

Chris E 01.10.11 at 11:52 am

“Barry, you can subpoena minutes of meetings, even agenda.”

Someone somewhere can subpoena those minutes – maybe – if they exist. AFAICT a number of media organs tried this with the Cheney/Energy meetings and got exactly nowhere.

What makes you think that the most momentous meetings even have minutes?

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