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Wikileaks situation – Message to US Government: “Leave the blonde alone, and get to work!”

Kimberly writes:

When someone really, really screws up, they need a smokescreen or scapegoat, so everyone will look the other way. It is a great idea, if you are a little kid who takes out your mom’s vase from the hutch to look at it, and your little brother knocks it off the coffee table. Whose fault is it? Blame your brother.

But, that doesn’t fix the vase. And, if you don’t own up to your part of the situation, it doesn’t teach you a lesson, either.

Julian Assange – the dashing, blonde, man of mystery from Australia – is not the key player in the Wikileaks saga. Any situation arising from a sudden release of confidential documents involves: the whole environment that kept the documents secret in the first place; the angst which caused whistle-blowers to release them; and cracks in the security system of various government organizations which let this information get out of the hands of the government and into the hands of the media.

How about we ask our government to focus on those problems for awhile, instead of ranting and raving about the blonde guy?

Does our government – or anyone who has real fears about the release of secret documents – realize that they have a lot of work to do, besides chasing around the charismatic foe who won a couple of rounds of battle with them?

Regardless if Julian Assange is wrong or right, regardless if Julian Assange is in custody or not, our government has a problem which may cause some sinking of the ship of state. We should start worrying about bailing water, and not be chasing after a man who may or may not nave done some harm by rocking the boat.

Here is what the US government should actually be doing in relation to the leak of documents:

-Do damage control and make apologies to countries and diplomats who will find insulting comments from us. (I believe some small steps have been taking on the apology issue.)

-Study and do damage control related to any structures or passwords revealed by the documents. (You have to wonder if anyone has taken the time to do this, they are so busy hunting down Assange.)

-Re-evaluate the balance between secret decisions and public decisions. In a democracy, there is a strength and efficiency in doing things in the open. If you agree on something at a fair, public meeting, you won’t have to have so many secrets, and waste time and money on so many layers. Some of the reason that people brought documents to Assange, and some of the reason that Assange published them, was because they discovered secret incidents and decisions that they felt the public could and should handle.

-Start giving the real media more information, and expecting them to share it. Even agents for Hollywood celebrities know that sometimes, you have to quell the press by giving them some of what the public is clamoring for. For example, when a celebrity couple has a child, they know if they don’t release at least one photo, the Paparazzi will take photos by force. Doesn’t someone in the US government think about the build-up of the public’s desire to know, when so many actions are kept so secret? Shouldn’t our government take a lesson from the Wikileaks document release, and open up, rather than clamp down and make reporting seem like a crime?

-Our government should reflect on which personnel and which systems are truly to blame, and take appropriate action. That might mean firing some people. That might mean using different computer software. That might mean changing how the government relates to the regular press, the blog press, and the social media/Wiki universe.

So, let’s leave the blonde alone. Or, at least put aside our frustration with him, in order to make sure our ship is not otherwise sinking.

And, if anyone wants to blame people or organizations – for the fun of it, or as a way of seeking correction – here is a list of people to blame who don’t happen to be the blonde from Australia:

1. The Obama administration and the White House press office.

If there were more genuine information about the war and other issues of importance to the American people, then there would be less clamor for information such as Wikileaks provides, the information from Wikileaks would have been less exclusive, and there would have been less of a chance that whistle-blowers on the inside would feel the need to share with the outside.

Perhaps White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs should literally just pull up a few more chairs in the White House Press Room for more reporters and for some bloggers.

2. Our whole government, our whole military, and every government office, who have obviously not done a good job at balancing the need and ability to have secrets, with the need and pressure to share information.

In addition, our government and military need to reconsider the importance of consensus on the ability of a government to operate. Simply earning power in elections and then voting for war is not a good enough way to do business. When citizens express concerns about war, or torture, or killer drones, the government needs to respond. The government should constantly make sure it is not operating in ways that would shock the conscience of citizens. If not, there will be a division and lack of consensus that will allow whistle-blowers within the government, protesters in the streets, and other signs of the disharmony created by lack of keeping actions on track with public sentiment, societal values, and consensus.

3. The corporate media in the United States.

If the regular media would publish more of the information made available to them, and also do some digging up of documents or hard interviews to make citizens feel like the surface has been pricked on secret matters, then there would not be as much as a need and marketplace for Wikileaks.

The corporate media hardly seems to understand its important rights and privileges regarding watching government: Cut down on reporting about sports, entertainment, and weather. Start hiring investigative journalists again.

4. Every journalist is to blame who has not done enough to interrogate the government, and share important information with the public.

5. In an opposite direction from many of my other comments, there is another reality to our government’s failures. Sometimes, I suppose, the government or military may need to keep strategic secrets. Well, they failed on that point. So, someone really, truly needs to address the technology or our security, and our screening methods that allowed people feeling angst to have access to secret documents.

So, there are a lot of reasons why the Wikileaks document dump has had such an effect on the world. And, there were a lot of problems that allowed it to happen. More importantly, there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and problems to be mopped up.

As a United States citizen, I hope that my government will be focusing a lot more on the logistics of safety and security than about chasing down the blonde guy.

And, as someone who believes in transparency in government, who values whistleblowers, and who fancies herself a part of the new breed of blogger journalists, I wish the blonde guy well.

________________

The newest place to reach Wikileaks is at www.wikileaks.ch

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