The Truth Is Still Out There

7 Feb

The fight to protect Wikileaks continues, as Stop the War Coalition hold a public rally tomorrow evening.

As journalist and film maker John Pilger said, “What WikiLeaks has given us is truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars, and executed in our name.”

I spoke to STWC worker Alistair Cartwright about the campaign.

“I think Wikileaks are a good thing because they confirm without doubt what we knew about the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and more widely the War on Terror.

They confirm that these wars were brutal, viscious, relentless. They confirm the killing of innocent civilians, the torture of detainees.

Above all they confirm that the political leaders who initiated this war lied about it.

They not only confirm what we already knew but they exposed the lies, there is no way they can continue lying about it.”

WAKE UP AND TAKE ACTION

Alistair believes that Wikileaks reminds people of the anti-war issues, “it’s good for the anti-war movement.”
He says that Amazon should have been shunned in response to their boycott,

“One of the most worrying things has been organisations attacks on Wikileaks. Mastercard and Visa have shut off their services, Paypal has refused funds. Swiss banks refused funds. This is deeply worrying.”

KEEP THE SECRETS PUBLIC

I asked Alistair if there were any occasions he felt Wikileaks had revealed too much.

“No, it would be regrettable if there were any repercussions for informants in Afghanistan. So far the CIA hasn’t found anything like that happening; they desperately want to find something like that happening.”

“It’s right that the public know as much as possible, it should all be in the public domain.”
Alistair responded to Peter King’s attack on Wikileaks being a terrorist organisation as “ridiculous”.

I believe that it’s quite clear that such opinions held as King’s show the fear in some people’s eyes at the concept of truth.

The rally will be held tomorrow evening, Monday 7th February, at 7pm at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London.

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3 Responses to “The Truth Is Still Out There”

  1. mrtotes February 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Control of information is vital. Wikileaks has destroyed this control.

    An example to illustrate:

    A young troop commander, a recent Oxbridge graduate, is sat hunched in the corner of a dusty compound, as the sun beats down sweat drips down his brow and he brushes some of his dried blood from his elbow. He has 20mins to compose his patrol report: he needs to mention the safe gully they found as they’d approached the col – known to be a logs route for the hostile forces. The patrol hadn’t gone well for him in terms of his leadership and he needs to be frank but brief with his commanders so the lessons an be learnt. Can he safely transmit the location of the gully? What if enemy forces knew they’d used the spot? What will his family, friends and future employers think if they ever read his honest appraisal of the poor patrol? What language is appropriate? Used to carefully crafting prose in a university environment he could use a wide vocabulary to embellish the report; it would be more impressive for the public to read. Perhaps the shorthand used between two close colleagues might be misunderstood in the wrong hands? Should he have to change what he needs to write?

    Openness can hamper our ability to be truly honest and often leads to exaggeration, whether intentional or not.

    and an analogy:

    I leave a French dictionary in a room and a non-French speaker enters. Can they learn to speak French? Perhaps, but actually it’s not likely they will to any degree. There is too much information, it’s not in the correct format. There’s no syntax. There’s a risk they will just learn a bunch of words beginning with the letter A. Most people can’t assimilate large volumes of information. So to help the person invites a science teacher in, but that teacher doesn’t speak french either so the teacher reads the dictionary and then tells the person some of what they’ve read but of course they only pass on what was of interest to them – science. It’s likely the person gets a small grasp of some french science terms a far cry from the rich French language

    Okay silly analogy but things in life are hugely complex and so unless a journalist is genuinely experienced in what they are reading they could easily make incorrect assumptions about the info they have – and their readers will get sold a skewed view. They don’t care – the bottom line is that the story sells newspapers.

    These leaks have told the public nothing, made the press a few quid and cost us years in diplomacy and intel. If we see more leaks our ability for large organisations to be honest (although private) in their communications will cease and we will be worse off. I’m all for transparency in Government but these leaks are an appalling act and a huge disservice to the countries affected.

    • Catherine Llewellyn February 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

      That’s an interesting analogy, thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Do you really think we should be kept in the dark?

      Wilfred Owen told the truth about war, and he is considered to be one of the greatest poets in English Literature (certainly in my opinion anyway)

      • mrtotes March 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

        No, not in the dark.

        Yes, told the truth.

        But randomly leaking documents designed for internal use does nothing to educate the public about the truth imho.

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