(updated below – Update II – Update III)
The comparison of these two passages is so telling in so many ways:
Revelations by the organization WikiLeaks have received blanket coverage this week on television, in newspapers and on Web sites around the globe. But in parts of the world where the leaks have some of the greatest potential to sow controversy, they have barely caused a ripple.
Authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders’ views.
In China, the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the government’s “Great Firewall,” and access to other sources for the documents has been restricted. Most Chinese are unable to read the contents of the diplomatic cables. . . .
(updated below – Update II)
Following up on my post from earlier today about Joe Lieberman’s Chinese-replicating Internet censorship efforts (and please read that first for the context), I wanted this to be highlighted separately: The New York Times reports that another company has now capitulated to Lieberman’s demands: “a Seattle-based software company, Tableau, which provides a free Web platform for interactive graphics, removed charts uploaded by WikiLeaks in response to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s public statement that companies should stop helping the whistle-blowers.” Tableau issued a statement, which reads in part:
I was on Democracy Now this morning debating WikiLeaks with Steven Aftergood, the long-time transparency advocate with Federation for American Scientists and Secrecy News, and a vociferous critic of WikiLeaks. Because of his harsh and continuous deunciations of the group, Aftergood has been held up by many media outlets such as Newsweek as evidence that even transparency campaigners condemn them. This debate, in my view, highlights the core disputes surrounding WikiLeaks quite vividly and is thus worth watching. One added note: Democracy Now, unsurprisingly, has been providing some of the best and most informative coverage of the WikiLeaks disclosures; see here (and scroll down) for the links to their superb reporting and interviews all week long:
Reuters/Lawrence O’Donnell and Evan Bayh
(updated below – Update II)
Ten minutes was the absolute maximum I could endure of any one television news outlet last night without having to switch channels in the futile search for something more bearable, but almost every time I had MNSBC on, there was Lawrence O’Donnell trying to blame “the Left” and “liberalism” for the Democrats’ political woes. Alan Grayson’s loss was proof that outspoken liberalism fails. Blanche Lincoln’s loss was the fault of the Left for mounting a serious primary challenge against her. Russ Feingold’s defeat proved that voters reject liberalism in favor of conservatism, etc. etc. It sounded as though he was reading from some crusty script jointly prepared in 1995 by The New Republic, Lanny Davis and the DLC.
There are so many obvious reasons why this “analysis” is false: Grayson represents a highly conservative district that hadn’t been Democratic for decades before he won in 2008 and he made serious mistakes during the campaign; Lincoln was behind the GOP challenger by more than 20 points back in January, before Bill Halter even announced his candidacy; Feingold was far from a conventional liberal, having repeatedly opposed his own party on multiple issues, and he ran in a state saddled with a Democratic governor who was unpopular in the extreme. Beyond that, numerous liberals who were alleged to be in serious electoral trouble kept their seats: Barney Frank, John Dingell, Rush Holt, Raul Grijalva, and many others. But there’s one glaring, steadfastly ignored fact destroying O’Donnell’s attempt — which is merely the standard pundit storyline that has been baking for months and will now be served en masse — to blame The Left and declare liberalism dead. It’s this little inconvenient fact:…
From Glenn Greenwald:
For many people, one of the earliest and gravest disappointments in Barack Obama was his announcement that those who implemented a worldwide torture regime should not be punished in any way, because we must Look Forward, Not Backward. He even chose a General neck-deep in detainee abuse to lead his war in Afghanistan, and chose a Bush-era CIA official who endorsed many “enhanced interrogation techniques” as his top Terrorism adviser. Torture and other crimes was something to be forgiven and swept entirely under the rug. Obama now appears to view such matters differently . . . . at least when the torturers are Iranian rather than American (h/t Atrios):
From Glenn Greenwald:
Saturday, Sept 25, 2010 15:26 ET
At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.