Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys

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  • Christopher Nimmo,

    Wow. Swindells was insane. Can someone point out when Marian Hobbs was ever nicknamed "Boo-boo" Hobbs? I've never even heard a New Zilder use that phrase!

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Can someone point out when Marian Hobbs was ever nicknamed “Boo-boo” Hobbs?

    Oh well, seeing as you asked.
    Swindells doesn’t appeared to have referred to Helen Clark as Yogi, or to NZ as Jellystone.
    It’s quite possible though that he saw himself as Ranger Smith.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    Ah. Right ho.

    I don't take back Swindells being insane though. I don't understand how anyone could have managed to survive talking to him without screaming.

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Seems that WikiLeaks has brought the cargo cultists kicking and screaming out of their nuke-proof bunkers, if the Granny Herald's Your Views of this world are anything to go by. It kind of sounds like something out of the comedy flick Blast from the Past.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim,

    A few days ago in this thread RB explained that he felt that all the attention that was going onto Julian Assange would damage Wikileaks. This hadn’t occurred to me. However after considerable thought I still can’t see how this could be so. In what way is this attention harmful? Isn’t the ongoing ridiculing of him on sites like this likely to be far more damaging to Wikileaks? The more Assange is belittled and sneered at, surely the more the whole whistleblowing cause is weakened?

    The way I see it, by taking advantage of the way he has been thrust into the limelight (and of any perceived ‘charisma’), he is keeping debate going about Wikileaks and the issues it is raising – as he says himself, the bald data is dry and difficult to sift, few journalists seem to be willing or up to the task, and it needs as many helping hands as possible to digest and disseminate. He sought the limelight in the first place so he could do this, answer and deflect criticism.

    In his interviews, from the early TED one to the recent one with David Frost, he has always conducted himself with dignity and emerges to me (and most people I think) as a genuinely committed, honest, trustworthy person, with admirable motives – important at a time when the US is trying to whip him up as the spawn of the devil. This helps ensure that the act of whistleblowing retains its dignity, and that potential whistleblowers retain their trust in Wikileaks, without which it certainly will fail.

    And most important of all at the moment is that he has been instrumental in keeping the spotlight on Bradley Manning and his mistreatment (possibly soon to be officially re-named ‘torture’) at the hands of the US legal system. As someone has remarked, it is ironic that those who destroyed the tapes of US waterboarding torture in Guantanamo should get off scot free, while someone who disseminates the truth about wrongdoing is confined to a solitary cell for 7 months.

    However, even if someone can convince me that the attention on Assange does damage the Wikileaks cause (and it certainly hasn’t formed the basis of any of the criticism of him that I’ve seen so far) this doesn’t change my view that most of it amounts to little more than petty jealousy - or the usual immature sniping indulged in by those frightened of looking naive if they express admiration for someone who is challenging the powers that be.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    looking naive if they express admiration for someone who is challenging the powers that be.

    Wot about that Jesus then eh! Scapegoat for humanity wot a guy…….
    um............ if the literature is anything to go by

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Christopher Nimmo,

    The nick name was if fairly common use amongst those of the right wing veiw
    She did have a few dropped passes early as a Minister
    www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2006/12/marian_hobbs_retires.html -

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Seriatim,

    A few days ago in this thread RB explained that he felt that all the attention that was going onto Julian Assange would damage Wikileaks. This hadn’t occurred to me. However after considerable thought I still can’t see how this could be so. In what way is this attention harmful?

    Did you miss how his lawyers' response to the rape charges opened a chasm on the liberal left? It's been nasty out there, and Pilger's blathering about "the false tribunes of feminism" hasn't helped.

    Or the fact that a number of close colleagues have split away from him this year, with one referring to him as a "slave trader"?

    Or that Nick Davies, the very good investigative journalist who brought Assange to The Guardian, now refuses to work with him?

    None of that is damaging at all?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim,

    No, I missed none of that - I think you're a bit off point. By 'attention', I meant admiring media interest, of course, not the sneers - my argument was that the sneering and ridiculing WOULD do damage to the whistleblowing cause. Those who have tried to level this sort of attention (those who stand to lose much by being Leaked) may be suspecting it is backfiring now.

    However - what exactly is the damage from the examples you cite? The 'feminism' debate has been fascinating and ultimately very healthy - that liberal left chasm wasn't 'opened' - it was exposed! All sorts of people have been dragged gasping out of their 1970s cliches and into the 21stC on that one; all good. He is eloquent about the (related) split with Nick Davies, and frankly has a point.

    But the fact is that only extraordinary passionate people are going to embark on a venture like Wikileaks with all its personal risks, so of course the atmosphere is going to be volatile, of course they argue and fall out. So a colleague called him a 'slave trader' (what does that mean - he felt the cause was important enough to demand that they all work hard?). In a situation like this internal ructions are to be expected and, as with many internal ructions, can lead to really positive outcomes - a rash of OtherLeaks for instance. All good.

    My plea was that all of us who are not members of that charmed circle will at least keep a respectful overview, and make sure the baby isn't lost somewhere in the bathwater. We don't have to join the adoring masses, but we certainly shouldn't be lending our weight to those who want to keep dark corners dark.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Assange seems to come across as a flawed genius. So too did Michael Jackson and Henry Ford, for different reasons.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    We don't have to join the adoring masses, but we certainly shouldn't be lending our weight to those who want to keep dark corners dark.

    You can drop the royal "we" when expressing personal opinion, you know.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Seeing as he had qualified that "we" in the preceding sentence, this remark seems a little ungenerous.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Us outside the "Charmed Circle". Baby/bathwater metaphor.
    I hate being hectored. It makes me......ungenerous.

    Anyhoo the slow insidious descent, of those who happen to be in positions of authority toward regarding themselves as some form of modern day royalty, and are somehow separate from the rest of humanity and can bend the rules a little when it suits them, has been very shoddily hidden. It's as if these beings thought they lived charmed existences themselves, and no one would question their right to do as they saw fit. Because their cause -they professed- was for the good of humankind. And communist leaders thought this as well. Hell everyone likes to think their cause is noble, even when its not.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to andin,

    I hate being hectored

    Pretty much a universal human cri de coeur. When it comes to being rogered, however, opinions vary.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    When it comes to being rogered, however, opinions vary.

    When being rogered a good Trojan like Hector is recommended!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

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