Joe Sabia offers this hilarious and appropriately instructive recap of the Wikileaks saga as it has unfolded over the last few weeks.

[YouTube video Link]


  1. I think I’ve become so desensitized or cynical that I find none of these leaks to be all that damning. I mean, I’m entertained by the descriptions of world leaders, but frankly, I would have been more than happy if 99% of these cables never got leaked.

    Yemen getting hit by drones? Reported by the Washington Post a month ago. Besides we went into Pakistan with drones without their support, only someone lacking imagination would think we weren’t going into other countries?

    Our money going to buy bad things? Duh. We send billions of dollars over to countries full of corruption. I expect that some of our money has been redirected to the terrorists themselves.

    I don’t know. If Wikileaks had filtered out the meaningless gossip and confirmations of things we already knew, I would be championing them to no end. As it is, they’ve simply made diplomacy harder.

    1. Just a quibble: Wikileaks by its very purpose does not filter. They hand out raw data. It is the media and the rest of us that have chosen to focus on the inane salacious gossip rather than the actual matter of substance.

  2. more struck by the Boing boing notations in the credits – did you give him access to your authorware or something?

  3. These guys (wikileaks) are doing it so these guys (governments & business) freak out and clamp down on this (conspiratorial communications), making it harder for this (conspiracies and corruption) within all of these (governments & businesses). Even though it also impacts this (negotiations and diplomacy), all that will still go on but now only face to face and less done electronically (or at least recorded electronically).

    Why does this matter?

    As Julian Assange has said in his own writings, conspiracies will be starved of rapid information and the ability to react if we scare them into restricting their communications.

    By their very nature, things done in the open (ie, good things) will not be impacted by this strategy.

    Hence – things get better, more transparent, more open.

    That’s his theory.

    I hope it works.

  4. These guys (wikileaks) are doing it so these guys (governments & business) freak out and clamp down on this (conspiratorial communications), making it harder for this (conspiracies and corruption) within all of these (governments & businesses).

    Oh my. I’d like to point out the obvious.

    If the government clamps down on communications, it makes conspiracies significantly easier to pull off.

    Over two *million* people had access to these cables. Do you know how hard it is to pull off a conspiracy with two dozen people let alone two million?

    If anything, the effect of wikileaks will be to narrow the number of people who have access to information within the government and therefore increase the shroud of secrecy.

    1. “If anything, the effect of wikileaks will be to narrow the number of people who have access to information within the government and therefore increase the shroud of secrecy”

      …thereby increasing the difficulty of secret operations.

      1. …thereby increasing the difficulty of secret operations.

        How exactly does narrowing the number of people who have access to secret communications make it more difficult to carry out secret operations?

        More importantly, how many people do you think it takes to carry out secret operations? Grand conspiracies with thousands of conspirators don’t exist except in the imagination of conspiracy theorists.

    2. It’s not about affecting the secrecy around communications.

      The goal is to affect the ability of conspiracies to function as effectively when members are much more hesitant to say something in the first place or to allow more people into the communication network. More secrecy is something wikileaks expects, and expects said secrecy to actually further its own ends.

      Only time will tell if these theories pan out.

  5. People keep acting like Assange discovered every secret ever and is targeting America because he hates America. They say that if he was really about transparency he’d release everything on everyone (or at least be fair and balanced about it). Couldn’t it be that he just happens to have more information about America than anywhere else? I mean, these were diplomatic cables. They came from somewhere. That somewhere might not have known, y’know… EVERYTHING.

  6. Huh. The linked video seems to be about foreign policy. I don’t think they had a picture of Assange.

  7. I can attest that this video is suitable for attention spans in the lower single digits (measured in seconds).

  8. Don’t think grand conspiracy when Assange quotes conspiracies. His view is any actors who hide information for their own ends are ‘conspiracies’. This can range from very small (I want a promotion) to very large ( I will work to enrich my country at the expense of 3rd world peoples ).

    It is becoming clearer to more and more people that there is a class war going on right now – that is, big business and government are collaborating in many cases making self-interested decisions that do not meet the ‘public good’ standard. (part of the way truth becomes possible is people start to have the recognition that the system is rigged! Then they pay attention.)

    It does not take coordination or even active whispering to make this happen. It just takes greedy people to be greedy, and hide their greed in lies. This is when we need leaks most.

    This is only one version of the cancer that Julian Assange is trying to do his chemotherapy treatment on. Other flavors involve internal business corruption (BoA?) and 3rd world dictator corruption (Kenya?), etc. Wikileaks is just trying to become a broker for truth – they will get your leaks out safely to reduce threats to your livelihood and life if they do their job well.

    Wikileaks is also at working to get the media to do their jobs by brokering the leaks to the press. Check this out: ~ around 40 seconds in.

    Anyways, its better if you read his writings directly. Read this – it will get you in his headspace more quickly than my ramblings :

    1. Everyone really needs to watch that video. It makes Wikileaks motivation more obvious.

      I think what Wikileaks is going for is an excellent idea. Shielding whistleblowers from repurcussions from big organizations that want to clamp down on leaks. Thats all Wikileaks really does.

  9. I’ve seen this argument a few times, and I must say I find it interesting:

    -Leaking documents will make governments work harder to keep secrets.
    -Ergo, leaking documents is useless.

    So, if the other side is going to fight you, you might as well not try? What are you, a Congressional Democrat?

    This argument is capitulation and nothing else. If you never even try to find out what secrets the government is keeping from you, it doesn’t matter what degree of secrecy they have.

  10. Yes, we live in an absurd world. And I’m kinda glad someone gave Wikileaks that dump so we could see it. And thirdway nails it: it’s about the little-c conspiracies, like the way the CIA kidnapped a German national by mistake and is still trying to deny the guy any sort of compensation, much less an apology. Or the American contractors who ply Afghan police trainees by getting them stoned and supplying them with underage male prostitutes.

    The whole goal of Wikileaks is to make wannabe conspirators afraid to conspire. If the chances increase that the organisation they need to use to get their little scam off and running has leaks, then the lack of trust will stop a lot of those conspiracies from ever taking off.

  11. great work. very fun and clever, and Rachmaninoff holding the tension – i like how you get better at following the thread as it goes along – sort of forces the viewer to keep up, and lo and behold, we are capable and can adapt within a short period. more info/media should be disseminated thus – use the space bar if you ned a rest. can’t wait to see further work! g

  12. aaargh, Why “this guy” “this country”.. Just SAY THE NAME! It will be easier to understand (say it and show it, thats the best!)

  13. Governments can still do bad stuff and keep it all in the open. They just need people to co-operate.

  14. Sure, all this stuff is mostly stuff we already knew (and to be honest, I really think these are all just teasers), but really, it wasn’t stuff we knew, but stuff we thought we knew. The shift from thinking we know, to knowing for a fact doesn’t really change the information all that much, but sure as hell changes the perception.

    Governments have been carrying out atrocious acts on our behalf in the name of national security or whatever, but doing so with a degree of plausible deniability. The secrecy means they can spin their way out of anything they want and for some inexplicable reason, everyone buys into it.

    When the dust settled on the iraq war (if it ever did), then everyone who made a decision said with their hands on their hearts ‘we didn’t know there weren’t any WMD’s’. Now I generally scream at them through the screen and shout ‘WELL I F***ING KNEW, WTF?’. But I didn’t know, I just thought I knew… I thought Hans Blix knew and thought that was more convincing than anyone else’s BS, but now…. I know, and more importantly, I know they knew, and now they know I know they knew.

    So in the future, when we think we know, hopefully we don’t just sit back and say ‘oh, well, you guys have all the intel, you probably know better’, but just maybe one of those schmucks in the press gallery is actually going to call them on it.

    1. This is the same press corps that attended a press conference with the President two days ago and didn’t see fit to even ask him one question about Wikileaks or the cables.

      A whole press conference.

      With Obama.

      Not one question.

  15. In Sweden, there have been a long string of different news articles spun from wikileaks information. It’s silly things like the US ambassadors lack of knowledge about the country he is residing in, really nonsensical and sometimes baffling comments about Swedish people (mostly Swedish ministers), reported back to US by US agents, to more serious stuff, like how the US government been involved in sabotaging Swedish business deals abroad (to increase the profit of US owned businesses), or secret CIA transports of illegally imprisoned (by international treaties, Swedish and US law) people through Sweden without informing the Swedish government. But I have already forgotten most of what have been reported, it is just to much information.

    What is interesting though, is that none of the things that made headlines in Sweden is covered by this video, the things that are in this video was barely noticed in Swedish news media (this time, it is perhaps because it is mostly confirmation of stuff we already “knew about” and that have already been investigated in depth by Swedish media, it is mostly “old” news). It would be interesting with a comparative study about what different news media is reporting about wikileaks information.

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