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What’s Upsetting About the Gitmo Leaks?

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Ben Wittes believes that the new leaks about Gitmo are embarrassing because the government couldn’t keep important secrets, and are inconsistent with the civil liberties of the persons who are, er, being arbitrarily detained without charges because they contain unsubstantiated speculation.   Personally, I think the bigger embarrassment is what the leaks reveal about our arbitrary detention regime and how many of the arbitrary detentions are apparently justified with inherently unreliable evidence obtained from torture.   Different priorities, I guess.

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  • Joe

    “I have spent a great deal of time over the years trying to shed light on the Guantanamo population. This sort of wholesale document dump is exactly the wrong way to do it.”

    Yes, we should just trust worthwhile sorts like Wittes, eminently reasonable sorts who think civil liberties should be reasonably narrowed [e.g., targeting killing of American citizens is “terrifying” but we must allow it with the President having much unilateral power], to give us the information when they feel it best.

    Or, maybe, once the information is out there, it can be analyzed by the teeming minions out there (like Firedoglake or Talking Points Memo goes over document dumps for key info), who might have different views and judgments than Wittes?

    • DocAmazing

      Sadly, the “leave it to the experts” view of document release is common. Domscheit-Berg’s tell-all about Wikileaks is shot through with it.

  • wjts

    I have spent a great deal of time over the years trying to shed light on the Guantanamo population.

    And may I say what an excellent job you’ve done of that, sir! Sarcastic applause all around!

    • Rob

      Hey if you had to find a new topic to not work on you’d be upset too!

  • Slocum

    Like so many Wiki- or other leaks, there’s not much surprising here.

    Additionally, none of those people in there would have ever gotten a fair trial in the first place. I would not be surprised if the even the youngest currently held there, die there.

    Wittes handwringing is obscene. Charli’s post below which seems to partake of that handwringing (“vulnerable populations”) is overall bizzare.

    It should be said that the purpose of Wikileaks in general is probably not to undermine specific foreign policies, but (very roughly) to undermine the trust between nefarious actors in conspiracies so as to make those conspiracies less efficient. See: http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/peter-ludlow-on-the-political-philosophy-of-julian-assange/
    and (with good links)
    http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/julian-assange-and-the-computer-conspiracy-%e2%80%9cto-destroy-this-invisible-government%e2%80%9d/#comment-6992

  • Murc

    I regard it as a feature, not a bug, that the government is deeply shitty at keeping secrets. History suggests that governments are good at keeping things from BREAKING, but that their success at keeping things from LEAKING is almost nil.

    And I take a lot of comfort from that. It’s why I’m pretty sure Kennedy wasn’t killed by the CIA and that we do not, in fact, have alien technology in Area 52.

    • bay of arizona

      So you’re not denying the possible existence of alien tech at Area 51?

      • I.M.Shocked

        Also too, if Kennedy wasn’t killed by the CIA , how come there’s rumors of anti-Castro pigeons seen drinking in bars the night before the assassination? Someone overheard them saying, “coup, coup!”

        • Hogan

          If the CIA killed Kennedy, it’s because they were aiming at Castro.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Bill Hicks ref for the win.

      • Murc

        Man, Area 51 is just a decoy. Everybody knows THAT.

        • Joe

          Also, Plan 10 … that’s the plan from outer space we should worry about.

  • bh

    Is there a reason to take the concept of ‘lawfare’ seriously at all? I can’t claim a comprehensive survey of the topic, but I’ve never seen a version that didn’t amount to “conservatives pouting about their lack of arbitrary power against people they don’t like.”

    Also, it takes a special sort of wanker to put concern trolling in the subtitle of their blog. “Hard Choices About National Security.” Yeah, right.

    • Murc

      It depends on what you mean, I think, bh.

      If you mean ‘should we take the concept of non-state actors attempting to leverage international legal frameworks (or to create said frameworks) to achieve their preferred outcomes seriously’ then the answer is of course yes.

      If you mean ‘should we take conservatives bitching about how people try to constrain the power of the US by using all those pesky treaties we’ve signed against us seriously, and embrace their use of loaded terms’ then the answer is no.

  • I fully support human torture if it’s not me.

    It it’s me, I oppose it strenuously.

  • I told my gradmntoher how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

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