wikileaks 04-12-2010

thoroughly enjoyable schadenfreude over the embassy cable revelations. none of the so-called secrets that i've read about so far have really been secrets at all, just confirmations of what most people already knew if they read far enough into a decent newspaper (members of the afghan government are siphoning millions of dollars out of the country, prince andrew is a loose canon who'd prefer the government not to investigate overseas business fraud, berlusconi is taking kickbacks from putin… this looks like a herd of bears crapping in the woods to me). the big exception so far seems to be the directive to us diplomats to steal private information from political figures at the un and elsewhere, including passwords and 'biometric information', surely for the purpose of accessing private accounts, communications and databases, and i really do think the victims of this kind of thing need to know about it. 

so far i can't see how anyone has been hurt as a result of the revelations (i think it is more likely that lives will be saved), except perhaps hilary clinton who is making an arse of herself trying to wriggle out of responsibility for having signed the above un spying directives, possibly with her left hand while thinking about something else. it's also interesting watching other members of the obama administration affecting a tactical outrage which is slowly fading to weary acceptance because they know, clearly, that no great harm has been done, since everyone in the circles of power knew these things already and in certain cases - china losing patience with north korea for example - wider dissemination has  probably given them more leverage.

ironies abound. e.g. joe lieberman forcing the shutdown of the wikileaks website as if utterly blind to the words google and china free speech. ior indeed that many people - republicans mostly - are calling for julian assange to be, if not quite eaten by dogs on live tv,  then prosecuted, presumably under the antique espionage act of 1917 while susan rice is hiding in a toilet cubicle ten floors above east 42nd street trying to get a clandestine urine sample from ban ki moon.