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Posts Tagged ‘WikiLeaks’

I’ve been casually following the WikiLeaks story – you know, the one in which tens of thousands of military documents about the Afghan war were posted all over the internet, to the horror of the government (classified, classified, omg, classified!), the somewhat smug ‘we told you so’ of antiwar activists (see, they really have been up to no good) and the guarded delight of freedom-of-information promoters (this is important stuff for people to know about the war we’ve been fighting, funding, and rather failing at for almost 9 years).  Generally, and simplistically, I think that knowledge is good, and prosecuting people for spreading knowledge is bad, although folks probably should think twice before publishing names of Afghan translators working with the US Army all over the internet, for all the world of Taliban insurgents to see.  The line between security and transparency is always a fine and changing one, which is part of what makes the story so complex and interesting.

But, I have to say, my fascination with the whole saga peaked with this article, from the New York Times today, about the Army Private accused of leaking the documents to WikiLeaks.  The picture constructed, of an outspoken, ostracized, liberal, atheist, gay, awkward computer-hacker kid who grew up with distant parents in the Bible Belt and a tiny village in Wales is, admittedly, exactly the kind of thing that NYT readers (like me) lap up, so I’d be interested to see how he is depicted elsewhere.  That said, the fact that he went into the Army when, as he later figured out, his real home was the hacker community of the Republic of Cambridge, MA, says something about the lack of guidance, or options, or both, that he had or felt he had in life.  I’m often curious about what inspires people to join the Army, and more broadly, what makes people find and fit into their niche in life, and the story of this grandiose outsider kid hits all of those buttons and more.

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