This summer, while private citizens around the world are facing the most privacy eradicating laws and policies ever enacted, some media have been trying to get people outraged about the publication of secrets from public organizations. I’m not feeling it. Government secrets are not our secrets. Military secrets are not our secrets. Industry secrets are not our secrets. None of these secrets benefit society.
Industry is the most sympathetic part of the military industrial complex that may have its privacy invaded. Some industry organizations are private, and, their information may not be any business of the public’s and invasion of their privacy may impede their ability to compete or conduct their business properly. These people are having their privacy invaded already, by the military industrial complex, very much as private individuals are. From court orders to ‘anti-piracy’ raids, industrial espionage and illegal sabotage, these organizations are not having their privacy respected. Additional secrets exposed would only put the more powerful on an equal footing with the small organizations, and provide information that the consumer public needs to know, to the consumer public. Anyone interested in food, pharmaceuticals, environmental hazards, etc., would benefit from increased transparency. Any secrets currently kept from the public are usually things the public desperately needs to know.
Governments keep talking about how they need privacy to guard us from our ‘enemies’ finding out our secrets. In fact, other governments already know all of our secrets, since they are the ones making deals with our government and hiring intelligence on anything they want to know. Again, the only people being cut off from this information are the governed people. And entire countries are not my enemies. The fact that my government has issues with their government does not make them my enemies; the citizens of another country finding out what my government does, does not bother me. Government embarrassments, should not embarass the citizens as long as they are working for change. We could all use the help from watchful neighbours.
But most of the focus this year has been around the military. Regarding NATO forces in the middle east, I keep hearing references to the Normandy landings of ‘D-Day’ 1944; if Wikileaks had been around, would they have leaked information about that landing to ‘our enemies’? There are some problems with this analogy. In 1944, Allied forces were attempting to free much of Europe from the grip of a cruel occupying force. The landing and ensuing battle was a surprise. Today, the cruel occupying forces are the only ones being annoyed by a release of information, and an annoyance is all it is. Everyone knows the US military will be dropping bombs and blowing things up on any given day, the only question is where. If we could get the information on where, we may be able to evacuate people from there before they are blown up. I am not seeing the evil in that. Yes, the military would like us to believe that they have super spies that are going in and targeting ‘bad guys’ individually and carefully while not harming the people around them, but any research will show huge amounts of civilian deaths while the targets live to a ripe old age. Any research will also show the US military is far worse than their ‘bad guys’. And in reality, the Normandy invasion could not happen now any more than a battle with knights on horseback could.
The other focus is on the possible ‘innocent civilians’ / ‘traitorous informants’ whose identities may be revealed in the US military secrets. If any were being identified openly in documents that 817,000 people in the US with Top Secret security clearance had access to, they do not seem very safe anyway, and that is the fault of the US military. It is highly unlikely that they were ever secret, since none have been subsequently killed. Any future informants that may be revealed are no different than informants that were revealed in or after either world war, or any other war. It is a dangerous game. That is not the fault or the responsibility of new technology for whistle blowers.
And the last reason I do not care about the secrets of the military industrial complex is they haven’t heard of the Golden Rule. They don’t care about ours.