Skip to main content

WikiLeaks, Assange, Transparency, and Accountability

What was the source of dramatic tension in All the President's Men? The reporters had the basic story early on. The tension came from editor Ben Bradlee's requirement that reporters Woodward and Bernstein independently confirm the elements of the story.

What's that you say? No need to confirm the WikiLeaks documents. Well, you're right about that. They were what they were, although there have already been phony dumps if what we hear out of Pakistan is correct. But what about that tricky editing thing? If you believe, as all but the most naive and radicalized among us do, that there's a legitimate need for governments to keep some things secret, particularly as it applies to foreign affairs, then there simply MUST be a filter.

(Yes, you read me right. If you don't believe that there are legitimate secrets, you are naive, radical, and frankly downright dangerous. So you can stop right here, hack my computer, and put me and my 14 readers out of business.)

And the filter that I’m talking about needs to be publicly accountable. To those who say that there is no equivalency between the governments keeping secrets and the lives of the individuals reporting them, I say, "Why the hell not?" We elect the government. They are, to at least some extent, an extension of our will. Our elected officials and those that they appoint serve at our pleasure, and are therefore accountable to us even if only in the most removed sense. And as public officials, their lives are subject to public scrutiny. It comes with the package.

What of Assange and those who believe that ALL must be transparent? What do we know of them? To whom are they accountable? If the answers to those questions are Nothing and No one, then there are no limits. They are just as much above scrutiny as they claim that the government has become. I don’t see that as a good thing.

All our freedoms are limited. The Second Amendment does not grant my neighbor the right to construct a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. The freedom of expression of your fist ends at the point of my chin. And IMHO opaque, unrestrained journalists do not have the right to demand total transparency from my government.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.







LISA SIMONE: CONCERT REVIEW

Music in the vines...

Billed as a private party, we joined about 200 lucky souls who spent a most pleasant summer evening on the grounds of Mas de Daumas Gassac, one of France's most unique wineries. We nibbled a variety of hors d'oeuvres, drank as much wine as we thought prudent, enjoyed bits of salmon and herb-encrusted tuna from the plancha, dressed rounds of bread with freshly sliced ham and aioli, gathered around cheese boards that were at least two meters long, and if that wasn't enough, spent an hour and a half or so listening to Lisa Simone both being herself and channeling her mother Nina.

First, a word about Mas de Daumas Gassac. You can read the history HERE. It's the story of a family that just wanted to produce the best wine possible without regard to the rules of French classification. Matching great vines from other areas of France to their impeccable terroir, they proved that the Languedoc was capable of producing wine that challenges the greatest vint…