Thursday, December 09, 2010


Silver Leaf

A sometime reader of this blog recently said he was waiting for my comments on Wikileak. Frankly, I’m getting a big kick out of seeing all those important people covering up their private parts with their hands as the world discovers that “the emperors have no clothes.” And then there’s commentator Tom Flanagan losing control of his vitriol levels for a minute and suggesting that Assange would justifiably be assassinated. It’s altogether the funniest political event since John McCain selected Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. The outcries about the potential damage public leaking can do are heating up.

Hello! What are being leaked and posted are quotes, not inventions. The only way Wikileaks will post something stupid about you is if you say or write something stupid.

I know that during negotiations compromises are reached in stages and that publicizing an interim position can jeopardize the process. It’s  “diplomacy at work.” On the other hand, where persons or institutions with power are able to act and make decisions without fear of “leaks,” the creep toward corruption is certainly facilitated. Public knowledge can, for instance, prevent “interrogation techniques” from gradually escalating in severity until we discover suddenly that our governments are allowing the torture of prisoners.

Most of us have known all along that our emperors are running around naked, as are we all. Wikileaks doesn’t teach us this; it simply underlines what we already knew. But the terror in the eyes of our leadership is hard to miss, and they’re fighting back vehemently. Where I live, the site has been yanked: “Sorry. This site is not currently available.”

In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a neighbour says to Jem and Scout that their dad is the same man on the street that he is at home. People in public life need to be aware that honesty, integrity, courtesy and respect are no less required of them than they are of the rest of us. Negotiate privately if you must, but don’t assume that the people for whom you are working have no right to expect certain minimum standards to apply when the public can’t hear you.

Of course, one person who probably has no worries about leaks is CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry. When he has a quarrel with the media, he simply hauls out in public and urinates all over the “left-wing pinko kooks.” Nothing hidden there. Nothing to expose. Would that it were.

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