Gutenberg… Assange

Ann Blair, writing in the Boston Globe, “Information overload, the early years:”

But around 1500, humanist scholars began to bemoan new problems: Printers in search of profit, they complained, rushed to print manuscripts without attention to the quality of the text, and the sheer mass of new books was distracting readers from the focus on the ancient authors most worthy of attention. Printers “fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libelous, mad, impious and subversive; and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness,” wrote Erasmus in the early 16th century, in the kind of tirade that might seem familiar to anyone exhausted by what they find online today.

(h/t Brian Dana Akers)

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 26 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “But around 1500, humanist scholars began to bemoan new problems…” – Ann Blair
    MY COMMENT: Welcome to the ‘Too Much Information Age’! It’s a shame we can’t trust the mainstream (for-profit, corporate) media to help us sort it all out. But we dare not! They have clearly demonstrated to us that they just can’t be trusted.
    Never again!

  2. Avi says:

    Leaked cables from Wikileaks indicate that Israel is interested in effecting regime change in Iran.

    Ref: (07TELAVIV2652)

    A cable from Tel-Aviv reported on a meeting between embassy officials and Mossad director Meir Dagan. Dagan stated that the cooperation with Iran’s minorities was essential. Among the minority groups he had mentioned were the Kurds, Azeris and Baluchs. Dagan further emphasized that Iran’s weak spots could be exploited as he pointed to unemployment rates, proposing to propagate the claim that Iran invests in foreign radical groups instead of investing internally. Dagan added that the student movement could prove to be effective and should be supported in an effort to bring about regime change.

    Turning to Pakistan, in 2007 Dagan stated that Israel was concerned about Musharraf’s well-being explaining that,

    “We have to keep (President Pervez) Musharaf in
    power”.

    In another cable, on February 22, 2010, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, advised Embassy officers that Israel had information suggesting Syria intended to imminently transfer SCUD missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon. Baidatz stated that Israel viewed completion of such a transfer as creating a “new level of concern” along Israel’s northern border, and he requested that the US demarche the Syrian government in an attempt to dissuade them from transferring the missiles.

    In concluding the meeting,

    Baidatz requested that any demarche be delivered prior to the February 25 arrival in Washington of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Baidatz was concerned that a demarche following Barak’s meeting in Washington would lead the Syrians to believe that the U.S. and Israel collaborated to uncover and thwart the transfer.

    link to 213.251.145.96

    link to 213.251.145.96

    link to 213.251.145.96

    link to 213.251.145.96

    link to 213.251.145.96

  3. hophmi says:

    “Leaked cables from Wikileaks indicate that Israel is interested in effecting regime change in Iran.”

    Aren’t you, Avi? Do you think Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs are a good thing?

    And wouldn’t you rather see regime change than an attack?

    • Potsherd2 says:

      Bring back the Savak!

    • Avi says:

      A “good thing”?

      I think they’re rockhalicious.

      If you could formulate a serious question that encompasses social and political forces, a question that is not Hasborrowed, I might consider a serious response.

      Incidentally, while you’re at it calling for regime change here and there, spinning halftruths and propaganda, you could call for regime change in Israel. Do you think Israel’s current apartheid system is a “good thing”?

      • Hu Bris says:

        Well yes – s/he apparently does. Is it not obvious?

        You think perhaps we also need a leaked cable from Assange and Wikileaks to tells us that too? :)

        • Avi says:

          Hu Bris December 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm

          You think perhaps we also need a leaked cable from Assange and Wikileaks to tells us that too? :)

          Opening one’s essay/message with a subject line, which in this case includes the source, is called ‘good writing’. You might want to look into it sometime. Or, do you perhaps need a Wikileaks leak to tell you that?

          Ouch ;)

          ========================
          ========================

          To further elaborate on this naive notion that “regime change” is non-violent and “good”, one need only look at several Central and South American countries ravaged by foreign-backed gangs, mercenaries and death squads, a foreign policy tactic that was, and remains, popular among beltway insiders.

          Surely, Israel’s involvement in Lebanon from the late 1970s until the present, including several Israeli-backed massacres committed by Christian militias are indicative of the fact that Regime Change is bloody and leaves behind thousands if not millions of victims, not to mention the infrastructures and economies in ruin.

          More recently, Israel sought to effect regime change in Gaza. Apparently, hompti dumbti (intentionally misspelled) has forgotten how he supports the continued state of siege and the daily assaults on Gaza’s civilians.

        • Hu Bris says:

          Opening one’s essay/message with a critique of the writing rather than addressing the content therein usually tells the reader that you really don’t have much of interest to say but nonetheless felt the need to say something, anything – That is general conclusion, which I have formed having observed various different commentators at various different websites, over time – so no, I really don’t need Wikileaks leak to tell me much of anything, in that regard, I just observe and drawn conclusions.

          … . .and beside looking for that sort of stuff from Wikileaks is kinda silly ain’t it, since Wikileaks released D.I.P.L.O.M.A.T.I.C cables, not ‘grammar Nazi’ cables.

      • tree says:

        And wouldn’t you rather see regime change than an attack?>/i>

        Isn’t “regime change” just a code word FOR attack? See Afghanistan and Iraq

    • Colin Murray says:

      And wouldn’t you rather see regime change than an attack?

      This is standard-issue ‘to the last drop of goy blood’ colonial Zionist spin. There is a third option: neither.

      We should look out for our own interests. Our primary interest with respect to Iran is to convince its government to embrace non-proliferation. Neither ‘regime change’ nor war, short of us nuking major Iranian population centers, is going to accomplish this objective. Only a ‘grand bargain’ will accomplish this, a realignment of relations sufficient to convince the Iranian political establishment that we won’t attack them except in genuine self-defense. This wouldn’t mean an attend to competition, but a rewrite of the unwritten rules governing our inter-state relations.

      One major sticking point is that a bargain successful in preventing the nuclear weaponization of Iran would almost certainly require us to force Israel to sign the NPT and actually abide by its strictures. This is one of many clear examples of divergence between American and Israeli interests. Israeli strategists know that “America is a thing you can move very easily,” and that as long as they “move [America] in the right direction” of permanent war with Israel’s enemy-of-the-day, they won’t have to live within their means and make peace with their neighbors. Members of The Israel Lobby are the cowboys lashing and cajoling the moon-faced herd of the American political establishment into permanent war that will end in our national bankruptcy and the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

      • Citizen says:

        You are absolutely right in your analysis, Colin. It always amazes me that US “diplomacy” with Iran always assumes the Iranians have no memory
        of The Shah Of Iran and how he got there.

    • Sumud says:

      Aren’t you, Avi? Do you think Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs are a good thing?

      And you wonder why US/Israeli imperialism is despised.

      The only people with a right to change their leadership are Iranians. On that note, to date there’s no account of what the $400 million Bush allocated to destabilised Iran – a program which Obama chose not to terminate – was spent on.

      ‘George W Bush ‘raised $400 million for action against Iran”
      link to telegraph.co.uk

      And wouldn’t you rather see regime change than an attack?

      How about respecting that Iran is in compliance with it’s NPT obligations and that no evidence exists that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program.

  4. The reaction of certain people to the Wikileaks seems intemperate, but… The state system involves diplomacy and diplomacy involves secrecy and thus to view the leaks as something anarchic seems to be quite reasonable. Further, if the leaks endanger lives, then indeed they are dangerous and should be punished.

    (We can work to end the wars brought on by governments, but even if the policy of governments end up killing people, that’s the business of governments, unfortunately. If Assange wants to compete with the governments in the causing deaths business, he must realize that he is infringing on their “monopoly”. And unless one advocates anarchy, one must admit that the reaction of governments is reasonable.)

    • Sumud says:

      The state system involves diplomacy and diplomacy involves secrecy and thus to view the leaks as something anarchic seems to be quite reasonable. Further, if the leaks endanger lives, then indeed they are dangerous and should be punished.

      I don’t think there’s any basis for declaring the leaks anarchic, or wikileaks an anarchist organisation. Read this Forbes interview with Assange from the end of November:

      ‘An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange’
      link to blogs.forbes.com

      It’s primarily about wikileaks vis-a-vis the business world but he touches on governance. Assange identifies in part as a libertarian, not an anti-statist or anarchist. His major point is transparency, that information leads to intelligent choice making by a population, in markets and governments. From page 5 of the interview:

      Would you call yourself a free market proponent?

      Absolutely. I have mixed attitudes towards capitalism, but I love markets. Having lived and worked in many countries, I can see the tremendous vibrancy in, say, the Malaysian telecom sector compared to U.S. sector. In the U.S. everything is vertically integrated and sewn up, so you don’t have a free market. In Malaysia, you have a broad spectrum of players, and you can see the benefits for all as a result.

      How do your leaks fit into that?

      To put it simply, in order for there to be a market, there has to be information. A perfect market requires perfect information.

      There’s the famous lemon example in the used car market. It’s hard for buyers to tell lemons from good cars, and sellers can’t get a good price, even when they have a good car.

      By making it easier to see where the problems are inside of companies, we identify the lemons. That means there’s a better market for good companies. For a market to be free, people have to know who they’re dealing with.

      You’ve developed a reputation as anti-establishment and anti-institution.

      Not at all. Creating a well-run establishment is a difficult thing to do, and I’ve been in countries where institutions are in a state of collapse, so I understand the difficulty of running a company. Institutions don’t come from nowhere.

      It’s not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp, because I’ve learned from many. But one is American libertarianism, market libertarianism. So as far as markets are concerned I’m a libertarian, but I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free.

      WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.

      If Assange wants to compete with the governments in the causing deaths business,

      ?? Don’t know where you got that idea. I’m stiil waiting to hear that anybody anywhere has been harmed as a result of wikileaks. Meanwhile the corpses pile ever higher in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and of course America.

      And unless one advocates anarchy, one must admit that the reaction of governments is reasonable.

      Not on your life. We have been told again and again, to justify ever greater invasions of our privacy, that “if you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about”. Wikileaks is forcing governments to eat their own words and it ain’t pretty. More please!

    • Citizen says:

      WJ, the basis of a true democracy is the INFORMED consent of its citizens. Wikileaks is doing what the USA Fourth Estate no longer does since at the very least the Vietnam and Watergate times.

  5. Elliot says:

    WJ:
    We can work to end the wars brought on by governments, but even if the policy of governments end up killing people, that’s the business of governments, unfortunately. If Assange wants to compete with the governments in the causing deaths business, he must realize that he is infringing on their “monopoly”.
    Assange gave the information to reputable news organizations. He took steps to remove sensitive information and the news organizations can edit the wikileaks material further. They do that all the time with other news stories.
    It’s a red herring to go after Assange because the information could imperil people who are mentioned in the report.
    If the information is so sensitive, why is the State Department sharing it with tens of thousands of personnel? Many of whom have a temporary commitment to the military code, are quite young and junior.
    WJ, governments have definitely killed innocents. You contend that Wikileaks expose may endanger people. I’m far more worried about the governments who perpetrate these killings than reports about them.

    The onus is on the killers, not the messengers.

  6. joer says:

    Now they’re comparing Assange to Gutenberg? Puh-leeeese!!!! Yeah, I know: they crucified Jesus too. I don’t like Assange, i don’t like his cult following, I don’t like the knee-jerk reaction of so many people to turn him into Osama bin Laden or Rosa Parks. I’ll summarize the 250,000 pages of secret documents for you: Diplomats lie, spy on each other and gossip about each other. But everyone already knew that-just like everyone knows we are fighting two wars in the Mideast, supporting unpopular repressive regimes, and underwriting Israel. The problem is not that there is not enough information or too much information-the problem is that we are not taking action on the information we have.

  7. Les says:

    I have yet to read any journalists or editorials that object to Amazon’s and Pay Pal’s denial of service attacks against Wikileaks.