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The Mask Slips


In 2008, when US-born journalist Nir Rosen was criticized (by me and others) for using his US passport and journalist's credentials to get his Taliban sources through a checkpoint, his supporters argued that he was simply being neutral, and working to get the story.

Well, today, in the Columbia Journalism Review (h/t Abu Muquama), Rosen gets interviewed.
Do you agree with some who have said that leaving the names of Afghan informants in some of the raw reports has put them in danger? Is this irresponsible?

The answer is "so what?" in part. Unless you're a supporter of the war. If you're trying to undermine the war then I don't think it's a catastrophic event.

But I think as a human being you don't want to do things that can lead to other people suffering. Even I would say that WikiLeaks should have been more careful in concealing the names of people who could face violent retribution as a result of this. But let's also remember that these are people who are collaborating with a foreign occupier that's oppressing their fellow countrymen. In every situation like that - Algeria, Iraq - collaborators often suffer. Obviously, if the occupying country wants to preserve its collaborators, it has to take pains to protect their identities. The media and whatever you call WikiLeaks aren't under the same obligation.

The argument that it's revealing American information that could harm tactical strategies, that may be true, but WikiLeaks isn't an American organization and they're not beholden to American national security interests. Again, as somebody who thinks that war is wrong, and this war in particular - it doesn't serve American interests, it doesn't serve my interests - I think undermining that war in any way possible is a good thing.
res ipsa loquitur, as they say.
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