This page was invented out of mother’s necessity. Nowadays, the blogosphere is helping shape the vital global 4th Estate. This forum lives in the spirit of a space that is open to everyone, fostering more Democratic dialogue in a digital global society. Yet I have encountered how open dialogue can shut down, often by the moderator of a blog or news site, or the author of the article who initially strikes up a conversation. In those cases the stated reason of closing the forum can be rather one sided, in the corporate model of top down authority, where those who participate in a dialogue are not equal members in the forum that was created.
What is good about this digital society is when one forum closes, there can be another opened to maintain an avenue for dialogue. One can easily carry on the dialogue into other place, by simply re-posting the original link. This page is for anyone whose voice was shut out and needs to be available. It is up to each one to be a steward of communication. The more we expose those undemocratic secret closed circles and release control of dialogue, the better we are as an open and democratic society.
We will post dialogue of almost any topic. Send us the link and your voice at firstname.lastname@example.org
- On WikiLeaks and White Glove Deaths
This article entitled Wikileaks and White Glove Deaths: Can Educated Reason Defend Against White Glove Death Policies? was written by psychologist, Dr. Bill Knaus.
This article created a chain of response, comments by people.
After reading everyone’s comments, I posted a comment inviting an open dialogue as I felt some of the comments made were rather exclusive and foremost by the author’s comment wrapping up this discussion saying “this forum remains open for reasoned comments”.
The author took away my response and without posting my response, he wrote a response referring to me as WikiLeaks supporter, addressing one issue that I raised, saying it would be helpful for him to disclose what was briefly mentioned about his position as a consultant to the army, which you can see in his last comment dated August 26, titled Disclosure in the comment section.
His response brought up further question about his stated bio, which I have no avenue to voice my inquiry. The question I have is about his involvement in the Army as a past event (only 40 hours service), then why would he have stated in his bio as a present
Here I am re posting my comment entitled Dialogue in the spirit of democracy so as for those who wish can continue a dialogue.
Dialogue in the Spirit of Democracy
I gather here some thoughts that I found need some elucidation and stimulate for a further dialogue. I wrote this with the spirit of democratic dialogue, to open up the discourse by using Dr. Knaus’s article as a material that stimulates discussion.
1) First of all, I like to clarify R. Burns response to WikiWorldCitizen. R. Burns said how WikiWorldCitizen made an “… imprudent assumption that Dr. Knaus loosely tied WikiLeaks Jullian Assage to Mao and the tobacco industry.” (quoted from Burns’s comment August 15, 2010).
The author, Dr. Knaus introduced the concept of White Glove Death in the first paragraph, then he moved on to describe the action of WikiLeaks from his perspective of risking Afghan civilians (implying that WikiLeaks may be seen as fitting the bill for causing White Glove Deatn). Dr. Knaus in the fourth paragraph clearly states he suggests to readers to make a link (at least a loose link as he used the word -”probably”) between WikiLeaks’s action and White Glove Death.
“It’s true that Wikileaks supplies information. Some information they publish may expose problems. However, releasing the content of the confidential Afghan war log will probably have a white glove death effect” – quoted from the article.
Then in the following paragraphs he brings up examples from history of White Glove Deaths. These examples are used to help the readers to understand the effect of White Glove Deaths seen in the case of the Tobacco companies and Mao’s policy.
The sole purpose of these examples was to elaborate on the link that the author made earlier about WikiLeaks’s action and White Glove Death. As informative and insightful the historical examples are, they are not the main contention of his article (though I could see how Tobacco industry example could have been a secondary major part that author might have intended with a call for public dialogue).
After he strengthened his contention about WikiLeaks’s White Glove Death act with these examples, the author wraps up the article, asking a question, and inviting the readers to join his agenda, which is spelled out in this statement “A collective protest by many may get the attention of the Wikileaks editor” -quoted from the article, which in short was calling for a protest against WikiLeaks releasing Afghan war log documents.
If some readers did not get how author made a link between WikiLeaks’s action and White Death Grove and the other examples of that kind of “one step removed” kind of killing (Tobacco and Mao’s policy), either the author did not do a good job to get the reader to follow his logic, or some readers were simply confused. I personally think the author was articulate in his logic. If some still wonder about this link, it would be helpful to have the author’s clarification.
2) I like to point out that in the interest of disclosure that Dr. Knaus is a psychologist who works for the army (consultant- see his bio). We have to note that his perspective may be somewhat embedded with a military perspective as his income stream is involved in the military perspective (I would think clear disclosure of this possible perspective would be helpful to and appreciated by conscientious readers). So in engaging with his article, readers should be aware of possible agenda and bias embedded in it.
3) What Burnes said about WikiWorldCitizen about “Where Ms. Hayase can start. Start by sticking to the issue” – quoted from Burns, August 15, 2010, sounds to me it is more accurate to exchange the word “Issue” with “talking point”. What he is suggesting WikiWorldCitizen is for her to stick with the Pentagon talking point (US officials perspective) that alleges that WikiLeaks “may cause some deaths in Afghanistan”, when there is no evidence (even according to the Pentagon) of such hypothetical deaths occurring. This reminds me of journalists who never challenge power and who do not ask critical questions about statements by officials or those embedded in the military perspective.
See London Independent investigative journalist, Robert Fisk shed light on this.
It is like the White House press conference where only appointed journalists that never challenge the official view are given a space to speak, ask questions or frame the issues, which is seen Dr. Knaus’s last comment posted acknowledging Burns, Barbara and Beth “for their thoughtful and rational responses to the WikiLeaks matter” – quoted from Dr. Knaus, August 16, 2010.
I find often this word, “sticking to the issue” (camouflaged word for “slicking to the talking point”) is used to close up the dialogue, prevent other views from emerging into the space. I like to point out that if we want to live in a democratic society I personally feel we need to strive toward open dialogue. This requires our check and balance. When we see the open dialogue is shut down, each has a responsibility to voice it to protect the spirit of democracy. That is why I am taking time to write this here. In my opinion WikiWorldCitizen brought a different perspective that could open up a dialogue and engage with the issues that are not talked about.
4) I found in reading some comments there is one thing that we all agree. We all care about Afghan civilians. If we truly care about Afghan civilians, the issue that we should be talking about is why we are in the war in the first place, to really examine the necessity of it. Without this war there will not be any more death for both sides.
To Barbara and Burns,
You used your critical thinking to examine Assange’s contention regarding redaction and risk on revealing Afghan civilians. I wonder if you can use the same degree of critical thinking to question the validity of war itself (What become known fact now about lies of WMD that lead us to the war in the middle east in the first place).
Dr. Knaus stated the following: “Zabihullah Mujahid, an alleged Taliban spokesman, said the Taliban were examining the Wikileaks reports. He gave a chilling message that the Taliban know how to punish “spies.” Assange denied the risk. How credible is the denial?” – quoted from the article.
As much as Assange’s denial of release of the material is endangering Afghan civilians is questioned by the author, this statement above needs to still remain unproven, need critical examination at this point as alleged Taliban spokesman is not enough source material to back up this fact.
We need to also examine if a man in a cave, Taliban is capable of doing the things that was alleged to have done. We cannot take for granted or believe without any strong evidence about the threat of Taliban (to the same degree you wonder about the safety issue of leaking the info, we need to be questioning about this too).
Also there emerged new evidence reporting how Pentagon has refused to cooperate with WikiLeaks (and lied about it) on protecting civilians privacy information. See: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/08/20/wikileaks/index.html
5) History repeats itself if we don’t learn from it. One lesson that the founders of this country appear to have gotten and acted on was there is a reason to trust the informed critical thinking of citizens (thank you WikiLeaks!), and the need to always be able to criticize their own government. We have seen how the government often lies to its people through the past experience of Viet Nam war, Watergate and the Iraqi WMD line. We can at least entertain the idea that it is possible that the government is telling a lie about this war too. We can look at motives of someone that is touting or justifying the government official line (threat outside that produces fear as motivator to acquiesce to secrecy) and result (how we are driven by this fear to act in a certain way). We can think ahead, try to sort out motivation behind actions and words, and really look at the outcome and who really might be responsible for the thousands and in some cases millions of deaths.
6) Yes, maybe instead of talking about the past such as Es Salvador and Nicaragua that WikiWorldCitizen brought out, we should be talking about immediate US government actions in the Middle East and whether this whole war is in any way justified.
7) I applaud Dr. Knaus for the research about those examples and his analysis of why they are seen as white glove death. The use of this metaphor is helpful. This metaphor and logic can be applied to US occupation in the Middle East. The armchair politicians in Washington that have never been in battle and send these soldiers to die for questionable reasons are clearly also candidates for the white glove death moniker. WikiWorldCitizen called that Black Glove Death, but I think it is more accurate to be called White Glove. I thank you for a great metaphor to elucidate modern events.
8 ) As for the comments saying WikiWorldCitizen has other agenda. I say yes. Everyone has an agenda, including Dr. Knaus and all the commenters on this forum. Probably WikiWorldCitizen’s agenda is similar to mine. I will at least be honest with my agenda. My agenda is to open up the typically closed discourse to bring into discussion the very inception point of what brought US to wars in the Middle East in the first place. Some might think it is irrelevant, yet there would be no Afghan War Diary documents for WikiLeaks to release if there was no Afghan war in the first place, so it is relevant to question how we got here. I hope my comment brings up all of our individual biases to consciousness and put them out on the table. This is really the beauty of dialogue.
Finally I like to make a note that all those things that I spelled out here is the very thing that Dr. Knaus is paid to turn away from since he is a consultant to army. His job may influence any point of view or article he might write that that could shape their thinking to be more friendly to US war (foreign) policy.
From this perspective, I fully understand that my voice may not be welcome or be called “rational” by him. I believe any attempt at true dialogue is actually more than rational. Whenever we encounter different perspectives affect created inside would reveal something about our own perspectives and bias. If one is willing to listen into another person’s responses no matter how uncomfortable it is rather than to shut it out or repress it, then there is an opportunity for dialogue.
I have no intention to hide or pretend that I don’t have any agenda. Once again my agenda is to engage people to move beyond the talking points offered by the government and open the discourse to see the larger issue at hand – legitimacy of US’s engagement in war in the Middle East. For this I choose not to stick to the talking point. If the author’s intention of this article is not to foster a democratic discussion I fully understand that my voice is not welcome here, but if you value open dialogue I would appreciate it if you keep this forum open.
Thank you for reading.