It seems that the US government still doesn’t really understand how the internet works. Why?
Well, because they’ve now released some of the embassy cables that were leaked by Wikileaks some time ago, but they’ve redacted the contents. It is unclear whether the government thinks that their redaction will also apply to the cables that were released by Wikileaks, in a sort of Harry Potter-ish magic trick across servers and documents, or if they’re just wildly ignorant of what this move will do to them. It’s probably the latter. Oh, the ridicule.
In June 2011, the ACLU filed suit against the State Department to enforce a FOIA request seeking 23 embassy cables previously disclosed by WikiLeaks. The agency released redacted versions of 11 and withheld the other 12 in full.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has set up a page where you can compare the full version already released by Wikileaks, and the redacted version, and see what you see. In all the cases the ACLU diplays, the US government has opted to redact foreign government/people opinions that might possibly embarrass the US, and/or serve to give people inside the US better insight into matters that might be hard to answer on a White House press conference.
Self serving redaction is one thing – after all, keeping some things secret from the public is necessary, unfortunately, but this is more akin to communist, totalitarian attempts at opinion, news and mind control.
Here’s an example:
In the document above, the government discloses discussions that paint the United States in a positive light while withholding embarrassing critiques of American policy. In this cable from the U.S. embassy in The Hague, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot’s praise for U.S.-Dutch relations was released, but the details of Dutch disapproval of the handling of Guantánamo detainees remain classified as a matter of national security.
Read more about this and see the other cables @ ACLU! It’s interesting stuff.