Guest post: Josh has the ear of Vermont Public Radio, so…


Guest post by Josh, Official Spokesgay. He wrote to Vermont Public Radio to cancel his donation because of NPR’s coverage of Chelsea Manning, and then -

So I waited for five days to hear back from Vermont Public Radio, and all I got was a polite, non-committal “Thank you for your support. . bye bye” form letter confirming my cancellation. This next won’t surprise you—I sent the board and executive staff an irritated letter for their shitty donor/listener engagement. I run a nonprofit myself and my board would have my head if I blew off a longtime donor who took the time to write such detail.

That got some attention. The development director emailed me today to apologize for “dropping the ball” —I totally get making that kind of mistake, so I understand. It was a miscommunication. He wants to meet with me in town for coffee since we live practically next door to each other, and he wants to hear what I think of the Manning coverage and NPR in general.

QUESTION—What would you like me to highlight? I plan to give him a 101 in how terribly trans people are conceived of in our culture and media (the best that I can, being a cis person) and suggest that Vermont Public Radio (at least) do a series on trans issues in society, work, and media.

Those of you who are trans—I am your vessel. I’m not the person who should be speaking for you, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity. I’ll appreciate your guidance!

Comments

  1. says

    I’m familiar with the problems with CNN coverage. What did NPR do? I haven’t listened to them, but my trans girlfriend does all the time and didn’t mention anything.

  2. ceesays says

    NPR declared that they would continue to use Chelsea Manning’s deadname until NPR was satisfied that Chelsea was really a woman because she’d gotten The Surgery. a number of people, (including me, so at least two people) wrote or contacted NPR in various ways to ask them to please not do that to Chelsea.

    The response I got from NPR was downright snotty, actually, and only made my impression of them worse.

    I think that snotty petulance wasn’t the intent of the reply that I got, but the sentence level decisions were bad. and not proofread by anyone, I hope.

  3. says

    OK. So same basic problem as CNN. I wonder if they insist of referring to Stacy Ferguson, Stefani Germanotta, Lewis Libby and Willard Romney by their legal names as well.

  4. says

    I just feel too overwhelmed by the way Chelsea was treated to be of much contribution except to say good luck with this venue. I imagine many other transwomen are feeling overwhelmed atm as well. I live around Chelsea/Revere/Malden so if you all are down this way and want to ask, I’m sure you could, but Vermont’s a ways away anyway, and I’m a recluse for complicated reasons.

    I hope someone else has the stamina to pipe in. Maybe I could engage the questions if asked, I just feel like such a mess.

  5. says

    I can however give a link to information about us as transpeople which may or may not be of use in this particular political venue:

    http://pastebin.com/Ge8sAT2i

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=A3C4ZJ7HyuE
    taken from this talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOY3QH_jOtE&feature=youtu.be&t=1h23m52s

    AMA and APA statements on transpeople and medically necessary surgeries (hard statistics referenced):
    http://www.cristanwilliams.com/b/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/12-36-apa-position-statements-on-transgender-1.pdf
    http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/AMA122.pdf (<—-I fixed this link)

    Hard empirical statistics pdf, some of which are referenced in the above two pdf's:
    http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf

    http://gallae.com/cathy/essay12.html (explains differences very well, but I do not condone TS separatist while I am TS myself)

    http://www.transadvocate.com/extreme-pressures-faced-by-trans-people.htm
    http://aebrain.blogspot.com/p/transsexual-and-intersex-gender-identity.html (peer review articles, many of them)
    END QUOTE

    If anything maybe one could form some talking points with some of them? Speaking as someone who transitioned almost two years ago now, I have to say that link is as excellent a compendium of transeducational resources as I've ever seen.

  6. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    and suggest that Vermont Public Radio (at least) do a series on trans issues in society, work, and media.

    I would imagine that this is going to be super difficult to do well, without reinforcing bullshit about trans people, if they don’t have a large amount of input from trans people and at least one trans editor. Fuck, I’m not even sure I correctly wrote the previous sentence in a manner respectful of the wishes of trans people. But if such a series could do right by trans people, it could maybe be amazing, but again I’m in no position to make a positive judgement in such a case.

  7. Nepenthe says

    Caveat: I am basically cis, so feel free to disregard if you wish.

    I caught this story about gender fluidity when it originally aired and I was saddened but not surprised. In a story about gender categories beyond male and female, they managed to interview zero genderqueer, bigender, agender or otherwise non-binary people. The had exactly one identified trans person, who was trans woman on the pro-binary side. They did interview a number of people not identified wrt gender talking about those strange genderfluid people. They chose unfortunate language and examples: cis women are “genetic women”, gender neutral pronouns are “made up pronouns”. I should probably stop because I could go on for a while; it was a terrible story.

    From my perspective, if they’re going to cover trans issues like that, they might as well not. YMMV.

  8. says

    It’s a kind of huge subject.

    I think I’d focus on what appears to be Chelsea’s description: gender dysphoria, specifically, the feeling that one’s body isn’t right. That this is not all trans* people.

    – that “transition” does not equal “genital surgery”. I transitioned in 1992; I had surgery in 2004. Thankfully, in many places, they no longer require evidence of surgery before changing gender markers on govt ID.

    – that not everyone wants or has genital surgery, and that they’re just as trans* as I am. And it’s rude as hell to ask about it. If they want to tell you, they’ll tell you.

    – that not everyone is going to make a ‘transition’ as such; some people simply stop declaring their gender, or adopt a third gender, or all kinds of other options. The simplest and most polite way to deal with this is to be explicit: “I’m sorry to need to ask, but could you please specify which pronouns you prefer?” Or some variant thereupon. In other words, basic decent manners.

    – that we’re all around you. I know many trans* people who are ‘stealth’, as I was myself for many years. They are so for all kinds of reasons, not just fear or shame, as some assume. You really never will necessarily know, with a lot of people, and that’s how they want it. Of course, not everyone’s like that, and there needs to be room for those folk too.

    – that they might take a moment to imagine just how much they’d like it if someone addressed and referred to them, publicly and unmistakably, as the wrong gender, assigned them a new name and refused to hear them insist their actual name was $NAME. Just one time. Now imagine it’s every single day, and every person you meet. Now why, again, is it so important that you can’t even try “Chelsea, who used to go by another name” (which i’ve completely forgotten right now, no kidding, can’t grab it)? Why would you want to erase someone’s identity against their will? What kind of person does that make you?

    – that we’ve got only one thing on our minds when we go to the bathroom: to use the bathroom. Either we’re eliminating waste, or cleaning our hands and face, or whatever other perfectly ordinary activities people do in bathrooms. What we’re not doing: wondering what’s in your pants.

    How’s that? Tell ‘em they’re welcome to a phone interview any time they like. But they’re not getting my old name.:)

  9. Pteryxx says

    I did a bit of searching and found that Vermont was the first state to allow trans people to change their gender on their birth certificate without surgery. Perhaps Vermont Public Radio needs to be reminded of that fact.

    (Host) The transgender community in Vermont is hailing two laws quietly passed by the state legislature this year [in 2011]. One allows the gender label on Vermont birth certificates to be changed and for a new document to be produced.

    Previously, the crossed-out gender would be visible on the amended document, effectively “outing” transgendered people when they had to show the document for employment or other purposes.

    Kelly Riel, who founded the group Vermonters Ending Transgender Oppression, says another part of that law is especially significant: Vermont becomes the first state in the nation that allows people who have not had gender reassignment surgery, but who identify with a different gender, to make the change.

    (Riel) “Being able to have a birth certificate that reflects your gender identity and your gender expression without being forced to modify your body in ways you may not want to want to – or in ways that you can’t afford – is an incredibly large jump into being more open and inclusive for trans people.”

    (Host) Another law change heralded by transgender activists requires single-stall bathrooms in state buildings to be gender neutral.

    http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/91314/vt-takes-lead-on-transgender-issues/

    Note the link. That’s from their own site.

  10. says

    Caveat: I am basically cis, so feel free to disregard if you wish.

    I caught this story about gender fluidity when it originally aired and I was saddened but not surprised. In a story about gender categories beyond male and female, they managed to interview zero genderqueer, bigender, agender or otherwise non-binary people. The had exactly one identified trans person, who was trans woman on the pro-binary side. They did interview a number of people not identified wrt gender talking about those strange genderfluid people. They chose unfortunate language and examples: cis women are “genetic women”, gender neutral pronouns are “made up pronouns”. I should probably stop because I could go on for a while; it was a terrible story.

    From my perspective, if they’re going to cover trans issues like that, they might as well not. YMMV.

    I basically agree with this, very well said. I’d love them to interview agendered/gq/genderfluid/neutrois people in conjunction with transgender people, and I think by them doing that, they’re robbing the GQ of a voice they need to be having in the political sphere. It’s basically required that GQ/GF/Neutrois/ThirdSex/Intersex people be included in these political dialogues, and it’s a moral travesty of the first order when they’re not.

  11. Alex says

    That is really cool involvement, Josh!

    I only recently learned that surgery is not an imperative for trans people (boy does
    TV get that wrong all the time), and more recently that there are several kinds of
    surgery which trans women can consider

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones/2013/08/why-im-having-an-orchiectomy/

    so which one would they want to impose to start with? It just further illustrates
    that reality is more subtle than the crude categories they want to impose.
    I understand now that it’s callous to demand such invasive procedures, I wouldn’t
    have known or understood a year ago or two, and I’m convinced there are many
    people “like me” out there, so I think there’s real hope that the kind of education and
    awareness-raising you are providing can make an strong impact.

  12. besomyka says

    I guess I’d want to emphasise that it’s not only about Chelsea, really. NPR and other news organizations have visibility, and how they treat transwomen will be seen and noticed by a lot of people. When they misgender Chelsea, I’m reminded how hard it is for me to stake a claim to my identity. When they make excuses, I hear the excuses told to me. I hear the inquisition that comes when I try to claim my identity.

    And for cis people, it’s an example, a behavior to emulate. We’ll never change society if we don’t start putting those examples out there, and when you intentionally put your own standard onto what qualifies as a legitimate identity then you’re part of the problem.

    It doesn’t matter if you think Manning is being manipulative, or if you think she is the worst traitor to the United States in a generation, or even that she’s a hero. What NPRs says, how they say, affects ME, others like me, and the people I have to interact with every day.

    It’s not only about Chelsea Manning.

    And then everything CaitieCat said.

  13. Al Dente says

    I am not a fan of Chelsea Manning. I think she quite properly deserves to spend years in prison for violating national security. However I don’t have a problem with calling her Chelsea or referring to her as “she.” If that’s what she wants then I’m quite willing to respect her wishes. Her being trans* has nothing to do with her sending secrets to Julian Assange (another person I have little respect for).

  14. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    I think she quite properly deserves to spend years in prison for violating national security.

    Pray tell, what harm did she cause?

  15. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Well, it’s a good thing no one asked you what you thought of Chelsea Manning in a political context, is it, Al Dente?

    Thanks to the rest of you good folks for the suggestions! When this meeting goes off I’ll recount it.

  16. jenBPhillips says

    I think the point about separating political context from social justice context is a good one, actually. Some in the government and the media have certainly tried to use her trans* identity to make her less credible and sympathetic. Maybe it’s worth mentioning that one doesn’t have to support her political motives in order to support her right to be treated like a human being?

  17. Al Dente says

    Sorry if I fail to follow the “poor Manning, they were just being mean to her, putting her on trial for violating national security” line so popular these days.

    I’m fully aware that 99% of what she gave Assange was pure gossip. For instance it’s no surprise that Putin and Berlusconi are personally corrupt. Everyone paying the least bit of attention knows that. That’s not the point. Manning was entrusted with national secrets and decided, for some reason that seemed good to her, that she needed to divulge those secrets to wikileaks. However she also knew those secrets had been classified and, like everyone else given a Top Secret security clearance, she signed a paper telling her that if she divulged the secrets entrusted to her then she was going to be in a serious jam. She got caught, as she must have known would happen, and she is in a serious jam.

    I’ll tell you a story. When I was in the military in the middle 1980s I worked with a Chief Warrant Officer named Brown. Once he and I discussed capital punishment and I expressed some reservations about it, mainly that it was final and if a mistake was later discovered in the case then it was too late to fix it. Later I was being transferred to a new duty station and I needed my security clearance updated (SBI Bringup for those familiar with the terminology). Part of the process was an interview with the Command Security Manager, who happened to be Mr. Brown. We discussed some security topics and then he asked “What do you think of John Walker?” I replied “As you know I have doubts about capital punishment, but in Walker’s case I think they should bring back public hanging.” Brown smiled at me and signed off on the interview.

    Since Manning’s case was not as bad as Walker’s I don’t think she should be hanged. A long stretch in prison will be sufficient.

    Security happens to be one of my hot buttons. People can get killed because of security lapses. At one time I could have been one of those people. So zero sympathy from me towards Manning.

  18. says

    Ya, I’m ambivalent about what Manning did. That’s why you’ve seen nothing about that here. I have doubts about it, and don’t have the time to do all the research I would need to do to reply to outrage if I wrote anything about it, so I’ve ignored it instead.

    But I think there’s a big difference between the Pentagon Papers and the Manning/Assange dump.

  19. says

    @Alex

    One of the things that is so difficult for cispeople to get about the surgeries trans/gq people go through is that they’re not required to be trans or GQ, but they are a requirement for the people that need to get them; medical necessity. Cisgendered people make the common mistake of thinking that transgender=bottom GRS surgery, and that it’s really cosmetic, and if it’s somehow not cosmetic it’s medically required, and somehow it’s medically required for all transgender people. The reality is that it’s medically necessary for those who need it, and most certainly not medically necessary for those who do not need it and are also transgender. In fact, it’s medically harmful, in the extreme even, for transgender people who don’t want to get the stereotypical GRS Bottom Surgery done, to be forced, societally, coerced, into having it done. Or any other surgery for that matter. The surgeries for transgender people are only medically necessary, for those that genuinely need those surgeries, which is actually a lot less than cisfolks tend to realize; most transgender/gq people don’t even go for surgeries, as far as I can tell those of us that do go for surgery are actually in the minority, and this after you pare away financial reasons many of us simply cannot get surgeries (lack of insurance): which is to say, in a perfect world, were we as transgender people could get surgeries paid for, even there, in that perfect world, most transgender people, wouldn’t be going for surgery, of any kind even. Now, having said that, I personally am going to get the bottom GRS surgery myself: I fit the classical stereotype of ‘transgender/transsexual woman’ going for bottom surgery, etc, whatever. I realize however, that I’m in the minority here…

  20. says

    Security happens to be one of my hot buttons. People can get killed because of security lapses. At one time I could have been one of those people. So zero sympathy from me towards Manning.

    Ex-infantry here, MOS 11Bravo (3rd US INF TOG Ft. Myer Active Duty) post 9/11 (I served immediately after), see reference doc for DD214: http://imgur.com/a/54IaN/#3 . I don’t sympathize with your position on this: Chelsea Manning put out the wikileaks video showing civilians being murdered. In War, civilians will be murdered, it’s going to happen, and a lot of it. Also, putting that video out to the public definately put at risk the lives engaging in the murder shown in the video. However, if we want to have standards in War (another discussion) about what should or shouldn’t be done; including murdering civilians, which is actually a lot more common than people back home realize; people need to see videos like the one Manning showed, they need to know about War Crimes like the ones Manning and Assange revealed, they need to really, truly know what our military is engaging in, and what happens from time to time, and whether they want to continue such a war, or not. In short, they need to be informed about the nature of what’s happening, just as Manning and Assange have stated, as well as Daniel Ellsberg. Also, I downloaded the files Manning dumped, and looked through them, as well I’m sure others have. I saw no names detailed in any of the files…So wikileaks scrubbed the names, that’s the first point, and the 2nd point is that it was never Manning’s job to scrub the names; it was wikileaks’ job, which is exactly what they did in fact. I looked through all of those documents, not once did I see a single name of a soldier ‘on the ground’ NCO or Officer, Private, Captain, Colonol, nobody. The whole idea Manning put any of these people in danger, or that Assange released documents specifying names, is ridiculous. They did give location details: logs of what happened years ago, etc, but there were no names. The idea they were somehow put in harm’s way is heavily dubious given the vigorous name scrubbing of everyone except major political figures throughout the documents dumped by wikileaks.

    In summary I heavily disagree with this statement. Also, taking security oaths and obtaining a clearance is not the same thing as needing to whistleblow and break the confidence required for the clearance when you catch civilians, etc, being murdered deliberately in a warzone. Also, as far as execution or the death penalty, it’s a fact of life that the dead don’t suffer; I’m sure many on death row and elsewhere, living in solitary confinement for years on end, would most certainly want to be given a swift and quick end, rather than be made to be tortured more by the solitary. I think the compassionate thing to do is to either put them in a special situation were they are with other prisoners, or oblige them actually. No one deserves the torture of solitary confinement. There is more trauma and suffering in a few days of solitary confinement, for most people, than there is in a quick execution in one day’s time for someone needing to be brought to justice. It may be controversial but there it is.

  21. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    How about this? is that “gossip?” Ophelia, are you “ambivalent” about the people responsible for those deaths going unpunished while Manning is is tortured?

  22. says

    Um, dysomniak, I have to strongly disagree with you here. I think Ophelia has the right to not talk about something if she doesn’t want to, and it’s really inappropriate to try and goad her into it. She gets to have a private opinion, even if she’s a blogger. We are not owed her time or effort in making herself available to be convinced either way.

    In keeping with which suggestion, I’ll keep my opinion of what Ms. Manning did to myself.

  23. says

    dysomniak, I didn’t say anything about gossip.

    No, I’m not ambivalent about the murders, but that’s not the sum total of what Manning exposed, to say the least. That’s why I compared what Manning did to the Pentagon Papers.

  24. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    The “gossip” was referring to Al Dente’s #19.

    Good to know you don’t support murder, but I’d love hear what information Manning leaked that you think justifies any prison sentence, let alone 30 years.

  25. says

    Hey, fuck you. What the hell have I done or said to make you think I support murder? I also didn’t say I think any prison sentence was justified. I didn’t say a damn thing about the prison sentence.

  26. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Hey, fuck you.

    Hello yourself.

    What the hell have I done or said to make you think I support murder?

    Well you said you were “ambivalent” about Manning’s leaks. I would expect someone who is anti-murder to be happy about the leaks, since without them there would be no chance of these murders being held accountable.

    But you said you don’t like murder and I said I believe you. Why belabor the point?

    I also didn’t say I think any prison sentence was justified. I didn’t say a damn thing about the prison sentence.

    You said you were “ambivalent.” To me that suggests you don’t care one way or another what happens to Manning (as long as everybody uses the correct pronouns, of course.) It’s certainly possible that I’ve gotten the wrong impression. Please, set me straight!

  27. jenBPhillips says

    @dysomniak, among other things, I think you misunderstand the meaning of ‘ambivalent’ (as opposed to, e.g. ‘apathetic’).

  28. Alex alt says

    @MaoistAnchoress

    Thanks for the long info. I have one very basic question about what you say… what are the cases where there is medical necessity? Does medical necessity include psychological reasons, or does that allude to hormonal issues like with what Zinnia mentions or other things? If thats too personal never mind.

  29. Al Dente says

    dysomniak @23

    Good to know you don’t support murder, but I’d love hear what information Manning leaked that you think justifies any prison sentence, let alone 30 years.

    She leaked classified material. You may not like the fact it was classified but the fact remains it was classified. Divulging classified material is a crime. You may not like the fact it’s a crime but the fact remains that it’s a crime. Manning was given a trial and found guilty of that crime. You may not like the fact that she was found guilty but the fact reamins that she was found guilty, plus she admitted she committed the crime. In our present day society being found guilty of committing a crime means the guilty person is punished. You may not like the fact that she is being punished but the fact remains that she is being punished.

    Long before Manning fed Assange’s ego by giving him classified data, I knew people were being killed in Iraq. I knew innocent people who had nothing to do with Hussein, Al Qaida, the various militias, or any other warring factions in Iraq were being killed. I even knew much of this killing was being done by Americans. Perhaps you didn’t know this but the information, from unclassified sources, was readily available to anyone who cared to look.

    So what did Manning do? She confirmed information that was already confirmed from numerous sources. No big deal. What makes it a big deal is the confirmation came from classified material. As a result, she’s going to spend years in substandard housing.

    As I said before, releasing classified material to unauthorized people can cause other people to lose their lives. At one time there was a good possibility that I could have been one of those “other people.” I realize it’s selfish of me to object to being killed because someone needs to play games but I’m selfish that way. However I’m unselfish enough to not want other people to get killed because Julian Assange needs an excuse to stay out of the hands of Swedish prosecutors for a crime completely unrelated to what Manning did.

    MaoistAnchoress @22

    Ex-infantry here, MOS 11Bravo (3rd US INF TOG Ft. Myer Active Duty) post 9/11 (I served immediately after)

    Much of that is meaningless to me but then YNCS(SS) is probably meaningless to you.

  30. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Yeah, she’s a criminal because the government says so. Everyone fucking gets that (I believe the term is “begging the question”). Care to actually answer my question?

    What
    Harm
    Did
    She
    Do?

  31. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I understand what you’re saying about the potential dangers to life of leaking classified info. But if that’s the ultimate deal-breaker for you—and it appears to be—then you’re saying that there is never any justification on moral grounds for committing the crime of leaking it. I’m sorry, but that’s just the military version of cops protecting their own no matter what. That disturbs and frightens me. It’s extreme allegiance to The Law and The Rules. It’s complete, unconditional support for the ruling apparatus.

  32. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    This is why I reflexively distrust police and military people, especially those who’ve made a long term career of it. There’s a turn of mind that’s frighteningly authoritarian, even if one is “one of the good guys” otherwise.

  33. says

    I think it’s worth making distinctions. The Pentagon Papers were classified, and giving them to the NY Times was a form of civil disobedience. It doesn’t follow that all classified papers should be stolen and released. Not all classification is sinister or done for shitty reasons. Some of it is but not all of it is. I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to this question.

  34. says

    I understand what you’re saying about the potential dangers to life of leaking classified info. But if that’s the ultimate deal-breaker for you—and it appears to be—then you’re saying that there is never any justification on moral grounds for committing the crime of leaking it. I’m sorry, but that’s just the military version of cops protecting their own no matter what. That disturbs and frightens me. It’s extreme allegiance to The Law and The Rules. It’s complete, unconditional support for the ruling apparatus.

    I agree with this sentiment, thanks for wording it this way Josh. +zillion

  35. says

    Much of that is meaningless to me but then YNCS(SS) is probably meaningless to you

    I looked up something on google regarding that, it looks like you were a subbie, is that right? Submariner? That’s pretty elite stuff too; not elite traditional infantry like my unit but still fairly elite stuff in it’s own right.

    This is me nowadays, my hair a a few inches longer now though.

    http://pastebin.com/ZpBkCCXf (taken from this main link, which has more pictures):

    (Newer)
    http://imgur.com/a/80tMs#0
    http://imgur.com/a/7Xign#0
    http://imgur.com/a/bZlB8/#0

    Older:
    http://imgur.com/a/1d2Ox#0
    http://imgur.com/a/63vnT#0

    evil poppet and needles:
    http://imgur.com/a/ZntKw#8
    http://imgur.com/EuKQ9UJ

    I definitely don’t look like elite infantry anymore….more like a ballerina maybe ;) In fact I’d love to take up ballet someday, if I ever get the chance to. I imagine I’d fit right in given my elite infantry background =)

    If you were a subbie, how was it like on the subs? That sounds mysterious to me.

  36. Al Dente says

    dysomniak @32

    What
    Harm
    Did
    She
    Do?

    I’ll put this in caps for the hard of thinking: SHE DIVULGED CLASSIFIED INFORMATION!

    I’ve already explained why I think this is wrong. Obviously you don’t give a rat’s ass that peoples’ lives can be endangered but I do. This is almost a situation where reasonable people can disagree. It’s not such a situation because you don’t want to be reasonable about it. You don’t care if people die.

    During World War II the Germans used a sophisticated cypher machine to code their radio messages. The British were able to reverse engineer the machine (code named “enigma” by the British) and often could read the German messages in real time. As a result, German ships were sunk and German soldiers were killed. The breaking of enigma was classified “Ultra Secret”, far more restrictive than Top Secret. The British went out of their way to keep the Germans from knowing enigma was broken. So the Germans were using enigma to keep the British from reading their messages and the British were keeping the Germans from knowing their messages were being read.

    Granted, enigma and Ultra Secret had much more impact than the gossip that Manning sent to Assange. But the principle remains the same. Classified material needs to be safeguarded and not released to anyone who isn’t authorized to read it.

    I would agree that a lot of material that’s classified shouldn’t be. At one time I had access to information more restrictive than Top Secret. I had the appropriate clearances and something called “need to know.” I know that some of the material I saw was classified for CYA purposes or to save some people embarrassment. I also know that some of the material I saw needed to be classified because someone’s life would be on the line if it were divulged.

  37. says

    It’s not just that though. Diplomacy also needs to be conducted in secret, because it won’t get off the ground otherwise. Yes that means citizens have to trust the diplomats, and that trust is often betrayed. Dirty deals are made. That doesn’t mean we should just throw up our hands and give up diplomacy, or make it impossible by outing everything.

  38. Alex alt says

    @MaoistAnchoress

    Forget my last post – zomehow I managed to overlook #6 with all the linkys, d’oh

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