From the beginning, when WikiLeaks started this attention-getting tantrum of revealing the name of the fifth country not named by Glenn Greenwald at Intercept, I thought to myself, "This isn't about the country, but about some smaller entity or preson they want to get."
Why did I think that?
Because as I pointed out on Twitter, Greenwald slipped up and said "company" at one point, and not "country" when discussing this. A very common mistake I've made myself.
But what if he did mean "company," i.e. some telecom, perhaps even some Afghan-based company that the purist revolutionaries wanted to expose as a sympathizer or enabler? I was thinking that there was an American telecom company, or perhaps some kind of consulting firm funded by USAID or something.
And sure enough, it turns out to be worse than I thought.
It's not just that they've now named the country -- which many people guessed anyway and was accidently leaked by a slide anyway.
It's that they want to screw over Jared Cohen.
Why would that be?
Because Assange didn't like the way the interview Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen did with Assange turned out, because it made Assange look bad. Schmidt put it in his book.
It could be that simple. We are dealing with petty, childish, and deranged people here at WikiLeaks.
Just in case people had trouble putting together all the dots, WikiLeaks spells it out in a series of tweets:
Google Idea's director Jared Cohen was tasked with getting Afghan telcos to move towers to US bases when at DoS https://t.co/bwVvyXuMU4— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 23, 2014
The WikiLeaks cable, which may only be released now, I don't know (does anybody) or maybe was there and nobody focused on it before, identifies Jared Cohen as the State Department staffer who enthusiastically worked to get cell phone towers put in US army bases in Afghanistan to help mobile communications in general, particularly for Afghan entrepreneurs.
WikiLeaks sees this as evil, because they see it as tacitly or even complicitly helping the NSA hack into cell communications for their "nefarious purposes".
I disagree because, as much as I don't like Jared Cohen -- and I don't -- the cult of connectivity is at best commercial hype for Google's business interests and at worst an undermining of our civil liberties, Jared Cohen is:
o an official appointed in a liberal democratic government -- Obama is a democratically-elected president and the most liberal we'll ever have (I didn't vote for him the second time but he is the president, and I'd rather have him than Assange run the world);
o assigned to the job of promoting modernization, innovation, i-phones and Twitter and such -- he famously asked the devs at Twitter to move their maintenance down time so that the Iranian revolution could proceed;
o trying to do good in his various incarnations and programs -- which I disagree with, but concede to him;
o now at Google, which is a legitimate public company, in a program I don't like and whose goals I disagree with, but which also has some merit and is about doing good (peace, justice, human rights, etc);
o the NSA tapping into communications in Afghanistan is a legitimate measure for national security, i.e. our soldiers fighting the Taliban there.
By contrast, Assange does evil. Life is about choices.
What is it about that interview that got to Assange? Well, it makes him look extreme and deranged, in the end, not rational. I'll have to go over it again, but my hunch is that this is what it's all about.
Oh, and exposing the evil of America in Afghanistan, too. Right. But of course, I don't think it's really about that. For one, anyone with sense knows that the Taliban kill most of the people in Afghanistan, and fighting them is a good thing. You can disagree about how that fight has gone but that they need exposing and fighting rather than the US needing exposing and undermining shouldn't be a question.
WikiLeaks has really lost the plot with this one, but then, they were never about transparency and accountability, least of all for themselves, but about anarchist mayhem.
So why did Greenwald hold it back and talk about "deaths"? There are deaths anyway in Afghanistan, it's still a war zone.
Likely, as much as he likely doesn't care for Cohen's more centrist brand of liberal politics and the Clintons he represents, and doesn't care for Google (although he doesn't ever criticize them), he holds back at the idea of singling out one man, one name, and putting a target right on his back, so that he can't go to these countries (he travels all over the world) where he might be in danger.
It's really sick.
Appelbaum, of course, likely had personal dealings with Jared Cohen while Cohen was at State doing "innovation," because Tor Project, funded by the State Department's Deptartment of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the Department of Defense (yes, go look at their web site), would have been thrilled with Tor as a "circumvention" salvation that leads to that cult of connectivity I mentioned above. Jared was probably one of those people at State that Appelbaum bragged was his friend even as others wanted him to be investigated by the Department of Justice over WikiLeaks (as well he should be).
So there may be a personal vendetta going on here from Appelbaum, it requires more research.