Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wikipedia and the Moral Dilemma


I use Wikipedia every day, at least once a day and probably more often than that. In their latest fundraising, I sent them $10.00 and if you know how cheap I am these days, that is quite a statement on my part.

And yet....

Every once in a while I come across egregious and even gross inaccuracies and therein lies the moral dilemma. Wikipedia is created by thousands of dedicated individuals most of whom are volunteers and all of whom are committed fanatics who probably have nothing better to do with their lives. I tried just this year to fix one egregious character assassination on their part of a living person (Marc Canter), something they *claim* to take special care about, and it was a nightmare. Its all bullshit my friends, they couldn't care less about accuracy as long as they get their rocks off.

So when I come across mistakes, even gross mistakes, what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to tilt at windmills and try to fix their misapprehensions? What good will it do? In situations like this, it is the insider who wins, the one with the most time to waste, usually the one who is most insane, and contrary to some beliefs I am not even slightly insane or at least I have no desire to waste my time trying to correct asshole beliefs.

Never try to teach a pig to sing.

If you want to read the bullshit and try to guess what the mistakes are, please see

You see, contrary to what you see in the movies, almost all black operations are legal, they are approved through a process that involves the Department of Justice, the Intelligence Committees of Congress, and of course the Executive Office of the President and various of his/her staff.   The process of approval is circumscribed in order to keep things as secret as possible, which is something that this government, as stated in the constitution and as approved by the courts, has the right to do.

You should realize that the process is not perfect, that it has changed over the decades, often in response to perceived abuses of the system by various administrations, and because the various Intelligence agencies believe that they have been used by various Administrations and then allowed to hang.   

You should also realize that almost all Intelligence activities have at their core the violation of someone's law, generally speaking, just not US law.  And yes, this is a tricky point in international relations, one that, upon examination, could make one wonder to what extent nations respect international law and to what extent they just pay lip service to it and invoke it when it is convenient to do so.

What Wikipedia should be saying here is that while black operations do not have normal Congressional oversight, they do have a process of approval that has been approved by Congress and the courts, and that these operations are therefore, in general, believed to be legal activities of the US Government, although by definition they are not ones that they would want to be publicly disclosed.

In other words, the paranoid interpretation that all secret intelligence operations by this country are illegal and not approved by the government is simply not true.

But that said, or at least that is my understanding, do I really want to try and change Wikipedia?

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