In which the BBC copies wikipedia

This BBC story on Alistair McAlpine has a 'side box', that copies, almost heading by heading, the Wikipedia entry for the same person, as of early November 2012. Without citing it. Very amusing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20267832#TWEET347567

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_McAlpine,_Baron_McAlpine_of_West_Green

The sad part is that McAlpine has done many other things, Business things, etc, and the German Wikipedia entry on him mentions them, but the English one doesn't.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_McAlpine,_Baron_McAlpine_of_West_Green

Comparison of two punishments

So the Navy SEALS who killed Bin Ladin have been sent 'a very stern letter' (to quote Team America) by someone who shall remain relatively nameless inside that amorphous entity known as "the administration".

Their transgression was releasing classified information to a video game maker.

Don't believe me, believe USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/08/navy-seals-punished/1693453/



I am a bit confused, because a year or two ago, releasing classified information was said to be tantamount to high treason, sure to lead us to a miserable state of lawless anarchy. That is what the people in Justice Department told us when prosecuting Thomas Drake, Stephen Kim, and a host of other people under the Espionage Act.

Did I miss something? When is crime x punishable by life in prison (for Drake) in one situation, and "a very stern letter" in another situation?

Because, in these announcements they don't seem to qualify or quantify the difference. If I am not mistaken, the prosecutors and officials of DOJ who were trying to pump up their case against Drake said things like "Releasing classified information is a serious breach", although I cannot remember the exact quote or who said it.


I try to imagine the SEALS, working on whatever they are working on, training other people, writing a book about their careers, or maybe some of them are still out there, in danger, in war mode. And then they get back to the tent or back home or wherever it is, and there is some letter for them. What is it? Something very important, they must think. Their family or whoever must be wondering what it is too. They open it up.

It's the equivalent of saying 'you dont get tenure because your shoes are untied'. Its pure, back office political elbows at work. Its completely hypocritical and pointless.

Administration officials have released more classified information about the Bin Ladin raid than you could stuff in a hundred video games - to make themselves look good. And it worked. Obama and his team got re-elected partly on his "foreign policy strength" whatever that means.

But these SEALs, who actually did the killing, who have the blood on their hands and live with the visions and 'acquaintances' (to borrow a phrase from Jack Coughlin's "Shooter"). . . they get shafted.



It's funny, Thomas Ricks, he who wrote "Fiasco" about Iraq, has recently written a gigantic article about how the military culture is becoming ossified and mediocre. Incompetents with no ability, and often with experiences that prove they are incompetent, are pushed into management positions, and payed big bucks, while good people with records of success are hounded over minutae like these 'stern letters', that make demerits on whatever crazy promotion formula the Pentagon uses.

Here is his article:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/general-failure/309148/



You cant leak classified info to the press to boost your image, charge a bunch of whistleblowers for Espionage with life in prison for doing the same thing, and then decide to wrist-slap Navy SEALs who do the same, and expect anyone to find you credible. I know people will say 'oh but they released a different type of classified information, it wasnt as serious'. But if they have a look at one of the Drake documents, "What a Success", over at Federation of American Scientists' site:

http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2012/07/nsa_defense_critique.html

I think these folks may come to the same conclusion as myself. It makes no sense.

And it is weird. And there are some very strange people in "The Administration" who are obsessed with trying to punish people for giving out information.

Makes me wonder what they are hiding.