Judge rules that WikiLeaks cables are still classified

A U.S. federal judge yesterday ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union in a suit to obtain the unredacted versions of 23 embassy cables related to Guantanamo, rendition and the drone program. The odd thing is, those cables are already available to the ACLU thanks to WikiLeaks. Cyrus Farviar writes

Not only have these 23 cables in question been available on WikiLeaks for quite some time, the ACLU had previously created an online tool allowing anyone to compare the redacted versions of five excerpts with the full versions as published on WikiLeaks.

The Monday decision finds that because the State Department (and therefore, the executive branch) classifies these sections as secret, and that those sections in question have not been “officially acknowledged,” (as defined in a 1990 appeals court decision), they remain secret.

“No matter how extensive, the WikiLeaks disclosure is no substitute for an official acknowledgement and the ACLU has not shown that the Executive has officially acknowledged that the specific information at issue was a part of the WikiLeaks disclosure,” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

I understand the idea that officially declassifying these cables could be taken as a tacit acceptance of WikiLeaks' tactics. But continuing to pretend that these documents are still secret is starting to look a bit ridiculous.  


Israeli war tourists flock to the Golan

The raging civil war in Syria has created a new spectator sport for Israeli vacationers: war tourism. Mortar shells from Syria are now landing in the demilitarized zone in the northern Golan Heights, and residents in the area say they can hear gunfire as well. Many Israelis are foregoing the pool or the beach, flocking instead to the Israel-Syria border for a little action. As Maariv reported Tuesday, the intrigue attracts "dozens" of Israelis who arrive each day with their binoculars, inspired by the broadcast images of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak "watching the shelling of Jobata al-Khashab across the border in Syria."

"We saw a few days ago how Defense Minister Barak watched the battles in the Syrian village of G'ovta with binoculars," Yosi, a resident of Tel Aviv, told Maariv. "I know that it's dangerous and the border becomes explosive, but it is still intriguing."

According to The Times of Israel, tour guides have caught on to the fad and are adding the "Syrian unrest" to their agendas. Police in northern Israel are on alert in case any curious travelers try to get into any sensitive army installations on the border. Hopefully we won't be reading any stories about overly adventurous tourists.