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Old 24th Dec 2010, 17:02   #21
Oryx
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Should that be released by Assange? More to the point,does Assange possess the ability to say 'you know what, let's not publish this one? If made public, this information would certainly lead to the death of the leiutenent and also compromise the capacity for security agencies to protect the public if their methods are widely known.' All the evidence so far points to a resounding no.
Not sure I understand the logic here. Your argument is based on the assumption, if I understand you correctly, that the trusted lieutenant would remain anonymous if he leaked the information to an agency but not if he leaked it through Wikileaks. I don't see this as valid. In fact, I think that the reverse may be true. I listened to a program the other day that got quite technical, and therefore way above my head, in describing how Wikileaks is able to keep its whislte blowers anonymous, using various and many encryption methods, channels and so on. Clearly, the embassies are nowhere near this level of sophistication, as evidenced by all this leaked information vis a vis the "cables".

Nevertheless, like Fanshawe, I am undecided as to the value of Wikileaks. On the one hand, the notion of a whistle blowers haven is ideal; there needs to be a safe place to disseminate information that the public have a right to know, and the idea of privacy as we define it for individuals should not extend to governments or corporations-which are entities and not human beings.

Amongst those who come out against Wikleaks, there seems to be a rather blind faith in western governments and that they react responsibly, even some of the time, with information that they choose to keep secret. The evidence for this is scant: of the things we have found out over the years-mostly about US foreign policy-because their laws provide for information to become declassified after a period of time- the reverse seems to be the case. It's difficult to say in Britain because I don't think the Official Secrets Act allows for such automatic declassification. Since World War 2 the US has been engaged in pretty much a constant state of war, many of them being covert, and practically none being in the best interests of the US citizen. Rather, they have almost exclusively been about protecting the interests of corporations. Only the engagment in the former Yugoslavia seems to have been about human rights. The rest have either been anti-communist endeavours, and therefore corporatist or wars about oil, and therefore corporatist.

Had Wikileaks existed back in the late nineteen forties, when the US was setting up shop with the Soviets in Korea, I wonder if the rest of the twentieth century would have played out the way that it did. Up until and including WW2, the American people were highly isolationist and probably would have remained so if not for the succession of Truman, probably the worst President the US has seen (including G.W. Bush) in terms of foreign policy. Or had they had access to information regarding the growth of American covert Imperialism, would they have elected Truman to a second term?

On the other hand, if Wikileaks is used indiscriminately, the problem, I think, is that it becomes like Terror Alert system used by the US government. It all becomes rather "meh!" except perhaps by the very people it's meant to keep in check. Also,because of it's indiscriminate nature, it is very vulnerable to abuse of the propagandist type.

Whew!
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 14:58   #22
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Not sure I understand the logic here. Your argument is based on the assumption, if I understand you correctly, that the trusted lieutenant would remain anonymous if he leaked the information to an agency but not if he leaked it through Wikileaks. I don't see this as valid. In fact, I think that the reverse may be true. I listened to a program the other day that got quite technical, and therefore way above my head, in describing how Wikileaks is able to keep its whislte blowers anonymous, using various and many encryption methods, channels and so on. Clearly, the embassies are nowhere near this level of sophistication, as evidenced by all this leaked information vis a vis the "cables".
We're getting well into the realms of the hypothetical here, but if I just for a second place myself in the shoes of an al-Qaeda terrorist whose conscience demands he rumbles a plot, I'm pretty sure I'd be happier reporting it to law/security agencies than a website which has demonstrated absolutely nothing in the way of selectivity in what it does and does not reveal.

This is about motive. Assange has declared he will release anything he is given. This will include material handy to terrorists and to those who wish to inflame delicate situations. No matter one's misgivings over US foreign policy, that's hardly the act of a responsible individual.

Incidentally, Johann Hari, a columnist I admire, made a massive mis-step when he named Bradley Manning, the Iraq War Diaries leak fellow, as one of his unsung heroes of the year in The Independent. If his motivations were truth and justice, he'd have leaked to pressure groups or to trusted journalists only those documents relevant to his particular gripe. Instead, he released tens of thousands of documents about all aspects of the occupation to a megalomaniac.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 2:49   #23
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Your hypothetical terrorist remains just that. He still has the option of grassing to authorities, be it the Pentagon, MI5, or the revered Guardian. He hasn't done that, though,, has he? And, I don't really wonder why. Even friendly criticism is met with the iron fist of the fascist American government. If you think my language is extreme, then please consider this:

Let's look at Abu Ghraib, shall we? We all, hopefully, know the story.

Here's how it goes:

A young American reservist in Iraq observed the abuse and photographing of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and sent this information on to his superior officers. This was in the fall of 2003 (remember that the story broke in April of 2004), He heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement that his information had been received, until he saw the story broadcast in April of 2004 on 60 Minutes(a US news show) . The Pentagon had received his report and photo evidence and Donald Rumsfeld himself had read it. Somehow, according to him, Rumsfeld, he was unable to convey the details to then president Bush- too many other thing carried more import- and so Bush was able to claim ignorance (despite being Commander In Chief of the US Military),and therefore, according to him, immune to any kind of war crimes charge ( something they were all too willing to level against Milosovic-despite his similar, specious claims).

The pictures were then sent (February 2004) to the American mainstream media- who did NOTHING WITH THEM until they were contacted by the Pentagon- who figured they (the pictures) would go virile on the internet and so wanted to control the story. They (the Pentagon) then gave an exclusive interview to 60 Minutes, where career officers expressed their disgust for the the "rogue" elements in the army, citing the number of reservists who were not properly trained, and wringing their hands- "mea culpa!".

Following the story down the road, sixteen private officers (including the reservist who originally sent the photos to his commanding officer) were charged with, among other things, violation of the Geneva Convention, and given prison sentences varying from three to ten years, and dishonorable discharges, meaning no pension. Thus, the USA war machine wiped their hands of this incident!

So, let's talk about Private Manning. Would you go down the same path as the Abu Ghraib leaker? I wouldn't!. I think he (Manning) was incredibly brave. He had information that he felt needed to be heard and seen, and I would agree- journalists were killed, along with citizens (that we are ever encouraging Iraqis to become). What news agency or special interest group should he have leaked to? Don't give me hypotheticals here (like your terrorist) We live in the real world and there are real world consequences- Abu Ghraib taught us that, at least. Wikileaks finally offers us a veil that is equivalent to the niqab. Who cares if there are some diplomats that are being embarrassed, turning red over something he or she said after too many glasses of wine? This is IS NOT the equivalent to having a cigar stuffed up your ass or electrodes being attached to your balls!
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 7:25   #24
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Your hypothetical terrorist remains just that. He still has the option of grassing to authorities, be it the Pentagon, MI5, or the revered Guardian. He hasn't done that, though,, has he?
Of course he has! Are you so naive as to think that the US Govt doesn't receive information from well placed sources in terror organisations and that such information has foiled attacks? Are you also ignorant of why it is imperative his identity, or any clue whatsoever to it, must be protected with the maximum secrecy? Can't you see that Assange's publicly stated position of publishing everything compromises that??!!

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So, let's talk about Private Manning.
Though I very nearly stopped reading at

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Even friendly criticism is met with the iron fist of the fascist American government.
, let's. Manning could not have done a better job of being right in the wrong way. I repeat, he did not exercise selectivity in what he leaked. If torture was his beef, why didn't he limit his leaks just to information about that issue? And why didn't he leak it to pressure or advocacy groups, or to trusted media sources? Why he he release everything he could get his hands on to as dubious a figure as Assange? This was no rallying cry or noble act of humanity. What Manning did was hoover up as much classified information as he could and throw it into the air. If you want to talk about responsibility, I'd work on getting a better hero figure than Bradley Manning.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 14:45   #25
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Default Re: Wikileaks

[chrisphillips] As a disinterested observer, I find Oryx's case more compelling than yours.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 14:49   #26
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Are you so naive as to think that the US Govt doesn't receive information from well placed sources in terror organisations and that such information has foiled attacks?
I would call "well placed informants" spies, which is quite a different concept from the hypothetical terrorist that you posited earlier who has a sudden change of heart. Spying comes along with it's own set of risks, including exposure. And if I was so naive about spies before Wikileaks, then I certainly am not now, discovering through them that the new Mata Hari is Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton.


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Are you also ignorant of why it is imperative his identity, or any clue whatsoever to it, must be protected with the maximum secrecy? Can't you see that Assange's publicly stated position of publishing everything compromises that??!!
Of course governments have to have classified information to secretly diffuse
plots against the west and of course they can't tell the population at large what the specifics are, just that we can now be a little less scared today, but be on high alert tomorrow and so on until another plot is diffused. That way, they justify the continued aggression against sovereign states.

The US war in Iraq and the Nato war in Afghanistan are illegal. They clearly violate the UN Charter and the International Court's definition of pre-emptive war. The US and it's allies have NO business being in these countries. If Wikileaks makes it more and more difficult for them to continue their obscene economic and political imperialism, then that's a good thing.

No, I'm not naive, nor ignorant as to how the US and others conduct their foreign affairs. I'm just sick of it.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 15:27   #27
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I suspected that was at the heart of your arguments. You sum up the irresponsibility of your political sect. Oppose the US in any way possible, no matter where that involves spproval of the Iraqi insurgency or the Taliban and fuck the consequences. Are you anti-American, or pro the other side? Or, like John Pilger, aren't you choosy?

Wholesale approval of US foreign policy is not at the heart of my argument, far from it, just a concern that information useful to Islamofascist terrorists is not provided to them by slippery megalomaniacs called Assange. Five different human rights organisations wrote to Assange when the Afghan War Logs were being released and asked that he redact the documents in order to put lines through the names of informants or employees. They even offered to help out, but he refused. Days later, the Taliban said they had set up a commission to find and kill those named. And yet:

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If Wikileaks makes it more and more difficult for them to continue their obscene economic and political imperialism, then that's a good thing.
Comment would be superfluous.

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[chrisphillips] As a disinterested observer, I find Oryx's case more compelling than yours.
I'm sure he/she is delighted.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 15:55   #28
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Well, all I know is Hitler wouldn't have approved, so -

Oh, damn, look what I did. Went and flew off the handle there, sorry folks.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 16:02   #29
Oryx
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Thread now closed- Godwin's Law
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 1:23   #30
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Default Re: Wikileaks

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Originally Posted by gil View Post
[chrisphillips] As a disinterested observer, I find Oryx's case more compelling than yours.
I don't. "Fascist American government..." Empty, ridiculous words.

Incidentally, the way people get around invoking Godwin's Law while still invoking Hitler is by replacing "Hitler" with "fascist", even though they clearly have entirely changed the definition to suit their own needs.

My God has this conversation been depressing.
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