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Wikileaks and the Diplomatic Cables of Doom


Cap'n Refsmmat
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So McCarthy was a Socialist?[/Quote]

 

swansont; Quite the contrary, he was the first modern day conservative. Think about it, what was the primary message from both Goldwater and Reagan, communism. McCarthy, to be polite, drank too much and basically the wrong messenger. Since off topic and a little deep to pursue (not many people interested) and if the issue interest you, I might suggest you check out Fox News, Brit Hume's (The Rise, Fall and Future of conservatism) currently an ongoing documentary about Conservatism. They replayed the first three parts on Thanksgiving day and suspect they will do the same in total over Christmas, but parts one and two go over the fight against Socialism/Communism influence.

 

http://www.wopular.com/brit-hume-rise-fall-and-future-conservatism

 

Thread;

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, says the U-S system is to blame for the release of 250-thousand secret diplomatic cables.

 

Mr Rudd says the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, cannot be held personally responsible for the leaks and that the fault instead lies with American security. [/Quote]

 

And the current PM defends the former PM, current FM;

 

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has defended the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, amid claims his style is harming Australia's relationships with other countries.[/Quote]

 

http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201012/3088427.htm?desktop

 

I would think the last thing the US DoJ would want, would be trying to defend their own action and reactions to the original leaks in open court, but if they don't try to, they will be held responsible for terrible injustice, on whom and for what pending.

 

Any attempt to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for the ongoing disclosure of classified State Department cables will pose huge challenges for the U.S. government, according to a newly updated report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

 

"We are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it," the report bluntly stated. Such an action would have First Amendment implications, and political ramifications "based on concerns about government censorship."[/Quote]

 

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9200698/Prosecuting_WikiLeaks_Assange_could_be_difficult_case

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swansont; Quite the contrary, he was the first modern day conservative. Think about it, what was the primary message from both Goldwater and Reagan, communism. McCarthy, to be polite, drank too much and basically the wrong messenger. Since off topic and a little deep to pursue (not many people interested) and if the issue interest you, I might suggest you check out Fox News, Brit Hume's (The Rise, Fall and Future of conservatism) currently an ongoing documentary about Conservatism. They replayed the first three parts on Thanksgiving day and suspect they will do the same in total over Christmas, but parts one and two go over the fight against Socialism/Communism influence.

 

Isn't "taking a problem and using that problem to increase control over the people" precisely what McCarthy did?

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Isn't "taking a problem and using that problem to increase control over the people" precisely what McCarthy did? [/Quote]

 

 

 

swansont; OK, I see where your headed, trying to connect WL/Assange to McCarthyism. If a valid point, would you say any Congressional Investigation is on par with WL activity or for that matter any work by a good investigative reporter? If Assange's political bias is other than a Free Press, would it be any different than the NY Times, MSNBC or Newscorps apparent bias. I'd suggest if anything, divulging Government Communications without an editorial or comment is less biased than traditional news reporting. I have no idea how many news reports are now validating their stories, referencing an uncontested released WL document.

 

As for McCarthy trying to "control" anybody, his efforts were to reveal Communist activity inside the US society, both domestically and politically, was validated in most cases, with the intent to curb such influence. Take the derogative implication out of the scenario, compare with Daniel Elsberg, Bob Woodward, William Buckley (who promoted McCarthy in the beginning) and other like reporters and you might have a point....I would say McCarthy was more on par with any of the Congressional Investigative Committees, which I've watched over the past 50-60 years (including both McCarthy and Henry Waxman (over BP oil spill) and it's nothing like Assange or other reporting news sources...

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I'm not sure I really follow your point anymore, Dak.

 

And I really don't understand any "censorship" or "transparency" argument along the lines of "people aren't aware of X", where X is some knowledge that intelligent people who are paying attention to know about, but the typical man on the street does not. That's not a transparency or censorship issue, that's a matter of education and motivation.

 

My apologies: censorship's kinda a 'button' for me, i have a tenancy to rant :unsure:

 

let me try again; it's pyramid-written, so just stop reading when you get bored.

 

you've got propaganda, and you've got censorship. the idea behind propaganda is to increase the number of people accepting belief X; one point of censorship can be to decrease the number of people accepting belief Y by decreasing exposure to it (like anti-advertizing). taken together, the idea would be to move people as a whole away from belief Y towards belief X, irreguardless of how justified those beliefs are.

 

A pre-requisite of democracy is that people can make informed decisions about their political situation.

 

By interfering with how we form beliefs, censorship can manipule us into accepting things that we wouldn't otherwize accept, thus crippling our ability to check and influence our government, foiling the main point of democracy; paying more attention wouldn't necessarily fix this, and it shouldn't be made harder for us in the first place.

 

An example: In the Troubles, the UK government tried hard to only expose us brits to the bad aspects of the IRA, whilst only exposing us to the good aspects of the UK government.

 

The IRA blew us up, for sure, but the whole movement also had more peaceful, 'legitimate' political aspects; and the UK government assasinated Irish civillians themselves, and what really is the difference between that and terrorism?. The UK government granted free elections in Northern Ireland, but the republicans claim were gerrymandered to the point where they were meaningless. The Uk granted a referendum, and the Republicans boycotted the it because they believed it was unfair, which is why the result of the Northern Irish referendum was to remain part of the UK. and it's not asif they're blowing us up for no reason; maybe there's a peaceful resolution to the situation that we could reasonably expect our government to take (NOTE: turned out there was, and a peaceful resoultion was eventually agreed upon, after the IRA made it clear that was the only thing that'd work).

 

The strikethroughs represent government censorship of the media at the time. Nowadays (the censorship's been lifted btw), most brits will at least think both sides acted dodgy, but at the time? I'm sure that the Troubles would have gone at least slightly differently if we (brits) knew what was actually going on. For us to have known that, we would have required an uncensored media.

 

That's what i meant when i said that if you want to have a meaningful national discussion about this, you'll need the government to fail in their attempts to censor these leaks. Otherwize you'll have it justified to you in terms of national security, and you won't know whether that's true, and you won't know how much other stuff is censored, and you won't know just how bad your government is, so you won't be equipped to make an informed decision. What's to stop you being fed crap about 'national security' which isn't even true, if you can't be presented with the other side of the argument or any evidence that supports that side of the argument?

 

I'm pretty sure that's what your first amendment is to guard you against. avoiding this exact situation whereby the government prevents you from being informed about the government is one of the safeguards of your country, but it's your responsibility to enforce that safeguard, and so the fact that you're even considering tolerating it is weird imo.

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Well I certainly agree with that bit at the end there, and I think in general. I think (if I read you right) at one point you were trying to make the point that we need the example of Wikileaks to essentially highlight the importance of government responsibility, and in general you may be right on this. My problem has been that Wikileaks seems to have an agenda that isn't about fairness and doesn't make objective determinations.

 

Wikileaks is no different from any other special interest group. They're like the National Rifle Association, identifying and promoting evidence of their mantra that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" (or however they phrase it). Or PETA, identifying and promoting evidence of animal abuse (with an anthropomorphic agenda). We can use their "data" and even their advocacy to some extent, but we have to remember that there's another side to their narrative that we also have to take into consideration. That's why Wikileaks should not have the power to do what they've done here -- it's too much power for a special interest group to have. That's why it's against the law.

 

We can't pawn off our Fourth Estate to special interest groups. We still need an objective, fair source to make the big calls.

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swansont; OK, I see where your headed, trying to connect WL/Assange to McCarthyism.

 

I was trying to connect the government's use of the threat of terrorism to it. WL/Assange is one part of it.

 

As for McCarthy trying to "control" anybody, his efforts were to reveal Communist activity inside the US society, both domestically and politically, was validated in most cases, with the intent to curb such influence. Take the derogative implication out of the scenario, compare with Daniel Elsberg, Bob Woodward, William Buckley (who promoted McCarthy in the beginning) and other like reporters and you might have a point....I would say McCarthy was more on par with any of the Congressional Investigative Committees, which I've watched over the past 50-60 years (including both McCarthy and Henry Waxman (over BP oil spill) and it's nothing like Assange or other reporting news sources...

 

Well, the derogative implications are the problem. In the past , you could be named a communist on little or no actual evidence, and being subpoenaed to testify before the House committee on unamerican activities could ruin your life. These days, the govermment can name you as a terrorist (enemy combatant) and deny you due process, as some have proposed doing to Assange.

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Well I certainly agree with that bit at the end there, and I think in general. I think (if I read you right) at one point you were trying to make the point that we need the example of Wikileaks to essentially highlight the importance of government responsibility, and in general you may be right on this.

 

Well... that, and to highlight when the government isn't being responsible.

 

My problem has been that Wikileaks seems to have an agenda that isn't about fairness and doesn't make objective determinations.

 

Wikileaks is no different from any other special interest group. They're like the National Rifle Association, identifying and promoting evidence of their mantra that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" (or however they phrase it). Or PETA, identifying and promoting evidence of animal abuse (with an anthropomorphic agenda). We can use their "data" and even their advocacy to some extent, but we have to remember that there's another side to their narrative that we also have to take into consideration.

 

Ya, agree with you there. for all their focus on animal-abuse PETA also want to force us all to be vegitarians, for example. as you say, we can use their arguments, but probably not just their arguments, and it'd help if we knew their biases.

 

So: what do you consider to be WL's 'vested interest', or hidden agenda?

 

That's why Wikileaks should not have the power to do what they've done here -- it's too much power for a special interest group to have. That's why it's against the law.

 

What power? are we talking about espoinage and/or uncensored media presence?

 

Uncircumventable censorship is too much power for the government to have.

 

We can't pawn off our Fourth Estate to special interest groups. We still need an objective, fair source to make the big calls.

 

Who then? Not the government, surely? Wouldn't a 4th Estate by necessity be a special interest group?

 

Anyway, objectivity can be obtained overall by having multiple, conflicting special interest groups. The government want to project a squeeky-clean goody-two-shoes image. If you're gripe is that Wikileaks is focusing on the bad, then this could give an accurate, objective view when taken together, for example?

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So: what do you consider to be WL's 'vested interest', or hidden agenda?

 

Anti-war, anti-corporation, anti-free trade. Assange talks like a libertarian who believes in competitive capitalism, which may even be true to some extent, but I think his organization has fallen in with (and been adopted by) the radical left.

 

I'm sure others see it differently, of course.

 

 

That's why Wikileaks should not have the power to do what they've done here -- it's too much power for a special interest group to have. That's why it's against the law.

What power? are we talking about espoinage and/or uncensored media presence?

 

The power to circumvent laws that have practical value. That's why the accusation of terrorism keeps coming up, though perhaps vigilantiism might be more applicable. They're taking matters into their own hands because they disagree with a decision that was made. Like environmentalists spiking trees, or picketers hindering customers at an abortion clinic, they have taken their right to protest a step too far.

 

They're not going to back off, so society will have to dial them back a notch through direct action. This is the justification for intervention against Wikileaks, and I believe it is a correct justification. (Which is not to say I support all of the actions being taken.)

 

 

Uncircumventable censorship is too much power for the government to have.

 

I can't support blanket statements like this. The example of the names of informants is just too obvious and unavoidable, and it's not the only example. IMO security can and should be able to trump transparency. The problem is the people in charge abusing that power, not the power itself.

 

 

We can't pawn off our Fourth Estate to special interest groups. We still need an objective, fair source to make the big calls.

Who then? Not the government, surely? Wouldn't a 4th Estate by necessity be a special interest group?

 

The press is a special interest group, but normally, by definition, its interest has nothing to do with any specific item(s) on society's political agenda. Individual members of the press may have motivations like anti-war or anti-corporation, but the overall organization forces them to adhere to a practice of standards that enforces objectivity.

 

As broken as that practice often is, it's a very bad idea to supplant it with special interest groups with political agendas. Specifically, I disagree with this statement:

 

Anyway, objectivity can be obtained overall by having multiple, conflicting special interest groups.

 

That road leads to ruin. In my opinion.

 

 

Has it been established that Wikileaks breaks the law?

 

No, but clearly they are part of an instrument that circumvents one.

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No, but clearly they are part of an instrument that circumvents one.

How so? Wikileaks doesn't provide you the means to steal secret documents and commit the illegal act. Assange, as far as I know, hasn't sent anyone hidden cameras or special encrypted thumb drives. He provides means to publish documents, which in itself is not illegal (or at least tenuously illegal).

 

I suppose you could say Wikileaks provides anonymity and aids leakers in avoiding arrest. Like a service that carefully disposes of bodies so you can't be caught after committing murder. Hm.

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Anti-war, anti-corporation, anti-free trade.

 

They're not going to leak pro-war dox, because pro-war dox aren't censored.

 

This'll force them to focus on anti-war stuff (which is censored), which'll naturally make them appear anti-war but it's a false impression imo. It's intended to be viewed parrellel to the pro-war arguments/evidence we're already exposed to.

 

Oh, slight exception for the Iraq war logs: the majority of that stuff is as benign as war can be. But, obviously, the worst aspects are specifically focused on because they're the more interesting. Don't tell me you'd listen if they focused on entirely legitimate no-contact patrols (which, btw, we already new occoured alot).

 

where's anti-free-trade come from?

 

Assange talks like a libertarian who believes in competitive capitalism, which may even be true to some extent, but I think his organization has fallen in with (and been adopted by) the radical left.

 

Who're the radical left?

 

The power to circumvent laws that have practical value.

 

Hey, that's kinda begging the question, don't you think :P We're discussing whether those laws do and/or should exist in the first place.

 

What practical value do they have?

 

That's why the accusation of terrorism keeps coming up, though perhaps vigilantiism might be more applicable. They're taking matters into their own hands because they disagree with a decision that was made. Like environmentalists spiking trees, or picketers hindering customers at an abortion clinic, they have taken their right to protest a step too far.

 

They're not going to back off, so society will have to dial them back a notch through direct action. This is the justification for intervention against Wikileaks, and I believe it is a correct justification. (Which is not to say I support all of the actions being taken.)

 

when you say society will have to take direct action, do you mean society, or the government?

 

I can't support blanket statements like this. The example of the names of informants is just too obvious and unavoidable, and it's not the only example. IMO security can and should be able to trump transparency. The problem is the people in charge abusing that power, not the power itself.

 

I admit this is an issue, but not as big-a one as you'd think. Anyone who's competent enough to be a threat can find any information that WL can without their help. I'd even argue that anything WL can get is defacto not a secret anymore, and the classification level demonstrably doesn't reflect reality.

 

Also, note that i'm not arguing for 100% transparency, and that transparency != lack of censorship. non-transparent is not telling us themselves, censorship is forcing others not to tell us either.

 

Transparency is good, but were i talking about transparency i'd not argue for 100% transparency. I'm not saying we should know everything, for the reasons you're giving.

 

What i'm saying is that if the gov' decide not to tell us something (not being 100% transparent, ok), and then it gets leaked because someone feels it's in our best interests to know, at that point the government shouldn't try to censor it. That won't stop the KGB getting it, but it will stop us from getting it.

 

So... don't let anyone find out in the first place if it's that important, but if they do don't censor it: admit that data's out and that all 'the baddies' have it now, and allow us access to it to review your actions. After all, one of your own felt that we should.

 

As for names of informants, yeah i'd put that under exact specifics that we don't need to know. However, WL were in a position whereby they could release unredacted due to lack of resources, or not leak. The US gov' were asked for assistance, putting them in a position whereby they could see some information + informants' names leak, or just some information leak, and, by their refusal to mitigate the damage, the outcome was some information + informants' names leaked. so I suppose we could blame WL, the US gov, or both. Why blame WL?

 

The press is a special interest group, but normally, by definition, its interest has nothing to do with any specific item(s) on society's political agenda. Individual members of the press may have motivations like anti-war or anti-corporation, but the overall organization forces them to adhere to a practice of standards that enforces objectivity.

 

I don't agree at all that the media's objective.

 

I also don't agree that they can be objective if they're censored on reporting certain actions of the government.

 

However, it does raise an interesting point: what's your (or americans') view of the NYTimes involvement with wikileaks, and any of your newspapers that run stories based on the leaks (like the ones linked-to in this thread)?

 

Anyway, objectivity can be obtained overall by having multiple, conflicting special interest groups.

That road leads to ruin. In my opinion.

 

How so?

 

And, if the variety of biases/oppinions we have access to are controlled by censorship, is that not clearly perception management?

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I'm not sure why you're now asking me so many questions that I've already answered. I don't chase bait. I know you didn't mean it that way, but I also see who gets plus-reps around here and who does not. I don't wish to be a punching bag for liberal entertainment.

 

 

I don't agree at all that the media's objective.

 

I didn't say that it was.

 

 

I also don't agree that they can be objective if they're censored on reporting certain actions of the government.

 

I don't agree. And I have no reason to think that that's the case. Hollywood is not a scientific study.

 

I admit this is an issue, but not as big-a one as you'd think. Anyone who's competent enough to be a threat can find any information that WL can without their help. I'd even argue that anything WL can get is defacto not a secret anymore, and the classification level demonstrably doesn't reflect reality.

 

Here's the problem with that reasoning: Let's say for the sake of argument that Wikileaks is 100% on our side and 100% perfect in doing its job of protecting the names of informants.

 

That's a problem because no matter how many documents they have, they don't have the whole story. The entire picture. And they don't know -- can't know -- everything that they don't have. Which means that they could release information without knowing that it puts people's lives in danger.

 

But we do have people responsible for knowing that -- they work for the government. It's their job to know this. Now, they could be bad at it, and people might die. Or they could be pretty good at it but people might still die because of some other factor. (They could also be corrupt, but that's true of leakers as well.) But the point is that these people are tasked with the specific responsibility of having no other agenda than making sure that this is done correctly. And if they do their jobs poorly or incorrectly, there are consequences. That's what the word "responsibility" means.

 

Corruption, political agenda, special interest, all of these things can corrupt that process, sure. But why in the world would anybody think it's a good way to fix a problem by circumventing it? It isn't. The way you fix that is you have checks and balances, and you make the people who are in charge of those checks and balances responsible TOO.

 

You don't scream about it on CNN and then wonder why good people don't want to work for government anymore.

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I'm not sure why you're now asking me so many questions that I've already answered.

Well, sorry if i missed the answers. I just want to understand where you're coming from is all.

I also see who gets plus-reps around here

Not me :lol:

I didn't say that it was.

Yes you did. you said the overall organization enforces objectivity.

Here's the problem with that reasoning: [snip]

I think this is what our argument boils down to:

I think that we'd both agree that, ideally, the government would:

1/ withold some information, e.g. to protect them whilst they're doing what we want them to do.

2/ actually prevent this information from leaking (to wikileaks, the Russians, whatever)

3/ withold only what's necessary, thus giving us enough information to make an informed decision as to whether to keep them or not, to check they're actually doing what we want, etc.

 

You know, a sane balance between the gov's need for secrecy and our need to check what the gov is doing.

 

I think we also agree that the above isn't entirely the case; as several of the leaks have already indicated, the gov' is also censoring unnecessarily, soley because certain things make them look bad?

 

I'd guess that we'd both also want this situation to ultimately resolve by the government opening up as much as it can, and WL shutting down as no-longer necessary?

 

We seem to differ because, given that the US, UK et.al. gov's are misusing their censorship powers (imo), I'm perfectly happy to see their ability to censor taken away from them. If they want the ability to keep necessary things secret, then they'll have to agree to be more responsible with the power we grant them in future: as long as they're refusing, they will be denied censorship powers.

 

You seem to think that... what? they should be able to keep their powers dispite misusing them? Or perhaps that this should be democratically resolved rather than anarchically? That the issue is less important than national security, so how/whether it gets sorted out is less important than maintaining the (legit) gov' secrets?

 

I suspect our disagreement is more over our models of the relationship between governed and governors, rather than over activist groups (or whatever WL is).

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Yes you did. you said the overall organization enforces objectivity.

 

What I believe is that the media's structure and motivation essentially guarantees that it will tend not to place any specific socio-political cause above the legal system or the common good. Certainly that doesn't mean that it operates correctly all the time, but there's benefit in structuring our exposure to information in that manner, as previously discussed.

 

 

I think that we'd both agree that, ideally, the government would:

1/ withold some information, e.g. to protect them whilst they're doing what we want them to do.

2/ actually prevent this information from leaking (to wikileaks, the Russians, whatever)

3/ withold only what's necessary, thus giving us enough information to make an informed decision as to whether to keep them or not, to check they're actually doing what we want, etc.

 

Yes.

 

 

You know, a sane balance between the gov's need for secrecy and our need to check what the gov is doing.

 

I think we also agree that the above isn't entirely the case; as several of the leaks have already indicated, the gov' is also censoring unnecessarily, soley because certain things make them look bad?

 

Yes, sometimes it does.

 

 

I'd guess that we'd both also want this situation to ultimately resolve by the government opening up as much as it can, and WL shutting down as no-longer necessary?

 

Not really, I don't think "opening up" to an extent that will prevent abuse is either practical or necessary. I don't think abuse of power is a significant (or at least not top-shelf) problem in American politics at the present time. (By present time I mean since ~Nixon.)

 

 

We seem to differ because, given that the US, UK et.al. gov's are misusing their censorship powers (imo), I'm perfectly happy to see their ability to censor taken away from them. If they want the ability to keep necessary things secret, then they'll have to agree to be more responsible with the power we grant them in future: as long as they're refusing, they will be denied censorship powers.

 

I've seen no evidence that there's a significant amount of misuse of censorship powers taking place. By significant I mean such that would outweigh the importance of the secrets they keep for valid reasons. And I don't believe we're qualified to make that call. (I'm well aware of the Catch-22 nature of this paragraph, but IMO we don't resolve that by exposing the information, we resolve it by putting good people in charge at election time.)

 

IMO most of this Wikileaks business is driven by values-based judgments. Outrage over the war in Iraq, and to a lesser extent, certain actions during the war on terror. Making decisions on that kind of basis -- over ideological outrage -- is a particularly bad idea.

 

 

You seem to think that... what? they should be able to keep their powers dispite misusing them?

 

Yup. It's not an absolute, I agree, but until I see evidence that they need to be taken away, I don't support taking them away.

 

Put it this way: What has Wikileaks shown us that we needed to see? And if the answer is "nothing", then why did we need to see it?

 

 

Or perhaps that this should be democratically resolved rather than anarchically?

 

It's solved democratically every two years. But sure, I'd be fine with some public referendums on various issues surrounding the Wikileaks business. I don't think Wikileaks supporters would be real happy with the outcome. Recent polling data shows that 75% of Americans do not believe that they have the right to know everything. 60% of those poll responders also said that they were concerned that such dumps might hurt the country. Even the majority of Democrats felt that way.

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I've seen no evidence that there's a significant amount of misuse of censorship powers taking place.

 

How would you see that tho, if it's censored? here's the real catch-22: lets assume nothing WL has released shows anything significantly bad. so, you can say WL was unjustified in leaking, right?

 

Now lets assume they'd never leaked in the first place. You'd not know. And, you'd not know whether you weren't seeing any leaks 'cos there aren't any majour ones, or because the censorship is really effective. What could you say there?

 

To be sure it's not being misused it has to be breached; if it's not breached, you won't know. And if you don't know, you're left maybe thinking it'd be nice if someone leaked, just to be sure?

 

By significant I mean such that would outweigh the importance of the secrets they keep for valid reasons. And I don't believe we're qualified to make that call. (I'm well aware of the Catch-22 nature of this paragraph, but IMO we don't resolve that by exposing the information, we resolve it by putting good people in charge at election time.)

 

Yup. It's not an absolute, I agree, but until I see evidence that they need to be taken away, I don't support taking them away.

 

Put it this way: What has Wikileaks shown us that we needed to see? And if the answer is "nothing", then why did we need to see it?

 

Tbh, i think the issue is what could be done, rather than what is. Like GWB in the election: did he cheat? who knows. Would the way in which he was accused of cheating have worked? Yup. better fix your democracy then.

 

Is the government currently misusing censorship to get away with being bad and still getting elected 'cos you aren't allowed to find out, and the 'good guy' you put in place to check is actually a baddie? Maybe, maybe not. Could they? Yup (imo). better fix that part of your democracy then (possibly by enforcing the First Amendment).

 

Or are you assuming that if anything majour is there to be leaked, then it'll be leaked and the americans will be more receptive to the leak?

 

It's solved democratically every two years. But sure, I'd be fine with some public referendums on various issues surrounding the Wikileaks business. I don't think Wikileaks supporters would be real happy with the outcome. Recent polling data shows that 75% of Americans do not believe that they have the right to know everything. 60% of those poll responders also said that they were concerned that such dumps might hurt the country. Even the majority of Democrats felt that way.

 

Just briefly: by redacting certain elements of the leaks, WikiLeaks also doesn't think the american population has a right to know everything, and is taking efforts to minimize certain types of harm that could befall the country due to the dumps.

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How would you see that tho, if it's censored?

 

How do we know there's not a flying saucer in Area 51? That's a serious question, btw, I'm not trying to make fun of you. Wouldn't you agree that the answer is that we would probably know by now if there had been one? The same rule applies in politics, if not doubly so (or Gerald Ford would never have been President).

 

We have this Wikileaks stuff, and IMO there's nothing there that reveals any great travesties of justice (though Julian Assange would like us to think otherwise). And there have been plenty of tell-all books about the Bush administration. Nothing there substantiates, for example, those frequent impeachment calls during his administration, IMO.

 

(BTW, see Bob Woodward's four books on the Bush administration for an example of how the job can be done right. Incredible insight, more than sufficient information to base an intelligent, informed decision on as a voter, and not one secret disclosed. And that from the man who made Watergate a household word!)

 

But you're right, we can't know for sure. Way it goes.

 

 

Just briefly: by redacting certain elements of the leaks, WikiLeaks also doesn't think the american population has a right to know everything, and is taking efforts to minimize certain types of harm that could befall the country due to the dumps.

 

That's not the full story, though. They initially released the documents with those names in full view. When it blew up in their faces they THEN decided to change their policy. They spent months pouring over those documents, but it took one day for the press to notice the problem. So they knew the problem was there, and they (first) made a decision NOT to redact those names.

 

I'm not saying they intended to hurt people, I think they did that because that was their policy -- full disclosure, full stop. (And again we come back to the difference between an ideological special interest group and the press.)

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That's not the full story, though. They initially released the documents with those names in full view. When it blew up in their faces they THEN decided to change their policy. They spent months pouring over those documents, but it took one day for the press to notice the problem. So they knew the problem was there, and they (first) made a decision NOT to redact those names.

That's not entirely true. There were 15,000 documents withheld from the Afghan war logs because they may harm people. The trouble was that some of the other documents should have been withheld as well.

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So I ran across this documentary, "WikiRebels" that gives an excellent overview of not only Wikileaks' most current release, but also its foundlings and rise to prominence. Overall I thought it was an excellent documentary, and think it sheds a very interesting light on this debate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just when I thought the releases were petering out, here comes some more:

 

  • US diplomats told by Israel that the blockade was intended to keep the Gaza economy just above "humanitarian crisis", in a sort of collective punishment, despite also saying that the blockade was merely to keep weapons out
  • US diplomats suggested retaliation against European nations for being slow to accept genetically modified crops

The first one could certainly cause some stir -- we'll see if major news sources pick up on it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tonight's 60 Minutes featured the most extensive interview of Assange yet. One thing I thought interesting was the open declaration by reporter Steve Kroft, in the introduction to the second segment, that Assange is "a political ideologue with conspiratorial views". A significant portion of the first segment focused on Assange's view that the political impact of the information he holds factors into his decision on what to publish.

 

I think it's time to shelve the notion that Julian Assange just wants information to be free.

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