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Author Topic: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?  (Read 12375 times)

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Offline RemielTopic starter

WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« on: November 30, 2010, 07:44:58 PM »
I've generally been out of touch with the news in the last few months, but I've been hearing a lot lately about Wikileaks.  Wikileaks has caused its share of controversy this year, releasing leaked videos of U.S. military attacks on civilian journalists in Iraq, as well as secret military documents about the war in Afghanistan.   Two days ago (November 28), Wikileaks began publishing an accumulation of confidential messages between U.S. Embassies around the globe.

I just wanted to get Elliquiy's thoughts on this.  Personally, I'm of mixed feelings on the subject.  Part of me subscribes to the cyberpunk mentality "information yearns to be free", but I can also understand how the leak of sensitive military and government intelligence can put lives in real jeopardy (I read somewhere that the Taliban was studying the leaked documents for the names of Afghani double agents).

Also, does anyone else find it frightening that a 22-year old Army private was able to have access to, let alone download and release, so much top-secret intelligence data?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 08:16:33 PM »
He, by dint of his job, had a better understanding of how the system worked. Using tricks like labelling a CD r/w disc as 'Lady Gaga' and using the CD burners on the laptops he worked with at work, he was able to get data out of his workspace. Interesting trick and the sort of thing that slips by folks. You have to realize that the 'human' element in any network system you're working on is the hardest to control.

Sounds like the IT folks, which he might have been part of, failed to realize that some (if not all) their computers had the ability to burn CDs and set the permissions levels to keep that from happening. Small gaps in security make for how things like this happen. It can be hard to spot the gaps in a security layout till they have been utilized.

AS for Wikileaks.. I'm conflicted. Like any media source, they should consider the implications of their actions. BUT that isn't always an easy call to make. Do I think this 22 year old tool's 'hissy fit' might have endangered people. Quite Possibly.

Personally I wish they would practice a little more discresion but that is MY opinion. Like it's my OPINION they should try the fool for treason and put him away FOREVER, but then I don't the Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame and the true offender needs to go to jail too (because THAT did get people killed)

Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 08:30:37 PM »
Disseminating classified information is a Federal Felony.

Providing classified military information to a foreign national is TREASON.

A foreign national receiving classified American military information, then distributing it is ESPIONAGE.

The idiot private should enjoy his stay in Leavenworth. Assange better hope he doesn't get extradited, because I believe we still shoot spies.



...so, Wikileaks(Assange) is not a Champion of Truth, nor a Terrorist. Assange is effectively a SPY, while the soldier is a traitor. People may end up dead because this info was broadcast on the internet. I have no sympathy for whatever may happen to either of these two.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 08:39:36 PM »

...so, Wikileaks(Assange) is not a Champion of Truth, nor a Terrorist. Assange is effectively a SPY, while the soldier is a traitor. People may end up dead because this info was broadcast on the internet. I have no sympathy for whatever may happen to either of these two.

I'm not sure.. in the past a reporter (media) were given some leeway. Assange is 'sorta' a Media rep. It's one of the new intangibles in the world of the internet (I figure if Perez Hilton can be call upon the traditional protections of the press, that someone like Assange can).

I doubt anything really bad will happen to him (assuming he stays off US soil. He steps on US Soil..he's in the clink till his country can mediate him out)

Offline Vekseid

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 08:52:51 PM »
Assange has broken no United States law. Public dissemination of secrets means, simply, that they are no longer secret. The worst the US government can do above board is call Assange irresponsible, which they have. They were given the offer to pick out which ones would be 'so irresponsible' to release. They refused.

The US Government also has control over ICANN, and through it, can render Wikileaks inaccessible by any means from suspending the domain to declaring ip ranges unroutable - but the information would still be released.

The leaker is in trouble, however, for damned sure.

But if the remaining 99.9% of leaks is a lot like the .1%, it's actually not the United States that should be scared shitless of the leaks. Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations demanding that the United States attack Iran? There is evidence of some underhanded moves by Hillary Clinton. But a lot of it is just good historical data.

For all the blustering that's going on, US Government officials are actually handling this in an intelligent and professional manner - locking down security practices and so on.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 09:15:02 PM »
One of the things I've notices in my tenure in the Navy is it's DAMNED hard to get some things updated if you're not too aware of security issues.  Institutional issues can make things are stiff and rigid to change. Not to mention money can be tight at times.

I know the Navy used to reward folks who found ways to save money with 10% of 10% of the total savings. I don't think there is any such rewards for finding and offering advice on how to eliminate security shortfalls.

So, the IT folks you have around in government typically have to fight to keep up with rigid policies, shortfalls in manning and materials and a massive workload. Not making excuses but pointing out the problems.

Offline Sabby

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 09:27:43 PM »
Disseminating classified information is a Federal Felony.

Providing classified military information to a foreign national is TREASON.

A foreign national receiving classified American military information, then distributing it is ESPIONAGE.

Telling me something is wrong because it has word that means 'a kind of crime' in capitol letters is a non-argument at best. Telling me what he did was TREASON and therefore absolutely wrong is one of the weakest things a person can say in such a debate.

Hell, I'm making a law right now. It is now illegal to discuss activities that are felonies. I'm calling the act of that discussion FELONCHATTER.

What your doing right now is FELONCHATTER and it is a crime. This is all I need to quote to paint you the bad guy and render any debate to the contrary mute.

If that sounds retarded, it's because it is.

Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 09:35:20 PM »
What your doing right now is FELONCHATTER and it is a crime. This is all I need to quote to paint you the bad guy and render any debate to the contrary mute.

If that sounds retarded, it's because it is.

You mean that other than the fact that what was done DID violate already established laws, laws that exist in practically every nation(if not every nation) has anything to do with the drivel you just typed?

While the laws are on the books, approved by our duly elected representatives, or enshrined in the original governmental document(Constitution); you as a non-governmental body are making s**t up.

Nice strawman.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2010, 09:42:50 PM »
Telling me something is wrong because it has word that means 'a kind of crime' in capitol letters is a non-argument at best. Telling me what he did was TREASON and therefore absolutely wrong is one of the weakest things a person can say in such a debate.

Hell, I'm making a law right now. It is now illegal to discuss activities that are felonies. I'm calling the act of that discussion FELONCHATTER.

What your doing right now is FELONCHATTER and it is a crime. This is all I need to quote to paint you the bad guy and render any debate to the contrary mute.

If that sounds retarded, it's because it is.

It's treason because he betrayed his country by disclosing secrets, broke the oath he swore when he enlisted and violated the agreements he made to get his clearance and his SCI ratings.

He broke a LOT of laws, all of them defined as treasonable actions. Cut. Dried. End of Story.

Depending on how things go, he could be facing life in prison for it. And I hope he does.

Too often I hear BS about how it's okay to casually scatter what you know to the four winds if you don't like something. Fine. Be prepared to pay have the intestinal fortitude to face the consequences. Good reporters go to jail all the time, for failure to ID their sources. That is the willingness to face the consequences of your convictions. (And I fear that is a dying breed of reporter but that's another issue all together)

This little punk did it because he felt he hadn't earned the advancement he felt he deserved. He was having a 'hissy'. If he had been out in the field or working on the flight deck he might have done something to 'save the day' to get his recognition he felt he was due. Something that would have gotten someone hurt or killed.

Instead he hurt relations with our allies and other countries, damaged relations in ways that will take years to undo. Just because he got a shitty evaluation he most likely deserved.

I hope he rots in prison.

I'm sorry, it's not stupid. It's not retarded. He committed treason by any legal measure of the law.

Offline Sabby

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2010, 09:45:19 PM »
Thank you Callie. That was an actual proper answer that made me see the issue in a different way. A lot better then saying "It's a crime" which was my issue before :/

Offline Sure

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2010, 10:04:55 PM »
He committed treason by any measurable standard... except the only one that counts. The legal one. If the government wants to indict him for treason, they'll have to prove one of the following: He waged war against the United States. He adhered to an enemy of the United States. He gave Aid and Comfort to an enemy of the United States. Assange does not, I think, qualify as an enemy of the United States They'll also need two witnesses to the event taking place, or a confession.

Treason is damn near impossible to get a conviction for in the U.S.

In order to try him for espionage, they'd need to prove that disclosed government secrets to other nations, or that he jeopardized national defense, or that he benefited a foreign nation. I imagine that wouldn't be particularly easy either.

He did break plenty of other laws, he will go to jail, but Sabby has a point in that you're using words that evoke an emotional reaction to argue your point of view.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2010, 10:19:05 PM »
Thank you Callie. That was an actual proper answer that made me see the issue in a different way. A lot better then saying "It's a crime" which was my issue before :/

Violating the secrets you've sworn to protect, after having them explained to you EXTENSIVELY and REPEATEDLY means you should be punished extensively for it.

This is a very bitter subject to me. I know friends who screwed up and lost their clearance for nothing and I see folks like this turd or the folks who whitewashed the Plame incident get treated as 'heroes' by the media. It galls me.

Both the Wikileaks and Plame incidents have done a LOT of harm regardless of the actual content of what was revealed. Confidential Communications in and of themselves might not be terribly damaging but it undermines the trust that diplomatic process requires. We, by proxy of a bratty 22 year old and Wikileaks, proved we couldn't be trusted to keep a basic trust of confidentiality. How can we, the United States, be trusted to keep deeper secrets and more important trusts?

Trust, particularly in the gulf and similar regions, is a commodity that is hard to earn and he might have cost us YEARS of work.

The Plame incident when you look at it from the approach the media did, was JUST the outing of a NOC agent. But consider her role in the world. She worked in building trust and recruit folks to put our interest above those of their country. Some for the hope of change, others might have been blackmailed, and others for cold hard cash.  She recruited SPIES, the scarest resource in the espionage field. Human assets in a position to do us possible good. That requires building trust, not just by the agent but with the country she represents.

When whoever it was in the White House outed her, they violated that trust.

Acts like this cost us trust.

And I can point out something, the English spent years.. hell decades re-earning trust in the world from the damage the Cambridge five did to their intelligence community.

Rant done.. g'day.

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2010, 10:26:29 PM »
He gave Aid and Comfort to an enemy of the United States.

I might be wrong here, but by putting this information out 'to the four winds', as it were, the original hissy-fitter has made it available to any enemy of the United States who cares to download it.  Does that qualify as aid?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2010, 10:30:25 PM »
I might be wrong here, but by putting this information out 'to the four winds', as it were, the original hissy-fitter has made it available to any enemy of the United States who cares to download it.  Does that qualify as aid?

Hmm..that is a hard call. I think that it will be a hard one to call. He had to know that it would fall into the hands of the country's enemies but actually AID? I doubt without twisting the definition of the charge beyond recognition that it will be justifiably fit.


Offline Sure

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2010, 10:44:51 PM »
I might be wrong here, but by putting this information out 'to the four winds', as it were, the original hissy-fitter has made it available to any enemy of the United States who cares to download it.  Does that qualify as aid?

It's shaky. There's not much precedent for cases where the spy didn't turn the information over to somebody in particular, but instead scattered it as far as possible. However, considering the legal definition of treason is from the Constitution the judiciary is generally strict and conservative on the definition. So... it would be difficult if possible at all. Possibly Supreme Court difficult.

Historically, Congress passed laws that have a broader definition and used that instead. Of course, most of them were unpopular and abused...

Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2010, 01:45:36 AM »
It's shaky. There's not much precedent for cases where the spy didn't turn the information over to somebody in particular, but instead scattered it as far as possible. However, considering the legal definition of treason is from the Constitution the judiciary is generally strict and conservative on the definition. So... it would be difficult if possible at all. Possibly Supreme Court difficult.

In the 22 year old soldier's case, it wouldn't go before the Supreme Court. Given that he is a member of the US Department of Defense, he would be tried before a Judge Advocate.

Lot of differences between a military tribunal and a civilian court.

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2010, 01:52:58 AM »
Actually, a conviction from a JAG trial can be appealed; first, to the appropriate branch's Court of Criminal Appeals, then the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, and finally the Supreme Court.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2010, 10:36:41 AM »
Actually, a conviction from a JAG trial can be appealed; first, to the appropriate branch's Court of Criminal Appeals, then the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, and finally the Supreme Court.

Which ultimately can mean it would get there (to the SC) quicker.

Offline ChaoticSky

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2010, 10:55:26 AM »
"If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about."

ive heard that piece of tripe used to justify invasions of privacy all over the world, and especially from american TSA and boarder guards. and dont even get me started on the wiretapping, spying and so on.

well, right back at ya! not so nice when its someone else rifling through your stuff, is it?

i believe its neither treason, nor terrorism, it shouldn't even be a crime. infact, the guy should probably win a medal. what hes doing is sweet delicious reciprocity, justice in its most purest form. a govt that invades the privacy of its citizens as a matter of course and in defiance of its own laws and constitution has no right to expect privacy for its self.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2010, 11:26:19 AM »
"If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about."

ive heard that piece of tripe used to justify invasions of privacy all over the world, and especially from american TSA and boarder guards. and dont even get me started on the wiretapping, spying and so on.

well, right back at ya! not so nice when its someone else rifling through your stuff, is it?

i believe its neither treason, nor terrorism, it shouldn't even be a crime. infact, the guy should probably win a medal. what hes doing is sweet delicious reciprocity, justice in its most purest form. a govt that invades the privacy of its citizens as a matter of course and in defiance of its own laws and constitution has no right to expect privacy for its self.

You do realize the putz did it for nothing noble or good right? He couldn't hack his job and felt that he was being slighted. And if it hadn't been Wikileaks but say..the Russians or Iranians, what would you say then?

It IS treason. He betrayed his oath of service. He violated the contracts and agreements he signed when he came into the service, received his rating and clearance.

Do I agree with some of the actions of the US Government? No. Did I think the Patriot Act was a bright idea? No, I think it was a stupid fear fueled action that congress and the folks who normally don't consider how hostile the real world is demanded. I believe in the adage that Ben Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (I got called a Pinko by one of my Chiefs for saying that and that the Patriot Act was ill thought out).

The private wanted to hurt folks in his chain of command. He was being petty, and hurtful. No heroism involved. If he had leaked the flight plan of the President or such, or if his leak ends up getting someone killed is that mean the victims 'deserved it?'.

What if he's leaked information about the US aircraft control network, banking information on service members (from the Army Payroll system) or meddled with the military supply system to put medical grade narcotics into the hands of people he knew?

Not to mention the damage his leaks did in the region?  You might think American doesn't need to be in the region but do you think that the other countries in the region want us gone? Not really, they'd rather someone else dies when it comes time to face aggression from folks like the Taliban or Iran. Thanks to our efforts the Iranian's major foe in the region is gone. (Saddam for his many many many sins, was a counter to their forces). Aside from possibly the Turks and Syrians, who in the region is strong enough to counter them?

This doesn't cover the points that I brought up about trust in Diplomatic circles. We, the US, are able to talk to this leader on the behalf of another leader he publicly dislikes. The US diplomat mediates an agreement that lets the two of them work things out, without risking loss of face with either and brings stability to the area and slowly lets them build cooperation between their countries (which the net result is better relations which helps us withdraw troops from the area).

Now, since this PUTZ did this, that diplomat won't be trusted to be able to keep things quiet. Without the ability to be trusted, the diplomats can't do their job.

Oh yeah, he's a real hero. (for the bad guys..they thrive when we can't mediate things out)

Offline Trieste

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2010, 02:48:28 PM »
And now Assange is apparently on Interpol's most wanted list.

1) Doesn't Interpol have more dangerous crackpots to go after?

2) Why aren't the newspapers that published the story also being punished? If they're going to go after Assange for disseminating this stuff, then they need to go after the news sources that did so as well. While I don't agree with Assange in some (many) things, I do know a witchhunt when I see one, and those are absolutely intolerable.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2010, 02:59:16 PM »
And now Assange is apparently on Interpol's most wanted list.

1) Doesn't Interpol have more dangerous crackpots to go after?

2) Why aren't the newspapers that published the story also being punished? If they're going to go after Assange for disseminating this stuff, then they need to go after the news sources that did so as well. While I don't agree with Assange in some (many) things, I do know a witchhunt when I see one, and those are absolutely intolerable.

For real?

I don't see what in Interpol's jurisdictional purview does his leaking of the documents this falls under. 

Offline Trieste

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2010, 03:03:15 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead. It's not specifically for the leaked docs, but an unrelated charge.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/11/30/sweden.interpol.assange/index.html

I just think it's mighty interesting that Sweden only decided to Interpol this guy after he bloodied the US' nose.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2010, 03:10:40 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead. It's not specifically for the leaked docs, but an unrelated charge.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/11/30/sweden.interpol.assange/index.html

I just think it's mighty interesting that Sweden only decided to Interpol this guy after he bloodied the US' nose.

It's only been an ongoing investigation since August. Still it seems a bit extreme to do that to extradite him.

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2010, 03:12:40 PM »
Well, and they seem to be saying in the article that they don't even want to arrest him, that they haven't had a chance to question him and they'd like to.

It doesn't make sense on a small scale.

It's looking, walking, and quacking like a witch hunt. :P