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Author Topic: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?  (Read 12370 times)

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Offline Oniya

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #125 on: January 07, 2011, 12:30:01 PM »
Do we sue manufactures of bleach if someone drinks it and dies? because "they would have known someone would at some point".

That's actually why they have things like this:



and this:



on any product.  Chemical companies (which include any household cleaner) are, in fact, legally required by the EPA to run tests to see if the product is going to cause eye damage, skin damage, cause sensitivity reactions, or have toxic effects through skin absorption, inhalation or ingestion.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #126 on: January 07, 2011, 02:48:29 PM »
If there is a fire is in the backroom of a crowded movie theater but the fire is under control, those who shout "Fire!" and responsible for the deaths of any who are trampled in the crush of the crowd.

The government has thousands of figurative "fires" under different levels of control as they run the crowded theater which are their countries.  Wikileaks has shouted about these fires and are very much responsible for any harmed by those who react to the release of such information.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 03:57:59 PM by Star Safyre »

Offline Will

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #127 on: January 07, 2011, 03:50:14 PM »
The man who only drives the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the bank robber who shoots the teller.

Exactly.  And if Wikileaks knew ahead of time (and surely they did; we aren't any better informed than they, and it's obvious to us) that the information they released would make Tsingvari vulnerable to charges, then they are just as responsible for his death as Mugabi.

I won't argue that at all.

Offline Zakharra

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #128 on: January 07, 2011, 04:38:19 PM »
Quote
Grand view ?

What grand view is possible when important things are secret ?

Painful as it may be to know or experience for others or themselves,
some prefer a grand view over an ignorant, delusional, incomplete or deceptive one.
Who has the right to choose this for them for reasons or values that may not be shared ?


 Releasing secrets just because they are secret is never smart. The person that released these secrets to Wikileaks did it not for any 'grand and noble' reason, but because he was a vindictive man. He wanted revenge. Hardly a 'grand view'.


Quote
Quote

    I won't deny that Wikileaks has blood on its hands if he is executed,


If he is executed. Blood doesn't exist on wiki-leaks hands.

Blood on one's hands relates to the person who DOES the killing... "thus caught red-handed"

 If someone acts off of information they didn't know, that you released and kills someone, you can be held responsible since without that information, they would likely have not killed that person.

  The best example I can think of is someone releasing the name of a secret mob informant. They put that man's life and that of his friends and family in danger.  By some peoples definition here, the man who releases that information isn't culpable since he did not pull the trigger to kill the man.

Offline Serephino

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #129 on: January 07, 2011, 07:55:27 PM »
Exactly.  If you know a cop is working undercover in a drug ring to bust them, and you go tell the leader of said drug ring this, do you seriously think you wouldn't be responsible for that cop's death?  Because you'd have to be a complete moron to think that the people in the drug ring would just stop talking to the undercover cop.  Anyone with a functioning brain knows that the cop will be killed. 

Comparing this to knives or bleach is ridiculous.  The main purpose for bleach is cleaning, and of course, has a warning label.  Knives are mainly used to cut things while cooking.  Millions of people use these things every day without anyone getting hurt.  Releasing information that you know without a doubt will get someone killed is committing murder by proxy.   


Offline Sandman02

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #130 on: January 08, 2011, 08:26:11 PM »
Interesting discussions here. Here's my two cents:

1) The young service-member who leaked the information? Yes, he deserves to be punished, although I am not sure that I would want him to go by way of the firing squad. It's simple existentialism: Either you choose to be a good soldier, and hence you follow the duties given to you, or you choose to be a good traitor (for whatever reasons - noble or foolish), and hence you both do your best not to get caught, while accepting the fact that you'll up shit's creek if you *do* get caught. I'm thinking any sort of prison-sentence that absorbs most of his life will be fine by me.

2) As for Wikileaks and for Assange himself, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I support the activities. It's not that I enjoy the uglier consequences of the leaks (putting informants' lives at risk, that forfeit of "trust" that someone mentioned earlier), but in the midst of all that I must counter with this: we have devoted untold resources and manpower into a violent region that most people do not fully comprehend, and I think it is beneficial to make public certain information that accurately portrays what is going on in the region, as opposed to the highly filtered information that the government decides we should know. Yes, people should know that Pakistan is playing both sides - accepting US money and helping us one minute and then tacitly supporting the Taliban the next. It's taxpayers that are footing the bill for our insurmountable efforts over there, and hence the public deserves to know the ugly truths of the war effort to which we contribute daily.

  As for the costs of making this information public, I think people in the game of brokering information -  be they informants, diplomats, or military personnel - need to understand that there is always a risk of their information getting out. Has information been leaked before the days of Wikileaks? Yes, it has. The fact that this information can now be transmitted so easily as to even make it fairly public is a good lesson for governments to learn in the digital age. Especially when, according to Time magazine, there are now a record 854,000 people inside and out of the US government had top-secret clearance to US government information.

3) For the newspapers/journalists who reported on the leaks after they were already made available, this is a good thing anyways. At that point, it's already out there, with a free for all of everyone trying to get at the information anyways. Why not have independent, respected journalists analyze the potential impacts of the leaks?

Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #131 on: January 08, 2011, 09:17:35 PM »
Why not have independent, respected journalists analyze the potential impacts of the leaks?

You're assuming such a thing still exists. Journalists are human too, and lately they've allowed their personal bias to heavily influence the way the news has been reported.

On both sides of the political coin.

The sad truth is that it feels that the News Media, even our own, would be happiest if we(the United States) fail and people die.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #132 on: January 08, 2011, 09:21:55 PM »
You're assuming such a thing still exists. Journalists are human too, and lately they've allowed their personal bias to heavily influence the way the news has been reported.

On both sides of the political coin.

The sad truth is that it feels that the News Media, even our own, would be happiest if we(the United States) fail and people die.

It's all about ratings. 

Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #133 on: January 08, 2011, 10:35:08 PM »
It's all about ratings.

It's all about money.

Ratings is money.

Offline Zakharra

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #134 on: January 09, 2011, 12:42:55 AM »
Interesting discussions here. Here's my two cents:

2) As for Wikileaks and for Assange himself, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I support the activities. It's not that I enjoy the uglier consequences of the leaks (putting informants' lives at risk, that forfeit of "trust" that someone mentioned earlier), but in the midst of all that I must counter with this: we have devoted untold resources and manpower into a violent region that most people do not fully comprehend, and I think it is beneficial to make public certain information that accurately portrays what is going on in the region, as opposed to the highly filtered information that the government decides we should know. Yes, people should know that Pakistan is playing both sides - accepting US money and helping us one minute and then tacitly supporting the Taliban the next. It's taxpayers that are footing the bill for our insurmountable efforts over there, and hence the public deserves to know the ugly truths of the war effort to which we contribute daily.

  As for the costs of making this information public, I think people in the game of brokering information -  be they informants, diplomats, or military personnel - need to understand that there is always a risk of their information getting out. Has information been leaked before the days of Wikileaks? Yes, it has. The fact that this information can now be transmitted so easily as to even make it fairly public is a good lesson for governments to learn in the digital age. Especially when, according to Time magazine, there are now a record 854,000 people inside and out of the US government had top-secret clearance to US government information.

 The problem with this is that it screws up the diplomatic process a lot. Part of diplomancy is that diplomants CAN keep secrets. You never say what you might really think about some nation (you are a child raping nation, fuckers! Fix that otr we'll  either cuts funds to you or have an assasin on your wog ass.), but have to use more polite terms (We think you're human rights record could be better. Let's discuss ways to make that happen). 

 It also hampers efforts to get information and learn about things in the region/nation since any informant would be exposed and likely killed. The 'benefits' in this case are outweighed by the risks. Since this leak, it has likely become much harder for the US to influence the region.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #135 on: January 09, 2011, 01:42:16 AM »
         Well, I'm thinking Callie kind of set up a straw target.  If Assange or whomever actually said no one would ever be harmed by release of some information, then that was rather silly.  If I were to play super picky: I'm not clear on whether the original quote was, no one has been harmed (to our knowledge?) or no one ever could be.  Anyway.  Without hanging around at that level of pickiness to no obvious end....  Dogging on about a specific interpretation of a vague quote where it's difficult to prove the original context and actual intent is an endless game.  One can thump all comers on the mechanical facts (at least on the presumption that Mugabe would not have found a different trick to pull), sure. Without some statement of broader goals to pursue, I believe the significance is real thin.  How could that sort of rhetorical question reasonably lead to the subtitle?  Depending on how people use the terms, anyone among us could easily be a terrorist and a champion of truth.

Quote from: Zakharra
The problem with this is that it screws up the diplomatic process a lot. Part of diplomancy is that diplomants CAN keep secrets. You never say what you might really think about some nation (you are a child raping nation, fuckers! Fix that otr we'll  either cuts funds to you or have an assasin on your wog ass.), but have to use more polite terms (We think you're human rights record could be better. Let's discuss ways to make that happen).
        Maybe, maybe not.  When the political leadership feels like sanctions or gearing up to possible military conflict, we hear all sorts of public declarations about threats and "failure to live up to community standards" and dictators and perhaps "evil"...  I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that diplomats sometimes do much the same thing quietly.  Moreover, no matter how much game face you stick on the lounge language of diplomats to make it sound all positive, insiders should be able to interpret nicely worded warnings as threats.  They should also often be able to say "nicely" in private that which has already been said nastily in public -- and often they are called upon to do just that.  Secrets are also frequently known to be compromised or to expire.  Now some diplomats will do some reading, have conversations and put a new spin on things, tell a few tall tales and make a few disclaimers...  And voila, a whole new array of fair-weather friends bearing secrets.  This, too, is politics. 

        I do see the argument that this presents issues for Tsvangirai in particular or just maybe for US strategy in Africa.  I'm not really convinced that it's an earth-shattering game changer.   Whether or not we happen to regard Assange as heroic, I think Kate makes a good point that he's just the messenger.  I'm not so clear on the evidence that he would know beforehand that Tsvangirai would be charged with treason, etc.  If so, then it isn't obvious why he allowed that particular cable to be released while redacting more from others, etc.  How many news stories -- including stories with insider-authorized leaks -- may have led to someone being harmed?  Does the government really know, so much better than a major paper journalist?  I don't see Callie or Zak arguing that most international news needs to be shut down for the sake of national security.       

       What Assange has done that is new, is I think not so much receiving classified information per se -- It's more that he released more, sooner than news organizations have previously let fly and without wholly consulting insiders.  I'm actually intrigued that the major newspapers decided to publish summaries.  It would seem that they should have been concerned about some retribution from the government for doing so.  After all, all these financial organizations have turned around and cut off Wikileaks or even moved to freeze assets.  I don't think many people apart from international relations types would have found or bothered to comb through much of the Wikileaks site by themselves.  So to me, it looks like the newspapers said hmm:  Not only is the cat out of the bag and a few news events just might occur because of these releases, but there is fundamental knowledge here that an educated public has an interest in knowing this.  On that note...  How many of you knew this by reading Wikileaks anyway?  How do you explain blaming Wikileaks, as opposed to blaming the soldier who originally released it or the major newspapers who selected and summarized the story for the world?       

Quote
It also hampers efforts to get information and learn about things in the region/nation since any informant would be exposed and likely killed. The 'benefits' in this case are outweighed by the risks. Since this leak, it has likely become much harder for the US to influence the region.
        Well yeah, if your concern is can the US sneak some particular negotiation through or maintain a figure of the hour on the chessboard, then that is a real problem.  However if you say that is the paramount question in itself, with no broader goals for government to pursue...  Then we are back to that straw target.  Callie's mentioned several times in the forums I believe, that Valerie Plame got a raw deal for someone's political points.  How can we reconcile that kind of concern with a strict view of government secrecy?  If the political leadership (or whatever agency one picks as the final authority on state secrets) may rightfully declare the source of any old leak "terrorist," then well...  It can go after the journalist who finds out there were no nuclear components there in Africa -- and hide the politicians who put Valerie Plame in danger to sell us all a story through the same media organizations before that -- any time it pleases.  Because under that logic only the government, and not the journalists or the people can ever know what is "too dangerous" to be released.


« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 02:09:40 AM by kylie »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #136 on: January 09, 2011, 01:52:56 AM »
I think that is unfair. Some of the people who disagreed with me in the various Wikileak threads argued that no one had been definitively harmed or endangered by the leaks. I posted a story where the only evidence against a man was the diplomatic message traffic that Wikileaks put on the net.

That is the ONLY evidence being cited against him.

I wouldn't say that is a straw argument. I'm fairly sure that some others have been harmed, endangered, and possibly killed but most people acting on this information aren't going to give press releases like the Zimbabwe justice ministry.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #137 on: January 09, 2011, 02:06:45 AM »
      Well Callie, I'm sorry if I missed your broader point.  I looked back at the beginning of the thread and it does seem it began on a different note...  It's just that I also read the last couple pages, and to me they felt like you were trying to beat everything down with that one case of Tsvangirai over and over again.  I just can't see it all in context without a broader discussion of what (or which!) "public" interest diplomats and these figures we choose to support around the world might actually serve (or not)... 

      Yes, it's possible good people (or "less worse" people) will die.  It's a little like the protests at funerals, though.  If people are "serving" in order to further a cause, then you have to anticipate that pursuing a cause through such means will involve contradictions and complications (including contests from other well-meaning causes).  Otherwise, the cause will never be achievable in the first place.  And then, it also starts to look like maybe what is actually being served up by their labors is something rather less pretty.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 02:07:47 AM by kylie »

Offline Sandman02

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #138 on: January 09, 2011, 09:16:15 AM »
  The question of what to do with the information that was released to Wikileaks is tricky because, just as with most complex transactions, there is no clear "right" option that will benefit everybody - no matter what you choose to do, there will be winners and there will be losers. Since the release of confidential information is at best embarrassing for our government, and at worst dangerous to it and its agents, where you stand on this issue has largely to do with whether these potential "losses" for the government equate to losses for the public at roughly face value, or whether or not there are real gains to be had in spite of those pit falls.

  In response to that, I think its a fair premise to say that the government does not have the sole right to determine which information is good for the public to know and which isn't (some made this point earlier in the thread). If you are of the view that what is best for the country is in line with however long Robert Gates says we need to stay in this-occupied-region and that-occupied-region (which really is a flaky prospect, since the military seems to loath setting deadlines and committing to them), then I would seriously challenge your point of view of what benefits society and why. I think in this case it could even benefit the government in the long-term despite the short-term costs - these releases just may have the chance of speeding up the resolutions of these costly wars, despite what the war hawks can and will inevitably continue to say.

  And I say all this at the risk of giving the wrong impression. I do not hate government. I do not hate the military. But I am sick of seeing so many die due to the decisions made by the few, and so I choose to be suspicious of both,

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #139 on: January 09, 2011, 12:16:28 PM »
The reason I used, perhaps over used, the Tsvangirai case as an example of responsibility is that the typical outcome in this situation wouldn't be something that would make the news. When someone finds out that the State Department is asking questions in their country (on behalf of the CIA, DEA, ect) they aren't going to put out a press release saying that they are going to kill the most likely leaks in their organization. It's hard to find events in the news to tie to the leaked messages. Most people that would be upset by the items in it aren't going to hold press conferences, more likely they will look over who could be the leak is and quietly shiv him/her in a back alley.

The same sort of concerns I had when the mystery source in the White House outed Valerie Plame. I heard a lot of 'she wasn't harmed' and as far as folks are concerned that is it. Far from it. Want to bet on her lifespan if she was to go to Africa or the Middle East now? But that's beside the point for now.

Already it is becoming clear that the leaks have sown a level of distrust among foreign governments. American Diplomats are asked to come to events in few numbers and pointed asked to leave behind notepads and such in meetings. In the Middle East and elsewhere the people mentioned in the leaked cables (such as the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) have lost 'face' and standing in the region. It is quite natural for these moderate (well for THAT region of the world they are moderate) nations to worry about an aggressive state like Iran engaging in nuclear research. Keep in mind, aside from the US, who has the largest standing military in the region as well as who has an impressive position to control entry and exit from the Gulf.

It is only natural they'd ask the US, discretely and behind doors, to look into methods to curtail that research. Because from their front row seats view, the UN methods aren't working. If I was a leader in that region (particularly some of the smaller coutries like the UAE and Bahrain) I'd be waking up at night sweating a lot.

Daniel Ellsberg, the man who released the Pentagon papers, came out in support of Wikileaks comparing his actions to the ones they are doing. I disagree with him, he did a LOT more due diligence and tried to work within the system than Wikileaks. I mean he approached men like the late Senator Kennedy, trying to get the papers introduced into congressional minutes.  I respect what he did, like I respected some of Wikileaks past actions.

Disclosing secrets in the manner they did they with the diplomatic traffic isn't the same reasoned responsible actions they have done with past US government documents. That is what I disagree with the rampant release of so many documents. It isnt' responsible disclosure of something that needs to be shown (like the GITMO SOP manual) but actual intelligence that benefits opponents with no benefit in reform/change in US Policy or methods of Operation.

There is a process in place to discuss things that are classified to ensure they aren't just in 'the interest of the people' but within the law. They don't always work, which is why need folks like Daniel Ellsberg to step forward and prod and push and papers/journalists like to push things into the light when the process doesn't work.

Wikileaks and it's supports argue that nothing had been done besides shed light on the process of operation of the US government and make it more 'transparent' to the people at large.

It has, but it's not always a good point. Things have been damaged by the release.

Trust, as I have said before, is the currency of diplomacy. We have lost a lot of trust and those who dealt with us in those messages have lost face and trust in our confidentiality.

Secrets have a lifespan. That is a fact. Some should be kept and yes, some should be shown. Secrecy isn't a bad word though.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #140 on: January 09, 2011, 09:54:30 PM »
          Thanks Callie, I get most of that I think, clearer than I did some of what came earlier. 

          It still seems to me though, that the broader assumptions have a lot to do with whether or not we assume US government views and strategy are on the whole worthy of protection.  Where "secrets" consist of something most reasonable parties to the situation would already suspect, or where presumptions about insider access to a club were previously abused, I'm skeptical of that. 

Quote from: Callie Del Noire
It's hard to find events in the news to tie to the leaked messages. Most people that would be upset by the items in it aren't going to hold press conferences, more likely they will look over who could be the leak is and quietly shiv him/her in a back alley....
          I can see that...  Although in the case of Tsvangirai, I'm far from clear that 1) he was the cleanest guy on the block to begin with, 2) that US partners in the country are generally ethical, or 3) that Mugabe is not fully capable of producing an equal or more plausible threat tomorrow.  That may just be a lack of background on my part.  So far though, it sounds like a generally nasty environment to me.

Quote
Already it is becoming clear that the leaks have sown a level of distrust among foreign governments. American Diplomats are asked to come to events in few numbers and pointed asked to leave behind notepads and such in meetings.
         I'm curious:  You don't mention the order to collect credit card numbers here?  You mention Iran, where most of the US public knows next to nothing except oh, look, reputedly insane tyrant pursuing nukes...  And omit the case where diplomats were outed for being ordered generally (not specifically as in the Plame case) to act as spies?     

Quote
In the Middle East and elsewhere the people mentioned in the leaked cables (such as the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) have lost 'face' and standing in the region. It is quite natural for these moderate (well for THAT region of the world they are moderate) nations to worry about an aggressive state like Iran engaging in nuclear research. Keep in mind, aside from the US, who has the largest standing military in the region as well as who has an impressive position to control entry and exit from the Gulf.
         You said yourself, anyone in a realist frame of mind could see that Iran was bigger than its neighbors and blustering about it, too.  Now if it's really any secret that leadership was capable of such a frame of mind while uttering words to the contrary...  Well, that sort of "secret" is more like an elephant in the room.  I think if leaders honestly have a lot to lose over that being said, then those leaders must be having some real difficulty relating to some people domestically already.  It's not officially US business whether whatever % of another country feel Iran might actually have a good point on some issues -- and our people never hear much from our government or media about how and why that's possible.  Oh, but it's an "outrage" if the news makes our favorite proxy in the palace look bad in the "internal" struggle over policy.

Quote
Daniel Ellsberg, the man who released the Pentagon papers, came out in support of Wikileaks comparing his actions to the ones they are doing. I disagree with him, he did a LOT more due diligence and tried to work within the system than Wikileaks. I mean he approached men like the late Senator Kennedy, trying to get the papers introduced into congressional minutes.  I respect what he did, like I respected some of Wikileaks past actions.
          I sort of get this...  But then, it also seems fair to argue that Congress may not be so ethically concerned about and/or capable of controlling foreign policy at these levels.  If one reads stories and concludes that US policy is often dirty or problematic, one may also decide that the US insiders are not so likely to fix it.  It may take a measure of global exposure and shame before they reform, if they really will at all... On top of that, other countries' people were also already involved, sometimes manipulated and often harmed.   

Quote
Disclosing secrets in the manner they did they with the diplomatic traffic isn't the same reasoned responsible actions they have done with past US government documents. That is what I disagree with the rampant release of so many documents. It isnt' responsible disclosure of something that needs to be shown (like the GITMO SOP manual) but actual intelligence that benefits opponents with no benefit in reform/change in US Policy or methods of Operation.
          Yes, this is back to the grand view thing Kate discussed well enough.  If existing US modus operandi around the world is simply the last best hope and it never reforms through disclosure or the public obviously should not know things...  Well fine.  I don't see that ethics match up so neatly with process on the books, unless we subscribe to that.


« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 10:03:01 PM by kylie »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #141 on: January 09, 2011, 11:23:49 PM »
           
          I can see that...  Although in the case of Tsvangirai, I'm far from clear that 1) he was the cleanest guy on the block to begin with, 2) that US partners in the country are generally ethical, or 3) that Mugabe is not fully capable of producing an equal or more plausible threat tomorrow.  That may just be a lack of background on my part.  So far though, it sounds like a generally nasty environment to me.
     

So, we're okay with accessory murder when we don't like the victim? Every person has flaws and feet of clay but you don't write their life off due to their flaws. If you're culpable to the murder of a drug dealer, following your logic, because you told someone he snitched on it's okay?

Quote
   I'm curious:  You don't mention the order to collect credit card numbers here?  You mention Iran, where most of the US public knows next to nothing except oh, look, reputedly insane tyrant pursuing nukes...  And omit the case where diplomats were outed for being ordered generally (not specifically as in the Plame case) to act as spies?     

Credit cards? I was simply pointing out that the leaks are already affecting the way American diplomats are treated. What does credit cards have to do with it.  I don't follow that logic.


Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #142 on: January 10, 2011, 11:37:22 PM »
Quote from: Callie Del Noire
So, we're okay with accessory murder when we don't like the victim? Every person has flaws and feet of clay but you don't write their life off due to their flaws. If you're culpable to the murder of a drug dealer, following your logic, because you told someone he snitched on it's okay?
         Callie, please.  I didn’t say we should set out with the intent to expressly help the guy off stage.  It is not very clear that Assange and company did any such thing, either.  Now if making a dubious judgment call is all it takes to make one an accessory:  As a society, we have bigger problems.  We are all living out very dubious judgments about our place in the world, most of the time.

          In the industrialized West, we are all somewhat responsible for the quality and often, brevity of life in other parts of the world.  We dump toxic waste on other continents.  We give Africa hand-me-down technology and game over how much postcolonial debt to forgive.  Our policies sway the odds that millions in various corners have sooner access to improving health care, contraception, and clean water.  We buy shirts made in thousands of sweatshops.  We hire as “domestic help” mothers who have left their children to the dwindling community back at home.  Our troops – and diplomats! – range around the world, picking a faction here, sanctioning an industry there, going to war over WMD or genocide or humanitarianism or pursuit of Qaeda (or sometimes, the militia of our associates’ choice). 

          So, we are not all so innocent.  Whether or not we admit – or even know! -- it, we are already involved in the sacrifice and even killing of many, many people to achieve certain global ends.  Now we have this cache of documents that deals with what a government does all over the world.  Perhaps it’s not news.  Perhaps no one cares, or no one dares to say uncomfortable truths that arise from this.  In that case, you have a more obvious point that indeed, no one but designated officials can handle the truth anyway (or will attempt to do so). 

          Are you so certain that is the kind of course that all of the figures you might seek to give a little measure of incremental protection, now that the cat is out of the bag, are serving only to live in that kind of world?  Is that the world you want to end up with?   If you’re a political realist, then it’s easy to say no one should know because in practice, people don’t stand up and change things anyway.  But do you see?  It appears to me that you’re adopting an approach where precisely when the public could read and see the costs, then you say nope – shouldn’t place individuals at risk.  As if we were not doing that for some “greater” goods (I think, rather poorly conceived ones) all along.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #143 on: January 11, 2011, 12:03:45 AM »
Quote from: Callie
Credit cards? I was simply pointing out that the leaks are already affecting the way American diplomats are treated. What does credit cards have to do with it.  I don't follow that logic.
           You mentioned that apparently as a result of the leaks, some foreign officials have become uneasy with American diplomats carrying notepads…  Some of the leaked material features State instructing its personnel to gather confidential information about diplomats from other countries.  The list of desired data includes computer passwords, credit card numbers, biometric information from African officials, military communications infrastructure, and specific vehicles and routes to be used by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. 

          Perhaps under these circumstances, some of those foreign officials felt that they should avoid situations where it would be so easy for an American official to lift information from all the papers on the table…  You might feel that even this leak is bad because now some diplomats can’t do their job as well.  So in order to cover up this particular mess and save diplomats from restricted use of notepads…  The people would never know that leadership has failed to observe any distinction between common diplomats and trained covert ops seriously. 

     Detailed report here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-spying-un

     Copy of the cable:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/219058

     Also an article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29spy.html
Quote
          The United States regularly puts undercover intelligence officers in countries posing as diplomats, but a vast majority of diplomats are not spies. Several retired ambassadors, told about the information-gathering assignments disclosed in the cables, expressed concern that State Department employees abroad could routinely come under suspicion of spying and find it difficult to do their work or even risk expulsion.

     Ronald E. Neumann, a former American ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria and Bahrain, said that Washington was constantly sending requests for voluminous information about foreign countries. But he said he was puzzled about why Foreign Service officers — who are not trained in clandestine collection methods — would be asked to gather information like credit card numbers.

     “My concerns would be, first of all, whether the person could do this responsibly without getting us into trouble,” he said. “And, secondly, how much effort a person put into this at the expense of his or her regular duties.”

« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 12:06:19 AM by kylie »

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #144 on: January 11, 2011, 08:43:54 AM »
Quote
The man who only drives the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the bank robber who shoots the teller.

-1

Are civilians paying taxes to a government which is corrupt while assuming "thats just how it is" without protest just as guilty as the corrupt politicians ?

Offline Zakharra

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #145 on: January 11, 2011, 08:54:21 AM »
-1

Are civilians paying taxes to a government which is corrupt while assuming "thats just how it is" without protest just as guilty as the corrupt politicians ?

 No. Since  it's the poloticians that have control over how tax money is spent and over what policies are enacted. Once a politician is in office, they, ufortunately, have a lot of freedom to do what they want and screw the people over.

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #146 on: January 11, 2011, 09:37:26 AM »
Quote
poloticians that have control over how tax money is spent and over what policies are enacted.

You would be stunned with what public outcry and protests can do.

Offline Zakharra

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #147 on: January 11, 2011, 09:50:27 AM »
You would be stunned with what public outcry and protests can do.

 Your response has nothing to do with the question of yours I answered.  But I'm not surprised that public protests can work. I also know that because a  politician does something, his/her constituents are not responsible for that politician's actions. 


 I missed something in this:
Quote
The man who only drives the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the bank robber who shoots the teller.
-1

Are civilians paying taxes to a government which is corrupt while assuming "thats just how it is" without protest just as guilty as the corrupt politicians ?

 The getaway driver is directly involved in the crime, helping the murder try to escape. So he is directly involved, as is anyone else that willingly helps the murderer. Civilians paying taxes are not responsible for what their politicians do once in office.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 12:05:16 PM by Zakharra »

Online Dashenka

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #148 on: January 12, 2011, 08:20:58 AM »
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.


I agree that the US is not in any direct danger from these documents but it has the potential to put a serious tension on international relations with the US, which haven't been all that good with some countries.

Example, all the documents leaked about the US Embassy in Moscow saying Putin has ties to the mafia, have been on the front page of almost every newspaper here in Russia. I can imagine this has happened to other nations as well and although we will not attack the US, rest assured, I can see it having some effect on future relations between the ambassador and the Russian politicians.

Offline Vekseid

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #149 on: January 12, 2011, 08:30:52 AM »
There are a number of snafus like that, yep.

The only dangerous one so far is in Zimbabwe, and is probably the first case where a release was seriously ill advised. If only because Mugabe is so thoroughly fucking over his country.

How are the newspapers reporting it over there? I've been led to believe by other Russians that Putin's connections aren't exactly secret.