Gweg

Wikileaks

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I have a whole bunch of mixed thoughts and emotions from what I've read. I sympathize with the idea but it seems to me he does care a bit more about self promotion than right and wrong. Certainly a great potion of what he released should have been but there must have been a way to do it more discriminatly. I was hoping some more informed members could discuss this issue for my elucidation.

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I don't sympathize with Wikileaks/Assange at all. Governments properly have secrets. The documents released by Assange were stolen and he knew that. He published them as an attack on the United States. He is little better than a terrorist and should be brought to justice as soon as possible.

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Two points to be made:

- The Iranians are arguing that the US created the entire Wikileaks thing to discredit them and do some positive PR for the very damaged US image abroad. Considering the US obviously has hackers working for it that were smart enough to disable Iranian centrifuges without stepping foot in the country (see Stuxnet article in Fox News - incredible engineering!), this is not unlikely, even coming out of the psychologically unstable, permanently paranoid Iranians. I warm to this because in the real world, had Assange disclosed secrets that could threaten US interests, he'd have found himself in a nice little accident, interrogation or his site destroyed without recourse. I refuse to believe the US is so inept at protecting itself.

- The Assange rape case is a joke. The charge is now "sex by surprise". Both women are something akin to Gender Equity Officers in a university. The judge effectively stated that we, non-Swedish legal folks, could not understand the offence because it was too complicated and required a law degree to appreciate. I'm surprised neither by the women nor by the judge. This is Sweden in full on socialist, rights-ignoring mode.

Nothing that was released is particularly secretive. However, the position chosen by experts such as Stratfor is that the main embarassment for the US is the complete lack of IT understanding and security they have displayed in this entire case. How could a soldier whose rank was 2nd lowest in the Armed Forces find himself with a. access to so much information b. on a computer with not just functioning USB drives, but a CD writer and no software check on what was being done with it? Astonishing.

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> Nothing that was released is particularly secretive

I don't see how that matters. He has loads more docs and has shown every intention of releasing important secrets.

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> Nothing that was released is particularly secretive

I don't see how that matters. He has loads more docs and has shown every intention of releasing important secrets.

Such as?

Wikileaks' approach so far has been to offload quantity and let the public sift, much like the Iranian students who raided the US Embassy back in the days. Nothing he's released is particularly surprising or secret. The worst he could find was a mistaken identity issue where a few civilians ended up killed by Apache gunships 2 miles away. And even that is contested.

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Daniel Ellsberg in SF Gate praises Wikileaks, in that it exposes, for the first time, Americans to the "hard truth" of how the world works: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/opinio...?entry_id=78596

Personally I was not surprised, since I follow world news based on game theory and the data I gather. But I can understand why some people might find it surprising that, for example, Egypt's government, which in the 1970s tried to destroy Israel, might back and encourage the US to destroy Iran.

In that aspect, I agree with Ellsberg. It's high time Americans realized that the world outside US borders is not like the world inside US borders. It's rough, tough, and does not obey the rules of civilization.

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The fact that some of the documents released are informative and useful doesn't excuse the fact that laws (moral laws) were broken and that Assange knew he was releasing illegally obtained documents.

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The one funny about it is that i was happy when i read it accused Hillary of illegally spying on the U.N. But then immediately respected her for taking any action against the UN which is pile crapheads. But thats a different topic.

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The fact that some of the documents released are informative and useful doesn't excuse the fact that laws (moral laws) were broken and that Assange knew he was releasing illegally obtained documents.

If an illegally obtained document proves illegal activity(ignoring the fact that many of his docs do not even hint at any), is releasing said document a crime? Furthermore, I think you should elaborate on the moral laws part cause i don't understand how releasing illegally obtained documents is necessarily immoral

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If an illegally obtained document proves illegal activity(ignoring the fact that many of his docs do not even hint at any), is releasing said document a crime?

Yes, of course it is.

Furthermore, I think you should elaborate on the moral laws part cause i don't understand how releasing illegally obtained documents is necessarily immoral

The owner of the documents didn't intended them to be released. Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents.

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That the wikileaks info released is not damaging simply isn't true.

There have been cases in the past where the leaked info also contained names of Afghanis that the US military was covertly working with. Much less than "airing dirty laundry" about America, what that is doing is putting real people's lives at much greater risk, people in particular who were already accepting the risk of being informant's for the US military.

The illegal releasing of government secrets would only make it harder for those people to trust us in the future, and could probably result in a lot of foreign friends to the US dying at the hands of Muslim terrorists.

Regardless of whether the information is "sensitive" or not, if the US military and/or government has decided that some information should be kept secret as a matter of national security, that is important and should be respected on principle.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world...o-1225898681926

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/304084.php

Objectivists should never get ensnared in these Anarchist/Liberarianesque arguments for airing secrets about the military in this way. The American Public does not have a right to "sift" through military facts. The role of the US government is to hold a monopoly on the use of force, which implies any sensitive information that is involved in that. The average civilian should not be able to "google", for example, the tech specs and complete floor plans of currently-operating US nuclear subs, or know exact specifics of how ground infantry are fighting and where their location is, or how politicians are deftly navigating through the events of an unfolding diplomatic nightmare portending war.

In WWII the Japanese discovered the Jet Stream, and with an ingenious strategy began releasing "blimp bombs" that would detonate after a specific amount of time. The US government began finding some of these blimp bombs on the American West Coast, figured out what was happening, and asked the media to keep the story secret as they wanted the Japanese to remain in doubt whether the strategy was even working. If the Japanese had learned through American news reports it very well could have confirmed the validity of the idea, and encouraged them to pursue the strategy more successfully.

The US government has secrets it needs to keep for a reason.

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If an illegally obtained document proves illegal activity(ignoring the fact that many of his docs do not even hint at any), is releasing said document a crime?

Yes, of course it is.

Under what legal basis? This isn't self-evident at all. The fact that a document was originally "illegally obtained" doesn't somehow automatically make releasing a copy of it then a separate crime. Maybe in some situations it is.

Furthermore, I think you should elaborate on the moral laws part cause i don't understand how releasing illegally obtained documents is necessarily immoral

The owner of the documents didn't intended them to be released. Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents.

There is no law protecting "the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents" universally. Copyright (in the US) does not apply to works created by the federal government.

Morally, which is a separate question from the legality, the situation depends on whether actual harm to legitimate US interests (that is, the ability of the US to protect individual rights) is being done. Or if, perhaps, on the contrary, activities destructive to the protection of individual rights are exposed.

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If an illegally obtained document proves illegal activity(ignoring the fact that many of his docs do not even hint at any), is releasing said document a crime?

Yes, of course it is.

Under what legal basis? This isn't self-evident at all. The fact that a document was originally "illegally obtained" doesn't somehow automatically make releasing a copy of it then a separate crime. Maybe in some situations it is.

Furthermore, I think you should elaborate on the moral laws part cause i don't understand how releasing illegally obtained documents is necessarily immoral

The owner of the documents didn't intended them to be released. Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents.

There is no law protecting "the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents" universally. Copyright (in the US) does not apply to works created by the federal government.

Morally, which is a separate question from the legality, the situation depends on whether actual harm to legitimate US interests (that is, the ability of the US to protect individual rights) is being done. Or if, perhaps, on the contrary, activities destructive to the protection of individual rights are exposed.

The legality is subject to the Espionage Act of 1917 protecting government secrets. This is not a copyright matter. It doesn't make any difference whether anyone thinks the information is or isn't harmful to the US; the government decides that under anything other than anarchy.

The present situation is muddied by the fact that none of the governments involved are proper governments restricted to carrying out proper functions. Much of what is being leaked also has nothing to do with "military" matters or declared "enemies" of the US.

A legitimate government would properly defend its foreign policy secrets. An illegitimate government will protect that and all the rest of its scandalous behavior anyway. Either way, anyone engaged in stealing and disseminating government secrets is asking for trouble.

The leftists who are doing this are not interested in reforming the US government in accordance with what we know it should be. They are trying to create chaos and reactions against the government in order to foment a socialist takeover. Use whatever they release for whatever it is worth, but don't support the leftists doing it as properly motivated. We are stuck with a mixed system that we rely on for our own defense to the extent the government will do that (less so under Obama) but are simultaneously stuck with all the rest of the rot it is bringing along with it. We have what we are stuck with living under without our consent; don't engage in false alternatives in assessing this situation.

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It doesn't make any difference whether anyone thinks the information is or isn't harmful to the US; the government decides that under anything other than anarchy.

I agree with this from a legal standpoint, but morally, whether the information is harmful does matter. They are separate questions. Of course, anybody who violates an unjust law, or an ordinarily just law applied in an unjust context, believing it is moral to do so, does so at their own risk.

The legality is subject to the Espionage Act of 1917 protecting government secrets.

A much more valid basis than those suggested in the message I quoted.

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It doesn't make any difference whether anyone thinks the information is or isn't harmful to the US; the government decides that under anything other than anarchy.

I agree with this from a legal standpoint, but morally, whether the information is harmful does matter. They are separate questions. Of course, anybody who violates an unjust law, or an ordinarily just law applied in an unjust context, believing it is moral to do so, does so at their own risk.

Anarchism is not moral, and neither is subjecting yourself to the wrath of government power without regard for the consequences to yourself. Those are moral issues in addition to the immorality of damaging our self defense or the possible morality of revolution or civil disobedience for a proper cause.

The legality is subject to the Espionage Act of 1917 protecting government secrets.

A much more valid basis than those suggested in the message I quoted.

You mean from jordanz? Government documents are not only not protected by copyright but should not be: Government does not do anything by "right".

The Espionage Act is also supposed to apply to anyone outside of the country, which raises the question of what kind of "legality" that is. If a foreign country does not make an agreement to enforce it, then the attempt to do so is itself extra-legal in that country and an act of war. It becomes a "legal" matter only for what rules we apply to our own military acting in a foreign territory. That may be justified, especially against a foreigner threatening our country, but these foreign policy matters are not what we ordinarily think of as legal issues in the domestic sphere.

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Anarchism is not moral, and neither is subjecting yourself to the wrath of government power without regard for the consequences to yourself. Those are moral issues in addition to the immorality of damaging our self defense or the possible morality of revolution or civil disobedience for a proper cause.

You're right that those are considerations in any individual context, but there is also the general context of the moral classification of a type of action, distinct from any personal context. For example, if I say that it is moral to keep the entirety of the wealth one has earned, that doesn't mean I'm necessarily saying that it's moral for individuals, today, to cheat on their income taxes regardless of the consequences to themselves. One can discuss the morality or immorality of distributing classified material on the basis of the exposure of the US government separately from considerations of whether the individual doing so is likely to be caught or prosecuted.

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You mean from jordanz? Government documents are not only not protected by copyright but should not be: Government does not do anything by "right".

I said nothing about copyright.

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You mean from jordanz? Government documents are not only not protected by copyright but should not be: Government does not do anything by "right".

I said nothing about copyright.

You wrote "Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents". That would be the basis of a copyright (which term you did not use), but does not pertain to government documents. Government workers produce documents for and in the name of the government. Government does not have rights.

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You wrote "Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents". That would be the basis of a copyright (which term you did not use), but does not pertain to government documents. Government workers produce documents for and in the name of the government. Government does not have rights.

Government doesn't have the right to keep things secret? I don't know what else to call it.

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Anarchism is not moral, and neither is subjecting yourself to the wrath of government power without regard for the consequences to yourself. Those are moral issues in addition to the immorality of damaging our self defense or the possible morality of revolution or civil disobedience for a proper cause.

You're right that those are considerations in any individual context, but there is also the general context of the moral classification of a type of action, distinct from any personal context. For example, if I say that it is moral to keep the entirety of the wealth one has earned, that doesn't mean I'm necessarily saying that it's moral for individuals, today, to cheat on their income taxes regardless of the consequences to themselves. One can discuss the morality or immorality of distributing classified material on the basis of the exposure of the US government separately from considerations of whether the individual doing so is likely to be caught or prosecuted.

In civil disobedience you are supposed to take the consequences of your action and are not supposed to try to "get away with it" under some degree of risk of getting caught. Anarchy is not moral even if you could get away with it. That is a moral factor whether or not leaked documents are damaging to the government. But so is the matter of consequences to only you personally as the one performing the act. You can distinguish between different aspects of an act with regard to its moral assessment, but all morality pertains to individual actions.

At some point in corruption of government and inability to correct it by normal means, it can be become appropriate and moral to move from civil disobedience to revolution if that is feasible and if it is for the ends of the right kind of government respecting rights of the individual, but the leftists behind the stealing and leaking of documents, aside from seeking improper ends of their own collectivism and statism, are trying to have it both ways: Like Bill Ayers' Weather Underground, or the 1960s New Leftists taking over university buildings with "non-violent" violent protests and lists of "demands" beginning with "amnesty" for themselves, they want to both defy the government and civilized behavior and have government sanction and permit their actions intended to defiantly provoke anarchy and chaos. There is more to the moral aspects of this mentality than the question of the release of specific documents being damaging.

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You wrote "Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents". That would be the basis of a copyright (which term you did not use), but does not pertain to government documents. Government workers produce documents for and in the name of the government. Government does not have rights.

Government doesn't have the right to keep things secret? I don't know what else to call it.

The burden is on the holder of the information to keep it secret. There is not a legal obligation on everyone at large to help contain a secret which is already starting to leak. Of course, some individuals with access to the information may be bound by confidentiality agreements (and I recognize the validity of implicit or assumed agreements in many contexts), and those people are legally obligated to abide by those.

The dissemination of national security information which has already been leaked is a separate issue from the initial confidentiality agreements of those who were granted access to the information (or theft, if a computer was broken into), and may be covered by either laws or military acts deriving from the principle of not giving aid and comfort to the enemy (which can take many forms).

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You wrote "Assange has violated the will and the rights of the owners/producers of the documents". That would be the basis of a copyright (which term you did not use), but does not pertain to government documents. Government workers produce documents for and in the name of the government. Government does not have rights.

Government doesn't have the right to keep things secret? I don't know what else to call it.

The burden is on the holder of the information to keep it secret. There is not a legal obligation on everyone at large to help contain a secret which is already starting to leak. Of course, some individuals with access to the information may be bound by confidentiality agreements (and I recognize the validity of implicit or assumed agreements in many contexts), and those people are legally obligated to abide by those.

The dissemination of national security information which has already been leaked is a separate issue from the initial confidentiality agreements of those who were granted access to the information (or theft, if a computer was broken into), and may be covered by either laws or military acts deriving from the principle of not giving aid and comfort to the enemy (which can take many forms).

One's right to free speech does not give them the right to put others in harms way. And if someone is taking "leaked" information that they know is of a confidential manner and making it public it is treason and totally immoral on all levels.

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I'm largely hostile to Wikileaks which in my opinion is a nihilistic outfit.

However, I'm finding myself conflicted on 2 grounds:

1) The charges on Assange seem fabricated to silence him. I'm not a conspiracy enthusiast, but it's just too weird and convenient. We can't allow governments to do that.

2) More to the point, the below is the crux of the matter:

Regardless of whether the information is "sensitive" or not, if the US military and/or government has decided that some information should be kept secret as a matter of national security, that is important and should be respected on principle.

This does not seem correct under a mixed system where the government cannot be trusted to act within reasonable limits, or even to pursue its rational goal of protecting people's rights.

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...

2) More to the point, the below is the crux of the matter:

Regardless of whether the information is "sensitive" or not, if the US military and/or government has decided that some information should be kept secret as a matter of national security, that is important and should be respected on principle.

This does not seem correct under a mixed system where the government cannot be trusted to act within reasonable limits, or even to pursue its rational goal of protecting people's rights.

I recognize that I live under a mixed system, and that many laws are unjust, but I still respect the law and live as if I am in a nation of laws, because the system is still healthy and life-promoting enough that we should be trying to change it through civil, not martial, means. I have no desire to thwart the government, or defy their monopoly to force. One does not have gradations in principle between "a nation of laws" and anarchy.

I think the risks of establishing the mindset in Americans that it is acceptable to thwart the government far outweigh whatever specific gains you could get in that specific act of thwarting the government. We are either a nation of laws, or we aren't.

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