Gweg

Wikileaks

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For me, the whole Wikileaks issue is contexual. Gov't really does need, and have a "right" to, secret communications. Even non-military communications in a non-war situation -- such as the current diplomatic cables, which were recently leaked/published.

All things considered, it seems like Wikileaks is hurting enemies of freedom (both US and foreign), general bad guys, and hypocrites. No-one pro-liberty, good, or honest is being punished, or threatened, or embarrassed, as far as I can tell. Wikileaks is carefully redacting all that prior to publication.

Thus, all these leaks exposing the sleazy secret behavior of semi-tyrannical govt's -- including that of the US -- constitute a victory for sunshine, transparency, and TRUTH!

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For me, the whole Wikileaks issue is contexual. Gov't really does need, and have a "right" to, secret communications. Even non-military communications in a non-war situation -- such as the current diplomatic cables, which were recently leaked/published.

All things considered, it seems like Wikileaks is hurting enemies of freedom (both US and foreign), general bad guys, and hypocrites. No-one pro-liberty, good, or honest is being punished, or threatened, or embarrassed, as far as I can tell. Wikileaks is carefully redacting all that prior to publication.

Thus, all these leaks exposing the sleazy secret behavior of semi-tyrannical govt's -- including that of the US -- constitute a victory for sunshine, transparency, and TRUTH!

From what I understand of the "leaker" it is not his intention to bring about "free speech" and all that goes with it. His goal seems to be to destroy the US and all that it stands for. With what little I have read about this person I am willing to judge him as a big piece of crap, at least until further information is supplied.

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RayK -- Destroy America and all it stands for? ;) What makes you think that? Where is the evidence?

According to the Wikileaks organization:

... Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public.... One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth....WikiLeaks has worked to report on and publish important information.

... The broader principles on which our work is based are the defence of freedom of speech and media publishing, the improvement of our common historical record and the support of the rights of all people to create new history. We derive these principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In particular, Article 19 inspires the work of our journalists and other volunteers. It states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. We agree, and we seek to uphold this and the other Articles of the Declaration.

... We are fearless in our efforts to get the unvarnished truth out to the public. When information comes in, our journalists analyse the material, verify it and write a news piece about it describing its significance to society. We then publish both the news story and the original material in order to enable readers to analyse the story in the context of the original source material themselves....

As the media organisation has grown and developed, WikiLeaks been developing and improving a harm minimisation procedure. We do not censor our news, but from time to time we may remove or significantly delay the publication of some identifying details from original documents to protect life and limb of innocent people....

Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society's institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.

Scrutiny requires information. Historically, information has been costly in terms of human life, human rights and economics. As a result of technical advances particularly the internet and cryptography - the risks of conveying important information can be lowered. In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree.

We believe that it is not only the people of one country that keep their own government honest, but also the people of other countries who are watching that government through the media.

And on and on.

Other than having a moderately Leftist political bias -- which is only a little worse than a Rightist bias -- does anyone think the Wikileaks organization is lying about their intents and goals? Does anyone think their stated ideals above are practically or morally wrong? They seem like a solidly pro-freedom and pro-truth group to me!

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Zeus, the individuals knowingly took and or published secret information about all sorts of different military operations (past, present and future) and intend on publishing even more, so that people can be held accountable. We are in a war where the nature of military operations (war) is that they will be kept secret so that we can actually win the war. So, when some individual takes classified material and publishes it, knowing from where it was stolen, it is not to "stop" government actions of war for our benefit.

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Zeus,

In addition to what RayK has said about WikiLeaks actions, versus whatever stated "intent" in which they cloak it for Civil Libertarian approbation, let's take this closer to home: If you furnish personal information, say your health status, sexual history, whatever, that you might well expect to find in a secured medical database, you gave explicit permission to the health provider to retain that information to your benefit. You did not provide that information to some third-party who may have been able to hack that database, or have been provided your information by some disgruntled medical technician. That information is now out of your control. That is theft. That is criminal. In the case of someone publishing information about American conduct of currently active field operations in a time of war, that is the action of an enemy. WikiLeaks claims to do some redacting of their own prior to releasing data, but would you trust them with your life? We have apparently only seen a fraction of what this disgruntled private made public, but it is a mountain of data and our enemies will likely find useful information in such a broad and unfiltered outpouring of secret communications.

The fact that our government is mixed, its behavior often Altruistic, irrational, and counter to the interests of its own population does not justify the theft and publication of its conduct of business by someone like Assange, who is very careful to maintain the pretense that he cares about danger to individuals from his actions, but nevertheless publishes vast amounts of material the consequences of which he cannot possibly assess. He is careful to maintain a pretense of objectivity, but he betrays a consistent anti-Western, anti-American bias. [Link]

He is certainly as anti-business as he is anti-American

Yes, we have leaks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a trojan horse trade agreement designed from the very beginning to satisfy big players in the US copyright and patent industries. In fact, it was WikiLeaks that first drew ACTA to the public's attention - with a leak.

I don't like either of the most recent two administrations' actions in our defense. I have seen some suspicions confirmed from the WikiLeaks contents. Some of these leaks may well force the administration's hand in a positive direction. But revelations of the Arab leaders' stands against Iran may well get allies killed. And, if Assange is redacting as he says, then he revealed those names and their alleged statements deliberately to embarrass them and to undermine the U.S.'s ability to work with them.

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JeffT, in America if Americans do not like the way an official is acting or their policies then they can vote them out. One does not have to know secret information to see what the government official is doing wrong as your example demonstrates. Anyone that pays even a little attention to the news can see what is going on and when we "get in bed" with out enemies it is time to replace those government officials that chose to do so.

You're right, in the sense that we do have enough publicly available information from the news every day that we don't need leaks or "secret" information to know the general behavior of our government. The size of the leak also strongly suggests indiscriminate activities and sheds doubt as to any possible legitimate goals of the leakers.

I am refraining from reaching a firm opinion of the Wikileaks diplomatic cable incident at this time, though, as I don't know enough about the domain to know what political effects it may have.

For example: There was more than enough publicly available information demonstrating that the global warming scare is a politically-motivated campaign to restrict industry and technology on a vast scale, for anybody paying close attention to reach that conclusion. Yet the leak of additionally incriminating documents made huge news and did great damage the global warming political movement, even though their basic premise was always clear. I am unsure what positive or negative political effects the diplomatic cable leaks may have, and I leave open the possibility for leaks of this sort (especially much smaller, targeted ones than this) to have positive effects.

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For example: There was more than enough publicly available information demonstrating that the global warming scare is a politically-motivated campaign to restrict industry and technology on a vast scale, for anybody paying close attention to reach that conclusion. Yet the leak of additionally incriminating documents made huge news and did great damage the global warming political movement, even though their basic premise was always clear. I am unsure what positive or negative political effects the diplomatic cable leaks may have, and I leave open the possibility for leaks of this sort (especially much smaller, targeted ones than this) to have positive effects.
In this case a very specific private organization is suspected of fraud, and this fraud could have disastrous effects on human life. On this grounds a person could be justified for taking the legal risk of hacking the data, especially since the data obtained would only be pertaining to the research in question. There is no data hidden that could compromise an innocent person in some horrible way, as it is all obviously mundane temperature, weather, computer models, etc related data.

In the case of Wikileaks though it is a giant mish-mosh of government data that could be pertaining to almost anyone and anything, and could endanger or embarrass completely innocent individuals in ways not foreseeable by those hacking and releasing the data. Additionally, the owners of the data are not a private organization but the government, which adds a whole new layer to the complexity, because the government is supposed to hold an undisputed monopoly on force in a nation, and by hacking them you are deliberately subverting that monopoly. That is something to which they could and should react to quite harshly.

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