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Wikileaks Opinions?


  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Wikileaks, good or bad thing?

    • good, democracy needs that
      17
    • bad, should be closed down
      0
    • made a way too big thing
      1
    • should be treated as a terrorist organisation
      1
    • other
      3


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Exactly. We elect them because we have faith that they will act in our best interests. If that means hiding information, whose publicity has the potential to hurt us, then they should certainly have that responsibility.

You honestly have that much faith in your government? I don't.

 

How would you feel if your credit card information was leaked to the public? Your medical records, revealing that you have HIV? A text conversation that shows that you're talking behind your best friend's back? Or that your significant-other is cheating on you?

I don't think this is a direct analogy to governmental procedures, but I'll play this game if you want:

1. It would suck, but Wikileaks are not affecting anyone financially.

2. I would be very dissapointed and embarrassed but the effect should end there, it is nothing to be ashamed of. If a leak shows that the US has AIDs that would a worry, since Australia get in bed with them quite often..

3. As a rule I don't talk behind a persons back, I know not everyone will subscribe to this, but I think a government should.

4. This info would be painful to receive, but overall better out in the open than being lied to. This is the perfect kind of info Wikileaks should be releasing - uncovering deception and lies.

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Anyway, I don't see a reason why a honest government should be against it? I mean names are deleted so where is the problem? If you got something to hide, my question is why? :-)

 

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

 

Joseph Goebbels quote

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I think it makes no sense to state a yes or no answer for the whole issue and I definitely disagree that freedom of speech covers it. If some of the revelations were a just thing in principle, I get the idea that Assange still did not do it in a responsible manner (and I mean this regardless of law in US or other nations).

 

For instance, if informants get slain by the folks they had told authorities about, the blame is on those who let confidential info loose. And what benefit does the world get out of those revelations?

 

Some secrets are necessary and rightful, others only cover up wrongdoing. It makes no sense to argue without distinguishing cases of one from the other.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What amazes me is the level of classification the US applies to what appears (to me, at least) to be no more than total and utter bullshit. "Highly Classified" is the leaked fact that the US ambassador thinks that Bob Mugabe is "the Devil", and the Morgan Tsvangirai is "spineless". I mean, come on. Why do you have to classify the obvious?

 

Why classify the fact that the US ambassador in the UK thinks that Prince Andrew is rude, cocky, unmannered and uncouth? Why be pissed off at Wikileaks (or the US ambassador for saying it, for that matter)? Won't the indignation aimed at the US be better aimed at upping Prince Andrew's social skills?

 

And the US thinking that Kim Jong Il is a fruitcake? Come on! Show me one single person in the entire world who's shocked at that particular revelation. Kim Jong Il included.

Here is the thing. It is important for there to be candid, brutally blunt evaluations of foreign actors. Diplomats need to record these impressions because they help establish a profile on the person so that other diplomats, or future diplomats to work with that person walk into any situation with as much knowledge as possible. At the same time, it only makes things volatile to make those candid evaluations public. Prince Andrew may be rude, cocky, unmannered and uncouth; and knowing that will help you handle him more effectively, but making that assessment public will only insult him and make him more difficult to work with.

 

So, lets get away from those specific situations and focus more broadly on why things that may seem innocuous are classified. Do you know that military MRE (meal ready to eat) purchase records are classified? Why would you ever classify food purchases? The reason being is that food purchases, when combined with other information, can foreshadow military action. Lets say given the current situation that the US is preparing for the possibility of a renewed war in Korea. MREs are purchased, numerous marines are transferred to units located at Camp Pendleton (pacific staging point), equipment is moved, fuel is requisitioned, Marines not scheduled to deploy start filing wills (all deploying marines are required to do this), etc, etc, etc. All of these seemingly innocuous events can be added together to signal a major unscheduled deployment is in the works. Silly little things that may not seem like valuable information alone can add up to important information.

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Exactly. We elect them because we have faith that they will act in our best interests. If that means hiding information, whose publicity has the potential to hurt us, then they should certainly have that responsibility.

 

I agree, to a point. It's a slippery slope. If we entrust elected officials to act on our behalf, we expect that they will always keep our best interests at heart, but that is not always the case.

 

How would you feel if your credit card information was leaked to the public? Your medical records, revealing that you have HIV? A text conversation that shows that you're talking behind your best friend's back? Or that your significant-other is cheating on you?

 

Well, obviously that would suck. No one wants their private life exposed to the public, especially the embarrassing parts. But that's not really what is happening with wikileaks.

Let's flip your example around. Suppose the government was collecting information on you and selling that info to foreign governments, for whatever reasons. Wouldn't you want to know about it?

 

National security is certainly an issue though. So is the value of the lives lost because of leaked info.

The US Congress is acting to amend the Espionage Act to include situations like wikileaks.

 

The Justice Department would have no problem distinguishing WikiLeaks from traditional media outlets, if it decides to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act, a former federal prosecutor told lawmakers Thursday. “By clearly showing how WikiLeaks is fundamentally different, the government should be able to demonstrate that any prosecution here is the exception and is not the sign of a more aggressive prosecution effort against the press,” said Kenneth Wainstein (pictured at right), former assistant attorney general on national security, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act on Thursday.

 

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/wikileaks-and-espionage-act/

 

It's a touchy subject, but shooting the messenger is not wise, imho.

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I support transparency in the government, for the simple reason that the Government (at least in the US) is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." How can people really make informed decisions about anything happening in the government if they dont even know what is going o with the government? Now of course there are some things which should be kept secret, war strategies and such, but much of what is hidden has no reason to be hidden. I just dont see how it makes sense for a government to leave its people out of so much when so much is decided by its people.

So I guess if I had things my way there would be no wikileaks, but only for the reason that there would be no information for them to disclose.

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It's a touchy subject, but shooting the messenger is not wise, imho.
Definitely a touchy subject. I think the ancient parable about the messenger does not apply though, that fabled king took it out on the messenger for what the news was saying and it is plainly absurd. The fabled messenger did his job --for the very same king-- and there was no question about merit vs. fault in that.

 

OTOH Assange was not doing his job, sure he would have a point to some extent about about over-classification but he acted indiscriminately and I get the idea he's a bloatedly idealistic wacko with a total lack of judgement. I disagree with his opinion about the harm offset by greater good when he could have just been a heck of a lot more discerning. I think Wainstein makes some good points. In any case he wasn't fulfilling an obligation toward the governments involved so it isn't absurd of them wanting to prosecute him.

 

Note that I very much understand some issues of secrecy being obnoxious; I've had my own personal matters that really suck, concerning former employers and reticence on matters that concern myself. There are things I feel I should have the right to know but instead it seems legally I can't demand it, but neither could they accuse me if I managed to know it without doing anything per se illegal.

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Hey folks

 

I think that WikiLeaks has evey right... in fact they have an obligation... to expose descisions that are in breach of social responsibility.

 

They fulfill the same role as journalists in this regard.

 

On the down side, WikiLeaks has none of the checks and balances that journalists do. They do not bind themselves to the same obligations either.

They stepped over a line when they published documents that expose real people to serious danger, and little in those leaked documents truly served the role of ensuring social responsibility in the decision makers.. This is neither ethical or responsible.

 

We need both journalists and sites like WikiLeaks. They serve the role of ensuring that the decision making process is, if not fair, at least transparent. But don't you think they also need to use a modicum of that same social responsibility in pursuing that goal.

 

If they don't then the fallout will be that the very people that desperately need to be exposed will use these events as ammunition against them.

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