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Wikileaks Receiving Gestapo Treatment? 667

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the picking-some-fights dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks announced on Mar 21 (via its twitter account) its intentions 'to reveal Pentagon murder-coverup at US National Press Club, Apr 5, 9am.' It appears that during the last 24 hours someone from the State Department/CIA decided to visit them, by 'following/photographing/filming/detaining' an editor for 22 hours. Apparently, the offending leak is a video footage of a US airstrike."
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Wikileaks Receiving Gestapo Treatment?

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:58AM (#31597766) Homepage

    ...providing a service similar to what Wikileaks provides is always dangerous.

  • [citation needed] (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bartab (233395) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:00AM (#31597802)

    Seriously. Saying "we have something" is boring. Post it, or shut up.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:01AM (#31597818)

    There are national security laws for a reason. If Wikileaks is going to publish sensitive information that is genuinely covered by those laws — and while I haven't seen the details, if this really is military video footage it might well be — then of course the security services are going to take steps, the same way they would with anyone else. Why anyone using/working on Wikileaks thinks they are above the law, I have never understood.

  • Don't do that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:05AM (#31597862) Journal

    'following/photographing/filming/detaining' an editor for 22 hours

    Following someone for 22 hours and detaining someone for 22 hours are so incredibly different they should not be lumped together like that. It's the difference between a creepy stalker and an oppression of basic freedoms.

    Don't leave it up to my imagination how long each of those 4 actions took place. Because I'm imagining the "detaining" being about 15 seconds as they accidentally walked into each other, and then they both stepped to the side, oops still in the way, stepped to the side again, oops, and did this about 5 times.

  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Slash.Poop (1088395) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:05AM (#31597864) Homepage
    A Twitter page is now the source /. is running with?
    I suppose when you put "it appears" and "apparently" you can just pass anything off as "news".
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:07AM (#31597898) Homepage Journal
    OTOH, it's very easy for governments to simply "classify away" embarrassing secrets that are in fact no danger to national security. That's exactly the sort of thing that Wikileaks is built for. It's a national security risk only in that it risks the jobs of the people who fucked up, who may be in charge of security.
  • by JDmetro (1745882) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:08AM (#31597918)
    National security is an excuse used when a government does something illegal and doesn't want anyone to know.
    And remember if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to hide.
  • by davegravy (1019182) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:09AM (#31597932)

    Why anyone using/working on Wikileaks thinks they are above the law, I have never understood.

    When national security laws are used to cover-up the immoral actions of high-level personnel, Wikileaks *IS* above the law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:11AM (#31597956)

    They are not in USA and do not have to follow our wishes. If the foreign combatants who have broken the video signal encryption for our drones have shared video with them then they should share it if they wish. They have not promised anyone that they will not show something that normal US citizens have no access to online.

    whether our defense folks like this or not is not their concern, as leakers....

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:12AM (#31597980)
    If the source is verified to be wikileaks does it matter what site they post on? I hate twitter, and I mean, quite a bit. But it doesn't make info posted on their less valid. Just less thorough.
  • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:12AM (#31597986)

    Why anyone using/working on Wikileaks thinks they are above the law, I have never understood.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I was told the First Amendment is above the law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:12AM (#31597994)

    What some groups are saying is that it's expensive, &c. This actually is not the case, according to the congressional budget office, but it least it's a sane criticism, if mistaken.

    What other groups are saying is that it's tyrannical oppression, &c.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pilG7PCV448

    Thus, your "no" was incorrect - certain groups *are* screaming that this new health care plan is 'oppression' and taking away from all of our rights.

  • Godwinned already (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:14AM (#31598010) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, I'm sure they experienced the full Gestapo treatment including torture and being held indefinitely.

    Taco, you're a fucking tool.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:15AM (#31598040) Homepage

    Thus, your "no" was incorrect - certain groups *are* screaming that this new health care plan is 'oppression' and taking away from all of our rights.

    In a hilarious twist, most of the people who are saying that it's oppression and taking away our rights were also fully supportive of the Patriot Act.

    http://haacked.com/images/TerroristsHateFreedom.gif [haacked.com]

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:16AM (#31598060)

    And remember if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to hide.

    That's a silly argument when governments try to use it to justify privacy invasions, and it's an equally silly argument to make against a government, some of whose members/staff will necessarily have access to information that should not be immediately available to the general public.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#31598086)
    1. Yup
    2. Wikileaks does not place itself above the law
    3. When?
  • by OdoylesRule (1765008) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#31598096)
    It's easy to decry from the position of luxury afforded by enjoyed freedoms. "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - Winston Churchill
  • by datapharmer (1099455) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:20AM (#31598110) Homepage
    I take personally your accusations about health care. As a young person I had to drop my health coverage because I can not afford it. I rarely go to the doctor; I have been once in the last 3 years so I could get an allergy medication that is now over the counter. Yet despite having good health My policy price kept going up and up and almost every month when I paid it I would get a notice that premiums were increasing and that they were no longer covering x, y, or z. The coverage continued to decline and the prices kept going up until I couldn't afford it anymore. Now I put what I can afford in a savings account in case I have a health problem, but unfortunately if I were to have a major accident right now I would go bankrupt form medical bills and if I end up with a chronic condition I will die from it as I cannot afford medicine or treatment. I am an independent contractor, so I don't get health care through my job, so even if I kept the plan and somehow managed to pay the premium I would likely be dropped if I actually got sick as it is a common practice to do so in the health care industry [latimes.com]. I'm glad your health care plan is so great - keep it. But I want coverage too, and if I don't get coverage from somewhere it will be your tax dollars paying for my emergency room visit, so what do you have to lose in this battle?

    Mods: My apologies for going a little off topic here - I already killed the karma bonus.
  • As always, in a "free" country, the question is who watches the watchers?
    Embarrassing vs Dangerous or both?
    Is the "reporter" out for glory or sees real criminal behavior or a political agenda?
    Who gets to decide? If they are arrested, a jury/judge gets to watch the watchers.
    The correct answer: all of the above.

  • by krou (1027572) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:22AM (#31598156)
    Which means they're idiots. Seriously. Wikileaks is likely to be under surveillance all the time. To come out and openly say, "We have classified material, and we'll show it to you in a couple weeks' time", what the hell did they expect would happen? It'd be like Daniel Ellsberg announcing at a press conference that he's got secret documents called the Pentagon papers, and that he'll release them in a week later.
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:23AM (#31598174)

    If you are decrypting or gaining access to decrypted classified video, what do they expect is going to happen? Even if the video shows things that the government doesn't want us to see, I'd be a little disturbed if they did nothing about the breach of security. It's like saying that if a guy knocks over a bank with my money in it, it's okay for him to have done it as long as he only took the money from the mobsters who use the bank. Determining that footage "shows bad things" is not a security determination, it's a political determination. I don't want security personnel making value judgments about the data that is entrusted to their care. If it is classified, they need to find out who the leak is and deal with it.

    To be honest, while I think its a good thing that cover-up data can come out, I worry a little that throwing raw data out there with interpretations like "murder-coverup" is just as political an act as covering it up, not to mention a little sensationalistic. I mean, if its airstrike footage, it's not like they brought the aircraft camera into the room to film the alleged conspirators rubbing their hands together and saying "terminate them!". It's a grainy black and white video of someone launching a missile or a laser-guided bomb and hitting something. Maybe there is some date/time or even location data in the video. What I don't expect we will see is "TERMINATED: Abdul Sayyid al-Derka HEADSHOT +50 points" pop up on the screen.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:24AM (#31598190)

    And remember if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to hide.

    So how many curtains do you have on your bedroom windows?

  • by toastar (573882) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:24AM (#31598194)

    There are national security laws for a reason. If Wikileaks is going to publish sensitive information that is genuinely covered by those laws — and while I haven't seen the details, if this really is military video footage it might well be — then of course the security services are going to take steps, the same way they would with anyone else. Why anyone using/working on Wikileaks thinks they are above the law, I have never understood.

    How can you not understand Freedom of the Press?
    The constitution is above any other law.

    Have you read the case surrounding the pentagon papers?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers [wikipedia.org]

    The only way this this sort of service treasonous, is if you consider the american public to be your enemy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:27AM (#31598232)

    Two words: infectious diseases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:27AM (#31598236)

    Nice to see slashdotters talking of this - but doing nothing of any value per se.

    Freedom is just another word here - as in censorship or for that matter illegal activities by the government. Everyone gets to talk and talk about China and censorship and torture.. and when things like wikileaks happen, you realize how useless we as a group are.

    Do something or shut up already people

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3 AT justconnected DOT net> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:32AM (#31598312)

    Of course. But is Wikileaks the entity that gets to decide what should and shouldn't be classified? How about posting the assumed names and covers of foreign agents? Missile launch codes?

    Most of us would argue that there's a lot of classified info that, for the common good, shouldn't be classified - like the non-court mass wiretappings. But if you think governments (really, people in government) can make mistakes, then you also think Wikileaks, or people in it, can also make mistakes.

    Unless you're going to argue that nothing should be classified, which is I suppose a valid argument - but you'll have a lot of resistance.

    Which is worse? Something not supposed to be classified NOT being leaked, or something SUPPOSED to be classified being leaked? I, and most people, would say the latter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:32AM (#31598318)

    I'm in the UK, I pay income tax. From this tax, some of it goes to paying for healthcare. All the money goes in to one big pot to help everyone. I have not need healthcare in years, do I care, no! I actually feel better about myself that my money is helping others.

    Your healthcare system is broken - it is highly inefficient and someone somewhere is profiting too much.

  • by uberjack (1311219) * on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:36AM (#31598362)
    That said, what is the point of announcing that you're about to reveal something seriously damning about the government, instead of just releasing? The outcome seems fairly obvious in this case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:37AM (#31598382)

    SHUT THE FUCK UP, MORON.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:37AM (#31598388)

    Social stability affects everyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:37AM (#31598396)
    I think the use of that phrase was intentional. The phrase is used by the govt when they take our privacy away. We should be able to use it to take the govt's privacy away.

    The phrase is actually bullsh*t, but if it is being used on us effectively, the same logic should apply to them.
  • by phayes (202222) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:38AM (#31598416) Homepage
    Video taken from the point of view of the designating laser (if it was ground based) can be back-tracked. Even if the video is from the launcher information on the designator used can be determined & be useful in many cases. The less al-queda knows, the better.
  • by Trails (629752) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:41AM (#31598470)

    I think the counter point is that we don't know we have a fundamental problem without people leaking things.

    Further, giving away genuine, non "CYA" national secrets that puts civilians/military personnel at risk would be a horrible blow to wikileaks. My point is that there is incentive here for wikileaks to expose only BS-type classified stuff.

    Remember, "Deep Throat" gave up classified docs to the press, he broke laws in order to protect lawfulness.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:43AM (#31598488)

    This proves he's a war criminal/fascist dictator!

  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:43AM (#31598504)

    Darn, and I was fond of the FDA and the 40 hour work week...

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:45AM (#31598552) Homepage

    Of course...everyone knows that things like Marijuana are extremely harmful to our society, and that it's a gateway drug, and that it has killed thousands of peop-

    Woop, sorry to cut this short. IT'S MILLER TIME!

    "Come on everybody! Let's be hypocritical bastards! It's ok to drink your drug!" -Bill Hicks

  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:46AM (#31598558) Journal

    If you've got some hot information that you know governments will try to suppress, why the heck would you give them a few weeks to do so? Just put the information out right away; then it's too late to be effectively suppressed.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:46AM (#31598564) Journal

    From my employer and my insurance provider.

    That's bullshit. Either your bullshit, or your employer/insurance company's bullshit.

    There is no way an insurance company has done the actuarial work necessary in just a couple days to determine how much your rate will go up, much less communicated that information to clients, which requires legal review, etc.

    And do you mean your actual premiums, or the portion that you pay? Because it wouldn't surprise me if some employers used this health care bill as an excuse to jack up the employee-paid portion, so that they pay less.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:48AM (#31598582)

    The essence of "Gestapo treatment" is intimidation by the State to maintain authority, whether it's a little or a lot.
    And no, TFS didn't say they experienced the "full" Gestapo treatment.

  • by Dishevel (1105119) * on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:50AM (#31598632)
    Now with current interpretation of the interstate commerce clause which states "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes" they think that means education funds, farm subsidies, healthcare, any power they will ever want they can have because of a Supreme Court that has it head fully engulfed by its ass. Whether you agree with healthcare or not. You have to know that the way in which the US federal government is coming by these powers is utter bullshit.
  • by Jeian (409916) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:54AM (#31598694)

    This may be true; however, I can state with almost certainty that Wikileaks does not have the authority or understanding to determine what is validly classified and what is not.

  • by Capt_Morgan (579387) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:58AM (#31598782)
    Again, did you miss the parts of the constitution where FREEDOM OF SPEECH and FREEDOM OF THE PRESS are mentioned?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:59AM (#31598804)
    Chrissakes, I'm not even a US citizen and I understand this. Freedom of speech is not guaranteed if other laws prevent it. For example, you can't just publish copyrighted content on your website and say freedom of speech allows you to have it there.
  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:59AM (#31598810)

    How about posting the assumed names and covers of foreign agents?

    That depends on who you ask.

    If you ask the US government if it would like to know the assumed names and covers of agents in the US, who work for North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia and China, I think they would really like to know. But on the other hand, if you ask the US government if they would like the assumed names and covers of their agents in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia and China, I think they'd say no.

  • No way! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LanMan04 (790429) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:00PM (#31598840)

    Which is worse? Something not supposed to be classified NOT being leaked, or something SUPPOSED to be classified being leaked? I, and most people, would say the latter.

    I disagree. That's like saying:

    "Which is worse? Someone NOT guilty of a crime being convicted, or someone guilty of a crime NOT being convicted? I, and most people, would say the latter."

    I would assume (not trying to build a strawman) that this would be your general line of thinking. I'd rather have the occasional "oops, we should have classified that" than "we're being safe and classifying everything (including stuff that's classified and shouldn't be).

    An occasional blunder to not classify something that should have been secret is less dangerous to a free society than having everything locked up (probably embarrassing things too). I have a friend who works for the DoD in an intelligence role. He once said, and I quote, "No one ever got fired for over-classifying information". That is a mindset we need to change.

  • Gestapo Treatment? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus (783565) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:01PM (#31598858)

    Ignoring the Godwin in the headline.

    What do you think would have happened to someone in 1938ish Germany who had similar film and accusations regarding the Spanish civil war?

    Would it have ended with monitoring?

    Fuck Wikileaks and their hyperbole.

    Fuck them right in the ear.

  • by JDmetro (1745882) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:07PM (#31598954)
    equally silly argument to make against a government, some of whose members/staff will necessarily have access to information that should not be immediately available to the general public.
    The government works for me, I don't work for them. They are accountable to me. Giving the government a free pass to break their own laws is not acceptable.
  • by DM9290 (797337) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:08PM (#31598956) Journal

    The government should regulate anything that one person's actions directly affect another person's rights. ie. FDA makes sure some company doesn't sell you shitty drugs. however, health insurance doesn't affect me if you don't have it.

    As a society we have every interest in regulating actions that also "indirectly" affect another person's rights. Many criminal statutes deal with indirect affect, including all of the so called "victimless crimes".

    And whether I get insurance does affect you. Since I virtually never visit the doctor, what you pay for insurance would actually decrease if I bought insurance.

    As someone who purchases insurance it is in your best interest that a large body of healthy people also buy insurance.

    If the only people who buy insurance are those who routinely get sick your insurance rates will go up.

    Also as a society we all benefit when you are covered by insurance so you can get to see the doctor when you feel sick and potentially stop an outbreak of an contagion. Whether that be a contagion of AIDS, hepatitis or tuberculosis or something else.

    Your health affects us all indirectly.

  • Think again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:08PM (#31598958)

    When national security laws are used to cover-up the immoral actions of high-level personnel, Wikileaks *IS* above the law

    The essence of principled civil disobedience is that you accept the consequences of your actions.

    You do not proclaim yourself to be above the law.

    If only because for the first - and quite possibly the last - time in your life, your words will be taken at face value.

    Where there is no respect for law, the dissident - the inconvenient - the unwelcome - the dangerous - simply disappear. What you have is government by the Mafia. The Ku Klux Klan. The Death Squad.
       

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:10PM (#31598996) Homepage Journal
    They do know bullshit when they see it.
  • by ae1294 (1547521) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:13PM (#31599060) Journal

    Maybe that's the point. They've been under serious surveillance for awhile now so maybe they wanted everyone else to know...

    There really should be some sorta law...

  • by L0rdJedi (65690) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:14PM (#31599072)

    Thus, your "no" was incorrect - certain groups *are* screaming that this new health care plan is 'oppression' and taking away from all of our rights.

    In a hilarious twist, most of the people who are saying that it's oppression and taking away our rights were also fully supportive of the Patriot Act.

    http://haacked.com/images/TerroristsHateFreedom.gif [haacked.com]

    So you mean Democrats and Republicans. I'm pretty sure the Patriot Act passed with overwhelming support of both parties.

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:30PM (#31599312)

    To come out and openly say, "We have classified material, and we'll show it to you in a couple weeks' time", what the hell did they expect would happen?

    Actually, it shows profound respect for the men and women doing the fighting, that they're willing to hold a very important story for awhile to minimize any theoretical impact to the boots on the ground. And letting everyone, including the brass, know whats coming, lets them start work early on the coverup/spin or maybe even genuinely change things to improve the situation.

  • by DM9290 (797337) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:31PM (#31599324) Journal

    There is certainly a potential problem with classifying things inappropriately, but my opposition to Wikileaks is based on three principles that are not affected by such problems:

    1. If Wikileaks is useful, we already have a fundamental problem of insufficient checks and balances in our government (see my sig).

    Did you just say you are opposed to Wikileaks because there is a fundamental problem of insufficient checks and balances in our government?
    Dude thats the whole reason Wikileaks exists.

    Supporting an organisation that actively tries to place itself above the law is not the solution to those problems. We should fix bad laws for the good of everyone, not merely try to circumvent them.

    That's a catch 22 situation. If we can't see what information is being suppressed we'll never know whether or not the justification for suppressing it is good or bad, and consequently whether the law is good or bad.

    Wikileaks in particular has exhibited a lack of good judgement about what is really in the public interest in the past, so they get little sympathy from me on any sort of civil disobedience/public interest whistleblower argument.

    The governments of the world have exhibited a lack of good judgement about what is really in the public interest in the past, so they get little sympathy from me on any sort of national security/just shut up and trust us argument.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:33PM (#31599352)

    Which is worse? Something not supposed to be classified NOT being leaked, or something SUPPOSED to be classified being leaked? I, and most people, would say the latter.

    That's frighteningly naive. If you create a system in which people can use the pretense of national security to commit heinous crimes, then they will as a matter of statistical certainty use it to commit heinous crimes. If it works, they will be emboldened to commit more numerous and more heinous crimes. If there is no internal regulatory mechanism to stop the cycle -- and generally, there is not, for "national security" reasons -- then you either helplessly watch as your country is imperiled by increasingly corrupt and inhuman national security agencies, or you thank your lucky stars that there are still some people inside the system with the courage and the moral character to leak evidence of wrongdoing to reporters and groups like WikiLeaks.

  • by unbug (1188963) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#31599372)

    But is Wikileaks the entity that gets to decide what should and shouldn't be classified?

    Which entity should decide this? Why would it be more qualified to do so than Wikileaks or anyone else?

    Which is worse? Something not supposed to be classified NOT being leaked, or something SUPPOSED to be classified being leaked? I, and most people, would say the latter.

    Well, tolerating the former leads directly to a system where people with the power to classify things are not accountable to anyone and where nobody knows what they do. Which, in turn, always leads to all sorts of utterly horrible things. The latter seems to happen quite often recently and what horrible things that have happened because of it? I don't know about most people but I quite definitely think the former is much much worse.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#31599378)

    Freedom of Speech is applicable to talking about the video, should you happen to see it, but not to it's release.

    As for Freedom of the Press, first of all, there are almost certainly National Security implications of the release of a recent military operation. That means that there is likely a judicial precedent for exception to Freedom of the Press on that account.

    However, even if there was not an exception for National Security, Wikileaks would only be protected as an entity if they merely published the video. That does not mean that they cannot be investigated to see if they actually obtained or conspired to obtain the video.

    If their personnel directly broke into an air base and stole the video, they could go to jail for whatever crime that is (theft, trespassing).

    If they provided means (resources, payment, etc.) to obtain the video with the leaker ahead of time, as opposed to merely receiving it, they would be liable for conspiracy to commit one of the broken laws. Freedom of the Press does not allow reporters to become investigators immune from the law. They may print anything but libel, but they can't break other laws to get the material.

    Make no mistake, the leaker of this video is likely eligible to go to jail. The question is whether Wikileaks is a party to the actual leak or just the publisher. I really have no patience for Wikileaks if they expected to publish this and not be investigated. If they are going to be in this business, they need to understand the implications. They may be in the right, but the US Government cannot assume that is the case with classified material.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:39PM (#31599454) Homepage
    If you are going to feel embarrassed when someone exposes things that you have done, the solution is quite simple: don't do bad things.

    It is not just the USA - look at how Israel has been caught forging British passports so that it could a Hamas leader [bbc.co.uk]. Governments do dirty deeds and then pretend that they did not. The world would be a better place if governments where run by honest, decent people - from top to bottom.

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:41PM (#31599472)

    Video taken from the point of view of the designating laser (if it was ground based) can be back-tracked. Even if the video is from the launcher information on the designator used can be determined & be useful in many cases. The less al-queda knows, the better.

    Which is why they wait a couple weeks before publicizing. They have either very specific or general knowledge that our guys on the ground will have rotated out of that area by the time the publicize the video. Its entirely possible the guy that leaked the video wanted to watch CNN the day its released on his day off so provided them with a demand, which they are honoring.

    If, in an alternate history, you shot an AA gun precisely straight upward from Ploesti Romania in early August of 1943, you could have theoretically hit the plane my grandfather was flying, although in our timeline he was OK. That's top secret knowledge, say, in July of 43. Kind of secret that day back in 43. A couple weeks later, its in the newspapers. In 2010, its just a wikipedia page.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:56PM (#31599726)

    Neither do the people doing the classifying. Since nobody seems to be making good decisions about what to keep secret, we're in sort of a bind. Wikileaks' attitude -- that anything that ruffles the conscience enough for someone with a clearance to leak it ought to be public -- is as good of a leading-order approximation as any.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:57PM (#31599740) Journal

    >>>The government should regulate anything that one person's actions directly affect another person's rights.
    >>>

    +1 insightful.

    In fact the founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson, said more-or-less the same thing: "No man has a right to harm another, and that's all the government should restrain him." By giving yourself a government-provided car, or home, or whatever, you HARM my rights. You've stolen my labor (money) as surely as a manor lord stole the labor of his serfs.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @01:05PM (#31599842)

    It is actually "promote the general Welfare."

    If what the American people truly want is a federal government with no effective limits on its power, then accepting such a broad interpretation of what is structurally a statement of purpose is a good thing. You can use that line to do basically anything you want, so long as you say it is for the good of the people.

    I'm fairly certain that wasn't the intention of the framers, because they bothered to write the rest of the Constitution after it, but I'm one of those lunatics who thinks a large, powerful government with no effective limits is dangerous. Once the nanny-staters take over, my type will be educated out in early childhood, so you can safely ignore my ramblings.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @01:08PM (#31599914)

    So you're claiming that private health insurance only excludes those with pre-existing conditions because of government interference?

    It looks like you've fallen for someone's line of BS hook, line and sinker.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @02:10PM (#31600902)

    National security laws exist for a reason, but they are often enforced for entirely different reasons.

    Based on the description, there is absolutely nothing here that qualifies for protection. If the military made a mistake and killed innocent people, this news will come out instead. If it was intentional, the only proper course is to expose it.

    The only reason "national security" would qualify as an excuse is the fear of backlash or "blowback", either from the citizens or from a foreign country, depending on who was murdered. I don't think whatever this is can top the extraordinary rendition news, or Abu Ghraib, or waterboarding, or detainee "suicides", or anything else that has come out so far. It will add a small amount of fuel to an already huge flaming hatred, at most.

    If they do reveal specifics like troop movements or secret agent names, they will be attacked in any way possible, including labeling them enemy combatants and dropping a bomb on them. So I doubt they are going to that level. I don't know what documents WikiLeaks has chosen NOT to show, but the ones they have shown were necessary for the public (or parts of the public) to know and do not put national security at risk.

    I see no reason to expect that they are going to announce something that will get them high on America's target list in advance of releasing it. I also see no reason for anyone to be surprised that the CIA wants to know what this is before anyone else sees it. That's their job, and unless they can infiltrate WL or hack some servers real quick like, the only way is the classical way - follow people, take pictures, and ask questions. Citizens may be held without charges for a limited time, and I don't see this being violated anywhere.

    In other words, it's all going as one would expect. I want to know what it is now, where before I didn't know that I wanted to know what something was. So thanks, editor, for going through 22 hours of persecution as a publicity stunt, if it helps the cause.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @02:19PM (#31601036)
    And Twitter is excellent for high-speed dissemination of information, no matter what the source.
  • by Stellian (673475) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @02:42PM (#31601440)

    There are basically two types of interesting classified information that Wikileaks can leak:
      1. Classified information that should really remain classified for everyone's safety
      2. Classified information information that's actually just cover-up for government's abuses

    If they leak the first type, I expect the government to act quickly and change those atomic launch codes - if an unprofessional spy organisation like Wikileaks can find them, you can be quite sure North Korea has them for a while. I also expect the persons responsible for keeping such info secret be fired/jailed/shot, and I expect democracy to act in that direction.
    If they leak the second type, I also expect democracy to act and the abuses curbed.
    In both cases, Wikileaks has a valid reason to exist, and the mere fact they are breaking the law to do so it's not unethical - they exist precisely to point out flaws in the law or they way it's enforced.
    The primary sources for the leaks will also exercise some form of personal judgement and are much likely to release type 2 info - the percentage of people with anti-social disorders is low.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @02:47PM (#31601526)
    "The entire equipment load-out for Iraq and Afghanistan?"

    I did not realize that a list of what sort of equipment was purchased constitutes a threat to national security. They did not post troop movements, they just posted a list of what our tax dollars are being spent on -- whose life does this endanger?

    "The security procedures at GITMO?"

    What about them? If these procedures are so weak that they must be kept secret to remain effective, there is a problem with the procedures.

    "There's nothing just about releasing that sort of information."

    The American people deserve to know what their tax dollars are being spent on. Again, we are not talking about troop movements or battle plans, or the positions of nuclear submarines. The information itself could have been collected by a determined, organized, and well funded adversary anyway.

    "It is not much of a jump from there to consider releasing upcoming convoy routes so that insurgents can emplace IEDs against them."

    Yes, it is a huge jump, since that actually places lives at risk, unlike the examples you listed.

    "I do not trust WikiLeaks to say "this awesome classified information is harmful to people's lives, so we won't release it.""

    Would you prefer if the people who actually perform the leaks were to post the information on Usenet? Or perhaps a torrent website? The fact that you feel Wikileaks should be responsible for determining what information needs to remain classified is interesting; I would have thought that the people with access to the information in the first place would be the ones responsible for making such a determination.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @03:06PM (#31601808)
    Considering that the same people who just passed this healthcare boondoggle, also, recently extended the Patriot Act, that really doesn't say anything.
  • by GasparGMSwordsman (753396) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @03:14PM (#31601948)

    Why anyone using/working on Wikileaks thinks they are above the law, I have never understood.

    When national security laws are used to cover-up the immoral actions of high-level personnel, Wikileaks *IS* above the law.

    I would argue that within the terms you have listed they are not "above the law" but ARE acting within the law. Whats more, they are in those cases, acting in a way specifically protected and sanctioned by that same law.

  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @04:17PM (#31602896) Journal

    If you've got some hot information that you know governments will try to suppress, why the heck would you give them a few weeks to do so?

    Well, a few reasons come to mind:

    1. The information may be dangerously time-sensitive to those who provided it. For example, if it is an image of a building, that means that troops may be in the area. If you give it a few weeks, the troops will be gone and it may be safe to show the footage.
    2. While I love my blogs and such, the Mainstream Media is really the way to get information out. But they need some time to get everything together. Giving them some notice means a better chance that reporters will be allocated.
    3. Something like this will generate a lot of publicity for WikiLeaks which survives on donations. Assuming it's true, it's worthwhile to organize how you're going to present the information to generate the most publicity possible for your organization.

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