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WikiLeaks 'a Clear and Present Danger,' Says WaPo 837

Posted by Soulskill
from the rhetoric-reaching-critical-levels dept.
bedmison writes "In an op-ed in the Washington Post titled 'WikiLeaks must be stopped,' Marc A. Thiessen writes that 'WikiLeaks represents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,' and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so. Thiessen also suggests that the new USCYBERCOM be unleashed to destroy WikiLeaks as an internet presence." Reader praps tips an interview with another WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt, who says they have no regrets about releasing the Afghanistan documents, and says WikiLeaks is "changing the game." Several other readers have pointed out that WikiLeaks posted a mysterious, encrypted "insurance" file on Thursday, which sent the media into a speculative frenzy over what it could possibly contain.
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WikiLeaks 'a Clear and Present Danger,' Says WaPo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:33PM (#33115230)

    So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

  • I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:33PM (#33115234) Homepage

    I love that an organization is a danger because it reveals coverups and secrets to ordinary citizens.

    "But Pojut, our enemies will use this information against us!"

    Well then maybe we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Doy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:35PM (#33115262)

    'The US Government is a Clear and Present Danger' says US Citizens

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:37PM (#33115284)

    ....and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so.

    Sounds to me more like the United States is the clear and present danger. Particularly when they claim an authority and yet admit a conflict with international law.

  • Re:too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:39PM (#33115316) Homepage

    I think it's safe to say that they're more concerned about what Wikileaks will publish in the future. This isn't about putting the cat back into the bag, but about prior restraint of future publication.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:39PM (#33115330) Journal
    The danger is not revealing cover-ups. The danger is some of the ancillary information also revealed.

    I feel that wikileaks is a Good Thing; but I also acknowledge that there are some things that serve no purpose being released, and that put individuals in danger for no benefit.

    Responsible disclosure may be too much to ask for -- but I wish that dangerous information was redacted, unless there was some clear benefit to that information becoming public.

    I guess that would run counter to what wikileaks is all about... and it's a shame, because without responsible disclosure, wikileaks will, in effect, be shut down by the PTB.
  • by SmurfButcher Bob (313810) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:40PM (#33115334) Journal

    Actually, anything that exposes what the WaPost has missed or completely mischaracterized is a clear and present danger...

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:41PM (#33115356) Homepage

    ...but Marc Thiessen is downright scary. Secret indictments. Grabbing foreign citizens in other countries against local laws and extradition treaties. Are you kidding, Marc? Want to bring back the Alien and Sedition Acts while you're at it?

    I'm not sure that a regime where stuff like this happens is really worth protecting in the name of "national security".

  • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <<tim.almond> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:41PM (#33115360) Homepage
    ... to the mainstream media who are more interested in printing out press releases than going out and finding news.
  • Re:srsly govt? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:41PM (#33115362)

    haven't you seen star wars? if you strike him down, he will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

    Dude, Julian Assange is not a Jedi. He won't come back as a ghost after death to advise Luke. If you strike him down, he'll be dead.

    And, sure, martyrs can have a power to move opinion that living people lack, but I'm not convinced this is one of those situations.

  • by eepok (545733) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:42PM (#33115386) Homepage

    The clear and present danger doesn't come from *talking* about the actions of the American government, but from the actions themselves.

    Newspapers didn't aid the Northern Vietnamese when they published the Pentagon Papers, but instead the Government and Military hurt the America with their secretive and malicious actions in Southeast Asia.

    Just the same, releasing more information about the military actions in Afghanistan (especially after taking all possible precautions to prevent harm before release) does not cause injury to the US. It's the actions the US is ashamed to talk about that cause the harm.

  • Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:42PM (#33115388) Homepage

    "and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so"

    Interesting interpretation of "international law" and America's opinion of it. No wonder the world hates the US.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:43PM (#33115402)

    One of the major complaints by the gov't was that some of the Afghan informers that were named will now be Taliban targets. Seems an easy way to flush out more Talibs...just set up surveillance on the informers, and wait for the rats to find their way to the cheese...

    And yet (without taking a position for/against this leak in specific or WikiLeaks in general), if I'm an Afghan considering becoming an informer, that's sure going to make me think twice about it, especially if I have a family.

    Trapping rats is great and all, until someone makes you the cheese without your consent.

  • I Do Not Love It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:44PM (#33115414) Journal

    Well then maybe we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Doy.

    As long as bad people exist, you will always need to keep certain information secured. Whether you're a government or a citizen. How would you respond if Wikileaks put up your credit card information, bank account numbers, social security number and all your known residences and acquaintances?

    I'm not implying that our current scenario is as cut and dried as World War II but how would you react if Wikileaks had been broadcasting over a magical radio station that blanketed the Earth the location of allied forces in 1942? Would you so callously respond that "maybe the Allies shouldn't be doing that in the first place?"

    Yes, as an American, I am concerned about the people fighting for my country abroad. I'm not concerned one bit about the politicians and generals, it's the grunts and people out in the field that could suffer from this. And most of all the people helping those forces by giving them intelligence. War is not a cover-up. It has necessary secrets. It has since Roman times and it will continue to as long as humans exist. You know the names and locations of people informing American forces about where the Taliban are needs to be classified. At this point it's not even using this information against me sitting at home in comfort but about the people in Afghanistan and their safety.

  • Re:too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk.gmail@com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:44PM (#33115422)

    Hence the insurance file. Presumably that encrypted file would contain information that the government would want to remain secret more than they would want wikileaks in general silenced.

  • And in other news, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:47PM (#33115484) Homepage

    And in other news, Joseph Goebbels has written a scathing denunciation of the Jews, and the threat they pose to German society.

    Don't blame the Post (entirely) for this opinion piece; they merely published it. It was written by one of Bush and Rummy's chief apologists, an alarmist advocate of martial law.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:48PM (#33115498)

    I also acknowledge that there are some things that serve no purpose being released, and that put individuals in danger for no benefit.

    Humorously, if an American soldier dies for nothing, maybe for oil, or maybe just to profit the military industrial complex, they describe it as "he died to save our freedoms" and other assorted BS.

    On the other hand, if an American soldier dies because of our actual freedoms, such as freedom of speech, well, thats a clear and present danger, etc, etc, bs bs bs.

  • by bieber (998013) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:55PM (#33115602)
    Eh, my guess is that if it really is an "insurance" file, then someone involved in whatever department the files pertain to has already received the key, decrypted it, and knows exactly what it is. After all, if you really want to blackmail someone, you don't benefit from keeping the information secret from the person you're trying to blackmail. "I have 1.4GB of very sensitive information but I won't tell you what it is" isn't going to be particularly persuasive when you're trying to stop someone from coming after you. On the other hand, "I have 1.4GB of very sensitive information, it's already on thousands or millions of people's computers, and here's the key so you can see what it really is" carries an awful lot of weight if it's really something you don't want people to see. And the beauty of posting it in encrypted form is that if whoever holds this particular insurance policy decides to call it into effect, the US government has to prevent not the dissemination of a 1.4GB file (which would be nigh-well impossible anyways) but a 256 bit key, and we've all seen how well trying to stop people from sharing a single hexadecimal string worked out for the HD-DVD folks ;) Of course, there's also the danger that the public could get together and crack your key with distributed computing, and then you lose your leverage...
  • by radish (98371) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:55PM (#33115604) Homepage

    And what force does a law have behind it? The idea that it exists by itself, independently of the power granted it by the consent of its citizens, is beyond laughable. No person is going to submit to a law if it perceives that submission as contrary to its interests.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:55PM (#33115608)

    Horse shit. Their ink, their paper, their website, their responsibility.

    It's all well and good to play both sides of the political theater, but ultimately anything they choose to print is endorsed by the entire organization, two line legal blurb or no.

  • by AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) <afaciniNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:57PM (#33115648)

    So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

    Keep in mind that this is an Op-Ed... NOT to be confused with a staff editorial.

    Mr. Thiessen's writing doesn't represent the WaPo directly. Only in their decision to run the article are they involved.

    In other words, don't think the WaPo is defending their bottom line, attacking accountability, etc. They have a pretty solid reputation for fighting for transparency.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 02, 2010 @03:59PM (#33115674)

    Isn't the death rate already well over 100% due to them killing suspected informers whom aren't informers?

    You're looking at the math from the wrong end.

    If I'm a potential informant, one of my probable goals is not to reduce the death rates of informants overall; it is to reduce the death rates of specifically me.

    Regardless of how often the Taliban murders false positives, if my name has a good chance of being leaked to the world if I inform, my risk goes up a lot if I inform.

  • by jewishbaconzombies (1861376) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:03PM (#33115750)

    So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

    No just the writer - who has also wrote hack-pieces supporting the birthers and other wingnuts, but that's not surprising for a Bush speechwriter.

    But hey - give him credibility here on Slashdot - it makes for good click-thru and ROI.

    Think he'd hold FOX accountable for all the shootings attributable to them lately? - No of course he won't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:04PM (#33115752)

    According to The Register, there is a huge encrypted file [theregister.co.uk] up on wikileaks now, called 'insurance.' The US goes after wikileaks or Julian Assange, the key to that file goes out to the world. And according to Assange, everything dangerous was redacted out of the Afghanistan documents. Cryptome's John Young speculates that the 'insurance' file contains all the redacted bits.

    Ah, like the redacted bits involving the names of informants and other such things that, if they got out, would cause irreparable harm without doing a single bit of good? Meaning, if at some point Assange doesn't get his way, he threatens to blackmail the war efforts? I mean, the data Wikileaks already gave shows current military failures and could be construed as dangerous to a wide, faceless entity and effort, but as an act of vengeance, he's willing to knowingly and directly put named individuals in mortal danger and ruin trust built up by putting up data which had a very fair assumption that it would be kept secret?

    So what you're saying is Assange isn't some hero. He's not some revolutionary or the new messiah or something. He's not even a troll, aiming to get a rise out of the government. He's an immature, blackmailing asshole who's willing to send people to death to prove whatever point he's trying to make.

    I'm impressed. We found someone worse than Zuckerberg. At least Zucky doesn't hold peoples' lives at stake for teh lulz. Thanks. You've showed me what sort of a brat this guy really is.

  • by Dr. Hellno (1159307) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:04PM (#33115760)
    For those of you who've forgotten this fellow, he's a former Bush speechwriter and author of the terribly misleading "Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack".

    The New Yorker did a piece [newyorker.com] on that book, investigating some of the claims made within and revealing many to be clearly false. Basically the book was a defense of "enhanced interrogation". One claim that I recall off the top of my head is that information obtained by the CIA through enhanced interrogation was instrumental in preventing a conspiracy to hijack several planes flying from London in 2006. Yet according to the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit, all the intelligence involved was gathered in the uk. Thiessen's version of events is flatly contradicted.

    This guy has been one of the primary fonts of misinformation and foolishness in the media since then. He has no credibility, and should be regarded only as a bellwether of neoconservative opinion.
  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:08PM (#33115804)

    WikiLeaks is in its essence just a Wiki site. A web site. It's clear that publishing text is in no way unique to that site, you can do it on any site. Hopefully the government isn't saying that free communication is the real threat to national security.

    WikiLeaks didn't commit any of the acts in the leaked documents, it wasn't their job or responsibility for keeping those documents secret, and they didn't leak the documents from their origin: some unknown source did on their own will, and sent them to WikiLeaks.

    All WikiLeaks did was take those documents, make a cursory check of authenticity, and publish them.

    Of course, by doing so, they become an easy target for people who are willing to turn heads away from the actual problems that lead to projects like WikiLeaks, and instead blame the messenger.

    The real problem (for certain people) is that WikiLeaks is now a vivid symbol nurturing an environment where people may not simply do something because it was ordered from above, and especially if it's in conflict with basic human rights and morals.

    But by loudly blaming WikiLeaks for the created situation, they only serve to further strengthen the very symbol they want to destroy. Somewhat ironic. As long as WikiLeaks is on everyone's target, and not their anonymous sources, more and more whistle-blowers will choose to trust them with their data.

  • by pretygrrl (465212) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:09PM (#33115838) Journal
    Lets assume something completely crazy for a moment: that there really is information that ought to be kept secret. for example, launch codes for nukes. let's continue with the mental exercise so far as to say other facts may similarly be in the legitimate national interest to conceal. I'll even give you that in some rare cases, THE TRUTH may be so shocking / valuable / topical / money making that that PUBLIC INTEREST demands disclosure. so, bobby, wtf is the one new thing you learnt from this leak? seriously? whats the one new piece of public interest type of info that you got from this? I sure as hell havent seen anything new. and why on earth couldnt someone have just REDACTED THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES of the informers?
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:09PM (#33115840)
    In all fairness, they do *some* investigative reporting...on celebrities and celebrity gossip.
  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:12PM (#33115874)

    I know they tried to completely purge names,

    The problem is, names are frequently not needed to identify an intelligence source. Made even worse, his arrogance is not enough to know what does and does not compromise a source.

    Without a doubt, at an absolute minimum, some innocent person and/or family is going to pay for his arrogance, with torture and their life.

  • by wytcld (179112) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:15PM (#33115920) Homepage

    The documents contain identities of Afghans who are providing information to us about the Taliban. The Taliban have issued a press release promising to extract the names from the documents and kill our sources.

    There can be no question that WikiLeaks has done evil here - and not against American or NATO forces, but against Afghan civilians who merely wish to remain free of Taliban dictatorship.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:16PM (#33115936) Homepage

    What's a few Afghan families if wikileaks can make the U.S. look bad?

    You've got the wrong end of the flag waving. The whole point of the leaks is the US Military's true attitude: What's a few Afghan families?

    "They had a weapon" or "They may have been terrorists" is some pretty sad territory to wander into as justification for killing people. But I guess if the US government was in your neighborhood accidentally killing people for having a wedding party, or for having a gun, you'd have no problem with it, right?

  • by paxundae (1031998) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:24PM (#33116078)
    We are rapidly approaching the point at which the phrase "It has necessary secrets" can describe only failures. It is nearly impossible, and getting harder every day, to keep information under wraps. I'm tempted to simply say "Information wants to be free" and go with it, but the truth really is that modern technology makes information dissemination on huge scales so simple that we're just about to the point where any system that isn't 100% secure is never going to be able to prevent the entire world from knowing all its secrets. Shockingly, our military (and every other system constructed by humans) is not 100% secure.
    .

    Point is, the information compartmentalization crowd has already lost this one, they just haven't all admitted it yet. Future military planning needs to assume that the enemy will always know where we are and what we're doing. Success will depend on overwhelming force and perfect planning, not surprise. And yes, this probably does mean that low to medium level occupations, like we have in Iraq and Afghanistan, are doomed to failure.

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:25PM (#33116090) Homepage

    The fact that the US thinks it is legal under US law is not really the point, is it? What counts is jurisdiction. And if Marc proposes that the FBI grab foreign nationals in countries like Iceland, Sweden, etc., where it is against local law, then that is a problem with jurisdiction.

    If Swedish police caught the FBI grabbing an Australian citizen on Swedish soil, I assume that is a crime, regardless of what the U.S thinks about. How could it not be?

    Would the U.S. be happy if the Chinese starting grabbing Tibetan dissidents in the US, arguing that this is (hypothetically) allowed under Chinese law?

  • Blood on his hands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbauman (624611) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:25PM (#33116096) Homepage Journal

    Let's keep it straight just who has blood on their hands.

    Doctors Without Borders was in Afghanistan for 30 years, running rural health clinics and supporting and teaching Afghani doctors and nurses. They treated everyone without regard to who they were affiliated with or which side they were on. Their medical clinics were one of the few neutral areas in Afghanistan, respected by everyone, where guns were not permitted.

    After the U.S. invasion, Colin Powell moved in a lot of U.S. medical charity workers, and referred to medical workers as "force extenders." The U.S. passed out fliers telling villagers that if they joined the American side and turned in the Taliban, they would get all kinds of benefits, including medical services.

    That politicized medical services in Afghanistan. Doctors Without Borders was no longer safe, and had to leave the country. I read an account in which a German obstetrician was crying and refused to leave her patients -- Afghanistan has one of the highest infant and maternal death rates in the world -- and her supervisor had to order her to leave. It was too dangerous.

    The other problems like checkpoints manned by soldiers who didn't speak the local language, and killed civilian families who didin't understand their orders, is too much to get into here.

    The Bush Administration has blood on its hands. Thiessen was George W. Bush's speechwriter. Thiessen has blood on his hands.

    Thiessen is arguing that we should ignore international law. He's using the logic of terrorists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:28PM (#33116140)

    Except we as Americans have tried very hard to get this war to stop. Yet even voting in people who claim they are going to end it does no good. So if pulling the tarp off the whole damn thing after 9 years is all we have left, so be it.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:29PM (#33116162)

    "The reporters who disclosed those Iraq prison photos literally have the death and murder of a minimum of hundreds of people on their hands."

    What The Fuck?

    The people who were torturing and raping people have the responsibility.
    Not the reporters who let everyone know about it.

    If a reporter lets the public know about something horrific your country is doing they are not responsible for the backlash.
    Whoever was doing something horrific and whoever else knew about it and let it continue because they, like you, just want to let it slide quietly has that blood on their hands.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:30PM (#33116184) Journal

    As long as bad people exist, you will always need to keep certain information secured

    As long as bad people exist, you will always need to know what your government is doing in your name. Any solution to any problem which amounts to "trust the government to do the right thing" is wrong.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:31PM (#33116190) Journal
    Wikileaks only posts leaks. The leaks have already happened. Someone, somewhere in the organisation has decided that it's worth risking their job and their liberty over to get this information out, and since they have access to classified information, they must realise that by providing it to wikileaks, everyone will have access to it.

    So what would happen if wikileaks didn't exist? Would the leakers simply not leak, or would they leak to the media? Or to the countries that the US is at war with? Do they leak because they get a thrill of being the whistleblower, oblivious to the dangers? I think it's much more important to understand the motives than to try to close down a website.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:37PM (#33116286)

    But only CORRECTLY classified works. 99% of the classified works are incorrectly marked classified to hide malfeasance or just plain incompetency.

    See, for example, ACTA.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:39PM (#33116306)

    "In the territory of the Third Reich, we should presume he would have similarly exposed Jews, without concerning himself with their fate. If not, perhaps Jewish lives are more sacred to him than Afghan lives?"

    Ever heard the term "straw man"?

    He's generally anti authoritarian so he'd more likely be leaking the locations of nazi generals who went into hiding and V2 plans.

    Believe it or not wikileaks did make an effort to redact sensitive information.
    To propose a similar strawman, if wikileaks doesn't care about afghans who could be killed by the taliban does that mean you don't care about afghans have been killed by US army fuckups?
    Would the world be a better place if the military knew it could get away with slaughtering civilians without getting caught?

  • by Americano (920576) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:39PM (#33116308)

    To turn the oft repeated slogan on its head; "If you got nothing to hide, you should not fear Wikileaks".

    And that oft-repeated slogan is also oft-derided here on Slashdot as a ridiculous notion that flies in the face of the very concept of privacy, and the fact that some things really should remain private.

    I am sick of hearing "political analysts" and politicians saying Wikileaks is endangering American soldiers because they expose atrocities committed by American soldiers, and as the flawed logic goes, emboldens the enemy.

    How about the Taliban saying they're going to target Afghan people named in the documents as providing intelligence to US forces? Are you okay with those people being killed? Are you okay with the chilling effect this will undoubtedly have on people's willingness to cooperate and provide intelligence to the military, when intelligence is one of the critical components to ending an insurgency? Let's be honest, the Taliban pretty much knows where the Americans are - they're the guys in the Hummvees. I don't think these documents are going to have much of an effect on the Taliban forces knowing "the locations of American soldiers." I think it's going to have a HUGE effect on the willignness of Afghan civilians to work with the military, which means: more people dead - Afghan & American.

    I'm sick of hearing about how the American military is "committing atrocities" as if that's the only thing that's happening over there from mindless, knee-jerk "america is always evil" fuckwits who think that exposing sensitive documents with the equivalent of a MS Word "find and replace" command on a few "arabic-sounding names" constitutes "reasonable efforts at harm prevention." I'm also sick of hearing about Julian Assange's smug, twattish response that the military is to blame for putting those names in classified fucking documents, so it's not his fault that the names got leaked.

    If there is evidence in those documents that "atrocities" have been committed, they absolutely should hold the military accountable. That doesn't justify the widespread dissemination of those documents to anybody who wants to take a look without a serious, legitimate attempt at vetting the documents to minimize harm to innocent people named in the reports by people who actually understand what the fuck they're reading.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:43PM (#33116352) Homepage

    How would you respond if Wikileaks put up your credit card information, bank account numbers, social security number and all your known residences and acquaintances?

    Yeah, but that's not what they're doing, is it? Wikileaks isn't actually doing anything that our journalists wouldn't be doing, if they had the integrity to do their damned jobs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:44PM (#33116370)

    Or more to the point, one wonders what Mr. Thiessen would think of *other* countries doing this. Like if, for instance, they filed a secret indictment against Shrub and his buddies then "extradited" (OK, kidnapped) them to stand trial in the Hague.

    Well, one doesn't really wonder. RW idiots like Thiessen always think that the rules apply to everyone except for those Chosen By GAWD to defend the world against the evil liberals.

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:49PM (#33116460)

    ...for repeating the "nothing new here" line.

    Then there's known facts vs what the media bothers to report vs what's common knowledge.

    Examples:

    • Britain & the U.S. overthrew Iran's peaceful, secular government in 1953
    • Israel has 200+ nuclear weapons, yet everyone freaks the fuck out of over the possibility that Iran might get a nuclear weapon...
    • ...and that Iran hasn't attacked on of it's neighbors in 200 years, compared to Israel's multiple assaults on the Palestinians and surrounding countries
    • That the media was so busy making up total bullshit on Al Gore in 2000 (inventing the Inernet, Love Story, Love Canal, etc etc) that it completely ignored the fact that Bush took credit for passing patient's rights legislation that he actually vetoed as governor of Texas
    • Al Gore won Florida, as subsequent state-wise recounts proved

    None of this things would be "new" news, but it would be news if the media started talking about them.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:49PM (#33116470) Journal

    No ifs, ands, or buts, this douche-bag has the blood of innocent people on his hands - and needlessly so. The people who leaked the information are traitors and should be treated as such. I honestly don't understand the mass ignorance of those willing to protect a negligent murderer; which is exactly what he is now.

    Exactly who are the innocent people that have died as a result of this leak?

    Precisely how did the people that leaked the information kill them?

    What makes someone a traitor for demonstrating how their country fails to obey its own laws and fails to provide the freedoms its citizens expects?

    Surely the murderers and traitors are the people killing innocent civilians, as documented and evidenced in the material being published? Or would you rather keep all that quiet, and let them get on with it?

    These days we have countless lives lost and protracted military involvement because of irresponsible disclosure and reporting.

    Oh. I see. Yes, you would rather hush up the misbehaviour of your own troops instead of admitting they're a bunch of racist predatory sadists that shouldn't have been allowed into the military in the first place, let alone put in positions of power over helpless people.

    Responsible disclosure is absolutely not too much to ask for.

    I think that reporting war crimes is the only responsible thing to do. If you don't like that, perhaps you should encourage the military not to commit them in the first place.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:51PM (#33116502) Homepage Journal

    The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger

    The Washington Post can't go out of business fast enough for me.

    They've been the house organ of the ruling elite in this country, dishing out their contemporary wisdom, celebrating our glorious wars, supporting Israel above any US interest, regardless of morality. They've been so thoroughly worked over by K-Street and the Right-Wing Media that they constantly overcompensate by spreading any right-wing crap that comes down the pike and denying any reality if it even hints of something that the far right doesn't like.

    It's been more than 30 years since Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. They've gone along meekly with the agenda of the rich and powerful to the point where they've trivialized their mission and completely lost their way. Howard Kurtz is an abomination, trying to load his op-ed section with the most odious opinions from neo-conservatives. They're a joke.

    Instead of "comfort the afflicted" they should change their mission statement to "comfort the comfortable".

    The people who love wars hate it when unflattering truths about their glorious wars comes to the attention of people. All of a sudden, people who are thrilled by predator attacks and civilian deaths are outraged, outraged, I tell you that Afghanis might be at risk for collaborating with American forces. What a load. I don't believe for one second these war mongers give a rat's ass about what's going to happen to Afghani civilians who might be named in the Wikileaks papers.

    The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. George Bush took us there to get rid of Al Qaeda and that mission was accomplished some years ago. Now we're fighting a war with the Taliban. We're no more going to get rid of the Taliban than we're gonna invade Georgia to get rid of rednecks. We'd have to kill every last human in Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban. So we support a corrupt government that the people of Afghanistan absolutely hate. What could possibly go wrong?

    People who are all about "sunlight is the best disinfectant" believe we should be fighting wars in the dark. God forbid Americans should find out what we're actually paying for and what we're sending young people to die for.

    Keep the Wikileaks coming, I say.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:55PM (#33116552)

    Not revealing secrets can be even more dangerous.

    If someone throws you in prison and rapes or tortures you daily would you prefer that the world never found out about it?
    that it was never stopped?
    If a family member of yours was shot because some idiot thought his camera was a gun would you prefer they kept it secret? .....oh! you mean it's ok as long as it's someone else on the other side who's getting raped,tortured or killed?

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:58PM (#33116606)

    You know what would also have prevented the backlash?
    not raping people.

    but no.

    It's not the good little soldiers faults!Not our boys in uniform!
    oh no!
    It's them nasty reporters who weren't good little patriots and didn't keep quiet.

  • Re:too late (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:58PM (#33116608) Journal

    You may as well say 'they could put the pyromaniac in prison, but that wouldn't prevent someone else from coming along and setting a fire.' Or 'we could plug the leak in the boat, but that wouldn't prevent another leak from occurring sometime later.'

  • Re:I love it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Monday August 02, 2010 @04:59PM (#33116636) Journal

    No, merely requesting evidence. Shit, I'm still waiting to see the WMD that were promised back in 2003, forgive me if I don't believe offhand any old crap right wing Americans tell me.

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameMaster (148118) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:05PM (#33116708)

    Time and time again, over the course of many decades, the US military has show that it is completely willing to miss-classify information as "secret" if there is even a slight chance that it will be embracing to them, either individually or as an organization. Specifically, from the Vietnam war on to today, they have made it very clear, publicly, that they actively try to manipulate what information gets out for no other reason than to manipulate public opinion about their operations.

    The US is a representative democracy. It's one of the things we are most proud of and most defines us as a country. We don't get to micromanage what our elected officials/military do, but we do get to exert control over them every few years at election time. You can not have a functioning democracy if the government, actively, works to hide the truth from the voters. The entire concept of "controlling public opinion" should be considered a form of treason. If public opinion of a war or administration is only positive because the voters don't really know whats going on then what you have is a de-facto dictatorship/oligarchy.

    Wikileaks is a small group of people dealing with lots and lots of data. It's not surprising that they screwed up and released papers with personal info in them. The main point here, though, is that if the US military limited their "secret" information to only what was directly, operationally, vital and released all "secret" info in a timely manner when it didn't, absolutely, need to be confidential any more then there wouldn't be a need for Wikileaks. Like the release of the Pentagon papers before this, groups like Wikileaks have to exist, regardless of any collateral damage from mistakes, until such time as the people hiding the information start treating "state secrets" in a responsible manner.

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:08PM (#33116740)
    There is basically nothing, aside from publicity, preventing him from being black-bagged by some three-letter-agency and never heard from again.

    Aside from a pissed-off US government, I'd also worry about someone acting outside the realm of government direction (pissed-off Taliban sympathizers, etc.) deciding they want to find out what intel Assange is sitting on and just grabbing him off the street without concern for the consequences.
  • Re:I love it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iceaxe (18903) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:13PM (#33116794) Journal

    On the other hand, if an American soldier dies because of our actual freedoms, such as freedom of speech, well, thats a clear and present danger, etc, etc, bs bs bs.

    Do you really believe this without qualification? That under no circumstances should the free flow of information be inhibited by the government, even if it means people will die?

    I wanted to say something clever but I am a failure in that practice and the Great Big Question hit me so hard I won't see straight for hours.

    That really is a massive question of ethics. Is it okay for a government of the people, et cetera, which takes responsibility for its populace while at the same time demanding oversight from the populace, to ever withhold information?

    As usual, when the Big Question gets asked, I end up thinking... well... it depends.

    It's pretty clear to me that revealing certain information about the activities of certain people could lead to other people harming them.

    On the other hand, it's not clear to me that people should be doing things that would lead to other people harming them if their activities were revealed.

    I understand that in war, deception and secrecy are valuable tactics.

    I do not understand that war is a valuable strategy in most cases.

    I understand that when Al Qaeda people flew airplanes into buildings and bombed public places and did other nasty things, innocent people got hurt and killed.

    I understand that when "we" responded by going to war, far more innocent people got, and continue to get, hurt and killed.

    I can see that the purpose of Al Qaeda's attacks are to get publicity and to cause "us" to act in ways that are self-destructive.

    I can see that they are immensely successful on both counts.

    I am certain that the war in Afghanistan was inevitable because people demanded that politicians "do something", preferably violently.

    I think that Al Qaeda was counting on that.

    I think that Al Qaeda and their Taliban and other allies are fervently devoted to a set of ideas, and no amount of violence is going to do anything other than prove some of their their ideas right.

    I think that the only way to defeat an idea is to prove it wrong. Over and over and over.

    However, back in the real world, it's years too late for that. Which circles us back around to where we began.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:41PM (#33117140)

    "If you got nothing to hide, you should not fear Wikileaks"

    Please give me all your personal information, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and any other information I need to drain your bank accounts dry and order services as if I was you.

    Post them as a reply to this and share them with all of slashdot if you have nothing to hide.

    What? You do have something to hide and fear by letting the information out?

    If you're going to use that battle cry you better have your information freely and publicly available or your nothing nor than an ignorant hypocrite.

  • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:45PM (#33117196) Journal

    ah, yes, but then you have to gamble that the secrets which you hold are damaging enough that they'll consider leaving you alone (and keeping the secrets safe) to be the best option. (Or, that once they know what it is, they won't work to smother it before it even gets out.)

    If you don't tell them what the secret is, then you can let their imaginations run wild as to exactly how damaging it is - they know all the secrets already, and have to gamble how far up the scale the one (or ones) you have is (or are).

    The other option, of course, is to use a hybrid approach, and have within the file one damaging secret, and another encrypted file which has the others in it. This leaves them aware that you genuinely have damaging secrets, but leaves them guessing as to what else there is waiting to be released. Or give them 3 or 4 different samples which have clearly come from different sources, so they can't be sure that only one source has been compromised (and pin down the extent of the damage).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:47PM (#33117220)

    99% of the classified works are incorrectly marked classified to hide malfeasance or just plain incompetency.

    There is a ton of information that is incorrectly classified, you are right, but it's no where near 99%, and it's rarely to hide malfeasance. As a sibling post stated accurately, often times you don't need to name a source to determine what it was, so works gets over-classified out of pure fear that information will be too easy to derive from it. And whether right or wrong, documents get classified as a whole, so one piece of classified information can force classification of an entire document. It's not always a conspiracy, it's often just incompetence.

  • Time to step up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jridley (9305) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:49PM (#33117240)

    I really need to write a check to Wikileaks. And EFF. And ACLU. This liberty thing could get expensive, what with us having to fund the fight against the people who we elected to uphold it, who are also using our money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:52PM (#33117282)

    All those purple thumbs sure were epic catastrophes.

    All those purple thumbs voting in yet another Islamic government whose first step was to declare Sharia law, and will inevitably take the guns and bombs we gave them and use them against us when they declare jihad on us, yet again.

    Which I guess is an EPIC WIN if all you care about is your stock in KBR. To the rest of us, it looks like you're a fucking idiot who pretends history doesn't exist because it doesn't agree with your masters' spin.

    We're going to be right back where we are now, replacing the "president" of Iraq by force in a couple of decades. Assuming Iran doesn't do it first.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:18PM (#33117562)

    There's one reason why this is a poor method of insurance. Suppose there's somebody out there with an even bigger axe to grind than Assange, who will stop at nothing to get the contents of this "insurance" file released. With over six billion people in the world, and a substantial number of them having a beef with the U.S., it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

    The implication here is that if something happens to Assange, then the key gets released. So, it logically follows that if you want the key to be released.......

    (For my own safety, I have no interest in the contents of that file. And while I personally think Julian Assange is a self-righteous ass, I don't wish physical harm on him or any of the other people involved with Wikileaks.)

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:23PM (#33117612)

    Depraved Indifference [uslegal.com]: "to bring defendant's conduct within the murder statute, that the defendant's act was imminently dangerous and presented a very high risk of death to others and that it was committed under circumstances which evidenced a wanton indifference to human life or a depravity of mind. . . . . The crime differs from intentional murder in that it results not from a specific, conscious intent to cause death, but from an indifference to or disregard of the risks attending defendant's conduct."

    I hope for Julian Assange's sake that no Afghani or Iraqi informants are killed because someone figured out from the unredacted information who the informants are. His releasing of this information directly led to these informant's death.

  • Re:I love it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gethoht (757871) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:31PM (#33117688)
    Without a doubt, at an absolute minimum, thousands of innocent people/families have paid for the arrogance of the United States as a pre-emptive aggressor that starts and continues unjust wars for years and years.

    There... fixed that for you.

    Why is collateral damage acceptable when it's justified by the war machine, but not acceptable because of the leaks that wikileaks published? WIkileaks does much more to preserve our true freedom then the Military Industrial Complex and 1 TRILLION/YR in defense spending will ever do.
  • by Ian Alexander (997430) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:41PM (#33117768)
    Step back out of the land of speculation. What is known about the insurance file:

    * It's 1.4 GB
    * It's encrypted with AES-256
    * If anybody has the key they haven't published it.

    What you can reasonably infer: It's information the gov. doesn't want released, providing Assange with "insurance".

    Unless you have AES-256 goggles that let you peer through the encryption I would hesitate to comment in further detail on the contents of the file and therefore the moral character of the man who published it.
  • Re:I love it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:10PM (#33118026) Homepage Journal

    if you consider a) being a part of the American war machine to be "innocence"

    Do you consider "wanting girls to be allowed to read and write" equivalent to "being a part of the American war machine"?

    I'm sure that in the abstract and considered from your local Starbucks the Taliban are all lovely and cuddly, with their ancient traditions and funny hats and all that. But if you had to live under their rule you'd shit your iKnickers in short order.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:37PM (#33118230) Homepage Journal

    The documents contain identities of Afghans who are providing information to us about the Taliban. The Taliban have issued a press release promising to extract the names from the documents and kill our sources.

    There can be no question that WikiLeaks has done evil here - and not against American or NATO forces, but against Afghan civilians who merely wish to remain free of Taliban dictatorship.

    Why isn't the US military just as evil or even more so for putting the names in the documents in the first place?

    And remember that those who aided and abetted the US military can hardly be considered innocent civilians -- to the occupied, they are fifth colonists or worse: Quislings.

    No, the brunt of the responsibility rests firmly on the shoulder of the US military, politicians and voters here:
    1: For using civilians in the war effort.
    2: For making notes that identify them.
    3: For not safeguarding those notes, making a leak possible.

    Against those travesties, the disclosure of a redacted subset of those notes is negligible.

    Face it, it's all about lost face at this point, and taking out revenge at the whistleblower and his or her associates. Revenge and anger and two of the few things my country, 'tis of thee, are good at.

    FLOG the impertinent child who dare to say that the emperor has no clothes. He's directly responsible for people's anger when being exposed to the truth! If someone throws a rock at the emperor's haberdasher as a result, it's clearly the evil child's fault! Shoot the messenger; off with his head!

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:17PM (#33118504) Journal

    that video shows soldiers killing kids and reporters for the hell of it.

    Actually, that's what the editors wanted you to see. Here's what I saw and heard:

    • The helo flew towards an area where ground troops reported taking fire from.
    • The crew saw people approaching the US position carrying AKs and at least one RPG.
    • According to protocol, they received clearance to fire, and did so.
    • A van approached and started loading bodies, a common insurgent tactic.
    • They are obviously unaware (based on later audio) that there are children in the van.
    • Again, according to protocol, they received clearance to fire, and did so.
    • When the civilian casualties are known, troops on the ground do what they can to save the victims.

    There is nothing in the tape to indicate intent to kill photographers, or knowledge that kids were in the van. There is certainly nothing that indicates they did it for the hell of it. Please point out where you find this.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:32PM (#33118640) Journal

    If Swedish police caught the FBI grabbing an Australian citizen on Swedish soil, I assume that is a crime, regardless of what the U.S thinks about. How could it not be?

    What about when the CIA does it?
    And we call it "extraordinary rendition"?

    There was a brief flareup when the CIA got publicly called out,
    but the long term fallout has been suspiciously absent.

  • Re:I love it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:38PM (#33119056)

    But if you had to live under their rule you'd shit your iKnickers in short order.

    No, I'd probably search out like minded persons who dislike them. Then once enough are gathered start a revolution overthrowing them. You know, a revolution. The real way to get rid of an oppressive government. Historically this method has been quite successful: the USA against British rule, the French against their aristocracy, the Persians(Iranians) against the Shah, East Germany against the Communists .

    Freedom cannot be forced onto the people. The people have to want the freedom enough so that they are willing to fight for it

  • Re:I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EllisDees (268037) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:59PM (#33119182)

    Yes, they had them and they destroyed them all under the supervision of the UN. If you bothered to read anything at all that wasn't on Fox News in the runup to the Iraq war, you would know this. The UN even made them produce an accounting of what happened to the WMDs [dawn.com], and once they had, the US promptly ignored it and invaded anyway.

  • Re:I love it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhol13 (1087781) on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:28PM (#33119338)

    Oh, so Assange published locations of girl schools?
    Or did he publish the arrogance and war crimes of the "war machine"?

  • Re:I love it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:56PM (#33119542)

    I hate to break it to you but the people developing Tor and Wikileaks and such things aren't into iBS. They actually give a shit about free software and realize that Taliban are, were, and will be torturing people. Fuck. Shit is going to happen. The US government started this and that's why these documents have to be released. It's not the fault of those who are supporting Wikileaks. The people to blame are those in the governments and the sponsors of these unjustified wars. Do we think girls should be tortured? No! But do you really think that the is the motivation of the US government? It never was! If you recall we went in because of 9/11. It was because of 3,000 American lives. A selfish act. We cause many more deaths going in than we saved had we stayed out.

  • by klingens (147173) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:02PM (#33119578)

    Which one of the leaked documents exposed an "unvarnished truth" to the world that wasn't known or at least expected before hand?

    Just like in court "expected" doesn't cut it when you need PROOF.

    As for truth: little things like hushed up friendly fire that cost allies (Canadians) lives. The canadians are sorta pissed about that, as they should be.

    Or US death squadrons operating from german barracks in northern Afghanistan. That's fairly big news since all our parliament members, the ones responsible for the .af invasion, proclaim it's news to them. Such death squads are illegal under german law as is torture, so knowing about such things is really bad election mojo. Of course not really knowing what happens in a place they send people to kill and get killed isn't exactly a endorsement of their "leadership" either...

    So while I dunno what new things they exposed in the US, but the world, and the current afghan war, is more than a little bit of US politics.

  • Re:I love it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peter La Casse (3992) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @07:36AM (#33121862) Homepage

    According to the wikileaks documents, the U.S. Military is the good guy in Afghanistan: the Taliban has killed more than 10 times as many civilians, on purpose, while the U.S. Military has bent over backwards to avoid that.

    You do believe the wikileaks documents, don't you?

  • by VShael (62735) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @07:37AM (#33121878) Journal

    It's a brilliant documentary, but times have changed. And changed in a big way.

    One of the best things in the documentary, was when the US government got a court injunction to prevent the publication of a US Newspaper.
    That was how they tried to plug the leaks.

    In an amazing display of journalism doing its job, other newspapers collectively put their heads on the block, and took over the release of information.

    As the government shut one down, another would step up and take over.

    It was like a pre-internet version of whack-a-mole, but with potentially very very serious consequences for each of the news papers involved, including their owners, editors, CEO's.

    You simply wouldn't see that today. Murdoch put his neck on the line to release damaging papers criticising the war? You must be mad.

    That is why we need wikileaks.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:03AM (#33124798)

    Resolution 1441 does NOT authorise use of force.

    Nor did the 1991 resolution that led to the first Iraq war. There is some contention that 1441 did not specifically authorize war. France argued that "serious consequences" doesn't mean war. We'll never know, because no further UN action was taken from that point.

    Or to put it another way, the UN has no pull if they don't actually back up what they say with action. If we told Iraq "or else be faced with serious consequences" then not give them serious consequences, why even have a UN?

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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