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UK Asks News Outlets Not To Publish WikiLeaks Bombshell, US Prepares For Fallout 606

Posted by Soulskill
from the much-ado-about-something dept.
Stoobalou writes "The UK government has issued Defense Advisory Notices to editors of UK news outlets in an attempt to hush up the latest bombshell from whistle-blowing web site WikiLeaks. DA Notices, the last of which was issued in April 2009 after sensitive defense documents were photographed using a telephoto lens in the hand of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick as he arrived at No 10 Downing Street for a briefing, are requests not to publish, and therefore not legally enforceable." This news comes alongside a raft of articles detailing the US government's preparations for the release. Officials are warning allies that the documents will be more damaging than previous releases, to the point of potentially damaging diplomatic relations with countries like Turkey. The Vancouver Sun wonders if this will lead to a change in the way diplomats communicate.
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UK Asks News Outlets Not To Publish WikiLeaks Bombshell, US Prepares For Fallout

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:25PM (#34353890)

    Is Julian Assange trying to blackmail the US and UK governments into strong-arming the Swedes into letting him free?

  • I Dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:25PM (#34353896) Journal

    I'm of two minds on this one. Private communications from diplomats to their masters at home are often rather brutally honest, as they have to be. To leak, intentionally, such communications is a risky venture. Think Franco-Prussian War here for a good example of just that sort of thing.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:28PM (#34353914)

    Don't be daft. The USA is a strong ally to those countries that are strategically important to it.

    Sorry if that breaks your worldview where everyone ought to get along in peace.

  • by Threni (635302) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:28PM (#34353918)

    That's kind of backwards. He's part of an organisation which doesn't think certain stuff should be covered up. This latest release is a case it point. It's going to embarass governments by showing them lying, trying to outdo each other etc. People are trying to shut him up by engaging him in pointless lawsuits. It'll make no difference; wikileaks is bigger than him.

    I can't see the Guardian agreeing to this.

  • by guanxi (216397) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:28PM (#34353920)

    If Wikileaks can get this stuff, imagine what foreign intelligence agencies can do. The U.S. government needs security proportional to the value of the data.

  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:29PM (#34353924) Homepage

    Releasing the facts, unaltered and un-commentated, in their original context and form, without any interpretation - THAT is real journalism. Don't let Faux News and other television channels with their ORLY commentators trick you into think that they're doing anything close to resembling reporting.

    Wikileaks is an interesting and important information outlet to pay attention to. So rarely does fact reach anyone anymore in our opaque modern governments, only carefully-filtered truthiness.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:34PM (#34353956) Homepage Journal
    And this is how freedom dies. With open and blatant moves by the ELECTED representatives keeping the public in the dark about their wrongdoings. Right up to the betrayal of the very ideas those countries were founded upon ....

    The appalling part is that, they are no longer doing this secretly. They have no issues going about in the open and being open about trying to keep people in the dark about what wrongdoings are committed. They slap 'national security' tag to it, and think that this is a magic word that totally stupefies the public and makes them impossible to understand wrong things are being committed....
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:35PM (#34353966) Homepage Journal
    before ALL of these, come the question that whether the administration of a country is BETRAYING its FOUNDING ideals, or not.
  • by helbent (1244274) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:35PM (#34353970)
    Don't want to end up red-faced?

    Then don't engage in pointless wars started over lies. It's that simple.
  • by Voulnet (1630793) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:36PM (#34353976)
    Awwww. We still love him because he's exposing whatever they are that you're defending so valiantly. Guess what? People are tired from deceitful governments, and if a government is so scared of having something exposed; chances are it needs to be exposed.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#34353988) Journal
    Is that still a question? I thought that we'd settled that years ago...
  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#34353990)

    imagine what foreign intelligence agencies can do

    It's not -quite- the same, I suspect that Wikileaks might have an edge precisely because they are not a foreign intelligence agency. They take the info and toss it to the world, whereas a foreign intelligence agency will definitely want to keep stuff secret. If you're trying to blow the whistle on wrongdoing and believe you're doing whats best for your country, you probably won't listen to another country's intelligence agents. After all, -that- would be treason.

    That and they'd probably want less information of higher quality, not a massive deluge like this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:37PM (#34353994)

    That's insane... What is there to hide people?

    This made me think about how funny it is that they tell us only criminals have something to hide when they screw our privacy. Now when we screw their privacy, they turn it all the way around and we are the criminals again.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:39PM (#34354006) Journal

    Can you ever think of a time when diplomatic dispatches were released publicly. Diplomats have to be able to communicate with their foreign ministries, State Department, whatever in an honest, often brutally honest manner. How else is any government, democratic or otherwise, supposed to make any kind of foreign policy decisions? If diplomats have to start couching their language, governments will have a much more difficult time making sensible decisions.

    As much as we would all love to live in a perfect world of absolute information, we in fact live in an imperfect world where our governments have to make very critical decisions based on as factual and open information as they can gather. Forcing diplomats to censor themselves for fear that somebody might find out what they said about foreign figures; ministers, presidents, leaders and so forth, will starve governments of that kind of useful information, making things more dangerous, not less.

  • by santax (1541065) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:40PM (#34354022)
    Lol... that's what they told you. When was it that the US got involved in the war? Oh yeah. After pearl harbor. Why did they free us? By demanding soil for 100 years (lend-lease anyone?) where they put those nice dishes to commit economical spionage. Learn your history bro if you want to discuss WW2 with me. Having said that, I have adopted a grave of an unknown American soldier in Margraten, Netherlands. Look it up if you don't know it.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:44PM (#34354054) Journal

    And I'm not saying the question isn't valid. But I think a great deal of care has to be taken. Let's take, for instance, a key ally, say the UK. Maybe the US Ambassador has some rather nasty, but truthful things to say about the Prime Minister, observations that suggest a man of lesser wits or perhaps of an unreliable nature. This informs the State Department, and ultimately the President, of how to proceed with certain topics of discussion.

    To have such frank dispatches suddenly outed within the lifetime of the Prime Minister's ministry could create enormous rifts between two key allies. The kind of language used in these dispatches is extremely frank. What good would it do the citizens of either nation to have these observations broadcast for the world to see? Will it help American interests abroad? What exactly will American citizens be able to decide based on it? That the British Prime Minister is an ass? That the US Embassy is populated by people who say nasty things?

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:45PM (#34354062)

    Here's an idea, radical as it may be:

    "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense, but in my opinion it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them."

  • Fuck Yeah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by euxneks (516538) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:47PM (#34354068)
    The truth will set you free.
  • by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:48PM (#34354080)
    Where are the big releases on Russia, Venezuela, and other corrupt governments? Sounds like a wimp to me.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:48PM (#34354092) Homepage

    It's one thing to complain about the rule of law being followed, but do you really give a damn about what some guys who were born 300 years ago thought?

    Personally, I thought they were damn good ideas, but "sticking to founding ideals" for its own sake personally sounds like a horrible idea to me. The founding fathers were innovative politicans...not prophets.

  • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:49PM (#34354098)

    after sensitive defense documents were photographed using a telephoto lens in the hand of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick as he arrived at No 10 Downing Street for a briefing,

    Well dammit, tell him to get the telephoto lens out of his hand...

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:51PM (#34354122) Journal

    This is exactly the point that needs to be made:

    Assange? He could be a pedophile rapist who is completely self centered and arrogant and a total douchebag about it all - or he could be a living saint ---

    Point is, it has no bearing on whats going on. He is simply doing his job as a journalist - and it has nothing to do with him. Could he be doing it for personal gains? Yes. Could he just be inflating his ego by doing all this? Absolutely.

    None of it matters. What matters is that the story is getting out. If the government is going to ensure that YOU can't keep secrets, by harmful body scanners, deep packet inspection, warrant-less searches - why on Earth should we listen to a "Defense Advisory Notice" to keep THEIR secrets? If we have nothing to hide, they should have nothing to hide, simple as that.

    I am perfectly fine with the government controlling the media, as long as they respect my privacy and stay the eff out of my life.

  • by poity (465672) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:51PM (#34354128)

    An agency such as yours must treat all the information it has with equal priority -- it is the only way to be neutral and unbiased. Otherwise you risk undermining the confidence of people everywhere -- the same people you rely on to effect the tangible changes that we all desire. Herein now lies the current problem with wikileaks.org [wikileaks.org]. You have at some point taken your previous database entirely offline. Before you became well known you were a nexus of information on nations around the globe. Now, there is access only to Iraq Diaries and Afghan Logs. A google search on wikileaks for Asia, Africa, and Europe reveals thousands of documents previously linked to that are now inaccessible. These must be restored immediately.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:53PM (#34354144)

    To have such frank dispatches suddenly outed within the lifetime of the Prime Minister's ministry could create enormous rifts between two key allies. The kind of language used in these dispatches is extremely frank. What good would it do the citizens of either nation to have these observations broadcast for the world to see?

    Although this is possible, there are other bigger issues. For example, with regard to Turkey, there is fear that it will be revealed that both the U.S. and Turkey are secretly doing things that they publicly say they are not -- Turkey helping Al-Qaeda militants in Iraq, and the United States helping Iraq-based Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey. Which is exactly why these things need to be exposed.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:56PM (#34354172) Journal

    The alliance with Stalin allowed an end to the war in three years, and besides, it was the Brits who first got friendly with Stalin, seeing as the USSR was invaded by the Nazis while Congress fiddled while Rome burned.

    As Churchill so famously said, "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." The real world and the utopian fantasy so many of you guys live in are quite different. Yes, it sucked that Stalin seized Eastern Europe, but do you think having the Nazis controlling all of Europe would have been better?

  • Re:I Dunno (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:57PM (#34354178) Journal

    Force diplomats to couch their language, and all you guarantee is poorly informed governments. How exactly this is supposed to help anyone is beyond me.

  • I dunno ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:57PM (#34354180)
    The people in the US and UK are routinely subjected to various kinds of surveillance and scrutiny - like the US warrant-less wiretaps and TSA peep-shows - and told by our governments and pundits, "If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide." I say that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I suspect our governments have been very bad at times and indeed have things to hide - not only from others, but from their own people.
  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:58PM (#34354184) Journal

    To put it bluntly: if that's enough to cause an incident then people on both sides need to grow the fuck up.

    These are mature adults, world leaders no less, so if (to take your example) it turns out that the US ambassador thinks the UK prime minister is an ass, the prime minister should be more than capable of realising the difference between personal feelings and an appraisal of one's technical ability, not to mention understanding that interactions that affect millions are not to be decided on the say of one official.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:59PM (#34354202) Homepage

    Or maybe people in those countries don't send Wikileaks stuff to publish? They're not an investigation organization, they just publish them protecting the identity of the source.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:00PM (#34354210) Journal

    And I'll remind you again of the Franco-Prussian War. Leaked dispatches can spell disaster.

    I agree that if something important like evidence of, as someone put it, the Turkish government giving Al-qaeda a helping hand, then release it. A journalist would. What a journalist wouldn't do is release the whole fucking bag, because a journalist, hopefully, has enough sense and sense of proportion and reality not to imagine that every dispatch is just a hunk of toilet paper to slung out for the amusement of the masses online.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:03PM (#34354226)

    Most likely the embarrassing part of this is that Turkey is helping us (USA) more than it wishes to be publicly known for the sake of it's internal politics. This is the most damaging part of these leaks: it put our friends in a difficult position and reduces their trust in us and reduces the number of friends we are going to have in the future if we can't be trusted to keep a secret.

  • by IDrinkBatUrine (1948240) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:03PM (#34354242)
    Such as the video they labeled "Collateral Murder"?
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:11PM (#34354310)
    And that's the problem our government has brought upon itself. I completely understand the need to keep some things secret; however, by abusing that privilege to cover up things which are only embarassing/illegal/whatever else, the government has decreased our trust in them. Now, we don't trust them to make public the things we need to know, so we sit cheering on folks like Wikileaks, because they may well be uncovering actions our government has taken that we need to be aware of. Yes, of course that's dangerous due to the risk of revealing the wrong things, and I don't know if I entirely condone the actions of Wikileaks as a result. That does not mean, however, that I sympathize with the government on this one. Fuckers brought this on themselves, now they're reaping the consequences. Even if Wikileaks is wrong, that just makes both parties wrong, it doesn't make the US government right.
  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:13PM (#34354324)

    In a perfect world I would agree with you. It is not a perfect world though and there are times when keeping secrets is necessary. In particular, the reason I think those who leaked this (not those who published it) should be tried for high treason, is that it undermines the trust that our allies have in us to be able to keep a secret and therefore reduces our ability to attract more allies in regions of conflict in the future. This includes anyone from the individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq who risk their lives to provide us with information about the terrorists, to friendly countries who don't want the degree of their friendship with the US to be known publicly.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:13PM (#34354328) Homepage

    Blah blah blah-blah Franco-Prussian War blah-blah History 101 blah.

    Do you know what the word "pretext" means?

    I'll type it slowly: if you go to war ostensibly over a memo, then you were already going to war. The memo just came along at a convenient time.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:21PM (#34354382) Journal

    If you are smart enough to quote Jefferson you should be smart enough to know how the US defines treason and why it wouldn't apply in this particular case....

  • by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:28PM (#34354446)
    Doubtful with the amount of corruption present in Russia that they wouldn't have dirt on them. I think they're just on a high horse against the US, UK, and other countries because they'll avoid Po-210 poisoning better that way. Doesn't make Assange sound like the white knight he attempts to portray
  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:31PM (#34354472)

    .... friendly countries who don't want the degree of their friendship with the US to be known publicly.

    Particularly they do not want it known to their own voting citizenry, or more likely, their despotic royal subjects...

    I say kudos to Wikileaks, if just for getting all of these phony US "freedom" and "democracy" "defenders" to show their true, heavily fascist-tinged, imperial colors!

    But then again outfits like the TSA are already doing a splendid job of rubbing off all of the thin veneer of pretend "liberties" from the true, viciously authoritarian nature of the majority of the modern US populace. Sometimes I think that all those veterans of WWII must be better off already dead because this belated victory of the Axis ideology that the US (and many of its "allies") succumbed to would have been too much for them to bear.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:34PM (#34354514)

    And what is treason if it doesn't include releasing top secret military information in time of war? Aiding the enemy applies here. But never mind whether the charge is treason or not, it is a serious crime and I hope they don't get away with it lightly and I don't think they will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:34PM (#34354522)

    The crazy thing is, it's partly because of the freedom we enjoy in America that people are able to get this information to Wikileaks and it will probably lead to the loss of more freedoms in America as the powers try to limit these "problems" in the future (ie. America becomes more like Russia, China, etc where it's much harder and much more physically dangerous for the person/people leaking the information).

  • by RsG (809189) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:47PM (#34354614)

    Actually, if Russia were going to "plug" a leak, Assange wouldn't be the target, the person who leaked the information in the first place would. Meaning, if someone in the Russian government had, say, documents about Vladimir Putin doing something illegal/immoral/embarrassing a decade ago, they'd be disinclined to share them with wikileaks for fear of being given a 9mm retirement present.

    I can well believe that Assange has nothing in his files that could embarrass Russia or any similarly scary governments, because nothing has been given to him. Especially since nobody in their right mind would submit information to wikileaks and assume that the information in question would be scrubbed of anything that could leak back to the informant before being published.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:52PM (#34354646) Journal

    Churchill and Roosevelt had no illusions about Stalin. They knew he was ruthless, vicious and evil, in his own way every bit as bad, maybe worse than Hitler. They knew about the massacres in Poland, about Stalin's purges and forced migrations. They also knew that the USSR represented a large army that could keep Hitler busy in the East.

    In a perfect world we would never have to business with guys like Stalin. In the real world, compromises are necessary. I doubt Churchill liked Stalin all that much, and a lot of the communications he released after he found himself out of a job with the defeat of his government, released in his History of WWII, indicate his lack of patience for Stalin. I remember one communication where Churchill reminds Stalin that the Soviets were, in some measure, being attacked by armaments manufactured from Russian steel.

    Still, Churchill, even as Britain's survival was still in doubt, was redirecting precious armaments shipments from the US to the USSR via the North Atlantic convoys precisely because he knew that the only way to keep the Nazis off balance was to keep the Soviets in the game. When the Germans first invaded, there were real fears in Britain that Stalin might just pick up shop and flee across the Urals (certainly that was Hitler's hope as well).

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:52PM (#34354650) Journal

    Frankly I don't know how realistic it is in the modern day world either but one can advocate that we don't need to spend billions of dollars defending countries that can defend themselves without becoming the second incarnation of Charles Lindbergh.

    We station tens of thousands of GIs in the EU and South Korea. Both are quite capable of taking care of themselves these days. Hell, the EU has nuclear weapons, they don't need American GIs to deter aggression against themselves.

  • Streisand (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:54PM (#34354664) Homepage Journal

    Great, a government telling the media to not report on something. That will squash all public interest in the topic!

  • by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:03PM (#34354722)
    or more likely that those scary governments are more likely to stick to paper, or are paranoid enough of the US spying on them they have some levels of counter espionage in place. For the most part, the US Gov. says they care, but their actions as a whole don't work to keep things secret. Really, you never saw this level of mass leakings prior to the digitalization of what used to be purely on paper. Before it would take you month of digging through stacks of maybe/maybe not shredded documents. Now all you need to do is open up a piece of software to have access to gigs of searchable data, or just wait long enough for a few drives not to be discarded correctly.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:07PM (#34354772) Homepage Journal
    you first hack at a problem, so that you can solve it. the very lack of stuff like wikileaks, was what was preventing public from even knowing there was a problem there in the first place. everything was shipshape -> 'national security' and you were set to exploit.
  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:09PM (#34354798)

    > Or maybe people in those countries don't send Wikileaks stuff to publish? They're not an investigation organization, they just publish them protecting the identity of the source.

    Good point.

    They may also have better information security than we do. The very *idea* of having so many diplomatic communiques accessible enough that [presumably] one person can copy so many speaks to a massive technical security failure.

  • by mevets (322601) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:09PM (#34354800)

    People who actually do something are anything but wimps.

    Hop to man; wikileaks can't cover everything, they have their niche. Open up "BhCompyLeaks" and get started. Show wikileaks how it should be done.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:11PM (#34354810)

    And what is treason if it doesn't include releasing top secret military information in time of war? Aiding the enemy applies here.

    a) "war" is strictly legally defined (or at least used to be) and the real definition did not involve phrases like "whenever we say it is" or "all the time" or "perpetual" or "always" or "endless" or "Eurasia" ...

    b) "secret military information" is in the eye of the beholder. If the governments could be trusted to label as "secret" only the things that actually affect immediate operations: names of spies, access codes to nuclear silos, etc, then you would perhaps have a point. But today's governments label as "secret" anything even remotely likely to cause some kind of embarrassment or threat to the hold on power to one of the stooges of the aristocratic political dynasties that run these "republics", or possibly to one of their business associates.

    c) "the enemy" is defined here as "the unwashed peon masses" who are apparently much better off not knowing what their "betters" do in their name. Another one of those shining towers of noble principles that the western "democracies" are supposedly perched on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:14PM (#34354842)

    I was referring to the other forms of torture. The ones referred to into the leaks.

    But I see your logic... Since the military is bombing civilians and using civilians as "human targets," it's fine if Iraqis and Afghans torture American soldiers, right? After all, it might get answers that would save lives.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:30PM (#34354982) Journal

    This latest release is a case it point. It's going to embarass governments by showing them lying, trying to outdo each other etc.

    It's going to embarrass democratic governments. The oppressive nations of the world, meanwhile, are breaking out the popcorn and sitting back to enjoy the fun.

    Perhaps if Mr Assange wants to further his goal of preventing things being covered up, he might like to start with those nations that are actively and openly censoring their citizens' right to free speech and free access to information? Hint: America is not very high up that list.

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:31PM (#34354990)

    "And what is treason if it doesn't include releasing top secret military information in time of war?"

    C'mon, man. We're not fucking stupid.

    Every government involved here is not concerned about one side or the other gaining an advantage, but rather quite concerned that the PUBLIC will find out what they have really been up to--that is the threat these documents represent, disclosure of things that our governments would rather WE didn't hear.

    The vast majority of the stuff released by Wikileaks, so far, should have been public knowledge from the beginning--there needs to be accountability, especially when it comes to war. Far too much is hidden from us in the name of state security and this is the one recourse that is left to us.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:34PM (#34355018) Journal

    Of course, there is the annoying element of Iraq being an unprovoked war of aggression, and, hence, a war crime

    This is absurd. I opposed the Iraq War too but it's not a "war crime". The previous regime was in violation of the ceasefire agreement that ended the Gulf War and numerous UN resolutions passed subsequent to that agreement. The Iraq War was perfectly legal under American and international law. It was a foolhardy adventure that distracted us from more pressing concerns but it was not illegal or a war crime.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:35PM (#34355024) Journal

    Be that as it may, the brutal reality is that Wikileaks' actions are not going to make the government change the behaviors you don't like. They are merely going to make it tighten up more, and introduce more draconian punishments for anyone caught leaking information.

    Oh, and this will be powerful ammunition for those who would like to see the government given the power to censor the Internet.

    Is that really what you want? You are cheering on Wikileaks even when its actions are going to do no good at all, and might even lead to you personally being hurt?

  • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:39PM (#34355052)

    The rape charges are fake.

    Just like the governments are fake democracies or republics.

    We have a hybrid Kleptocratic Fascist Plutocracy...
    or some other near variation.

    We have a One World Government forming just like we were warned
    about by Samuel Zane Battens in 1919, and HG Wells in 1940,
    and others since then.

    Let Julian take the brain finger printing test at a nuetral nation,
    and I'd ask some country to grant him asylum until his
    guilt or innocence can be proven.

    http://www.brainwavescience.com/ [brainwavescience.com]

    The governments of the world are corrupt beyond belief and
    their are no exceptions.

  • Re:Mods ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:53PM (#34355136)

    Calling someone fascist when they are clearly not is flamebait.

    I used the term "fascist-tinged" which, unless you have some comprehension issues, would indicate that something is polluted by fascism rather than being wholly fascist. That the US is adopting more and more fascist policies is patently obvious and beyond any doubt. The activities of the TSA are no different (and actually more intrusive) than those at the Gestapo checkpoints in the Nazi Germany (or for that matter their equivalents in the old big bad Soviet Union). There is a reason why having to "show one's papers" or being subjected to searches when traveling was for a long time a favourite point of contrast between the evil totalitarian states and the "free" nations. But again, it seems to me that not comprehending this basic fact is a pre-requisite to being an "American patriot" these days...

    Also my reference to the Axis was to the Axis ideology, a common central theme to which was mindless following of authority in all things. Another common feature of the defenders of modern US policies.

    So the point stands, an adherent to some of the more prominent fascist policies qualifies to be called more than just "tinged" by fascism, I was being a touch gentle here.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:01PM (#34355182) Homepage Journal

    Foreign governments already know all of this information.

    Does Julian Assange have an intelligence operation that is better funded and operated than the CIA, whatever the KGB calls itself these days - even Turkish Intelligence?

    Of course not. All of these countries have intelligence agencies superior to Wikileaks and therefore already know all of this. And they all KNOW that they all know.

    That's not what they are concerned about.
    The reason the CIA and these other agencies keep these secrets, in fact generally in an unspoken collusion, is because the main reason for a government classifying information these days is to hide it from ITS OWN CITIZENS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:13PM (#34355246)
    Wow, anonymous coward was involved with wikileaks, way ro go with freedom of information. Who's to say you're not a member of the disinformation brigade? You certainly sound like one
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:17PM (#34355264)

    Funny...

    I find it MORE offensive when a person claims to do good, but is instead a total dick with a dashing smile-- than the person that is a total dick, but is openly public about such dickery.

    Examples: A television evangelist, VS somebody like George Carlin (not necessarily him personally, but somebody like him personality wise). The former swears seven ways to sunday that they are good, wholesome, and beholden to a higher purpose/power, The latter openly admits to doing his shtick solely for the money, and openly says that they don't give a flying fuck about any such hogwash.

    As such, the shenanigans of the first are more distasteful, disgusting, and reprehensible than those of the latter. At least the later isn't trying to lie to you.

    Same thing with world governments. If the US wants to claim to be a defender of democracy, freedom, personal liberty, and all that "wholesome goodness", then they SHOULDNT engage in secret deals, military actions that destroy freedom, erect puppet dictatorships, etc-- like the television evangelist shouldn't swindle money out of little old women, then spend it on hookers and blow. Not if they want to be taken seriously, and not be seen as the dirty swindlers that they are.

    That is to say, I personally am of the opinion that this is needed EXACTLY because they claim to be democratic governments. We as citizens are indeed ultimately responsible for the actions of our governments, BECAUSE they are democracies, and we NEED to know when our leaders are engaging in secret super-dickery like this.

    Basically, it's no secret that these non-democratic countries you are railing against violate personal liberties. They make no claims to the contrary. Some even proudly proclaim their stances on such issues. It is the ones that claim otherwise that are in need of being exposed. Their's is the more reprehensible crime.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:18PM (#34355268) Homepage

    > The kind of language used in these dispatches is extremely frank.

    Thanks for this appraisal of leaks you haven't seen.

    So, we should let war crimes be hidden because we don't want to hurt Prime Minister Clown's feelings (within his lifetime) by letting him know that idiot Bush thought he was a moron?

    Dude, get over the petty squabbling, there are massacres and other human rights violations going on.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:48PM (#34355442) Journal

    I change my mind as I learn more and my general outlook evolves. I've watched the video and it clearly shows acts that break international law.

    As for the rifles, you think it's uncommon for journalists to have an armed escort in many parts of the world? You think it's illegal to own a rifle in Iraq? You shoot anybody carrying a gun as a matter of principle?

    Your attempts to justify a deliberate, callous and at times juvenile act of violence discredit you, albeit not as much as your apparent defense of torture.

    Torture is wrong[tm] and counter-productive (in a number of dimensions) which is why even the CIA handbook said not to use it.

    If you're a former marine then you've been trained badly and should be assumed to have no fucking clue how to operate in a hostile civilian population. That specific issue was identified prior to the Iraq invasion and was a clear cause of much of the subsequent civil unrest.

    Try putting your own life on the line and stop shooting fucking civilians you cowardly piece of shit. Or get the fuck out of a country you have no legitimate purpose in and stop trying to justify your illegal acts there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:05PM (#34355522)

    You do realize that what you are describing here is a government that acts in ways contrary to the wishes of it's population and then punishing the population in increasingly severe ways when the population tries to put a stop to it.

    That's basically a tyranny.

    The day our governments become tyrannies, then I hope we'll fight them by force at any cost rather than stay quiet and let ourselves be dominated by a government we do not want and which acts contrary to our wishes.

    Oh, and don't think that NOT having Wikileaks will stop governments from becoming tyrannies. Wikileaks tells us what is going on behind our backs. Without Wikileaks, we simply don't know what is going on, but it does not mean it's not happening. At least if we know we can do something about it.
    So yes, Wikileaks is what I want. It's what we should all want until something better comes up. Better Wikileaks than nothing. And if a government does anything to stop Wikileaks, it will just make me even more angry and thus more likely to try and stop my own government.

  • by zaphirplane (1457931) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:13PM (#34355552)

    Since when does having high rates of corruption mean there are plenty of people willing to risk their lives, their families and jobs?
    A more reaonable person, would think
    In a country with an active and strong internal inteligence agency, little privacy, little human rights, plenty of cover up and run by a polite but a strong man.
    People would be a little bit hesitant about leaking damaging documents

    A reasonable person would think, if the russian government can imprison the yukos guy and take his money.
    their richest, 16th richest in the world, and hence one of the most powerful people in russia. (copy 'n paste not working and I can't be bothered to type the wikipedia url)

    Then I should shut the f up.

  • by rkd2110 (992694) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:22PM (#34355616)

    Doubtful with the amount of corruption present in Russia that they wouldn't have dirt on them. I think they're just on a high horse against the US, UK, and other countries because they'll avoid Po-210 poisoning better that way. Doesn't make Assange sound like the white knight he attempts to portray

    This is a straw man and an ill conceived ad hominem attack (i.e - "Assange is a coward because he's afraid of assassination!"). You could just as well say "Amnesty International does nothing to stop famine" or "Oxfam does nothing to stop the genocide in Sudan" and blame them for trying to portray themselves as charitable organizations. You do not criticize a person or an organization for the good work they didn't do. There will always be the next worthwhile cause.

    I personally don't mind if he does focus his efforts on the US/UK. They do enough highly questionable things to keep a small organization such as WL busy for decades to come. It is not his job nor prerogative to publish information in a manner which would be equally embarrassing to all countries . He runs a site on the internet, not a UN/governmental organization. If he so wishes he can focus exclusively on uncovering 4chan users identities.

    Also, given your own stated opinion on the way that Russia/China/EvilCountryX deal with leaks, it is entirely conceivable that there are far less potential sources who are willing to risk their lives in order to expose such information.

  • by ugen (93902) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:31PM (#34355656)

    Russia has great many people ready to risk their safety to provide access to variety of information on government corruption and other practices. That information exists and is known even outside Wikileaks.

    I have no doubt that Wikileaks has access to such information, in fact Assange claimed to have it just recently.

    I also have little doubt that the reason Assange won't release such information is its risk/reward ratio. The rewards of talking about Russia are slim - it's just not fashionable to bash on Russian nowadays, and it won't get anywhere near the news time. The risks are huge - I am ready to make a bet with anyone that, should Wikileaks publish anything that makes Russian powers that be unhappy, mr. Assange will very shortly get a chance to drink some tea with polonium, dioxin or another similarly fun chemical agent added. Russian security services made it known quite publicly that should he do something like that - he *will* be eliminated.

    Much easier to release information on US - lots of publicity and little danger to his life.

  • by quenda (644621) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:00AM (#34355790)

    We station tens of thousands of GIs in the EU and South Korea. Both are quite capable of taking care of themselves these days.

    While eventually making a massive commitment, the USA showed up very late for both previous world wars. These troops are there to make sure it does not happen again.
    If all the US troops in Korea are killed in the first 10 minutes of fighting, they will still have done their job. The US will not be waiting for Kim Il to bomb Pearl Harbor.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:01AM (#34355810) Homepage Journal

    I'm assuming that he and Wikileaks just hates the US of A.

    There you go again. Assange isn't the one "getting" these documents. Somebody is submitting them to Wikileaks.

    And a case can be made that whoever leaked those documents actually loves his country.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:09AM (#34356100) Journal

    It's interesting that wikileaks is going after governments with impunity,

    My understanding of the way wikileaks works is that OTHER people pass them the leaks. They just publish the leaks anonymously.

    And so "going after" is not an accurate description of what they do.

    As long as nobody passes wikileaks stuff about evil companies or oppressive nations to leak, nothing appears about them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:45AM (#34356224)

    We have heard of him because governments believe he must be silenced. Discrediting a web site without a name is difficult, because most people have seen BS websites and we just ignore it. But if you add a name to the accusations and discrediting, then people have something a bit more tangible to hold on to. First they must discredit the man, and by extension the web site. They can drop both names in the same sentence to cement the bond, if you will.

    Funny how no one really knew his name until the helicopter attack video...

  • Re:ok. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:50AM (#34356240) Journal

    NO, this is the point where you remind people that the constitution failed to address those points until later when the constitutional process called an amendment was used.

    IF the ideals need changed, an amendment is the tool to make that change. It's got a built in special tool that requires a most of the country to agree with the changes. If we simply ignore the constitution, then just a majority or even worse, a minority who managed to get into power is all it would take to change those ideals.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:52AM (#34356248)

    'It's concentrating solely on the U.S.'

    Perhaps it's because the US is the only country with 2 wars going on right now, 1 of them illegal according to UN, together with the torturing, illegal renditions, concentration camps, illegal wiretaps etc, etc, it's a juicy field for whistle-blowers.

    I don't know what the fuss is about this, years ago we heard that Canadian officials referring to Dubya as 'the moron', are they afraid they'll be snubbed if some diplomats called Sarkozy 'the midget' or something similar embarrassing?

    Just fire some scapegoats and everything will be fine.
    Perhaps the language of the diplomatic cables will even improve.
    Everybody wins.

  • Re:I Dunno (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:22AM (#34356494)

    Think World Wars
    Think Great Grandpa Bush
    Think Federal Reserve Act 1931
    Think TSA, Michael Chertoff, nude scans
    Think Black Ops
    Think Soviet invasion, Mujahideen, Taliban and Osama
    Think support to brutal Saudi monarchs
    Think Viet Nam
    Think Iraq WMDs
    Think Diebold ATMs
    Think Cold War
    Think JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King
    Think Watergate
    Think Bailout package
    Think military aid to Pakistan
    Think AQ Khan
    Think Panama, Columbia, Noriega, Somalia, Darfur, Ethiopia
    Think Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia
    Think Bush-Bin Laden family friendship

    Franco-Prussian War is the only thing you can think of?

  • by mSparks43 (757109) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:49AM (#34356560) Homepage Journal

    Care to back that up with even one article where they are critical of the Royals?
    You do know the UK, Canada, AUS etc are a monarchy under one head of state?
    It always amazes me how few people realise the "British Army", the "Australian Army" etc are all her majesties services.
    Heres to hoping the British Monarchy ends with Elizabeth.

  • by mpe (36238) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:18AM (#34356792)
    The issue we have now is that we cannot trust the government to properly classify reports and cables.

    Governments have not suddenly become untrustworthy. Nor are they only untrustworthy in this respect. The basic problem is that too many people view governments and government officials as being trustworthy until proved (to a very high standard) otherwise. Whereas it would make considerably more sense to view all governments and government officials as untrustworthy until proven otherwise.

    Many things are left unlawfully classified in order to cover up embarrassing events.

    This is the norm for any government in recorded history.

    In general I agree that there are instances when sensitive information needs to remain secret, but it is clear in my mind that our government has not applied the necessary level of discretion in their classifications to warrant unquestioned trust.

    Anyone who thinks that there should be "unquestioned trust" in any human institution is so foolish that at the very least they should have the legal status of an infant. Such a level of trust is only ever appropriate for the highly religious to apply to omnipotent beings.
  • by BeanThere (28381) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:21AM (#34357130)

    Respectfully, Wikileaks simply does the kind of job that used to be performed by guys like Woodward and Bernstein back in the days when the word "journalism" still meant something and newspapers did that job.

    Leaks are not new. Government's dirty secrets were leaking with regularity long before the Internet existed. Guys like Julian Assange are just filling a gap that newspapers created when they collectively decided to stop doing journalism.

    There is no failure of "private enterprise"; The Washington Post was a "private enterprise" when they exposed Nixon's administration, and the Internet is mostly run and built by "private enterprise", moreover, "private enterprise" isn't trying to cover up these leaks, GOVERNMENTS are, I don't see how you make the leap from that to "private enterprise". If anything the 'ordinary folk' that run private enterprises are just as interested in seeing government's dirty secrets exposed, not least of the reasons being that private enterprise requires accurate information on what's happening in the world to make sound business decisions.

  • by sirambrose (919153) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:28AM (#34357142)

    I'm not sure that foreign intelligence agencies do have all this information. I would imagine it is much easier to find a whistleblower who will release classified information to the public than it is to find a person who will betray their country by giving information to the kgb. The whistleblower believes that he is serving his country, not betraying it. People are probably more willing to risk life in prison for a good cause than for $100,000 from the kgb. In addition, actually spending the money from the kgb would draw attention to the leaker and increase the chances of being caught.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:31AM (#34357148) Journal
    Bottom line is, we don't know what material Wikileaks gets sent that is Russia-focused, we don't know what people they have on staff that are qualified to read and verify Russian material or whether Russians are generally aware of Wikileaks or have other sources they tend to use for this or what. All we do know is that whenever Wikileaks looks like they might be about to publish material embarrasing to the US, there are people who immediately start posting online trying to divert the matter into whether Julian Assange has a big ego or not. Do we really care? I suppose if you don't want people to focus on the material itself then you might, but the rest of us don't know him, probably never will, so let the trolls starve, I say.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:42AM (#34357484) Journal

    In China this would be pointless because why would the government care what their people thought?

    The Chinese government cares a lot about what their people think, that's why they have a lot of censorship. The Chinese government is well aware of history and of what happened to previous Chinese governments. Piss off too many (e.g. the peasants) and you die.

    FWIW, a lot of the Chinese people support their own government (just look at the patriots out in full force during the Olympics).

    Why?
    1) The censorship and brainwashing. Control what people see and that affects what they think, and that's how you keep them supporting you.
    2) Because there have actually been significant positive changes. Railways and highways have been built, many of the poor have benefited from those. Sure there's lots of bad stuff happening, but they can just look at a lot of other countries and go "We're doing better" or "we're doing pretty good given the hand we've been dealt".
    3) They can see that at least some parts of the Government are trying to improve things for China, and not just a corrupt few. They're in the process of building very many nuclear reactors so that they don't have to burn so much coal and have so much pollution.

    As for accountability: a number of high ranking officials actually get executed for corruption or screwing up big time[1]. Sure maybe at the very top there are untouchables, but is it really so different in the US or other countries? And how high up is this US guy anyway: http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20101104/NEWS/101109939/1078&ParentProfile=1062 [vaildaily.com]
    They're possibly even slightly afraid of the people, they abolished the agricultural tax: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-03/06/content_422126.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/1274.html [taxfoundation.org]

    It's not that rosy, there are lots of problems and it could fall apart: http://www.china.org.cn/china/2010-01/21/content_19282590.htm [china.org.cn]
    That "houses are way too expensive" problem does exist in many other countries too though.

    You can see that many of the Chinese leaders are trying though. Wish my Government (in Malaysia) was even trying to improve the country- so far they've been doing a lot of stupid/bad things. The guy at the top says lots of nice stuff, but so far it's just been talk, whereas his underlings say and do pretty bad stuff.

    [1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/09/AR2007070900689_pf.html [washingtonpost.com]
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10535226 [bbc.co.uk]
    http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-87512.html [newkerala.com]

  • by BeanThere (28381) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:41AM (#34357710)

    Maybe. A lot of stories were also put on ice when the government visited an editor or publisher and asked real nice.

    Sure, yes. Still happens. Governments and private entities have always and will both continue to practice corruption and in probably most cases will continue to successfully get away with it and cover it up or prevent things from leaking. This hasn't changed. What we see exposed is the tip of the iceberg, always has been, probably always will, but that doesn't mean it isn't crucial to keep exposing that tip. But people have always worked to expose that tip. The question is whether or not the overall percentage of corrupt behavior that gets exposed has increased thanks to the Internet; I take the more pessimistic or perhaps realistic view that that percentage has not changed significantly, massive amounts of corrupt and disgusting behavior continues unabated.

    And yes, there is a huge failure of "private enterprise". That's why the US in a short 30 years, has become a second-rate nation. Because of the power moving into the hands of "private enterprise".

    This isn't really true (unless by "private enterprise" you mean "crony businesses", which I do not count as "private enterprises" since they have nothing to do with the system of private enterprise and do not resemble the system of private enterprise). The last 30 years has in fact seen the bulk of the power shift to the state, and mostly the federal state in the US. MOST private enterprises have in fact been every bit as much victim of this as the man on the street. You think private businesses like it when they shrink and have to lay off employees? I don't think so. Yet the whole fiscal and monetary system is designed specifically to drain private enterprises and individuals of their money and feed the money to the state. Over-regulation and the ongoing massive deficit and rising national debt are the things driving the US down.

  • by horza (87255) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:29PM (#34358474) Homepage

    The US government didn't seem to have a problem with AT&T providing mass surveillance for the NSA either.

    Phillip.

  • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:38AM (#34363146)
    So your saying that we should let the government censor anything they like and even be an active participant in that censorship so they won't need to pass censorship laws?

    Seriously?

    I think there is a job opening in the ministry of truth for you.

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