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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 santax (1541065) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:26PM (#34353898)
    That's insane... What is there to hide people? One thing is for certain... We - the people - need this information. Maybe now it will become clear to anyone what sort of 'friend' the US really is. (For your US-dotters, I - like a lot of people - truly hate your politics. But, I like the regular American Joes and Janes... So don't take it personally. Not even if you have mod points.)
  • by santax (1541065) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:30PM (#34353932)
    Yeah a true friend... That's why they threaten countries that are not willing to go into illegal wars that are over oil. The USA is no ally, the USA uses countries. And when they are done with them, when there is nothing more to gain. They say: fuck you. If the US was such a good friendly country, how come they didn't sign the The Hague treaty? All it says is that warcrimes are punishable. The US is the only country with Israel that hasn't sigend... Sjee I wonder how that came.
  • by santax (1541065) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:54PM (#34354158)
    Buddy you can look up the facts too. They books written over it, history books. It's quite well documented. This has nothing to do with gods truth but with facts that are very well documented.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:59PM (#34354204) Journal

    I'm not as religious as I used to be, but I couldn't help but be reminded of some Bible verses:

    "God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" Ecclesiastes 12:14 (New International Version)

    "On the day of judgment, men will render account for every careless word they utter." Matthew 12:36 (Revised Standard Version)

    "Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known." Luke 12:2

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:10PM (#34354302) Journal

    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.

    I'll be very interested to see how the BBC and Channel 4 handle this one, actually. Despite what many seem to think, the BBC are not 'state run' in the sense that the state has any say in their editorial process, and they are perfectly happy being pretty brutally critical of the government. They even make quite admirably even-handed (IMO) coverage of issues that portray the BBC themselves in a bad light.

    That said, both organisations pretty much always obey voluntary blackouts. The difference is, those are usually temporary and for a well defined reason related to the direct safety of individuals (modern examples include the military deployments prince Harry while he was on active duty, and the movements of two civilians recently released by Somali pirates). This seems more like nebulous and indeterminate censorship for political reasons - the BBC are already quite publicly discussing the existence of the leak, and it will be interesting to see how far they go in discussing its specifics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:16PM (#34354856)

    Wikileaks used to feature [archive.org] leaks from all over the world, big and small. Truth and transparency for their own sake motivated the organization. In this capacity, Wikileaks might have been a force for good.

    But a few years ago, Julian Assange (who is as autocratic as the rumors indicate) and his ilk abandoned [wired.com] the original goals of the organization to wage a political war against the United States. Wikileaks launched a massive fundraising effort, then started to ignore documents from the general public. Most telling is that the operators let the submission system stay broken for months at a time: if your leak doesn't harm the United States, Wikileaks isn't interested.

    Today's Wikileaks uses methods that the old Wikileaks would have found deplorable: these include a strict internal hierarchy, deceptive video editing, spin-heavy public statements, marketing-driven timing, purity tests, and blackmail [erictric.com]. Whereas idealism drove the old Wikileaks, every action taken by its present incarnation is informed by malice aforethought. It's no longer about the truth. Now, it's a vendetta.

    Speaking as someone who was formerly involved with the organization, I cannot support today's Wikileaks or its leadership. They've been captured by their vanity and pride [activism.net][1] and as far as I'm concerned, they can hang, then burn.

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

    [1] That some prominent members [twitter.com] of the organization consider [bit.ly] this wretched document the "obvious truth" illuminates their mindset.

  • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:25PM (#34354938) Homepage

    > Or maybe people in those countries don't send Wikileaks stuff to publish?

    Who says they haven't? There's no reason the leakers of the US info had to be American.

    Is it possible that perhaps a state actor with an extremely high level of technical espionage capability and whose massive and on-going exercise of that capability (read: cyber-attacks) against the US, might lead to the bulk capture of such material? Is it possible that having gained access to such material, they might forward it to WL through a US front?

    Personally, I think its far more plausible than that some mid-ranking US officer had access to the sheer volume of diplomatic cables that is being published here.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:34PM (#34355012) Journal

    "What good would it do the citizens of either nation to have these observations broadcast for the world to see? "

    Absolutely. Using your example it is clear that the US has chosen an ambassador with no respect for the Prime Minister. Without this leak that would result in years of subtle damage to relations. With the leak there is a new Ambassador who may deal with the UK with appropriate respect. And... it might prompt the Brits to take a second critical look at their PM and if he is an idiot hopefully he won't be re-elected next term.

  • by epine (68316) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:21PM (#34355298)

    From the poison pen of xmas past.

    Colby Cosh: Some apparently unwelcome candour on Canada [nationalpost.com]

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio4/transcripts/Lord-Moran.pdf [bbc.co.uk]

    As a Canadian with a reasonably good recollection of 1984, all I can say is "ouch" and "damn straight". I've lived in five provinces (BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia). He has a point about the fetish in Toronto/Ottawa for loading the international penis ruler onto their iPhones. It's a bit of a culture shock for a Canadian to show up in Toronto and discover other Canadians taking themselves seriously.

    Back when I was in eastern Canada, there was a lot of talk about changing the rules to allow mergers among our five large banks, so that bankers in Toronto could have bigger international wieners, and then after the party, collect state welfare like the big American banks they so bitterly envied.

    On the flip side, Toronto does have a kick ass film festival, so I didn't totally feel like I was living in a foreign country.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:10PM (#34355538)

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

    You jest in grammar. But, as I recall a lot of people thinking that he had deliberately displayed that document.

    The first odd thing was that he was walking into the building using the very public front entrance used almost exclusively for photo-ops.
    The second odd thing was that the document's cover sheet was removed - anyone who has ever seen a classified document knows they have cover sheets to officially label them and prevent accidental disclosure.
    The third odd thing was that the event was used to justify pulling in the timetable on a bunch of terrorism raids (the document was apparently part of the investigation) - it's pure speculation but perhaps there had been hesitation on making the raids and this event was a internal political move to force someone's hand. I haven't been able to find out what success, if any, there has been with respect to prosecuting the people raided (even then, the standard of evidence in the UK (and the USA) for such things has been lowered to such a point of ridiculousness that a successful prosecution isn't as meaningful as it once was)

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:22PM (#34355618)

    So your point is that what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is not war? I agree that a was should be declared by congress as per constitution but we are where we are and without doubt we are in a war. We are not talking about nebulous concepts here like "war on terror" but actual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which is what the documents in question are about.

    You were talking about a charge of "high treason", which is a legal concept, so I responded with the legal concept of "war". You can't cherry pick whatever you want, colloquial definitions or legal ones at your whim, unless of course the "legality" of things is just an excuse for a lynch-mob (which admittedly looks like the state of affairs in the US these days).

    So in common-sense way, the US is waging wars: one inexcusable war of conquest in the guise of pursing 100 or so members of Al-Queda and the other inexcusable war of conquest where the aggression was "justified" by fabricated out of whole cloth "intelligence". Under such conditions, since these activities are so contrary to the US Constitution in both letter and spirit, it would seem reasonable that an act of sabotage of these wars would actually be something true "patriots" would do, not "traitors"...

    The reason government labels thing a 'secret' that it shouldn't is the same a reason why TSA forbids printer cartridges when a bomb is found in one (while ignoring a million other similar sized things that the same bomb could be put in): bureaucratic incompetence. What is foremost in their mind is not a conspiracy to turn USA into a police state but a fear of losing their jobs in case another bomb in a printer cartridge actually explodes and the media finger pointing frenzy gets under way. It is safer to reveal far too little information than even a little bit too much.

    And what you are missing here is that bureaucratic ass-covering was the grease on which both the Nazi Germany and the USSR run. Many of these bureaurats are also authoritarians and some are downright evil people who do actively conspire to deprive the regular citizens of their freedoms, but do so (like most of the Nazis) in a delusional belief that they are doing it for the populace's own good (its just that peons are too dumb to help themselves and it is up to these "professionals" to take care of things).

    That is one of the main foundations upon which fascism was constructed, or did you really believe that the entire Nazi apparatus in a country as large as Germany was composed of just leather-clad psychopaths? Or did you suppose that an entity the size of USSR was choke-full of ego-maniacal "leaders"? Incompetent, ass-covering bureaucracy accounted for something like 80% of the "success" of both.

    That's just ranting. The enemy is defined as jihadist forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere who know how to download useful information off the internet and use it against us.

    Bullshit. The "jihadist" forces are only mildly amused by this data because it does not pertain to operational activities that can be exploited and when it does the locals have much better picture of the situation than the bureaucratic reports can paint. Even the Pentagon was forced to admit that no Afghani informers were compromised due to the last round of leaks.

    It is even worse for the diplomatic cables where the damage is wholly the product of arrogance and superiority complex of the US "diplomatic" staff and any idea of "exploitation" by the jihadists is laughable. Most jihadis in Afghanistan are unlikely to know what a "diplomatic cable" is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:38PM (#34355680)

    What's the drivel the Government loves to keep telling us ?

    " As far as privacy is concerned, you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. "

    The game isn't nearly as fun when you don't get to exempt yourself from the rules now is it ?

    It is rather sad we have to rely on organizations such as Wikileaks to provide some transparency and truth in how our government really operates. The reality being the US government being just as seedy and full of liars and corruption as those we like to dismiss as second rate countries. Apparently we just have a better PR rep than they do :/

  • by keeboo (724305) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:00AM (#34355802)

    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.

    Uh... Question here:
    Is Wikileaks able to properly process documents written in a language other than English?

  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:03AM (#34355818)
    Remember the BBC took a pretty bad hammering when they ridiculed the lie about Saddam being capable of bombing London in minutes, and that was from the party that thinks the BBC should have a right to exist. The UK government can (and has) hurt the BBC badly.
  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:28AM (#34355944)
    When Scott McNeally of SUN told the public "You have no privacy, get over it!" our politicians didn't give a damn. When Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the public not to do anything they wouldn't like the world to know, politicians were similarly uninterested. Well now the shoe is on the other foot. The dirty deeds of the US and UK governments come to life, and all of a sudden they care about privacy... *their* privacy... not ours. Screw them. We're the public. We pay for the government. We're entitled to know what it's up to. More often than not 'National Security' is just a smokescreen for covering up incompetence and law breaking by government fat cats and politicians.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:41AM (#34356002) Homepage Journal
    If you want to leak in Russia, Iran or China you go to the CIA, Israel or MI6 ect. and work out a deal.
    Anything less than that ... game over.
    Leak about the US doing evil and you do have the protection of the legal system. In open court your defence team will have your leaks confirmed as true and can then call experts.
    The press sit up and facts about methods, wars, funding, drugs, weapons, listening stations, taps, death squads, death lists, legal advice on going to war .... are in the open.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @01:52AM (#34356250) Journal

    Not really, parts of the truth can paint a picture entirely different then the whole truth.

    That much is true, and therefore releasing part of the truth invites the potentially negatively affected party to release the rest of it (or at least as much as they need to repair their image), which means more truth released overall. Which is a good thing.

    And timing the release to impact certain events can have a far more negative consequence then the documents on their own might at any other given time.

    Also true, but not really relevant to the usefulness of leaked information.

    IT might even have consequences that cost human lives.

    It might, but this is a fallacious argument in general, since it's exactly the one used by totalitarian regimes historically to justify any oppressive measures and crackdowns - "The enemies are out there! The dissidents are conspiring to destroy our society and kill us all! They must be silenced before their treacherous lies subvert our cause!".

    So, in any particular case, you have to actually look at the cost/benefit of releasing such documents. Of particular interest is what damage was made by making them secret in the first place (thereby affecting public opinion etc). You also have to look at the benefit of teaching a lesson to those who would perpetrate crimes, thinking that evidence is secured away, and then seeing it subjected to public scrutiny to their horror - which would hopefully mean less such crimes in the future.

    Overall, I'm not aware of any leak coming from WL where the cost/benefit ratio (in my subjective opinion, of course) was not advantageous for release.

    Or did you not think about it and just believe they are the good guys no matter what happens?

    I don't believe that WikiLeaks are the "good guys". They can knowingly be on al-Qaeda and DPRK payroll simultaneously for all I care. What matters is whether they deliver factual information. Similarly, any other party is also invited to deliver such information. If CIA wants to set up a WL-like front org to "leak" interesting stuff on China, Iran or Russia, they're more than welcome to do so as well. As a Russian citizen, I would of course be particularly interested in any stuff on my country (though there has already been plenty of "bombs" from elsewhere - but, alas, they do not have effect of the same magnitude in an authoritarian, sham-democracy society).

  • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @02:44AM (#34356400) Homepage Journal

    The USA is like an abusive uncle, and extremely brutal one at times.... and anybody who minds her secrets being revealed is not a human being in my books. How's that for a balanced outlook? Why would I care about the "friends" of an utter non-entity? It's not like there hadn't been an easy way out of this: coming clean voluntarily.

    This isn't about "revealing secrets", this is about a cocaine crazed rapist wearing huge hats with fruit on it taking a fucking look in the mirror. Only when that doesn't happen voluntarily do ugly scenes occur and third parties get hurt. So.... boo-fucking-hoo? Any power addicts resenting that should be next. It's really that simple. Turkey can cry me a river and then drown in it. Pah.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:11AM (#34356624)

    Julian Assange does not have an intelligence operation. He publishes leaks provided by third parties. In fact, it is likely that those third parties include not only individuals but also foreign intelligence agencies.

  • Re:The last release (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martyros (588782) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:06AM (#34357232)

    I've watched the video and it clearly shows acts that break international law.

    Look at the snippet on the video on this site [mypetjawa.mu.nu]. (Please ignore the offensive domain name, I haven't found this video snippet posted elsewhere.) The guy there is clearly carrying an RPG, which is exactly what the trained soldier in the video said he saw before escalating the situation. It's a shame that the photographers got shot up, but they took that risk walking around in the open with people carrying RPGs.

    I've had people come back and say it was a piece of photographic equipment. I was in the military, and my wife is a professional photographer. We both agree, that it looks and hangs and swings exactly like a weapon; and it doesn't look like any piece of photographic equipment we've ever seen.

    To mods: This is not a troll, this is exposing an important piece of information which contradicts commonly held beliefs.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:13AM (#34357384) Homepage Journal

    You do understand, sumdumass, that "confirmation bias" is an evolutionary adaptation, and a very important one.

    Or maybe you dropped that community college philosophy class before the professor actually explained the value of "confirmation bias".

    You've used this little bit of theater before when you don't have sufficient energy to actually disagree with someone. It's a punk move.

    Please remember, I was replying to an Anonymous Coward who was spreading anonymous FUD and making specific charges against the wikileaks community that were unsubstantiated. Excuse me, where does "actual evidence" fit into your understanding of "confirmation bias".

  • Reality (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @11:15AM (#34357822)

    To the frields and family of the human being killed (and of course that human being himself), collateral damage IS murder. A soldier doesn't aim and shoot accidentally. He aims and shoots quite consciously, and at that point, it hardly matters whether he was "100% sure" he was aiming at the right person.

    Consider the case where a gang member points and shoots deliberately during a turf war, kills an innocent, and then later claims "I was sure he was the enemy, so you can't really blame me". Bullshit -- that's first degree murder.

  • by gnola14 (1764100) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @02:03PM (#34358744)

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

    Oh, please! Don't be so naïve to think that they're not going to try censor it anyway.

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