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

    • by Threni (635302) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:28PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Haeleth (414428)

        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

        • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:17PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          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.

          You know, there's oppressive nations and then there's oppressive nations.

          If Assange decided he wouldn't leak any documents from countries that don't have oppressed populations, it would make for a very short list.

          You let me know which country's hands are clean, and I'll personally send Assange a notes asking that he leave them alone.

          It's interesting t

          • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @12:09AM (#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 DWMorse (1816016) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:29PM (#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 IDrinkBatUrine (1948240) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:03PM (#34354242)
        Such as the video they labeled "Collateral Murder"?
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:10PM (#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 Ex-MislTech (557759) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:39PM (#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.

  • I Dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:25PM (#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 Haedrian (1676506) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:27PM (#34353904)
    Hello Censorship, my old friend,

    You used to be suppressed by Free Media. But now I think you're needed again. People shouldn't know everything - especially if the truth will hurt them. In fact, people knowing things is stopping us from doing whatever we want - without any bad reprecussions.

    Lots of Love

    Me.
  • by guanxi (216397) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:28PM (#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 Microlith (54737) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:37PM (#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 Jafafa Hots (580169) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:01PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sirambrose (919153)

        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 fro

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:34PM (#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 MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:39PM (#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 0123456 (636235) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:45PM (#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."

  • by helbent (1244274) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:35PM (#34353970)
    Don't want to end up red-faced?

    Then don't engage in pointless wars started over lies. It's that simple.
  • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:49PM (#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 Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:10PM (#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 poity (465672) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:51PM (#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 Computershack (1143409) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:54PM (#34354154)

    The elected officials who are about to be embarrassed are in for one hell of a shitstorm from those who elected them. I bet they're going to be pissed to find out that the reason so much of the world hates US is because of the fucked up way they've been supposedly "representing the American people".

    This may be a good thing for the people of the USA. Hopefully they'll remember what The Constitution and Bill of Rights is about, start letting the govt know who is boss and what they've done "in the name of the American people" is not acceptable and hopefully getting rid of the arseholes who are responsible for turning world opinion against what was once universally regarded as a great nation.

    And hopefully our government in Britain will get to realise they've been fucked over for the last decade and start growing some fucking balls in regards to the so called "special relationship".

  • I dunno ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:57PM (#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.
  • Streisand (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:54PM (#34354664) Homepage Journal

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

  • by epine (68316) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:21PM (#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 NiceGeek (126629) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:22PM (#34355308)

    Governments have been making secret diplomatic deals as long as there have been governments. I've very amused by the fact that everyone thinks this is somehow a novel concept.

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:28PM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by horza (87255)

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

      Phillip.

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