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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack 870

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-timing dept.
wiredmikey writes "WikiLeaks has reported that its Web site is currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack. The attack comes around the time of an expected release of classified State Department documents, which the Obama administration says will put 'countless' lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies."
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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack

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  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:46PM (#34366200) Homepage Journal

    which the Obama administration says will put 'countless' lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies

    They said the Iraq war documents would put people at risk, too. They didn't, though, and the administration was forced to admit that after the release. Seems to me that Wikileaks, whatever their other merits or lack thereof, have been pretty responsible about how they handle this stuff thus far.

    I'm less concerned with these leaks than I am with the day to day constitutional trampling the feds do, using all three branches of the government to leverage their oath-breaking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:48PM (#34366222)

    It's always a possibility that they're doing it themselves/hired people to do it in order to drum up business. I mean, Assange loves playing the victim card all the time - it's not much of a stretch to imagine WikiLeaks DDOSing themselves just for the publicity.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:49PM (#34366240)
    I have glanced at a few of the documents on The Guardian [guardian.co.uk], and I can categorically say that these documents should not have been released. This should a huge level of irresponsibility on the part of WikiLeaks for releasing the entire database rather than incriminating files. The files are all SECRET rather than TOP SECRET, but there are very sensitive official files in here that have no business seeing the light of day within their classification timeframe, such as HUMINT documents.

    Several years ago I supported WikiLeaks and what they stood for, even donating, but after this latest continuation of their anti-American campaign I cannot support them any longer. These documents are far too strategically damaging to the U.S. and its public/not-so-public allies to have been revealed in bulk.

    Keep in mind that the only source of information regarding the alleged DDOS is the Wikileaks Twitter page. Wikileaks also went down the last times they released this information.
  • Publicity stunt? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Corbets (169101) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:49PM (#34366250) Homepage

    It seems highly unlikely that the US government would do something like this. A DoS attack is temporary, and only calls attention to Wikileaks. It seems to me that two other options are more plausible:

    1) Self-proclaimed patriots doing a little wannabe-vigilantiasm.
    2) Mr. "Personality" Assange has arranged for a publicity stunt. After all, if he can make it look like the big bad US is trying to stop him, and he still manages to leak the data, he can further his self-promotion as a hero.

    I guess time will tell, though.

  • RT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:50PM (#34366266)

    DavidWaldock David Waldock
    Dear government: as you keep telling us, if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear #wikileaks

    Thought it was worth sharing.

  • by devbox (1919724) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:51PM (#34366272)
    So just because this time the information is damaging to US it should not had been released? Why is it worse than when the information is about Russia, Iraq, China or other supposedly "bad" countries?
  • by thehostiles (1659283) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:51PM (#34366278)

    Simply labeling something as "Anti American" won't get you any credit or support on the slashdot community.

    I strongly suggest you find better arguments for your position.

  • Re:Secrecy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadTinfoilHatter (940931) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:51PM (#34366286)

    Whatever happened to justice against people who commit (war) crimes?

    That "justice" only ever existed for the war criminals on the losing side. Silly.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:54PM (#34366310)
    The Iraq and Afghan dumps were only "a little harmful" and barely worthy of classification. These cables, on the other hand, are strategically damaging the U.S., its interests, and its allies. Wikileaks should be exposing corruption, wrongdoing, and illegality. It shouldn't take what appears to all outside observers as a vendetta against the U.S.
  • by Whammy666 (589169) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:54PM (#34366320) Homepage
    The leaks are not the problem. The root of the problem is the hypocritical policies and unsavory conduct that the leaks are exposing. The best way to keep your dirty laundry from being aired is to not engage in dirty conduct in the first place.
  • by mseeger (40923) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#34366324)

    IMHO Wikileak is taking the easy way. Taking secrets of the US is like shooting fish in a barrel. You get their secrets easier than with other countries and you run lower risks: you don't have to check your tea for Polonium every day.

  • by KliX (164895) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#34366326)

    You'd have to be borderline retarded to think it was a publicity stunt. It's pissed off american teenagers, simple as that.

  • by durrr (1316311) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:56PM (#34366338)
    I say they are right in being released. It shows what the 'private' core of politics really stands for. Deception, supression, paranoia and intent to manipulate everything as much as possible.
    Sure, it erodes the level of trust in politics and goverment, but they deserve no less, they should've never been allowed to be the closed club of friends they are while enjoying even the rather shabby trust of the people they recive today.

    This reveals how bad it have become, should we hide it all and let it get even worse? In my opinion it's better to expose the flaws before the bridge collapse, even if doing so would result in said bridge being demolished.
  • Oh please. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:57PM (#34366346)

    Aside from the Arabs pressing for the attack of Iran, nothing there was of any news to me.

    Everyone knows that embassies are used for espionage, the Royal family is up to shenanigans? No, really?!? The Russian gov has links to organized crime?! *Gasp!*

    Oh, please, This leak is going to be one big let down.

    If anyone finds most of the leak a surprise, I would suggest you stop getting all of your news from US sources.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:57PM (#34366350)

    Congratulations, AGENT-KAGURA on your successful work in the cyberspace battlefront managing this latest "event." Your work will not go unnoticed by the Overseer. 2MWPQB56

  • by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:58PM (#34366362)
    Bradley Manning, the disgruntled private who was demoted from the rank of Sergeant prior to leaking this information, should be given the harshest penalty possible (excessive prison sentence) for the sole purpose of discouraging this type of behavior in the future. An honest whistle-blower who reveals true wrongdoing will lose their job when found out, but they won't be prosecuted for releasing the information. However, deciding to release all classified information you can get your hands on is not whistle-blowing. It is nothing short of displaying a reckless disregard for any consequences.
  • Re:Oh please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:00PM (#34366386)

    "Aside from the Arabs pressing for the attack of Iran, nothing there was of any news to me."

    Ditto. And even that wasn't terribly surprising.

    The real surprise is that any of these things are marked as 'SECRET, NO FOREIGNERS' when most of the foreigners already know them because, duh, they live in these countries. I'm sure that no Russian thinks that their government is linked to organised crime and every Briton believes their military is doing a great job in Afghanistan... oh, hang on.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:00PM (#34366396) Homepage

    Sigh, do we have to point out every single time that Wikileaks is _not_ an investigative organization, but merely posts what is sent to them while protecting the source, and that maybe they just get more data from US than from $COUNTRY?

  • by M. Baranczak (726671) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:01PM (#34366410)

    Quoth the BBC: [bbc.co.uk]

    The UK Ministry of Defence has urged newspaper editors to "bear in mind" the national security implications of publishing the information.

    You can make a plausible case that the leaks will put lives at risk. But warning the media about publishing excerpts after the stuff is already made public? That's got fuck all to do with national security, that's politicians worrying about public relations.

  • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:02PM (#34366422) Journal

    so patriotism wins over the truth?

  • by onionman (975962) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:08PM (#34366474)

    Bradley Manning, the disgruntled private who was demoted from the rank of Sergeant prior to leaking this information, should be given the harshest penalty possible (excessive prison sentence) for the sole purpose of discouraging this type of behavior in the future. An honest whistle-blower who reveals true wrongdoing will lose their job when found out, but they won't be prosecuted for releasing the information. However, deciding to release all classified information you can get your hands on is not whistle-blowing. It is nothing short of displaying a reckless disregard for any consequences.

    I agree completely, and I hope your post gets modded up to make this discussion more visible. What Pfc Manning did was not whistle-blowing; it was a vindictive response to his own demotion. He took it upon himself to endanger numerous people just to satisfy his own ego, and he probably didn't think through the full ramifications of his actions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:11PM (#34366508)

    You are so full of yourself. Governments around the world do illegal things and get pissed off when they are found out. It's too bad this poor individual has to pay the price. These documents are only embarrassing because the actions they reveal are an embarrassment.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:19PM (#34366580) Homepage

    However I draw the line at releasing documents that are the politicians equivalent of a drunken conversation at a frat party.

    I don't. The fact that politicians frequently behave like drunken frat boys should be highlighted at every opportunity.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:23PM (#34366626)

    I wasn't sure what to expect - but it sure seems like the sole purpose of this release was to embarrass the United States. I don't see anything that is particularly beneficial to the public here - and isn't that purportedly why WikiLeaks exists? This seems more along the lines of Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend publicizing his sex tapes.

    Maybe it's not a vendetta, even if it looks like one though. WikiLeaks hasn't really lived up to its promise, all in all. I suspect this may be no more than Assange trying to fend off irrelevancy.

  • Sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Burnhard (1031106) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:26PM (#34366648)
    Is it an actual attack, or have they just given the entire world a heads-up that they're going to release some sensational information and so have far more traffic than their servers can handle?
  • by qmaqdk (522323) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:27PM (#34366662)

    I don't think an official document telling the US diplomats to "obtain not just information from the people they meet, but personal details, such as frequent flyer numbers, credit card details and even DNA material" counts as a drunken conversation at a frat party.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:28PM (#34366668) Homepage Journal

    They do. If you read any of them, you'd realize that they put out the names of civilians who act as informants. I'm sure that doesn't put anyone at risk, nope none at all.

    Does BOMBING THE SHIT OUT OF CIVILIANS put them at risk, asshole?

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:29PM (#34366686) Homepage Journal

    You keep talking about "our agents."

    Wikileaks does not have agents. Wikileaks is NOT pro-US, or anti-US.

    Basically your complaint is that Wikileaks is not taking your side. You have bought into the position that "we are on the side of good." Maybe "we" are, maybe not.

    But you cannot expect a TRULY neutral party to decide that one nation deserves its protect and support and their help keeping its secrets, and another doesn't merit it.

    You would not complain if Wikileaks disseminated documents from North Korea, or Iran, or wherever else, if they got them - and Wikileaks WOULD release those.

    Wikileaks owes your side nor any other side no loyalty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:29PM (#34366690)

    That guy did not work alone or among machines, if there were problems this serious, then they should have been spotted and solved long ago. And how the hell did a private get access to those documents?

    It seems there are much more serious problems in the US Army than one disgruntled soldier.

  • by theVarangian (1948970) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:31PM (#34366712)

    Wikileaks should be exposing corruption...

    That is exactly what these documents allegedly contain. US diplomatic reports of corruption and other shenanigans in practically every country where the USA has an embassy. This is only damaging to the US because it can't keep a lid on other people dirty laundry it's the people who own the dirty laundry that will be most affected.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:34PM (#34366750)
    I'm not neutral. I enjoy the U.S. strategic superiority over North Korea and other nations who would like to have ultimate strategic superiority over us. Wikileaks did not do an overall public good by releasing today's documents.
  • by dbraden (214956) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:35PM (#34366764)

    On the surface that sounds great, however, it's a bit naive. It's kind of like saying, "If you don't want someone to steal your bank account info, you shouldn't have a bank account in the first place."

    Just because you want something kept private, doesn't mean it's something dirty.

    I'm not saying that there wasn't/isn't unsavory conduct going on, I'm only pointing out that there are many legitimate reasons for wanting to keep something private.

  • by capnkr (1153623) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:37PM (#34366786)
    It is not only damaging to the US; you should take off your blinders and RTFA.

    Example: You will read, just like Iran (and, of course, Muslim fundies that support them) will, about Saudi and other Gulf states calling for the US (or whomever) to do whatever it takes to erase the Iranian nuclear weapons threat.

    The short term result? Increased destabilization of an area of the world that really, really does not need that. Slightly longer term - war, quickened by this release. A war that otherwise might have been avoidable, or conducted on more favorable terms to those who don't want Iran to have nukes - which includes parts of Europe that are in range of their missiles, as I recall.

    I hope I am wrong. I have a gut feeling that I'm not.
  • Re: Secrecy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:38PM (#34366804)

    Whatever happened to justice against people who commit (war) crimes?

    Apparently it's not a crime if the President of a superpower authorizes it.

    We've consistently imprisoned people for waterboarding since the Spanish-American war. We convicted Japanese for it after WWII. We convicted our own troops for using it in Viet Nam. And we've even put some civilian law enforcement officers in prison for using it in Texas.

    But suddenly it's OK...

    Bet it wouldn't be OK if someone did it to our troops.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:39PM (#34366812)

    whereas countless Afghanis have been murdered by US drone operators.

  • by SETIGuy (33768) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:42PM (#34366834) Homepage

    You can't publish the names of civilian informants and think it doesn't effect our national security now and ability to recruit future informants.

    How about we don't put the names of civilian informants in documents that can be easily leaked? Even in stupid spy novels they are smart enough to use code names or non-descriptive identifiers in diplomatic cable. Maybe then it would be easier to recruit informants. When recruited to be an informant, I might ask "are you going to transmit my name along with everything I tell you?" If the answer is "Yes" I would tell the recruiters to fuck off.

  • oh fuck off (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:44PM (#34366856) Homepage Journal
    its no problem while a war is being started under false pretenses and millions dying as a result, but, informants' names getting out, while exposing ALL that shit, is beyond reprehensible.

    i have two words for you, as elaborate, eloquent and intellectual as words can be :

    FUCK ... OFF.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:44PM (#34366858)

    I don't understand - a penalty for what? For exposing the truth of the government's action and deceits in a series of wars that a majority of the population did not support?

    A government for the people and by the people cannot exist if the government controls the people by only giving them selective information on what it is doing.

    Manning is a hero. He put his life and career on the line to get out information that could help people understand what their government is involved in.

    Selling lies to its citizens in order to convince them to continue to support the massacres of thousands of people is corruption. Just because those that control public opinion have excused it, doesn't mean its alright.

    If you believe in democracy like our government here in the U.S. professes, then you should stand by those attempting to bring truth to democratic governments. A democracy of a controlled public is not really a democracy.

    Free Manning!

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:44PM (#34366862)

    The Iraq and Afghan dumps were only "a little harmful" and barely worthy of classification. These cables, on the other hand, are strategically damaging the U.S., its interests, and its allies.

    Didn't your daddy ever tell you the story about the little boy who cried 'wolf' ?

  • moron. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:46PM (#34366884) Homepage Journal
    so, its ok with saudi and other gulf states calling the us to erase iranian nuclear weapons threat at ANY cost.

    but its not ok, when this information is released. because, it will 'destabilize' the area.

    yeah. other countries pressurizing others to start a goddamn war, will not destabilize the area. lets just allow them to do that, behind an easy curtain of secrecy.
  • IIIIS IIIIIIIT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:51PM (#34366930) Homepage Journal

    I think the current status quo, Pax Americana, is the least disruptive and most beneficial to all parties involved.

    it only is because fools like you dont know whats going on :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/dictators.html [thirdworldtraveler.com]

    tell that 'peace' to the people whose families were murdered in genocides by 12+ puppet dictators that u.s. installed to propagate that 'pax americana'

    moron.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#34366958) Journal

    As I said on another thread, diplomatic dispatches are supposed to frank and honest assessments. What you're advocating ultimately will lead to the fogging of information as diplomats and their staff begin self-censoring out of fear that Wikileaks will reveal what they said. What Assange and his cronies have done won't make us safer, it will make things more dangerous. Our governments need accurate information, not self-censored tripe.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:55PM (#34366988)
    This reveals how bad it have become

    You don't even understand what you're talking about, do you? Do you even understand the relationship between embassy staff and the executives for which they work, back in their home countries? Do you understand their need to be able to communicate frankly, in private, while important negotiations are taking place? Do you have any idea the appropriate difference in tone in behind the scenese communications about other countries, and the public communication with those countries? You either do, and you're a pathetic troll, or you don't and you're pathetically ignorant. Either way, grow up.
  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:58PM (#34367020) Homepage Journal

    Fine talk from an Anonymous Coward. If you're going to call for somebody's execution, you should at least be willing to put your name behind the call.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:00PM (#34367034)
    The real world is not a Tom Clancy spy novel.
  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:02PM (#34367072)

    Nor waterboarding, warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, "black" prisons/detention facilities, Abu Ghraib, drone targeting of a US citizen, Cheney's still largely hidden secret activities, etc, etc.

    Lots of stuff shouldn't have happened. The more we find out about how our government is behaving itself, the better WE THE PEOPLE can have a chance at reigning in our governments behavior. Way too much really bad stuff has gone down in the name of national security, and I for one am sick and tired of the ruling elite using the cry of national security to get away with everythign from civil rights trampling to outright war crimes. The mroe is released the merrier, the US government has very little credibility left in almost any arena.

  • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:04PM (#34367092) Journal

    So, if these leaks don't show anything of substance, why this hue and cry over Wikileaks and Assange? You can't label him irresponsible and at the same time claim there is nothing in the 'leaks'.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:04PM (#34367102) Homepage Journal

    Rubbish. He should be commended. We have far too little access to information as-is. Anytime someone risks their career and safety to let us see what's going on, it's precious. Bravo to Bradley, we appreciate your sacrifice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:07PM (#34367128)

    Bradley Manning should be given a medal, not a prison sentence. It's brown-nosers like you who help keep the world the bad place it is today.

  • by Teun (17872) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:07PM (#34367136) Homepage
    Per area is a bit nonsensical unless you weigh in the type of vegetation on that area.

    The (vast) majority of CO2 emissions is from human activity and that's what we want to control, per capita because we're all equal.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:09PM (#34367164)

    Bradley Manning, the disgruntled private who was demoted from the rank of Sergeant prior to leaking this information, should be given the harshest penalty possible (excessive prison sentence) for the sole purpose of discouraging this type of behavior in the future.

    Noone should ever be punished more harshly 'as an example', but only on the merits of what they deserve. If you want to send a message, write a letter.

  • by diegocg (1680514) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:10PM (#34367166)

    Lol. It's not like Iran don't know that Arabia Saudi is an USA ally and wants to nuke them. The situation is not going to be worse than already is.

  • ok. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:11PM (#34367194) Homepage Journal
    two wrongs dont make right. so, since exposing wrongdoing, is, well, wrong, lets just allow them to continue as they did. because THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO FIX THIS EXCEPT BY EXPOSING IT.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:14PM (#34367212)

    Anti American is good enough for me!

    It's time to take out that asshole.

    Is that you, Senator McCarthy?

  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#34367250)

    how do you know lives haven't been put at risk? Are you privy to the vast intelligence network of people who keep you safe everyday?

    Apparently anyone who reads wikileaks is privy to this information.

  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#34367318) Homepage

    Me and my wife are not elected to work in your interest. That's a big difference.

  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#34367322)
    Leaking gossip seems to me to be rather less likely to destabilise a region than unmanned drones killing women and children as by product of collateral damage.
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#34367326) Journal
    Yes. "Killing" is more accurate.
  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:24PM (#34367342) Homepage

    To quote "The Fifth Elephant" from Terry Pratchett: "Diplomat is another word for spy." What are you thinking diplomats are doing during their time?

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:31PM (#34367428)

    It's too bad you don't realize that you're not defending what america stands for, only the organization that pretends to: the US government.

  • by gtbritishskull (1435843) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:31PM (#34367430)
    In the US? Of course it does. We aren't constrained by those annoying little "facts".
  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:33PM (#34367448) Homepage Journal
    there are no 'secrets' or 'treason' in exposing wrongdoings of a government that goes against a country's founding ideals and constitution.

    period.

    traitors are those who call for continuance of that kind of violation, under ANY justification. like you. you betray your country's founding ideals.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:34PM (#34367452) Homepage Journal
    yes. they should be able to communicate frankly while engaging in filthy stuff that goes against their country's founding ideals, constitution, international bill of human rights, and modern ideals of liberty and freedom.
  • by bkmoore (1910118) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:38PM (#34367498)
    This latest leak is probably the reason the US has been debating about having some kind of "internet kill switch."
  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:42PM (#34367530)
    Maybe dangerous for a weapons or oil extraction contract or for some assistant deputy's lofty ambitions to become deputy of some worthless department. Any pretensions that the state department or intelligence community are serving national security are laughable.
  • Re:Oh please. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcvos (645701) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:47PM (#34367580)

    The US wouldn't be able to win full on conventional war with Iran at this point. And the Iranians know it, hence their attitude on uranium enrichment.

    The US may not have to defeat all of Iran completely. There's always been a democratic movement in Iran. Recent protests proved there's still a lot of opposition to the ayatollahs.

    Of course supporting a coup has lots of risks on its own; that's what created this mess in the first place (in 1953). But if they'd be able to have honest elections without any interference from the religious leaders, that might make all the difference we need.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:47PM (#34367582)

    Let me fix that for you: Does BOMBING THE SHIT OUT OF INSURGENTS WHO USE CIVILIANS FOR COVER puts civilians at risk, asshole? Yes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:52PM (#34367636)

    Don't be a cock head. It is the lying, two faced, double talking, clique of the powerful from all countries who have created this daft situation where nobody dare say what they think in public.

    We'd all be better off if we knew what the two faced lying crooks, we have allowed to obtain power over us, really think. Then we could back them up if we agreed with it, or sack the lot of them if their particular brand of bigotry didn't quite coincide with our own.

    Secrecy in government is only every used to hide wrongdoing. ... of course, you have to reveal everyone's secrets, not just those of the US.

    Anyway, they're all liars. Just watch as the world's leaders fall over each other in an attempt to pretend it never happened. Life will carry on. They've got too much in common to let this stop their games.

  • Right Response? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:56PM (#34367674) Homepage Journal

    ``US ambassadors in other capitals were instructed to brief their hosts in advance of the release of unflattering pen-portraits or nakedly frank accounts of transactions with the US which they had thought would be kept quiet. Washington now faces a difficult task in convincing contacts around the world that any future conversations will remain confidential.''

    And here I thought that last sentence would end "that any future conversations will be more civil". At least, I have always thought that saying "unflattering" things behind people's backs isn't the way to behave. If the conversations between the US and its contacts are of such "unflattering" nature that they give rise to diplomatic crises when uncovered, then perhaps the US should have trained their employees and contact to not behave that way.

    I understand the anger at WikiLeaks, and I understand that it is not just about the unflattering communications. But still, on this one point, I think that if you don't want to take the heat for your missteps, the best way would be not to make them. So, rather than assuring contacts that, in future, this stuff will stay confidential, I would think that the right response would be to convince your contacts that, in future, you will work to keep things civil and decent.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @03:59PM (#34367706)
    You must be new here. I mean they did call it the "Patriot Act" for a reason. I doubt it's a uniquely America thing, but people get so bent out of shape over the little lapel pins when the same morons wearing them pass crap like the Patriot Act.

    It's a strategy that's worked well for fascists for a really long time and I doubt that will change anytime soon.
  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:02PM (#34367734)
    I disagree. I think he's a hero because he's standing up for the notion of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people". You can't have a democracy (or a democratic republic, which the US technically is) if the government keeps most of the important information about what the government does a secret.
  • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:02PM (#34367740)

    I'm wondering, on the smaller scale, how you would feel if everything you said about your wife in private were to be dropped on her lap.

    You'll pardon me for being a pragmatist since I don't have experience in love (as I'm certain experience would completely negate a pragmatic argument, no matter how true), but if your relationship is sustained by the fact she doesn't know what you said or what you feel, either you're a dick, or she's psycho--or you fear she's psycho / she fears you're a dick, which means you aren't even sure of the other's personality. Any of those might indicate that your relationship, and the friendship that's behind it, is shaky. Of course, given the divorce rate here in the US, I suppose those things do happen quite a bit.

    If governance is running on the same shoddy model, that should be changed. I'm not saying it can be (easily or otherwise) anytime soon, but it should be.

  • by sturle (1165695) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:09PM (#34367816)

    which the Obama administration says will put 'countless' lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies

    They said the Iraq war documents would put people at risk, too. They didn't, though

    The Iraq war put people at risk as well, but the administration tries to hush that down. According to some sources even more innocent lives were lost in the war than in the aftermaths of the Wikileak.

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:14PM (#34367854)

    I'm wagering that there's more than that in there. I'm wondering, on the smaller scale, how you would feel if everything you said about your wife in private were to be dropped on her lap. That's one form of damage from these releases.

    Perhaps people should try being honest?

  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:15PM (#34367874) Homepage

    The probability that I will die from a fishbone stuck in my throat is about 10,000 times higher than falling victim to a terrorist attack.
    And I don't stop eating fish.

    So what?

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:17PM (#34367896)

    Maybe he released them because that's what Wiki leaks does???

    And also because someone SENT THEM TO HIM. If someone sends him incriminating documents from Brazil, I think he'd publish those as well.

  • Re:and (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:19PM (#34367912) Journal

    Hey, homeboy:

    It does no good to treat this forum like your own running street battle when the conversation is about real life and death.

    More people will hear you if you take it down a notch; when you don't appear via form to misunderstand the severity of current affairs.

    Regards,
    ratio_c d ushering.

  • Re:oh fuck off (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spaham (634471) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:21PM (#34367934)

    names are redacted.
    Read the articles.

  • Blame the victim (Score:1, Insightful)

    by danhs7 (970647) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:23PM (#34367954)

    You're using a "blame the victim" [wikipedia.org] type of argument here.

    I would argue, that like nearly all "blame the victim" arguments it is misplaced. You are probably right that the military should have tighter security protocols in-place. However, that isn't the question at hand. Whether or not the US should have tighter security in-place doesn't address the issue of Wikileaks' moral culpability.

    The typical "blame the victim" scenario can be aptly applied here: a rape victim deserved to be raped because of her dress choices. In the same way the rapist is *wrong* and morally culpable, Wikileaks is also wrong and culpable.

    If I leave my door unlocked that does not entitle you to ransack my home and rob me at gun point in the middle of the night. The argument, "you should have locked your door" is simply insufficient.

    So, let's bring the issue back to the uncomfortable nature of what wikileaks actually did. What wikileaks did was damaging to American interests, to the interests of free Western democracies, and to the interests of anyone living under a government where they have the freedom to engage in this online discussion. Let's be clear: what wikileaks did is traitorous and does not advance the ideal of an open, free, accountable society/government. All it does is set us back and advance our enemies.

    After considering that stark reality, no amount of victim blaming can provide consolation enough to offset the actions of Wikileaks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:27PM (#34367978)

    Just some random guy who thinks he's right about the world and uses terrorism..

    Terrorism? Really, you're still trying to misuse that word? Picture me, directly in your field of vision, laughing at your utterly brain-washed ridiculousness.

  • Re:moron. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:29PM (#34367988) Homepage Journal

    Well, to be fair, just because someone advocates starting a war does not mean that war will actually be started. I am not at all in favor of war, but I can see how calling for a war _in secret_ is less destabilizing than calling for that same war in public. So the position that "war is more destabilizing than calling for a war" and the position that "publishing a call for war is destabilizing" are not mutually exclusive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:42PM (#34368118)

    Well done, you have just showed your ignorance when it comes to climate change. That isn't necessarily your fault, there are too many powers in world who want you and me and everyone else to not grasp the concepts surrounding climate change.

    The real problem with global warming is that human beings are making a major short-cut in part of the carbon cycle. We are taking carbon out of the ground, and moving it to the atmosphere much faster than it would ever occur naturally (apart from something like a volcano appearing in the middle of Saudi Arabia). When plants capture CO2 released from burnt oil the carbon is moved to the biosphere, not back into the ground where it came from. Most carbon that is in the biosphere moves back to the atmosphere (and back and forth), and very little carbon that humans have caused to be released is locked up again in rocks. The rate man is moving carbon out of rocks doesn't come near the rate nature puts carbon back.

    Vegetation type, animal farts, and stuff like that are all used by those who benefit from the fossil fuel industry to distract from the damage the fossil fuel industry is doing. If more people understood climate change, then there would be considerable pressure to stop mankind's use of oil for fuel, though that would lead to economic disasters. So many who benefit more from the world's economic systems than others (ie the rich) purposefully misrepresent the situation, and they let the ignorant do the rest - they will repeat mindlessly what the TV has told them.

    If a large percentage of the people on this planet understood climate change tomorrow, we wouldn't just see the end of a few oil companies. Anyone who has money invested in the oil industry would stand to lose, and that includes many pension funds, private and national, so for many or even most people in the west the oil industry is a necessary part of their future. Banks and finance entities of course have lots tied up in oil, as they tend to be the largest shareholders in any industry. The cost of raw materials for non-fuel use of oil stands to rise if oil as fuel was rejected, effecting all sorts of petrochemical companies.

    Of course, if the people of this planet did demand oil stop being used for fuel, we would see rapid development of nuclear power, both fission and fusion, renewable energy sources, recycling of existing plastics, etc., and lots of valuable companies in those fields would pop-up. Its just those who benefit from the status quo now don't want to risk their position, so do anything to stay there. Just as the selfish, greedy, and powerful have acted throughout history really....

    CO2 emissions per person is irrelevant if people are using biofuels (like is widespread in Brazil, or even just people heating their homes with wood fires). Oil use per capita is a better yard stick.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:45PM (#34368144)

    It is not the responsibility of the government to stop you from choking on a fish bone but it is to stop attack on US citizens.

  • by Zumbs (1241138) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:48PM (#34368182) Homepage

    An honest whistle-blower who reveals true wrongdoing will lose their job when found out, but they won't be prosecuted for releasing the information. However, deciding to release all classified information you can get your hands on is not whistle-blowing. It is nothing short of displaying a reckless disregard for any consequences.

    The leaks did reveal true wrongdoing. The Danish government has consistently been claiming that the Danish army did not turn over prisoners to torture at the hands of the Iraqi or Afghan armies. However, the leaks showed that not only did the Danish army turn over prisoners, they adopted a practice of embedding a couple of Brittish soldiers into their units. Whenever they caught someone, the Brittish soldiers would do the arresting and subsequent turning over of prisoners. This obvious attempt by the Danish army to circumvent the rules shows that they knew that they were doing something wrong. Unfortunately, the wikileaks documents did not show how far up this travesty goes, but one can hope this release sheds some light on the issue.

  • Re:Secrecy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @04:58PM (#34368286)

    Has anybody looked at the counter argument? That long term, the release of these messages will lead to improved policies?
    Global politics has been messed up by the US since after WWII - wouldn't it be nice if that stopped?

  • by internewt (640704) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:03PM (#34368342) Journal

    If that puts civilians at risk, then the obvious solution is to not bomb. But I guess that isn't a possibility for warmonger-apologists like you?

    The only reason putting civilians in the way is an effective strategy for some groups is because imperialists still proceed to drop bombs or otherwise open fire when there are civilians in the way!

  • by rilister (316428) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:27PM (#34368552)

    According a Guardian report:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks [guardian.co.uk]
    Over 3 MILLION people have access to this private network. The big story to me is that if this material is really significant, why is the US so incredibly bad at keeping it secret?

    Wikileaks is not some kind of 'superspy' organization with resources and techniques beyond the imagining of say, a moderately competent nation state. If they could get full access to this 'damaging' information, then I find it hard to imagine that China, Russia, France and most of the western world couldn't either.

    Either this is really sensitive material and this is a wake up call that giving 3 million people access to a sensitive database is a poor strategy, or it's not that damaging anyway and the US foresaw this possibility and thought the risk/damage was acceptable.

  • These files would be damaging if they were carefully analysed and reported.

    But the reality is that the main stream media is by now utterly incapable of performing such a feat. Paying someone competent to sift through these files, pick out juicy pieces that will makes news, while still catching eyeballs and not pissing off friends in the military-industrial-political complex? And all while trying to keep up with their twitter and web 2.0 feeds?

    Impossible. Just run another story about a celebrities baby or something. This leak will be handled the same way as all the others. 3-4 days of hysteria, then the media will completely lose interest once the prospect of having to do actual journalism rears its head.

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:30PM (#34368574)

    not because I'm a bad person or I don't trust her, but for the sake of our relationship.

    Actually, that IS a lack of trust. To phrase it differently, if you don't do these things, the relationship will die, even if you meant well; you can be working hard in other ways, but they will be meaningless in the face of these otherwise insignificant things. You don't trust her to receive your words as you mean them, or you think that she will give up a good thing because you mention another woman's tits.

    If she says, "Tell me what you think" or "tell me what you're thinking about" and you don't because you are afraid she will get mad, you don't trust her. It's the very definition of the word.

    This says nothing whatsoever about whether you SHOULD trust her or not, only that you do not.

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:39PM (#34368644)

    I'm not neutral. I enjoy the U.S. strategic superiority over North Korea and other nations who would like to have ultimate strategic superiority over us. Wikileaks did not do an overall public good by releasing today's documents.

    You sir, make me sick.

    If you trully believe your words you would fight the hardest for the US to have a vibrant and fair society and be a true democracy where those which are the most capable rise to where they can best serve their nation, not just the sons and daughters of those already in power.

    The US has been turning into a place of serfs and lords, a society where those on top remain on top and those on the bottom remain on the bottom regardless of skill and ability. US citizens are poorly educated, brainwashed and inward-looking, easilly swayed by arguments of emotions and followers of those who shout the loudest, not sound the wisest.

    US democracy is a joke with all sorts of technical tricks like gerrymandering, registered voters and electoral circles - designed to enforce a duopoly of power not mater what, keeping the same people in power and their scions.

    Face it, the US is showing all the symptoms of an empire in decadence: if things keep going this way, it's days of "strategic superiority" are counted.

    By showing to American voters the true face of those with the reins of power, Wikileaks is doing more to delay and maybe even revert the colapse of America than any number of weak-minded, brainwashed, narrow-minded self-proclaimed patriots parroting the lies of their pupetters:
    - I only wish the American people would show itself worthy of this instead of continuing to behave like sheeple.

  • by funwithBSD (245349) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:42PM (#34368666)

    And terrorists never do THAT, they only hit legitimate Military targets while wearing clearly marked uniforms.

    Sorry, War is Hell (tm). All the more reason to press harder to end the conflict sooner, less civilians will be harmed that way.

    Playing "nice" when the other side does not is a good way to stretch it out indefinitely. Wonder what they would do if we abandonded all our bases and moved into civilian areas only. I doubt they would move out of civilian areas to keep civilians safe.

    Oh, and pointing out problems of one side without acknowledging that the other side is a problem is also hypocritical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @05:47PM (#34368702)

    The burning of coal releases more radiation into the environment than the nuclear industry, though I do agree that fission ain't perfect - though the French have developed technologies that massively reduce the amounts of nuclear waste, and various modern reactor designs are much safer than past things - not that past reactors were as dangerous as anti-nuclear activists would have you believe. They (rightly so) didn't want to see nuclear weapons, but attacking nuclear power outright was misguided, IMHO. Nuclear power stations no doubt make plenty of plutonium for weapons, but the protesters could have demanded the power stations are implemented in a different way, rather than out-right saying "No" to nuclear power.

    The thing is, nuclear power is a technology that exists right now that could provide a lot of energy that currently comes from oil, and human desires for energy is not going to go down. We need to keep the energy flowing whilst we move off fossil fuels, and fission is a possible stepping-stone. As much as I criticised people for parroting the TV, I saw a programme where a futurologist had worked out how much energy man wants, whilst taking into account how big fission power plants are. IIRC, there isn't enough space on all the land on Earth to provide our energy needs into the future with fission! So fission is a possible stepping-stone, at best.

    We know fusion is possible (the Sun and H-bombs show that), and considering how fast fission went from theory to being implemented, I think the development of fusion power could go quite a bit quicker than it is (hasn't fusion power been 20 years away for about the last 50 years?). I don't want to be critical of the science being done into fusion, just as a species we could be doing more. Of course, much of the development of the fission energy industry was underpinned by countries seeking sources of plutonium, and we don't have those kinds of pressures in existence now to drive fusion tech (which is a good thing, in many ways - no arms race to MAD. We are just still sitting at MAD, which is a kind of stability :| ).

    In that post I wasn't really trying to suggest all possible alternatives though, I wanted to highlight how I feel climate change is misrepresented by those who don't want to see the end of oil. When I mentioned "renewable energy sources" and "etc." I was hoping to capture all the alternatives like wind, wave and solar.

    (FFS slashdot: "It's been 42 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment". /me hits up a proxy).

  • by ohiovr (1859814) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:24PM (#34368978)

    What would you do if you felt wikileaks *was* irresponsible? Nothing.

    Well you could have a massive denial of service attack on them....

  • by Arker (91948) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:30PM (#34369004) Homepage

    Kidnapping the wrong person on foreign solid? ...wait. Kidnapping on foreign solid? ...wait. Kidnapping? This is somehow all OK because it's the "good guys" who are breaching human rights and conducting illegal activities in other sovereign nations? Someone please help me understand how this justifiable.

    Of course it isnt justifiable in reality. But to many modern americans, brain-damaged from prolonged exposure to fantasies like "24", the more over-the-top and "tough" the better, and even considering the question of whether or not your actions are justifiable is a sign of fatal softness.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:32PM (#34369020) Journal

    And terrorists never do THAT, they only hit legitimate Military targets while wearing clearly marked uniforms.

    Well, that's why we call them terrorists. Last I checked, no Western country uses that label for its own armed forces. Do you suggest we reconsider that?

    Sorry, War is Hell (tm). All the more reason to press harder to end the conflict sooner, less civilians will be harmed that way.

    Well, in the course of the conflict so far, even by the most pessimistic estimates, US has killed orders of magnitude more civilians in the countries it had invaded, compared to how many Americans died from the hands of terrorists.

    I'm also very curious to hear what, exactly, you consider an "end of conflict", especially in Afghanistan. Given that the other side is not a conventional military, there isn't a single guy there who can sign a surrender order.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:37PM (#34369048)

    Yes they should pick and choose. That is what responsible journalistic discretion is about.

    Responsible newspapers don't publish every rumor or sensitive piece of information. They realize that that would have terrible consequences.

    If you want to position yourself in the manner Wikileaks has, you need to accept the burden of journalistic integrity and discretion. It might not be the easiest deal, but no is forcing them to take this job.

    And, just to make another point, if real journalists had been doing their goddamn jobs these past few decades, there might be less need for a Wikileaks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:38PM (#34369050)

    In these discussions some fucking idiot always says "War is Hell" as a justification for atrocities. It isn't one. We should be BETTER than the fucking terrorists, or else what the hell are we fighting for? Your war-porn masturbatory position or "War is Hell" is a pathetic sham, a cover for committing crimes that should be punished.

    Should the Germans have massacred their communists because they burned the Reichstag? After all, it was an act of terror, they hid among the population, and "War is Hell". Should the British have blown up residential areas of Ireland when they were hit by the IRA? Or parts of Boston for funding through Noraid? Should the US armed forces have blown up apartment blocks in DC when the sniper was there? Should Israel turn the Palestinian territories into glass with nukes? Or the Russians send tanks into Chechnya? These all are terrorists hiding among civilians and, as you point out "War is Hell". Should the US have nuked Vietnam? France have sent armed divisions into Egypt during the Suez crisis?

    So, in short, FUCK YOU. You either stand for being better than the terrorists, or you're just as bad. And if you're just as bad, what the fuck am I fighting to protect? Your attitude brings shame to all of us in the armed forces who want to protect the USA as a state of freedom.

  • by horza (87255) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:38PM (#34369052) Homepage

    Democracy faces threats from without and within. Transparency is all very well fighting the threats from within, but history has shown that if you give the foreign enemy details about your placements, logistics, tactics, and weaknesses then this is a bad thing.

    Equally important is that war is, and has always been, as much about propaganda as men in the field. This is not a good or a bad thing, just the way it is.

    Wikileaks is an anti-censorship publication, but even they have tried to act with a modicum of journalistic integrity. Even the US military had to admit the last leak was redacted enough not to intentionally cause any loss of life.

    However, Manning was given a trust. The rules were in black and white, which he put his signature (ergo his honour and his bond) behind. We've not learned his motives yet, whether altruism or some petty vengence, but he definitely betrayed the trust that was placed in him. He dumped the information completely unredacted with no knowledge or certainty as to what Wikileaks would do with that information. He certainly deserves his punishment. Maybe he will think it was worth it? We don't know but he was in the wrong. Hero? Certainly not. Martyr? Only history will tell, but in my opinion unlikely.

    Phillip.

  • Re:moron. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by capnkr (1153623) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:40PM (#34369058)
    First of all - Thank you so very much for the personal insult. {roll_eyes}

    Secondly, to be clear about what it is we are referring to:

    Definition of DIPLOMACY
    1: the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations
    2: skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility : tact


    With that definition in mind, that SA, the US, and/or other countries talk to each other through secret diplomatic channels and say things they may not repeat in public, does not surprise me in the least. This is a common, human thing to do. It allows one to express the depth of feelings or intentions about an issue without offending someone else, without creating issues with them so that discourse may go on perhaps to a satisfactory ending for all concerned, or might keep an antagonistic personality somewhat mollified, avoiding provoking them to attack.

    Tell me how blowing this process out of the water is, could possibly be in any way good or beneficial for the stability of the region, for the diplomatic process going on between the nations there?

    Third, and last: Do you personally have any idea of what the last word in that definition - "tact" - means? Apparently not. Might be a good one for you - and Wikileaks - to learn, then practice.
  • by Teun (17872) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:48PM (#34369126) Homepage
    You have a lot of words but say nothing new.

    We all know that if there is a problem with CO2 emissions it's from fossil fuel and not from biofuel.
    Whether you like it or not capturing said CO2 with plants is still the fastest way to take it out of the atmosphere and that's why I asked for the type of vegetation on the land area.
    You say CO2 captured by plants is still in the biosphere and I take you mean it's not properly disposed off?
    It doesn't matter, our present problem is the increase of atmospheric CO2 and vegetation does lower it.

    All coal deposits have started to accumulate that way, it took hundreds of millions of years and now we're releasing it again in less than 2 centuries.

  • Re:RT (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:18PM (#34369398)

    There's a big difference between a private citizen and the government that is supposed to be working on behalf of the people they represent...

  • by IICV (652597) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:39PM (#34369638)

    Given the incidence rate of terrorism in places that aren't currently destabilized, I would be totally okay with that informant not coming forward - because statistically, he is significantly more likely to be providing us with a false positive than a true one.

    Seriously, you have to be pragmatic about these things; what's more important, the guy who may or may not blow some people up maybe if a ton of (very well-funded!) intelligence agencies fail in their jobs, or the fact that our government is right now sending American troops to die for absolutely no reason?

  • Re:moron. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @08:06PM (#34369898) Homepage Journal

    This is a common, human thing to do.

    that common, human thing to do, ie, the secrecy justified by various justifications, is the VERY thing that allows all the problems you see on the face of the planet.

    ranging from human rights abuses to pollution, wall street's scam to starting wars with false pretenses, the perpetrators have always worked behind the coziness of secrecy veils justified with 'national security' 'trade secrets' or 'diplomatic communique'.

  • Re:Right Response? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gsslay (807818) on Monday November 29, 2010 @08:27AM (#34373586)

    At least, I have always thought that saying "unflattering" things behind people's backs isn't the way to behave.

    You seem to be unclear on the meaning and function of diplomacy. Diplomacy means sometimes having reasonable discussions with unreasonable people. If that person/politician/nation is being a jerk, then it's your job to make your boss aware that you are dealing with a jerk. You do this "behind their back", because saying it to their face is likely to bring a very sudden and unsatisfactory end to discussions. As a diplomat you are a total failure.

    If diplomats need to be ever so polite about what they report back, how are anyone ever supposed to know what's really going on? "I'm sorry, Mr President, about this sudden war with Koristan. But all our reports from embassy staff there suggested that the His Excellency the Great Leader was a mighty fine fellow, a delightful conversationalist, who loves peace, his mother and kittens. Turns out he is a murderous megalomaniac with a evil temper. Embassy staff didn't tell us because that would be talking behind his back, which isn't polite. If only we'd known, we wouldn't have sold him those missiles."

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