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US To Host World Press Freedom Day 614

Posted by samzenpus
from the enjoy-the-freedom dept.
rekrowyalp writes "From the press release: 'The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.' Oh the irony."
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US To Host World Press Freedom Day

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  • Doublethink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnCivil Liberty (786163) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#34490472)

    "Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them" - 1984

  • HA HA HA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:46PM (#34490488)

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Oh, that's funny. Let's see how much celebration of WikiLeaks there is.

    ("Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING." Well, sometimes it fits.)

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:48PM (#34490516)

    I SO have to watch the next Daily Show. Just to see if they have the balls to use this.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:52PM (#34490604)

    Freedom is what we let you have until you piss us off. Then we'll trump up some charges and call you a rapist.

  • Re:The ironing ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by omnibit (1737004) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:53PM (#34490632)

    If you use some starch, the ironing will be crisp!

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @02:55PM (#34490666)

    but I don't think they're aware of that.

  • by butchersong (1222796) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:01PM (#34490768)
    Obviously everyone is going to be laying into the US over the recent wikileaks incidents but really how many countries can you name with better positions on freedom of speech?
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:05PM (#34490846) Journal

    Sure, this is hilarious. But somehow I doubt they meant it to be so funny.

    Concern over some governments' determination to restrict the free flow of information. That's rich.

    To be fair, governments need secrets. Not everything should be public. Now I know that you may say that if a government doesn't want an action to be made public then they shouldn't do it. But sometimes, there is a legitimate need for secrecy. For example, when a diplomat sends a wire back to Washington saying that he does not believe the diplomat from N. Korea is being entirely truthful concerning the welfare of the N. Korean citizens, that information should not be made public. It could irreparably harm negotiations that could prove beneficial to the peoples of both countries. The path that a convoy full of medical supplies and food for refuges against a warlords wishes would be another example. This is a bit different than a diplomat calling the leader of Esbonia a stinky-fart fat-head.

    Some things are legitimately kept secret for a reason. Others, not so much. Wikileaks doesn't concern itself with the difference.

  • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:07PM (#34490886) Homepage

    He's already in custody; he turned himself in in the UK.

    I guess that's what happens when you get INTERPOL set upon you for the crime of having consensual sex with groupies without a condom [dailymail.co.uk]. Groupies who remained supportive after their sexual trysts until they found out that he was sleeping around. Because that's the sort of stuff INTERPOL is there for, right? Certainly politics didn't play a role in THAT warrant...

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:07PM (#34490902)

    I'd be happy if the local media here in California would ask a follow up question once in a while.

    All I want is this:

    STATE POLITICIAN: This bill will fix global warming, solve hunger and make tasty donuts fall from the skies like kisses from kittens!
    REPORTER: How, exactly?
    STATE POLITICIAN: Thanks and good nigh- eh, what?
    REPORTER: How does the bill do that? What sequence of events did you and the other legislators envision after the bill is enacted?
    STATE POLITICIAN: (deer in headlights gaze) Uh, well, blah blah blah bullcrap blah symbolism blah feelgood blah TheChildren blah, er, 9/11.
    REPORTER: Isn't that a pile of bullshit?
    STATE POLITICIAN: Hey, what happened to impartiality?
    REPORTER: It wasn't working out very well.

    What I want is Spider Jerusalem going after some of these scumbags. Wikileaks is all well and good, but I want these people confronted in their speeches by someone other than media insiders who just sit their dumbly nodding their heads at any crap a politician says. Fuck, every reporter is just a softball Larry King type these days.

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

  • by melikamp (631205) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:10PM (#34490966) Homepage Journal
    Glenn Beck Program, although laughable is not really the same as funny.
  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:10PM (#34490972)

    And compared to stoning beheading is pretty painless. Your point being?

  • Re:Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:11PM (#34490992)

    Actually when it comes to press freedom, the US still looks better than most countries. In fact, even after 230 years of the US example, I don't know of any other governments whose core founding and/or legal principles include the explicit recognition of the citizenry's inalienable right to freedom of speech, it seems to genuinely be something exceptional. Oh sure, many governments have begrudgingly given a nod to what they see as "granting" of similar rights (and in fact even that much is due to the positive influence of the US historically) - but saying "OK, we grant you freedom of speech" is actually fundamentally vastly different to inalienable rights, which are not considered granted, but exist independent of government and cannot morally be taken away. Sure, in practice lawmakers pee on the constitution with abandon, as lawmakers will do, but I'll take the US any day. Trying to block citizens' practice of liberties such as free speech is something all governments do anyway, but only one government in the world at least formally recognizes this as wrong (and gives the citizens other rights, such as the 2nd amendment, in order to enforce the 1st amendment).

    I'm definitely not saying it's perfect, or that we shouldn't strive for better. On the contrary, we should continually strive for better. We have to.

  • Re:Doublethink (Score:1, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:15PM (#34491058) Journal

    "We have free press and free speech!" - President & Congress

    "We must shutdown FOX News and MSNBC." - Congressman Kennedy. "They have no right to abuse our Public airwaves." - FCC. (Note: Cable channels are private airwaves across private cables.) "Citizens must have a license to publish on the internet." And on and on.

    Irony and doublespeak indeed.

  • by internetcommie (945194) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:18PM (#34491084)
  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:18PM (#34491086) Homepage Journal

    Revealing the corruption in publicly owned businesses and in the government and seeing which politicians are bought and paid for by whom is responsible journalism. Want to keep people out of danger? Stop using war as a means to line your own pockets. It pleases me to no end that Wikileaks is delivering on the government transparency campaign promise Obama made and failed to keep.

    Maybe future leaders will re-think their actions when they not only realize that future generations will consider them to be scumbags and tyrants, but there can be a very real and immediate danger to their own lives in the here and now.

    Corruption is widespread and it needs to be revealed - names and all. It will serve as excellent deterrent in the future.

  • Re:Actually (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Somewhat Delirious (938752) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:18PM (#34491100)

    Looking "pretty good" in comparison to North Korea. Yeah, that's something to be proud of... America's standards appear to be dropping quicker than the barometer in the eye of a hurricane. (Or maybe I should say shit storm?).

  • by i_b_don (1049110) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:21PM (#34491156)

    There are times a government needs to keep secrets, however the US government has gone way overboard. Obama has done nothing to change that despite promises of a more open government, so I for one welcome the new openness that has come from wikileaks and will support efforts for it to continue. It has been a welcome breath of fresh air to see how OUR (the people's) government operates and to see the lies it has been shoveling back in the homeland.

    I think it's much better to be too open than too secretive.... but then again, I believe it's better to keep our freedoms and be attacked by terrorists than become a police state and be "safe". I must be the crazy one.

    Long live wikileaks.

    d

  • Re:Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:22PM (#34491168)

    Actually, apart from doing things like pressuring private companies like Amazon and PayPal to "voluntarily" kick Wikileaks off their systems, and making public statements musing that Mr Assange should be assassinated (all reprehensible, to be sure), has the US government actually done anything concrete to censor Wikileaks? Have they arrested or imprisoned anyone who downloaded the torrent? Have they issued ISPs with warrants to find out why downloaded the torrent? Have they forced any media organizations publishing information on the leaks into silence, or arrested or prosecuted any media organization that has published anything about the leaks? Have they made any format attempts to extradite Mr Assange? Has the US government done anything to forcibly silence discussion among the public on the leaks -- for example, shutting down blogs, or arresting blog owners? Have they forced media organizations to toe the official state position only? I'm curious, apart from vague allusions to "censoring websites from the entire world", what are you referring to exactly?

    The types of activities I've mentioned, are the types of things that DO actually go on in the many countries outside the US that do practice censorship and control of speech, and I must say, I don't really see the US doing those things. Or perhaps you want to suggest that they are doing those things but that we don't know about them because the US has silenced anyone who talks about it. But I'm afraid I don't even see the climate of fear around discussion that that type of control usually generates in such countries that suppress freedom of speech; as far as I can tell, Americans seem to enjoy the liberty of being able to do and say whatever they want about their government very, very openly.

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#34491238)

    Your mistaking being for transparency when it comes to alliances pact and treaties, with transparency when it comes to everything a diplomat says to his boss. I don't think the US has ever been in favor of having diplomats and their diplomatic cases being searched and read by anyone and everyone so that everything they write has to be made for public consumption so as to not damage foreign relationships instead of quick and honest truth.

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:26PM (#34491242) Journal

    If the US oligarchy were really interested in democracy, US news companies wouldn't have betrayed US citizens during GW Bush's presidency and would have instead shown the courage of Wikileaks.

    Another generation of US journalists had more courage:
    http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/public-accuracy-press-release [ellsberg.net]

    In any case, the US's covert war against Wikileaks is its only alternative:
    http://www.rferl.org/content/wikileaks_assange_secrecy_access_laws/2242761.html [rferl.org]

  • by should_be_linear (779431) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:27PM (#34491256)
    Sad to disappoint you, but DailyShow epically FAILED (as in shown ugly "patriot" face) when it comes to WikiLeaks.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:29PM (#34491282)

    Some things are legitimately kept secret for a reason. Others, not so much. Wikileaks doesn't concern itself with the difference.

    Which is why Wikileaks offered to negotiate with the US government over redactions? To which the US government responded that they shouldn't have to negotiate that they wanted all of it to remain secret.

    Keep in mind that it takes at least two to negotiate, and if one party flat out refuses you've got limited options. You can give in, release everything or do your best to handle it responsibly. The third case seems most closely related to what they've done.

    rediff. [rediff.com] There are probably better sources, but this is what I've seen elsewhere. Note the passage starting at the fourth paragraph.

    "You have chosen to respond in a manner which leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful and you are instead concerned to suppress evidence of human rights abuse and other criminal behaviour," Assange said.

    We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials, Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser, State Department said in a letter to Jennifer Robinson, Attorney for Julian Assange, WikiLeaks.

    This was in response to the communication from WikiLeaks a day earlier in which the whistle blower website informed the US about its intentions to publish classified US government documents.

  • by hansg (264039) <hans,gunnarsson&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:30PM (#34491308)

    Someone should nominate Assange to UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2011 [unesco.org]

    Imagine if he would have to get parol from a US prison to attend?

    /Hans

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#34491310)

    Compare and contrast:
    Obama does nothing and gets a Nobel Peace Prize
    Assange champions truth and gets an arrest warrant.

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#34491312) Homepage Journal

    Well, I know what he won't say about it:

    Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, or tits.

    Thank you for protecting us from those horrible words, FCC! Despite the fact that as a cable channel, the decency regulations don't actually apply, so the only reason Comedy Central censors themselves is, well, momentum, I guess. Since they'll occasionally run stuff uncensored late at night.

    Yay freedom of the press! The freedom to censor itself, I guess.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:32PM (#34491332)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but WikiLeaks isn't "the press" is it?

    It qualifies by any reasonable definition of press I've ever heard.

    I don't know any government that has told the media that they can publish whatever government secrets they want.

    If Fox News or CNN or the New York Times got a hold of a bunch of newsworthy diplomatic cables between Pakistan and Iran do you really think they'd keep them under wraps because the Pakistan and/or Iran government consider them secret? Of course not.

    How is wikileaks any different, being a foreign organization releasing information about the states?
    And at the end of the day, even Fox/CNN/NYT are reporting on the wikileaks leaks. How do you feel about that?

    I'm attempting to say it's not fair to pretend that WikiLeaks does the same thing a given journalist does. Maybe they overlap at times, sure.

    Please expand on this.

  • Re:Doublethink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:32PM (#34491344) Homepage

    No, Assange turned himself in, for suspicion of crimes which have nothing to do with Wikileaks or the Press.

    US is guilty of doublespeak because they're hold a "Press Freedom Day" while at the same time trying to find a way to convict him for doing what a Free Press is supposed to do.

    Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to designate WikiLeaks a "foreign terrorist organization," saying it "posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States," and to prosecute founder Julian Assange for espionage.

    "Free" indeed.

  • Re:Doublethink (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:34PM (#34491364)

    If you can't see the bigger picture and the US's involvement in the irony, you are a tool. Nice strawman, though. This isn't specifically about the minutiae of Assange's arrest, but then you know that because you're being intellectually dishonest. Nobody's that fucking stupid.

  • Sure sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:43PM (#34491530) Journal

    And if the government has a reason to have someone locked up, that should be a secret to. After all, if you knew, it might endanger the state. Therefor I declare now that ArcherB is now an enemy of the state, the reason is secret but you can trust me, so kill him at the first opportunity. ArcherB, fully believing that others do not have to explain their actions agrees fully with this. If he does not allow himself to be killed he just proves he is an enemy of the state.

    That government needs secrets is a bullshit argument only used by those who wish to life in la-la land. Without full knowledge about the state and its business, how can the voter choose what to vote for? No, the actuall nuclear codes are not at risk, but how can the voter choose wether nukes are handled safe enough if he doesn't know the safety procedures. Which ARE known in quite some detail.

    The current cable leaks show how the US officials elected by the voters are TRULY behaving, not what they say in public speeches. So now the voters of the USA can base their next vote on this info instead of lies.

    He who says that governments need secrets says the voter has to be lied to.

    Only a willing slave, the uncle Tom's of the world say this.

  • by spun (1352) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:49PM (#34491618) Journal

    I'm not taking sides on the rape thing yet. Let the women have their day in court. They claim they gave consent for sex with a condom, but that he broke or took the condom off, and would not stop when they asked him too. In most places, including the States, if a person gives consent and then withdraws it, there is no longer consent. As far as I know there is no "blue balls" clause letting you finish even if she says no halfway through.

    Also, groupies? Really? You really want to go there, smearing the women with a derogatory name like that? Even if you had something to back up your claim that they are, it's just tasteless and crass. And yes, that is exactly the sort of thing that INTERPOL is there for, he is not in Sweden anymore. From what I understand, Sweden has rape laws that are very protective of the victim and categorize certain things as rape that we might not. It is their right as a sovereign nation to set their own laws.

    Assange will not be extradited to the US. He will not be charged with a crime in the US, because he never committed a crime here, despite the worst wishes of many in the White House and our spineless media. Even if he were extradited, he would have to finish his trial in Sweden and serve any sentence there first. The Swedish prosecutor claims that it is common for rape cases in Sweden to be dropped and reopened (Cue the conspiracy theorists yelling, "They WOULD say that!")

    But as I mentioned, I withhold judgment on this. It is entirely possible that Julian Assange is both a champion of transparency AND a rapist. I'm far more interested in the charges leveled by John Young of Cryptome, that he is a mercenary selling access to unredacted source documents to the highest bidder on the black market.

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:53PM (#34491682) Journal

    So arrest the people who took the documents. We have a law in this country specifically protecting the right to publish documents even if they were obtained illegally. Remember the Pentagon Papers? If it was legal to publish those, it is legal for Assange to publish the documents he received.

    Uh, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions here. You do realize that Assange did not take any documents from government offices, right?

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:56PM (#34491736) Journal

    The problem is, at what point do you draw the line between completely free journalism, and responsible journalism?

    Easy. You don't. What part of "Congress shall pass no law... abridging... freedom of the press" is unclear? Besides, professional, responsible journalists went through this material and redacted anything they thought would put people at risk. This isn't about putting people at risk. It's about politicians and corporations getting embarrassed by having their dirty laundry aired for all to see. It falls very squarely on the legally acceptable side of the line. If you think you can show some piece of information that puts people at risk after dozens of journalists said that it doesn't, go for it. Otherwise, please stop believing everything that government mouthpieces tell you. They were lying before when they covered this stuff up. Why should we expect anything different from them now?

  • by spun (1352) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @03:59PM (#34491770) Journal

    If you were paying attention, the women DID NOT want to press charges. It was an overzealous prosecutor who forced the issue. Later, a lawyer ($$$$$$$$) convinced the women to press charges.

    Certainly, it is possible that he is a rapist, but it is surely suspicious considering how mad the USA is at him and their leverage around the world.

    What sources are you basing this on? Who was the prosecutor, and how did the prosecutor know that these women did not want to report a rape if the rape was never reported? How could a prosecutor force the issue and then a lawyer convince the women to press charges? Which was it? You accuse me of not paying attention, but then present a very muddled set of allegations.

  • Re:Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:18PM (#34492002)

    With the Nordic countries, Netherlands and Switzerland at the top.

    You missed my point. It's subtle though. The word "inalienable" is the core point, it's not just a pretty word, it is central to the entire foundation of the US legal system. Re-read, digest, re-read. Yes, there are countries that currently ostensibly "happen to have" more press freedom. But that freedom is ephemeral and temporary; the Netherlands constitution for example explicitly allows formal law to limit the freedom of speech. This is in total contrast to the US which states "Congress shall make no law". Therefore laws limiting freedom of speech in the Netherlands are 'constitutional'. This means that it is inevitable that eventually lawmakers will gradually successfully be able to raise press restrictions without any final legal recourse to overturn. Laws limiting freedom of speech in the US are 'unconstitutional' on the face of it (even though many exist, they are in fact formally illegal). This is also why almost every other Western nation has been able to suppress the right to firearm ownership with nary a squeak from the populace. No government can legally or morally do that in the US, while for other countries, they can legally do it but not morally do it -- big difference, and this core difference makes the US example both special, and fragile and precious.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:18PM (#34492006) Journal

    No, it's not silly at all. The natural endgame of any system of government is absolute tyranny. The only things standing between this country and tyranny are the constitution and the citizens' willingness to rebel. If the government had its way, it would keep everything it does secret. That's why freedom-loving members of government had to force through sunshine laws, FOIA, E-FOIA, and so on. Without such laws, the public would be kept in the dark on nearly everything. That's just the way government works. In particular, the military, were it possible to do so, would allow no information disclosure whatsoever. The same goes for law enforcement, which is why we have public records laws that mandate journalist access to police blotters. Indeed, it is the very nature of any group in a position of power to conceal information to the maximum degree possible. Some might even call it basic human nature.

    Such total secrecy, however, is contrary to the proper functioning of a free society, and as such, a government mandate to keep everything secret must be looked upon with suspicion and disdain. Anything less is a complete abrogation of the public's right to know what the government is doing, a complete abrogation of the right to a free press, and thus a complete abrogation of basic democratic principles. Such obscenity has no place in a free society.

  • Re:Actually (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:28PM (#34492184)

    Blah blah blah. Yeah, you have an "inalienable" right to free speech, as long as you perform it in a designated "free speech zone", an atrocity no other western democracy have stomached so far. I guess the rest of us should take note.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:29PM (#34492208) Journal

    Where have I heard that logic before? Oh, yeah. Those ridiculous MPAA commercials that say "You wouldn't steal a DVD. You wouldn't steal a car." Repeat after me: stealing a copy of information is not the same thing as stealing property.

    No, a better analogy is that they saw your car parked, broke into the trunk, and discovered the three bodies you had hidden there. They contact you and ask which of those murders you don't want them to report to the police. Sure, you might tell them where to go, but you are hardly on the moral high ground. And that's the point.

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gfreeman (456642) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:47PM (#34492458)

    There is simply no way we can legally arrest him.

    FTFY. Unfortunately the US has a bit of a slapdash reputation when it comes to interpreting international laws. Or their own Constitution, for that matter.

  • Re:wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#34492470)

    Revealing the corruption in publicly owned businesses and in the government and seeing which politicians are bought and paid for by whom is responsible journalism. [...]

    Completely agreed.

    Maybe future leaders will re-think their actions when they not only realize that future generations will consider them to be scumbags and tyrants, but there can be a very real and immediate danger to their own lives in the here and now.

    Corruption is widespread and it needs to be revealed - names and all. It will serve as excellent deterrent in the future.

    See, this is where I and probably others, have some issues with what Wikileaks is doing. Unlike many in the anti-US crowd, I've seen what a totalitarian government can do. A REAL totalitarian government, not the mostly-democratic but just-corrupt-enough-to-upset-the-idealists government the US has. Are you upset someone who publicly humiliated the U.S. government to the entire world is being jailed on trumped-up charges? How about being executed and your entire family sent to a labor camp because you talked to a neighbor wondering if your country's style of government could be improved.

    Unfortunately, a good portion of the world still lives under such such governments. When you do something whose main purpose seems to be to embarrass the U.S. rather than actually expose corruption, what happens? The U.S. loses influence in the world. But who do you think gains influence? Sure some of the less-corrupt democracies do, except their openness means they're vulnerable to the same blind-eye type releases of secrets Wikileaks is conducting. No, the real winners here are totalitarian states which keep a tight lid on their secrets. They gain the most from a system which predominantly exposes the secrets of open societies. You seem to think exposing slight-to-moderate levels of corruption means it'll automatically be replaced by less corruption. It doesn't - it can be replaced by even worse corruption.

    We're still fighting a war here. Not the war on terrorism, not a war against corruption. A war to free the remaining peoples of the world who live under totalitarianism (real totalitarianism). On that front, the U.S., the EU, Wikileaks, and people like you and me are on the same side. Yes rooting out corruption is good. And as your opening sentence says, journalism revealing such corruption is necessary. It allows the open society to excise the corruption, resulting in a stronger society. That's what makes an open society work better than a closed (totalitarian) society.

    But to accomplish that requires a proper and controlled release of information pertaining to true corruption. The Wikileaks-style widescale release of everything an open government is keeping secret doesn't do that. In fact it does the opposite, by diminishing US influence and allowing the influence of totalitarian states to fill the void created. Yes a lot of things the US does is bad. But try to keep some perspective. Sometimes you have to make deals with a party you don't entirely agree with in order to combat a greater evil. Roosevelt and Churchill did that during WWII, allying with Stalin to defeat Hitler. Did that mean they supported Stalin and his system of government? No. But they kept things in perspective and did what needed to be done to insure the greater threat was wiped out first. Then they set about opposing Stalin.

    Going through the leaked documents, finding instances of corruption or wrong-doing, and releasing them would be responsible journalism. Making a cursory review to filter out ones which might put lives at risk, then saying you don't have the resources to deal with the rest in more detail and releasing them en masse to the world is irresponsible journalism. If you don't have the resources to conduct such a review, give the docs to a news organization which does.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:22PM (#34494006)
    It's not what he did, it's what he didn't do. Obama got a Nobel for _not_ being G.W. Bush.

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