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Why the US Govt Should Be Happy About Wikileaks 232

angry tapir writes "WikiLeaks' leaking of classified information should be considered a blessing for the US government, and other governments should take heed of the lessons when it comes to information sharing, according to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) research associate, Professor Mike Nelson, who spent four years as Senator Al Gore's science adviser and served as the White House director for technology policy on IT, and was also a member of Barack Obama presidential campaign."
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Why the US Govt Should Be Happy About Wikileaks

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  • If You Are Right (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TexVex ( 669445 ) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:59PM (#36383320)
    If you are right, then you have nothing to hide.
  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:20PM (#36383480)

    He's right if the U.S. government's objective is to promote freedom and democracy. The cables certainly show the rampant corruption in the world, the injustices everywhere, and that the United States government recognizes and responds to them.

    However, Obama is actually more interested in stability in the region, and will do everything to maintain that regardless of what it takes to achieve that stability. There's a reason one of the most repressive governments in the world is considered a close ally, while a democratically-elected president is constantly being vilified.

    The leaked cables has actually caused the opposite effect. And because of the instability of the middle east region, oil and thus gas prices are higher than they otherwise should be. High gas prices are detrimental to an economy trying to dig itself out of a recessionary hole. Which the egg-on-his-face notwithstanding, is why Obama is generally against such whistleblowing.

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:48PM (#36383628)

    Leaks are almost inevitable in a relatively free society - as long as the information is in a usable state, and it is used by people, it pretty much will be leaked eventually if people care to leak it.

    As far as distributors of sunshine (breaks in secrecy, disinfecting stagnant air) go, Wikileaks is rather benign - they exercise considerable restraint and editorial control considering their size and content they process.

    The problem isn't their arguable responsibility though, it is the relative difficulty in getting rational people to dismiss their evidence, the difficulty in painting them as a poisoned source of valid information. Certainly it is tried - all the logical fallacies that exist are thrown against them at a fairly constant rate, but they are still viewed as a valid source of important information.

    Since they don't delve purely in talking point - just releasing information from sources known as valid, their points are fairly solid - whatever you think of their practices.

    Ask Newt Gingrich - claiming a problem exists because you were quoted accurately and directly doesn't get you very far.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:55PM (#36383660)

    However, Obama is actually more interested in stability in the region

    As has every president since at least WW II. Can't have Pax Americana if the barbarians are running amok, can we?

    And because of the instability of the middle east region, oil and thus gas prices are higher than they otherwise should be. High gas prices are detrimental to an economy trying to dig itself out of a recessionary hole. Which the egg-on-his-face notwithstanding, is why Obama is generally against such whistleblowing.

    No, he's against it because he's a politician - and they absolutely fucking hate it when peasants like Assange get all fucking uppity.

    Gas prices? The economy? Fuck me. For the cost of one of our wargasms in the Middle East, our government could subsidize gas to 1980's levels without adding anything more to the national debt.

  • Re:Yeah, so bad (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @11:58PM (#36383672)

    You're a moron. (Not to say your point is wrong, just that you have severe deficiencies in reading comprehension and/or basic thinking.)

    GP wasn't suggesting the government should snoop more or whatever -- he was saying greater transparency (y'know, the sort they inadvertently got from wikileaks) would help.

    At first glance, it's entirely orthogonal to your point -- you can stop inciting terrorists by not meddling in others' affairs, or you can improve efficacy in stopping extant terrorists by sharing all the data you have with other agencies and the public, or you can do both. (Or neither, which is obviously the best strategy, else we wouldn't be doing it. /sarcasm)

    On closer inspection, it's pretty obvious that greater transparency would have exposed (more of) the meddling we've done, and the real reasons (not the cover "democracy" or "freedom" reasons we always field for the public), and maybe people would get pissed off and stop the government from meddling?

  • Re:More to the point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @12:15AM (#36383744) Homepage Journal

    diplomacy could get a lot trickier when you have to explain your conversations with others.

    Perhaps. OTOH it might actually be easier in the long run if you deal with people openly and honestly. Too often when people start talking about Wikileaks effect on diplomacy people (though not specifically the person whose post I'm replying to) end up making diplomacy sound like some sort of game played be old men who get a kick out of pulling levers and trying mould the world to their will rather than the art of arriving at genuine understanding and agreement. No doubt there are often short term gains to such an approach but I can't help but think it is harmful in the long run.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:46AM (#36384240)

    Let us not forget that democracy gives the people the ability to choose things contrary to what other people choose. It is much easier (and cheaper) to sway a politician than to sway the masses. Germany and france didn't come around to their current borders until about 1956/57 when the french gave up on taking over the Saar. That is, after 900 years of stabbing, shooting and occupying each other, the recent total occupation of cosmopolitan france, and all of a (a newly defined) germany, the killing of millions of people - they were still squabbling over who gets to keep what for themselves for a decade.

    People, as a whole, can, and will choose what benefits them, even if it as at the expense of someone else. If we give people democracy a hell of a lot of them aren't going to go the nelson mandella truth and reconciliation route, they are going to demand territories which cannot be given voluntarily. And who do you side with? How do you even define what is a legitimate democratic outcome or not, is a majority of people in the middle east a legitimate democratic outcome, or does it need to be done country by country? If the world votes against the US existing and decides to carve it up and redistrict it back to mexico, spain the UK and various native inhabitants, is that democracy we want to support?

    Democracy is a dangerous, and deeply flawed idea. It is suitable in conjunction with other systems but by itself it is a path to a very dark place, albeit rarely, but those places are very dark. The challenge the world faces is building systems which both represent the best interests of the people, including taking their opinion into account, and resolving when those two things (best interests and desires) do not align. But if people will vote for less taxes, more spending, conquest at the expense of others and so on, then democracy is unsustainable, and must be balanced by control from people who actually have some sense. The people who are in control, are, in turn, hopefully balanced against being nuts and can be removed if they fail that test. But democracy has a tendency to form a feedback loop of corruption and incompetence. I'm sure there's ways to deal with that, but not in a /. post.

  • by reasterling ( 1942300 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:30AM (#36384460) Homepage

    If you look at a lot of the information provided by wikileaks it doesn't make the US look bad

    The US is not all that bad. Sure we have our problems (who doesn't), but even in poverty I am able to live resonably well. The kings of old did not have it as good as I do. There may be lots that I can complain about (I wont - it does no good), but their is a reason that illegal imigration is a problem here. That is we have a very high standard of living even for most people who are considered poor.

    I do not understand why people expect the US to be bad or evil.

  • Re:Mike Nelson? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:45AM (#36384548) Homepage Journal

    Lol, as soon as I read "Professor Mike Nelson, who spent four years as Senator Al Gore's science advise" all the credibility the article had vanished.

    An Inconvenient Truth had so many anti-scientific mistakes with it (the Drowning Polar Bear Myth, the Global-warming-caused-Katrina Myth, and so forth), that even RealClimate.org's apologetic review of the movie had to admit them (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/al-gores-movie/).

    There's all sorts of good sources of information about AGW out there, but Al Gore is not one of them.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger