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Government The Media Censorship Your Rights Online

Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending 257

SomePgmr writes "By now, anyone with even a passing interest in the WikiLeaks phenomenon is familiar with most of the elements of its fall from grace: the rift between founder Julian Assange and early supporters over his autocratic and/or erratic behavior, the Swedish rape allegations that led to his seeking sanctuary in Ecuador, a recent childish hoax the organization perpetrated, and so on. Critics paint a picture of an organization that exists only in name, with a leadership vacuum and an increasingly fractured group of adherents. Despite its many flaws, however, there is still something worthwhile in what WikiLeaks has done, and theoretically continues to do. The bottom line is that we need something like a 'stateless news organization,' and so far it is the best candidate we have."
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25, 2012 @09:04AM (#41121655)

    "When they start leaking the secrets of our enemies as well, I'll consider getting behind that."

    Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea ... News World news China

    WikiLeaks Spurs On Protests By Releasing New Egypt Corruption ...

    Wikileaks Goes After The Saudi Royal Family - Business Insider

    and so on....

  • Re:childish swine (Score:2, Informative)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @09:12AM (#41121701) Homepage Journal

    Anti-American Agenda, what is that? Is that like Alcoholic Anonymous Association?

    Hi, my name is Julian Assange and I used to drink a lot, I mean I used to be pro-American, but I've been sober for 5 years now, so sorry, for all my 'anti-american agenda'.

    WTF does that mean? Is it un-American to point out that the government is now essentially tyrannical? How is it un-American to be politically active, to bring to light all the transgressions of the powerful elite running the system?

    Is telling truth to power a bad thing somehow? How about telling truth to majority [].

  • Re:childish swine (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @09:14AM (#41121721) Homepage

    You don't get it, don't you? Lets say, you have some important information to reveal. If they make the Republicans look bad, put it into the NY Times! If they make the Democrats look bad, put it in the Wall Street Journal! If they make the lower classes look bad, put it into !Forbes. If they make the upper class look bad, put it in the Daily News!

    You see the pattern? Whenever you find a larger group in the U.S. who likes the information to be known, you will find a news outlet to publish it. Only if no news outlet in the U.S. will publish it, because it makes nearly everyone look bad, where do you go? - Tada! Whichever news outlet will publish it, to the U.S. as a whole it will look as if it has an anti-american agenda - just because it publishes the stuff, no other news outlet will publish, because they fear the anger of nearly all groups in the U.S.

    No, a news outlet like WikiLeaks will always look as if it was anti-american. If the news was somehow neutral or pro-american, it would have been published in the U.S. already. So your "anti-american agenda" just turns into "I don't like the information to be known, because they make me look bad."

  • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @09:49AM (#41121929)

    The problem with most ideological stances, is that they only work if the ideolody is applied to everyone else

    Hence, Wikileaks stands for openness and public scrutiny of everything and everyone except Wikileaks. How much money has Wikileaks received in donations, and how much of it went in to Assange's pockets? Maybe an insider could post the answer on Wikileaks. No, wait...

    No, wait... Indeed. They already posted financial transparency reports on Wikileaks by the Wau Holland Foundation [], in the form of a press release [] no less.

    Freedom of Information is a great idea, until you realise that all governments and companies need to undertake certain discussing in private in able to function effectively.

    While that is true in the general sense, there is also the fact that governments describing themselves as democratic (let alone shining examples of that) should be as diplomatic and as open as possible. And at least our Western governments have not been all that great about that lately, ranging from ACTA, to war crimes (Abu Grahib, "Collateral Murder"-the-full-version-and-not-the-Wikileaks-edit), to unsavoury governmental-corporation incest (STRATFOR, News Corp), to ...

    Wikileaks (even if it remained as effective as in its heydays) would never be able to get its hands on every piece of confidential information nor be able to publish it. Just like the fact that we beat ACTA doesn't mean that the IP-crazies are suddenly completely stopped in their tracks. Or just like the fact that we get to vote doesn't mean that corruption doesn't exist nor that we live in an ideal representative democracy.

    However, society always has been and presumably always will be a melting pot influenced by everything that happens. Wikileaks, beating ACTA and voting are all part of that. In the grand scheme of things, I see them as counteracting forces against wrongfully denied freedom-of-information requests, warrantless wiretapping, trying to get IP-legislation enacted under the guise of free trade agreements without public oversight, ... I don't see that in the sense of fighting fire with fire or an eye for an eye, but as opposite influences that affect society as a whole and how it will continue to evolve.

    And the problem appears to be that without actions that "open up" things, the natural reaction of many people in power appears to be to keep much more secret than is warranted or than is a good idea. Reasons could be because that is the way of the least resistance, or because those people at large probably often genuinely believe that they do know best, and that public debate would only slow down things and/or muddy the facts.

    That behaviour however has to be counteracted and compensated for in some way to keep a democratic society healthy, and as far as I'm concerned Wikileaks is one expression of that in its own unconventional and loose-cannon way. I don't think Wikileaks is dangerous to a healthy society though. It will obviously cause at least inconveniences and may even lead to deaths or other catastraphies, and there are many more desirable ways to achieve the same goals (such as freedom-of-information requests, and the normally automatic public oversight over creating any kind of legislation). However, I think Wikileaks' wide general public support (or at least sympathy) is mainly a reaction to the failure of exactly these more convention means of openness in democratic governance.

  • Re:childish swine (Score:5, Informative)

    by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:53AM (#41122643)

    Just like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba which the US has occupied since a "treaty" in 1903... and they won't leave in spite of Cuban government requests.

  • Re:childish swine (Score:4, Informative)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:21PM (#41122837)
    The American control of the panama canal. When Panama told the USA to leave they sent in the army and changed the government.
  • Re:childish swine (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:31PM (#41122905)

    These were standard topics in American History when I was growing.

    Yes, those are all standard topics, but what is not a standard topic is the conflict you omitted: The American invasion, conquest, and pacification of the Philippine Islands [], which may have killed more people than all those you mentioned combined. This conflict has mostly been dropped down the memory hole, and few Americans have even heard of it. The Nazi's got many of their ideas for their death camps by looking at the concentration camps that the USA ran in the Philippines, although the British concentration camps [] in South Africa were an even bigger influence.

  • by sgt_doom ( 655561 ) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @02:29PM (#41123757)
    You're an idiot and woefully ignorant of the financial history of the Corporate-owned propaganda machine in America today. Study your frigging history, douchey, and then read the report below. . . []

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.