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Author Topic: Statist whore wants wikileaks classified as "terrorist" org
Animist
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The hate-on some people have for Wikileaks really bothers me. It seems to be based on the idea that "some things are meant to remain secret." "Meant" by whom? From whom? And what are the broader implications of secrecy, of having a government able to keep secrets?

It's similar to some peoples' reactions to the foreclosure crisis: "****er couldn't pay his bills, he deserves what he has coming to him!" bray the onlookers as the banking class (bailed out at taxpayer expense when they couldn't "pay their bills") deprive yet another American of his human right to shelter.

It's a misplacement of loyalties-- with the powerful and with "rules" created by the powerful, for the end of exercising power. Like Stockholm Syndrome.

Julian Assange is my hero, and I can't wait for the next round of leaks.

[ November 30, 2010, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: Animist ]

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TomDavidson
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I wouldn't say Assange is my hero, but I'm very glad that someone is providing this service.
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RickyB
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Under the normal course of things, some things SHOULD remain secret, at least in real time. Diplomacy, for instance, is entirely based on an intensely duplicitous system of manners - everyone knows what you say privately among your country's diplomats and politicians isn't what you say to other nations' faces - and it is precisely for this reason that when the private honesty becomes public it becomes something that must be addressed. It's not really *that* different from everyday interpersonal life, even though in America we have more latitude to be bluntly honest in that sphere than is tenable in international relations.

You may think your co-workers are assholes, and they may think the same, and you both may be fairly certain this is the case, but if you or they voice this frequently to their face it makes for an untenable work environment. Your boss sends you to meet someone. She wants your assessment of the person. Can you do business if you can only give such impressions with a cc to the subject? Of course not.

However, when wars are sold on lies and the world seems headed to a dangerous place, it is most helpful from time to time to set the record straight. I wouldn't want the type of diplomatic correspondence that was exposed to be regularly available, but under current conditions I'm not upset that it was revealed. I think that under normal circumstances the drive to leak - without some huge bribe, for free as with wikileaks - is much lower.

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The Drake
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Some things should remain secret, which is why the government employees and contractors with that clearance are not allowed to share it. But publishing these secrets should not be punished. I doubt that we have to depend on journalists to keep our nuclear launch codes secret, or the Presidential motorcade route. In order to have a leak of this type, somebody must be willing to go to jail in order to reveal it. That means that your policy is so messed up, that even lifetime public servants think that it needs to be exposed at any cost.

I think that diplomacy as practiced is often unethical two-faced behaviour. When Saudi Arabia secretly wants to bomb Iran, but publicly supports them as Shiite brothers - that's unethical. If Saudi Arabia gets hurt because of their lies to the International public, too damn bad. If we get hurt because of it, shame on us for letting them get away with it.

So, can some say with specificity what the harm will be of any of these cables? So we called Sarkozy an authoritarian who is mean to his staff. So? And? Embarassing, not dangerous terrorism.

I don't disagree with Ricky that there are one-on-one assessments that may be too brutally honest (for instance, about a difficult customer in business). But these are widely available, although restricted, cables. Would you cc your message denigrating a co-worker to 20% of your company and available to new hires as a database?

There's a time and a place for a phone call or a personal visit. Why do you think Clinton logs all those frequent flyer miles, anyway? So that the really sensitive stuff never gets recorded - except perhaps by the US if the meeting is at the UN.

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Pete at Home
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At present, these cables would have become fodder for historians within 20 years, neh? Now policies will go into effect giving this stuff premature burial. So in the long run, this leak will result in less sunshine, not more.
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edgmatt
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Well, I can understand why people woudl be upset about these particular leaks, I think Ricky posted just about exactly what I think about this.

I think the bigger issue is the concept of allowing Top Secret information be public. I don't think this is a problem for our public, but for whoever might be our enemies at the time.

We don't care, today, if out government has called the President of Russia a name, or insulted him somehow. Will we care when the leaked information allows a nation we are at war with, or are close to being at war with, use that information to gain a tactical or political advantage over our government or over the public?

I wouldn't call the Wiki leaks guy a hero. I think the potential for some really bad events could spring from top secret information being regularly leaked to the rest of the world.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Now policies will go into effect giving this stuff premature burial. So in the long run, this leak will result in less sunshine, not more.
Only if we let our government bully us. Do you plan to?

quote:
I think the potential for some really bad events could spring from top secret information being regularly leaked to the rest of the world.
Practically speaking, all hypotheticals aside, really bad events have sprung from top secret information not being leaked. So it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.

[ December 02, 2010, 10:14 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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KidTokyo
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What impresses me most about WikiLeaks is not any of the specific leaks themselves, but rather that the government is so damn leaky.

Isn't that really the important revelation?

It reveals government for the big, messy, improbable operation that it is. It shows the limits of top-down management and control.

[ December 02, 2010, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
What impresses me most about WikiLeaks is not any of the specific leaks themselves, but rather that the government is so damn leaky.

Isn't that really the important revelation?

You do know that all of these leaks were probably provided by one individual.

quote:
Wired’s Threat Level blog reported late Sunday that “an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks,” was arrested by the Pentagon.
Leaks

However, it's almost certain that all of that information that was previously available to anyone with a certain level of clearance will be divided up and access will be further limited. The government will become even more secretive after this, not less. And almost certainly less efficient.

I like the free flow of information, but I understand the limits. This event will almost certainly result in less future flow of information.

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G2
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Interesting take here.For the shockingly large number of you that refuse to follow links, here's the summary:
quote:
Because we all basically know that the US state — like all states — is basically doing a lot of basically shady things basically all the time, simply revealing the specific ways they are doing these shady things will not be, in and of itself, a necessarily good thing. In some cases, it may be a bad thing, and in many cases, the provisional good it may do will be limited in scope. The question for an ethical human being — and Assange always emphasizes his ethics — has to be the question of what exposing secrets will actually accomplish, what good it will do, what better state of affairs it will bring about. And whether you buy his argument or not, Assange has a clearly articulated vision for how Wikileaks’ activities will “carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity,” a strategy for how exposing secrets will ultimately impede the production of future secrets. The point of Wikileaks — as Assange argues — is simply to make Wikileaks unnecessary.

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TomDavidson
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Thanks for the article, G2.
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G2
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Welcome. [Wink]

It's quite informative about what's driving Assange and wikileaks. For those, like the Obama administration, that want to dismiss him as insignificant and claim they're "not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop" then I think you're underestimating this guy and this situation.
quote:

... he begins by describing a state like the US as essentially an authoritarian conspiracy, and then reasons that the practical strategy for combating that conspiracy is to degrade its ability to conspire, to hinder its ability to “think” as a conspiratorial mind.

<snip>

He decides, instead, that the most effective way to attack this kind of organization would be to make “leaks” a fundamental part of the conspiracy’s information environment. Which is why the point is not that particular leaks are specifically effective. Wikileaks does not leak something like the “Collateral Murder” video as a way of putting an end to that particular military tactic; that would be to target a specific leg of the hydra even as it grows two more. Instead, the idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy’s information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire:

<snip>

The leak, in other words, is only the catalyst for the desired counter-overreaction; Wikileaks wants to provoke the conspiracy into turning off its own brain in response to the threat. As it tries to plug its own holes and find the leakers, he reasons, its component elements will de-synchronize from and turn against each other, de-link from the central processing network, and come undone. Even if all the elements of the conspiracy still exist, in this sense, depriving themselves of a vigorous flow of information to connect them all together as a conspiracy prevents them from acting as a conspiracy.

Looks like we're gonna get a chance to see if his theory works since he claims to have even more to release.

[ December 02, 2010, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Now policies will go into effect giving this stuff premature burial. So in the long run, this leak will result in less sunshine, not more.
Only if we let our government bully us. Do you plan to?
Gee, Tom, thanks for reminding me that the government can do nothing unless I plan to allow them to do so. While we're at it, why don't we just teach kids to just say no to rape and incest?

[ December 03, 2010, 02:16 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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0Megabyte
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Pete, while you bring up a point that requires clarification, I'd trust, as a capable lawyer, you can find more ways to interpret Tom's words than just the silliest, chip on your shoulder or not.

I don't speak for Tom, but I'll say this: We DO have ways to affect the government. We can always fire the people who make these decisions, and replace them.

I presume Tom suggests something like that. Admittedly, it would require a lot of work. A whole lot. That's probably still a large understatement. In fact, it might not even be feasible. That's debatable. But you seemed to go for something more simplistic and easier to make fun of. Isn't this kind of like making an opponent of straw and beating it?

---

Thank you for the informative link, G2. Some interesting food for thought. I, too, am curious to see how Assuange's theory pans out.

I'm... not sure where you stand on this, G2. What is your opinion on it? If I'm reading the little you've said, you don't really seem against it, but stop me if I'm reading you wrong.

[ December 03, 2010, 02:37 AM: Message edited by: 0Megabyte ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
Pete, while you bring up a point that requires clarification, I'd trust, as a capable lawyer, you can find more ways to interpret Tom's words than just the silliest, chip on your shoulder or not.

I don't speak for Tom, but I'll say this: We DO have ways to affect the government.

If Tom had said that, I'd agree with him.

quote:
We can always fire the people who make these decisions, and replace them.
Is that your final answer [Big Grin] You might want to be more careful about the word "always."

Fact is, some lefties do hold Americans fully responsible for the acts of their government, and ultimately that's about as just as blaming a rape victim. Yes, there are things you can do to prevent certain bad things from happening, but sometimes sh!t happens regardless.


quote:
But you seemed to go for something more simplistic and easier to make fun of. Isn't this kind of like making an opponent of straw and beating it?
You're making a lot of positive inferences about Tom's meaning. Yes, I do have a grudge against Tom, but I have and will continue to defend him when I see him mischaracterized or done wrong. Nothing I say or do will ever cause Tom to respect me as a fellow human being, and yes, I'm bitter about that, and yes, that comes out in my style and sometimes colors my reading. ---
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0Megabyte
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Yes, yes, always is a bit optimistic. In general, we can sort of choose now. The current party system does make it harder to choose what our choices will be, however. Still, that's why I feel primaries are important.

Anyway, I'll admit I'm suggesting positive inferences about Tom's meaning. But I feel it's no less valid than automatically making negative inferences.

And yes, your bitterness is very obviously coming out in your style, when it comes to Tom. I'm not going to defend him in any larger sense, he doesn't need me for that. But maybe you should just stop talking to him, if he's bothering you so much. If your view is really that nothing you can do will ever make Tom respect you... just respectfully stop doing anything in regards to him. Why spend the time? You could always do (insert fun hobby here) instead.

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TomDavidson
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I strongly suggest, Pete, that you read the article to which G2 linked -- and then consider my comment within that context. It might help.
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Pete at Home
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I did, and it blows my mind to consider the possibility that you may have meant "we" in that kind of inclusive teamish way. I need some time to contemplate a response. Thank you.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
We don't care, today, if out government has called the President of Russia a name, or insulted him somehow
Our Secretary of State said the once (and probably future) president of Russia and current "Batman" didn't have a soul. Somehow I think that Medvedev will survive being compared to The Boy Wonder and I bet Putin rather likes being called Batman. [Smile]

So far most of the State Dept stuff sounds catty, a bit like our nation is a teenage girl whose diary got published on the web.

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Pete at Home
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OK, Tom, I've thought about it. 0Meg was right, and I thank you both for your patience with my unreasonableness in this matter. I made an unfair inference based on my my history with you, and I apologize.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
... Our Secretary of State said the once (and probably future) president of Russia and current "Batman" didn't have a soul.

Also said:

quote:
... President Obama held a town hall meeting with an online component to highlight the importance of the internet. In response to a question that was sent in over the internet, he defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows, the stronger societies become. He spoke about how access to information helps citizens to hold their governments accountable, generates new ideas, and encourages creativity. The United States’ belief in that truth is what brings me here today.
http://memex.naughtons.org/archives/2010/12/05/12412
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:

I'm... not sure where you stand on this, G2. What is your opinion on it? If I'm reading the little you've said, you don't really seem against it, but stop me if I'm reading you wrong.

Assange is engaged in espionage. He should be arrested and prosecuted and wikleaks should be shut down.
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TomDavidson
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What espionage has Assange himself committed?
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
What espionage has Assange himself committed?

Really. Perhaps a review of the relevant US Code is in order. Specifically see Section 793 and 798.

In a nutshell:
quote:
The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. Espionage is a violation of [Title] 18 United States Code 792-798 and Article 106, Uniform Code of Military Justice.
By virtue of receiving and then transmitting classified information, Assange has committed espionage as defined under title 18 of the US Code. There is no gray area here, he did it.

[ December 06, 2010, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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TomDavidson
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Do you believe that Assange's intent is to injure the United States or advantage a foreign nation? (Note, by the way, that Assange is not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and has as far as I can tell committed no crime.)
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.
So wait, if I *receive* information about the national defense, I'm guilty of espionage?

So the fact I went to the Wikileaks site and read stuff there makes *me* guilty of espionage, even though I wasn't involved in distributing it further?

This definition seems to me very flawed.

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TomDavidson
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Actually, if you were in fact subject to the UCMJ, receiving such information intentionally -- i.e. wandering out to the site and reading it while having some idea what it contained -- would indeed be a violation. This is why the government is within its "rights" to tell soldiers that they face discharge if they visit the page, or even read articles about the revelations.

Luckily, the UCMJ doesn't apply to most people.

[ December 07, 2010, 07:29 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
What espionage has Assange himself committed?

Really. Perhaps a review of the relevant US Code is in order. Specifically see Section 793 and 798.

In a nutshell:
quote:
The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. Espionage is a violation of [Title] 18 United States Code 792-798 and Article 106, Uniform Code of Military Justice.
By virtue of receiving and then transmitting classified information, Assange has committed espionage as defined under title 18 of the US Code. There is no gray area here, he did it.

Haven't we all done it, by reading this stuff on this board, and re-posting and linking to it?

Off with our heads.

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philnotfil
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wired.com

quote:
A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike.

It shouldn’t be.

In the past week, after publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables, secret-spilling site WikiLeaks has been hit with denial-of-service attacks on its servers by unknown parties; its backup hosting provider, Amazon, booted WikiLeaks off its hosting service; and PayPal has suspended its donation-collecting account, damaging WikiLeaks’ ability to raise funds. MasterCard announced Monday it was blocking credit card payments to WikiLeaks, saying the site was engaged in illegal activities, despite the fact it has never been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians have ramped up the rhetoric against the nonprofit, calling for the arrest and prosecution and even assassination of its most visible spokesman, Julian Assange. Questions about whether current laws are adequate to prosecute him have prompted lawmakers to propose amending the espionage statute to bring Assange to heel or even to declare WikiLeaks a terrorist organization.


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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.
So wait, if I *receive* information about the national defense, I'm guilty of espionage?

So the fact I went to the Wikileaks site and read stuff there makes *me* guilty of espionage, even though I wasn't involved in distributing it further?

This definition seems to me very flawed.

It seems flawed because you are only reading the first half of it. If you were to take information (typically classified) from someone and you knew or had reason to believe the information was intended to to be used to damage the United States or to give advantage to any foreign nation, then you very well might be guilty of espionage.

That you've gone to Wikileaks and read it is not necessarily a crime because the information has already been leaked into the public domain.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Haven't we all done it, by reading this stuff on this board, and re-posting and linking to it?

Not unless the information was classified and then you revealed it with the intent to injure the US or aid other foreign nations. I doubt anyone here has done that.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Do you believe that Assange's intent is to injure the United States or advantage a foreign nation? (Note, by the way, that Assange is not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and has as far as I can tell committed no crime.)

I left the UCMJ stuff in just to place a full quote rather than snip it, hope that didn't confuse too much.

Is it Assange's intent to injure the United State? Certainly, there is no doubt. His stated desire is to essentially destroy the "conspiracy", his word for the government, and reduce its ability to act - likening it to assassination - in order to create his vision of a more "just" system.

As for giving advantage to foreign nations, he is indeed doing that but I think that's just a side effect of his actions. I think if he could get information on those countries, he'd leak that too.

There is a very fine line in what Assange has engaged in. Leaking classified cables has crossed that line.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
There is a very fine line in what Assange has engaged in. Leaking classified cables has crossed that line.
What, in your opinion, would not cross that line?
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
There is a very fine line in what Assange has engaged in. Leaking classified cables has crossed that line.
What, in your opinion, would not cross that line?
Finally releasing Obama's birth certificate! [LOL] [Razz]
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TomDavidson
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So there is no classified information that you believe it would be justified to leak? Only the privacy of private citizens can be ethically violated?
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DonaldD
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quote:
His stated desire is to essentially destroy the "conspiracy", his word for the government
This is such an oversimplification that it approaches falsehood.

Assange's 'conspiracy' is neither the government, nor the country. It is a subset of the people inside and outside of the government, acting together (though not necessarily in concert) to further the cause of the conspiracy - in this case, increasing the power of the conspiracy itself.

How can we be sure that he does NOT mean the country in total? Well, we could look at his own words:
quote:
Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist
behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of
thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of
politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally [we] must use
these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective
action.

I'll point out the following: "what aspect of government or neocorporatist
behavior we wish to change or remove" – if we can use his words to describe his intent (and he has not been reticent to share his opinions on this topic – he has not exactly kept them 'secret') then it is clear that his target is some aspect of government behaviour – not the government in total, and certainly not the country.

Which brings up another point: the wording of the statute is "with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States" - the current government is NOT 'the United States'. That aspect of the current government behaviour that he wishes to change is even less so, notwithstanding that there are many in the government who wish to conflate the two, to the point of claiming that resistance to or disagreement with any government position approaches treason.

It is completely consistent with his stated objectives that rather than trying to injure the United States, he is actually trying to protect it from an internal clique that is, in effect, injuring the country.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
There is a very fine line in what Assange has engaged in. Leaking classified cables has crossed that line.

OK. Suppose you're an American Citizen, and you leak cables classified by the Israeli government showing that Israel government intentionally sunk the USS Liberty in order to cover up its plans to invade the Golan Heights.

You've never been to Israel. You're not an Israeli. Should the US extradite you to Israel for trial as a spy?

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KidTokyo
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I look it at this way: capturing Assange will not stop wikileaks.

Even stopping wikileaks will not stop other similar organizations from coming into existence and improving on the operational model.

Governmental and corporate secrecy will be harder to maintain, and powerful people will have an incentive to behave better.

We are entering an era in which we will know more about those who lead us, and have more say in what they do, than we ever have before. Technology makes this possible.

I welcome it.

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