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Is Wikileaks morally right?

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That's called a "rhetorical flourish." Assninja is the responsible party, and whomever aided him by copying and passing on the classified information from within the government. Once it's out in the open, it's public domain.

Come on Maximus, you are a military man... You know that once it got to the point where Asange could get it, it was already in the public domain. There is absolutely no difference between what Asange did and what the New York Times would do, except that Asange released it all the NYT might have spared their political bedfellows some of the harsher blows.

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I've been in third world shit-holes in the military, and, believe me, we're living in relative paradise in the US. I'll take our corrupt over, say, Somalia's corrupt anyday. Assninja needs to be

Many people are uncritically accepting the government's and the media's lies without doing much research. Some facts: WikiLeaks is a four year old organization based outside of the U.S. Over t

No one has asserted that they have compromised the United States military, rather they have jeopardized our government's efforts at defending our security. The defense of the country isn't restricted

You are ignoring a key phrase: "from within the government." Whomever copied and leaked classified material is guilty of espionage, a treasonable offense. This does not apply to the press who may be the recipients of such leaked information. That being said, a journalist with a modicum of ethics would not publish information that puts peoples lives at risk because of some anti-American agenda.

Wasn't it an American newspaper that outed a CIA operative a few years ago?

Yes it was...

On July 14, 2003, Washington Post journalist Robert Novak, from information obtained from Richard Armitage at the US State Department, effectively ended Valerie Plame's career with the CIA (from which she later resigned in December 2005) by revealing in his column her identity as a CIA operative.

and it was facilitated by the government itself. I guess there are "secrets" and then there are "SECRETS". Come to think of it I don't know of a single piece of information that Asange has released that had anywhere near the effect of Plame-gate...

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Assange has partial responsibility: him and his organization requested, promoted, and abated the mishandling and illegal dissemination of protected, official documents. What Assange has done is similar to the activities of a foreign intelligence agent, except he doesn't work for a government and all the information has been made public. Making information public doesn't make an organization a news outlet.

No, that's actually exactly what news outlets who engage in investigative journalism do: they uncover government secrets and expose things that the government is trying to keep hidden from public knowledge. This does not mean a particular or given item ought to be exposed, but certainly if the government is trying to conceal criminal and immoral acts, then even yourself would have to agree that they ought to be exposed and the whistleblowers should be supported, no? I assume you would not argue that simply because something is a government secret that that in itself means that the knowledge ought to be concealed and the journalists who cover the story and publish the leaked information should be subject to legal persecution?

It should be noted that Wikileaks does issue commentary, editorials, interviews and does all the same functions that other news outlets do. My point is that the debate as to whether or not Wikileaks qualifies as a news outlet is misguided.

And if the New York Times promotes the theft of government property

I guess you would have Ragnar Danneskjöld arrested for crimes against the State and theft of "government property." In any event, nothing the NYT or Wikileaks does is “promoting the theft of government property” and the nebulous guise of “government property” does not qualify something as moral protection from being taken away from the State or leaked, especially if the property itself is evidence of criminal and immoral acts being committed by the government.

actively colludes and participates in illegal activity,

But they did not collude in or participate in any illegal activity to our present knowledge.

and doesn't engage in dialog with the government about the potential harm of releasing certain information, then they should be investigated and brought up on charges too.

Not engaging in a dialogue with the government about publishing leaked information is not a crime.

However, I've never heard of them doing that, but I have heard of news organizations doing just the opposite.

Then you have not heard that both the NYT and Wikileaks themselves attempted to engage in such a dialogue with the US government about any particular items they would want redacted in the leaked documents before they publish them in order to protect US soldiers and intelligence operatives and the US government did not respond, so the NYT proceeded with the redactions on their own.

All in all, nothing that has been said has yet shown that Wikileaks or Julian Assange has committed any criminal acts.

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Wasn't it an American newspaper that outed a CIA operative a few years ago?

Yes it was...

and it was facilitated by the government itself. I guess there are "secrets" and then there are "SECRETS". Come to think of it I don't know of a single piece of information that Asange has released that had anywhere near the effect of Plame-gate...

Plame was a desk jockey and everyone and his brother knew she was CIA. Her and her husband made the D.C. party circuit. Loose lips and all that.

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Come on Maximus, you are a military man... You know that once it got to the point where Asange could get it, it was already in the public domain. There is absolutely no difference between what Asange did and what the New York Times would do, except that Asange released it all the NYT might have spared their political bedfellows some of the harsher blows.

The PFC who was the alleged leak is sitting in the brig right now. He can be charged with treason - and he violated his oath and dishonored himself. Assninja and his buddies are just trying to be, in their own minds, heros of the Proletariat, but they are more like teenagers trying to pull one over on "The Man." Look, we know things happen behind the scenes, and we have to deal with people we would rather not have to deal with, but it has to be done. Diplomacy is like making hot dogs, you don't really want to see it done.

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Also for anyone that might be curious, I just read a wiki cable release with the title, "US contractor DynCorp sold child prostitute­s to Afghan police officers as part of a bacha bazi party." Real, actual evidence of sexual crimes with victims who could not possibly consent. Where's the Interpol red notice? :huh:

That is Afghan on Afghan misconduct, the only reason Dyncorp's name was brought up was because the one Afghan was a local employed by DynCorp. Apparently there was only one 17 year-old involved, not "boys".

Here is the link to the leaked cable hosted at the Guardian.

Here is a newspaper story giving the DynCorp and State Department version of events.

Here is another "Pfizer Targeted Nigerian Attorney General to Undermine Suit over Fatal Drug Tests. Pfizer did not tell parents their children were getting experimental drug. 11 children died, others suffered deafness, muteness, paralysis, brain damage, loss of sight, slurred speech."

The experiment was horrifying.

Epidemic meningitis is more horrifying, with a 20% fatality rate. The damage you list "deafness, muteness, paralysis, brain damage, loss of sight, slurred speech" are known effects of meningitis. The trovan drug has been linked to a small incidence of liver damage, but why isn't that of the items listed? The patients were all illiterate, so Pfizer has no signed consent forms. The Washington Post article does not claim that the one girl died because the medication killed her, or that she could have been saved by any other measure. The Pfizer doctors were unprepared for the situation in Nigeria and screwed up their experiment, but 11 deaths out their 200 patients is more like 5% not 20% so this was still a successful effort that saved lives.

From http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2010/12/17/wikileaks_cables_pfizer_targeted_nigerian_attorney

MUSIKILU MOJEED (Nigerian journalist): Yeah. Nigerians are clearly outraged by this revelation that Pfizer hired investigators to smear the attorney general, to blackmail him to drop the federal charges. ... That is, a $6 billion federal suit against Pfizer disappeared secretly, that the attorney general simply did—went into a secret deal with Pfizer and a few Nigerian lawyers without anybody knowing about it. ... But in any case, the attorney general himself is known to be terribly corrupt. So a lot of people are not surprised, because he’s know to be a corrupt man. He cannot enter the United States, because the U.S. government has barred him, has withdrawn his visa and that of his family, because he’s known to be corrupt. But a lot of people are outraged that Pfizer could go to that extent to hire an investigator to blackmail a Nigerian official.

That $6 billion would have gone into his pocket, and then his Swiss bank account. And how do you smear someone who is already known to be corrupt? Nigerian national pride is wounded and I could not care less.

^--I realize this is unrelated to the main discussion, but this shows some examples of *some* of the stuff coming out. I also just came across it and thought some people might wish to know about such things.

Since you follow this stuff, if a story ever breaks that doesn't dissolve when examined into swirling fog of rumor and innuendo motivated by anti-corporate conspiracy theories and general anti-Americanism be sure to let us know.

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Another thought: Everyone here agrees that theft of intellectual property is wrong, yet, somehow, theft of top secret government communications is okay? :confused:

Since when do official government communications fall under intellectual property protections? Almost everything the government does is supposed to be public. Even when government employees patent inventions they are not permitted to file infringement actions or collect royalties.

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No, that's actually exactly what news outlets who engage in investigative journalism do: they uncover government secrets and expose things that the government is trying to keep hidden from public knowledge. This does not mean a particular or given item ought to be exposed, but certainly if the government is trying to conceal criminal and immoral acts, then even yourself would have to agree that they ought to be exposed and the whistleblowers should be supported, no? I assume you would not argue that simply because something is a government secret that that in itself means that the knowledge ought to be concealed and the journalists who cover the story and publish the leaked information should be subject to legal persecution?

It should be noted that Wikileaks does issue commentary, editorials, interviews and does all the same functions that other news outlets do. My point is that the debate as to whether or not Wikileaks qualifies as a news outlet is misguided.

I guess you would have Ragnar Danneskjöld arrested for crimes against the State and theft of "government property." In any event, nothing the NYT or Wikileaks does is “promoting the theft of government property” and the nebulous guise of “government property” does not qualify something as moral protection from being taken away from the State or leaked, especially if the property itself is evidence of criminal and immoral acts being committed by the government.

But they did not collude in or participate in any illegal activity to our present knowledge.

Not engaging in a dialogue with the government about publishing leaked information is not a crime.

Then you have not heard that both the NYT and Wikileaks themselves attempted to engage in such a dialogue with the US government about any particular items they would want redacted in the leaked documents before they publish them in order to protect US soldiers and intelligence operatives and the US government did not respond, so the NYT proceeded with the redactions on their own.

All in all, nothing that has been said has yet shown that Wikileaks or Julian Assange has committed any criminal acts.

Requesting that people break the law and then facilitating the crime, well, is a crime. Releasing official government documents, that could cause harm to the government and employees is also a crime. The fact that government officials contacted Assange and told him (or his organization) that the release of the information would cause harm only goes to help the government's future case. The same goes for all of Assange's self damning statements about targeting the government, of which one was a stated goal of his for Wikileaks to have the ability to "bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality--including the US administration."

I'm not going to answer your hypothetical question about when its right to steal and disseminate government documents. However, the idea that that dumb ass Private is a whilsteblower, and Wikileaks is a news outlet, is ridiculous. The transcripts of his conversations about the documents clearly show that he's not some sort of hero 'whistleblower,' but instead an immature, lazy, disloyal, and overall lousy soldier. I'm not going to rehash comments I've said in other posts on the forum regarding this person, but I think one of his punishments should be a whole 15 months of 'cookout duty,' or whatever stupid detail they had this incompetent loser on, and then they can hang him. As for Wikileaks being a news outlet, I can only regard that as some fantasy supported by most civil libertarians, that we can go ahead and call everyone's common blog and website a news organization, so they can get the same 'protections.'

Would I have Ragnar arrested for what PFC knucklehead did? Yes, I would; and I would gladly arrest anyone who wantonly violates their obligations to properly handle classified documents--an obligation of which they voluntarily agreed to undertake--and, likewise, any agent who facilitated the crime. This is not the dystopian world presented in most of Atlas Shrugged, and proposing that some of the particulars should be accepted in reality, like Ragnar's activity, is ludicrous and criminal.

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Look, we know things happen behind the scenes, and we have to deal with people we would rather not have to deal with, but it has to be done. Diplomacy is like making hot dogs, you don't really want to see it done.

I'm not trying to pick on you here, but isn't this pretty much the DEFINITION of evasion? Isn't it exactly the responsibility of every citizen to understand, at least on a broad level, what their government is doing, ESPECIALLY if they intend to lend their support to that action? Because at the end of the day, all of us are responsible for the actions of our government. Isn't that our justification for killing people overseas who have never attacked us - that they are responsible for the government they have allowed to be in power? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Whether we ultimately choose to support or oppose our government's actions we have to do it with eyes open. If you advocate for some outcome, you necessarily advocate every step that occurs in bringing about that outcome.

I'm not sure where I stand on the Wikileaks issue yet. Manning is probably a criminal according to the UCMJ. That's for the Army to figure out. As for Assange and Wikileaks, I can't see that they're doing anything wrong, but if it could be proven that their information has harmed Americans or American collaborators in the field I might change my mind. I think that what I said above should apply regardless of where you stand on these issues.

I guess I don't believe I should be eating hot dogs when I'm not fully aware of how they're made, sawdust and pig anus be damned.

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Since when do official government communications fall under intellectual property protections? Almost everything the government does is supposed to be public. Even when government employees patent inventions they are not permitted to file infringement actions or collect royalties.

It doesn't, in a strict sense, but the principle is the same. Government documents are classified for a reason, and the public has no real "Need to know." We keep these types of communications out of the public view because it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to carry on international diplomacy without it. No official is going to be candid if his every word uttered in private is made public. This serves no real purpose. Assninja has stated that he wants to embarrass the US and other governments, as has been stated previously by RussK. He (Assninja) is an agent of anarchy, no more, no less, and anarchy is one of the least desirable states we can find ourselves in.

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I'm not trying to pick on you here, but isn't this pretty much the DEFINITION of evasion? Isn't it exactly the responsibility of every citizen to understand, at least on a broad level, what their government is doing, ESPECIALLY if they intend to lend their support to that action? Because at the end of the day, all of us are responsible for the actions of our government. Isn't that our justification for killing people overseas who have never attacked us - that they are responsible for the government they have allowed to be in power? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Whether we ultimately choose to support or oppose our government's actions we have to do it with eyes open. If you advocate for some outcome, you necessarily advocate every step that occurs in bringing about that outcome.

We should have our eyes open, and support be given with an objective consideration of the facts, and a weighing of possible outcomes, but not all possibilities are readily apparent. A battle plan is good only until the first shot is fired. Decisions must be made on the fly, adapting to reality both on the battlefield and in the matters of diplomacy.

I'm not sure where I stand on the Wikileaks issue yet. Manning is probably a criminal according to the UCMJ. That's for the Army to figure out. As for Assange and Wikileaks, I can't see that they're doing anything wrong, but if it could be proven that their information has harmed Americans or American collaborators in the field I might change my mind. I think that what I said above should apply regardless of where you stand on these issues.

That's my point - if harm comes to an American, just one, because of their activities, then they are responsible.

I guess I don't believe I should be eating hot dogs when I'm not fully aware of how they're made, sawdust and pig anus be damned.

Sawdust and pig anus taste pretty good on the grill. :lol:

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As for Wikileaks being a news outlet, I can only regard that as some fantasy supported by most civil libertarians, that we can go ahead and call everyone's common blog and website a news organization, so they can get the same 'protections.'

What do you see as the justification for having special protections for "official news organizations" that do not apply to, say, a private blog? Why should one be able to release certain documents while another is not?

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Government documents are classified for a reason

Government documents *should* only be classified for a specific reason, however they are regularly classified for many invalid reasons. Do not confuse reality with the ideal.

You are hiding behind vague concepts - "international diplomacy", "need to know", etc - and avoiding pointing to their referents, particularly the referents that are directly relevant to this discussion (the parties involved in these leaks).

He (Assninja) is an agent of anarchy, no more, no less, and anarchy is one of the least desirable states we can find ourselves in.

Guilt by association. Most people have irrational beliefs, however that does not automatically mean everything they do is irrational or immoral.

Edited by brian0918
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Requesting that people break the law and then facilitating the crime, well, is a crime. Releasing official government documents, that could cause harm to the government and employees is also a crime.

Actually, these were pretty much the same arguments advanced by the government in the case New York Times Co. v. United States, and the US Supreme Court disagrees with you.

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Well, then, lets just throw the entire thing wide open, no secrets, no classified documents. Let's see where that gets us. Pretty sure China and Russia will do the same. Yep. This is Fantasy-Land, after all. If we wish hard enough, everyone will hold hands and sing Kum-By-Ya. :rolleyes:

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Well, then, lets just throw the entire thing wide open, no secrets, no classified documents. Let's see where that gets us. Pretty sure China and Russia will do the same. Yep. This is Fantasy-Land, after all. If we wish hard enough, everyone will hold hands and sing Kum-By-Ya. :rolleyes:

Obviously that is not the position of the opposing side. Their position seems to be that (at least the vast majority of) these documents were not classified for proper reasons. It seems like at this point the argument should be over what exactly can properly be classified for the goal of international diplomacy, and whether Wikileaks violated those standards, rather than mutual abuse of stickmen.

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Since you follow this stuff, if a story ever breaks that doesn't dissolve when examined into swirling fog of rumor and innuendo motivated by anti-corporate conspiracy theories and general anti-Americanism be sure to let us know.

I would rather just prove every single one of your points about the unimportance of Dyncorps leak incorrect when I make my next proper post in here. How about you take more than 2 minutes of google searching to understand something. To you it is apparently sufficient, but as I will detail later, you fail to understand the issue because you chose not to look into it properly. You also seem to have failed to understand that neither of those leak postings was an argument, and I had made it quite clear that I had just read the titles.

Also, Maximus, while i was scrolling through, I noticed you said top secret information was released. This has not occurred. If it had then Wikileaks would have been charged with something different than they are planning to do (it is believed there will be a spying charge). Top Secret information is a very narrow number of things. Further, there is no Official Secrets Act in the United States, and the Constitution provides enormous protection for publishers of state secrets. The highest classification released was Secret, and as we have found many things have been inappropriately up-classified, but that is the nature of beuracracy and corruption when it merges with secrecy. Now if you want to debate the support for releasing what has actually thus far been released....

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Also, Maximus, while i was scrolling through, I noticed you said top secret information was released. This has not occurred. If it had then Wikileaks would have been charged with something different than they are planning to do (it is believed there will be a spying charge). Top Secret information is a very narrow number of things. Further, there is no Official Secrets Act in the United States, and the Constitution provides enormous protection for publishers of state secrets. The highest classification released was Secret, and as we have found many things have been inappropriately up-classified, but that is the nature of beuracracy and corruption when it merges with secrecy. Now if you want to debate the support for releasing what has actually thus far been released....

Oh no, I give up. Let's just put everything out in public. Assninja is just a poor, hardworking journalist who has our best interests in mind. We can trust him.

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Please cite for me even one instance of anyone here suggesting that information with legitimate national security concerns should be released. Please cite any character assessments on my part of Assange. Please cite anyone that has ever taken the position you are suggesting is being taken here. There sure are a lot of strawmen in here for an objectivist forum thread.

If you want to debate this then I welcome it. I am personally on the fence with this whole thing, in varying respects. I also believe that OpenLeaks is likely to be a much more admirable organization than Wikileaks within the context of what they do. Debate is healthy and helps us come to the proper conclusions on difficult, complex, or controversial issues. Continually referring to the man as Assninja, throwing straw men around, and purporting factually incorrect information does not help anyone, and it makes it more likely that people will just skip your posts, which would be unfortunate in instances when you do have worthwhile commentary, as you have had in other instances. You are doing yourself a disservice here, no one else, by not putting out better arguments for your position, which, if you took a step back, you would realize are easy to find.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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The PFC who was the alleged leak is sitting in the brig right now. He can be charged with treason - and he violated his oath and dishonored himself.

You'll get no argument from me on this, none at all.

Assninja and his buddies are just trying to be, in their own minds, heros of the Proletariat, but they are more like teenagers trying to pull one over on "The Man." Look, we know things happen behind the scenes, and we have to deal with people we would rather not have to deal with, but it has to be done. Diplomacy is like making hot dogs, you don't really want to see it done.

Absolutely, just like the NYT and every other paper and their reporters. None of them care about the repercussions of the story only about the blood they are able to spill with it.

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Another thought: Everyone here agrees that theft of intellectual property is wrong, yet, somehow, theft of top secret government communications is okay? :confused:

I never claimed that the person who broke his contract not to distribute the information was guiltless. However, if you are going to give the press a free pass (to a certain extent) in the name of the right to know, then that same permission must be granted to someone like Assange.

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