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Ivan Raszl

Is Wikileaks morally right?

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I'm confused about whether he's doing the right or wrong thing? If it was private stolen info it would be clearly wrong to publish right? But this is government info which is supposed to be owned by Americans or something... Please help! :)

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I'm confused about whether he's doing the right or wrong thing? If it was private stolen info it would be clearly wrong to publish right? But this is government info which is supposed to be owned by Americans or something... Please help! :)

Americans have no right to government information related to the defense and national security of the country when the divulging of that information directly compromises that defense.

As far as whether he's doing the right thing, in this circumstance the answer is a resounding no. He wantonly places every free (or even semi-free) country's existence at risk with his actions, and should be prosecuted as such as an enemy.

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I'm confused about whether he's doing the right or wrong thing? If it was private stolen info it would be clearly wrong to publish right? But this is government info which is supposed to be owned by Americans or something...
It is legitimate for a government to keep certain things secret. So, government "ownership" of the information does not make it proper to leak it, even if it is leaked only to citizens.

At the other extreme, consider a government that is grossly violating people's rights in secret. Suppose, for instance, the government is secretly poisoning some citizens to see how they react to some disease. This would be an abuse of government power. Releasing such information might be illegal and yet moral.

Respect for the rule of law would make one err greatly on the side of not breaking the law just because one thought it was imperfect. So, one's judgement of Wikileaks depends on whether one thinks the information they are releasing was grossly misclassified as secret when it ought not to have been so and whether they are helping expose government malfeasance, etc.

Interestingly, Wikileaks may not even be breaking U.S. law as it has been applied (i.e. de facto law). The U.S. government has mostly allowed media outlets to publish secret documents if the media outlets were passive recipients of those documents. More often than not, the media outlets would consult the government beforehand and redact some parts. So, the government was relying on the media acting responsibly to protect sensitive information that was did not demonstrate the government was violating its citizen's rights. Since Wikileaks has been giving their leaks to major media outlets and taking their suggested redactions into consideration, they may be able to claim that they should be treated no differently from (say) the New York Times, since -- just like the NYT -- they too have been redacting things that would put the lives of U.S. informants at risk, and so on.

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There is no right to hack to anyone's private computer.

There is right to know governmental private diplomatic information since a government should not do any negotitation at all. Its unique role is in protecting individual rights.

There is no right to pass military information to the irrational enemy.

Now do your own calculations.

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*** Mod note: Merged from separate topic ***

In my opinion, no military officer has the right to leak documents, so whoever did it should be tried for treason. Wikileaks, however, is just serving as a news organization, and since freedom of press should be an absolute in a free society, nothing should (legally) be done about it).

What do you think?

Edited by brian0918

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Bradley Manning who was the *main* but not sole source of much of the big packs of information coming out recently is certainly guilty of treason. I believe he is currently up for 52 years but he could get life. Also please keep in mind that those advocating something with respect to Bradley Manning may not necessarily be calling him a hero, but rather are against the process of which he has undergone with respect to the justice system since his arrest. There have been suggestions that he is not able to have the proper communication outlets with respect to his case and that he is in solitary confinement (which is more commonly being viewed as a type of invisible torture, and I have not read up much on those claims but from what I gathered its not feel-good nonsense). He took an oath and the military has very strong rules and punishments for the inappropriate leaking of information. Wikileaks *can* be seen as a bit more complicated by some, as others here have already suggested as they are, *primarily*, in some peoples eyes, viewed s just another journalistic entity such as the New York Times, as, again, was mentioned earlier.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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What about the government classifying things that are not "classified" in the military/governmental sense just so that people in the government don't get embarrassed?

If Governments are permitted to classify anything they produce in order to keep secrets then what is to stop them from classifying things that they are doing (to their citizens or others) just to forgo explaining themselves?

For the record anyone who leaks classified material while working for the government or another agency where they have agreed to confidentiality clauses/security protocols is guilty of a crime.

Is the person who reports on the information committing a crime? I'm not so sure. He is not bound by another's agreements.

As far as I am aware, (so far) Wikileaks has only succeeded in embarrassing numerous talking heads and public figures and that is hardly a crime.

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Americans have no right to government information related to the defense and national security of the country when the divulging of that information directly compromises that defense.

Wikileaks would love to compromise the U.S. military somehow, but nothing they do has any military significance even indirectly. The revealing of the diplomatic cables has been by far the most effective and moral thing they've done so far, with the exception of some names that should have been redacted from them to protect the people involved. I say moral because the leaked cables reveal things that shouldn't be secret in the first place, such as the trillions of dollars that have gone to foreign banks, the latest climate accord negotiations bribe distributions, millions in terrorist funding raised annually in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, North Korean missile tech going to Iran, etc.

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Wikileaks would love to compromise the U.S. military somehow, but nothing they do has any military significance even indirectly.

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 exclusively to the military- diplomatic efforts exist for the sole purpose of keeping us from having to use our military at the cost of American lives. Publishing information that damages these efforts does nothing but take more diplomatic options off the table, eventually leaving military force as the only option.

The revealing of the diplomatic cables has been by far the most effective and moral thing they've done so far, with the exception of some names that should have been redacted from them to protect the people involved. I say moral because the leaked cables reveal things that shouldn't be secret in the first place...

No one is denying that there are many interesting facts and evidence of corruption brought to light by these documents, and this may raise them a rung in hell. If they had evidence of corruption though then the prudent and moral thing to do would be to release redacted documents relating to that corruption only. However the indiscriminate publishing of these documents and their recent threats of releasing unredacted versions make their intentions quite clear.

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If the classified information can be reasonably considered to provide significant advantage to an enemy or enemies of the nation, then the theft and release of that information should be considered treason. Any agent that propagates that information should be considered to have committed an act of war against the state.

So far, I haven't seen anything that fundamentally or significantly harms our nation, except maybe that the Obama Administration is incompetent (NEWS ALERT!!!), and most of what I've heard has been damaging to U.S. enemies and their collaborators, by providing details of activities and cooperation, for instance, between Russia, France, China, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

All the world's a stage.

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After being arrested by British Police, a new article by Assange was published in The Australian. Some relevant bits for this discussion:

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

He also provides some detail about the threats he has received:

I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat" and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.
Edited by brian0918

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such as the trillions of dollars that have gone to foreign banks

That was not Wikileaks. Congress ordered those details released as part of the Dodd-Frank financial legislation.

Edited by brian0918

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It's relative to your position on the information released. If you come across military docs that prove that the government is acting in a heinous and immoral manner, you have a moral obligation to expose the truth. The question is whether these documents should have been leaked, if they damage the U.S government or if they're just neutral.

I'm with the last option right now. I don't see the big deal. This is not going to amount to a whole lot in the end.

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I think a large part of the issues rests on your perceptions of how free or oppressive our government currently is, and how restricted free speech and the media are. Releasing "secrets" about the North Korean government is not morally reprehensible. So you answer the question: has the United States government lost the last vestiges of freedom? Is free speech impossible?

If not, then why did he release the information?

Edited by VcatoV

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Assange is not terrorist, and doubtfully even qualifies as a criminal under U. S. law. Assange made a mistake in hiding in the U.K. instead of here, where he would have had real rights and a court precedents in not persecuting publishers of secret information. The New York Times publishes secret information frequently. The only real decision he would have had to make is whether or not to reveal his source. The real criminal is the person who broke security, and Assange covering for his source makes him an accessory. Publishing the info cannot be a crime in the U.S., but in the U.K. who knows?

Assange definitely has malicious motivations, so I recognize an enemy in him but he fails to be terrorist. People calling him a terrorist are being hysterical.

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Hacking is not how wikileaks obtains information, though.

I thought since Assange is a hacker that is how they obtained it. Do they get it by submissions from people or a different way?

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Looks like this will be their new spokesperson. I watched a lengthy frontline event that was recorded that had him and a younger datajournalist answering questions and basically in a debate with a former US and a former UK Security official.

New Public Face of Wikileaks

http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/12/07/meet-the-new-public-face-of-wikileaks-kristinn-hrafnsson/?boxes=Homepagelighttop

Apparently he is hot stuff in Iceland when it comes to what is relevant here:

Hrafnsson helped launch the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, (IMMI) the legal movement to give Iceland the world’s strongest free speech and whistle-blower protection laws; He lists himself as an advisor on that project’s website. (See our cover story on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and IMMI here.)

Where they are moving some of their infrastructure.

Assange made a mistake in hiding in the U.K. instead of here,

I don't really understand that either given that he was offered political asylum in Ecuador no question asked. The UK has quite a large number of Wikileaks supporters and there was in fact a sizeable rally outside the courthouse for his release earlier today. Switzerland will be sticky as well since from what I have read they have 2 political parties favoring Wikileaks there among a sizeable supportive group within the population. His lawyers had been advising him not to come to the United States, as well as some friends apparently, so he has not visited the United States in quite some time and has sent replacements to public events.

I thought since Assange is a hacker that is how they obtained it. Do they get it by submissions from people or a different way?

They only do two things: 1. Sort through the information, they have different levels, so they have high level employees going through the high levels stuff, etc. They redact what they find of sensitive information 2. they release whatever was sent to them i.e. uploaded to their website. This is what happened with all of this information, it was uploaded by an individual. Much of the information being released of late is from Bradley Manning, but apparently the upcoming Bank Of America stuff is from an ex-executive of the bank or something. Normal policy for them is if the information cannot be verified as authentic they throw it out. The other main policy is that if they find out who the source is in some way they throw it out so as to keep the submitters anonymous. Bradley Manning was just an idiot and talked about it with other people.

Assange's Lawyer also answered a few questions, it is mostly lawyerese obviously but here it is for anyone thats interested:

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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I thought since Assange is a hacker that is how they obtained it. Do they get it by submissions from people or a different way?

Assange is not a hacker. He was one when he was a kid, some 20 years ago. The media has emphasized his past hacking days, and melded it with his present activities - they are counting on you to irrationally conclude that he is still hacking, or somehow intercepting the data.

It's much less exciting than that. People submit the content either anonymously or confidentially, the way any whistleblower would to a journalist.

Edited by brian0918

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Assange made a mistake in hiding in the U.K. instead of here, where he would have had real rights and a court precedents in not persecuting publishers of secret information. The New York Times publishes secret information frequently. The only real decision he would have had to make is whether or not to reveal his source. The real criminal is the person who broke security, and Assange covering for his source makes him an accessory. Publishing the info cannot be a crime in the U.S., but in the U.K. who knows?

No, it isn't a crime here. The UK has less censorship than the USA and less regulation of political speech. The only thing we do have that eats into freedom of speech is our insane libel system, where businesses can (and do) silence and sue people for discrediting their products - (the chiropractors vs Simon Singh thing shows how bad this is).

Assange was arrested by UK police as part of an EU arrest warrant, on the charge of sexual molestation, not for releasing information. The court now has to decide whether there are any grounds to the claim, if there are he can be sent to Sweden to face their courts.

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This is relevant to the court case:

Barriers to US Assange Prosecution

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11952817

This is also interesting:

Why WikiLeaks Is Winning Its Info War

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2035817,00.html

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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Hacking is a violation of people's rights as far as I'm concerned.

There is no such this as collectivized rights or government rights. Using force(or in this case hacking) to obtain information on an abusive and criminal government is far from immoral. If fact. I would consider that pretty damn moral.

Edited by LandonWalsh

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