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Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks 578 578

e065c8515d206cb0e190 writes "Several human rights organizations contacted WikiLeaks and pressed them to do a better job at hiding information that endangers civilians within their leaked documents. From the article: 'The letter from five human-rights groups sparked a tense exchange in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange issued a tart challenge for the organizations to help with the massive task of removing names from thousands of documents, according to several of the organizations that signed the letter. The exchange shows how WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange risk being isolated from some of their most natural allies in the wake of the documents' publication. ... An [Amnesty International] official replied to say that while the group has limited resources, it wouldn't rule out the idea of helping, according to people familiar with the reply. The official suggested that Mr. Assange and the human-rights groups hold a conference call to discuss the matter.'"
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Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks

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  • nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:48PM (#33198982) Homepage
    An Amnesty official replied to say that while the group has limited resources, it wouldn't rule out the idea of helping, according to people familiar with the reply. The official suggested that Mr. Assange and the human-rights groups hold a conference call to discuss the matter.

    Mr. Assange then replied: "I'm very busy and have no time to deal with people who prefer to do nothing but cover their asses. If Amnesty does nothing I shall issue a press release highlighting its refusal," according to people familiar with the exchange.


    Kind of comes off as a narcissistic jerk here.
  • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Informative)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:02PM (#33199054)

    And a point that isn't made enough: people complain that wikileaks didn't do a good enough job of redacting the info themselves yet wikileaks requested help redacting sensitive info from the pentagon(they would after all have all the knowledge required to pick out what could potentially reveal their sources in a roundabout manner after all) but they got no reply other than attempts to shut them up entirely.

    In an ideal world wikileaks would not be necessary.

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:13PM (#33199114) Homepage

    There was a simple solution to this... Let the US government go through the documents redacting sensitive names and locations.

    Unfortunately they refused putting those afghans in danger.

  • war, or no war? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:22PM (#33199190) Homepage

    These groups have correctly identified a life-or-death issue affecting real human beings. Nevertheless, they're failing to see the forest for the trees. The reason these people need to hide their identities for fear of being murdered is that there's a war going on around them. The real issue is this: should there be a war in Afghanistan, or should there not be a war in Afghanistan? There was more justification for invading Afghanistan than there was for invading Iraq, but that ain't saying much, considering that the best public justification for the war in Iraq happened when Dick Cheney convinced Bush to get Colin Powell to lie to the UN. According to our own country's intelligence, Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan number in the hundreds. For that reason, we're subjecting millions of people to a brutal war. We're supporting an Afghan regime that is in power because it committed massive fraud in the last election.

    I'm a community college teacher. You know what army guys tend to do when they get their limbs blown off in Iraq and Afghanistan? They tend to show up at community colleges, hoping to go on and do something better with their lives. Brave guys. They've been ill-served by people like Bush and Cheney, but they move on. What about the U.S. soldiers who just plain died in Afghanistan? They're easy to forget. I don't see them sitting at the desks in my classroom. What about the innocent civilians getting killed by U.S. drone aircraft in Afghanistan? What about an entire Afghan society that can't make any progress because we invaded their country in order to go after a few terrorists? To me, that's the big picture. Solve that problem, and the problem of names not being redacted by Wikileaks will become a non-issue. That would be the right set of priorities, in my opinion. By the way, one guy who I think really had the right set of priorities is Bradley Manning. He committed a crime by blowing the whistle on war crimes. He's currently in solitary confinement, under suicide watch, in Quantico, Virginia. If you want to send him a letter and lift his spirits, the address is Inmate: Bradley Manning, 3247 Elrod Avenue, Quantico, VA 22134. If you want to donate to his legal defense fund, the information is here [clickandpledge.com]. (You can verify the donation link via the locked link from the WP article [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Free Speech (Score:5, Informative)

    by GameMaster (148118) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:26PM (#33199244)

    I believe that it's, actually, a quote often taken out of context. My understanding is that the quote goes something like "Information wants to be free but, at the same time, information wants to be private". I don't think the original writer intended it to be a total endorsement of all information being free.

  • Re:nice (Score:2, Informative)

    by RabbitWho (1805112) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:37PM (#33199348) Homepage Journal
    What? Of course there's an in between. If there wasn't an in between then the names and addresses and phone numbers of ever celebrity or criminal or person of interest would be up on the Internet.
  • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:54PM (#33199510)

    The possibility of these sources being murdered? How about the actual fact of at least one Afghan tribal elder -- Khalifa Abdullah -- who was murdered because one E3 did not appreciate the actual risk to real life human beings from releasing these documents.

    Interesting. Searching google with the terms: "site:wikileaks.org abdullah" [google.com] returns about a page of results. I see some references to a gentleman in Canada, some about one in Somalia, some references to King Abdullah (didn't bother to see whether it was Saudi Arabia or Jordan, since it's clearly not relevant,) the Foreign Minister of Turkey... ...not a single result was from the Afghan files.

    The Taliban have been ramping up assassinations in Kandahar for months. Correlation is not causation. If you want to pin a dead civilian on Wikileaks, you might want to start with one that's actually mentioned.

  • Re:Free Speech (Score:4, Informative)

    by Warll (1211492) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:21PM (#33199750) Homepage

    Information wants to be free but, at the same time, information wants to be expensive

    Fix, source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_wants_to_be_free [wikipedia.org]

  • by mldi (1598123) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:24PM (#33199776)
    Makes for easier sorting too without having to parse the string.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:39PM (#33199888)

    Interesting analogy - I believe, at least in the US, that home owners DO have a responsibility to ensure basic safety of their property, and that may (in some areas at least) extend to shoveling the walk.

  • Re:nice (Score:4, Informative)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @12:06AM (#33200090) Journal

    Wow, I started to think you were on to something then you went and spoke about shit you obviously have no clue about.

    Remember, the Taliban are the guys we armed to the teeth a while back to fight the Russians, who are now our friends

    The US did not fund the Taliban to fight the Russians. The Taliban was not even around during that conflict. The Taliban didn't emerge until after the Russian afghan war was over and the collapse of the soviet union. Now would be right to say out inaction allowed them to become powerful in the region as after the Russian pulled out, the US bailed too for fear that our involvement publicly would cause Russia to either return or to attack us as a last ditch effort. This caused the area to be broken into territories controlled by war lords and made trade or transportation and travel in the area almost impossible as the feuding between the warlords interrupted anything resembling a economic stability or public safety if you weren't from their clan. Finally, the war lords formed an alliance but elements still broke away and pirated cargo from supply shipments and stuff.

    With all this Chaos, along comes a group calling itself the Taliban who started out as armed security guards being hired to protect shipments but the Afghan government. They got the job done and started getting shipments through, opened trade up, and made it safe to travel . Then they ended up getting into the government and imposing their views onto the people. The Taliban was not heard of until the mid 1990's. Now it's possible that some Taliban members were the same mujaheddin members, but the organization itself did not/does not resemble anything in play when the US aided the Afghan rebels.

    And we originally went there to get rid of Al Qaeda, the enemy, who were funded by Saudi Arabia, our friends, who got rich because we just couldn't bring ourselves to try to get off oil back in the '80s.

    The start of the either with us or against us attitude comes from our attempts to get Al Qeada and the Taliban gave them state protection. Our only option to get Al Qaeda was to violate their sovereignty so the call was made to oust the Taliban government in the process. And no, it wasn't funded by Saudi Arabia, it was funded by elements inside Saudi Arabia. Saying that the country is responsible for the people breaking their own laws is like saying the Federal government of the US and the entire US funded my efforts to piss on Buckingham Palace when I was in England- and of course I used my own money to go over, I used my own money to get drunk, and I used my own money to take the taxi ride in which I somehow thought it would be a good idea or a funny idea. The US government had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    So lets get back to reality here, mkay?

  • Re:The sad part? (Score:3, Informative)

    by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @03:59AM (#33201200)

    Searching google with the terms: "site:wikileaks.org abdullah" [google.com] returns about a page of results. [...] ...not a single result was from the Afghan files.

    Unless I'm mistaken, the Afghan files are all distributed in compressed 7-Zip archives, which might account for Google not indexing them.

  • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @04:28AM (#33201294)

    If I ran into Assange right now, I'd kill him with my own bare hands. He's a traitor.

    Ehmm, no, he's not, and no, you wouldn't. You're just an internet tough guy.

    This is what was told to me. There's some truth to this too.

    Ahhh, so you didn't even bother to think it through for yourself, you just blindly accepted the opinion of someone else who doesn't know the definition of traitor? And you're willing to state you'd commit murder based on that?

    I don't think it's evil as a whole, but if people are dying due to the individual parts, then perhaps the issue is not so simple as "good || bad".

    I don't know.

    Now *that* is a good starting point. You don't know all the facts. Neither do I. How about we do some hard thinking *before* contemplating murder?

  • Re:The sad part? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @04:36AM (#33201326)

    http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/robots.txt has Disallow: /

  • by Kagura (843695) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:36AM (#33202344)
    It took six months to find Saddam Hussein, hiding in a hole in the ground where he did not want to be found.
  • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:57AM (#33202474)

    They *did* redact documents as best they could.

    They even asked the pentagon for help redacting the documents of info which could reveal someone indirectly.

    They barn door was open, the pigs had fled and yet wikileaks turned around and offered the pentagon the chance to keep the choice cuts that weren't obviously scandalous.

    The pentagon ignored the offer.

  • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:04AM (#33202534) Homepage Journal

    The US did not fund the Taliban to fight the Russians. The Taliban was not even around during that conflict.

    You're right that the Taliban formed after the Russians gave up on Afghanistan.

    However, the US was arming the people who became the Taliban, the mujaheddin. They just weren't called the Taliban yet. WHen the vacuum came the guys we armed stepped up (with the arms the US gave them) and took over as the Taliban.

    So yes, the Taliban was armed by the US and we did it (at the time) as a counter to Russia.

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