Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Communications Government United States News

Digging Into the WikiLeaks Cables 810

Posted by Soulskill
from the story-that-never-ends dept.
A number of readers have sent in new WikiLeaks stories today, many of which focus on the content of the leaked diplomatic cables. The documents showed how the US government bullied and manipulated other countries to gain support for its Copenhagen climate treaty (though behavior from the US wasn't all negative), how copyright negotiations largely meet the expectations of critics like Michael Geist, and how Intel threatened to move jobs out of Russia if the Russian government didn't loosen encryption regulations. Perhaps the biggest new piece of information is a list of facilities the US considers 'vital to security.' Meanwhile, the drama surrounding WikiLeaks continues; Julian Assange's Swiss bank account has been frozen and the UK has received an arrest warrant for the man himself; the effort to mirror the site has gained support from Pirate Parties in Australia, in the UK and elsewhere; and PayPal was hit with a DDoS for their decision not to accept donations for WikiLeaks.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Digging Into the WikiLeaks Cables

Comments Filter:
  • by x1n933k (966581) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:43PM (#34462472) Homepage
    I'd really like to comment on this but I afraid of the consequences. I'd like to work someday and possibly travel to the US. I'd rather just pretend I don't know what's happening. Besides, none of this really affects me. It's about the past and from where I stand today nothing from any of the actions they have taken has changed my life in any way. At least now yet.

    [J]
  • by jbolden (176878) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:48PM (#34462532) Homepage

    For me both this and the Afghan war wikileaks showed that journalism is working again. It seems that after the failures that led to Iraq the media really is doing a better job. Most everything in the leaks was rumored. Also its nice to see the USA is doing pretty much what it claims to be doing. Of course what's also interesting is no one is even attempting to deny these facts. Wikileaks has become the most reliable source we have on many topics. The government freak out is just what corporate America and then consumer America had to deal with a 15 and 10 years ago. Welcome to the internet age.

    The most interesting topic is what this reveals about Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its time to level with everyone involved and I hope the congress has a vigerous debate about Afghan policy this time around.

  • Re:Said it once... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:48PM (#34462536)

    Wikileaks didn't release anything, they published information that was released to them by someone else. It should be noted that there has never been a case of someone successfully being prosecuted in the US for publishing leaked documents. The leaker, the one who actually violated an oath and removed those documents and gave them to someone else, that person should be punished. I wouldn't even argue against a treason case being brought against him or her. But trying to punish what is essentially a journalist, publishing information received from a source, is a very, very slippery slope for the US to start down.

  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:48PM (#34462540)
    The first real infowar has started. Who knew that it'd be governments vs. the people?
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:50PM (#34462576) Journal

    They really started to put the heat on wikileaks when Julian threatened to release information about banks. When he was attacking the puppets, there was mild outrage. Now that he is going after the puppet masters, he's a dead man.

  • Re:Ya think? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:51PM (#34462584) Homepage

    That would make him a Martyr... The US government does not want that.

    He will be arrested, paraded through our kangaroo courts, found guilty as a terrorist, made to look like the ultimate villain to the public and left to rot in a prison somewhere.

  • Re: Michael Geist (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:52PM (#34462594)
    "copyright negotiations largely meet expectations" is misleading. More like, "confirm that the US has been bullying other countries into changing their laws to suit US interests".
  • by gQuigs (913879) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:53PM (#34462608) Homepage

    Tell them that you support Wikileaks and that you want answers about what the cables reveal the US Goverment is doing. That what the US is doing against Wikileaks in response to this is wrong and unAmerican. The response by the US Government is embarrassing.. it confirms that we really do all of these backhanded actions that the cables say.

    https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml [house.gov]
    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm [senate.gov]

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:53PM (#34462612)
    the takedown of Wikileaks is a triumph of world government

    You're confusing "world government" with a situation in which multiple governments around the world happen to have similar interests in being able to communicate, diplomatically, without every cable being broadcast by an attention whore with a poltical agenda. That's neither a conservative or liberal thing. It's a practical reality thing. Even diplomats who might side with Assange's politics are pissed at his willingness to burn the house down in order to get rid of a rat.

    Nations have to be able to communicate with each other off the public record on some matters. Assange even seems to agree on this, but he thinks that he should be the one to decide on which matters, when, and between which parties. Finding that to be the unctuous, unilateral posturing that it is is neither a conservative thing nor a world government thing. It's common freakin' sense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:54PM (#34462626)

    Former UK Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said WikiLeaks' actions were "verging on the criminal".

    Since when do we arrest people for doing things that are almost illegal?

  • by scourfish (573542) <scourfish AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:55PM (#34462642)
    Why is it that whenever there is some sort of multi-national drama, suddenly the discussion gets shifted to "conservatives are mindless drones of some tinfoil hat New World Order," or "Fox News is partly to blame" or the likes? I seriously wish that Godwin's law could be modified to include the phrases "liberal media bias", "Fox News", "New World Order," sheeple," and "shill"
  • by sortadan (786274) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:56PM (#34462656)
    It'd be nice if Julian could WikiLeak his own sexual assault information. As far as I've seen he's said it's a frame job but admits having sex with two women. Why not just have this out in the open and not leave people worried that backing WikiLeaks is backing a rapist?
  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:56PM (#34462678)
    I think most of the rhetoric is just plain old posturing. If what I hear is correct, nearly 3 million people had access to this level of classified files. It only took a PFC to waltz in and copy the stuff. Do you really think anything of this is news to any major government? With three million people with clearance, every intelligence agency worth its salt has at least one mole in there who has been reading and reporting this all along. They are just going through the moves to save face at the moment. Great cinema, but not exactly original.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:57PM (#34462682) Journal

    Why would anybody be surprised that the USA bullies or manipulates other countries for its own benefit? Its what any top power has done, and what any aspiring power wants to do.

    Considering the US is the richest, mightiest, most powerful and most influential country in the history of world, its more of a surprise it hasn't used more of its powers to control the world. The rest of the world should be glad the United States is such a benevolent power and overall force for good in the world.

    "In the history of the world?" Uh, how are you measuring that? I can think of at least three other Empires that, by any reasonable standards, have exercised far more control over a far greater geographic area.

    I think that most parts of Central and South America have a very different view of the US's benevolence than you do. We have a sixty plus year history down there of overthrowing democratically elected leaders that our corporate overlords don't like. We don't just meddle to spread democracy, we also meddle to protect our economic interests. At the barest whiff that some country in our sphere of influence might be thinking about nationalizing anything, we send in the CIA and military advisers at the very least.

  • by owlnation (858981) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:58PM (#34462704)

    The first real infowar has started. Who knew that it'd be governments vs. the people?

    Everyone with any knowledge of history.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:58PM (#34462708)
    You mean that Wikileaks exposed the fact that the US used coercive force to get other states to agree to a treaty that the US will benefit from? I mean seriously. it is a common and accepted for of statecraft and diplomacy to use the offer of aid or the threat of less aid to get a state to make an agreement. When it's used, everyone involved knows that it's being used and why. It's no secret. In fact, any university course on international institutions is going to spend time on this very thing. I mean really. Now they are just "exposing" common tools of statecraft that have been used for centuries in an attempt to embarrass the United States. It's starting to get kind of sad. And I know I'm going to take a karma hit for this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:59PM (#34462722)

    I'm pretty sure the infowar "governments vs the people" has been going on for ages. The only difference is, it used to be much more one-sided.

  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:59PM (#34462732)

    It's about the past and from where I stand today nothing from any of the actions they have taken has changed my life in any way.

    Don't fool yourself. The US is supposed to be THE paragon of freedom of speech. If this is the ideal (I'm not saying that it is), how are those other governments going to react in light of the fact that they don't purport to hold freedom of speech in such high regard?

    Besides, I think that you just contradicted yourself:

    I'd really like to comment on this but I afraid of the consequences.

  • by qbast (1265706) on Monday December 06, 2010 @01:59PM (#34462736)
    ... and welcome to no-fly list.
  • ...a situation in which multiple governments around the world happen to have similar interests in being able to communicate...

    Kind of like when the state governments in the U. S. happen to have similar interests in being able to communicate, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#34462778)

    Is the utter lack of a reason for which they are prosecuting this guy.

    He has done nothing illegal, or at least, nothing that is illegal in the US or UK. The BBC article pushes on with those bogus charges, which they perfectly know are crap.

    It's a sad world, when the best source for news is 4chan.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#34462782)
    The fact that the US has as much on them, if not more, as they have on the US. Balance of power, mutually assured disclosure, if you excuse the pun.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:03PM (#34462800)

    Or maybe it's just the recognition by grown-ups that Assange's action threaten not just individual government officials and policies, but all governments' ability to conduct diplomacy. Dumping 250,000 State Department cables onto the Internet isn't a, attack on a policy, official, or even a single government; it's an attack on the entire diplomatic system itself.

    If diplomats fear they can't speak to their counterparts in confidence about significant concerns, diplomacy degenerates or stops. You might not like the current world order, but you'd like the new one even less if the US and other countries gave up on diplomacy altogether because they couldn't talk to each other in privacy.

  • by Captain Splendid (673276) * <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#34462808) Homepage Journal
    and I hope the congress has a vigerous debate about Afghan policy this time around.

    Yeah, this is how that "vigorous" debate will go...

    SENATOR ASSHAT: So, it seems the Afghan situation is far more complex than it initially seemed...
    SENATOR LIEBERMAN: TERRORISM!
    SENATOR STUPID: Right then, it's all settled. I'm off to lunch.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:08PM (#34462868)

    So you ever have candid conversations with coworkers, friends, your spouse and so on about other people? Conversations where you drop pretense, say what you really think, what you really mean. Do you find that these conversations are often beneficial? Now, would you still have that same kind of conversation if you know it would be given, verbatim, to the person(s) you were talking about?

    There you go then.

    As an example when we get a new student in at work, I've explained to them on various occasions when they were going to be dealing with someone who was an asshole, or someone who is incapable of following simple directions, and so on. I couldn't have those conversations if the person was listening in. I mean there isn't any way I could let a student know they are dealing with an asshole, no matter how diplomatic I was the asshole would get mad. It is important that I can have a candid conversation with the students about this, it makes them able to do their job more effectively. But I couldn't do it if I had to record my conversations and hand them over to the parties involved.

    Also it appears that Assanage doesn't want to acknowledge this. He was asked a very good, pointed, question in regards to this (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/robertcolvile/100066669/is-julian-assange-a-coward-or-a-hypocrite/). Rather than provide a defense, give reasons why he feels that the good of his actions outweigh the harm, he just blows it off angrily because he doesn't like the question. Seems like he isn't willing to consider the consequences, the downside of his actions (all actions have a downside, everything has a cost).

  • by Bicx (1042846) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:11PM (#34462932)
    I'm conservative and I fully realize this. Very large organizations are freezing or removing Assange's assets with a response time very unusual for large companies. To me, this points to extreme government pressure (like the acts mentioned in some of these cables). It's pretty obvious the rape charges were probably dug up from nowhere, and it's making a joke of interpol and national judicial systems. It's obvious that there is unprecedented government pressure to catch this guy either on a bogus technicality or through brute force that blatantly ignores international law. It does scare me that governments are willing to bypass justice at an international level when a real danger to politicians is present. I hold beliefs that not everyone agrees with, and I hope that there won't be a time when holding an unpopular believe gets me labeled as an "international threat to peace" not worthy of personal freedom.

    However, with that said, I think Assange could have been much more careful about what he exposes to the public. Exposing information such as locations important to U.S. security is irresponsible, offers no real benefits, and just paints an easy target on the back of his head.
  • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:12PM (#34462954)
    You should note that Wikileaks redacts their releases and gets advice from more mainstream sources on what to redact. If that's as fringe as crashing planes into buildings, I really don't want to hear your opinions on any news source. Most of these docs are innocuous in any case. "Tell us about President so-and-so" is what most of them end up being.
  • Re:Said it once... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:19PM (#34463090)

    I wouldn't even argue against a treason case being brought against him or her.

    Is it treason to point out that your government is lying to the public and making backroom deals they claim never happened? Or is it the act of a patriot who has seen their own government decline?

    I have an awfully hard time accepting this constitutes treason.

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:22PM (#34463130) Homepage Journal
    It is always the government versus the people. That is why the Bush administration told all departments to ignore, as much as possible, all freedom of information requests.

    Governments, overall, are not innovative, and tend to make two mistakes. One to assume that the world still works as a zero sum game. With the advance of technology and the free market, this is no longer true. In spite of this governments still insist on using tools that assume the zero sum, such as war. Huge deficits have been built up over the past 10 years due to war expenditures at expense of the free market. Although private enterprises do thrive in war, these tend to be government proxies, such as Haliburton, rather than free agents.

    The second thing governments do, which is more relavent to the current situation, is security through obscurity. At one time this was a reasonable endeavor, in our process oriented world it is not reasonable. Profit cannot be dependent on the arbitrage of knowing something a little before someone else knows it. Power cannot be maintained by simply keeping information from other people.

    These are both pre-democracy pre-free-market ideals that are too long held by the elite. At most they want an ancient republic where only they hold power, and the majority is held hostage by the fact they do not have the secrets of power rather than a modern democracy where the freedom of information and commerce insure the most efficient use of resources so that the maximum number of people benifit.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#34463154) Homepage

    It's not technically Assange that decides what leaks. It's people with access to the data who leak. Some people are painting this as an attack on diplomacy itself, but it's not and can never be. Assange doesn't have magical powers to shut down diplomatic dialogue as he is merely the messenger, not the message.

    The story of the cables is very simple. A young, idealistic and (yes) rather naive young private who had been told his entire life that the USA was the light and the good in the world joined the military. There, he found he had access to everything. What he discovered is story after story of abuse of power shielded by secrecy, abuses that disgusted him. We know this because he said so himself. He decided to do something about it, and did.

    If all there'd been in this archive was an occasional rude diplomat do you really think it would have leaked at all? Probably not. Manning didn't seem like an unhinged anarchist to me. He seemed like somebody angry about what he read, somebody who correctly thought others would agree.

    The easiest way to protect yourself from Wikileaks is to ensure your organization doesn't do anything worth leaking. Simple as that.

  • dont think so, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#34463168) Homepage Journal
    anything happens to assange, or his team, death, injury, arrest, all the information they have will come out uncensored, with names in it. all the operatives, double agents, moles, contacts of all secret agencies, will be out there in the open, uncensored, unremoved.

    wikileaks has been removing the names from the documents up till this point. if, anyone does something against him, it will be 'springtime with agents in middle east' or something .... if you get the 'producers' reference.
  • Realize that easy targets often expose unbalanced attackers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:26PM (#34463194)

    I'm waiting to read the news "Julian Assange has been arrested"

    I think it is more likely we will hear about his tragic fatal auto accident, or suicide by 41 self administered hammer-blows to the head.

    It's more like "Julian Assange has been found dead of three gunshots to his head, his hands handcuffed behind him. USA rules it suicide."

  • Re:Ya think? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:26PM (#34463210)

    With the leaks about Putin, i have expect him to be killed with polonium. Maybe a Mossad assassination.

    The USA doesn't actually have to lay a finger on Julian Assange, Just about every European leader would like is head right about now. He can go to Ecuador or Australia. Anywhere else and his visa's will be mysteriously not accepted.

    Of course they may equally be pissed at the USA, but then again I have yet to see any damning evidence of evil that Julian keeps saying is in there. In fact the scary part it actually shows Hillary as doing her job properly. I shudder just thinking about that.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:27PM (#34463240)

    I very much doubt that they'll unleash the insurance file(s) (there are several) if Julian Assange is arrested in the UK, or even if is extradited to Sweden. While the so-called rape allegations appear to be without merit, it's still being handled -- vaguely -- within the confines of law and reason. I think the insurance is reserved for more extreme occurrences.

  • by Doomdark (136619) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:27PM (#34463242) Homepage Journal
    I kind of wish I was in a psychology course during all this..

    My amateur psychologist impression is that many quoted officials are taking the "5 year old with tantrum" route. Slightly more refined than what terrible-two toddlers do, but still at kindergarten level. This is not meant as a snipe, but just an observation (not a flattering one of course, but no point in blaming mirror if face looks ugly).

  • by nstlgc (945418) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:29PM (#34463282)
    But if this is all so logical, common sense and accepted modus operandi, why are they going after Assange in such a big sensationalistic way? If this is nothing out of the ordinary, then why all the big fuzz? Why not say "DUH" and be over with it?
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:31PM (#34463322) Homepage Journal
    If you define "sexual assault" as consensual sex wearing no condoms, then you will have a lot of people to prosecute, including good part of government.
  • Re:ehh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:32PM (#34463346) Journal
    The silly part is that the prosecutors really went all out to push what flimsy case they had to the max... and came up with some weird interpretation of the law that says "having sex without a condom is illegal if you do not have the lady's consent signed in her own blood", or some such. A ridiculous, trumped up case even under Sweden's somewhat broad definition of rape/sexual assault. And for this he makes Interpol's most wanted list? Something smells awfully fishy....
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:36PM (#34463420)

    I couldn't have those conversations if the person was listening in. I mean there isn't any way I could let a student know they are dealing with an asshole, no matter how diplomatic I was the asshole would get mad. It is important that I can have a candid conversation with the students about this, it makes them able to do their job more effectively. But I couldn't do it if I had to record my conversations and hand them over to the parties involved.

    In that case, then, you really shouldn't do it. Not only is it potentially harmful, but you're causing your biases to flow downward onto every new employee you're responsible for training. Further, you're just some schmoe and not an entire government. With the size and importance of the organization increasing, so does the responsibility.

    We need to develop a means of governing without secrets. Period.

    It is genuinely the only way to survive the coming age. We're in the midst of an information renaissance, and Wikileaks is simply ahead of it's time. Our entire culture will adapt to the notion that you could be being watched. This might hopefully lead us into an era where we can be more honest with each other, especially at the political level.

  • Re:Ya think? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:37PM (#34463448) Journal

    Hillary doing her job properly?!? Our diplomats are not spies. Forcing them to do spies' work compromises their ability to do diplomatic work. There is a reason we have diplomats in the State Department and spies in separate agencies like the CIA and the NSA.

    Now, given that you think that is a good idea, why would you find it "scary" and shudder-inducing that Hillary Clinton is doing what you see as a good job? Are you simply rabidly anti Hillary?

  • Re:Said it once... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:38PM (#34463460)
    Exactly, next thing you know, tobacco companies will sue researchers and their publishers for violating their intellectual property if they expose that a certain brand of cigarettes has more benzene in it than another brand.
  • by blue trane (110704) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:46PM (#34463622) Homepage Journal

    The reason you're afraid of having your opinions exposed is because you can't back them up, they are subjective, so you're more comfortable saying them in a situation where you think they won't come out and be challenged. In other words, you're a coward.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:48PM (#34463660) Homepage Journal
    first, 'swedish police department' doesnt deal justice. they implement prosecutors' orders, which is a part of judiciary. just like in any country.

    second, one prosecutor dropped the case, another prosecutor, mysteriously, DESPITE it has been out of its jurisdiction and already handled, reopened the case. then, they had issued a warrant for assange TO GET HIS TESTIMONY. not to arrest him, not to do anything else. but interestingly, despite they were obliged to contact assange by swedish law, and the exact location of assange was known to entire swedish judiciary, that prosecutor's office had opted out to VIOLATE swedish law, by not contacting assange. they just directly went to press, saying that we issued a warrant to have him come here and issue a testimony.

    then, interpol took that, and turned that testimony warrant to an ARREST warrant.

    in the meantime, fox news and all those other news channels in america, who are used to fool morons, has been pumping up 'rape' bullshit to morons. the morons who believed them of course.

    and now today someone comes up saying that rape charges came out of swedish 'police department'. wow. judiciary in sweden, apparently changes day to day, by what bullshit fox serves americans.

    the 2 idiots who modded you up, please hand in your /. uids and log off from the site.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:50PM (#34463690)

    The article seems to be detailing diplomacy as usual.

    I hear this a lot, and I find it overly cynical.

    Imagine an article describing someone being brutally murdered. Picture that this person is a black twelve year old male. Imagine now that this happened in the following places:

    A) New York City
    B) Mobile Alabama
    C) Darfur

    Which of those locations match the expectation, and which do not? Statistically the odds of violent death would vary by location, but would it ever simply be 'detailing business as usual'?

    Because with the cables I think this is the most important part. Few people genuinely believed that the CIA was doing so much evil as grabbing completely innocent people and rushing them off to torture and interrogation, but here we have the cable confirming not only that this was true, but that we suppressed their investigation of it. That's MORE evil than the first accusation!

    And what about being complicit in murder?? Does this genuinely shock no one?

  • by TexVex (669445) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:54PM (#34463772)

    I might if Assange was plainly on the side of angels. He's not.

    Saying that is like saying you won't support the 1st Amendment because Larry Flynt is a douchebag.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday December 06, 2010 @02:59PM (#34463832)

    Guess what, even if what he did was stupid and irresponsible, he didn't commit any crimes. Not any crimes that have been successfully prosecuted in the US anyway. He's not an American citizen, so he didn't commit treason. He never signed a security briefing, so he isn't bound to report and debrief if he receives classified material, he never accessed material he didn't have clearance for (it was sent to him, illegally, by someone who did have the clearance). The only thing he did, is exactly what every mainstream media does when they receive a leaked, classified document. He reviewed the information to determine if it was worth disclosing, discussed it with other media outlets with more expertise, and released it to the public. Exactly the same way that the AP, Reuters, CNN, Fox News, or the BBC would do.

    So, stupid and irresponsible probably. Deserves what he's getting, sorry, but no.

  • by Stellian (673475) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:05PM (#34463914)

    The analogy is flawed because governments are not private individuals. As an individual, you have an essential right to keep secrets: it's called privacy, and it's critical for liberty. Yes, I have the right to hide even if i didn't do anything wrong.

    The government on the other hand is an entity with unlimited power and has a single purpose: to represent the people, maximize their overall welfare, and mediate the conflicts. I ask you, where is the need for secrecy in performing that task ?

    There is an often repeated 'fact' these past few days, that government needs secrecy to be effective. Assange has gone 'too far' they say. It's often repeated, but there are rarely any arguments brought in favor. Quite the opposite, it's impossible for the government to be effective if it can operate in secrecy. It will always evolve into a corrupt conspiracy that looks out for it's own collective interest, not those they are representing. Again and again, history has shown that open societies maximize liberty, and that oppressive states operate by controlling fear and information. What's the point of holding elections if I don't know what the incumbents are doing, and what the opposition is planning ? That's a charade, not democracy.

    One can argue that the military surely can't work without secrecy. The enemy will learn of the 'surprise' attack and flee. That may be true, but then again, the military is the exact antithesis of democracy. There's no vote when choosing the best attack target. I lead, you follow, I aim, you kill - that's how the army works. The military is a totalitarian institution and this maximizes it's effectiveness to kill.

    It's you choice if you want to live in a secretive, militarized society as a pawn of the leaders, or as free individual who get's to decide democratically what the army should really protect him against.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:08PM (#34463946)

    "So you ever have candid conversations with coworkers, friends, your spouse and so on about other people?"

    Yep, and the co-worker usually goes to the person you talked about and says:
    'You'll never believe who thinks you're an asshole!'

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:18PM (#34464104)

    The difference is that individuals deserve privacy, while government organizations don't.

  • by compro01 (777531) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:25PM (#34464206)

    IMHO: "A list of stuff that people can blow up if they want to screw with us", is something that legitimately deserves to be hidden from everyone but the guy dispatching people to guard that stuff.

    The things in question aren't secret by any means. Anyone in the countries in question would know they're important infrastructure. For example, in Canada, they list stuff like our nuclear power plants (Which provide about half of Ontario's power and exports significant amounts to the northeast US), various bridges and international rail crossings, major border crossings, natural gas and oil pipelines (Lots of which connect to the US), several dams and hydroelectric plants, some mines (germanium, graphite, iron, niobium, and nickle), and various factories, including ones producing medical supplies such as vaccines (specifically polio and influenza), blood plasma, and weapon components, and the Chalk River nuclear laboratory, which produces about 1/3rd of the world's medical isotopes.

    Basically anyone in Canada who sat down and thought about it for a bit would come up with most of those as places that would cause widespread disruption if you took them out of operation.

  • by Tranzistors (1180307) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:26PM (#34464210)

    I didn't get it as well - why Assange didn't make is stance all the way. It is actually very easy point to make – governments are screwing everyone over. Diplomats say they operate in the interest of their state and I believe them. But hat are those interests? If it is secret, then people cannot state their interests. Would US spying on British and vice versa be supported, if it was open? Most likely not.

    This is basically government cheating on us. Maybe it is beneficial, but betrayal of our trust none the less. As for analogy – is it OK to cheat on your spouse, it they won't find out? (Opinions differ on this one as well).

    To go even further, politeness in international relations is a devalued currency – everybody is polite and lies a lot. That is why everyone with half a brain don't believe what diplomats say. Do you know why lying is bad? It is because it shows complete disrespect for the other party involved. And this disrespect is painfully obvious. Not only that, but countries manipulate each other as if they are natural recourse or something.

    When these things come to light, of course they are ugly and damage is done and whatnot, but if it can change the culture international relations to something less disturbing, I am all for it.

    And to make a counter attack, I would have asked, what exact deals can only be made under secrecy. So far I have only generic claims and no explanations what so ever. And even if there are such deals, are they morally right.

    About assholes. We live in the world of assholes, where they believe they are loved and whatnot. If Saudi Arabia would say out loud "Iran, we would feel much safer, if your country was ran by a mad cow", maybe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would respect opinions outside his make believe world.
    Maybe you should visit the assholes in your office and say "You are an asshole. People around you suffer direct mental pain." Or maybe you are ready to sacrifice well being of your employees for the well being of your own?

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:28PM (#34464248)
    Well, that might very well be. My point still stands that a PFC with a couple of blank CDs could waltz in and burn the stuff. That doesn't look like high security on a strict need-to-know basis to me.
  • by locallyunscene (1000523) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:33PM (#34464322)

    It'd be nice if Julian could WikiLeak his own sexual assault information. As far as I've seen he's said it's a frame job but admits having sex with two women. Why not just have this out in the open and not leave people worried that backing WikiLeaks is backing a rapist?

    Put what "out into the open" exactly, his penis? Unless he video-taped that time he had sex there is nothing for him to leak. I doubt he has the prosecutor's documents; he and his lawyer didn't actually know the details of the accusation until the Nov. 18th hearing for the international warrant, and I find it hard that the prosecutor would suddenly become forthcoming about this information. He offered to cooperate while he was there but the charges were "withdrawn". The Swedish authorities said they've been "trying to contact Mr Assange, but have not yet been able to" while Wiki-Leaks says "No-one here has been contacted by Swedish police". This would be an easy charge for the police to refute if they had made efforts to contact Wiki-Leaks.

    In short I don't think the burden of proof here is on Mr. Assange. I think the burden of proof is on the Swedish Police and INTERPOL to explain why an organization usually reserved for mass murders and other war criminals is suddenly issuing a "Red Notice" for a suspected rape case, even before the appeals process in Sweden is exhausted.

  • by copponex (13876) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#34464364) Homepage

    It's an excellent cross reference to see what's really going on in any country on that list. If the US suddenly gives a shit about the Congo, check the news. The mine they rely on is now under threat. If next door there are millions of people being hacked to death with machetes, and we don't care, check the list. There is no useful resource we are exploiting. It's to illustrate that the United States does not operate on principle, but on self-interest, as every state does.

    Unfortunately, Assange seems to be overplaying his hand. His only way out of prison time is to reveal something truly new and corrupt enough to get world outrage focused on the United States instead of himself. Then he will have the international support he needs to stay a free man.

    He's either building up to this moment, or his arrogance has done him in.

    Actually, another tactic may be that he's forcing them to breach the poison pill contract he has established. If he gets picked up and releases the encrypted file keys, it could unleash holy terror worldwide as all of the information they have redacted so far is suddenly unleashed. If there's enough in there to cause a slew of double agents to be exposed internationally, then he'll again have a better chance of staying alive if not free, and he will have collapsed the covert policies that have been running the world since the 20th Century.

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:36PM (#34464374) Journal

    As an example when we get a new student in at work, I've explained to them on various occasions when they were going to be dealing with someone who was an asshole, or someone who is incapable of following simple directions, and so on. I couldn't have those conversations if the person was listening in. I mean there isn't any way I could let a student know they are dealing with an asshole, no matter how diplomatic I was the asshole would get mad.

    "Asshole" isn't exactly the height of diplomacy. You could try "fussy" or "particular" and instead of "incapable of following simple directions", try "creative" or "likes to have input".

    It's actually very unprofessional to go around calling anyone an asshole in the workplace regardless of whether you face discipline for it. Chances are those students will remember you as "the guy who calls people assholes". When that pimply faced kid grows up he too may become what you classify as an asshole but with power over you. Or worse maybe he's not an "asshole" and just considers you too unprofessional to promote (or keep).

  • And when said psychopathic asshole is or was hired by Kim-Jong Il? This isn't about a (comparatively) well-behaved US business--these are people dealing with lunatics who have never had to emotionally progress beyond being a teenager at best, and if their finger isn't on the trigger, they have the ear of those whose are, and they're just as crazy and touchy--tell them their diplomat is an asshole, flip a coin and see which way the wind is blowing--maybe they'll behead the diplomat, maybe they'll shell a bordering village.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#34464736)

    absolutely. you have every right to pray in government buildings or schools.
    in fact in the case of schools the courts have consistently ruled that students' expressions of religious views through prayer or otherwise cannot be abridged unless they can be shown to cause substantial disruption in the school.

    What you have absolutely no right to do is pressure other peoples children or other adults into praying in public buildings.

    it's really easy to understand.

    but religious nutjobs who just want to force everyone elses children to pray to whatever imaginary friend they happen to believe in love to lie and pretend it's banned.

    similarly you can pray all you like in court but forcing anyone at all to take part or making it part of the official proceedings as if the religion is backed by the government isn't ok.

    too bad the religious idiots are convinced that they can push their religion into official government affairs to try to get the government to back their religion over others or force the symbols or prayers of their own faith onto others.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:07PM (#34464896) Homepage Journal

    The things in question aren't secret by any means. Anyone in the countries in question would know they're important infrastructure.

    I tend to agree. On the BBC news this morning some twerp was going on about how they've revealed the place where teh transatlantic intartubes enter the British mainland. Odd thing is, I'm pretty sure this was shown some time ago on an episode of the documentary series "Coast" - on the BBC[1].

    Likewise mention was made of key pharmaceutical facilities. I'm sure these can be easily gleaned from such classified sources as Companies House, land registry, yellow pages etc.

    Fact is, anybody who could actually be bothered to get off their arse and blow these things up is sufficiently motivated to find out where they are. There's precisely zero people willing and able to do it who's being thwarted by the inability to find out where the fucking hell the targets are. Anyone who says otherwise is a berk ,a liar, or a lying berk.

    [1] I think it was somewhere in Cornw@i*(0h
    k.
    no carrier

  • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:40PM (#34465476) Homepage

    > I think the insurance is reserved for more extreme occurrences.

    Like when he takes off for Sweden...and doesn't land there.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

Working...