The Wikileaks incident

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Gonk, Nov 29, 2010.

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  1. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    I was reading a hacking book in my youth (well, on hacking methods) and they differentiated between a hacker and a cracker. I believe a hacker does things to see if they can do them. Like someone boasting, "This is the strongest security suite ever," and then hacking it to see if they can do it--with no malicious intent. A cracker hacks into systems for personal gain and information. At least this was according to the book. Forgot what it was called.
  2. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6

    Wow just wow is all I can say.
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    I'm struggling to figure out what could be so incredulous about that particular post that it renders you speechless. Would you care to elaborate?
  4. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    I believe it was having his post called out on being derpy that rendered him speechless.
  5. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    The notion of American exceptionalism is the doom of American exceptionalism.

    Like FIDo, I think the idea of America is great, I think we've been great and I think we can be greater. But the idea that we are necessarily great no matter what we do is what one might call a self-defeating prophecy. If we do wrong, the only way to make it right is to see what we're doing wrong and take steps to make it right, and not allow it to happen again.

    If, instead, we stick our fingers in our ears and chant "USA! USA!" and insist that we could never ever do wrong and if we did wrong then wrong is in fact right, well then sooner or later we'll just be North Korea and someone else will be the world leader.

    As for Wikileaks, my response to the government echoes their response to us after passing the PATRIOT Act. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.
  6. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Ah, the two wrongs make a right school of governance.
  7. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I tend to take the side of Wikileaks. I don't necessarily like their aims or goals(bring it all down girl). However, when it comes to more or less information or more or less transparency, I will side with more. And I will tend to side with those giving us more against those who do not: the state.

    And this whole incident was brought into clearer focus with the story about the FOIA and this current administration's appearance before SCOTUS recently. There's been alot of foot dragging in releasing non-classified information. Chief Justice Roberts finally asked the administration's attorney why the executive branch was asking SCOTUS to do its work for them when all it had to do was classify documents it didn't want to fall under FOIA. They basically said it wasn't important enough of a job. ??? Well then why the foot dragging on releasing numerous documents and denying FOIA requests?

    The bureaucracy needs a bonk on the head from SCOTUS it sounds like. A kick in the pants and a reminder they work for us.

    This and other things reminded me why I tend to reluctantly come down on the side of Wikileaks.

  8. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    What exactly has wikileaks done that has made thing more transparent? What policies was our state engaged with that were unknown to us? You always side against the state when it comes to disclosure? What about details of operations against non-state actors? There is never a case that warrants less disclosure and less information? Why do you need to know the operational details of the US military unless you are alleging wrongdoing? Who exactly benefits from more transparency of our state's day to day operations besides the enemies of the United States? Don't we have elected leaders whose job it is to supervise those activities? And if they can't be trusted to do a job without it being subject to constant public scrutiny, what exactly do we expect them to do?

    It only makes sense to broadcast your sides military position if you are opposed to the military action as the only real use of that information to anyone is those you are fighting. The people back home don't need to know the details of every troop movement to engagement to support or oppose the war. One or even many military screw ups and cover ups does not negate the fact that a fully transparent military is effectively the same as no military.

    You can't respond to the cover up of the willful killing of civilians in war with a demand that every soldier be monitored via video and GPS real time over the internet. That is effectively what you are doing. Are there cases where the state has gone too far to protect information that should be made public? Of course, but the solution is not to destroy the state by making it impotent to do anything again.

    I'm sure some of the information in the dump of files would have been important to release publicly. But one has to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions, and wikileaks is the one that received the files and while yes the ultimate responsibility lies with the dumper and traitor Manning, by their own stated objectives they are attempting to destroy the United States means of diplomacy.

    We can't argue about what wikileaks might have been, we have to argue what they are. In theory such an organization would have been incredibly useful if they had shown restraint in what they leaked. To make the world a better place rather than just vandalizing the idea of the state.

    What exactly did they change? What did the disclosure do? The effect for US domestic politics will be negligible as our stated public policy has by and large conformed with the actions evidenced here. The role of the US in the world will be affected but largely only in ways that lead to the greater possibility of war. The greatest effect will be in undemocratic nations whose population desires even less liberalism and openness. Sure they want transparency, but Iran is fairly transparent and look just how open they are.
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Wikileaks does what it does because it can. If it wasn't Wikileaks, it'd be somebody else. Try to change that, and you're tinkering with freedom of press.
  10. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    What's ironic Watto is that I'm sure even as you were typing out the "if not it, then someone else," statement, Micheal Moore just announced that he would help post Assange's bail, and provide financial resources to keep the Wikileaks site running...

    However, if Moore and Assange partner for whatever is left of Wikileaks, it would be a bit like Pol Pot and Stalin walking hand and hand through a flower garden just to get some perspective, and will ensure that Wikileaks loose any credibility it had remaining.

    Why, they could even move the servers to Caracas, and get Hugo Chavez involved for the perfect trifecta.
  11. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    ... Did you just compare an anarchist and an obnoxious media ***** to mass murderers?

    Edit: Whoops, can't say that.
  12. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Perspective, ironically, being something which is sorely lacking in your post.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Sure. If by "perspective," you actually mean "caricature," then my post isn't lacking at all.
  14. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    You can focus on Assange, but is he relevant? Is the Wikileaks website relevant? I think what's relevant is the technology and its wide deployment. Mass dumps of secret files can now be made available to hundreds of millions of people worldwide in minutes. We've got the networks, we've got the speed, and we've even got old-style media in a frenzy to channel it to the few who don't have the networks. That's what's changed.

    And that's why I don't care in any particular way about Mr. Assange... he's not important. He doesn't control the technology.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, I agree with what you just posted. If not Assange, then Moore, if not Moore then ____... whoever. It's not the specifics who really matter in relation to the capability. But the specifics do matter if one actually wants to be relevant.

    Because a point about accountability and transparency was also raised, and that's the double edged sword. Because the answer to increasing information accountability isn't to become just as much of a faceless entity without any sense of accountability as the subject you're presumably reacting against. Or worse, focus on the tabloid aspect and/or nothing but a personal motivation. That's the schism between Assange and pretty much the rest of the Wikileaks staff, and which destroyed its reputation moving forward.

  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Yeah, sure, he may very well be a jerk and that may be the downfall of his website. But who cares. We move on. Remember Napster?
  17. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    A Helpful Translation of noted internet bad-ass Espalderbras post

    "I'm not interested in figuring out if anything important has been said so nothing important has been said."

    Why don't you go back to calling for his murder? Honestly the level of projected failure to comprehend is staggering. State department working with repeated child sex slavery group DynCorp? No big deal. Putting surcharges on demanded support? Who cares. Kenyan corruption scandals which have and look again to topple their government? It's not in my backyard so it doesn't count. Accusations of Shell controlling the government of Nigera? Confirmation of the Papacies stonewalling on the Irish sex scandal?

    None of it happened guys, it's not important because some guy on the internet doesn't care. the fact your vision barely extends to the coasts and not one inch beyond is hardly the failure of the rest of the world. Maybe you should take some time to find out what non-American media is saying. The Guardian especially has been doing a good job on the ongoing developments of the story. Oh right, anti-american blah blah blah. You throw that term around a lot when someone says something you don't want to hear.
    Guys we have to WAGE WAR ON WIKILEAKS!
    I can't wait till Assange winds up in a ditch!

    American means never having to say you're sorry and killing anyone who confronts you. They post one of your cables, you murder their family. That's the American way.

    Corruption in Turkmenistan? Everyone knew that already! I mean I'm sure we could all link every single story that's been coming out about Turkmenistan....

    How can people so ignorant of the world outside their ears claim nothing new has come from these? No really? How?

  18. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    The JC should have a like button for posts sometimes. Oh, I also liked the one where the Vatican said to be actively interested in working on toppling Chavez because he described the Church Hierarchy as part of the "privileged class". & the head of the Bank of England meddling in politics, where his ass shouldn't come near. Oh & I'm waiting for the one about the funding of the PKK, you know, the organization the US lists as a terrorist group ... could all be rumors of course, but there's still an awful lot of documents to go (what is it, 99,5% left?).

    I suppose you could be all skeptical about any of these and say, "we knew that was a distinct possibility / that was bound to happen" ... but then again, when a politician takes a huge cash bribe to help a corporation out in need, it's the same thing ... although I would definitely consider that a major scandal. ;)
  19. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I like GAP's liking farry's post.

    I think the focus that's now on Wikileaks should instead be on what governments can do to deal with new-style media properly without becoming totalitarian.
  20. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I agree with farraday. :eek:

    Super Watto
    I think the focus that's now on Wikileaks should instead be on what governments can do to deal with new-style media properly without becoming totalitarian.

    Yeah but why would they deal with it properly and rationally? It's easier for them to think more control, control, control. But the funny thing is: the harder the push, the more out of reach much of this media becomes.
  21. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Uh thanks for completely missing my point and with your usual flair of vindictive personal hatred.

    Of course there is new information, but I was talking about the US government. Are we as a nation to publish in the papers every rumor and allegation told to us in confidence? What is the price we will pay for not being able to be told anything in confidence because we value transparency? How do the interests of other nations and their right of their people to know what important people tell us compare to the privilege of having an open conversation with the leadership of nations? What value is there of previous communications that justifies hampering future communication? In your personal life if you betrayed everything told to you in confidence you'd quickly be out of the loop on everything. Of course there are situations when it is best to tell. But which of these secrets uncovered will actually effect change on the ground? Yes you now have a whole new list of reasons to be outraged at stuff, but what good is it actually going to do?

    As I said not every cable deserved to be protected. I was responding the the point that more transparency was always a good thing, and giving examples of why it is not.

    Of course the State Department works with bad people, it is sort of the job description unless of course it is a good idea to not expand your vision beyond the coasts. After reading this about Dyncorp your biases left you with a far different impression of what actually happened than what I gathered.

    If we can't use diplomacy (which means underhanded dealings with people we don't like that do bad stuff) then we get to do more good ol' Merican killin. You would have us ignore our national interest in every case and "do the right thing" even though it is far from clear that disclosure would in fact do anything. Well our nation has interests, and if you remove the means of meeting those interests peacefully because you find they are too self centered, you haven't removed the interests that caused those actions, you've only redirected them onto means that are not so easily broken.
  22. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    What you gathered is you want to believe you're right.

    How does the this work? Roll 212.

    Fool Me ONCE. Shame on you.
    Ben Johnston recoiled in horror when he heard one of his fellow helicopter mechanics at a U.S. Army base near Tuzla, Bosnia, brag one day in early 2000: "My girl's not a day over 12."

    The man who uttered the statement -- a man in his 60s, by Johnston's estimate -- was not talking fondly about his granddaughter or daughter or another relative. He was bragging about the preteen he had purchased from a local brothel. Johnston, who'd gone to work as a civilian contractor mechanic for DynCorp Inc. after a six-year stint in the Army, had worked on helicopters for years, and he'd heard a lot of hangar talk. But never anything like this.

    Fool Me Twice. Shame on Me.
    In October 2004, it was revealed that contract workers operating in Tolemaida distributed a video in which they could be observed sexually violating underage girls from the town of Melgar. This video was even sold on the main streets of Bogotá.

    Food Me Three Times. Shame on those Kids for being so sexy.
    A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young "dancing boys" to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and "quash" the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.
    ...There is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, an activity that sometimes crosses the line into child abuse with Afghan
  23. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    Did you edit out the part where the US Embassy told them they had no power to do such a thing and did not in fact "quash" the story at all out of ignorance or malice? What exactly would you have liked them to do? And I don't mean "THE GOVERNMENT," I mean the actual people who work for it. You are full of a lot of outrage, but you aren't exactly giving us very many specific policy prescriptions. The rest of your post is filled with a strawman attack against an argument I didn't make and something about a nonsense notion that nobody is ever persuaded by anything other than our hegemony.

    Also isn't a bit odd that one of the examples of new information being gleaned from the cables you gave in one post is then part of a long term trend of a company that was already reported in the press? The new information was that the Afghan government asked the State Department to intercede, which it had no legal power to do and didn't. While perhaps important for the Afghan people to know that their government didn't want a crime in that country to be made public, in case you hadn't noticed the US is involved in a war over there and has competing objectives other than making the country safe from child prostitution. That doesn't mean we support the practice, and anyways it was a Pentagon problem. Sure it would have been an important story to get out, but does it really help either the children involved or us to weaken the Afghan government by reporting their headless chicken approach? The story was already out there.
  24. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    So I'll take that as a no on watching the frontline special? I'm shocked, shocked to find a complete lack of interest n world events going on in Ricks Casino.

    Yes that story wasn't quashed... hah. Here's the WaPo story that was published.

    Here

    I mean look at all these links, it's almost like I've looked into this or something. I have to say taking your tack of never being curious enough to do research would be far more restful, both intellectually and physically. I can see why you do it.

    Anyways, their "story".

    ...including one instance in which expatriate DynCorp employees in Afghanistan hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party and videotaped the event.


    Wait, tribal dance? Huh? It's almost like that's a complete whitewash. Lets see what happens later when they get DynCorp to comment.

    "The whole event, hiring an Afghan dancer to perform for a non-Afghan audience, we felt could be seen as culturally insensitive and an example of poor judgment," Ebner said.
    Oh yes that's the stuff.

    I think everyone will agree here that hiring an Afgan dancer to perform to a non-Afgahn audience is clearly the main problem here. Everyone ready for the money quote?
    Way down in the comments, original comments mind you we have a little bit of confusion.

    "I don't get the central idea here. What is so awful about hiring a local entertainer or service person for a farewell party, be it a singer, dancer, comic, artist, chef, waiter, decorator, photographer, dishwasher, barber or what have you? Sounds like a normal, above board exchange of goods for services. Where is there any cause for uproar?":confused:

    Ohhh yeah. Was it good for you?

    Man it's really hilarious you think this story wasn't shuffled sideways and quashed. Underage sex slavery turned into tribal dance so fast your underage sex slave would spin.
    By the way, I haven't commented on it too much yet, but don't strain your back trying to move the goalposts. I do love your choice of words though, I think this version is entirely apropos.

    So the choice is never between not being screwed and being screwed, it is between who is doing the screwing. And right now there are only two real choices. The US and China.

    It's true, I mean someone was going to have sex with underage children. Letting the Chinese do it would be un0American.
    You really should guard your tongue, it apparently has a tendency to run away with you and cause you to use unfortunate turns of phrase in re: the underage sex slave trade.

    Finally, I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "Also isn't a bit odd that one of the examples of new information being gleaned from the cables you gave in one post is then part of a long term trend of a company that was already reported in the press? "

    So you knew DynCorp had a peculiar institution of child sex slavery? You're really quite well read up on this situation aren't you. Oh you mean the state department already knew when they hired them? Well yes. And you think this is an argument in your favor for secrecy? Really? As for your claim as to what was in the cable, I've read it, you're wrong. I'd link it but there's an off chance you work for the government and therefore have been forbidden by the US government from reading any of the cables. I'd hate to get you in trouble.
  25. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5


    I love Frontline but I can't drop everything else I'm doing in my life to watch your little program. I read an article on the event from the Guardian that I posted to give me a basic understand which was a sufficient for the discussion we were having. I wasn't defending the company or the action, and I already explicitly stated that there were items that deserved to be released.

    Seems you've raised some issues with the way WaPo had reported the story, but you've yet to provide any evidence that this was the doing of the US government or address what good it did to have the part about the Afghan government trying to cover it up reported.

    I speak my mind and whatever I'm thinking. Sometimes I'm wrong, and sometimes people take my words and try to use them in ridiculous ways. Seems like your reaction to my posting style is exactly why diplomats can't talk like I do. You don't see me as a person, just a faceless evil entity that must be defeated at all costs. If you did, you'd treat me like a person. For someone who relies mostly on moral outrage, you apparently find no moral value in civility or open dialogue.

    You brought up the "Dancing Boys" as an example of something we wouldn't know about unless it were for these leaks, and then posted news articles about them that you feel didn't get the right amount of attention. The scandal the leak uncovered was related to the way the Afghan government responded, not anything to do with the US government.

    And for someone so adamant about getting out of Afghanistan, clearly it would be much better if we let the Afghans screw their kids all by themselves.

    I'll take the time to read every last word of your links and watch every minute of video as soon as you post it just as soon as you develop an iota of civility.
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