The Wikileaks incident

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Keep telling yourself that. "I'm the civil one. I just want to declare war on wikileaks have Assenge murdered and completely ignore anything outside my narrow world view. For civility."

    I'm the one treating you as a faceless entity, and yet I haven't once called for you to be found face down in a ditch*. Again I'd be happy to post excerpts from the cables, but I'm unsure if that is allowed and reasonable given I absolutely no people here work for the government which has banned them from reading the leaks. Your translation of the events described in the cables is laughable.

    Your civility seems to me to be nothing more than the imposition of the narrow confines of your world view onto everyone else. You'll give a damn about the rest of the world when I'm nicer to you, indeed. I think that says about everything there is to say about you.

    I also want to note that, based on many of the responses here, many of you seem to have no idea how the publishing of these cables is actually occurring. As a quick precis, Wikileaks gave access to all the cables to 4 major news papers who are publishign stories based on the cables and, in response wikileaks is publishing the cables related to the story. Wikileaks is not simply putting out every single one of the cables, for many reasons, but that would rather undercut the presumption it is not newsworthy since, by definition here, every single cable published so far is part of a news story.

    *After drinking too much and falling on a banana peel, I don't want anyone to mistake me for you in the casual calling for murder of political obstacles.
    Ender Sai likes this.
  2. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Wikileaks and Assange already declared war on the United States. I suppose you are against the very idea of war and the morality of any state sanctioned killing because doing so puts my national interest above that of the population of planet Earth.
  3. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Just because I said I wanted you to be falling down drunk doesn't mean I expected you to start this soon. Sleep it off man.

    Now excuse me, I'm going to go declare war on this sub. Turkey, ham, and Bacon you will be mine.
  4. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    In the sense that stubbing my toe is breaking my leg, I guess.

    Which is to say in an utterly nonsense, through-the-looking-glass way.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    To have Assange killed would hurt the U.S. more than any of the cables released thus far can. The U.S. would advance their reputation as ruthless and unjust. No amount of diplomacy would take that away.

    The term 'war' is as inapplicable as it was when it was declared on terror.
  6. Darth_Maestro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2005
    star 4
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh][face_laugh]

    ...exaggerate much?
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    By that logic we should've nuked the Russians every time we found a spy.
  8. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    A website cannot declare war on a country. Stop playing in fantasy land.
  9. Jansons_Funny_Twin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    You know what I've gotten out of the last discussion?

    No one is listening to what the hell Espy is saying.

    You are all hung up on this without looking at one key question: Is it always better to be more transparent?

    Like Espy, I say no, it is not. There are times when every single fact does not need to be known, and doing so only hurts us and our allies. You all always point to instances of true corruption and cover-ups and say "This is why!" And I agree with you...on those instances. But much of the information that was released only serves, as Espy has said, to erode our ability to achieve our goals through peaceful means, through diplomacy.

    Let's look at an historic example: the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    Neither the USSR nor the USA wanted to go to war, especially not over something as relatively insignificant as Cuba. In the end, we agreed that if the Russians pulled their nukes out of Cuba we would do the same with our nukes in Turkey. But we could not do so openly, because neither country could appear to be giving in to the other. So what did we do? We held private negotiations and stopped a war from happening. They were able to do that because both sides knew they could trust the other to keep it secret in their own best interests.

    Back in the present day, by releasing those cables, Wikileaks has made it tougher for diplomats to do their jobs. What possible good comes from that? No one wants to talk to us now, for fear that they'll be exposed in their countries. If that had happened back in 1962, if the Russians felt they could not trust that the negotiations would have remained secret, then there would have been no negotiations, and chances are it would have meant war.

    So think about that. Think about the fact that transparency would have killed millions of people.

    Think about it, and temper your responses next time.



    And you know what, yes, we work with bad people. Why? Because they're in control of vast portions of the world's resources. We deal with the Chinese and their atrocious human rights record because they make up 1/6th of the world's population and thus have to be dealt with. We deal with various corrupt royal families throughout the Middle East because they control the oil. We deal with the Russians because they still have the bomb, and we want to avoid pissing them off as much as possible.

    You can debate about that til the cows come home. I would love to live in a world where we have enough of a manufacturing base to be able to ignore Chinese production capability. I would love to live in a world where we are not dependent on oil to run our country. I would love to live in a world where the Russians are no threat to us whatsoever.

    But you know what? We don't live in that world. We do need to deal with the Chinese. We do need to deal with corrupt royal families. We do need to deal with the Russians.

    So long as we live in the world, we will have to deal with some bad people. The ends, in this case, justify the means. They allow us to keep going, to do what we do, to be a force for good in this world. The pros outweigh the cons.



    Oh, and Faraday, please please please, look back on your posts, and see that what you might see as being humorous only looks to people like me as snarky, sarcastic, and immature.
  10. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    You mean our ability to lie to other governments and get away with it.
  11. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Yes, we deal with scum and give them their own governments by overthrowing democratic governments because they control large portions of the world...hmm...right. Sure, we're out of that business now, but I think that's more because of transparency than any nobility on this country's part. While I can respect a government's ability to keep secrets; it really is quite a corrupt government that needs a lot of transparency.
  12. Jansons_Funny_Twin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Doctor, if you will.
    [image=http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs32/f/2008/235/9/d/House_Everybody_Lies_by_kvzon87.jpg]

    Sometimes, lies are necessary, for the greater good.
    [image=http://mrcavehistory.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/picture1.jpg]

    That, unfortunately, is the truth of this world.

    We have created monsters from our past actions, and we are paying for them. Literally, in some cases. So now we try maintaining the status quo because the alternative is worse. In the case of the Saudis, if we do not keep them in the game, you will see an Islamist government that will make the Iranians of the 80's look like agnostics. In the end though, it is just a stop gap measure in the hopes that some moderating force will take hold, but it's the only option we have now.
  13. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I hear so often that lying is necessary to make the world go round -- has anyone ever even tried not-lying? What's the control group here?

    Better yet, has anyone ever tried not doing things they'd have to lie about?
  14. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Christine O'Donnell received a fair amount of ridicule for voicing the same opinion (eg "What if Nazis were at the door asking if you were hiding Ann Frank?") but I'd tend to agree with both of you that this a noble ideal to strive for. Even conceding that point, though, what of the rest of Wikileaks disclosures? Often times, there were no "lies" whatsoever in what was disclosed. It was just privately offered impressions/advice. Do you also object to this? Is it your position that there should be no such thing as private or internal deliberations? Everything should always be announced publicly? I ask because that seems to be the standard Assange is pressing for, which I think is excessive.
  15. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7


    JFT, please please please realize I don't care about your feelings. If my sarcasm offends you, your willful blindness to our failings offends me; between the two only one gets people killed.

    Like I said this is about being willing to accept the problematic crap necessary to be a hegemony , but not willing to admit what those compromises are. You don't care about the problems because you've predetermined that everything is okay as long as were in charge. Your "realism" is just the self delusion of power. Someone has to be in charge right? We have enemies so apparently... just because they are willing to lie, cheat,and steal to cover up things like corruption, doesn't mean we shouldn't trust them to do the big things right?

    It's like the cops, there is no middle ground. Pro police or pro crime. If you question it you must want people to be raped.
    Ender Sai likes this.
  16. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    What are you even saying here? The Saudi government already makes the Iranians of the 80's look like agnostics on points. How can you even predict this? Just like your Cuban Missile Example, you're basically just projecting and you have no clue as to whether or not your projections correspond in any way to reality.

    Also, you are not better. Stop saying that. You sound like the British Empire when you do.

    P.S. If you need to deal with anyone, the public will understand.
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Again, I highly recommend that all of you go back and read Assange's essays that I linked to a while back. The central point of his thesis is that "Authoritarian power is maintained by conspiracy", and his entire goal is to attack authoritarian power. He believes that encouraging greater transparency will lead to further compartmentalization of information within authoritarian regimes, which will then reduce their effectiveness.

    The problem with his arguments is that he forgets that not every government or organization is authoritarian, nor is everything that is secret the result of a conspiracy. For example, Wikileaks published a "leaked" copy of my church's "Handbook of Instructions" (1999 edition) in 2008. (Half of the current edition is available online from the Church here. The other half is available to individual leaders in the Church depending on the calling or position that they hold.)

    None of the content of that manual is secret. It's just procedural stuff that is targeted at leadership positions, which can be filled by any member from year to year. Because we have a lay ministry, the last leader of the congregation could now be teaching a Nursery class for 3 year olds, and the next leader of the congregation could currently be in charge of the Boy Scout troop. (I've seen both happen.) In my current congregation, we have at least three former Bishops, in addition to the current Bishop, all of whom have had access to the Handbook of Instructions (and that's not counting members who have served as Ward Clerk, or as a Counselor to the Bishop, or in a Stake leadership position, all of whom also have access to both volumes of the Handbook).

    That information is hardly secret, nor is it the result of some conspiracy. In fact, a common joke in the Church is that if you want to make something secret, you put it in the Handbook, because then no one would want to read it (it's really quite a boring read).

    If you go back to when Wikileaks leaked that Handbook, their entire justification for it was "They don't let everyone read it"*. No examination was made of why that is the case, nor did they consider the nature of the organization involved. (It's completely voluntary. No one is forced to be a member of the Church, and the worst punishment that the Church can give anyone is to expel them from the membership.) You might characterize it as "authoritarian", but it's also voluntary. You are free to leave and form your own, less "authoritarian" church any time you want.

    It's actions like that which show that Wikileaks is essentially an anarchistic organization. They believe that all authoritarian organizations (be they private or public) are outright wrong, and that they need to be attacked. It doesn't matter whether it is a scout troop (which elects Patrol Leaders and a Senior Patrol Leader to run the program, in addition to having adult leadership), a private organization, church, or club, or a purely public organization like the government. As long as any bit of authority is involved, regardless of how voluntary it is, they look to attack that organization.

    Kimball Kinnison

    * Technically, anyone can read it, they just don't distribute it to everyone. When I had an important question about Church policy, I spoke with my Bishop, and he gave me a photocopied page from the Handbook detailing the exact policy.
  18. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    But are you saying though the U.S. government isn't authoritarian?

    If his basic goal is to try and weaken state authoritarian regimes then =D=

    But that isn't his only goal. True, he is an anarchist. As such, I can't agree with his ultimate goal. But he wont get there anyway.
    But not every action an anarchist takes is negative. Yes, there is a line he has crossed but on the whole I favor what he's doing. The aggregate is a plus for freedom of information and greater transparency.



  19. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Compared to what?

    Compared to Julian Assange's ideal? Of course. That's because any government would be authoritarian by his standards.

    But by comparison to most other world governments? The US isn't even in the top half in order of authoritarianism.

    By focusing so much on the US, he undermines his stated goal of undermining authoritarian regimes, because he is essentially creating a false equivalence that the US is as bad or worse than the many dictatorships (and worse) in the world.

    Kimball Kinnison
  20. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    It's not as if this country is some pure goodness holding back the demons. The US made its own demons by its actions and now it's stuck defending against them. Good jerb. I'm not saying defending against them is stupid--just that the alternatives are worse because we've made them that way.

    I do find it curious that you've made a Hot Fuzz a reference since the point (if there's one at all) of that movie is that the 'greater good' does not justify murder. If we used that mentality we could justify anything.
  21. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Here is one example of how the WikiLeaks publishing the diplomatic cables was completely irresponsible: How WikiLeaks Just Set Back Democracy in Zimbabwe

    The short version: The prime minister of Zimbabwe (who has been pushing for democratic reform, and who likely only lost the last election for President due to fraud) has publicly opposed the international sanctions against Zimbabwe, toeing the government's line. However, in a private meeting with representatives of several foreign governments a year ago, he asked for them to keep up the sanctions as a way to put more pressure on Mugabe to implement reforms. When the US representative returned from the meeting, he dutifully typed up a report that was among the leaked cables.

    Well, now he is being accused of treason by Mugabe's government on the basis of that cable.

    The ironic part of it is that by focusing on the US, WikiLeaks is actually helping to prop up the exact type of oppressive government that they supposedly want to expose and destroy.

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    You're doing quite a few predictions there, it's a bit too early to see how this will affect Mugabe's regime. Not to mention that the last election wasn't lost by Tsvangirai due to fraud, but because he didn't run because of open violent intimidation. The idea that democracy was just around to corner & Wikileaks just wrung it's neck is slightly absurd. Mugabe was not about to step down & Tsvangirai wasn't about to usher in multi-party democracy. Any elections that would come up in the next 5 years would probably be subject to the exact same campaigns of intimidation. You think Mugabe wouldn't have made a charge up without these cables, if he needed too?

    Oh, and another uninteresting cable that I read disclosed Martinelli asked the DEA to spy on his political opponents - don't worry, the DEA denied his request - . I knew Martinelli wasn't a schoolboy, but I didn't realize he was so far removed from the decency he advocated.
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm sorry, but what did I post that was a prediction?

    I provided a summary of the article that I was giving a link to, containing factual information. (You will note that the article identified both fraud and violence as being the reason that Mugabe won the election.)

    Neither I nor the article claimed that Democracy was "just around the corner". That's your own hyperbole. However, it is most definitely a set back for democracy when the leader of the opposition, who is trying to get democratic reforms, is branded a traitor because of the release of the diplomatic cables.

    It's things like this release that will get real people killed, tortured, or imprisoned. This sort of story directly refutes Julian Assange's claim that no one has been hurt by WikiLeaks' release of documents.

    It also shows that WikiLeaks is actually working against their stated purposes by focusing on the US so much. By releasing those diplomatic cables, they have weakened a peaceful democratic reform movement and strengthened the position of an oppressive tyrant. Could Mugabe have just trumped up some other charges for treason against Tsvangirai? Sure, but because of WikiLeaks, his charges have greater legitimacy than they would otherwise have had. That is clear evidence of providing support to a brutal and oppressive tyrant instead of pro-democracy forces.

    You can't just wish that sort of effect away.

    Kimball Kinnison
    Violent Violet Menace likes this.
  24. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Wikileaks and Assange already declared war on the United States. I suppose you are against the very idea of war and the morality of any state sanctioned killing because doing so puts my national interest above that of the population of planet Earth.

    Eps, I am someone who agrees that the Wikileaks incident did not really publish a whole lot of worth and, in the short term, damaged American foreign policy.

    But the solution to this is not to go after Wikileaks or Assange. These were secrets that it was not thier responsibility to keep, it was the responsibility of the government to keep them secret if they were so valuable. To go after them is just to blame Assange for being successful at doing what he said he was going to do, which was apparently not a problem until he started actually doing it.

    I think if there was a council of journalistic ethics or an association of Journalists equivalent to the bar, Julian assange would be in breach of it. And that he'd be thrown out for having exposed government secrets that did not actually expose a great conspiracy, which is what events like this are supposed to do if they reach that deep. Had assange uncovered a My Lai massacre or another Abu Gharib that would be something. And at least his original information on the Iraq War back last June held something in that regard. But yes, the stuff after that should require some sort of admonishment.

    But that should come from private institutions. Being sucessful in your mission statement is not something that should be prosocutable by law. It should be prosocutable iun the field of work that you conduct yourself in. For the Obama administration to bring the power of law on Julian assange is to punish him for what is really thier own failings -- failings that in the long term might actually have results that benefit the US, but even if they didn't it wouldn't matter.

    Yes, Government have a right to keep state secrets -- ironically the very argument that the US implicitly denied Saddam Hussein in his rationale for not disclosing whatever slim information he did not provide on his WMD programs thus justifying invasion -- but it is not the responsibility of media to keep those secrets. If and when media chooses to do so is at the discretion of said media, it cannot and should not be demanded of them. IT is the responsibility of the government to keep that information from falling into the hands of the media. If they can't, then they should prepare themselves for nothing less than full disclosure of all information that fell into the hands of the media. To punish the media for doing it's job is to assert government authority over the media, and just as most of the wikileaks incident was not important enough to print and thus erode the media's capacity to support whistleblowers, nether is it important enough to assert government authority over the media in assurances that it will not happen again: those measures should be applied to government employees, not to the citizenry itself.

    In other words, if it doesn't involve nukes, keep the stick of authority in-house. Fire who needs to be fired and demote who needs to be demoted. But if that person's not on government payroll, hands off. If they're causing you problems, tough: that's your fault, not thiers. If you want something to be done about it, complain to the Associated Press, not the Supreme Court and Congress.
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    With Russia now the world's leading oil producer, and the recently announced opening of the new Russia-China oil pipeline, I thought this was an interesting report on the Wikileaks cables:

    Russia's Gazprom shackled by corruption: U.S. cables

    The Kremlin's ambition of turning Gazprom, the world's biggest gas company, into a global energy titan is undermined by Soviet-style thinking, poor management and corruption, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

    The argument is that Gazprom's loss of half it's market capitalization has more to do with corruption and misguided corporate strategy than with the 2008 collapse in oil prices is I think absurd. While it may be a corrupt organization, Gazprom still has a stranglehold over European oil imports, and its expanded ability to divert supply from western Europe to China as China's demand for energy continues its double digit annual expansion gives Russia even more leverage over Europe.

    So, despite the corruption I don't see anything really preventing Gazprom from reclaiming its status as a global energy Titan.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.