Wikileaks Infodump Volume 2: Various unspecified US misdeeds


#1701

You’re missing the point I made entirely. Wikileaks never had the option of releasing some cables.


#1702

So just to be clear, you believe that governments should have no secret or private conversations or data?


#1703

Exactly. Government should NOT be trusted. They work for me. They should damn well be accountable TO ME.


#1704

How is this any different from what happens when innocent people are killed in a predator drone attack? Because we can’t see their faces or know their names then they are just unfortunate casualties of war.

You are so compassionate when it harms your cause and so ruthless when it when it doesn’t.

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger, Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” Mel Brooks


#1705

Hey, it works for us with collateral damage? We’re sorry… so we’re cool right? Iraqi and Afghan families should really just understand man.

Edit: And if the lives and interests of these people are so important to people, shouldn’t it be our government’s responsibility (who is using their aid) to ensure their safety?

If you want to say it harms our ability to collect intelligence and engage in diplomacy, I’m not necessarily going to disagree with that. If you want to say we didn’t learn anything important, well you can argue that. If you want to use potential causalities as a human shield for secrecy, well, I disagree because it was their choice to get involved and our government’s choice whether to go through the extra steps to protect the people that supposedly put their asses on the line for us.


#1706

Exactly. Government should NOT be trusted. They work for me. They should damn well be accountable TO ME.[/QUOTE]

So data that I provide to the government, such as my income tax return, should be free for you to view because they work for you? I don’t think so.

What about police reports, like the names of rape victims, that’s government data. Should that be free for you to view because the government works for you?


#1707

yes, yes, and yes.


#1708

I wouldn’t go this far, but it’s clear that governments conceal all kinds of things under the banner of “national security” that have absolutely nothing to do with national security, and are about saving face or preventing embarassment or getting one-up on their political opponents or whatever; in those instances, that information should be disseminated, and the act of concealing it without adequate justification should be a jailable offence.


#1709

And lets not forget, the governments of our democracies are often just shills for whatever corporate interest gave backing which got their particular team into power this term. Blaming ‘the government’ is very popular these days? I wonder why exactly?


#1710

Exactly. Governments should be open by default. They should have extremely good reasons for hiding anything from the public. I think personal privacy is one good reason. I don’t need to know someone’s tax return details.

I think that’s one of the key revelations about many of these secret documents: They raise the question that if they are so mundane, why the hell are they classified?


#1711

My guess is that it’s a “better safe than sorry” approach, perhaps with the thought of eventual declassification in mind as an excuse to take the extra step to protect the info. Don’t get me wrong - there can and likely are nefarious reasons behind it in specific situations, but I sincerely doubt there’s a widespread plot to keep the citizenry in the dark, just wobbling forward off the cliff like a happy pack of lemmings* following the leader. The advocates for pure freedom of information at all times (or almost all times) would likely address this by saying “Well, how do you know that there’s no plot” to which I’d simply state there’s nothing that categorically refutes someone’s assertion that Tom Chick is a Russian super spy/pirate/ninja, but I think I’m comfortable with that level of uncertainty. Not the same scale of impact? Okay, there’s nothing saying that the sniffles I have aren’t a sign that I’m carrying a disease which could lead to a zombie apocolypse. Same deal.

There are observations which can still be made with the existence of secrecy, and the ever changing structure of the government provides some safegaurds against certain amounts and types of corruption. Unfortunately, it also provides perfect cover for other levels of it. It’s a tradeoff - the benefits of secrets against their liabilities.

In an ideal world, we’d have a fully functional Fourth Estate instead of it being filled with shills, mouthpieces, and talking point regurgitators. When you have that paired with the current level of secrecy, I think we can find the best balance of those two competing interests (not an empirical or even scholarly assertion, just an opinion).

Sadly, we don’t live in that ideal world and much of the popular media is owned by “special interests” and therefore the balance is a little out of whack. However, I believe that Wikileaks releashing thousands of secret documents is an overreaction to the problem at hand, creating very real and potentially severe problems for perfectly legitimate and reasonable implementations of secrecy. Assange, et al should be held accountable for such actions. I respect there’s some nobility in his and his organization’s goals, but the methods strike me as being flatly wrong (again, opinion).

    • which, it should be noted, don’t actually engage in that behavior but I like the visual, so tough ;)

#1712

They are accountable to you. It’s called “voting.”


#1713

You guys really shouldn’t engage yamo yamo on the subject of government transparency. He lives in some fantasy world in which there are no conflicts.


#1714

Of course, since it suits your purpose, you didn’t actually finish the quote that actually delivers the point he’s making, which ironically is in the URL of the link you posted.

No one has been harmed, but should anyone come to harm of course that would be a matter of deep regret - our goal is justice to innocents, not to harm them. That said, if we were forced into a position of publishing all of the archives or none of the archives we would publish all of the archives because it’s extremely important to the history of this war.

In other words, it’s really a shame if people get hurt because of what we do, but we gotta do it anyway because it’s more important than people’s safety. I believe Machiavelli coined a phrase that applies here.

Well, the imaginary Julian Assange in your head, yes, he’s quite a level-headed fellow, but the Julian Assange who’s been interviewed and written about profusely the past few years is anything but “surprisingly calm and level headed” and is fairly universally described as a personally unpleasant individual with a messiah complex.

You realize that everything written about the internal workings of Wikileaks, from sources both friendly and unfriendly to Assange, agree that he is completely monomaniacal about ‘messaging’ and the face that he presents to the world. Given that the entire reason given for just tossing tens of thousands of cables into the public domain sans redaction is because the media isn’t paying enough attention to Wikileaks lately, somehow I am rather skeptical that he’s going to turn over his only direct megaphone to the world to Joe the Web Guy in Pawtucket.

I agree, and rather wish that they had fallen into the possession of responsible journalists instead of a sociopathic media whore.


#1715

Voting requires that I know the truth. How can a I make a free choice if I don’t know what I am choosing? Truth is freedom.


#1716

How do you know anyone is telling you the truth? How do you know that Assange isn’t a U.S. counter intelligence agent? How do you know your parents aren’t part of a sleeper cell that has been grooming you for a starring role?


#1717

Don’t you mean, FREEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!

How old are you, yamo yamo, and what do you do for a living? Oh, and what’s your real name again?


#1718

I think yamo is more right than wrong. There’s far, far, too much stuff classified these days and much of what ends up getting leaked out really isn’t all that damaging except to those that kinda deserve some damaging. Arab Spring anyone?

And for the record, I’m plenty old.

I don’t believe in total disclosure, I think some secrets are dangerous to people friendly to us that are operating in good faith, but given how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction I think a proper shove back is called for.

The U.S. is a democratic republic. It’s based on the idea that with good information available competing ideas can be presented to an informed public who will then make the right decisions. These days with a co-opted and tarnished fourth estate, the ability of corporations to pour limitless amounts of capital into elections and so much of what the government is up to, in our name, hidden from us (and I don’t think in terms of conspiracy so much as ass covering myself)…I don’t see how our form of goverment can keep working as envisioned.


#1719

No, yamo is more wrong than right. Calling for a complete release of all government information (sans redactions, no less) is insane. The way things are handled right now, with everything shoved under the rug of “national security” is also insane. There’s a middle ground that’s sane, and yamo ain’t standing on it.


#1720

I would agree there’s a sane middle ground between “publish everything immediately” and the status quo. I’d also suggest that the status quo is farther away from that sane middle ground at the moment then “publish everything immediately” position. The public has a very important interest in monitoring the operation of government after all.