Wikileaks

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Wikileaks is ...

... a threat to national security. These guys are endangering national security and should be tried as traitors!
7
33%
... a threat to national security, but done with noble intentions.
2
10%
... a good idea taken too far.
7
33%
... inevitable in this world of information freedom.
0
No votes
... an important public service, protecting us from tyranny
5
24%
 
Total votes: 21

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Syphon the Sun
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:35 pm

:roll: I guess I missed the part where they only released genuinely important information for the global community.
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Postby Caspian » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:39 pm

With respect, StS, since as you say you haven't and aren't going to read the leaks yourself, how would you know whether they're important or not?
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Postby daPyr0x » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:07 pm

I think I have been slightly misunderstood, though that's not unusual for me. I do not believe full disclosure is an appropriate way to run a government. The date range on the leaked cables is from the 60s to many months ago. While I recognize how initially frightening that is, along with the fact that we only actually know the contents of fewer than 1,000 of the 250,000 cables as of yet, I'm not sure how many of these documents were necessary to have been kept from the public for 30+ years. No doubt there is a place for secrecy in diplomacy and military situations, but the whole point of these releases are not the releases themselves but rather the ridiculousness of the current classification system, guidelines, and usage. Everything that's being released as part of "cablegate" was already freely available to a large number of americans, just not the press. How large? Well, in 1993 it's reported that just over 1% of americans had the "secret" designation or above on SPIRNET, the system from which these releases were taken. In spite of factual evidence, it's not unreasonable to conclude a much higher percentage now given the increase in armed forces and contractors in use by the government. It may only be 1%, but that's still a pretty big chunk of people. At that level it almost seems unreasonable to keep things "secret" from the general public or at least doing so for such lengthy periods of time.

Does it seem strange to you that everyone in the world can read the details of these cables except federal employees below the secret designation? I mean, they're already out there for everybody else...what's the point of preventing your employees from reading them as well?

Either they don't trust you to be capable of making your own decision or they're scared you'll make the "wrong" one and all stand up and say "f*** you guys" and leave.

[edit]An interesting article with a Time magazine person of the year"Had WikiLeaks existed, 9/11, Iraq war ‘could have been prevented’".
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Paul,

You can't even watch late-night TV, let alone read some of the more popular blawgs, without hearing about some of the wikileaked material. From what I've gathered, this wasn't a case of combing through the cables and leaking those that contain material that is genuinely important. If I'm mistaken about that, feel free to correct me. But given his history of releasing information just for the sake of releasing information, and his stated objective of creating total transparency, I don't think I am.


Cameron,

You might be the first person to argue that simply because 1% of people have access to certain information, the remaining 99% should, too. ;) (Or, rather, .05% of people, based on the 1% of Americans figure, a U.S. population of 307,006,550, and a world population of 6,775,235,741.)

I don't particularly disagree with anything you're saying about the standard declassification clock on many of these cables. I believe the standard time-frame is 25 years, so I'm not entirely sure why there were still cables from the sixties that were still classified, except that they must have been specifically designated as requiring a longer time-table. I don't know the content of those, nor do I know the reasons for keeping them classified, but it would probably be interesting to find out why they were given a longer declassification clock.

Of course, I think there are sound reasons for keeping the cables classified for at least some period of time, simply because I think it encourages more candid and recorded information, which in turn leads to better diplomacy and better decision-making. Real negotiations are surely easier to conduct when neither party is worried about taking political heat for their candid remarks, or their willingness to compromise and even abandon earlier positions. I'm sure the recent tax cut negotiations between Obama and Republicans would have turned out quite differently if they had been televised, for instance, simply because both would be posturing, instead of trying to come to an agreement. I also think having fewer written records is certainly going to lead to worse decision-making. Relying more and more on oral reports (and our memories of those reports) certainly can't be good.

I'm just not sure what that period of time should be. I think there are some pretty good reasons the standard clock is what it is, though. I mean, it's one thing if you're a diplomat and you know your remarks will be studied by historians once you've retired and it's quite another if you know that your remarks could hurt your current (and future) ability to do your job. Or even get the next position. Of course, these might not be compelling enough to warrant a 25 year clock. I just don't know. I haven't thought about it enough or know enough to really make that kind of determination. Maybe 10 years would be better. Or 15. It doesn't particularly seem compelling to keep the end of the Cold-War era information classified at this point. But I don't know where the right balance is or should be.

And I don't really know what else the federal government can do about not declassifying the wikileaked information (thereby insisting federal employees continue to treat it as classified), despite the fact that most of the world has read the information, already. If they declassify it simply because it was disclosed, wouldn't that encourage further leaking? It would validate the authenticity of the leaked information, for sure. (After all, some foreign governments have denied the authenticity of some of the leaked documents, believe the documents were intentionally leaked by the U.S., and have even begun spreading their own hoaxed wikileaked documents.) I'm not sure whether that is, overall, a good thing or not. I do think, however, that if they aren't validated, diplomacy efforts may be able to rebound easier.

And I don't think there's any real, legal way to do anything other than declassifying it or keeping it classified. They could, perhaps, simply not go through the motions with the employees who'd read the leaked material (not wipe the files from their work stations, not prohibit the talking of it at the water coolers, etc.), but I don't know what kind of effect that would produce. As a practical matter, it's simply easiest to keep the standard rules in place for it, regardless of how much of a joke it seems. They should probably be trying to come up with some kind of compromise (and, indeed, I suspect they are), but what exactly that should entail beats the hell out of me.
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Postby daPyr0x » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:01 pm

It would've sounded a whole lot more impressive if I said over 3 million people rather than 1%, but I felt the need to keep relativity in check. The only I raised the point is from reading an article I couldn't find to source that had a much higher current %age. Now, there definitely would be, considering that many police departments even are now on SIPRNET, and all the information I can find is before 9/11. Regardless, I maintain my suspicions that we're looking more at somewhere between 5 and 10% in these days. Of course, though, I can't back that up.

My problem through all of this, though, is the government's reaction. I recognize precisely why it has reacted that way, but I do not agree with it. Moreover, I don't think they're about to "come out on top" here. Why do I say that? All the cables are already in the hands of a few news agencies. Sure, you can potentially use your heft to file an injunction on all of them preventing further publication, but it's pretty obvious that the WL site will continue to publish, as it has during Julian's detention. The trickle of documents is clearly prioritized, suggesting to me there's something "juicy" in there, once he's big enough that the whole world starts paying attention; or at least such is the plan. Then there's the insurance file, containing raw documents with no redaction, with a supposed dead man's switch on the key release mechanism. All those balls are already rolling, and though the approval ratings of the releases aren't high domestically, the government not only having it's dirty laundry aired but also prosecuting free speech and dissent, I don't think it's going to end well for them, at least whomever's in power currently. Whoever gets it next, on the other hand, who-wee, now he's got all the power in the world to start quashing net neutrality, free speech and publication, and all sorts of similar laws under the guise of national security because they successfully prosecuted Assange and now have precedent. As much as I like to remain a realist in considering the possibility, I don't expect the government to actually undergo any sort of the major change required naturally.

We both agree that some length of time is appropriate for classification and declassification, but I think the other implications that must be put under consideration here is the levels of classification and their usages. I don't have the background to understand the subtle differences between Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, and the 4 or so other classification types within the system, but given the breadth of these documents I'd have to say that the classification system is either not appropriate or not being applied appropriately.

As far as I know, the only country to fake some has been Pakistan, using it as an opportunity to bash India. Some countries have actually hosted their own mirrors of the files. Fun fact I found earlier today, there's a Wikileaks mirror on a domain Psytek.net, which when opened (it has since been changed) resolved to an IP block that's reserved for the CIA. Google Psytek.net and your 3rd result is the CIA...weird, eh? Maybe they...are?

I just think that what WL is doing is the whole point of journalism, but on a grand - perhaps too grand - scale. You can find quotes from many greatly regarded men throughout history promoting the importance of free journalism, few that promote silence, censorship, and secrecy.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:11 pm

Just a few points:

If Assange had only released information that really was genuinely important, I might more readily buy the "just being a journalist" argument. He didn't. He has no intention to ever do so. He hasn't shown judgement in what he releases. His position is that classifying any information is bad and has openly admitted that people's lives can and will be lost because of the information he releases. That's not a journalist. A journalist doesn't deliver an instruction manual on how to compromise our security to the enemy all for the (naive) ideal of "complete transparency." If there are legitimate reasons for publishing a list of critical sites and Afghan informants, or detailed instructions on how to negate our roadside bomb countermeasures, I'd love to hear them.

Not everyone who has the appropriate clearance has access to SIPRNET. The Pentagon estimates that fewer than 500,000 people have access. Or roughly 0.007% of the world's population. More people live in Albuquerque than have access to the data. Or, if you prefer a Canadian city: Vancouver.

As far as the classification system itself, I was under the impression that the vast majority of the cables were Unclassified, as well (and therefore would be individually released upon to a FOIA request). But, like I said, I haven't been following too closely or reading the actual cables, so I could be wrong about that. And not know what was categorized as what, either, I can't really speak to whether the system of classification levels itself needs rethinking.
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Postby zeroguy » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:37 pm

I guess I missed the part where they only released genuinely important information for the global community.
I certainly haven't read all of the released ones, and I'm not sure how much of the rest of the thread has addressed this, but... at least a good deal of them have been very beneficial to the global community, and those are the very ones that are contributing to the US's reaction. That is, the ones demonstrating US wrongdoing.
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Postby mr_thebrain » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:22 am

I think this is the first time i've ever agreed with sts.... wow

do any of you remember when Geraldo gave away troop movement? I don't remember anyone crying freedom of speech or government transparency with that one... do you? pretty much everyone i know of was like wtf!

There are certain things we SHOULDN'T know. I don't want to know, and I certainly don't want other people or governments to know. and more things that we don't need to know.

if it were just about disclosing government wrongdoing, transparency is a good thing, but that's not what WL is about. it's information for information's sake and it's not good. and it CAN be a threat to our national security.

and honestly the US has enough problems with how other countries perceive us that we don't need some website making foreign policy any harder than it already is.

ETA: plus the way the information has been gained bothers me. if it was straight up journalism that gained WL the information that's one thing but posting illegally obtained files is completely another. it's unethical and makes my skin crawl. where's your moral compass at that it doesn't bother you even a little bit?
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Postby Wil » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:07 am

and honestly the US has enough problems with how other countries perceive us that we don't need some website making foreign policy any harder than it already is.
I think every other country on Earth already knows our politicians are a bunch of dicks when it comes to foreign relations. I think it was the USA that received the most, if any at all, shock by these releases. I doubt it'll change much either.

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Postby Syphon the Sun » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:29 pm

I certainly haven't read all of the released ones, and I'm not sure how much of the rest of the thread has addressed this, but... at least a good deal of them have been very beneficial to the global community, and those are the very ones that are contributing to the US's reaction. That is, the ones demonstrating US wrongdoing.
"A good deal" seems pretty vague. What's "a good deal?" Ten? Twenty? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? I suspect it's far, far, far less than a majority (given that, as I understand it, a majority of them were unclassified to begin with). And, of course, even if "a good deal" (however you may define that) of them were genuinely important, the whole point I was getting across was that he didn't discriminate on what to release. He didn't only release the important stuff. He plans to release everything in his possession. He has a quarter of a million documents. I'd be genuinely surprised if there weren't juicy bits in that vast amount of information.

Nevermind that some of the "genuinely important" things Satya brought up, if accurate, don't establish "wrongdoing" on our part. Cluster munitions, for example, are still legal in a number of nations, including the United States. We never signed the CCM, which only took effect in this past August. If the storage was going on after August, that might show the UK's wrongdoing, as it did ratify the CCM and therefore is prohibited from assisting another nation with its stockpiling of such munitions, but wrongdoing on our part?
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Postby daPyr0x » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:19 pm

I think this is the first time i've ever agreed with sts.... wow

do any of you remember when Geraldo gave away troop movement? I don't remember anyone crying freedom of speech or government transparency with that one... do you? pretty much everyone i know of was like wtf!

There are certain things we SHOULDN'T know. I don't want to know, and I certainly don't want other people or governments to know. and more things that we don't need to know.

if it were just about disclosing government wrongdoing, transparency is a good thing, but that's not what WL is about. it's information for information's sake and it's not good. and it CAN be a threat to our national security.

and honestly the US has enough problems with how other countries perceive us that we don't need some website making foreign policy any harder than it already is.

ETA: plus the way the information has been gained bothers me. if it was straight up journalism that gained WL the information that's one thing but posting illegally obtained files is completely another. it's unethical and makes my skin crawl. where's your moral compass at that it doesn't bother you even a little bit?
Wow, you seriously don't see a significant difference between Geraldo giving current and future troop movements in a war zone while war is actively being engaged and releasing noncurrent diplomatic cables?

What do you mean how the information has been gained? If you are to jump to the conclusion that this all came thorugh PFC Manning (which hasn't been proven and thus can't be said for certainty), let's run through the steps. He finds something that doesn't jive with his morals, knows he can't do anything himself about it, tries to figure out a way he can. Being in the armed services, he knows dissent and these sorts of questions will be prosecuted quite heavy-handedly and he's necessarily cautious about who he speaks to regarding his concerns. He finds out about a website that's been gaining notoriety for releasing documents such as these and bringing facts to light, so he decides to send them there.

Then, WL sets out to do what they do with the information - validate, verify, redact, and publish. Now, I don't necessarily agree with the publication strategies being used, but I recognize the cause of such.

I don't necessarily think Manning made the best decisions (especially in bragging to another journalist, getting him caught); but I can't actively judge the decisions he's made as I am not fully aware of the situation he was in. I just can't help but think if I was in his shoes, and as part of some duty came across information that showed the US orchestrated 9/11 in order to get the required domestic approval ratings to declare war in order to continue to secure cheap oil...I like to think I'd have been pretty conflicted myself about exactly how to deal with that situation. Can you imagine reading something like that as someone who's murdered innocent civilians in the name of the defense of your country, learning that your cause was no more noble than bullying kids for lunch money in the schoolyard. Not only that, but reading it and knowing you can't do anything about it, nor can you talk to anybody about it. That would be wretched.

Now, this is an entirely hypothetical situation. Unfortunately, it's also entirely plausible (albeit a stretch). I mean, at some point you have to question why someone like Manning would risk so much to do this. For all intents and purposes, he's sacrificed his entire life to have released what he did, there has to be a reason. Even if it's that he's an immature boy lashing out at his superiors for not recognizing his value...there has to be a reason. That's what I'm anxious to find out. It's only then that we can start to pick apart the rights and wrongs of the situation, when we understand the reasons those decisions were made. I fear the public will never know any of this, as the government is dead-set on keeping this as silent as possible.
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Postby zeroguy » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:34 pm

"A good deal" seems pretty vague. What's "a good deal?" Ten? Twenty? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand?
I don't know. I've only read some of them; I'm just saying, there is definite non-zero benefit for the wider community in here.
Nevermind that some of the "genuinely important" things Satya brought up, if accurate, don't establish "wrongdoing" on our part. Cluster munitions
Well, I'm not referring to that. I was mainly considering our relations to a certain coup, and the practices of effectively spying on certain foreign officials. I'm not being particularly detailed since... well, I thought you didn't want to know the contents of the cables.
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Postby Confessions » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:42 am

He didn't only release the important stuff. He plans to release everything in his possession. He has a quarter of a million documents. I'd be genuinely surprised if there weren't juicy bits in that vast amount of information.

Nevermind that some of the "genuinely important" things Satya brought up, if accurate, don't establish "wrongdoing" on our part.
- Forgetting the part where every document intended to be released was brought to the governments attention with the intention of having them review and subsequently proscribe certain information which would have been redacted from the leaks, in order that anything truly sensitive to human lives/intelligence assets/combat operations would remain confidential, and the government refused (already brought up by daPyr0x)

- Forgetting that "if accurate" (which, since it's the governments own records, is a laughable means of attempting to discredit the leaks), they certainly do establish wrongdoing, since you seem perfectly content with ignoring kidnapping of citizens of other nations, torturing and drugging them, and then releasing them after months of secret incarceration when found to not be of value. Ironically, the United States desires to have Assange brought to trial in America for crimes against it - when it has been secretly taking foreign citizens and trying, convicting and sentencing them covertly for years. Again in this instance, I reiterate the idea that if an American had leaked sensitive Russian documents and the Russian government wanted that individual brought to trial in Russia for treason against it, the American backlash would dominate news and events for weeks. But that's because American hypocrisy knows no bounds.

It is distasteful simply watching you serve as government apologist. I can't imagine how you can stomach actually doing it.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:11 pm

Cameron,

So, what exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing a list of names of Afghans who have assisted our troops? What exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing a list of sites critical to national security? What exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing detailed reports of vulnerabilities of our roadside bomb countermeasures?


Zero,

I'm glad you see it as a non-zero sum benefit. At this point, we have no idea whether the benefits of the massive leak(s) will outweigh the serious detriments. We just don't know, yet.

Whether there has been some benefit, or whether the benefit outweighs the risks, has never been my point, though, and I think you understood that from the very beginning. (Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, you ignore, or which remove from my quoted statements, when you respond to me.) There's a reason the word "only" appears in the first thing you responded to and a reason I explained it further in the post you snipped my last quote from.


Satya,

I have no idea what your point is. The U.S. government is to blame because it demanded Assange didn't do something illegal? Because it didn't vet the information? Because it didn't believe any redactions that might actually be accepted by our dear anarchist Assange would make a difference? Assange releases what he wants to release. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the "You can't blame me because I offered to let the State Department make suggested redactions" defense. That doesn't suddenly make it okay. But sure, let's blame the police for not giving me a football helmet filled with cottage cheese and naked pictures of Bea Arthur when I hold up a bank and start shooting hostages.

Moreover, I wasn't trying to "discredit" the leaks or "ignore" the particulars of the things you deemed genuinely important. I was acknowledging that I don't know if your reporting of the genuinely important things is accurate. Given that your commentary on that reporting is so often wrong, as it has been in this very thread, why shouldn't I qualify my response? Again, though, my point was never that there wasn't wrongdoing, or that some of the materials leaked didn't point towards wrongdoing. The point, which you so strangely called me out on, was that Assange didn't whistleblow, he information-dumped. I'm not sure how you intend to defend your position that the whole dump was whistleblowing, but hey, you're welcome to try. Thus far, though, you've just pointed out a few things that shed some light on some shady stuff going on. Great. If he'd only released that stuff, you might have a point.

And I have no idea what your final point is supposed to convey. Okay, you think there would be uproar if the Russians tried to extradite an American citizen on espionage charges for doing what Assange did, but with Russian documents, instead. And? What's your point? Russia would still have jurisdiction to do so (assuming, of course, that their espionage laws cover that conduct). We could pressure Russia not to levy the charges, but there's no reason they would have to oblige. We could fight extradition (particularly if he is living within our territory), but that doesn't mean the Russians wouldn't have legitimate charges against him. Whether they can try someone, and whether they should, are separate questions. You said they can't try him. You're wrong.
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Postby daPyr0x » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:57 pm

So, what exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing a list of names of Afghans who have assisted our troops?
In the current release, all names of that sort have been redacted. This was not necessarily the case with the Iraq & Afghanistan files when released, and was identified as a place that needed improvement in subsequent releases. To date, the Pentagon has reported they have yet to be aware of any deaths or injuries related to any of WikiLeaks' releases. Your point is invalid.
What exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing a list of sites critical to national security?
I think we both agree that particular list to which you are referring was not released using the best judgement of WL. If you really want to engage that particular topic, address what I've already said in this thread regarding this list.
What exactly is the significant difference between giving away troop movements and releasing detailed reports of vulnerabilities of our roadside bomb countermeasures?
One is a document that outlines a process, the other is a report of the precise locations of human lives. How do you not see a difference?
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Postby zeroguy » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:15 pm

I'm glad you see it as a non-zero sum benefit. At this point, we have no idea whether the benefits of the massive leak(s) will outweigh the serious detriments. We just don't know, yet.
I did not say it was a net positive benefit. I was demonstrating clear benefit, not discussing any drawbacks. I agree that we can not really know yet whether the downsides outweigh the benefits, and as such I don't discuss it.
Whether there has been some benefit, or whether the benefit outweighs the risks, has never been my point, though, and I think you understood that from the very beginning. (Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, you ignore, or which remove from my quoted statements, when you respond to me.) There's a reason the word "only" appears in the first thing you responded to and a reason I explained it further in the post you snipped my last quote from.
I have not seen any text of yours in this thread acknowledge any of the benefits, which leads to a heavy implication that there are none, or that they are trivial. (Or rather, I had not seen any at the point in the thread I was responding to.) So I'm trying to show that it exists.

And you're implying here that I'm taking your words out of context, which I don't see. The first paragraph I responded to in the previous post was you saying I was being vague with the phrase "a good deal", and I agreed. The second paragraph was you saying that nothing in the thread demonstrated US wrongdoing, which I am contesting. (Admittedly and intentionally vaguely)
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:42 pm

Cameron,

I was under the impression that a number of tribal elders whose names appeared on the list and who assisted U.S. troops had received death threats, disappeared, and been executed. Indeed, I believe the media reported on these events at the beginning of the fall semester. I'll look for a few links; I'm sure it's been in the Times. Of course, even if those people hadn't been threatened, disappeared, and executed, I've read a good number of articles where the military is complaining that former sources of information have gone silent or refused to assist us further, while the overall numbers of sources has decreased.

As far as the critical sites leak goes, I wasn't aware that the locations were classified. I was under the impression that it was the list of critical sites that was classified. I'd like to know more why you don't think such a list should be classified, though. You mentioned that you didn't think some of the locations on the list should be classified, but what do you propose? Agencies were ordered to compile lists of sites vital to national security. Those were compiled. So what should they do, instead? Create a classified "super critical sites" list and a "not as critical sites" list that isn't classified? Why shouldn't the "not as critical sites" list be unclassified? What positive result comes from the world knowing our suppliers of smallpox or anthrax vaccines? I don't really understand the point that because you can find (some of) the same (or similar) information by doing your own research, releasing a list of vital sites isn't so bad.

And I'm sorry, but I still don't understand the "significant" difference between explaining with technical detail exactly how best to kill troops disarming bombs and explaining the general location of those troops. And I don't see any benefit for doing either.


Zero,

First of all, I apologize for misinterpreting your post. I read "non-zero benefit" to mean (in game theory) a non-zero sum benefit (which would imply that the benefit does outweigh the risk).

That said, I don't think I've implied anywhere (let alone "heavily implied") that there are no benefits (or only trivial benefits) from transparency (or the leaks). Since when does the absence of specifically discussing benefits mean one is "heavily implying" the benefits don't exist? After all, you haven't specifically discussed the risks. Does that lead to the "heavy implication" that there are none?

I've explained that I believe more transparency is needed, that I felt the continued classification of Cold War era documents doesn't seem particularly compelling, that I can both wish for more transparency while still recognize the illegality of Assange's conduct, and that I might be more willing to buy the "journalism" angle if Assange had been whistleblowing (thus implying the importance of whistleblowing, which I also discussed elsewhere) instead of information dumping. And, of course, I explained to you the entire point of the post you were referencing was that Assange didn't discriminate on what to release, but rather released everything. There's a reason I used the word "only" in the post you responded to, you know. My point has never been that no benefits exist and a plain reading, I think, establishes that. I didn't say I missed the part where they released any genuinely important information. I said I missed the part where they released only genuinely important information.

As far as your last point goes, I'm not even sure how to respond to that. You're (apparently) contesting something I never actually said. That might be fun and all, but I don't think it's particularly conducive to the discussion. I said that some of the "genuinely important" things brought up in the thread don't establish U.S. wrongdoing and explained why. Saying that some of the things brought up don't establish wrongdoing is not the same as saying none of the things brought up establish wrongdoing. Words have meaning, you know.
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Postby zeroguy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:55 pm

First of all, I apologize for misinterpreting your post. I read "non-zero benefit" to mean (in game theory) a non-zero sum benefit (which would imply that the benefit does outweigh the risk).
Yeah, I get "non-zero sum benefit". If what I said looks like that in game theory terms, then sorry about that; I'm not used to talking in such terms.
That said, I don't think I've implied anywhere (let alone "heavily implied") that there are no benefits (or only trivial benefits) from transparency (or the leaks). Since when does the absence of specifically discussing benefits mean one is "heavily implying" the benefits don't exist? After all, you haven't specifically discussed the risks. Does that lead to the "heavy implication" that there are none?
I would say yes, until the point where I say that I'm not discussing them. Reading what I said, I would definitely get the impression that I come off to be on Assange's side, though I don't believe that to be completely true.
I've explained that I believe more transparency is needed, that I felt the continued classification of Cold War era documents doesn't seem particularly compelling, that I can both wish for more transparency while still recognize the illegality of Assange's conduct, and that I might be more willing to buy the "journalism" angle if Assange had been whistleblowing (thus implying the importance of whistleblowing, which I also discussed elsewhere) instead of information dumping. And, of course, I explained to you the entire point of the post you were referencing was that Assange didn't discriminate on what to release, but rather released everything.
Okay, so you want more transparency in general. I don't see a clear tie to the immediate positive result of the current leak (unless that Cold War comment has a specific relevance? I honestly haven't been keeping up enough to know), which is what I found lacking.
I didn't say I missed the part where they released any genuinely important information. I said I missed the part where they released only genuinely important information.
Yes, that line as such is thus very defensible and correct and all while still emphasizing the drawbacks of the leak as opposed to the benefits. I was not trying to contradict that point or anything.
As far as your last point goes, I'm not even sure how to respond to that. You're (apparently) contesting something I never actually said. [...] I said that some of the "genuinely important" things brought up in the thread don't establish U.S. wrongdoing and explained why.
That depends on the reading of this sentence:
Nevermind that some of the "genuinely important" things Satya brought up, if accurate, don't establish "wrongdoing" on our part.
Reading this casually, I could easily interpret this as referring to all relevant points that Satya brought up; that you believe none establish wrongdoing but are being conservative in giving unqualified statements. I don't really see the intended point of bringing up that only some points do not establish wrongdoing, which would make it more difficult to read that way.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:45 am

Zero,

I really don't know what you're trying to do or how you got to where you are in this discussion. The big problem, apparently, stems from my writing style and your reading style. You infer a lot of material that is never there, for whatever reason. I feel like I spell out pretty clearly what I'm saying and expect a plain reading of those words. I think words have meaning, so if I used them a certain way, there's probably a reason. If I wanted to argue that there were no benefits, or that the benefits were trivial, I would have done that. If I wanted to argue that none of cables establish wrongdoing, I would have done that. But that's not what I did.

If you want to argue against those straw-men, feel free. I can loan you an alt account, if that would make it easier. (This one, perhaps?) If you want to discuss something with me, on the other hand, you should probably start with things I've actually said.
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Postby Gravity Defier » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:04 pm

If you want to argue against those straw-men, feel free. I can loan you an alt account, if that would make it easier. (This one, perhaps?) If you want to discuss something with me, on the other hand, you should probably start with things I've actually said.
You were doing so well for most of this thread but then you went and got condescending again. Cut it out. :)


P.S. I knew that was you before I looked into this thread.
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Postby Bean_wannabe » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:39 am

To go off track slightly, I can't help but see a trend here. In Britain at least, the government has been seen since about 1995 to be mostly benevolent, and it was not the done thing to be obviously against it too much.

Now however, this seems to be changing. WikiLeaks seems to have started it, with the 'people' obviously standing against the decisions of the government. The student protests in the UK, demonstrating against the increase in tuition fees - the government is quite aware that they are going against the wishes of the people (and their manifestos) but do so anyway, even deploying riot police against non-aggressive students, participating in a perfectly legitimate and legal protest. And then, evidence of police brutality in numerous cases is glossed over by the press in favour of reporting on the actions of one or two individual students.

Another example. TopShop in the UK (perfectly legally) exports all of its profits abroad to evade corporation tax. Students have been boycotting and campaigning against the shop for a while now. In a recent interview (can't find the source, sorry) with a student and an MP, the student was asking why the government didn't intervene. The MP replied that TopShop was acting perfectly legally, and therefore could not be blamed. The student then pointed out that it was then the MP's job to MAKE it illegal the the current situation was not right.

Am I the only one who can see a trend here? It seems the government is becoming increasingly out of touch with the wishes of the 'people' and 'the people' (especially the younger generation) are starting to stand for what they believe in against the situation.
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Postby jotabe » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:30 am

B_w, it so happens that people, when acting as group, tend to be also quite out of touch with reality. UK's debt is astronomical. And it's not the "government"'s debt. It's their debt. People's. They have to pay up, and instead they want to keep digging themselves deeper.
And UK situation is a joke compared to Greece, their reaction was a lot more violent.

Maybe people should be presented with the naked facts, instead of the embellished lies people in office tells to make their work look better. And maybe a bit more democracy would be in order. Something like: "We have to cut funding in an amount of xxs pounds. Please check in order of preference the programs you'd rather cut from this list:"
You know, democracy not being simply voting ever 4-5 years, but also having power to take some decisions, when all possible answers are wrong.
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Postby zeroguy » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:40 pm

Yeah yeah, I know it's been like a month; I've been away, sue me.
I really don't know what you're trying to do or how you got to where you are in this discussion.
At that point, I was just trying to explain how I arrived at my interpretations. I thought you were thinking that my reading was unreasonable (or maybe it's just because of your condescending tone; I don't know).
The big problem, apparently, stems from my writing style and your reading style. You infer a lot of material that is never there, for whatever reason. I feel like I spell out pretty clearly what I'm saying and expect a plain reading of those words. I think words have meaning, so if I used them a certain way, there's probably a reason.
Sure, words have subjective meaning. And I don't think anyone could find it surprising that you thought the words clearly conveyed the meaning you intended; you wrote them!
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