Politics

The WikiLeaks Debate

Julian Assange is neither a hero nor a villain.

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In the latest example of a society allergic to measured responses and shades of gray, the reaction to the WikiLeaks dump has been embarrassingly in the red. Julian Assange is a hero, a freedom fighter, a speaker of truth to power. Or he's a traitor, a rapist, a thief. Publishing the catty chitchat of American diplomats is either a courageous stand against the machine (even braver than Ellsberg because he's got no psychiatrist) or a cowardly flight from Johnny Law.

The hysteria had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who would have thought she's such a chatty Cathy after all these years of manufactured public appearances and staged press conferences?—saying that this leak endangers thousands. It doesn't.

But the problem with this WikiLeaks dump—this latest one, that is, not with all of them, not with the ones about police killings in Kenya, Somalis trying to assassinate government officials, methods to rise to higher levels within the Church of Scientology, showing Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces, which may actually have put lives at risk, the hacked Climatic Research Unit emails revealing alarmist scientists—is that this particular airing shows a critical inability to distinguish between that which can be dumped and that which ought to be.

Observant Jews are familiar with the concept of lashon hara—"evil tongue" or gossip. For centuries rabbis have ruled that malicious gossip—even if it's true—is a serious sin. Many consider it akin to murder, if not in seriousness at least in permanence. When you steal from someone you can be ordered to make your victim whole; but when you murder him or gossip about him you can never really repair the damage. That seems foolishly quaint in the TMZ-Gawker era, where every celebrity booger must be photographed, every perceived hypocrisy exposed on behalf of page views and the greater good.

But a strict observance of the prohibition against lashon hara would make it hard to practice journalism at all. As a journalist for 15 years (not to mention a maker of political ads), I crush up against the concept of lashon hara constantly. Information that serves the public good is often embarrassing to the subject. The test of fairness and print-worthiness should be whether the delicious little tidbit is more than just embarrassing. Revelations such as "American diplomats think Canadians 'carry a chip on their shoulder'" don't clear the bar. And august mainstream media sources like The Washington Post and New York Times, which have been running daily, breathless, above-the-fold stories on the leaks should admit that "Medvedev plays Robin to Putin's Batman" is no different from the "no, she di'int" throwdowns their tabloid competitors love to gin up between celebrity rivals.

The existence of WikiLeaks is a good thing. You can't be in favor of democracy—and you certainly can't be a journalist—if you don't believe that the potential for exposure of wrongdoings helps keep those in positions of power accountable. However, just because something can be published doesn't mean it should be. Privacy is not the same as "secretive" or "clandestine" or "obfuscating." As a society, we benefit from the Internet's unrivaled ability to blast infinite information freely. But that ability does not mean everything ought to be shared. If we have a "right to know" the contents of Hillary Clinton's private communications with her staff, do we have a right to see photos of her showering, to hear tapes of her snoring, to read stolen letters she wrote to her parents?

At the end of the day, the line between news and gossip has never been drawn more clearly than in the children's book The Great Brain. Boy genius Tom Fitzgerald starts his own tabloid to compete with his father's establishment newspaper. Tom sends out kid reporters to eavesdrop and spy. In so doing, he solves the robbery of the town's bank and also publishes tidbits like "Mrs. Haggerty's nagging drives her husband to drink."

Tom's father praises him for solving the robbery. Then he tells him that the rest of the paper "is an invasion of privacy" that "performs no useful service for the community." Then he takes apart Tom's printing press, withholds his allowance, and makes him apologize.

Ken Kurson is a partner at Jamestown Associates, a political consulting firm, and the co-author with Rudy Giuliani of Leadership.

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  1. If we have a “right to know” the contents of Hillary Clinton’s private communications with her staff, do we have a right to see photos of her showering, to hear tapes of her snoring, to read stolen letters she wrote to her parents?

    I just threw up in the back of my mouth.

    1. You KNOW you’d hit that in a heartbeat.

      1. Oh yeah, I’d hit that – with a freakin’ 2 x 4 with a big ol’ rusty nail sticking out the end.

        1. freakin’ 2 x 4 with a big ol’ rusty nail sticking out the end.

          Thats the oddest pet name for one’s junk I’ve ever read.

          1. I don’t find it to be odd at all.

    2. But maybe we do.

      None of these things is any more invasive than a routine TSA screening required of American air travelers. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      And letters to her parents might reveal more about her true character than we know. Given her position of power in the world, and some of what we think might be true about her, that could be a very good thing.

      Power has its price. Nobody asked her to pursue power with such dogged persistence. If she wanted privacy, she could have been a very well-paid partner at a law firm, and nobody would have heard of her.

    3. More seriously, supposedly, Hillary works for us, she is our servant as in “public servant” and we, as her supposed boss and employer, have every fucking right to know every thing she does and says in the course of doing her job. This is the core of the entire problem with government here. These people, from Obama and his minions to the Congress all the way down to the goons at the TSA and your local dog shooter, instead of being our employees and our servants are now our rulers. It has been that way for a long time and the primary purpose of secrecy in government has nearly always been to keep the American people in the dark and to protect the interests of the ruling class.

    4. If she is being paid with tax dollars to shower or snore, yes. But she is NOT being paid with tax dollars to do either of these things.

      1. In any other business. All communication is monitored. Nothing is secret. The government deserves no exemption.

    5. see the shower tapes here:

      http://leakyshowerhead.com/arc…..n-lufa.avi

      1. Just kidding, thats not a real website…

        Sorry liberal bloggers one more fantasy that wont come true.

        1. and for all those wondering what the rest of the link says:

          /archives/2010/12/03/Hillary-clinton-shower-masturbation-lufa.avi

  2. Then he takes apart Tom’s printing press, withholds his allowance, and makes him apologize.

    In this allegory, whom does Tom’s father represent?

    1. Palin, right?

    2. Sounds more like Chavez shuttering opposition news outlets to me.

    3. Tom’s father represents what Jonah Goldberg provocatively called “liberal fascism.”

      I guess I’m not surprised that this guy co-wrote with Guiliani.

  3. Outstanding article.

    1. Agreed. I’ve thought that Wikileaks was the Gawker of whistleblowers, but haven’t seen anyone else write it.

  4. I will repeat an earlier post from a few days ago. Assange is an idiot, but he’s not the problem. The problem is that some private can leak this stuff, and he is still above ground. Give him the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg treatment and let’s see how many more “leaks” we have. If you want to kill Assange too, Ok with me.

    1. Not because of the leaks, but his hair is a crime.

    2. rac seems a tad flippant about killing people.

      1. Treason has that effect on me.

        1. And really bad hair.

        2. Treason against…?

          Assange isn’t an American, you know.

          1. We find the defendant GUILTY as charged, of treason against the nation of hair!

            1. Maybe if he raped a few people nobody would even notice his hair.

        3. Do you know what treason is? Waging war against the government or adhering to our enemies AND providing them aid and comfort. Manning obviously wasn’t trying to overthrow the government. When he gave the documents to Wikileaks no one was saying Assange was an enemy or terrorist. Manning might not even be guilty of espionage since he didn’t steal the documents he had clearance to access them. His only real crime was showing classified documents to some one without the proper clearance.

          1. BTW, George Washington and all of the other Founding Fathers were traitors.

          2. See handle above.

            An individual with a clearance signs umpteen non-disclosure agreements and is made very aware of the criminal consequences of disclosing classified information to uncleared folks. While his actions may or may not meet the legal definition of espionage he is still subject to a great many federal statutes not to mention the UCMJ. In short, while he probably won’t get the Rosenberg treatment he is still pretty well screwed.

            1. When you join the military you sign a contract to act in accordance with the military code of conduct.

              I am not a huge fan of the government, but I do respect contracts and a contract with the military is just as valid as one with a private individual. If you break the contract, you should be subject to the penalties imposed within said contract.

              Whether you think that what Private manning did was good or bad, he should suffer the consequences of what he did either way. And if you think what he did was good and therefore he should not be punished, well, there is no such thing as bravery without consequences.

              IMO, what Private Manning did was wrong. If he saw something wrong he should have worked through legal channels to get it cleared up. And if and when legal channels fail, he should find another way to protest. If you are ordered to do something you find to be wrong, you should refuse to follow that order. But this is not the same thing. Private Manning cannot pretend to be the defender of truth when he himself used deception to achieve his ends. Free speech means that you are allowed to STAND UP and SPEAK out against what you see, it doesnt give you the right to void your obligations unless your obligations require you to act against your higher principals. If your CO orders you to kill an innocent, you should walk away. If your CO is a liar and uses deception as a means to an end, then you should stand up and protest or walk away from the fight.

              1. “And if and when legal channels fail, he should find another way to protest.”

                No. Rather, not always. Laws are just agreements among human beings, and often just unilateral demands made by imperious shits. Laws can make things better for people, and you should always consider the secondary consequences of undermining law when it is beneficial overall, but there is nothing inherently sacred about law that makes it more important than right and wrong.

                If a person acting under of color of law tells you to commit an atrocity, and walking away or complaining to authority is fairly likely to get you a bullet in the back, you’re under no obligation to sacrifice your life or that of an innocent. Kill the sonofabitch and then see what you can do to avoid punishment for it.

                Granted, that’s a NG worldview. If you’re LN, YMMV.

                1. “Laws are just agreements among human beings, and often just unilateral demands made by imperious shits. Laws can make things better for people, and you should always consider the secondary consequences of undermining law when it is beneficial overall, but there is nothing inherently sacred about law that makes it more important than right and wrong.”

                  Well stated. I admit, this whole situation challenges my perceptions of right and wrong and perhaps this is a bene I should embrace.

                  I think that responsibility is still a value that is important here. Bradly has a responsibility to uphold his oaths, but among his oaths are to uphold the constitution, which arguably is a document that protects natural liberty.

                  much of what we call “law” is in fact the imperious bullshit you describe. unfortunately, the BS laws are tangled up quite nicely with the good and moral laws. As much as I want it to be easy to parse the laws and derive a coherent framework for acting, it is at best vague and at worst completely obscured by incredible man-made monoliths of legal stupidity.

                  As much as I am reticent to refer to Newt Gingrich, Newt had a good point tonight on Freedom Watch. He pointed to the press during WWII and how they would put country before truth. At first glance, this concept is disturbing and vulgar. When considered with any level of honesty, this sentiment is important and when considered carefully, suggests that WWII could have been lost if said nationalistic sentiments had not motivated press coverage of the war.

                  How does a military determine if a release of information is good or bad. I do not pretend to know how to answer this question, but it is certainly not a black or white issue. If you think the information you found in a govt. database is important for the defense of FREEDOM, then you have an obligation to do something about it. And while I would probably prefer to do something that fits within the current legal paradigm, your point about how law can and in most cases is somebody elses arbitrary conceptualization of right and wrong may well impact my decision in so much as the laws I am forced to abide are not in line with my principals.

                  My problem is that MY principals require me to HONOR my contracts. If my contract tells me to do something contrary to my principals, then I am in a real conundrum, but it is a conundrum I could have avoided by giving the contract careful consideration with respect to my principals before agreeing to said contract.

        4. Treason? He’s an Australian national…. Wouldn’t he have to be American for it to be treason?

      2. I dunno, the fly does have a right to buzz the horses ass, but when the tail comes whipping around, does the cowboy cry about one less fly?

        1. Save that thought for the next time Radley blogs about cops beating up a smartmouthed suspect. That ought to make you popular around here.

          1. wheeuuu, did someone just pass gas? Oh, hi Tulpa!

    3. If you want to say that government can publish people who actually work for the government and take very specific oaths and sign very specific sheets of paper not to leak very specific information, that’s fine.

      I do find that a different matter from saying that the government can punish some publisher, even an American, for wanting to publish some piece of information that they didn’t specifically agree not to publish.

      If there has to be some level of secrecy, then punishing the direct leaker is more acceptable than punishing publishers.

      1. hold that thought… all this talk about leaking… i’ll be right back.

    4. Your dumb-ass assumes Mannig is responsible, when it is just as likely a pro-government source dumped this as a giant fuck you to most of the two faced leaders the world over who want big daddy america to shower them with money and protection but then shit on America when it comes election time.

    5. Hi. I’m back from lunch. Nice Thai food. Anyway, I do know what treason is. And I specifically said that Assange was not the real problem. So his Australianism is not an issue.

      Manning is an American. And he is a traitor. George Washington and the rest of his pals were traitors, to England. That is why Franklin said we shall hang together or seperately. But as as some of them explained in a little tract in 1776, the King had failed to live up to the bargain that the King makes with his subjects. (Details in the tract). Thus giving Americans the right to revolt and create their own, and better government.

      If you are in any way comparing Private Manning to George and those other fellas, well, I know you really aren’t. This country does have enemies. We have men and women dying at their hands on a daily basis. We had thousands of Americans killed by them in the not too distant past.

      Manning is a “soldier”. He should be tried and shot. Preferably in that order.

      1. I’m reluctant to kill Manning, but everything else you said is righteous.

        1. Factually correct, maybe, but I don’t know about righteous.

          1. …1) acting in a just, upright manner; virtuous 2) morally right or justifiable.
            both seem to fit. more or less.

        2. Fortunately, you won’t have to. We’ll take care of that if and when that time comes. I will, however, pass along your recommendation.

      2. “the King had failed to live up to the bargain that the King makes with his subjects.”

        And are our current leaders living up to that bargain?

        The enemy of the American people isn’t hiding in some cave in fucked-up-istan. They enemy is centered around a few square blocks in Washington D.C.

        1. We are fast becoming fucked-up-istan ourselves, but what do you expect from a congress that needs a blue ribbon panel to figure out how to tie shoe laces.

        2. I was having the same thought…

      3. “This country does have enemies.”

        True. They mostly live in Washington, D.C.

        1. That’s what I get for not reading on…

      4. In fairness, the United States government has clearly and consistently refused to adhere to the contract it has made with its citizens subjects.

        In consequence, why should anyone give a damn about abiding by contracts made with the U.S. government, aside from whether or not they can get away with? What’s good for the goose….

    6. I didn’t think Assange was an American citizen. How can a non-American citizen be charged with treason? Wouldn’t he have to reveal state secrets about this own country?

      1. can’t charge him with treason. how about charging him with 220v until done?

        1. That’s righteous. Washington is certainly a mess. It has usurped powers never intended by the founders. Yet, I don’t believe an armed revolution ala 1774 is called for here. And even if it were, Manning is not a hero of that revolution. He is a turd. I understand the reluctance to ice him. I would.

          1. Has Manning been proven guilty of anything? (Real question, not rhetorical)

  5. showing Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces, which may actually have put lives at risk

    If we’re going to punish people who put lives at risk, let’s start with the people who lied us into a pointless war in Iraq and orchestrated coverups so that US forces and contractors could kill Iraqi civilians with impunity.

    1. Oh, that argument again…

      1. Yes, the truth repeated over and over again is still valid.

        1. “truth”.
          heh.

    2. showing Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces,

      This again? I thought we were pretty clear that the shoot was justified, given the situation (firefight a few blocks away) and the knowledge available to the troops (armed group heading toward firefight).

      I think there’s probably a good chance that the armed “bodyguards” weren’t mere “civilians”, either, but were actually insurgents that the idiot journalist had effectively embedded with, and were legitimate targets under any circumstances.

      1. You could justify a shitload of police abuses here in the US with that logic, RC.

        1. somehow this is now a police issue in the US? i hear’d in Phila. you shoot a cop dead and get only life because your four kids couldn’t bear the thought of you on death row. now that’s logic!

          1. I hear in most places, a cop can shoot you dead, and not go to prison at all because other cops will fabricate evidence to exonerate him.

            1. begs the question “what on earth were you doing standing in front of the policeman’s gun when it went off?”

        2. Another bullshit moral equivalency to file under the ‘because Tulpa says so’ header.

      2. I think it’s a better chance that it’s easy to incorrectly assess a stituation with video alone and in combat, it’s easy to to assume they are enemy. It’s not like friendly fire is uncommon.

        1. you got it! them asses got that situation incorrect!
          +1 Vicky

      3. I don’t think he was talking about that video, just general reports that US forces were killing Iraqi civilians.

    3. I agree with you about the war in Iraq, but the little pussy boy couldn’t care less about that, he is just trying to fuck the United States.

      1. This is not about Assange. It is about the American people’s right to now what is being done and said in their name by their employees. The country is not the government.

        1. You may think that, I don’t.

          1. Then maybe you are blogging on the wrong website?

            1. You do not decide that so fuck off!

              1. Wow. That is some real upstanding adultsmanship right there!

  6. And the problem with this particular document release is that it shows a critical inability to distinguish between that which can be dumped and that which ought to be.

    Since there are no pictures of Hillary showering in this document dump, I’ll deal with the documents we actually have here.

    And I’ll say that the reason there’s a “critical inability to distinguish between that which can be dumped and that which ought to be” is because making that distinction depends on what’s important to you and why. As such, it will vary for everyone. And because of that, no such distinction can usefully be made.

    Let’s consider the revelations about the great extent of the corruption in the Karzai government.

    Some people look and that and gasp and say, “But you should have hidden that to help the war effort!”

    But I look at it and say, “I am entitled to have this information to criticize the Obama Administration’s war policy and to advocate for a new policy.”

    In a democratic republic, all policies are subject to review at all times, and the party in power is not entitled to pick and choose what data points are and are not up for discussion in considering and judging its own policies.

    1. And I’ll say that the reason there’s a “critical inability to distinguish between that which can be dumped and that which ought to be” is because making that distinction depends on what’s important to you and why. As such, it will vary for everyone.

      This is ridiculous. The sensible critics of Assange are right. Leaking this stuff does partially undermine diplomacy. Sometimes the leaked information is worth it. For example, it’s good to know that the North Koreans sent Iran missiles or document the corruption in Afghanistan. That knowledge is worth some undermining of diplomacy.

      It might be interesting to you to know the intradepartmental opinions of Canadian diplomats, but it’s definitely not worth undermining diplomacy for.

      1. If I want to run against Obama in 2012, and one of my reasons for running against Obama is because he picks incompetent personnel to staff the upper echelons of cabinet departments, then, yeah, I’m entitled to possess information about how diplomacy is or is not being conducted.

        It doesn’t matter if you think it’s “worth it” to you.

        1. If you think that opinions voiced on internal email are worth that, you have a warped view of the way email is used. If I have a client that frustrates me, and write that I think he’s a shithead to co-worker, I’m expecting that to remain private. I don’t expect some IT hack to send it to all my competitors. I do understand that they could show up in court, and I’m willing to live with that.

          1. Federal employees shouldn’t be using taxpayer-funded email as a personal fucking chat room. The most embarrassing of the emails that came out were not only embarrassing but totally unnecessary to the legitimate functions of the State Department.

            If they want to gossip about other countries’ leaders, they can wait till they get home and access their gmail.

          2. If some random dude can hack their email, you can bet your ass that the governments in countries that don’t particularly like the US, can do the same thing.

            The stuff on WikiLeaks was likely already known by intelligence agencies in Russia, China, etc. So tell me, what’s worse?

            Embarrassing the federal government and possibly hindering their diplomacy or having the federal government continue to make classified information available to every two-bit hacker on the planet?

        2. Obama picks incompetents because he relates to them.

          1. He probably hopes that they will make him look like a fucking genius.

            1. Not possible.

              1. All he has to manage is to be the only retarded kid on the short bus that can spell his own name. If he keeps appointing retarded people, sooner or later the laws of probability will catch up and he will finally find someone more retarded than himself.

            2. maybe you should let Michelle answer that.

              1. Ahh yes, the skinny bitch out to fix all the fat people…

      2. Ah yes. Let’s take the effect and make it the cause. Bravo!

        1. Meant for Wesley

        2. Diplomacy isn’t undermined because our diplomats are idiots. Everyone’s diplomats are idiots. Diplomats get along with each other because of that. Diplomacy is undermined because the reasonable expectation of secrecy (or at least discretion) has been lost.

      3. Ah yes. Let’s take the effect and make it the cause. Bravo!

      4. Ah yes. Let’s take the effect and make it the cause. Bravo!

          1. try gin… it doesn’t make you shake so much…

      5. “Leaking this stuff does partially undermine diplomacy.”

        And hiding it undermines democracy. The question is which is more important. Government without the consent of the governed is just organized crime putting on airs (see also: Russia). Uninformed consent is hardly consent at all — at the very least, people should what they don’t know, if that makes sense.

      6. 1. That’s totally subject to one’s opinion about the information.

        2. I think stealing documents is a time-sensitive operation and is sorta all or nothing.

    2. Damn straight.

      1. Meant for Fluffy.

    3. Yes, but if you realize that the reaction of the government to leaks tends to be to increase security and make it harder to leak and harder to share information next time, there are strong tactical reasons to only leak when the data being leaked is really worth it.

      The better and more shocking information you publish, the more likely you can rally people to support your right to publish and prevent a stupid backlash.

      That’s a tactical consideration; from a standpoint of rights I think that publishers should have the rights. From a standpoint of politics sometimes I’d prefer that people exercise their rights in a way that doesn’t make politicians and the populace want to take away those rights. (Even though I’d fight to preserve them myself.)

      Like the author of this piece, I don’t think that anything in this latest reveal is shocking enough to warrant the backlash, but at the same time it’s not shocking enough to warrant risking a backlash either.

      1. There’s more to the archive that hasn’t been released, so it’s possible that they’re trying to get everyone talking before dropping some bombshells. Or not.

  7. I am just dissapointed that they apparently don’t know how to encrypt a god damn thing.

  8. The test of fairness and print-worthiness should be whether the delicious little tidbit is more than just embarrassing. Revelations such as “American diplomats think Canadians ‘carry a chip on their shoulder'” don’t clear the bar.

    Are you kidding?

    If State Department employees are a bunch of clowns, and that is revealed in their correspondence, then we are entitled to judge their bosses and senior administrators, all of whom are political appointees or elected officials.

    1. Exactly. That is why the “PRINTING” of it isn’t the problem. The leaking of it is.

      1. Actually, this is why the leaking of the State Department docs isn’t a problem, either.

        I continue to have reservations about leaking documents about military operations, but the State Dept. stuff? Fair game, IMO.

        1. Why is anyone surprised about any of this stuff. Its like finding out that Obama’s shit stinks.

    2. I’m confused! I already knew about the State Dept. Circus…thought everyone did.

  9. What Fluffy said and…To hell with Ken Kurson and his moral posturing.

  10. If we have a “right to know” the contents of Hillary Clinton’s private communications with her staff, do we have a right to see photos of her showering, to hear tapes of her snoring

    Did Hillary take the pictures and set up the recording herself, and share them with other people? Was Hillary acting as a representative of the American people when she was showering and sleeping? If so, then the answer is yes.

    How about this for a rule of thumb: a public official has absolutely no privacy rights whatsoever when doing something for which sovereign immunity shields them from liability.

    1. How about this for a rule of thumb: a public official has absolutely no privacy rights whatsoever when doing something for which sovereign immunity shields them from liability.

      Sometimes you speak wisdom, Tulpa. Sometimes.

    2. Tulpa is right on the money here.

      1. does this mean we get to drag out the stained dress agin? or should we talk about secret sock smuggle?

    3. How about this for a rule of thumb: a public official has absolutely no privacy rights whatsoever when doing something for which sovereign immunity shields them from liability.

      Now this I agree with.

  11. Yes, the motivation of the leaker DOES matter. And what is the pasty-faced Assange’s motivation? Simply to stick it to the United States. He’s not driven by truth, he’s driven by the opportunity to embarrass and humiliate. Whether that rises to the level of a capital crime is arguable, but it gets awfully close!

    1. Karl K,
      Please suck your thumb elsewhere.
      Regards,
      Mother

      1. I said intent DOES matter. But it’s not the only thing that matters.

        So speaking of thumbs, get yours out of your rectum.

        1. Rectum? It nearly KILLED ‘IM!

    2. So if his intentions were to unify the world under one big giant rainbow made of unicorn shit, you’d have no problem with what he did. It’s only a problem because his intentions are to “stick it to the United States.”

      1. That is correct intent matters!

      2. Unicorns defecate? And you know this because you open your mouth underneath them when they relieve themselves? Of course, that would make sense since you inability to understand moral complexity means your diet is sure to be limited.

    3. “” He’s not driven by truth, he’s driven by the opportunity to embarrass and humiliate.””

      Like the people we elect to office.

    4. I hereby sentence you, Karl K, on this third day of December, the year of Our Lord two-thousand-ten, being found to have committed a heinous crime against Humanity, that of publishing, or of encouraging others to publish, and with malice of forethought, materials found by this Court to have been both embarrassing and humiliating to servants of this Government, to penalty of death; that, in accordance with this sentence, you shall be hanged, shot, or shot up, until dead. May God have mercy on your soul.

      1. I shudder in fear.

  12. How about this for a rule of thumb: a public official has absolutely no privacy rights whatsoever when doing something for which sovereign immunity shields them from liability.

    R C approves of this post.

    1. It is a good rule of thumb, and a nice bright line to draw.

  13. Disappointing article – I had higher expectations. No support for assertions such as the “Canadian” ocmments shouldn’t be posted; bad analogy between Clinton’s pvt msgs and showering *shudder* (not even close to the same thing).

    Meh…

  14. +1 Great Brain reference.

    1. Wow! TWO other people read those books beside myself? Awesome!

  15. The little pussy boy is shitting on the U. S. If his purpose was to bring to light wrong doing he would just release the data in stead of dribs and drabs. Or pre announcing that he was going to release “bad” data on an unnamed U. S.bank. The only reason to do that is to inflict the maximun damage!

    1. The only reason to call yourself ‘Realist’ if you’re not actually a realist is to try to give more weight to your lame arguments by implying that your fantasy world is actually the real world.

      1. Aaahhh….fuck you! What does pls mean, shit for brains? If you disagree with me state you disagreement, not your cocksucker remarks!

        1. should be your.

    2. More likely, to get maximum publicity.

    3. “The little pussy boy is shitting on the U. S.”

      So? First, he’s shitting on the government, which hasn’t been of, by, or for the people for a while. Fuck the feds.

      Second, if embarrassing the government merits a drone in the night, then the fuckwits who passed the XXXXXXXXXX Act of XXXXXXXXXX are living on borrowed time.

  16. Another article that misses the point of Assange’s larger project, as he explains here:
    http://cryptome.org/0002/ja-conspiracies.pdf

    It isn’t about the particular info being leaked, or whether it is leak-worthy or not. The point is a demonstration, to the “conspiracy” (as Assange calls it), that it cannot trust the links in its own network.

    The “conspiracy’s” response so far has been to sever State Department’s files from the larger classified network. And most recently to threaten *its own* personnel against reviewing the data that is now already available to the outside.

    The “conspiracy” is in the process of deliberately degrading its own cognitive abilities in response to wikileaks. That’s the point of the project, and for good or bad, it is working exactly as designed.

    1. You mean there are people in the government who can’t be trusted? Not exactly a shocking revelation there; I hardly needed Assange to tell me this.

      The “conspiracy” is in the process of deliberately degrading its own cognitive abilities in response to wikileaks.

      This sounds like a more intellectualized way of saying exactly what John Thacker has been saying all along; the government response to Wikileaks is going to be to INCREASE secrecy and re-erect the stovepipes that were partially taken down in the wake of 9/11. In other words, thanks to Assange we’re ultimately going to end up with even less open government, not more.

      1. yeah but it will be able to do less.

        1. Less evil? I doubt that. Some of the most evil governments in the history of the world were extremely secretive.

          1. Yes, and they also had the ability to be secretive. Which is kinda the whole point.

            Look at it this way: at worst, we’ll find that an oppressive government’s secrecy never really had anything to do with its ability to be oppressive. At best, we’ll find that it did.

          2. But the more the US government becomes overtly totalitarian, the more Americans will begin questioning if we really “live in the land of the free” and all that. Americans will only move away from statism when it becomes obvious to the majority that the federal government is irredeembly corrupt and not going to be fixed by just electing a different political party into office.

            1. OK, if you say so – just as long as the guvmint can continue to keep us all safe with its TSA and its Rapiscan and its “papers, please” roadblocks and its OSHA body harness requirements and its FDA and its DEA and its NSA and its CIA and its FBI and its BATF and its laws against anything fun. As long as we are SAFE you can have whatever freedom is left.

  17. This issue has several distinct aspects, that inevitably end up being mashed up together.

    In no particular order – Assange himself, who a good number of folks, even those who more or less support what it is he’s doing, coming across as a self righteous and pompous dillweed. It would likely be harder for his detractors if he did have more of a Brian Lamb style persona, but, it is what it is.

    Secondly, what he, and others, are doing publishing the hidden, the proprietary, the classified nuts, bolts, and slimy bits for all to see. The point about the poisoned tongue is appropriate, but somewhat missing the point – as in, to what end? Very useful, to be sure, when the activity actually reveals lies, deception, and fraud. Otherwise, it’s just additional noise, as much of the Diplodump appears to be. Does it reveal any OMG moments? So far, apparently not. But this is part and partial to shining the spotlight.

    Thirdly, the leakers themselves, who should be considered on a case-by-case basis. And this gets to their motivation, which is always a tough call, in many cases. Those leaking for petty or transitory emotionalism – as appears to be the case with Pfc Manning, and he, by all appearances, is the epitome of this breed, deserve the world of shit they purchase through their own stupidity. Those who are actually acting from the motivations of revealing the big lie, or the fraud, or the scam, they do deserve thanks for serving the greater good. Telling the difference, because of the shit storm stirred up in either case, is sometimes difficult.

    In this instance, not so much. Nothing should be down to Assange for his WikiLeaks activity, despite his hairstyle making him a good candidate for a swirly. Manning should spend the rest of his days in confinement considering that he broke a valid and legal contract to safeguard information he was in no position to assess the impact of should it be released – i.e. in that he was recklessly indiscriminate about what he compromised, and it well could have been data that had life or death consequence – all because he was having relationship problems? Flag on that play, certainly.

    1. Innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand just think about it for a moment. Manning is being accused of downloading all this and putting it on an audio cd? last I checked an audio cd could only hold a measly 70 mb of data.

      1. Tue, that – innocent until proven guilty, in a court of law. True, CDRWs only handle data in the MB range, but if it was a recordable DVD, that can tote GB of data. And you can always use multiple CDs. . .plus, .txt files will compress quite a bit.

      2. Off by a factor of 10…

  18. Bank shmank. I’m still waiting for the real civilian casualty video. The one with tens of children getting killed, not just two getting shot up. Is that the ‘insurance’ document loaded onto Bit Torrent a while back? The suspense is giving me an ulcer.

    Anyway, the War on Information? is on, baby!

    1. No, it’s just footage of Bush and Obama double teaming a preteen male prostitute in Thailand.

      1. i’m gonna wash your momma’s mouth out with soap!yuck!

      2. Thailand – yuck. Nasty place. Mafia government.

  19. Its a sad story here. Because this Assange guy is such a chump, no one likes him. Which also means the government(s) can roll him over, roll over a considerable social innovation with Wikileaks, and do so without generating civic outrage because they’re doing it to someone everyone hates.

    Its like the pederass laws. If you tried passing half the shit in all these “Brittney’s Law, Megan’s Law, Allison’s Law” without a pederass to point fingers at that shit would never pass. And of course it doesn’t work.

    Good example of that is the dude who’s up for court over modding Xboxes in his dorm room. The whole thing is as stupid as you can imagine, but the most telling tidbit about this nefarious miscarriage of the DMCA miscarriage? Its the stupid Homeland Security Dept. that ‘busted’ this Xbox modder.

    Its very important to ensure Jamie Assange and Wikileaks don’t become one and the same in the zeitgeist, or the very idea of an electronic clearinghouse for whistleblowers (which is brilliant social idea) will go down with Assange.

    Don’t expect establishment journalists to help out here too, all the sanctimonious freedom-of-expression bullshit they espouse goes right out the door with competition like Wikileaks.

    1. Don’t expect establishment journalists to help out here too, all the sanctimonious freedom-of-expression bullshit they espouse goes right out the door with competition like Wikileaks.

      If journalists did their job, there would have never been a need for Wikileaks. We would have gotten the important parts with much less of the gossip.

      1. I agree with Wes, here.

  20. My neighbor lets his dogs run loose, which is a violation of his lease. I’m going to “leak” this information to my landlord. Am I a hero? No. Just one man trying to do his part in this world.

  21. I’m going to draw a distinction here that escapes most people commenting on the subject. Assange has not harmed me, or anyone else I know, directly or indirectly by releasing the diplomatic cables.

    Has he made it more difficult for the government of the United States to conduct business as usual? Yup. Is that a bad thing? I dunno. Does it harm the US? No.

    The government of this country is not the country. Impairing the government’s ability to operate the way functionaries, bureaucrats, and addled power-hungry officials want is the entire purpose of the Constitution.

    So fucking what if the State department looks like a bunch of jackholes and can’t continue to engage in duplicitous bullshit? Gee, no more shitty underhanded agreements with foreign dirtbags. I’m crushed.

  22. Yeah, I can’t feel any real sympathy for the “privacy rights” of our government or other governments being violated by some leaky dude right now, seeing as how the government violates ours every day.

  23. A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew – I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’ Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. ‘Is gossiping a sin?’ she asked the old man. ‘Was that God All Mighty’s hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?’ ‘Yes,’ Father O’ Rourke answered her. ‘Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.’ So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. ‘Not so fast,’ says O’ Rourke. ‘I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.’ So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. ‘Did you gut the pillow with a knife?’ he says. ‘Yes, Father.’ ‘And what were the results?’ ‘Feathers,’ she said. ‘Feathers?’ he repeated. ‘Feathers; everywhere, Father.’ ‘Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,’ ‘Well,’ she said, ‘it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.’ ‘And that,’ said Father O’ Rourke, ‘is gossip!’

    1. and one badly fucked up pillow…

    2. You understanding the difference between leaking official documents and spreading bullshit around, right? It’s a little thing called “truth”*. “False witness” is a two-word phrase.

      *Obviously, people might be lying in the docs, but that’s on the government(s). They’d hold up in a court of law, at any rate.

  24. Seems to me I heard this somewhere:

    “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”

    1. “we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.”
      Disagreed; the secret ballot is part and parcel of our culture. We, as private individuals, even as groupings of individuals, are certainly allowed to be as secret as we please.
      See Tulpa, 11:00 AM above; *they* are not allowed secrecy.

      1. Re: sevo,

        Disagreed; the secret ballot is part and parcel of our culture. We, as private individuals, even as groupings of individuals, are certainly allowed to be as secret as we please.

        You have a right to actively seek secrecy in your communications or acts, but you don’t have a right to ‘secrecy.’

        The fact that ballots are secret because of a cultural need is nothing more than a red herring. Ballots are certainly “secret” in social democracies like Cuba’s; that does not make “secrecy” a right or a staple of civilization.

        1. I think you mean secret ballots are necessary but not sufficient for a working democracy.

          Anyway are you trying to assert that you have a right to the private conversation of others? Thiever!

          1. Re: Tony,

            I think you mean secret ballots are necessary but not sufficient for a working democracy.

            I think you need to wear glasses.

            Anyway are you trying to assert that you have a right to the private conversation of others?

            Am I?

          2. Secret ballots aren’t absolutely essential; they can be helpful, however. Bear in mind that even ballots aren’t essential — arguably, randomly selecting Congressmen from the public would be more democratic than the current system, plus they’d come from the entire IQ distribution rather than 100 and down.

    2. “I, ah, er, ahm…”

      The guy that said those words wound up with LBJ’s cock in his neckwound. YMMV.

  25. Still don’t understand why libertarians are endorsing the concept of one man–not even a citizen of this country–deciding diplomatic policy with regard to secrecy for all of us.

    To say that diplomats don’t deserve the right to have secret communication is absurd. We aren’t paying for access to all the information our government has, we are paying for a functioning diplomatic apparatus, which sometimes requires secrecy and discretion.

    1. Are you familiar with poplular culture?

      David, Goliath, truth, power, wrench in the works, overthrowing the tables, smashing the MCP and freeing the I/O ports, raising the black flag & slitting throats, etc. It’s not that hard to see the appeal is it?

      1. No it’s not, but it’s also pretty fun having a contrarian view on this issue, one that pisses off hardcore liberals even more than you guys. What they don’t seem to realize is that they are essentially endorsing an anarchist’s position. And anarchy is always fun for a while, but it doesn’t last.

        1. fun for a while…until someone loses an eye!

    2. “one man…deciding diplomatic policy”
      Maybe you’d understand better if you dropped the straw man.

    3. Re: Tony,

      Still don’t understand why libertarians are endorsing the concept of one man–not even a citizen of this country–deciding diplomatic policy with regard to secrecy for all of us.

      “All of us” do not decide on diplomatic policy. Your point is thereby moot.

      Also, who cares which State decides to hold him as hostage or serf (i.e. citizen)?

      To say that diplomats don’t deserve the right to have secret communication is absurd.

      Why is it absurd? NOBODY has a right to have secret communications – you cannot have a right to something you don’t have, i.e. secrecy (a relative term.) Do you really want to keep your communications secret? Then DON’T SPEAK.

      We aren’t paying for access to all the information our government has,

      No, our money taken at gun point is given to goverment bureaucrats to pay for accessing that information. The rest of the people could not care less what some fat oaf of a bureaucrat in Qatar thinks of the leader of Liberia, otherwise there would be private services gathering such info.

      [W]e are paying for a functioning diplomatic apparatus, which sometimes requires secrecy and discretion.

      If YOU want to pay for it, fine. What’s with this “we” business, Kimosabe?

      1. “All of us” do not decide on diplomatic policy. Your point is thereby moot.

        Well, Congress and the executive do, and they are more representative of us than some anarchist foreigner.

        NOBODY has a right to have secret communications

        Maybe not, but no aspect of society can function without it. Not even just talking to your mother or best friend.

        If YOU want to pay for it, fine. What’s with this “we” business, Kimosabe?

        We is me and most everyone else who like having a functioning civilization and don’t mind paying for one, and you, who wants it all for free.

        1. Re: Tony,

          Well, Congress and the executive do [set up policy], and they are more representative of us than some anarchist foreigner.

          Which in itself means nothing, as the foreigner “anarchist” does not presume nor has ever claimed to “represent us.”

          Maybe not, but no aspect of society can function without it.

          Even if that were true (which is not, as it is an absurd assertion,) that does not mean “Secrecy” in itself is a right. One can also argue that blank paper is essential for many a social function – does that mean people have an automatic right to paper?

          We is me and most everyone else who like having a functioning civilization and don’t mind paying for one, and you, who wants it all for free.

          Oh, no my dear – I don’t want ANYTHING for free except air and sunshine. YOU are the one who wants SOMEONE ELSE (i.e. the Productive) to pay for everything. By the way, taxation is ANATHEMA to civilization, as the more taxes you are made to pay, the less civilized the society.

    4. Peasants have no right to know the workings of their bureaucratic overlords.

  26. Revelations such as “American diplomats think Canadians ‘carry a chip on their shoulder'” don’t clear the bar.

    Sez you. I thought that leak was interesting in that it confirmed what everyone already kinda knew, and it showed what trivial shit the American officials waste their time on, like bad Canadian TV.

    Also, spare us the gossip is a sin stuff. This is not Reason-level quality. (Drink?)

    1. You only say that because you’re a sinner, Dag.

    2. I don’t think it was preaching as much as it was an attempt to point out the dangers of gossip.

  27. Thank God, a reasoned response! Excellent analysis.

  28. if the government was concerned about keeping secrets they shouldnt handout top secret clearances like they are a toy sheriff badge to any numbskull they please. have you seen the quality of government employees these days? Hell you don’t have to have a highschool diploma to work for DHS now days.

    Secondly was there really any secrets released? Everything released was just confirmation of what the public already knows.

    1. Re: Carl,

      [I]f the government was concerned about keeping secrets they shouldn[‘]t hand[ ]out top secret clearances[…]

      The government should not keep secrets at all – where’s the authority to do that? I read the Constitution looking for even a glimpse of such and there’s nothing.

      The sense of outrage against Wikileaks normally stem from pragmatic arguments, like “it would place people at risk,” and other absurdities. If I don’t want to place myself “at risk,” I would not cheat on my wife – what moral or ethical reason could I have to blame my wife’s anger (if I do cheat) on the person that tells her? I was the one who acted. The same with soldiers or diplomats: Who the FUCK told you that you could act with total impunity? Why do you blame talebearers for your own sins?

      1. heres a good one

        saudi arabia: direct financier of al-qaeda

        al-qaeda: the enemy, along with others like it, we have spent a trillion dollars since 2001 fighting and have yet to beat.

        so what does the gov’t do? authorize a 60billion dollar arms package for saudi arabia.

        makes total sense….

        1. makes about as much sense as going up on the roof and wasting a perfectly good pillow. hell, now all the enviro-wackos are going to mad at the priest to boot!

        2. saudi arabia: direct financier of al-qaeda

          Are you referring to the Saudi government or some individuals within Saudi Arabia?

      2. The government should not keep secrets at all

        Literally none at all?

        What about, say, the security arrangements/passwords/etc which prevents their nuclear arsenal controls from being hacked? If it turns out that disclosure of this information would enable a terrorist to hack into US missile systems and remotely fire hydrogen bombs at cities; would you still say the government should not keep that information secret?

        where’s the authority to do that? I read the Constitution looking for even a glimpse of such and there’s nothing.

        While there may be many cases in which the government improperly keeps something classified, it is pretty clear that keeping some information secret is directly necessary or useful for defense and/or security purposes.

        1. This is quite literally a straw man argument.

          1. First of all, look up the word “literally”.

            Second of all, the exact words of the comment I am responding to are: “The government should not keep secrets at all”. So it is not even figuratively a straw man argument.

  29. just another self-aggrandizing douche

  30. Carl – There’s a big difference between folks who are cleared to see TS (because they have a “need to know”) and whether or not they actually see it.

    For example, in the military: once you are cleared for a TS, you pretty much hold onto to it no matter where you go because it’s cheaper to re-cert someone (though they may have moved to a position where they don’t handle TS material) than it is to do the whole process over again because it lapsed. That way when you rotate back to your position after a few years of say, recruiting duty, they’ve done the lesser/cheaper checks periodically instead of expensively digging through everyone you’ve known for 10 years.

    Also, since you’re cleared for 5 years as a TS holder, I’m not sure how many folks from the previous administration are still technically TS holders…

  31. “and the co-author with Rudy Giuliani of Leadership.”

    Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if this shed’s any light on this particular author’s point of view ….

    1. Ohh, there is more! I clicked on his name and it states this “Ken Kurson, executive vice president of the political consulting firm Jamestown Associates, was the COO of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign and coauthor with Giuliani of the No. 1 bestseller, Leadership.”

      Not only did he write a book with Giuliani he ALSO worked on the guy’s presidential campaign!

  32. To those who say ‘these are things we already know’ in an attempt to brush off much of the leak content (e.g., Canadian shoulder chip), I say, yes, of course we know diplomats are slimey, but the benefit to us is that the plausible deniability they so often hide behind now goes out the window. And to those who say this isn’t important to know, I disagree; of course this is important to know, I want someone competent working for me, not some gossipy halfwit.

  33. I have a certain sympathy with WIKILEAKS because, when the Government at all levels gets more and more casual and blatant about invading our privacy, it’s nice to see someone giving them a dose of their own medicine. If they know what it feels like now, maybe they will think twice about snooping so much.

  34. Finally a little bit of balance in the discussion.

    I do not believe that wikileaks is journalism. Wikileaks is a data dump of mostly useless information. Of course I haven’t read it all, but if there is anything our government is good at it is producing large volumes of documents that have absolutely nothing of any value in them, so it is no surprise that each leak seems to boggle the mind in terms of its size. I think if they had released only the useful information, the information would have been more meaningful to the public. Also, by releasing a lot of “gossip” from “diplomatic” cables wikileaks managed to harm itself and in so doing gave the “hang them all” crowd more very compelling reasons to attack them. If Wikileaks just focused on the important issues of PUBLIC interest then the conversation might just stay focused on those issues.

    I realize that wikileaks made an effort to scrub certain details from the documents, but the problem here is that by releasing everything under the sun, it looks more like they are a reckless band of anarchists who enjoy playing with fire in a fireworks factory just to piss off authority.I’m not talking about the good kind of anarchists who want to eliminate the use of force AKA government, but rather the same “anarchists” who march gleefully with communists to protest free trade and think that anarchy is chaos and disruption. Anyway, because of their seemingly reckless methodologies, they have made it easier for people to attack them and often times, the people attacking them make some solid arguments. Some part of me thinks that wikileaks should be punished, but the rational part of me knows that wikileaks has punished itself through its own carelessness. There are perhaps more purposeful and responsible ways of exposing important information, I do not think wikileaks found that balance. And even though I think Asange and the army douche bag who helped him probably harbor deep rooted hatred for America, a part of me takes comfort in the fact that at least what they are doing is opening the window and letting some fresh air into the room. Its just too fucking bad that they decided to open the window all the way and there is a blizzard outside.

  35. Sorry but you do not understand what Assange is doing. The scatter-gun approach is not a bug, it is a feature. The so called ‘useless information’ is far from useless. Wikileaks is *not* a targeted attack on some part of the pervasive panoptic regulatory state, it is a systemic attack on the whole damn edifice.

    I see this as a useful litmus test by which to judge the various ‘friends of liberty’ who call for a roll back of the panoptic regulatory welfare state: how did they react when someone actually did more than just talk about it? Did they grin and say “way to go, Julian” or did they go “but… but… but… how can you condone releasing diplomatic documents? It is irresponsible!”

    Bookmark the people who ‘get it’… and bookmark those who choked when confronted with something that has clearly outraged the very people that so called ‘friends of liberty’ should be delighted to see outraged… and then use that filter to judge all their future remarks accordingly.

    1. I think that if we expect any government to be completely pure in its diplomatic dialogues, we are seriously fooling ourselves.

      I seriously doubt that any of us regular citizens are innocent of making disparaging remarks about others we must work with on a day to day basis. Go through your work or personal e-mails and text messages and tell me that you do not have any comments that might erode your relationship with someone else even just a little bit. I am not defending this, I am just saying that it is not unreasonable to expect it to happen in any organization, including the government. Releasing important information about operations that may or may have a serious political, economic or diplomatic importance to Americans is one thing. Airing dirty underwear is another. To be clear, the bulk of the “diplomatic cables” are harmless and typical political cocktail party bullshit. Exposing this dirt isn’t the principled stand for liberty that you think it is, it is just a childish prank and as such, it can seriously undermine the actual principled stand for liberty that was actually intended. Imagine if you are prosecuting a case against a murderer and you have all of this good evidence in front of you, but also have a bunch of e-mails, text messages and letters from the defendant written to his friends and relatives talking about how much of an asshole the victim is and calling him names and making wild assertions about the victims personal habits. If you have all sorts of discussion about this and give approximately equal time to the actual evidence, people are not going to take you seriously. The defense will say “calling someone names and writing nasty emails about them does not make my client guilty of murder.” And the conversation will continue to stay focused on the trivial stuff rather than the important stuff.

      Just because Assange wants to take a principled stand, it doesn’t necessarily mean a full frontal assault is the best way to do it. My point is, his full frontal assault approach undermined his credibility. There is a reason why most people do not take tabloids seriously and one of those reasons is the information in most tabloids is useless. Diplomatic cables about one official calling another official names is not only normal human nature, but also useless information and all it actually does is weaken any chances of fixing weak diplomatic relations. No crime is committed by calling other heads of state names, every politician and diplomat since the dawn of time has done it.

      Think about this “attack” from a strategic standpoint. If you want to be successful, you cannot give your enemy ANY ground to fight back. In land combat high ground is better than low ground. In information combat, CREDIBILITY is more important than VOLUME.

      1. “Think about this “attack” from a strategic standpoint. If you want to be successful, you cannot give your enemy ANY ground to fight back. In land combat high ground is better than low ground. In information combat, CREDIBILITY is more important than VOLUME.”

        Nope. It was not a targeted attack, it was a systemic attack, so volume rather than precision was the whole point. The idea was to inject uncertainty and add cost to private communication networks systemically: in short to make people within the system less willing to communicate with each other.

        Of course if you seek to reform and repair the state, this seems petty and counter productive. If however you seek to make the state less effective and thus less able to act. then this is really rather splendid.

        The USA is awash with well meaning activists trying to make the state ‘better’… and some of them write for Reason. But some people do not want a ‘better’ states, they want states less able to do the things they wants to do in every way and I very much suspect Assange is of that mind.

        1. Again, if you push all of the buttons at once, you might win the battle, but you lose the war.

          Some people like to fancy their ideas and ideology ABOVE public perception, but it is not possible to win a war without winning hearts and minds.

          This is not some generic military concept, this is a statement of reality. If your goal is to achieve a STATELESS country or world, then you MUST convince the majority of the people you are asking to give up the state that you are trustworthy and that your goals are for the good of humanity. If people see you creating ARBITRARY havoc, then why should they accept your worldview. Winning a battle might make you feel good, but if your motivations are questionable because your actions are not CREDIBLE, then any allies you might have gained from winning the battle would be destroyed by your inability to EFFECTIVELY communicate your purpose and good intentions to the world.

          I do not disagree completely with his goal. Transparency in government, as well as freedom of speech are important, but you cannot demand that others act more carefully on our behalf and then go ahead and act recklessly.

          Just because Mr. Assange fancies himself an anarchist, doesnt give him the right to be irresponsible. In fact, if one is to embrace anarchy one must also embrace PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY as there would be no legal body to ensure YOUR liberties are protected. I am sorry, but if you want anarchy in this country, you will have to accept the fact that in order for us to maintain said anarchy, we must defend the nation from people who would work to undermine or use our freedom for personal or political gain. Countries like Russia, Iran and N. Korea would be quite happy to destroy our current freedoms, nevermind any additional freedoms Julian hopes to achieve through anarchy. True liberty requires diligence and will often require either diplomacy or violence for preservation.

          Dont get so horny about the hooker that you lose sight of the pimp. no form of government, including anarchy can exist without the consent of the people.

  36. As far as I know, no one is suggesting that “all information should be shared.”

    As for truth harming people, that’s always a distinct possibility. Who do we trust as “gatekeeper” then?

    If times are desperate enough, we might have to rely even upon our own government for this function. However, in the current environment, I certainly don’t think that’s a very good idea generally.

    I imagine the various parts of our own government have quite a few secrets that ought to be made public.

    The crimes committed by our highest officials should see many of them in front of some court, here and or abroad. Not to say this is at all likely to happen. Those calling themselves “conservatives” should be pressing for this by the way.

    It is true that proof of their crimes now exists within the public realm. More isn’t really required to charge and convict. But, it would be nice to have. Perhaps some brave person will leak it.

    I hope so.

  37. Measuring moral expert consensus about wikileaks:

    http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/119

    participate in the survey.

  38. Sad to see “libertarians” here taking the side of the government on this one and not thinking Wikileaks is a net positive.

    1. Most are just idealists and mental masturbators about libertopia. With such people who lack initiative and skeptical of every right step in the direction of freedom, Statists have already won.

      The only thing the rest of us can do is support, in any way we can, Patri Friedman and his Seasteading plans of establishing a new, floating country in the middle of the ocean.

      This initiative is the last stand of Freedom and our last chance, before freedom of speech gets squashed for good in the USA.

      http://seasteading.org

      To the Statists: “Remember, remember, The 5th of November!”

      1. good call my man…. good call…..when the dust settles there will be some serious heads taken…..the U.S has been looking for reason to really put the clamp down on freedom of speech…..this was just too perfect

  39. Julian Assange will not be ‘taken out’ for only one reason. At this point if he is killed he will be a martyr. Remember Che Guevara. Hell I have seen T-shirts of that guy in practically every corner of the world. This also happens to be a point where the world is at a boiling point. The Majority of communications are via internet. No need to start a revolution by pissing off Assange supporters, hackers, etc Believe me if it happened it would spread like a wildfire. Although I would love to see it happen. The pissed off ‘important’ people know better at this point.

  40. Just what one expects to see in a “Libertarian” publication: an article written by a co-author of Benito Giuliani. Fine, upstanding advocate of individual rights, that one.

    Those who cling to the fantasy that those in government are somehow “on our side” — Mommy and Daddy stand-ins for those in need — may see Wikileaks as a threat.

    The rest of us, myself included, are in favor of anything and anyone that helps expose the monstrous, disgusting truth of that “gang of thieves writ large” as Rothbard refers to those in government.

    Grownups don’t need “leaders.” We need fewer “leaders” and more grownups.

    1. Yes they do.

  41. Can’t say I’m a big fan of assange, but making leaking more high profile will lead to a lot of good… as long as we don’t let the governments of the world band together to create a system for oppressing any leaks.

  42. If the Government compels or coerses private companies then it’s not ‘like China’?
    Where is the free market alternative?

  43. and to which i would add that the decision as to what is appropriate to ‘reveal’ and not, will never be agree upon by the masses. and so, should remain free leaving all individuals to make up one’s mind. not perfect, but fair in my mind.

  44. WikiLeaks is a great organization, against the authoritarian system of government

  45. Patronizing and trivial bullshit, keep writing slogans for the likes of Giuliani and dont try to grasp matters too complicated and subtle to your bourgeous little brain. Dont you assholes understand that Wikileaks is not SUPPOSED TO BE A CONSTRUCTIVE ORGANISATION, that the fact that many of the cables are irrelevant in that big LETS MAKE THE WORLD A LITTLE BIT BETTER PLACE KIND OF WAY. This is simply giving the finger to the Old World Order, the ancient conspiracy in which power hungry, greedy, hypocritical, psychopatic and cunning assholes try to grab power in any way and from they can: money, military might, information. This is A PR STUNT, not a NOG project. This is like Gandhi’s salt march. Imagine this fucktard pondering: does Mr Gandhi understand that he is actually endangering the british salt industry by his wreckles behaviour, and does he really think that all that India needs now is a little bit of untaxed salt? Endangering our troops? Fuck your troops. I just realized that this obsession with terrorism that the powers to be have is not only a political weapon. I think they can unconsciously percieve a time in not so far future in which there will be acts of actual terrorism by American non muslim citizens, just like there were in the times of the Czars. Some heads are going to roll soon.

  46. very interesting debate !!

    i found out good place to talk about the wiki-leaks debate

    http://livedebating.com/index.php#q=184

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