Four US views on whether Wikileaks is a force for good?

Four American views on Wikileaks from Reason TV… Mostly sceptical…

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  • joeCanuck

    I think that Wikileaks is a powerful tool for the good if it is used to expose illegality , corruption, hypocrisy etc.
    However, simply publishing thousands of private communications with no context does not perform that function; at a minimum it is mischievous. Assange is a cad.

  • anne warren

    I agree Wikileaks has the potential to be a powerful tool for the good if it is used to expose illegality , corruption, hypocrisy etc.
    I think it is too soon to assess whether it is but as new sites like Openleaks and Brusselsleaks are springing up, there is no way of putting the genie back in the bottle.

    Good or bad, it has opened up extraordinary new ways of holding government to account

  • Mark McGregor

    It’s simple: Speak truth to power

    Wikileaks speaks truth, or at least presents power’s own material without spin. Only power, even our little version, has a problem with it.

    Yet to hear many with reputations for supporting truth complain.

  • pinni

    Assange overstepped the mark when he released the diplomatic cables. Ultimately, he will be responsible for less, not more, information being available.

  • RepublicanStones

    Eli Lake’s Twitter makes for interesting reading

    http://twitter.com/elilake

    The claim that Wikileaks will cost lives has as of yet no evidence to back that claim up. The argument that we should keep hidden, files which demonstrate the true cost of war, lest some more innocents be killed is morally bankrupt. Where do you draw the line at what shouldn’t be reported? Should it not have been brought to light that the US was carrying out a bombing campaign in Yemen? How about not bombing the shit out of the Houthi in the first place, then you won’t have to worry about inciting more hatred.
    Good journalists like Jeremy Scahill have been vindicated by the cables. You can read his recent testimony to Congress here –

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/156977/jeremy-scahill-testifies-congress-americas-secret-wars

    Glenn Greenwald has been well worth following on the Wikileaks issue as well..

    The ringleaders of this hate ritual are advocates of — and in some cases directly responsible for — the world’s deadliest and most lawless actions of the last decade. And they’re demanding Assange’s imprisonment, or his blood, in service of a Government that has perpetrated all of these abuses and, more so, to preserve a Wall of Secrecy which has enabled them. To accomplish that, they’re actually advocating — somehow with a straight face — the theory that if a single innocent person is harmed by these disclosures, then it proves that Assange and WikiLeaks are evil monsters who deserve the worst fates one can conjure, all while they devote themselves to protecting and defending a secrecy regime that spawns at least as much human suffering and disaster as any single other force in the world. That is what the secrecy regime of the permanent National Security State has spawned.

  • joeCanuck

    Mark,

    How can we be sure when the amount of material is so vast? I mean, just yesterday Pakistan was fooled by fake wikileak stuff and embarrassed itself. That’s unlikely to be the last fake stuff and, given some people’s capacity for mischief along with the internet’s ability to equally distribute disinformation, misinformation and information, where can we find the “truth”?

  • RepublicanStones

    That’s unlikely to be the last fake stuff and, given some people’s capacity for mischief along with the internet’s ability to equally distribute disinformation, misinformation and information, where can we find the “truth”?

    Joe you could just as easily replace the word ‘people’s’ with ‘governments’ in your sentence, and that supports the actions of Wikileaks.

  • andnowwhat

    How the hell do you embarrass Pakistan? The place is and has been a joke for many years.

    The arrest of Assange has proven on thing for sure. Goverments think we are fek’n thick if they think we believe tha allegations.

    We in NI should know the danger of lies and the power of truth.

  • joeCanuck

    RS,

    Indeed and I didn’t mean to exclude them. As per my first post above, I’m totally in agreement with the use to expose wrongdoing.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I suppose it all depends on our world view. USA is not my ally. Neither is Pakistan, China, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran…etc.
    I am no more anti-American than I am anti-Pakistani, anti-Chinese etc.
    I dont feel in anyway concerned that diplomacy/duplicity has been exposed.
    I have therefore enjoyed the huge amount of embarrassing stuff. The whole “this will cost the lives of brave Afghans who are our friends” argument has no effect on me. Brave Afghans should be looking to the interests of Aghanistan not USA.
    As in any “revolution”…..French, Russian, whatever…..there is a debate to be had on the point where the Revolution should stop. Where to apply the brakes. So its amusing to see people on TV champion the Internet but then argue that Assange should be limited.

  • anne warren

    I fully support Wikileaks right to freedom of expression and right to publish material they have received and read. As the Australian government pointed out, they weren’t responsible for the exfiltration of the data – the US were.

    The official reaction with attempts to block Wikileaks has demonstrated rage at being found out (what is still in the pipeline?) as well as showcasing the hypocrisy and limits of Western “freedom of information” as Russia and China were quick to point out.

    Calling for Assange’s execution as some US politicians have done seems way out of proportion to any putative “crime” considering what has been leaked so far. There seems to be no evidence that content of the cables has endangered lives but it is clear that the policies pursued by the diverse governments have endangered the lives of many, many people.

    Bsides underscoring the lies and hypocrisy, the cables have raised some worrying points (e.g.Hillary Clinton’s orders to spy on UN delegates, the role of oil companies in Nigeria’s government and Saudi Arabia in the war against Al-Quaeda etc).

    They have already resulted in a proliferation of similar sites and mobilisation worldwide in support of Wikileaks and Assange – to say nothing of the hactivists.

    Assange has won the popular nomination for Times “Person of the Year”. We’ll see on Wednesday if the Editors back the popular choice!

    We do live in interesting times!

  • joeCanuck

    Assange has really hit a nerve in the US political landscape. And some of the politicians are threatening to pass a law to make what he did illegal. In other words, they don’t understand their own judicial system. They can’t make laws apply retroactively, which is a good thing.

  • Munsterview

    JoeC : “……. That’s unlikely to be the last fake stuff and, given some people’s capacity for mischief along with the internet’s ability to equally distribute disinformation, misinformation and information, where can we find the “truth”?…….”

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/

    Delighted to answer your query Joe !

  • andnowwhat

    Joe, I heard a debate last week and they said that Assange could not be prosecuted (in the American legal system) due to the Pentagon Papers judgement.

    Would that be right?

  • Alias

    Given what the leaks reveal about Obama, the Nobel prize should be taken back from him and given to Assange instead.

  • Mark

    When do they stop being wikileaks and start becoming wikiopinions ? Some are specific and leave no wriggle room however the expression ” now you’re putting words in my mouth ” comes to mind when reading some . Was’nt Martin McGuinness supposed to have written a memo ” we need your help bringing this to an end ” when in fact it was someone else’s opinion / wishful thinking etc . Granted re Anne’s post some cables are indisputable , but there is a little bit too much ” oh your man said this or your woman said that ” . This could lead to the ” cables ‘ being massaged / manipulated . Just listening to leaks about Madeline McCann so ……… Everyone has an angle !

  • Alias

    Yes, Mark, Wikileaks reveals something embarrassing about the Shinners and organised crime and therefore Wikileaks must be destroyed…

  • Mark

    Check the other blog .

  • Mark

    In your haste to get stuck in Alias , you only read what you wanted to read and so kind of proved my point a little bit .

  • joeCanuck

    andnowwhat,

    I don’t know but they must not be able to prosecute right now seeing that they are talking about a new law. The First Amendment to their Constitution is very powerful in protecting free speech. Different for the guy who hacked the information. I think they will have no difficulty convicting him of something, maybe many things.

  • andnowwhat

    Yeah Joe, that’s the point. Assange did not steal the information himself, like the guys that had the Pentagon Papers and thus, I think the gist was, Assange cannot be prosecuted under the first

    BTW, I like this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjzCdef3xEY&feature=related

    Nice to know it ain’t all Sarah Palin over there

  • Mark

    JoeC,

    Yeah your right Joe . As soon as all this came to a head , you thought ” oh this guy is fucke! , Rape charge / stat rape charge immediately came to mind . They won’t stopped until he is stopped .

  • Munsterview

    On the subject of leaks, this was given on IrishCentral.com recently from the Nixon Tapes transcription. He had an equal go at the Irish, Jews and Blacks.

    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Richard-Nixon-shows-scorn-for-the-Irish-in-new-recordings-and-papers-111747014.html

    Abstract……..

    During a different recording he names several top Jewish advisers. These included Henry Kissinger, a legendary national security adviser. Nixon argues that they feel the need to compensate.

    He said “What it is, is it’s the insecurity … It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”

    Some of the documents reveal that Nixon was concerned about his Jewish staff. He the documents he orders that all Jewish-Americans be excluded from work in the Middle East.

    In notes taken by chief of staff HR Haldeman in 1971 Nixon said, “Get K. out of the play … No Jew can handle the Israeli thing.”

    In another recording Nixon and Kissinger both made it clear that they would not help Jews to escape persecution in the Soviet Union or immigrate to America.

    Kissinger said, “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy … And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

    Nixon responded, “I know … We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

    “……And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern…..”

    To think that this is how one politically powerful and influential Jew viewed his vulnerable contemporaries elsewhere in the world, is absolutely frightning to think that a mentality such as this could exist in the light of the WW2 gas chambers, genocide and all that entailed !

  • Munsterview

    Off Thread but too bloody good not to pass on. Just had this send to me fron a Limerick University Law Dep contact.

    * * * * *
    It is examination time for the students and I thought you might want to show them that you are supportive of their efforts by taking a test of your own.

    This test only has one question, but it’s a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest. Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.

    =============================================== THE SITUATION

    You are in Ireland, Dublin to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by very heavy snow and freezing temperatures. You are photo journalist working for a major newspaper, and
    you’re caught in the middle of the turmoil. You’re trying to shoot career-making photos.There are cars crashing and people sliding around you, some taking very heavy falls and sustaining very serious injuries. Nature is showing all of its destructive power but you are powerless to help all of them.

    =============================================== THE TEST

    Suddenly you see two men is serious danger. They are trapped in a crashed car unable to open the doors and with no implements to smash a window. A driver-less cement-mixing truck is slowly sliding downhill towards the car. You move closer. Somehow the men look familiar. You suddenly realize who they are. It’s Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan. At the same time you notice that the truck appears to have gathered speed and will almost certainly crush the car and its passengers unless they are freed. You have two options– you can save the lives of the two Brians, or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the deaths of two of the world’s economic wizards.

    =============================================== THE QUESTION

    Here’s the question, and please give an honest answer…….
    Would you select high contrast colour film, or would you go with the classic
    simplicity of black and white?

  • RepublicanStones

    Joe, I heard a debate last week and they said that Assange could not be prosecuted (in the American legal system) due to the Pentagon Papers judgement.

    andknowwhat – Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon papers) discusses the possible implications of an Assange conviction here with Keith Olbermann, highlighting how the US may try and turn the Espionage Act into an Official Secrets Act.

  • andnowwhat

  • pinni

    The Financial Times has an interesting angle on the positive effects that these releases have had on the credibility of American diplomacy.

  • Brian

    “Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?”-Ron Paul (Republican Congressman)

  • Greenflag

    MV,

    ‘To think that this is how one politically powerful and influential Jew viewed his vulnerable contemporaries elsewhere in the world, is absolutely frightning to think that a mentality such as this could exist in the light of the WW2 gas chambers, genocide and all that entailed !’

    On the other hand MV has the thought not struck you that it was because of a mentality like that i.e Kissinger’s and others like him that you and I and the rest of humanity still exist and nuclear armageddon has been averted . The fact that Kissinger would in extremis sacrifice his own co-religionists rather than have the entire world destroyed is fortunately not a decision he ever had to take .

    Of course Nixon had some Irish ancestry and his wife was a Patricia Ryan and that might explain

    “The Irish have certain – for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”

    IIRC the non real Irish including tricky dicky also got very mean when they drank and it might even have led to that CREEP behaviour and his ultimate demise .

    But we should give the man credit for opening up China and providing the USA with it’s present day lender of last resort – that trillion dollars of Treasury Bills held by the Chinese . And not to forget all those affordable Chinese products without which most Americans would have nothing to give to their friends and family at Christmas 🙁

    In the end Tricky Dicky ended up as an incoherent alcoholic as some of the tapes revealed . Shure you can’t blame him -It was the jews and the irish and the blacks that drove him to it eh poor man 😉

    Still history will judge that he achieved more for his country than the last incumbent ?

    Ironically the USA’s most popular presidents are Kennedy and Reagan with Nixon a long way behind . He cudda shudda done better if it was’nt for the dhrink 🙂

  • Greenflag

    As for Kissinger willing to sacrifice his co religionists in Russia -the Russians were actually more worried about the French than the British or the Americans .

    When General De Gaulle told the Russians that France would launch it’s nuclear weapons at the Soviet Union not when Russian tanks crossed the French border but when they crossed the East German border into the West -they believed him . And they were right to believe him . And its as well they did .

  • Brian

    Yes, the mighty French stood up to the Soviets. Otherwise they would have invaded!

    HA

  • pinni

    That’s hilarious, Greenflag!

    I can just see the Russians trembling at the thought of French bravery. 😉

    Considering the fact that French hasn’t won a war in almost 150 years, here are a few observations on the French ‘threat’:

    “I would rather have a German division in front of me
    than a French one behind me.”
    ~ General George S. Patton

    “Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.”
    ~ Norman Schwartzkopf

    “As far as I’m concerned, war always means failure”
    ~ Jacques Chirac, President of France

    “As far as France is concerned … you’re right.”
    ~ Rush Limbaugh

    “The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.”
    ~ Regis Philbin

    Next time there’s a war in Europe …
    the loser has to keep France.

    ***

    Q: What do you call a group of 100,000 Frenchman with their hands in the air?

    A: The French army, of course.”

    Q: How many French men does it take to defend Paris?

    A: Nobody knows as no French man has ever tried.

    Q: How can you recognize a French veteran?

    A: Sunburned armpits.

    Q: Did you hear about the old French rifles for sale on Ebay?

    A: ‘Never been fired, dropped only once.’

    Q: The French have just ordered a new national flag.

    A: It’s a white cross on a white background

    ***

    JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

    Rusk responded: “Does that include those who are buried here?”

    DeGaulle did not respond.

    ***

    A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.

    At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.

    He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’

    Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, ‘Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.’

  • wee buns

    Four more on-message, but oh-so-smooth, flack & hacks for the Security State would be hard to imagine. Lake seemed to let his tongue run in front of his brain when reeling off the talking points from the crib sheet when he spoke of the “the Taliban ..Assaris ..in the Iranian war”. Then the boiler plate script about “endangering lives of brave Afghan agents and jnformers”. Such types are usually known as ‘collaborators’ – natives who aid & assists invaders.
    The rest was typical rabble-soothing waffle, of the nothing-to-see-here-move-along variety.