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Pentagon Seeking Out Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-a-few-words dept.

Censorship 628

clustro writes "The Pentagon is desperately seeking the 'cooperation' of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in order to stop him from releasing over 250,000 pages of confidential foreign policy documents. The documents were allegedly provided to Assange by Bradley Manning, the same solider who leaked a video showing a US Army helicopter killing unarmed civilians and international press correspondents."

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We promise we won't hurt you. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546554)

Could you just provide us your GPS co-ordinates? Thanks!

Re:We promise we won't hurt you. (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546836)

Could you just provide us your GPS co-ordinates? Thanks!

Better not do that. They are uncomfortably close to mine.

Re:We promise we won't hurt you. (5, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546930)

The Wired article http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/state-department-anxious/ [wired.com] provides a little more detail.

The things that stood out to me:

According to the Daily Beast, Manning apparently had “special access to cables prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders.” The cables date back several years and traversed interagency computer networks that are available to the Army. They contain information about U.S. diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones, the diplomat said.

In chats with Lamo that Wired.com has examined, Manning said he had access to two classified networks from two separate secured laptops: SIPRnet, the Secret-level network used by the Department of Defense and the State Department, and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System which serves both agencies at the Top Secret/SCI level. The networks, he said, were both “air-gapped” from unclassified networks, but the environment at the base made it easy to smuggle data out. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he wrote. “No one suspected a thing and, odds are, they never will.” “listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history,” he added later. ”Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counterintelligence, inattentive signal analysis a perfect storm.” Regarding the State Department cables specifically, Manning told Lamo, “State dept fucked itself. Placed volumes and volumes of information in a single spot, with no security.”

Manning described personal issues that got him into trouble with his superiors and left him socially isolated. He said he had been demoted after he punched a colleague in the face during an argument, and was reassigned to a job in a supply office pending early discharge. He also told Lamo, “I’m restricted to SIPR now, because of the discharge proceedings.”

But in his chats with Lamo, Manning told the ex-hacker that all traces of evidence had been deleted from his work computers as part of the troop-withdrawal procedures that have started in Iraq. “I had two computers. One connected to SIPRnet the other to JWICS,” he wrote. “They’ve been zero-filled. Because of the pullout, evidence was destroyed by the system itself.” He also told Lamo that network security monitoring and logging was ineffective or nonexistent. “There’s god-awful accountability of IP addresses,” he wrote. “The network was upgraded, and patched up so many times, and systems would go down, logs would be lost. And when moved or upgraded, hard drives were zeroed. It’s impossible to trace much on these field networks."

Re:We promise we won't hurt you. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547104)

Could you just provide us your GPS co-ordinates? Thanks!

No, I only give those to "soliders".

As they should be. (-1, Troll)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546558)

Aside from the fact that the Army had no reason whatever [mypetjawa.mu.nu] to believe that the "unarmed civilians" featured in "Collateral Murder" were "unarmed", and the fact that he skipped out on a planned appearance at a panel today in Las Vegas, NV [nicar.org] ...

In free and democratic societies, an individual deciding on his or her own to leak classified information is a subversion of that very democratic process. In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

When an individual, on his or her own, decides that some secret information should be leaked -- no matter the reason -- they subvert that process. It is nowhere near akin to leaking sensitive information from totalitarian or repressive regimes, or even from corporate entities.

Some might assert that information is overclassified, or classified such as to hide wrongdoing or illegal or questionably behavior. Fine, but:

1. You don't get to make that determination yourself. However...

2. ...if you do, this kind of decision is a moral/ethical one which must necessarily be tempered with consequences. I.e., if, in a free and democratic society, you really believe that a piece of classified information should be released, and you're going to unilaterally decide to do release it because of your own personal beliefs or convictions, you should be willing to pay your society's consequences for it.

People leak to WikiLeaks because they believe (mostly accurately) that there will be no consequences (unless they stupidly out themselves, as Manning did). This creates an unhealthy environment for any kind of legitimately protected or sensitive information -- indeed, the rule of law -- in a democratic society.

Your own personal view on whether something should or shouldn't be classified is irrelevant. There are well-known and established processes that govern classification.

Just about the only thing WikiLeaks believes should be protected from leaking is negative information about WikiLeaks itself [fas.org] .

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [guardian.co.uk]

I hope for intelligent responses to this post that actually acknowledge the need for some information to be protected, and for processes to protect that information, of which the government is the steward. Or, for any reasonable alternative other than any and all information should always be able to be indiscriminately leaked without fear of reprisal.

Re:As they should be. (5, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546594)

Good thing he's not a United States citizen then, or else he might be violating his social contract.

Re:As they should be. (5, Funny)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546614)

Yup. Now he's an enemy combatant. Now about those GPS coordinates...

Re:As they should be. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546610)

I might be defending the leaker, but in this case he leaked the videos under a false guise. The videos didn't show "murder". If they had, I would still be undecided. However, he found some videos which might prove his point, but in reality the guys they shot at had a rocket launcher. There will always be collateral damage in war, and that is all he showed us. He has indeed committed treason to the tenth degree.

Re:As they should be. (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546648)

He has indeed committed treason to the tenth degree.

Leaking a video and foreign policy documents does not constitute "treason."

Re:As they should be. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546712)

treason (plural treasons)
noun
Definition:
1. betrayal of country: a violation of the allegiance owed by somebody to his or her own country, e.g. by aiding an enemy.
2. treachery: betrayal or disloyalty
3. act of betrayal: an act of betrayal or disloyalty

Re:As they should be. (5, Informative)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546768)

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. Constitution > Webster

Re:As they should be. (0, Offtopic)

number11 (129686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546880)

treason (plural treasons)
noun
Definition:
1. betrayal of country: a violation of the allegiance owed by somebody to his or her own country, e.g. by aiding an enemy.
2. treachery: betrayal or disloyalty
3. act of betrayal: an act of betrayal or disloyalty.

First, his country is not the US. Therefore:
Second, he isn't disloyal to it, because he owes it no loyalty; and
Third, doesn't apply either.

OTOH, those of us who are citizens of the US, we find his info very interesting and relevant to what politicians we might support in the future.

Re:As they should be. (0, Redundant)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547088)

First, his country is not the US.

Leaker: Bradley Manning
Occupation: U.S. soldier
Citizenship: U.S.

Re:As they should be. (1, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546730)

    Nope, that sounds more like the definition of spying. Giving the intelligence to the enemy, or to the general public doesn't matter. For all we know, he's been trading valuable information, and publishing embarrassing information. I don't honestly believe that, but I'm sure if he "cooperates", it will be used at his trial, assuming he gets one. Otherwise, we'll hear about a tragic boating accident in which he didn't make it. You have to watch the buildup of gas fumes in the engine compartment, a boat can just explode without any notice.

   

Re:As they should be. (4, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546850)

You're kidding right? Explosions are flashy, they get a lot of attention and everybody sees it. The last thing that a group interested in keeping their activities under wraps would want is for everybody to start looking at them because a critic just turned into a fireball.

Poisonings, "muggings gone wrong", character assassinations, etc. are all much more subtle ways to go about silencing a nuisance. They want a resolution where they can, reasonably, act just as surprised as everyone else. I'd be much more suspicious if he died of a sudden heart attack, or was murdered by an apparent Islamic terrorist than if he went out in a blaze of improbability.

Re:As they should be. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546740)

Did you bother watching the video?! THe guy did NOT have a ROCKET LAUNCHER. It was a god damn camera with super long lens. (I am not trying to be funny, that's what really happened)

Re:As they should be. (4, Insightful)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546612)

You don't get to make that determination yourself

Why the hell not? What, can only "experts" determine that? Funny how the experts are always government paid.

Re:As they should be. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546688)

in response to your sig: It's entirely possible that we live in a democracy. We just won't live in a republic. Democracies are a tyranny of the mob which is why the founders deliberately did not create one.

Re:As they should be. (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547024)

Direct Democracy is rule of mob. Saying plain ol' Democracy is a rule of mob is like saying a Parallelogram is a four sided figure with all equal sides. We live in a Representational Democracy, roughly speaking a Republic and Democracy where representatives are determined by the people.

Re:As they should be. (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546734)

All he is saying is that if you do release confidential data based on your personal determination that it is a moral thing to do, you should not be guaranteed to not suffer any consequences. What if the Pentagon is telling the truth and releasing these documents would cause "serious damage to national security" and people die as a result of your decision?

Re:As they should be. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546738)

Because we the people delegated those decisions to the government "experts". Ain't that a bitch?

Re:As they should be. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546616)

Do you really enjoy sucking the cock of the Almighty State that much ?

I knew there were obsequious worshipers of tyranny, but you, sir, take it to a whole new level.

Re:As they should be. (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546644)

Yes, I believe they have the man responsible: Bradley Manning. I expect he is totally screwed for the rest of his life.

Are you trying to claim that the people he gave the information to, who NEVER ASKED HIM FOR IT, should also be screwed? If so, what if he happened to have emailed the info to you?

Re:As they should be. (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546660)

Are you trying to claim that the people he gave the information to, who NEVER ASKED HIM FOR IT, should also be screwed?

No, if you'll read my post, I didn't claim that, but...

If so, what if he happened to have emailed the info to you? ...

Oh, I don't knpw...let me think: I probably wouldn't post it to the internet and protect the identity of the person who emailed it to me at all costs.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546990)

"I probably wouldn't post it to the internet and protect the identity of the person who emailed it to me at all costs."

Good thing you don't run Wikileaks then. Pandering to the agenda of authority would seem to be a little ad odds with it's goals.

Re:As they should be. (1)

mikes.song (830361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547120)

Well, he's screwed, unless his info shows major corruption. If his info is solid, his captors may be screwed.

Re:As they should be. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546666)

Maybe one day, you will catch a stray bullet in a war zone. Maybe, one you didn't deserve. Maybe you'll change your mind about all this crap you wrote up based on essentially theory and idealism with hints of fascism.

Until then, shut the fuck up.

Re:As they should be. (1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546672)

You, sir, are a troll. If you had a clearance you'd know that the info is either banal or humiliating to the U.S.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546720)

Ya, definitely a troll. Who is mod'ing GP up ? Cheney, you there ? ;)

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546692)

sure, I'll agree to that as long as any government official who uses that excuse to hide their dirty laundry automatically loses his right to life should any citizen wish to take it from him. there's so much corrupt dirt in the system now that I have NO trust that they are stewards of anything but their own lust for power.

Re:As they should be. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546696)

The US Government and military have shown repeatedly they cannot be trusted. This is after all about a war based on lies in which untold numbers of people have died and suffered greatly. So fuck you and your social contract.

Re:As they should be. (5, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546714)

Ever hear of the Pentagon Papers?
Classification is supposed to be used to protect the American people, not protect criminals in office, or protect certain classes' privileges, or protect certain corporations' contracts, or to DECEIVE the American public.

If you are privy to misuse of the law in such a way or of such abuses, it's the patriotic and moral thing to do to expose them.

We don't know (yet) what this information is, but breaking the law is sometimes justified if the law is unjust or is being used to protect uinjust actions.

The person taking such action, choosing to break a law they see as wrong faces the consequences knowingly. History will judge whether they were right or wrong.

And in general we should be uncomfortable with the idea of our government deciding that we don;t have a right to know what its doing - pretty much goes against the ideas behind the founding of this country and is abhorrent to anyone not having an authoritarian mindset.

Somehow I'm sure our country and citizens will manage to survive the release of this information that the government feels it must protect us from.

Re:As they should be. (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546722)


Your own personal view on whether something should or shouldn't be classified is irrelevant. There are well-known and established processes that govern classification.

I don't know where you live, but I still live in a democracy. So while my opinion on what should/shouldn't be classified might not be the definitive one, an important one, or even a good one.. it's always a relevant one. You presumably live in a dictatorship, so I can see how you might have a different opinion on it. Of course, your opinion on everything is irrelevant, since you live in a dictatorship.

Re:As they should be. NO RIGHTS ARE INALIENABLE (2, Insightful)

eee_eff (1254240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546724)

No this is not true, and the attitude is deeply troubling. Because society is FREE and there are certain INALIENABLE RIGHTS. Please look up the meaning of inalienable if you don't understand it. Some of those are contained in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Re:As they should be. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546726)

I really hope this is a troll. If so, kudos - it is very well done.

If not, I weep that there are actually people who think this way. It is instructive to understand this kind of mindset. If the democratic will says it's ok, then it must be ok. Countless atrocities committed in the name of the majority have occurred on the basis of this mode of thinking. The Holocaust comes to mind.

I think I'm going to be sick.

Re:As they should be. (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547076)

There should always be the right to disent. Even the right to disent from the right to disent (so long as they stay a tiny minority).

There's a different point of view (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546760)

According to the Wikipedia (and consistent with the media reports):

Manning reportedly said that the diplomatic documents expose "almost criminal political back dealings" and that they explain "how the first world exploits the third, in detail"

Probably this is the same sort of thing that U.S. Marine Major General Smedley Darlington Butler [wikipedia.org] recognized about the military and political black-ops in the early twentieth century. What's new is old.

It's also interesting that Bradley Manning wasn't given an award for pointing out corruption in government, seeing as how congress enacted whistle-blower protection [wikipedia.org] for people who expose corruption in government.

Seems like the military wants to have it's cake and eat it too. Too bad for Manning and the military.

From the article:

Although it is likely that WikiLeaks has broken US laws in de-encrypting the video from Baghdad and publishing secret documents, the tone of an American official who spoke to the Daily Beast sounded more desperate than threatening. "We'd like to know where he is; we'd like his cooperation in this," the official said.

I'm certain that if they get their hands on Lassange, that they would quickly arrest him. There is nothing more threatening to government security than publicity about government corruption.

If in fact the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military (Barrik Obama) is indeed not Right Wing like so many Republicans claim (they say he is a "socialist" and a "liberal") then Obama would make sure that Bradley Manning is given a Presidential Pardon and that any embarrassing and illegal conduct conducted by the military and diplomatic core be brought out into the public (through his proclaimed government "transparency" initiative) and any unethical or illegal acts be punished accordingly.

Somehow I'm thinking that isn't going to happen, because Obama is just a different shade of neoconservative than his predecessor. My two cents anyway. Moderate with moderation!

Re:There's a different point of view (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547020)

I don't know if they'd quickly arrest him. What if he had some arrangement by which the cables are released to the public if he is taken into custody? It's quite possible they would arrest him, because once in custody it's still pretty stupid to have your people release something, but it's possible. If they're that concerned about those cables getting out, there's a good chance they would think twice.

Re:As they should be. (5, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546770)

In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

Really, did _you_ vote on it, will your vote be reaffirmed every generation or so to ensure its still what the people want ?

Perhaps you should have said, a previous generation let the powers that be keep secrets from everyone, and now we cant get them to give up their power.

Re:As they should be. (0)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547022)

In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

Really, did _you_ vote on it, will your vote be reaffirmed every generation or so to ensure its still what the people want ?


No, but it is self evident that this is so to any human being with a brain. Ok, what do you think? Would you vote to make the names and locations of our spies abroad public? How about nuclear weapon designs? Post them on the Internet? Military communication encryption codes, nuclear launch codes, military plans, diplomatic strategy etc etc. Of course the government's power to keep secrets from the people can be and has been abused but the idea that there should be no secrets at all is ridiculous.

Re:As they should be. (0)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547074)

Why would that go over diplomatic channels, which are probably already tapped by several countries? Wouldn't that go over some separate line of communication, or at least with some other kind of encryption?

Maybe I'm thinking too much about the image of actual physical cables, but certainly espionage doesn't use the same communication channel as diplomacy. That's just asking for disaster.

Re:As they should be. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546778)

A free and democratic society does not keep secrets. You mean something less than free and something less than democratic.

Also, the website in question is not a party to the agreements that make information "classified". They are, of course, not obliged to respect those agreements.

If we have a free press, then the information about government wrongdoing can, of course, be published without fear of reprisal. Why would you suggest anything less?

Why do you always reveal a pro-business, information can be criminalized bias in all your postings? What government projects do you work on?

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546786)

rule of law is only just when it actually reflects the will of the people. it doesn't. it reflects the will of those at the top of the pyramid. you conveniently switch contexts from paper to reality and back again to make your argument seem sound, but that's not how things happen. what's on paper is irrelevant. Corrupt people do not deserve respect of their 'rules of law.' That's why wikileaks exists.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546788)

>In free and democratic societies, an individual deciding on his or her own to leak classified information is a subversion of that very democratic process. In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

Your whole argument is stupid. You assume we live in some perfect democracy where the will of the citizens decide the fate of the country. Nevermind the misinformation, the propaganda, and the lies of the former administration that illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to the American population which has resulted in over 1 trillion dollars in tax payer money. How again does this government represent the will of the people? When was I asked to vote on which information was to be released to the public?

They should release everything they can. I don't understand how such a stupid argument could be modded +5. You must live in some sort of magic America where every person has equal political power to decide the fate of the country. This government does not serve the will of its citizens. It spews propaganda and misinformation to make people support actions which go against their real interests. The voting process is a joke to create the illusion of political power for retards like you.

Re:As they should be. (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546812)

People leak to WikiLeaks because they believe (mostly accurately) that there will be no consequences (unless they stupidly out themselves, as Manning did). This creates an unhealthy environment for any kind of legitimately protected or sensitive information -- indeed, the rule of law -- in a democratic society.

Isn't that the exact point of wikileaks : to make it possible to leak information the world should be aware of , without risk for the whistleblowers.
You could say some information should be kept secret ( like military strategies , etc ... ) , but if they can be leaked , they will be leaked , and the chances are it's going to be leaked not to the general public , but to someone with less then good intentions.

At least , when it gets leaked to wikileaks , the whole world knows about it , and so the goverment has no choice but to change there plans , and making them more leak-proof , which means it also becomes more difficult for those with bad intentions to get the information.

Re:As they should be. (1)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546816)

This guy is more intelligent than most of the other replies have given him credit. If every ounce of military information were publicly available, we would not be able to have covert or clandestine military operations. Our enemies would know every move we make. Obviously, the "Collateral Murder" video wasn't some tactical plan, but my point is this: Someone, somewhere, has to make the decision about what should and should not be given out to the world. As the OP pointed out, anyone who decides to release that information must be prepared to suffer the consequences, good or bad. If Manning thought he could just get away with releasing the video and go on with his life, he was wrong.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546818)

In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

When an individual, on his or her own, decides that some secret information should be leaked -- no matter the reason --

...as is bound to happen eventually - then we will finally see that they are keeping secrets for the right reasons, no?

Re:As they should be. (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546826)

Aside from the fact that the Army had no reason whatever to believe that the "unarmed civilians" featured in "Collateral Murder" were "unarmed", and the fact that he skipped out on a planned appearance at a panel today in Las Vegas, NV...

So you would have made the same call? You saw the video I assume otherwise you wouldn't be talking about it. You saw how casually they were walking about considering a helicopter was circling above... Way to make hollow excuses for a lack of insight on the part of one soldier.

Re:As they should be. (1, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547090)

I saw the video and it is tragic and disturbing, but that is simply saying that war itself is tragic and disturbing, which is something people should realize without needing a video. Whether this particular soldier made the right call or not is meaningless because you cannot expect thousands of soldiers in thousands of situations like that to make the right call every time. Things like this are unavoidable, they have happened in every war so far and will continue to happen. Btw, if I was standing next to a guy with an RPG and US helicopters were circling above I wouldn't be casually walking about.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32547118)

So you would have made the same call? You saw the video I assume otherwise you wouldn't be talking about it. You saw how casually they were walking about considering a helicopter was circling above... Way to make hollow excuses for a lack of insight on the part of one soldier.

You have a funny definition of "above". Way to make hollow excuses for the lack of knowledge regarding the powerful and sophisticated optical targeting systems of a modern weapons platform on the part of a group of insurgents.

Maybe if they had been aware of how far away their opponents could see and could bring the pain from they would have been a little more cautious.

Re:As they should be. (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546840)

That depends on the information, not on opinion, not even yours...

Re:As they should be. (0)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546856)

Thank you, sincerely, for having linked to the site with additional scrutiny of that video. Having seen that video I too was pretty upset and I can imagine how this guy might have felt after viewing it if he hadn't had benefit of the additional scrutiny that was obviously done after the fact during the investigation. I think this is a pretty good example of why he shouldn't have been so quick to leak this material. He saw the video, he got angry, he leaked it, but the rest of the story was that it may very well have been a justified shooting. Without benefit of the additional scrutiny he thought he was justified perhaps. If indeed, as that page asserts, Wikileaks had information that proved the men were armed and failed to mention it then it casts a shadow over them as well!

I agree with much of what you say about folks leaking things deemed "secret". Some information truly should be closely held and embarrassing comments about other world leaders that were supposed to be kept in closed channels are probably a good example! Undermining the system as you assert is a bad thing. However people should question their Govt. and shouldn't be dissuaded from doing so. Certainly the camps in Germany gassing Jews were deemed "secret" so rigidly following along without pause isn't something I'd argue is a good thing. This guy however sounds like he didn't put quite as much thought into this as he should have and was perhaps personally motivated more than he was morally motivated despite his claims otherwise. He should indeed pay the consequences and he could perhaps have found a less biased outlet...

Re:As they should be. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546874)

The main issue is, there is indeed SOME need for SOME info to be classified, mainly for national security reason. Once that need is established, people start stretching it. Care to explain to me why/how that specific video should be kept classified/secret ?

Second, I'm starting to have doubts about how free and democratic some societies are. What's the yardstick ?

the world of spooks and secrets (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546890)

is incredibly difficult to maintain and always prone to exposure

i'm not arguing against your words on moral grounds, i'm arguing agains them on the grounds of feasibility

if you play the game that is security through secrecy, then you must recognize that part of that game is break-ins. you have declared your allegiance to a world where there are attackers constantly trying to penetrate walls and safeguards. and there are always moles, and double agents, and disenchanted guards looking for a quick buck

so it is a brittle world, one which could pop at any moment, and yet its legitimacy rests on guards and keys. so when, not if, the guards and keys are penetrated, part of your legitimacy is destroyed. its a game you can only lose

if you are eternally vigilant, then maybe this is the world for you. but more likely you are human, and fallible, and secrets will get out, as they are wont to do. its a world that can never be maintained for very long. it is an unstable world

all castles eventually fall. sometimes, they fall merely for being castles, being targets, giving your enemy something to focus its energies on

Re:As they should be. (4, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546908)

In the US, we have collectively decided, as a society, that some information should be kept secret, even from The People, and we have empowered and entrusted the government with the power to do so.

Yes. And Hitler was elected in democratic elections as well. (I know, I know, Godwin's Law) Just because we voted on it doesn't mean it's always the best case. We generally aren't informed on what exactly we're voting on. In this specific example, we're voting on who gets to keep things secret. Which means by definition we _can't_ know what exactly we're deciding. This is exactly _why_ we need people to leak things.
There's the famous saying about preferring that a thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished for a crime he did not commit. I consider this to be quite similar. I'd rather have a thousand national secrets leaked than have that one thing covered up. Just because it's not the next Holocaust doesn't mean it isn't something that needs to be released. Not enough people leaked what was happening in Nazi Germany until it was too late, likely because they were afraid of the consequences. The more tools to lessen the consequences, the better.

Re:As they should be. (3, Insightful)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546918)

You've got that backwards. Who watches the watchmen? I see what you did there.

You've played this little switch to make it look like WikiLeaks is the custodian, the watchman...but your own logic proves otherwise. You even say that this is Pentagon information, that some secrets should be kept secret and that by just living in the US, we've agreed to that contract.

Wrong, sir. Simply wrong. I'm going to bypass most of what you said because it's simple double-speak. You frame this in a way that is cowardly. Unarmed civilians, collateral murder...both within quotes as if to say that killing unarmed people is okay, that it is a justification. I'm not going to wade into the situation of the battle, but I posit to you that we can and should do better.

The government makes mistakes and we have seen too many times that it tries to cover them up rather than owning up to them. As a country we should strive for that higher ideal. Then perhaps the need for secrets, especially of a botched military operation where civilians died, doesn't need to become a state secret.

Re:As they should be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546968)

I fully support Julian.

Re:As they should be. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32547082)

What the hell dream world do you live in?

"the Army had no reason whatever [mypetjawa.mu.nu] to believe that the "unarmed civilians" featured in "Collateral Murder" were "unarmed""
Common people carry guns in Iraq. Not just pistols either, but assault rifles. I've read in many places that AK-47s are common. Simply carrying one does not make one an "insurgent" http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/12/earlier-this-we/

"the fact that he skipped out on a planned appearance at a panel today in Las Vegas, NV"
WTF would that prove?

"In free and democratic societies, an individual deciding on his or her own to leak classified information is a subversion of that very democratic process. "
Where did you pull this line, Glenn Beck? The democratic process depends on an educated society and a free media so that citizens can make educated decisions. Despotic societies depend on secrets and uneducated citizens. Not to mention the people in charge of the video were not elected.

"if you do, this kind of decision is a moral/ethical one which must necessarily be tempered with consequences. I.e., if, in a free and democratic society, you really believe that a piece of classified information should be released, and you're going to unilaterally decide to do release it because of your own personal beliefs or convictions, you should be willing to pay your society's consequences for it."
If everyone thought the way you do, we'd still have slavery, women wouldn't be able to vote, and any killer with connections would walk free.

Re:As they should be. (2, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547124)

I hope for intelligent responses to this post that actually acknowledge the need for some information to be protected, and for processes to protect that information, of which the government is the steward. Or, for any reasonable alternative other than any and all information should always be able to be indiscriminately leaked without fear of reprisal.

Well, I agree that some information needs to be protected.

In my opinion, most of the governments in the world use their control over information to the great detriment of their citizenry. They do this on purpose, with malice and forethought. I presume that most people who are in charge of making this happen rationalize it with thinking that they're somehow serving the greater good. In point of fact, they aren't. I can't state that emphatically enough. They are not serving any greater good, no matter what kind of excuses they think they have.

Information about the activities of our government that should be secret should basically only be information that would pretty directly result in someone getting killed if it was public knowledge. Strategic plans, detailed specifications for key military equipment, identities of spies, that sort of thing. Also, in some cases, I would also accept that diplomatic negotiations should be kept secret for some relatively short period of time in order to avoid jeopardizing said negotiations.

Too often used is the excuse that information should be kept secret because it would give our enemies ammunition to discredit us. If that's the case, the information discredits us whether or not its secret. All you are doing by keeping it secret is fostering a false sense of self-righteousness in the populace, one that is ultimately incredibly dangerous and inimical to democracy.

So far Wikileaks discretion and judgement in these matters has been impeccable. Sure, you might think the video depicting the helicopter shooting up civilians is biased for any number of reasons. But those reasons should be up for public debate, not hidden behind a decision to make some piece of information secret. Nobody would be able to argue that the army couldn't have known the civilians were unarmed if the video weren't out there to argue about.

Obama (-1, Troll)

dayalsoap (1826166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546560)

Obama himself has threatened to arrest the wikileaker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM59bbp0Wsw [youtube.com] When are people going to realize that the differences between Republicans and Democrats exist only in rhetoric? They don't give a SHIT about civil liberties and freedoms.

Re:Obama (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546638)

It's really cute that our government "leaks" this FUD campaign because they don't have the balls to admit through diplomacy that they do indeed have a problem with sucking the dicks of the Arabian and Jewish lobbyists.

Re:Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546938)

True believers can watch it here without flash http://tinyogg.com/watch/9c0qF/ [tinyogg.com]

I didn't expect Obama would do much but still I'm very disappointed...

Re:Obama (2, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546948)

Obama himself has threatened to arrest the wikileaker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM59bbp0Wsw [youtube.com]

I watched your video: Obama does NOT threaten to arrest the wikileaker in the video. If that isn't what you meant to imply you should make it more clear.

Just to be clear, I am an Obama supporter, but I also disagree with some of the things that he does. But let's have a debate that is focused on the facts and reasoned opinion, not innuendo.

Re:Obama (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546976)


When are people going to realize that the differences between Republicans and Democrats exist only in rhetoric?

When are people such as yourself going to realize that assuming that if neither party doesn't agree with a certain view, that doesn't mean they're "both the same". Have you REALLY not being paying that much attention?

If the rather large differences between the two parties aren't what you care about, fine. But don't ignore the differences just because you don't care about them.

Obama has manhunting squads (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547040)

He also signed an order for an extra-judicial killing of an American citizen, ignored when an American citizen was killed and is making the greatest changes [newsweek.com] to arresting, prosecuting and punishing government whistleblowers since the cold war. Obama has also kept the manhunting squads (warning PDF) [socom.mil] created by Vice Pres Cheney [rawstory.com] running at full steam. These are the same sort of people who pulled off that assassination in Dubai, but will likely be far more competent.

Re:Obama (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547044)

dayalsoap, are you sure you provided the correct link? Because I just spent the time to watch it, and Obama doesn't make any such threats.

MOD PARENT WRONG (4, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547092)

I watched the whole video. It doesn't mention wikileaks, the wikileaks founder, or anything surrounding this case at all. The video is about an entirely different leak (of which almost no details are given), and Obama doesn't even threaten to arrest that guy.

Frist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546562)

Frist post! :)
oh, and this guy is screwed....

They know not what they seek! (5, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546564)

Good luck finding "Julian" as if such a man would have parted ways with his real name. He is a master of 27 languages and knows the local customs as if he recited them as his daily prayers. This is a man who possesses a near chameleon like instinct and can instantly blend into the background anywhere. Only further surpassing his ability to sink into the inky blackness are the hundreds of contacts he has made from here to hoover damn. Hell, even the rocks and streams seem to offer the man comfort if so much as he breathes a heavy sigh.

I can only laugh when the Pentagon says they want to find "Julian." Just considering the sheer number of hells they'll need to climb down to find the darkest demon who might be able to guess what "Julian" had for lunch just makes me chuckle.

Either that or the Pentagon can just send him an email.

Re:They know not what they seek! (5, Funny)

clustro (1811836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546596)

Oh come on.

You know he got lost once in his own museum.

Re:They know not what they seek! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546634)

I wish I could mod the both of you up.

Re:They know not what they seek! (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546676)

That was the scene I was thinking of too.

Re:They know not what they seek! (4, Funny)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546598)

Good luck finding "Julian" as if such a man would have parted ways with his real name.

Obviously, he is The Most Interesting Man in the World, and only drinks Dos Equis... Or something.

Re:They know not what they seek! (2, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546686)

Julian says to the Pentagon, "Stay thirsty my friends."

Re:They know not what they seek! (4, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546700)

He reportedly will seek asylum in Kenya or Iceland [youtube.com] if he is worried he might need protection. Iceland currently has some of the most liberal laws regarding whistleblowers and offers significant protection to them like many of the other Scandinavian countries. You know how we always portray the Minnesotans as honest nice folk, well this is where they get it from.

Re:They know not what they seek! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546942)

But Iceland is short of money and the US wouldn't miss the cost of bailing them out.

Re:They know not what they seek! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546958)

OTOH, an assassination in those countries will go relatively unnoticed by Americans, while in the US would raise truly massive outcry. Amazing the double standard we live in.

Re:They know not what they seek! (5, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546736)

Don't worry -for the next few years we'll be hearing that Julian's "#3 Lieutenant" has been killed or arrested - over and over and over.

Re:They know not what they seek! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546882)

I beg to differ. The guy looks like Malfoy from Harry Potter. Even if you didn't know who he was, you'd recognize him for having such a douchey looking hair-cut.

Cooperation? (1)

newtown1100 (1415771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546566)

How does the Pentagon define cooperation again? Oh wait-willingness to be arrested and tortured, never would've thought!

Re:Cooperation? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546808)

The ability to wash gov issued news packets as objective reporting.

One step at a time (1)

JustinFreid (1723716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546572)

If the Pentagon couldn't prevent the leak of the documents, what makes them think they can track down Assange.

Re:One step at a time (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547060)

If the Pentagon couldn't prevent the leak of the documents, what makes them think they can track down Assange.

I bet they know exactly where he is at all times. They get all the data on passenger lists for aircraft now, with passport numbers. Even for flights which have no US connection they likely get a feed as an anti terrorist thing.

If the US charges him then they can have him arrested if he returns to Melbourne. Even if he avoids the US and places with extradition treaties with the US he will be at risk of turning up in one of those places by "accident".

Say for example they can arrest him in the Philippines, so he doesn't go there but he does go somewhere close to there. All it takes is a runway blocked by a vehicle for a flight to be diverted.

Love the guardian (1, Interesting)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546628)

Julian Assange is painted as a real life Jason Bourne; not so much. I hope, if Julian has these papers, he can get them released. The world of secrets is so yesterday, and the Pentagon/NatSecure pretending this is a security issue would be a joke if they hadn't murdered so many people already. Does the Pentagon really think it is a secret that they are woefully foolish, bigoted, and misanthropic? Really, what else do these contain when `all the presidents men' are willing to roll over on active spies for vindictiveness.

Rock on Julian; forcing what these lunatics say and think into the public sphere is a service to all, and will help change the world for the better.

Re:Love the guardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546782)

-1 naivety?

Re:Love the guardian (5, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546866)

Depends whats in the docs.
Another 5000 name death list as used in 1965 Indonesia?
The names crossed off as killed or captured?
Direct color revolution support, not washed by pro democracy foundations?
Black sights in countries where people where promised never again?
Enough for this generations Daniel Ellsberg?
or a huge list of faith based contractors doing very bad things on endless sole source contracts?

Re:Love the guardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32547050)

Bourne (film) didn't out the CIA with intent. That was more of an accident. A means for securing revenge at the opportune moment.

Zero similarity on any imagined scale.

In Soviet America (5, Funny)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546652)

In Soviet America, leaks plug you.

This started over 12 hours ago (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546670)

This is amazing that this has taken Slashdot all day to report on the #1 story on most Tech sites and the #2-3 story on most non-tech sites. Is there a reason political stories are never posted by Soulskill on Slashdot? I'm looking over what he has posted and I can't find any. You would of had at least 1000 comments by now, but you are now posting this at 10 pm PST which means that not a lot of people are going to see this. If you want more info look at my signature, that was my 3rd attempt at getting this posted on Slashdot today. It includes 4-5 links unlike the lead.

Re:This started over 12 hours ago (3, Interesting)

LoneHighway (1625681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546746)

Yes, I submitted this story 8 hours ago and it was ignored.

Re:This started over 12 hours ago (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546758)

Is there a reason political stories are never posted by Soulskill on Slashdot? I'm looking over what he has posted and I can't find any.

I love the guy all the more. Fire all other editors, I say.

Soulskill should work at Gizmodo not Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32546992)

He posts crap about MMORPGs and trivial tech baubles on Gizmodo all the time and than randomly posts science stories from arXiv that are so over his head and most of Slashdot they only receive 50-60 posts, mostly humorous. If I wanted to read about fanboy crap I would visit those sites and if I want to read arXiv I will go back to grad school. Slashdot which is supposed to be a bit above the bleating fray, has joined it. Soulskill is riding the shark this site is jumping.

Re:This started over 12 hours ago (2, Insightful)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547000)

12 hours? I'm amazed it was even that quick

Give him a Nobel Prize (5, Insightful)

chrisale (621995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546934)

I don't generally post on Slashdot... but couldn't resist. Post them. Now. Please. No doubt it'll hurt US relations with who-knows-who... but the truth is always the best way to create the best change. One day, this man should be nominated, and win, a Nobel Peace Prize.

Re:Give him a Nobel Prize (4, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547012)

I agree 100%

What are we afraid of? our own actions? Well then we certainly shouldn't be hiding them. We should be rethinking them.. but first we must know the truth.

Release it all.

The government has screwed over our own people for many years now. Time for a little pay back.

Re:Give him a Nobel Prize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32547058)

The government's apparent choice to be very public about pursuing this guy suddenly made this information seem much more interesting than it previously had been. Now I actually want to know what was in those diplomatic exchanges, etc.

The only reason I can think (besides abject incompetence) for the government to be going about this this way is to use it as an excuse for a more restrictive law to keep the people from seeing the information of its government in the future.

Secrecy is not a good thing for the people of a country. The people cannot act as a check on what the government is doing (by voting or otherwise) without this knowledge.

Wikileaks doesn't possess these documents (3, Interesting)

mentil (1748130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546940)

according to WikiLeaks' twitter feed [twitter.com] : "Allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect."
Would Wikileaks have a reason to lie and withhold these messages, if the US govt. has the capability to find out if Manning sent them to Wikileaks? Maybe he leaked them, but to someone else, and it was simply assumed to have been to Wikileaks?

Re:Wikileaks doesn't possess these documents (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32547116)

They are defending themselves with not reveling the exact nominal figure of the documents they have. They may not have 260,000 documents but they might have 200,000 or 20,000, really any are sufficient so far as they show the arrogance going on behind closed doors at the US State Department. The way the US runs roughshod over any foreign policy decision if it conflicts with our own, well except Israel.

This guy Manning (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32546986)

From TFA:

Manning, 22 [...] As an intelligence specialist in the US army, Manning

I fail to see how a 22 year old guy can be an "Intelligence specialist".

(and get off my lawn BTW).

I guess he is now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32547094)

Americas Most Wanted.

Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhh.....

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