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Obama Wants Allies To Go After WikiLeaks

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the they're-gonna-need-a-blimp dept.

Privacy 1088

krou writes "Coming on the back of human rights groups criticizing WikiLeaks, American officials are saying that the Obama administration is pressuring allies such as Australia, Britain, and Germany to open criminal investigations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and to try limit his ability to travel. 'It's not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking. It's UK troops, it's German troops, it's Australian troops — all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan,' said one American diplomatic official, who added that other governments should 'review whether the actions of WikiLeaks could constitute crimes under their own national-security laws.'"

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1088 comments

How does (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216266)

How does a little egg on the Governments face = endangering troops? Seems to me sending them to Afghanistan and Iraq puts them in more danger than anything wikileaks could ever publish.

Re:How does (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216314)

endangering troops

They mean endangering their ability to lie effectively.

Lying for what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216648)

Let's not beat around the bush. What they REALLY mean is that wikileaks is threatening their justification for spending. Spending is what makes the business of government incredibly lucrative for the elite few, not lying. Lying is merely a means to more spending.

The defense industry is worth billions of dollars per year, and the vast majority of that cash comes from government. The more money passing through the hands of the elite at the top, the better their position to exploit that flow of cash for personal gain.

Am I saying that money is the primary motivator of war, and the underlying objective of defense spending? You're damn right I am.

Re:Lying for what? (0, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216690)

Money aka power is the prime motivator of war?

Tell us something we don't know sherlock.

Re: How does (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216332)

How does a little egg on the Governments face = endangering troops? Seems to me sending them to Afghanistan and Iraq puts them in more danger than anything wikileaks could ever publish.

Because it's actually about the egg. The troops are just an excuse.

Re:How does (4, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216354)

I don't think the leaked Afghanistan war documents are a 'little egg'. It's clear proof that the war is lost and there is no hope for winning. This whole fuss about the leaked documents are a diversion for other serious issue the current administration failed with: BP, the economy, watered down regulations, broken campaign promisses, etc ...

Re:How does (5, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216426)

It is really sad. I want to like Obama, I really do but he and his administration/party make it so damn hard. While he is undoubtedly better than the Cheney/Bush administration, I strongly dislike how he is continuing the exact same types of policies in regards to 'national security' so that it legitimizes the horrendous evils that the previous administration engaged in rather than marking them out as significant abberations in the United States moral code.

Re:How does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216532)

While he is undoubtedly better than the Cheney/Bush administration

In what way?

Re:How does (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216692)

Well, since you ask, here's some off the top of my head - there are lots more...:

Obama vs Bush:
  • Can string a sentence together without making up words or stumbling over words with more than one syllable.
  • Has not prematurely announced 'mission accomplished' when the mission is barely started.
  • Actually seems to give a shit about health-care for other-than-the-rich.

Obama vs Cheny:

  • Thus far at least, he hasn't shot anyone in the face, and then had the victim apologise (!)
  • Doesn't, to my knowledge, keep a man-sized safe in his office. Always been curious about the 'man-sized' thing...
  • Doesn't support the indefinite holding of suspects without charge in internment camps. One measure of a society is how you treat undesirables, and Guantanamo bay is an indelible stain on the Bush/Cheney years.

Simon.

Re:How does (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216598)

I'm with you. I want to like Obama too. I'm not convinced that he is to blame. I am more inclined to believe that there are limits to what he can do in the face of extremely powerful opposition. I think that it wasn't until he assumed office that reality smacked him in the face. There are faceless and nameless people in power. There have been a good number of interesting journalistic works investigating these people. One of them is Dick Cheney's lawyer, for example. Wish I could remember his name. And there are countless other unknowns as well I am sure.

I hoped that Obama was the new JFK. JFK was an ambitious leader who wanted to make great things happen. And the more he did, the more upset certain parties became. We know what happened to him. Obama is wise to choose his battles carefully.

I want huge change. Obama won't deliver it. I doubt anyone can at this stage.

Re:How does (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216614)

While he is undoubtedly better than the Cheney/Bush administration,

Really?
So having Gitmo just as bad as it was is "better" than before?

Having more MafiAA-friendly policies than the Bush regime is "better" than before?

Gutting the part of the Justice Department that prosecutes abuse of law concerning monopolistic business practices, in order to ratchet up frivolous "civil rights" prosecutions, is "better" than before?

Ramping-up of "targeted killings" by the Obama administration is "better" than before?

Having a "state secrets" policy that treats FOIA requests like toilet paper and lets political staff vet them is "better" than before?

Doing nothing when North Korea runs missile tests is "better" than before?

Wasting money suing states that try to get a handle on the illegal alien problem, while simultaneously refusing to prosecute sanctuary cities (despite the fact that it is against federal law - 8 U.S. Code, sections 1324 and 1325; Immigration and Naturalization Act sections 274 and 275, Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)) - that's somehow "better" than before?

I'd hate to see what you think would qualify as worse!

I'd hate to see what you think qualifies as worse than before. Really.

Re:How does (3, Interesting)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216744)

So having Gitmo just as bad as it was is "better" than before?

Well, no NEW Gitmos have opened; and no NEW pointless, unwinnable wars have been started; and no NEW states secrets policy is more stringent than anything that came before. So yeah, I'd say this is marginally better. Not good, but standing in place is preferable to constantly stepping backward.

Also, North Korea did their missile testing repeatedly before and we did nothing then, too. What exactly would you have us do? Yet another trillion-dollar war we can't win?

Re:How does (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216760)

I don't think the leaked Afghanistan war documents are a 'little egg'. It's clear proof that the war is lost and there is no hope for winning. This whole fuss about the leaked documents are a diversion for other serious issue the current administration failed with: BP, the economy, watered down regulations, broken campaign promisses, etc ...

I think another /. poster said it best when admitting we just have had terrible timing with our presidents lately. Obama would have done everything to save those people in New Orleans after Katrina. And Bush would have done everything to save that oil swirling around in the gulf after New Horizons.

But hey, you know, if Obama was competent, we would never have found out about any of this! I didn't think I would have said this after Bush/Cheney, maybe we need more incompetents as HMFIC (at least as far as gov't transparency goes :P )

Re:How does (5, Informative)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216364)

From TFA:

"The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians who have cooperated with NATO forces; the Taliban has threatened to hunt down the civilians named in the documents, a threat that human-rights organizations say WikiLeaks should take seriously."

Maybe not troops, but civilians were apparently endangered.

Re:How does (1, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216510)

Since when do talibans rely on wikileaks to tell them who to kill publicly to send a message to the rest of the population?

Re:How does (4, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216574)

Well, you see, The Taliban kills when they have "reason" to - and they just gave them more reasons. (I'm pro-leak.)

Re:How does (4, Informative)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216576)

Since the names started showing up on Wikileaks.

Re:How does (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216600)

At least since now.

Re:How does (5, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216516)

Gotta love the wording...

"The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians (emphasis mine)

In other words, "I didn't actually check it myself but I gotta write this piece so I'll just go with whatever sounds the worst"

Re:How does (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216400)

While not necessarily directly harmful to the Allied forces, the leaks include the names of informants and those sympathetic to Allied forces.

Re:How does (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216472)

There's the problem with transparency in the military. If anything embarrassing happens, they can just claim that it's sensitive information and refuse to tell us what happened, and there's nothing anyone can do.

Re:How does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216528)

Not really, there is oversight by the military, and if that fails, by congress.

Re:How does (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216586)

How does a little egg on the Governments face = endangering troops?

While I don't agree with this sort of logic, here's the way the military thinks about the Wikileaks papers:
1. If the public hears about how stupid, ineffective, and immoral the war is via Wikileaks (or any other source), the public will stop supporting the war.
2. If the public stops supporting the war, Congress and the President will eventually stop supporting the war.
3. If politicians stop supporting the war, the President will have to order the troops to retreat.
4. If President orders the troops to retreat, they'll be demoralized, which will make them fight less effectively.

Of course, a reasonably smart person might notice that the real story here is that stupid, ineffective, and immoral wars end in a democracy.

Re:How does (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216706)

Or:

revealing the names of sources for military intelligence, and/or how the intelligence was acquired (as has been proven, knowing the "how" quickly leads to a very small list of "who" possibilities), will get undercover agents or informers killed by the enemy.

Re:How does (5, Insightful)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216666)

By revealing strategic/tactical information?
By naming afghan civilians who cooperate with NATO troops?

Abuses need to be reported. Fine. Just outing information for the sole purpose of outing information is plain stupid.

Re:How does (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216778)

I don't think the actual content leaked is a big deal. Sure we know that Civilians are getting killed and all putting numbers kinda hinders our Propaganda work, But the information really isn't big deal... However the fact that they have names of the people who did what how and when. Does make it hazardious to the troops. Say someone is reported to have killed some civilians (not murdered, but have killed and most likely feels really bad about it too.) now that his name is known, and his general location at the time it could leave for family/group vendettas against that particular person making that attack more likely as even if the family is non-raticalized against the army will still may be hostile towards the person. Or his platoon enters a town now they will be marked as being a possible Rouge Platoon who they shouldn't help.

The fact that the information has a higher then reported civian death rate is just egg on the face, the fact that it also reported who did it puts the toops in danger.

Just a thought (0)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216270)

Perhaps leaking everything you can get your hands on it's always the best thing to do. Just a thought.

Re:Just a thought (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216660)

Perhaps leaking everything you can get your hands on it's always the best thing to do. Just a thought.

Transparency can suck. It can have serious repercussions.

It is still better than secrecy.

Re:Just a thought (2, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216790)

In some cases, it is not. Consider police informants.

Re:Just a thought (5, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216718)

This is my thought too. I think it's a good thing to have a venue where evidence of wrongdoing can be leaked. For example, I didn't have an issue when they leaked the video of the Baghdad strike that killed the Reuters journalist and other unarmed civilians. The military was trying to cover it up, and the video showed evidence of possible wrongdoing. But they shouldn't leak something just because they can. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for the military to keep much of their information classified.

Too bad he doesn't show as much zeal (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216288)

for bringing our own war criminals to justice.

Re:Too bad he doesn't show as much zeal (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216452)

They're not war crimes until the perpetrator looses. Until then, all's fair in love and war.

/Nasty business that first amendment. Thank god it doesn't exist elsewhere.

Would you care to point out who? (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216780)

Also make sure to say what war crime they committed as per 18USC2441. Then please provide evidence of said crime to at least the standard of a reasonable cause to believe (what is normally required for a grand jury indictment).

If you are talking about the helicopter video then no, sorry. While there were civilian casualties, that is not illegal. War is not pleasant and the rules of war are very different from normal civilian law.

So if you really believe there are people who need to be indicted, then let's here specifics. If you are just grandstanding and/or talking without understanding what a war crime really is, then please stuff it.

And just who are these "officials"? (2, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216292)

The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.

And later, this:

“It’s amazing how Assange has overplayed his hand,” a Defense Department official marveled. “Now, he’s alienating the sort of people who you’d normally think would be his biggest supporters.”

Wow, who is being alienated? Who are these damn people making these claims, and why isn't The Daily Beast bothering to identify them? Cowards, the lot of 'em.

Re: And just who are these "officials"? (5, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216368)

Wow, who is being alienated?

There has been quite an outcry from various humanitarian organizations who think the documents were not redacted well enough to hide the identities of civilians who may now become targets of reprisals.

Re: And just who are these "officials"? (4, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216544)

I find myself torn on the subject. While the Taliban was undoubtedly a terrible organisation that harmed the nation of Afganistan I don't believe that we have the right to unilateraly invade and 'make' them change. After all I imagine that during WWII that the Germans would have been extremely upset if records of their collaberators were released but we laud the French freedom fighters for discovering and executing them. The only difference in this case is that our side is the 'good' guys in this one.

Re: And just who are these "officials"? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216696)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bent_Faurschou-Hviid [wikipedia.org]
" one of the most active liquidators for the Danish resistance movement during World War II, and according to several of his colleagues in Holger Danske, no other resistance member was as hated or sought by the Germans as was Faurschou-Hviid"
In 1951, Faurschou-Hviid was presented, posthumously, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Harry Truman

Re:And just who are these "officials"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216558)

Pay attention. It was on slashdot yesterday. It's even mentioned on the second page of the article (which you clearly didn't read) linked in the summary.

You Know You've Made the Big Time (4, Funny)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216296)

You know you've made the big time when the Big O goes after ya through diplomatic channels. :p

Re:You Know You've Made the Big Time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216322)

It's nothing personal. He just doesn't like freedom of speech when it's about him in some way. Nobody really does, though.

Re:You Know You've Made the Big Time (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216506)

What? There's no mention of Oprah.

Re:You Know You've Made the Big Time (2, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216620)

What does this have to do with giant robots?

Good, get the pencil neck (1, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216326)

He blew any attempt at real credibility by sensationalizing "collateral murder." Exposing the Afghanistan documents has done very little in telling the public something we didn't already know (everyone was well aware that there have been civilian casualties). Ironically, all he really did was expose a bunch of innocent civilians as US informants, who are now likely to be beaten, tortured, and murdered (along with their families) by the warlords they had outed. How noble of you, you egotistical twat.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216412)

This exactly sums up my own feelings about it. Julian Assange is doing it to fan his own ego. Any rational person can watch an interview with him and realize that he's completely ego-driven. He doesn't care one bit about the Afghan civilians he's put in danger just so long as he can get his name mentioned. It's disgusting.

I think there's a need for a site *like* WikiLeaks, but it needs to be run anonymously to keep the media-chasing ego clowns out of the equation.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216482)

Im starting to think , there is professional trolling behind those posts.

Slashdot has always had many different oppinions and POV's...Yet as soon as the US goverment "officially" spoke against Wikileaks there has been an increasing number of obtuse and retarded "think of the troops" posts claiming assange is a jerk...

I know several boards who are regularly troled for commercial interests but... wtf this is slashdot.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216592)

The issue is less "information should be free" and more "this just signed some people's death warrants" with some of the posted information. Civilians whom, probably under the assurance of anonymity and safety, gave the US information. Now, someone leaked their names, Wikileaks posted it, and those same civilians are now in the cross hairs. Of course, we'll arm chair philosophize about the ethics, reasoning, logic, etc, about this whole thing, because men won't come in the night to kill us and our families as a result of some jackass claiming we told someone something.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (1, Troll)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216672)

First of all, I never once said "Think of the troops." It would be more accurately paraphrased as "Think of the innocent civilians you have outed."

Secondly, someone with an opinion that doesn't subscribe to your conspiracy theory is not a troll, although it is a convenient straw man when confronted with reason and logic.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216716)

Im starting to think , there is professional trolling behind those posts.

Slashdot has always had many different oppinions and POV's...Yet as soon as the US goverment "officially" spoke against Wikileaks there has been an increasing number of obtuse and retarded "think of the troops" posts claiming assange is a jerk...

I know several boards who are regularly troled for commercial interests but... wtf this is slashdot.

Yeah! You're agreeing with the government?!?!? You stupid right-leaning republican twat, how dare you!!! This is Slashdot!!!!!

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216524)

So, if there's nothing new in this information, then why the concern? It's about the scope, not the empirical information.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216538)

Saying Wikileaks didn't tell us anything we didn't already know is like saying Bob Woodward didn't tell us anything we didn't already know with the Watergate story. Sure, we all know that politicians are often corrupt and do shady things. Exposing it with evidence, facts and witnesses is of great value in order to bring about justice and change.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216748)

So, are you saying that having the actual names and locations is of actual value? What "justice" is going to be brought. None. These are casualties of war and having actual numbers and locations changes very little, except now more innocents are in danger, will be less willing to act as informants in the future, and the war will drag on even longer. Do the ends justify the means? Absolutely not. Julian Assange deserves what the families of the people he has outed will ultimately endure.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216644)

Quite frankly, that rant is recursive.

Read your accusations semantically, and you'll see that you're everything you're accusing Assange about.

But one tiny difference.

Assange delivered a whole pile of solid materiel to process independently, while you just....rant.

You're indulging in shooting the messenger while is a well-known cop out of the guilty who don't want to know the consequences of their actions.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216654)

Credibility?

He doest fucking need credibility.He's(and wikileaks) the messenger not the author.

Got leaked information.

Asked the original source( not the leaker) for help in redacting out sensible information.

Got told to fuck off.

Published the information with whatever redeacting they could do themselves.

Can you blame wikileaks for displaying(quite often) embarrasing information about powerfull entities? Hell Yes.

Can you blame wikileaks for whatever you learn through that information, spoecially since they refused to hel redacting it? Fucking Not.

Stop shooting the messenger.

Re:Good, get the pencil neck (2, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216668)

I don't think that he 'sensationalized' the "Collateral Murder" video as it did a pretty good job of that on its own.

Are the innocent civilians that got gunned down by laughing Americans from a helicopter gunship somehow deserving of death? It is tragic that there could be risks to informants that helped the US but to claim that they are innocent is a stretch. They choose to provide information to an invading army knowing that there were risks of being discovered by nationalist fighters. To me at least that is profoundly less innocent that the victims of Predator bombings whose only 'crime' was to go to a family members wedding.

What about the US? (4, Insightful)

warpmoon (654097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216328)

What about investigations into the crimes that US troops (among others) and people higher up in the chain of command have conducted?
Why do they never get put on trial and punished?

Naive to think that they ever will be perhaps, but still...

so much for transparency (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216330)

This administration has proved time & time again that transparency is, at best, inconvenient. Tyranny is their preferred path.

I love it (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216334)

"These documents that this website released endanger the lives of men and women around the globe. THESE DOCUMENTS. THESE DOCUMENTS RIGHT HERE."

If you don't want people to know about what's in the documents, stop fucking talking about them.

Re:I love it (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216642)

Just because we're not talking about it doesn't mean someone out there isn't actively looking for them. All they have to do is read them to find out their contents, regardless if we chat about it or not. The only people who will take notice of them due to news coverage are likely people who don't actually care about their contents anyway.

Re:I love it (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216684)

Barbara [wikipedia.org] , is that you?

It's not even limited to "troops" (2, Insightful)

ITBurnout (1845712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216342)

"It's not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking. It's U.K. troops, it's German troops, it's Australian troops—all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan."

It's not limited to just troops. I'm sure that the Taliban greatly appreciated suddenly having a comprehensive list of the names of hundreds of Afghan civilian informants.

Re:It's not even limited to "troops" (2, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216580)

Well we all know the Taliban really enjoyed killing anyone who was against them. Their favorite method in the past was public executions by gunfire in the 'ol soccer grounds. These days it's taking them into the bushes and filling their bodies full of bullets and dumping them out on the road. And if you're female, and "rise above your station" you can get anything from acid in the face, and your fingers/hands cut off along with other forms of mutilation to being killed.

Yeah, women learning. Nothing good comes from it.

Re:It's not even limited to "troops" (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216634)

Yeah. The whole "Coalition of the Willing" is in danger of falling apart at this point. Are we still calling it that?

(BTW, I know it's an Iraq reference, not Afghanistan, but I like saying it...)

Re:It's not even limited to "troops" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216704)

Step 1: Leak the name and location of an informant.
Step 2: Oh no! Terrorist attack!
Step 3: Surprise! Informant was actually an entire squad of heavily armed Marines!
Step 4: Go back to step 1

Every step of the way our military has refused to upgrade its practices to deal with the realities of modern guerrilla warfare. This leak would be an excellent opportunity to clean up some of the taliban rabble, but it's easier to whine about it than it is to set up ambushes to kill the terrorists even though we've been given a list of addresses they're going to show up at. Enjoy another 20 years of trying to "gain ground" with trench warfare where the ground you're gaining is every bit as hostile as the ground you're leaving behind you.

Typical bully tactic (4, Insightful)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216348)

The US is just doing what it does best: being a bully.

National Secret vs National Embarassment (4, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216378)

They would get a lot more support for this sort of action if the leaked documents were legitimately classified due to national secrets rather than just because they are embarassing. Revealing that the US government has been lying to its citizens and the world about what is happening in Afganistan and Iraq is certainly something they wouldn't want but keeping the electorate in the dark prevents them from providing direction to the country by electing officials to serve its aims

Re:National Secret vs National Embarassment (0)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216550)

Revealing that the US government has been lying to its citizens and the world about what is happening in Afganistan and Iraq is certainly something they wouldn't want but keeping the electorate in the dark prevents them from providing direction to the country by electing officials to serve its aims

Unfortunately for you and WikiLeaks, there were no new revelations in the documents.

  • Karzai and his brother are corrupt? Reported in the media years ago.
  • The ISI in Pakistan supports the Taliban? Reported in the media before we invaded.
  • The war not going well? You'd have to be a complete moron to think it was going well.
  • Civilians die in war? Known since the stone age.

So, what, exactly, was supposedly covered up by the government?

While many people want to turn this into a noble crusade against evil government, unfortunately all Julian's done here it to get a few hundred informants tortured and killed, and greatly reduced the ability to recruit new informants.

Infoquake... (3, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216380)

Anyone read the Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman? This garbage sounds like a page right out of those books... The govt needs to keep their mouths shut and their hands off before they end up looking even stupider than they already do. Information wants to be free. If wikileaks dies, it's not like something else won't come up to replace it.

Re:Infoquake... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216424)

Anyone read the Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman?

Thanks for the mention! I've never heard of it, but I know what I'm buying on my nook when I get home!

Really? (5, Insightful)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216404)

“It’s amazing how Assange has overplayed his hand,” a Defense Department official marveled. “Now, he’s alienating the sort of people who you’d normally think would be his biggest supporters.”

You know, you could replace Assange's name in this quote with Obama's and it would read equally true. Trying to drag us Europeans in as allies to support what looks like a war on exposed government cover-ups will not do wonders for how the US government is perceived over here.

The danger came from the Pentagon's lax security. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216410)

The guy runs a web site. The USA have become control freaks. The troops were not put in danger by wikileaks they were put in danger by the Pentagon's lax security.

How about that... (3, Insightful)

maugle (1369813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216432)

Gosh, it's as if our government doesn't appreciate it when people leak videos of our soldiers murdering civilians! You'd think they'd be grateful, since it gives them a more accurate understanding of why the civilians there are turning to extremism.

Stenographic reporting of anonymous sources (5, Interesting)

CedarPlank (873652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216458)

I'll do the Glenn Greenwald thing and point out the pathetic "stenographic reporting". When you anonymously quote a political body supporting itself as news, you are a tool of that political body. Here are the sources cited in the article:

American officials say
Officials tell The Daily Beast
American officials confirmed last month
Now, the officials say,
an American diplomatic official
a Defense Department official marveled.
American officials say.
An American military official tells The Daily Beast

Re:Stenographic reporting of anonymous sources (4, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216726)

Anonymous sourcing. All the benefits and none of the responsibility.

Is it any wonder that government officials demand it for any and all discussion since 'reporters' are unwilling to have a backbone and refuse it when there is no justification.

How to convince allies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216462)

1) Label Assange a terrorist
2) Insist that those who don't help are also terrorists
3) Continue Misleading the world
4) Profit

Not a problem (1)

danhaas (891773) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216478)

Come to Brazil!

if you keep it in your knickers, it won't embarass (2, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216480)

and if the government can't keep its secrets, don't blame the folks who find them on the street. 95% of that stuff has already been in the papers, after all, within a year of its happening. the issue is level-1 security, the folks who have access. in the US, prior cases have established that if the press gets facts, they can print.

Hurray! Let's get this Clown out of Business (0, Troll)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216484)

His self righteous brainless disclosure of classified information that was stolen needs to be stopped. He is not some great hero for posting Classified Information. That material was deemed Classified by an American Government that was duly elected by American citizens, and anyone who thinks that Governments which are duly elected have no right to Classified Information from which they can make informed decisions and honestly record and report information to our elected decision makers is some sort of mindless Anarchist. He was not elected, he has no earthly right to be the one to expose information that he might think is worthy of being exposed. Lives have been lost, lives will be lost because of this Clown - the Taliban and Al-Queda are thanking this tool! It's a war for god's sake, people get killed in wars and sometimes the wrong people get killed in war. The United States military goes way out of it's way to keep from killing civilians even though the enemy has no problem blowing up civilians and shooting at allied soldiers while hiding behind women and children yet this Wikileaks Clown thinks our side is the problem. Should he be in charge of deciding the fates of American and Allied soldiers? Should he and some idiot brainless soldier who leaked this info be the one in charge of deciding how many other Afghan civilians get killed because their information was leaked as well? I don't think so. Put this guy in jail where he belongs.

Re:Hurray! Let's get this Clown out of Business (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216624)

PROTIP: Paragraphs and appropriate capitalisation can help you look less like Gene Ray.

So much for freedom of speech (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216488)

I know I will hear a lot of counter-arguments to this but I'm going to say it anyway.

The documents were leaked by people who are in a position of disagreement with their orders and the behavior of the military and political officials. Simply saying "I don't like it" isn't enough of a statement for anyone's needs or purposes. If they are in the know and have evidence that "bad things" are happening, presenting proof of these bad things is the only true means of expression.

The U.S. and its involvements (interference) in the affairs of other sovereign nations is simply not appreciated by the majority of the world and this is especially true more recently. If there is anything that threatens the U.S. national security more than anything else, it is the increased disapproval of the U.S. in the world. People who are intent on sharing facts and truth wouldn't be as much of a problem if the U.S. was on the straight and narrow.

The notion of "if you haven't been doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear" has been used by governments against its citizens for a very long time. But when directed against governments, we see a pretty different set of standards.

well said - maybe time for freenet again? (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216752)

This rallying cry to governments who have something to fear and something to hide means that maybe now is the time for the freenet: http://freenetproject.org/whatis.html [freenetproject.org]

I've never wanted to use it before (to donate some disk space) because I'm darn sure that it will have more hidden porn on it than politically suppressed information, but maybe, if obama's call to action is heeded, maybe I will have to establish a node or two.

German Troops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216498)

I thought they weren't allowed to form a military after WWII.

Re:German Troops (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216720)

You are thinking of Japan. Germany has an army but they are too busy wearing leather and getting busy... with each other....

I saw a uniformed General speaking on this (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216508)

Maybe a week or so ago. He simultaneously stated that there was nothing new or dangerous in the leaked documents, yet called it irresponsible for WikiLeaks for release this information. Normally, I'd take into consideration the "this will harm our intelligence assets" argument, but this has been going on for 9 years and every time we get a peek behind the curtain, we see that the public face on the war is a complete lie.

Journalism (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216530)

Wikileaks is journalism, and this is a test of the American principle of "Freedom of the Press".

Sometimes the press publishes embarrassing, inconvenient, or dangerous information.
Those are the times when society is asked, "Is the freedom to publish a core value enshrined in a special place in our society or not?"

As an American, I hope the answer continues to remain "Yes".

What Crime? (5, Interesting)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216552)

For the sake of argument, let's assume that releasing these documents was morally and/or pragmatically wrong/harmful. I'm not entirely convinced of that, but I'll cede the point for this discussion.

What actual *crime* was committed in releasing these documents, that would justify a criminal investigation, limited travel, and general harassment by the government? Certainly the person with original access to the documents committed a crime in releasing them to unauthorized persons, but once that happened, what further crimes have occurred that would justify governmental interference?

Re:What Crime? (3, Insightful)

jfredric (1724030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216740)

Treason?

Names of Afghan civilians (4, Interesting)

oreaq (817314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216554)

From TFA: "The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians who have cooperated with NATO forces". Has anyone checked if this is true? Are the names of Afghan civilians in the disclosed documents?

My! What a surprise; Shoot the messenger (5, Insightful)

Pengel the squib (300408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216582)

So when did reporting secrets become illegal Reporters do it all the time, it's their job. Half the time it's the politicians who leak the information in the first place. I really didn't see much in the stuff that everyone didn't already know or suspect anyway. Anyone remember the Pentagon Papers?

Important to note (5, Insightful)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216590)

The leaked files were in possession of Wikileaks for months. During that time they contacted the Pentagon for assistance in minimizing the damage to informants that would likely be a consequence of the leaks.

The Pentagon and US military railed against the idea of helping to mitigate the damage and condemned the notion of making this data public, and so after a few months of fruitless negotiation the entire 91,000+ files were leaked unaltered. The perception that this all happened in the space of a few days is false and not worth entertaining.

Do note that Assange has subsequently been cavalier over the notion that people could die should the Taliban employ the documents to locate them; his comments have been of the blunt 'ends justify the means' flavour. Whether a person's life is worth the US losing this amount of face over controversial events in Afghanistan is down to individual perception but my point is that this situation isn't quite as clear cut as much of the mass media depict - and this goes for those in favour Wikileaks actions as well as those against.

And if others ask (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216604)

about the freedom fighters in their backyards getting direct and indirect US aid?
Strange how this 'leak' was shown to to the US gov and given an ok.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/07/26/times_wikileaks_white_house_meeting [salon.com]
Now its crimes under other allies "national-security laws"?
Using foreign courts to shut down material published in the US is an interesting new tactic.
Why not just use foreign operatives to shut down leakers in foreign lands?
The Soviets and East Germans had some great missions to study.
Warm up the 'presidential finding' printer.

Key part of article... (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216610)

The key part of the article, of course on the second page, is the following:

"Pentagon wants to bankrupt us by refusing to assist review," he tweeted on Monday, referring to the effort by WikiLeaks to convince the Defense Department to join in reviewing the additional 15,000 documents to remove the names of Afghan civilians and others who might be placed in danger by its release. "Media won’t take responsibility. Amnesty won’t. What to do?"

Wikileaks went to the Pentagon and/or White House and asked them to assist in the redaction of sensitive things... like the names of civilians. They refused to do so thinking it would prevent the release of the documents. Instead, Wikileaks simply did a cost-benefit analysis and found that the potential danger of the Taliban acquiring the documents, sifting through them, picking out suspect names, and then targeting them was not as valuable as releasing all these documents to the public.

Now, the government is going to try to demonize Wikileaks in every possible way... not because they're endangering lives or missions, but because they are willing to unveil damaging secrets. It's the Pentagon Papers all over again. The government will lose this battle in the long run.

Then again, as the immediate effects of the leaking of the Pentagon Papers showed, the public doesn't care. Ideally, people would be marching on DC, enraged at military mismanagement and lack of direction, but, just like before, they get excited by the sensationalism and then they forget.

Lose-Lose

Funny... (0, Offtopic)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216618)

Normally you come on their backs AFTER fucking them in the ass. Leave it to the US government to do it all backwards.

More outsourcing... (4, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216650)

Why don't we outsource our War on Terror to India or China, we could pay them 1/4 for what we currently pay and they would be happy for the money. Save money and if we outsource to the Chinese we won't have to worry about the enemy not understanding we are serious.

Symptoms vs Disease (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216674)

It's not that Wikileaks is the problem, it's the leaks themselves. Silencing wikileaks (the symptom) is not the cure for the leaking (the disease). Similarly, it's like any outlet (take your pick) reporting on anything remotely embarrassing to any government being a crime against society. This kind of thing keeps our governments honest and accountable as unfortunate, "dangerous", and embarrassing as it may be...

Shrill Sociopath (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216710)

Julian Assange strikes me as being not much different to the shrill sociopaths that disrupt and upset discussion forums. I strongly suspect that holding him to account will do some good in preventing more cavalier big mouths thinking they can just fire off and profit while others get left to deal with the consequences. If he was made to pay the full audited cost of his actions how many life sentences would he be serving? How much compensation to victims would he be liable for? He may get away with it in a Western court but a lot of people out there who've been harmed by his vanity may be the bigger risk. If he has an aggrieved victim after his blood and goes begging to the very people he betrayed for protection that would be an unsurprising. Some might think it a delicious irony if he got outed by the very Wikileaks he created. The stuff of movies? Perhaps, but stranger things have happened.

Bush light? (4, Insightful)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216742)

It has been noted before, that none of the Bush administration "special powers" have been revoked yet. The same overreaching control, but since it's the good guys now, it should be okay..

So, this doesn't come as a surprise either. Similar foreign policy, not as blatantly arrogant as Bush, but not better as Clinton's. The right answer to the leaked documents would have been: "Of course the documents talk about human right abuses. That's why we have these documents. It just shows that we are investigating every claim and are really committed to justice..." Next step: work with international support (Amnesty International) to have names redacted ("in the interest of Afghan civilians" maybe). Not the dumb old "really bad if our dark secrets become public"-statement. That might work with some super-patriotic Americans but will damage any trust other countries had in the new administration.

The European reaction to American pressure tactics? Quite predictable. European politicians will complain but play along, but the public will grin even more about the American claim that they are the champion of free speech.

Not that the government wouldn't have a justified interest in keeping at least some war related documents secret for at least a period of time, but the way they are going after the leak is more damaging than the leak itself. It reminds people of past cover ups. Obama is about to loose all the good-will bonus he got after the election. His hope-slogan carried the hope that things could be done differently and not the same-old. Now it's the same old "pressure the Allies"? Well, that's how Reagan created the Green party in Germany. Maybe Obama can help the pirate party.

Hang 'em high (0, Troll)

hessian (467078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33216764)

While the prevailing hacker ethic is that "information wants to be free," that doesn't mean those acts do not have consequences.

Dead NATO troops are dead people. Dead local collaborators are dead people. People are dying and more will die because of Wikileaks.

And what was proven by Wikileaks? That all wars have dubious "reasons" except for the basic reason, which is one monkey clobbering another so that a social order stands.

It's a social fashion to oppose anything our governments do, but at least in America, these are my friends and neighbors out there fighting -- and endangered by the Wikileaks document release.

Hang 'em high for treason. Bradley Manning, at least; I don't know where Assange is from but a little time in an American prison should instill in him a healthy respect for the need to fight, or be anally subjugated.

freenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216770)

time to move the whole operation to freenet and tell the governments to go fuck themselves

then the governments have the choice of making freenet illegal and streisand effect it or crack down and expose the sham "freedom" they have been talking about all this time

Bush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33216774)

Bush?

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