Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Compiling the WikiLeaks Fallout

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the diplomacy-is-like-making-sausages dept.

Communications 833

Now that the world has had some time to process the quarter million diplomatic documents published by WikiLeaks on Sunday, the media landscape is rife with reactions, threats, and warnings. Some US lawmakers have complained loudly and at length, saying that "WikiLeaks is putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the leak "not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests, it is an attack on the international community." The Guardian points out that it's not the media's job to protect diplomats from embarrassment, and other US officials seem to agree, focusing their wrath instead on the security practices surrounding sensitive information. The Pentagon and other agencies are looking at ways to tighten security, promising increased internal auditing and banning the ability of systems containing classified information to connect to thumb drives or other removable media. Meanwhile, few officials seem to be commenting publicly on the contents of the leak, which are sure to cause diplomatic problems around the globe.

cancel ×

833 comments

Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378532)

But they sure do hate Wikileaks. What's the difference?

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Insightful)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378674)

Release of private communications among humans proves to be embarrassing and damaging. News at 11!

It doesn't matter what you're talking about, if you just mass released all the private documents and communications of any group of individuals, any organization, you're going to cause a lot of trouble, hurt, embarrassment, and potentially serious problems limiting their effectiveness when "scandal" breaks out. Everyone can find scandal in something, because most people hold higher standards to others than themselves. It's like the old If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

There's a such thing as responsible disclosure, and Wikileaks blew it. They're irresponsible. We do need to know about wrongdoing, yes. But there's a huge difference between reporting and disclosing serious wrongdoing and just throwing hundreds of thousands of documents at the world and saying here, read this! I don't know what agenda Wikileaks really has, but it's not a good one.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378758)

If you were talking about communications between private citizens I would agree, but these leaks are about our own government. This is supposed to be a representative democracy, and our government should have as few secrets as possible.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378864)

Why should a diplomat's views on the quality of leadership of another country become public info? If everything he says become public knowledge, then the diplomat has to severely censor what he is going to say. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how the public benefits from this release of information

I supported wikileaks up until now... the information they shared this time makes me think they really jumped the shark.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378914)

It's called "being political" for a reason.

We hire politicians to be upfront and honest. We don't hire them to be two faced.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378958)

It's called "being political" for a reason.

We hire politicians to be upfront and honest. We don't hire them to be two faced.

Those last two sentences do not seem to fit actual politics at all.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Insightful)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379032)

uh... is that supposed to be a joke?
Sorry but.... you may want to think you vote for the upfront and honest politician but it is the two-faced one who is best at appearing upfront and honest because he has enough money from as many sides of the same coin as possible.
We hire politicians based on thinly veiled marketing campaigns, and then they go and hire their buddies from law school. It has nothing to do with honesty.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379056)

We hire politicians to be upfront and honest. We don't hire them to be two faced.

Not everyone in government is a politician. And not everyone in these cables is American. A substantial portion of them are reporting on what other countries have to say.

And do you honestly think progress with say, Iran can be made if we all denounce Iran in public and private? Or does it make more sense for say, Saudi Arabia to say "Look guys, Iran is really dangerous and we want this problem to go away" in private to the US and to Iran at the same time? Or does it make more sense for them to downplay antagonism toward Iran in public and to Iran (since they are perceived to be a threat and it could lead to war) and speak very urgently to other nations at the same time privately about the problem? (This is a paraphrased example from the leaks - the king of Saudi Arabia actually said he wanted us to "cut off the head of the snake" with regard to Iran. Other Arabian countries were equally urgent about ending the Iranian threat. But they're not going to say so in public.)

Being two-faced is how diplomacy gets anywhere.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379074)

We hire politicians to be upfront and honest. We don't hire them to be two faced.

Huh? Whut? Diplomats have to be two faced to a certain extent. Should a diplomat tell Mugabe that he is a festering idiot who is destroying his country? Or should he be polite while keeping superiors up to date on what is going on in Zimbabwe? Should a diplomat chide Russia for how it is backing organized crime, or should he keep his ear to the ground and let superiors know what is going on.

Your "upfront and honest" policy might work in your makebelieve land, but not in reality.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379104)

We hire politicians to be upfront and honest. We don't hire them to be two faced.

Where do you find these "honest politicians"? And can we order some from there?

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379030)

If everything he says become public knowledge, then the diplomat has to severely censor what he is going to say.

Severely censoring what he says is a diplomat's JOB. It's said "a diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday, but never her age." It's also said that "a diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell and make you look forward to taking the trip." These diplomats should be more careful; it is, after all, their jobs to be careful.

If wikileaks can get this information, what makes you think foreign spies can't? The public benefits from this info by making the diplomats more careful about what they say and who they say it to.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379088)

I see your point, but I also wonder if the public has a right to see through the false smiles and disingenuous handshaking that is the norm in global relations. This facade of politeness obfuscates what is really happening in the world, and we then expect the democratic masses to form their opinions and choices... based upon a series of charades?
I have to say, that is a concept I am equally uncomfortable with.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379094)

Why should a diplomat's views on the quality of leadership of another country become public info?

Isn't that kind of their job?

Randomly speaking... I'm a Canadian...

Isn't the Canadian Ambassador in.. oh lets say France...

Isn't it his job to inform me on his views on the quality of leadership in France?

Witholding that information from me shows that some arm of the Canadian Government isn't acting on my behalf.

Now, whether the citizens of France should have access to it or not - thats a whole different story - but the debate comes down to whether you think its better that none of the public knows, or everyone knows. Me, given the way governments have operated in the past, I could use a little transparency, even if it destabilizes the global community a smidge.

If Relations with France and Canada go sour, it's not going to trigger a War.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (0, Redundant)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378920)

Beside, it seems like people on slashdot agree to these leaks when it's about China, North Korea or Russia, but when it's about US it's now wrong. For many of non-US people, it has always looked like US is the one breaking every rule under the earth to do what they want to and then apparently we should look them as "good" guys. Media does have a lot to do with that, but having double standards on issues like this is just sad.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379020)

I was also for it when they released the collateral murder video, that was a serious war crime and coverup that needed to be exposed. For the other big releases? The last one was rather meh, and this one doesn't doesn't seem to have any purpose except to harm the US based on what I have heard about it so far.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378928)

If you were talking about communications between private citizens I would agree, but these leaks are about our own government. This is supposed to be a representative democracy, and our government should have as few secrets as possible.

I agree. It also seems to clear to me that the vast majority of these cables were legitimate secrets. If you think the entire populace should be aware of all the non-critical-military/intelligence-ops of the government, then you want a direct democracy. The government in a representative democracy is there to represent our interests. We have a right to know whether it is doing so or not. A government whose every daily operation is exposed to the public spotlight will be completely ineffective in representing anyone's interests.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (3, Insightful)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378766)

Their agenda seems to be government transparency.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378842)

there can be responsible disclosure, in matters in which people HAVE responsibility. a group in an administration that grabs people worldwide, kidnaps them, tortures them, and says that they are doing this 'for freedom', deserves NO responsibility regarding disclosure of their matters.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378848)

On one hand you state the problem (someone who will read meaning into six lines of text,) and on the other you point back to the information being the problem.

Unless you think that people reading malice in those six lines of text is not the "wrong" aspect of the equation here... Do you really think that people should be able to read what they want into it?

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378930)

And who gets to cherry pick what gets released? You? Hillary? And f they where able to cherry pick how long before WikiLeaks 2-200 pop up that don't sensor based on "Somebodies" idea of what should be released? Clue Much?

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378732)

Whatever made the missile shield in Europe a good idea now?
Whatever made it o.k. for Portland police to work with the FBI acceptable now?
Whatever made keeping Guantanamo open acceptable?

I don't know, it's hard to figure out the trends or common thread.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378734)

The Pentagon Papers were published to expose wrong-doing, which is the entire point of whistle-blowing and what's supposed to be the reason Wikileaks exists in the first place. These leaks have nothing to do with whistle-blowing to protect the people from the government, but instead hurt the government's efforts to legitimately help it's people remain on good terms with allies.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378832)

The implication of your post is that a government should not be open and transparent. That its dealings can entail shady backroom secret agreements so long as the public is well-served.

Should the government's feet be held to the fire?

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (2, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379060)

That its dealings can entail shady backroom secret agreements so long as the public is well-served.

Is it possible for it to be otherwise?

These cables are the government equivalent of a little white lie. That is, you do much the same with your own internal monologue. You self-censor to be polite, and that politeness is (as Miss Manners says) the grease that keeps the gears of society turning. Nobody expects you to be "transparent" in your dealings with everybody; if you actually called every asshole an asshole, you'd be pretty busy.

Governments aren't individuals, so the analogy is not entirely apt (sorry if I'm stealing your schtick there, BadAnalogyGuy) but I think it's still illuminating. Internal decision-making processes should not be completely beyond the reach of oversight, but having complete uncensored access to every impolite or ill-phrased thought is going to make everybody cranky most of the time.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (4, Insightful)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379050)

I would imagine remaining on good terms with allies would be served well by speaking civilly and nicely about them in all communications. If you call the Prime Minister of Elbonia a power-mad idiot behind his back, you clearly don't respect him ... and diplomacy without respect sounds challenging. Similarly, if Country X's feelings are hurt because it became public that they asked us to do Mean Things to Country Y (or Z), perhaps they should have thought more heavily on that before making the request/suggestion.

I guess the overall lesson is that we (and governments) should endeavour treat others (in our actions writings, speakings, and perhaps even thoughts) in a manner which would not embarass us if done publically. If you don't want to read it on the front page of the New York Times, you are better off not saying it. Expecting mean things said secretly to stay secret is always unwise, but the lesson is even more poignant now when it's easier to publish than ever before.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (5, Informative)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378742)

This reading utterly misses the fact that the Pentagon Papers [wikipedia.org] were commissioned and released during the Johnson Administration. I very much doubt that LBJ or many Congressional Democrats at the time favored the release of those papers.

Re:Democrats loved the Pentagon Papers (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378768)

Since your fantasy world appears to be binary, I'd say the answer is either 0 or 1.

Had time? (4, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378534)

I don't really think one day is really enough time to process these documents.

Re:Had time? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378592)

Yeah, two days is more like it.

Re:Had time? (3, Insightful)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378680)

The real question is after many other countries digest the content, will there be any retaliation/action/bad stuff by the documented actors? Somehow I don't think foreign interests will give the US State Department a pass on this if it involves said interest.

I'm all for the "information wants to be free" mantra, but when it can come to a considerable cost to others, the disclosure can't wipe their hands completely of responsibility. Airing a politician's dirty laundry is one thing, but releasing documents that may have names of people that may be endangered unawares should be handled with some discretion.

I really don't like being on this side of the argument.. :-(

Re:Had time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378888)

Most of them seem to be taking it well. Iran is being whiny, but what else is new?

Re:Had time? (4, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378896)

I'm all for the "information wants to be free" mantra, but when it can come to a considerable cost to others, the disclosure can't wipe their hands completely of responsibility. Airing a politician's dirty laundry is one thing, but releasing documents that may have names of people that may be endangered unawares should be handled with some discretion.

considerable cost. like the one below ?

Clashes with Europe over human rights: American officials sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan. A senior American diplomat told a German official “that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp [nytimes.com]

excuse me, but any country, anyone, engaging in shit like the above, already pre-deserved any cost they are going to pay. people reap, what they saw. the only thing preventing the people in administration from reaping what they sow was that these were being hidden behind secrecy with 'national security' excuses.

and now, they came out, and they are saying that 'its irresponsible'. actually meaning 'inconvenient' of course, since they are those who are responsible for the filth exposed. they wouldnt like it to come out.

Re:Had time? (1)

mean pun (717227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378964)

Airing a politician's dirty laundry is one thing, but releasing documents that may have names of people that may be endangered unawares should be handled with some discretion.

Can you give any example of someone who has been endangered by this? As far as I can tell most of the leaks have been pretty tame, and only confirm what everyone more-or-less knew anyway. I'm not saying it is not possible, but thus far I haven't heard of any example that comes even close.

Re:Had time? (1)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379078)

I haven't waded my way through more than a few before I realized I was supposed to be doing actual work instead of reading, but my comment is speculative of disclosing an agent in the field, comments fingering third-parties and general collateral damage.

I also agree with the reap-what-you-sow comment above, but I'm more interested in those third parties that may be caught in the cross-fire.

Where Is The Trust Metric (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378598)

that guarantees the leaks from Wikileaks are legitimate and not some delusional writing from Sarah Palin?

Yours In A T.S.A. Airport Security Screening Line [youtube.com] ,
K. Trout

Re:Where Is The Trust Metric (2, Interesting)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378692)

that guarantees the leaks from Wikileaks are legitimate and not some delusional writing from Sarah Palin?

That is my thought as well. The best way to silence WikiLeaks is to leak tons of false data that seems right, let it make a lot of noise, then prove that it is all fake. No one will trust them again - so hearing another major leak right after the pentagon one - makes me wonder just how real is this...

-Em

Re:Where Is The Trust Metric (1)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378814)

That is my thought as well. The best way to silence WikiLeaks is to leak tons of false data that seems right, let it make a lot of noise, then prove that it is all fake. No one will trust them again - so hearing another major leak right after the pentagon one - makes me wonder just how real is this...

The NYT was in a dialogue with the State Department over the leak, and the State Department never questioned that they were genuine.

I think a much more serious problem would be someone slipping in a small number of fakes amid the 200k real cables for malicious purposes.

Re:Where Is The Trust Metric (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378794)


that guarantees the leaks from Wikileaks are legitimate and not some delusional writing from Sarah Palin?

These were done on computer, not with paper and crayon.
That's all the proof you need.

Surprising in its unsurprisingness (4, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378652)

I'm certain more details will come out as people have more time to go through these documents. But so far what I've found most surprising is how unsurprising these documents are. So the US is spying. Big fucking deal, everybody spies. This isn't news. There's no smoking gun, no festering sore of corruption that this was presented to be.

Is this really a case of 'holding the US to account for its crimes' or just malice, someone's personal agenda to get back at the big bad Americans? So far, it's looking more like the latter. I'm starting to question my former support for wikileaks.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378700)

> I'm starting to question my former support for wikileaks.

Then you're an idiot. Of the first magnitude.

This really is calling the US to account for its war crimes and crimes against humanity. With any luck, there might be evidence in these documents that will be presented at GWB's war crimes trial, hopefully ensuring his swift execution.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (2, Funny)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378762)

Yes, most of the information is uninteresting. Such as:

Comments such a description of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's head of state, as playing "Robin to (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin's Batman,"

However, there are a few juicy tidbits in there. Like the Saudi king asking the US to attack Iran.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378962)

I laughed hard this morning when I read that about both Putin and Dmitry. It's true, they do act like a set of dynamic duo alpha dogs. Real Men with testosterone weeping out of every pore. Actually, they should take it as a compliment. Still funny as shit though.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378830)

Is this really a case of 'holding the US to account for its crimes' or just malice, someone's personal agenda to get back at the big bad Americans?

It doesn't have to be about getting "back" at the "big bad Americans".

It can be about how US foreign policy actions are often against both their own laws, and treaties they've signed. Demonstrating how incompetently they're handing out palettes of US dollars is also interesting. Brilliant -- here's millions and millions of dollars we will hand out without any form of oversight, and hope it solves the problems.

You could be a patriot, and still be trying to show how the US is conducting itself in an illegal manner. Just because the intelligence community is behaving like a bunch of entitled, spoiled children who feel the rules don't apply to them doesn't mean they should be allowed to do it.

Democracy is not well served by lying to the public about what you're doing and how you're doing it. If your main reason for blustering about is the spread of "truth and democracy", don't go around subverting it every chance you get.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1)

Thruen (753567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378886)

Admittedly, this isn't news to anyone who's read even a little Chomsky or the like, but the vast majority of America is ignorant of all this because they have to go looking for the information. There isn't anything being published that we didn't already know or couldn't figure out, just like with the last set of documents about Afghanistan and Iraq, but most of the US (and much of the rest of the world, I suspect) needs to have it thrown in their faces before they'll believe it. It's sad that it takes controversy like what Wikileaks is stirring up just to get people to pay attention. I'm not saying this is the best way to change things, or that it'll work, but it's an attempt and I think the benefits to getting this information out there outweighs the cost.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1, Interesting)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378902)


I'm upset that the americans are spying on us Canadians, so much for our brotherhood. Spying on allies? Sounds like a deal breaker for me. Furthermore, the isolation, polarizing view of those in power, for example Hillary Clinton, is evident. American and Non-American? Why word it like that? I interpet that as "with us, or against us."

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1)

eht (8912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379028)

And you think Canada is not spying on the US? or that Britain is not spying on Canada and vice versa?

got a bridge to sell you

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378944)

If no documents had been leaked, we would never have known what they contained. They could have been full of evil stuff, or they could have been completely benign.

The fact that the documents contain no "festering sore of corruption" is good. Now we know.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378954)

Is this really a case of 'holding the US to account for its crimes' or just malice, someone's personal agenda to get back at the big bad Americans? So far, it's looking more like the latter. I'm starting to question my former support for wikileaks.

You've been drinking the kool aid a bit heavily. Wikileaks has been careful not to release data that could pose an immediate threat to life or safety. They've been posting things that embarrass the government and affect its public image. And you want to stop supporting them because of this? Wikileaks didn't kill a bunch of brown people in an some country with an unpronounceable name and then pretend it didn't happen. Wikileaks didn't blow away several journalists who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They weren't making comments into the mic, laughing and acting excited that they were gunning down unarmed civilians.

They just told you it happened. Which is something your government (and mine) wouldn't do, and would never do if it had the choice. And all of this has been hidden behind the cloak of "national security". National security only goes so far -- when it is used as an excuse to violate the basic social contract and principles which the government is supposed to be supporting, it is the duty of those who know about this to spread the word far and wide and bring the democratic process into play to fix such systemic problems.

Wikileaks isn't on some quest to destroy the government: It is serving the purpose of saving it from itself, before it becomes completely unaccountable to its citizens and eventually becomes destructive of its own ends.

Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379034)

``I'm certain more details will come out as people have more time to go through these documents. But so far what I've found most surprising is how unsurprising these documents are. So the US is spying. Big fucking deal, everybody spies. This isn't news.''

That's what I would think, too. So what _is_ the big deal here? Obviously, there is a big deal, otherwise governments wouldn't get so upset over it.

WL is run by the CIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378656)

At least consider the possibility.... there is evidence if you look.

http://theintelhub.com/2010/08/07/wikileaks-whistleblowers-cointelpro/ [theintelhub.com]

Re:WL is run by the CIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34379106)

OK, I consider the possibility

And now I dismiss it.

How come that people try to always give the US credit for anything remotely interesting that happens around the world? Really, any revolution, any war, any attack, literally anything is automatically something the US (shadow) government did or made possible. Like other countries, organizations and people are completely incapable of playing in that game too. Americans would rather blame their own government for anything bad that happened to them, before they admit to themselves that the US is not the all powerful country it always wanted to be.

I may have had an unusual reaction to the leaks... (5, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378682)

I don't know if this happened to many other people, but when I was reading through the leaks, I thought: It's good that my government knows all this stuff and keeps track of it. I think I've grown so used to thinking of the USA as being run by fools that it was actually a bit comforting to see that they actually do research and know stuff. Too bad that doesn't stop them acting foolishly!

Re:I may have had an unusual reaction to the leaks (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378764)

I had exactly the same reaction. It was pretty refreshing.

Re:I may have had an unusual reaction to the leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378904)

The government is the one releasing the information. Assange is almost certainly working for a US intelligence service. Google around...

But really... (4, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378690)

FTA "promising increased internal auditing and banning the ability of systems containing classified information to connect to thumb drives or other removable media"

Are the people running this network lost in the eighties, um, I mean sometime before Multix (say the early sixties)?

Wouldn't you think that internal auditing and limiting the ability to copy classified files to removable media should have been addressed decades before this leak occured?

Re:But really... (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378880)

Without the poor security we would never have got our hands on these documents. On the other hand if the government(s) were trustworthy there would not need any need for the leaks.

I should know better however I am still disappointed that the answer to this problem is to improve security instead of fixing the real issues.

Can't wait for wikileaks next target (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378694)

After the last few attempts to embarass and shame the USA, I am eagerly awaiting to see what other countries they will go after next. After all, some of the most secretive regimes in the world including China, North Korea, Iran, Russia must have some secrets that wikileaks surely must be pursuing to unveil.

If not, then it will show wikileaks to be a blatantly partisan and anti-US organization, not some self styled truth seekers.

Re:Can't wait for wikileaks next target (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378910)

Wikileaks is only a news outlet. They only publishes whatever information is passed to them.
Of course America isn't the only country commiting war crimes and diplomatic blunders, but it seems to be the most incompetent at hiding it (not that a country, represented by its government should have anything to hide from the people in the first place).
I hope Wikileaks will receive some information about other countries (in fact I hope they will get the chance to report every single crime and error commited by every single country in the world). Maybe that will teach politicians to a) do their job properly b) not everything you think should be spoken or written down and c) if something happens, admit it and not hide it from the very people you're supposed to represent.

Re:Can't wait for wikileaks next target (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379046)

The problem is not america being incompetent in hiding their crimes. It is the fact that they are committing those crimes, while CLAIMING to be fighting for 'freedom' and 'security' of people, even the entire planet.

its lying, and hypocrisy at it best. if it came out that china was killing people on the spot, noone would give much credence. because, they arent actually hiding that they are doing it.

but america was not only hiding, but also LYING about it. this is what people dont like.

Fundamental question (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378706)

Fundamental question, here: if these documents are "putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world", how the hell did Wikileaks get ahold of them? If this information is so sensitive, how is it that an upstart organization like Wikileaks managed to acquire it?

Because honestly, anything that Wikleaks knows, intelligence agencies the world over have probably known for decades.

Re:Fundamental question (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378856)

Over 100k people throughout the federal and state governments had access to these documents. You can't keep things secret when that many people know about them. I agree that any intelligence agency worth there salt had access to all of these documents a long time ago.

Re:Fundamental question (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379022)

Actually it looks as if this was part of the leak from the military person that is now in jail. He will be for a very very long time.

I love how people are absolving wikileaks of all responsibility.
Lets put this into a differn't set of terms.
An employee of a company say a network admin got access to the credit card info of a large number of people. He stole it and smuggled it out on a flash drive.
He then put up for sale and let's say Microsoft knowing that it was gotten illegally paid him for it and used it for marketing.....
We know how wikileaks got it but wikileaks didn't have to publish it.
Assage better start to really worry. He has now made some nations that are not the US very angry at him. Those nations have no problem with the idea of killing people that make them angry. And frankly since all the Wikileaks people will blame the US they will not even get a second look and wouldn't care if they did.

They shouldn't (2, Insightful)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378716)

fuck people over if they dont want trouble. Wikileaks and everyone involved in exposing the treacherous activities are heroes of the people now, nothing can stop them. The best bet for the governments involve is to admit their wrong and change their behaviour for the future. Some should perhaps even call it quits but politicians are like vermin, very hard to get rid of.

Re:They shouldn't (0, Redundant)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378988)

I hear Somalia is nice this time of the year...

Seriously though, if you don't like the people in government vote for someone else and encourage others to do the same. There are more than 2 parties.

Hear that bullshit (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378720)

"WikiLeaks is putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world."

COUNTLESS they say. countless as in, a few hundred, tops. compared to 66.000+ (official no, unofficial probably higher) dead in iraq, unknown number dead in afghanistan, unknown number lost in the hands of cia, nsa and ice. (even inside usa - http://www.thenation.com/article/americas-secret-ice-castles [thenation.com] )

and they come up with long-repeated, surefire bullshit 'putting countless lives at risk' -> vague enough too, you can never calculate how many lives lost and compare it to those who got killed while chasing a wild goose under false pretenses in afghan mountains or iraq plains.

but that's all fancy talk. what they are basically saying, bluntly and in streetspeak is :

"Let us continue doing our filth behind the veil of secrecy by biting the bait of 'risk of freedom and lives'"

.....

Re:Hear that bullshit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34379016)

Every government in the world has secrets and, believe it or not, the welfare and security of their populations depend on these secrets. In this specific case, some of the documents reveals secrets which are not directly related to Iraq, Afghanistan or the war on Terror at wall, but instead related to internal views that the US government has towards the World. Such documents out in the open will certainly cause discomfort and bring uneasiness to diplomatic countries with whom the US has had a good diplomacy so far.

I am not American but I do see the value of keeping certain opinions and point of views undisclosed. Take, for example, what the documents say about the Brazilian president-to-be, or regarding the neglectful lack of will from South American countries to demonstrate effort on pursuing terrorists in areas of South America where there has been evidences pointing towards a possible hideout for terrorists. Such opinions will most certainly shatter the already unstable relation between the USA and South American countries, not to mention the danger it will bring to American tourists visiting South America, on a personal level.

My point is, internal affairs should be, as the name says, internal. I am all in favour of publishing documents which reveal crimes of war, killing of civilians, evidences of misconduct and so forth, but such content doesn't seem to be the only one revealed in this case.

Re:Hear that bullshit (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379108)

Every government in the world has secrets and, believe it or not, the welfare and security of their populations depend on these secrets.

every government has secrets. but, few of them lie about what they are doing, and hide their filth behind an excuse of fighting for 'freedom and security of the world and its citizens'. its outright lie.

north korea kills its citizens. it doesnt pretend to be doing it for freedom. china executes journalists. it doesnt say its doing it for freedom.

they are being repressive and brutal, bluntly, and flat out. they are not LYING about it.

but here we have usa. repressing and killing people worldwide, propagating filth, and saying that it is doing those for freedom.

that is what is the problem. had they come out and said 'we want to build an empire, and we are doing these for that end', i would even have respected them, because then they would be having the balls to declare what they were doing. its brutal honesty and conviction.

but they arent. they are killing and murdering people, kidnapping and torturing them, FOR freedom. see the irony ?

I am not American but I do see the value of keeping certain opinions and point of views undisclosed.

that is what exactly allowed usa continue to kidnapping people worldwide, and torturing them overseas. that 'secret' concept. secrecy allowed them to pose themselves as being right, pursuing liberty and modern principles, while TOTALLY violating all of them.

no. nothing should be secret. nothing.

Data portability (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378724)

Having worked for several businesses that have attempted to ban the use of portable media -- it's a pointless endeavor. Anything that connects to a USB port can emulate anything else that can connect to a USB port. I have seen USB flash drives that emulate rewritable CDROMs, etc. And with just a little bit of work, you can use standard HUD devices like mice and keyboards to stream data out at very high speeds to other devices. And nevermind Firewire and it's built-in ability to directly manipulate system memory -- if the port has power, all your memory are belong to us. -_-

There is only one security measure that works in this situation: Air gap. Everything else is window dressing.

Re:Data portability (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379064)

You still require a functional network after applying all the security. Anything less than functional and people will work around the security creating other problems.

too bad nothing about UFOs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378728)

I was expecting some juicy details about diplomacy with green aliens from another galaxy, disappointed :(

Re:too bad nothing about UFOs (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379054)

Oh hell, the entire UN is like that bar scene from Star Wars as it is. Why bother stating the obvious?

Diplomatic Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378738)

I don't really see the diplomatic fallout being very significant.

Sure, lots of countries will make some noise, but those countries all have their own diplomatic corps who write the very same sort of memos. It's an embarrassment, but certainly not a surprise.

Transparency (1)

Degro (989442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378750)

I realize it could put certain individuals in harms way (hopefully any such names were redacted before the dump), but I hope Wikileaks keep this up. There's far too much secrecy going on around the world. It's all one big self-fulfilling prophecy in which nobody trusts each other and everybody is forced to keep a gun under the table. Anyone that is angry about this for nationalistic reason is a tool. Of course, these leaks could be baloney psy-ops, which is real a possibility. That's a scary scenario and in the complete opposite direction of what it's presenting itself as.

Re:Transparency (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378990)

Please tell why a diplomat's private communication to superiors about his assessment of Russia's leadership should be public knowledge? There certainly should be less secrecy, but nothing positive was served about this type of leak.

if Wikileaks can get this... (5, Insightful)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378776)

What I really have to wonder is that if essentially one guy with a website can get this much info, how much do the other nations with active espionage units manage to get?

Re:if Wikileaks can get this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378960)

Yes, this is what I am wondering myself. If the US is showing its secrets this badly, how fares the other countries and their levels of security? Is Germany, Spain, England in the same boat in terms of leaks? Are Wikileaks sitting on a trove as big as this one? Are they holding them back?

It just seems kinda weird that the US is the only one in this mire...

Re:if Wikileaks can get this... (2, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379018)

What makes you think that another country wasn't behind leaking the info to wikileaks? Do you think wikileaks has a staff that actively acquires the documents?

Incredibly, stupid. (1)

ChasmCoder (1818172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378784)

I say post them all. Air the dirty-laundry so to speak. The only thing at "stake" is the respect, career, and face of the individual who sent the original defaming document in the first place. Certainly, if the people they were speaking of find out, they'll be upset, but what good does upset do? Oh NO! Somebody called me unstable! ... oh wait... I called them the same thing last week...but let's not go there! Rock on Wikileaks! *I agree, two days should DEFINITELY be enough to process those document LOL*

Does The Guardian really "point that out"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378792)

"The Guardian points out that it's not the media's job to protect diplomats from embarrassment" - do they really 'point this out'?

Because The Guardian is generally considered a newspaper on the left side of the spectrum, the side which has produced an entire catalogue of rules and guidances regarding what the media SHOULD do. This includes 'promoting social cohesion' and not 'giving a voice' to 'right-wing elements'.

So sorry, whoever wrote that, I am not sure who gave The Guardian the power to decide that antiracism, feminism, fighting Fox News and social cohesion ARE the job of a journalist whilst avoiding the embarrassment of diplomats is anything but. I don't think they have that power actually, or should have it.

Doh (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378798)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the leak "not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests, it is an attack on the international community."

somehow it suddenly became an attack on 'international community'.

says the secretary of the country that grabbed german citizens in germany and tortured them abroad.

Clashes with Europe over human rights: American officials sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan. A senior American diplomat told a German official "that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp [nytimes.com]

if, exposing the above filth was an 'attack on international community' what the fuck was going and grabbing german citizens in germany and torturing them abroad ?

filth. nothing but filth. and if ANYone listens to their bullshit about 'risking countless lives and freedom', they will be able to perpetuate that shit. notice - freedom. freedom of grabbing people abroad and torturing, she means, probably.

"cause diplomatic problems around the globe" (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378802)

I don't like how that sounds. It is as if problems do not exist if nobody speaks of them, or if citizens have no right to know what goes on in a country controlled by people they voted for, or ...

Re:"cause diplomatic problems around the globe" (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379062)

Neither in fact. What happens is that what diplomats say in private are hardly what they say in public. Yes, they lie to the press and other diplomats about their feelings of other countries. That is quite obvious and I think everyone expects that. There is a "Gentleman's contract" that this kind of thing is private because no country wants to be told to shove it in front of the international community.

More damaging are allegations that other Arab countries wants to bomb Iran. That is a big issue regarding the political powers on the Middle East. From the sky article, only Saudi Arabia (US lapdog, so expected) and Bahrein wanted it. If there are more, them we have an issue.

I couldn't care less for possible embarrassment of UK Royal Family members. Or maybe a whore and drug use scandal going with some of diplomats, for me those are irrelevant and personal and shouldn't be leaked. I don't think every cable should be linked too, as pointed above, some of these are personal opinions that will be damage to the political balance once live. Now, if there are crime indications, and crime allegations, those should be put online.

So? (1)

mgrinshpon (1522669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378810)

A country is spying? It's using it's embassies to spy? Countries without nuclear capability don't want their mutual neighbor to get its hands on nuclear weapons? How is anyone surprised by any of this? Clearly a report written by esteemed whistle blower Captain Obvious.

The real bombshell (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378824)

I'm pretty sure that guy did all those rapes

Is anyone in the media PRO-wikileaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378834)

I mean, I don't know exactly what information all these documents contain. But it seems to me that if there is backroom dealing going on people should know about it. Might force the international political community to be more honest... ...ah! I see the problem... any political community (international or otherwise) is built up of lies and deceit that dealing honestly is so far outside the current players skill set that they can't manage it.

Quartermillion? How about just 243... (5, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378874)

They only released 243 cables at this point. http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/ [wikileaks.org]

The Little I've Read : +5, Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378878)

wouldn't even make a weekly TV series.

Very, very, very, BORING.

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378918)

What graphics engine does it use...?

more is coming from wikileaks... and it good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378936)

There are rumors that wikileaks is gearing up to release:

* Even more diplomatic cables
* Operational details of US weapons systems.

But I see this is a good thing. Right now there is too much balance of power with a single country - sort of like Microsoft running 90% of the desktops. It's good to avoid power monocultures as much as computing monocultures, and to this end the US needs to become weaker, and other nations (Russia, Brazil, China) to become stronger. That will be better for the whole world in the long run.

Facebook advice for diplomats (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34378946)

This makes me think of all that advice 'stupid kids' have been given lately about forwarding emails or posting on facebook... perhaps State Dept officials need to start listening? Normally they seem to treat the weight of the federal government as a blank check to do and say whatever they want yet still be protected by secrecy. Maybe having the same risk of embarrassment the rest of us have will give them a little empathy for all those little people they claim to be working for....

the story is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378952)

quarter of a million documents have not been released. only a small proportion has been released as yet. see wikileaks website

transparent government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378982)

Hillary, some people want a transparent government bad enough to force it on you. I guess you don't always get your way.

The biggest threat to freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34378992)

... currently is the government to the home of the free and the brave. Especially the freedom of non-Americans everywhere. Besides, the buzz is more fuzz than substance, and I daresay governments the world over have weathered worse storms than a load of embarrasment. Even very large amounts of embarrasment.

And, as Der Spiegel correctly points out, with two and a half million SIPRnet users, this was an accident waiting to happen. Even though now that it rains it seems to pour.

Something to hide? (5, Insightful)

Teufelsmuhle (849105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379000)

"You shouldn't care unless you've got something to hide."

Isn't that line we always hear from these government agencies when it comes to privacy invasions? I can only assume from the outcry that they must have something to hide.

Let's Not Forget The Real Tragedy (1)

BRock97 (17460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379004)

Many Bothans died to bring us this information.

WL just wants attention? (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379024)

Seems a lot like the annoying kids who break into lockers to try to find diaries/journals/rants about teachers so they can spread them all over school and feel like they're really smart, secret ninja types instead of the little whiners they really are. "Hey, everybody, we got secret government documents! Look at us, look at us, aren't we so clever!"

Yawn.

copy all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34379042)

Am I the only one amazed that these systems that hold this information allow the wholesale download of the entire database? Search everything, sure. But to request the full text of every cable, and not set off an immediate alarm or lock out? What are they using as an informational storage system? MS access?

Those who yell the loudest (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379044)

have the most to lose. I have no sympthy for someone who looks like a fool when his blunder is exposed.

encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34379052)

Why on earth were all these not encrypted with only the intended recipient able to decrypt? An agency with the resources and reach of the US government surely has the ability to do that.

Does anyone know why so much sensitive communication was done in the clear?

hey US government (1)

app13b0y (767720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34379082)

if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...