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Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-like-the-other dept.

The Media 696

daveschroeder writes "The recent release of classified State Department cables has often been compared to the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg, the US military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers, has said he supports WikiLeaks, and sees the issues as similar. Floyd Abrams is the prominent First Amendment attorney and Constitutional law expert who represented the New York Times in the landmark New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713 (1971)) Supreme Court case, which allowed the media to publish the Pentagon Papers without fear of government censure. Today, Abrams explains why WikiLeaks is unlike the Pentagon Papers, and how WikiLeaks is negatively impacting journalism protections: 'Mr. Ellsberg himself has recently denounced the "myth" of the "good" Pentagon Papers as opposed to the "bad" WikiLeaks. But the real myth is that the two disclosures are the same.'"

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bwahaha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698200)

I disclosed your mom last night with my leaks.

First Disclosure! (0)

MenThal (646459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698240)

Sounds like a case of first leaking to me... ewwwh.

Hypocrites (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698252)

They keep telling us that if we don't like them knowing what we are doing then maybe we shouldn't be doing it. How come we can't say the same in return? It seems even more difficult to swallow, considering they work for us via the hard earned money ripped from our hands to pay them to do these things.

Re:Hypocrites (3, Interesting)

Entrope (68843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698456)

There is a big difference between whistle-blowing and leaking someone's bank account details (or cloying emails to a sweetheart). So far, Wikileaks has published approximately nothing that is shocking or surprising or that reveals unlawful activity -- and I include the misleadingly edited "Collateral Murder" video in my consideration -- but it has published a lot of frank discussion and analysis that is similar to your private emails.

Would you mind uploading your email archive to a web server for the rest of us to look over? If you wouldn't do that, why would you want the US government to do the same thing?

Re:Hypocrites (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698512)

If you wouldn't do that, why would you want the US government to do the same thing?

Because private citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the US Government and all citizens working in an official capacity for said gov't don't? C'mon man, it's not rocket science.

Re:Hypocrites (5, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698590)

US Government and all citizens working in an official capacity for said gov't don't?

To be fair, government officials do have a right to privacy as far as their life off the clock. While they work, their efforts and deeds must be recorded.

Re:Hypocrites (-1, Troll)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698600)

So lets just post all the nuke launch codes to wikileaks too, how bout that? After all, there shouldnt be ANY secrets in the government!

Re:Hypocrites (3, Funny)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698780)

So lets just post all the nuke launch codes to wikileaks too, how bout that? After all, there shouldnt be ANY secrets in the government!

Ok, here you go: 00000000.

What, you didn't know?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permissive_Action_Link [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hypocrites (3, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698840)

That is a little absurd. To be fair, US citizens should have a reasonable expectation to be informed of our diplomatic efforts overseas. If its a sensitive matter that may lead to war? Maybe not immediately, but in a decade or two? yes. To have a ruling class that hides things from its people makes it so we cannot hold them accountable simply because we don't know what the hell they are doing.

Re:Hypocrites (3, Interesting)

Entrope (68843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698704)

You apparently don't know what "reasonable expectation of privacy" means as a legal term of art. For one thing, it triggers Fourth Amendment protection against government search -- but just because the government could search and seize your personal effects does not mean the government could publish them. For another, even the EFF's (quite good) page on "reasonable expectation of privacy" says you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your bank records. For a third, you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in what you do at work. For a fourth, the concept doesn't apply to the US government as a whole.

It may not be rocket science, but it is legal art, and you apparently fail hard at it.

Re:Hypocrites (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698706)

Would you mind uploading your email archive to a web server for the rest of us to look over? If you wouldn't do that, why would you want the US government to do the same thing?

Because we live in a democracy, and the public cannot make an informed decision about their elected leaders unless they know what those leaders are really doing. The government and government officials acting in their official capacity (and even in their private lives, where conflicts of interest are concerned) should have essentially zero expectation of privacy except for temporary secrecy to protect the safety of undercover police, military, etc. in the field, and even then, only to the minimum extent necessary to ensure that safety. This is absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of a representative democracy.

By contrast, there is no compelling reason for any private citizen's privacy to be violated without probable cause. We don't work for the government. They work for us.

Re:Hypocrites (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698720)

nothing that is shocking or surprising or that reveals unlawful activity

If I support terrorists, it's unlawful. If America continues to support countries like Syria who openly lie to us as they arm terrorists... well, we can't let wikileaks be right so supporting terrorists is OK when the government does it.

Hypocrites is right. As everyone and their dog pointed out, wikileaks did nothing but confirm what we already knew. The reason the government and their brownshirts are shitting themselves over it (I guess that makes them brownpants, huh) is that they can no longer joke about tinfoil hats when the rest of us talk about what we already knew.

Re:Hypocrites (3, Insightful)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698474)

They keep telling us that if we don't like them knowing what we are doing then maybe we shouldn't be doing it. How come we can't say the same in return?

Because we elected them to do this work for us. The US is a republic. We vote for representatives to run our government. These representatives, and their hired staffers, are the ones that need access. Not us.

We only need to know when when there is malfeasance that is being kept secret. But that does mean we need the ability to rummage through every cabinet looking for it. That's called a fishing expedition.

Na na na na na na na na fishing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698522)

We only need to know when when there is malfeasance that is being kept secret. But that does mean we need the ability to rummage through every cabinet looking for it. That's called a fishing expedition.

...Which is of no consequence whatsoever. "We" don't have the authority of government to kick down doors, shoot dogs and children in the head, and proceed to incarcerate our corrupt politicians.

Who suffers when our government pulls shady crap? Countless civilians in third-world nations we have no business being in suffer - far worse than us, I might add. But the fact remains, "we", as a people, suffer from the outrageous evil done in our name. That our government would love to keep us from finding out about. Can't imagine why.

They don't 'hate us for our freedoms', folks - they hate us because of scheming twatwaffles with dreams of empire. They hate us because "we" seem all too happy to ignore the bomb-carrying nine hundred pound elephant in the room. See no evil!

Re:Na na na na na na na na fishing. (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698668)

"We" don't have the authority of government to kick down doors, shoot dogs and children in the head, and proceed to incarcerate our corrupt politicians.

Watch for the point. It's coming now. We gave them these powers in a very considered fashion.

Who suffers when our government pulls shady crap?

It depends on whom the shady crap falls. Usually, it is on criminals and enemies of the republic. Sometimes it gets complicated. And sometimes our representatives fail us.

But its better than fucking anarchy. Anarchy turns into fuedalism, and that pretty much sucked for everyone but the lords.

Re:Hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698542)

We only need to know when when there is malfeasance that is being kept secret.

But how are we supposed to know that if we allow them to keep secrets from us? As long as they can keep any secrets, we will never be able to know if they are all benign.

Unless you think we can fully trust our overlords (and make no mistake, that is how they see themselves: look at all the privilege they think they deserve) to always act in our best interests without ever acting selfish. Never mind that we do manage to frequently catch them with their hands in the cookie jar.

The only way we'll ever overcome politicians is to get rid of all of them. We do have the technology to rule ourselves, you know. (And before someone says that we can't be trusted with governing ourselves: tell me why politicians can be trusted with governing us? Because they are so intelligent and saintly?)

Re:Hypocrites (1)

jimrthy (893116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698728)

How are we supposed to vote intelligently if we don't know what they're doing?

Re:Hypocrites (4, Insightful)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698822)

How are we supposed to vote intelligently if we don't know what they're doing?

We know very well what they're doing in 95% of the cases. See the Freedom of Information Act for some guidance. It's amazing what we can get.

A prospective employer needs to get a lot of information about me before he hires me and gives me access to the company's trade secrets. But I'm not going to let him search my house.

Re:Hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698770)

They keep telling us that if we don't like them knowing what we are doing then maybe we shouldn't be doing it.

"They" don't keep telling us any such thing, you lying jackass. Assholes like you keep telling us that, because it's much easier to knock down straw-men than it is to argue on the real issues.

Anybody else (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698262)

Anybody else think the whole "oh noes, Wikileaks might tell the truth about something, those bastards!" and the whole "they're traitors! (by being open and honest when gov't doesn't want to be, what treachery)" is completely overinflated and overblown?

Only the very powerful very entrenched type of interests have anything to fear from anything Assange is going to do. Am I the only one who would love to see them squirm for once? They kill thousands and harm the quality of life of millions. It's quite amusing to see them suffer. I am not going to take any action myself, but it sure is nice to see them taken down a peg or two. They need it. We need it. What's the problem here?

The "damages" caused by Wikileaks seem to use RIAA-style math, where every copy is automatically a lost sale with no burden of proof attached to that claim. In other words, it's bullshit. Name the first name, last name, and location of a single individual person who has been physically injured by anything Wikileaks has published and explain how he/she would not have been physically injured if Wikileaks didn't exist. Nobody in media wants to do that. They want to go for the emotions instead of the evidence. They are part of the problem, and if they don't like Wikileaks that's basically a damned seal of approval to me.

One example of WikiLeaks damage (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698300)

How WikiLeaks Just Set Back Democracy in Zimbabwe [theatlantic.com] , The Atlantic, December 28, 2010

Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698510)

Is the loss of a "democratic" puppet state really eligible to be considered damage? Because had the plan not been exposed, you know that's exactly how it would have wound up. Power made possible through the whims and wishes of the US.

Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698578)

Mugabe was just a couple baby steps away from becoming a true champion of democracy. It was clearly Wikileaks which turned him into a power-hungry tyrant.

Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698658)

I read that article. This paragraph from it will be useful for making my point:

The topic of the meeting was the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by a collection of western countries, including the U.S. and E.U. Tsvangirai told the western officials that, while there had been some progress in the last year, Mugabe and his supporters were dragging their feet on delivering political reforms. To overcome this, he said that the sanctions on Zimbabwe "must be kept in place" to induce Mugabe into giving up some political power. The prime minister openly admitted the incongruity between his private support for the sanctions and his public statements in opposition. If his political adversaries knew Tsvangirai secretly supported the sanctions, deeply unpopular with Zimbabweans, they would have a powerful weapon to attack and discredit the democratic reformer.

He didn't have the courage to be honest and publically say, "this is terrible right now but I sincerely believe it is a necessary step towards a brighter future and therefore worth enduring, however unfortunate that will be". Instead of doing that, openly and honestly, he said what he thought people wanted to hear in public while saying what he really believes they should do in private. There's a word for that: hypocrisy.

Now hypocrisy is nothing precisely new from politicians, even the more well-intentioned ones. Apparently that's just as true in Africa as it is in North America. It is unfortunate though that the situation in Zimbabwe is a lot more dire. If Tsvangirai thought he could pull a fast one and say something he did not sincerely believe -- an action also known as "lying through one's teeth" -- then isn't he responsible for that decision? Why would you blame someone else for pointing this out? There'd be no such thing to point out if he had been honest.

What is it about government? Why does the presence of this organization or any of its members suddenly invert our thought processes? When government is involved, we don't blame the liar anymore for deceiving us, especially when the stakes are high, like we normally would do. No. Instead, we have sympathy for the liar and turn all our blame and spite towards the person who calls them on it and points out the lie. WTF? Are you really that impressed by authority?

Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (2, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698792)

He didn't have the courage to be honest and publically say, "this is terrible right now but I sincerely believe it is a necessary step towards a brighter future and therefore worth enduring, however unfortunate that will be". Instead of doing that, openly and honestly, he said what he thought people wanted to hear in public while saying what he really believes they should do in private. There's a word for that: hypocrisy.

No, there's another word for that: diplomacy. That's how diplomacy works.

Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698816)

He didn't have the courage to be honest and publically say, "this is terrible right now but I sincerely believe it is a necessary step towards a brighter future and therefore worth enduring, however unfortunate that will be". Instead of doing that, openly and honestly, he said what he thought people wanted to hear in public while saying what he really believes they should do in private. There's a word for that: hypocrisy.

No, this is not hypocrisy. It is being smart. If you come out and say that you think the sanctions are a good thing you get kicked out of power by the tyrant. Your family gets harassed, imprisoned and possibly killed. This man was doing his darndest to change a horrible situation in a non-violent manner and he gets undercut by poor data protection measures by the US, and an egomaniac who has an axe to grind against the US.

Re:Anybody else (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698330)

This reminds me of a discussion that came out of a rant of mine the other say over the word "we".

I think this is a case where you have to be very careful about that word, because "we" can mean everything from "me and my group of friends" to "the people of the country" or any number of entities within.

"Good" or "Bad" is often a matter of context. Yes, these leaks are "bad" for some groups of people... they are also "good" for other groups... and we should be honest about who those groups are, and who they represent. They would claim that they are "us"... this whole 300 million people are all "us" as they "represent us".

Clearly, if "we" and "our interests" are defined so narrowly as to be "the interests of the people in power".... then these are bad. However, if you see "we" and "our interests" as those of the people paying them their salaries and whose collective name is sullied when they act poorly, well... I would say its very good for "us" because it shows us what kind of dirty backroom dealing they engage in and how much horse shit they sell to... the people paying their salaries.

I feel as much sympathy for their arguments that this is "bad" as I do for store clerks whose defense at being shown video of them stealing from the till is "I can't believe you didn't trust me enough not to watch the videos".

Re:Anybody else (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698592)

Anybody else think the whole "oh noes, Wikileaks might tell the truth about something, those bastards!" and the whole "they're traitors! (by being open and honest when gov't doesn't want to be, what treachery)" is completely overinflated and overblown?

Yes.

I don't think the referenced article lives up to it's headline either.

Floyd Abrams sucks dick, and, is a lame writer.

The Wall Street Journal published that as news! 'I'm shocked and flabbergasted' (ironic quotes). About the closest thing to an actual argument in the (referenced) story is a comparison between Daniel Ellsberg not publishing everything, and Wikileaks who have not published everything. Nothing Wikileaks (or Julian Assange) has done weakens journalism - it's just shown them up as weak. Even when it comes to writing articles designed to discredit the leaks they can't do better than aiming for an individual.

Guess that'll now allow the Murdoch Press to point to it as an authoritative source. 'Oh wait' - it is the Murdoch Press.

Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698268)

I think Floyd Abrams hit it right on the head. The idea of any secrecy being somehow intolerable in diplomacy is a daft idea. For example, there were many diplomats working in German occupied territories in WWII who were issuing visas to Jewish refugees despite the fact that their governments instructed them not to. (For example, Ho Feng Shan, Raoul Wallenberg, etc). Would it be a good thing for these cables to be released to the public? What about secret negotiations with a government who doesn't want to publicly take actions to pressure a rogue state (say, China and North Korea?). There's a lot of discreteness that is needed in diplomacy that must be done in secret. The mentality that any secrecy is inherently wrong is counterproductive, to say the least.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698310)

What you call a rogue state is for the better part of the human population their homeland. Guess who is being rogue from their side of the story....

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698326)

I'm calling North Korea the rogue state. I'm calling China the country that might be negotiated with to pressure the rogue state.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698376)

Ah ok, my bad, but I still feel my point is valid. Who are we to condemn them? It all depends on where you were born and what 'news'/'propaganda' you have been filled with. Having said that, I prefer my own country above NK, but still. To Israel Iran is rogue, while Iran hasn't started a war in many many years and Israel seems to have it as a national hobby. The US condemns Iran for their nuclear program. While the US is the only country idiotic and barbaric enough to not only drop 1, but 2 of them. On major cities. See where I'm going to here? Who are we to condemn someone else for not living our way.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

Entrope (68843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698524)

Moral relativism is the modern refuge of the coward. If you cannot see why North Korea's mass starvation and rigidly controlled media is worse than the US, or if you think that the mote in the US's eye means it should not criticize the beam in North Korea's eye, then you need to grow a pair. You admit you prefer your country to North Korea -- who are you to make that value judgment?

(Your other examples are also flawed, but I don't want to start on why -- it's off-topic and not relevant to your point, because your other examples do not involve China or North Korea.)

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698588)

Yes but I sure as hell would rather live in NK than in Iraq where the US brought about eh, 2 millions death it was the last 9 years? I don't think NK starved so many people. Besides why are people starving there? Because of exportcontrols that where pushed by.... Yes the USA. But I assume you are a US citizen?

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698772)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/433641.stm [bbc.co.uk]

FTA: "Up to 3.5m people have died of starvation in North Korea since 1995 and up to 300,000 have fled over the border to China, a Seoul-based charity says." The article itself was written in 1999. So 3.5 million people are estimated to have died in NK in 4 years due to a famine. I'm no mathematician, but that's a lot more than 2 million in 9 years.

I don't think you'd say such things about North Korea if you know the magnitude of how bad it is there.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

LordGr8one (1174233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698774)

2 million deaths during a time of war when you're expecting people to die versus a still as-yet uncounted number of people who die of starvation because of the government's standard operating procedure? And the export controls? We've given them food in exchange for promises to not build nukes. When you give someone something, you have every right to put strings and conditions on it. If they renege on their end of the deal (which they demonstrably have), you can't blame the people who were trying to help the situation. If you'd rather live in North Korea than Iraq, that's all you. Don't pretend that it's because the U.S. is some horrid monster of a superpower keeping others down, though.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698582)

"Who are we to condemn someone else for not living our way."

Your entire comment is like a car wreck. you can't help but read it over and over again and thinking "wow, that's messed up".

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698614)

Look, you can complain about us dropping nukes on major cities, or you can blame the Japanese for sneak attacking us and refusing to back down. Either way it was World War II and not dropping them would have been irresponsible. So you can call us barbarians, but I rather think anybody alive at the time outside of Germany, Italy and Japan would say we were heroes and the guys aligned with open, brutal genocide and massive bombings of major cities (London) and launched a sneak attack on a country they were not at war with were the barbarians.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698740)

The fact is, North Korea has tons of people who are outright starving, Iran has threatened to take Israel off the map, and Israel has only started one war (but been quite effective in finishing the others quickly). You have to be absolutely crazy or brainwashed by their propaganda to say they're correct in the situation. The only time you can leave them be to do their own thing is if their intent is to let others be, which is definitely not the case with Iran, and probably not the case with North Korea.

While the US is the only country idiotic and barbaric enough to not only drop 1, but 2 of them. On major cities.

I'm pretty sure that the US is the only country to have done so because the US (at the time, run by a whole different group of people, mind you) didn't realize the true extent to which these weapons would be devastating, and their use was the lesser of two evils. See how they found Japanese on remote islands who were still fighting the war a decade later? That's why it was dropped to begin with, and then the full damage was realized - that's why the US is one of the, if not the top, forces behind nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation today.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698342)

but how else are the kids going to feel cool about knowing classified information?

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698350)

What Abrams did not touch on was that the leaks also cooled the heals of Iran. When Iran found out that not only didn't they have complete support of the Arab nations but that they were actually trying to convince the US to invade, Iran really toned down their rhetoric. Iran got a much needed reality check - Muslim nations don't always stick together against the "Great White Satan".

The rest of the Wikileaks were just petty shit that I'm having a hard time trying to understand why the US Government is making such a big deal out of.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698632)

I think it is safe to say that Iran knew the Arab states did not support them.

Hell, anyone could have figured that out just by paying attention to the news and comentary.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698370)

Prove it.

What are you using for comparison? When has any government been completely open?

Great project that would put the science in "Political Science". Divide a college campus into "States". Have one state run without secrets, and the other in total secrecy. See which does better. (Note that state secrets and personal privacy are different beasts)

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (3, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698410)

Yes - a state with no secrets and a state with total secrets. Those are the ONLY two choices possible. I'm sorry, but isn't this a false dichotomy fallacy? Is it not possible that a state might be open with regards to some things and be closed with some other things? You're falling into exactly the same position Floyd Abrams noted in his article - that the world must necessarily be black and white - absolute secrecy or absolute transparency.

As long as government keeps secrets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698434)

then I don't trust government. End of story.

Re:As long as government keeps secrets (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698834)

then I don't trust government. End of story.

The response to Wikileaks is the response to the Pentagram papers.
The ends do not justify the means. If the means are not just, then the ends are not just. All the 1984 NewSpeak is BullSpeak.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (0)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698440)

That is why I have to hold my nose while speaking out for Julian. It is a bitter pill to swallow, surely, and he has caused as much damage as he has good. Kind of like the US military. I think that much of what he has gathered needs to be out there, needs to be made public, but I don't trust Julian to figure out which parts to release and which to sit on. He is on an ego trip. The best thing he could do is release the papers to a number of older, respected journalists who can use some judgement that Julian lacks. Giving it to multiple outlets would guarantee that no one organization will simply bury the story and not release due to political pressure. Also, putting more eyes on the information would make releasing data easier and reduce the chance that the release would cause someone in the field to get killed.

That said, I do NOT like the way several world governments are railroading Julian and creating trumped up charges. The US govt. is leading this hunt, and even though Julian is a bit of a douchebag, he still deserves 100% of the same protections and rights as any other person. If any one person can be exempted from the most basic of rights, then we all can. That is more dangerous than what Julian has released.

Re:Secrecy is necessary for Diplomacy (1)

jimrthy (893116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698796)

I think the problem with this line of thought is its logical conclusion: the idea that openness is inherently wrong.

No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impacting (5, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698292)

No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impacting journalism protection... That is like saying, it where the jews that negatively impacted Nazi-German war-crimes. It really are the bastards trying to prosecute Wikileaks and Assange that are negatively impacting free speech and journalism. Make no mistake about that part.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698344)

Godwin'ed in 8 minutes, I think that's a new record.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698468)

No, the fipo was first... with the godwin, in about 6 minutes.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698648)

I read it in the voice of someone with a bloody knife saying "now look what you made me do"

or possibly in the voice of someone saying "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself"

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698656)

To be fair the rape allegations deserve to be looked into, however beyond that I don't believe prosecution of Assange or Wikileaks is warranted.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (5, Interesting)

thunrida (950858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698696)

Exactly. Last sentence in WSJ article says: If he is not charged or is acquitted of whatever charges may be made, that may well lead to the adoption of new and dangerously restrictive legislation. The way I understand ths: You live in a free speech state, but if you actually practice free speech, we will hit you with restrictive legislation. Therefor,e with practicing free speech, you are being responsible for it's destruction. So in god's name, don't do it if you want to live in free speech society.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (0)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698724)

I helped elect the bastards (and/or their bosses) that are trying to prosecute Wikileaks and Assange and they have my full support.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698814)

And now you want kudos or what?

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698762)

Insightful, but grammatically atrocious.

Re:No it's not Wikileaks that is negative impactin (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698842)

Thank you, my English does suck indeed. Especially in writing. Glad you still understood it.

To summarize the article ... (0, Troll)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698298)

It is different because The Pentagon Papers did not reveal all of their material immediately. Parts about ongoing diplomatic concerns were held back.

But Wikileaks would have released ALL of the The Pentagon Papers at once. If they had them. Back then. Because that's the kind of person Julian is.

*sigh*
Not much worth reading there. And not factually correct, either.

Re:To summarize the article ... (4, Informative)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698402)

Except Wikileaks didn't release all the cables at once (most still aren't released, we're only about 3% into it), and redacts a lot of information (some 15,000 war reports from Afghanistan, for example).

Re:To summarize the article ... (1)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698662)

Its less than one percent that have been released so far. 1,942 of 250,000 cables.

Re:To summarize the article ... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698426)

"Not much worth reading there. And not factually correct, either."

Yes it's a non-story, just the paid for opinion of a worthless Murdoch drone who thinks he can read minds.

Re:To summarize the article ... (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698448)

How is it not factually correct?

Re:To summarize the article ... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698730)

because they do redact and hold information back.

The Gist (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698304)

Since no one ever RTFA, the gist is that Wikileaks sees things in a very simple, black and white universe. Everything must be open at all times. With the leak of the Pentagon Papers, not all of it was leaked initially. In fact, portions of it were held back for years because the leak would only cause harm to diplomatic relations and it had no bearing on the purpose of the leak (to expose the fact that the US government lied to its people about Vietnam).

The latter part of the article is the important part. It suggests that Wikileaks may force the government to come down hard in its enforcement of laws, and hurt journalism in the long run.

To the former, I personally have no respect for Wikileaks simplistic view of total transparency when they are shrouded in secrecy themselves. As for the latter, I really hope that isn't the case.

Re:The Gist (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698454)

With the leak of the Pentagon Papers, not all of it was leaked initially. In fact, portions of it were held back for years because the leak would only cause harm to diplomatic relations and it had no bearing on the purpose of the leak (to expose the fact that the US government lied to its people about Vietnam).

I've not been following the WikiLeaks coverage as closely for the last week or so, have they recently released all of the cables? I thought they had so far only released a few, and still have many more as yet unreleased.

Re:The Gist (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698514)

They release large chunks of information, often uncensored. They hold back portions for short periods of time only so each release can be digested independently, and to continue their funding. I expect all of the cables to be released publicly within the year, and they have handed the entirety of the cables to certain news outlets.

The Pentagon Papers were held back for over a decade to protect diplomatic relations.

Amnesty International (an organization overlooked in this discussion as a true bastion of peace and decency) rips foreign governments as well. They push for transparency of government abuse. But they look to protect individuals as well. And they rip Wikileaks for not redacting names of civilian volunteers, etc.

Wikileaks is irresponsible in how they handle the materials given to them.

Re:The Gist (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698698)

Wikileaks is irresponsible in how they handle the materials given to them.

Agreed. They also seem to be anti-US in their agenda rather than interested in informing the public about corruption worldwide. I see no reason why the banking and insurance leaks shouldn't be posted right now as well. They seem rather attention whoreish and trying to feed off of global and domestic anti-US sentiment.

Re:The Gist (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698466)

Except Wikileaks didn't release all the cables at once (most still aren't released, we're only about 3% into it), and redacts a lot of information (some 15,000 war reports from Afghanistan, for example). And how shrouded in secrecy are they, exactly?

Re:The Gist (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698532)

They're timing the releases so people have time to digest them, and so they continue to get funding. But the full release has already been handed to the press.

As for being shrouded in secrecy, they won't say where they are based, who there employers are, how they are financed, what they do with the money, or what their selection process is for disclosing what is handed over to them.

Re:The Gist (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698612)

And if they gave that info, do you really think they wouldn't have been bombed by now?

Re:The Gist (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698788)

"And if they gave that info, do you really think they wouldn't have been bombed by now?"

Wait, so secrecy IS ok, huh?

Re:The Gist (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698830)

Do you really think in only 1 dimension?

Re:The Gist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698722)

They're timing the releases so people have time to digest them, and so they continue to get funding.

So you are admitting that they do not release them all at once, but now you are saying that they do it in a "bad way"?

How pathetic hypocrite you are.

Re:The Gist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698520)

The latter part of the article is the important part. It suggests that Wikileaks may force the government to come down hard in its enforcement of laws, and hurt journalism in the long run.

To the former, I personally have no respect for Wikileaks simplistic view of total transparency when they are shrouded in secrecy themselves

Wikilieaks won't force anything. The US government can easily chose to make hard the promise of Obama for more transparancy and seek cooperation with Wikileaks to provide the voting populace with the information the best way possible.
It can also chose to try and hide everything, cover things up, ...
Wikileaks only lightly forces them to make a choice in stead of idling about.

And for your last sentiment, there is a big difference between privacy: secrets about individuals, and the secrecy of a government.
The latter should be avoided at all costs and when someone hints it's neccesary, a full congressional whatever should be needed for each single case to decide it's needed and how long.
While the privacy of individuals should be pursued as much as possible.
Yes this vision of mine can lead to conflicts, which is why people up for office should know they give up parts of their privacy.

Re:The Gist (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698536)

Which explains perfectly why all of the cables were leaked immediately. The vast majority of them haven't, and Wikileaks has made a lot of effort to make sure any sensitive information was properly redacted. There's also information Wikileaks has in their possession that hasn't been leaked at all. This has lead people far on the other side of the argument to say that Wikileaks isn't doing enough or has an agenda with the selective information it releases.

The article likes to paint things as black and white, but there are certainly plenty of grey shades in this story. Based on history, Wikileaks doesn't release all of the information they have and it seems as though there are some things that they may be quite content to sit on for all eternity. The government reaction is just a typical government reaction, squash liberties and gather more power. Any blame for the government's actions rests solely on the government.

Re:The Gist (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698558)

Wikileaks has not released 97% of the diplomatic cables they currently have access to, and have redacted a great deal to prevent exposure of legitimate secrets like troop movements and identities of spies. That means that (a) not all of it was leaked initially, (b) portions of it may be held back for years because they would harm legitimate US national security interests, and (c) that the purposes of the leaks were to show exactly what lies the US and other governments have been telling the public, particularly in relation to the "war on terror". I don't blame you for getting that fact wrong though: Many US officials from both major parties have repeatedly stated that Wikileaks dumped all the information all at once, when in fact nothing of that sort has happened.

Re:The Gist (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698748)

Only a few percent of the cables have been released, and some parts have been redacted.

Re:The Gist (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698758)

So when will Wikileaks publish the name of the people that supplied them with the data?
I mean if they think that everything should be in the open. Maybe they feel that people don't need to know the source of the information because to revile it would cause more harm than good...

A bit ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698332)

A bit ironic, considering that the NY Times is publishing WikiLeaks. So sue the NY Times (again). WikiLeaks is a foreign entity as far as the US is concerned, so I don't think the 1st Ammendment applies to it in any case.

Re:A bit ironic (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698630)

Ya it does, thee first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law..." so as long as they try to prosecute him according to some law the first amendment applies.

Ellis III ruled that to obtain a conviction of individuals who had not worked for the government but had received information from individuals who had, prosecutors must prove that the defendant actually intended to harm the U.S. or to help an enemy.

Is harming the inner conspiracy the same as harm the U.S.? Should a very small section of moneyed and clandestine operations be considered representative of the U.S. as a whole? Shouldn't the informing of everyone of the current political state allow them to make political decisions to better reflect their own interest rather than that of an elite, entrenched and empowered subset? That's what this is really about, the inability to keep secrets means the inability to operate conspiracies.

idiot (0)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698364)

Ya like this guy who upped this thread is a USA propogandist. IS slash dot looking for Joe biden as a friend? is SO FUCK YOU.

The real myth is that people change (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698396)

as times change. and may change their allegiance.

i, as a citizen, see the right in me to know what my government is doing, with MY money. anyone who is letting me know that, is my friend. anyone who is trying to prevent that, is against freedoms and liberties of modern society. i see no difference in between stifling freedoms and oppressing people 'for the sake of nation' in 19th century and doing the same 'for the sake of national security' in 21th century.

Perspective (5, Insightful)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698398)

WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret.

The article misses one huge fact - Mr. Ellsberg is an American, Mr. Assange is not. While Ellsberg leaked information people needed to know, he was doing so to show how his country was lying to the population. Assange shows other countries places where their governments have lied to their people due to US pressure.

Who is served by the release of these cables is a huge difference between the two situations.

Re:Perspective (2)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698636)

Mr. Assange is giving the materials, a few at a time, to the NYT, and others, so that they may determine, in their journalistic opinion, based not just in support of a single government, but with the principles they hold defending democracy. It must always be remembered, the data is being filtered, and redacted, and withheld, if immediate danger to individuals is expected, among other reasons. I for one am glad that The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have access too. He is not releasing all the data at once, or just on the opinions of wikileak volunteers or staff.

Floyd Abrams just doesn't get it. (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698452)

He says basically that this release is bad because it doesn't reveal wrong doing by the United States, and other things about the information released are damned embarassing! What he doesn't understand is, our right as citizens to know what our government is doing doesn't just extend to knowing about wrong doing, it basically EXTENDS TO EVERYTHING THEY DO, OTHERWISE HOW CAN WE DECIDE IF WE DON'T LIKE WHAT THEY ARE DOING???!!! (caps accidental but left for emphasis). I guess he doesn't understand that in a democracy the citizens are supposed to control the government, and how can they (we) do that if we don't know what they are doing? Err on the side of release.

No, Floyd Abrams gets it. (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698714)

And so does Steven Aftergood, a veteran crusader against excessive government secrecy and director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy: "WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals."

Anonymous, indiscriminate document leaking subverts the social contract in open and democratic societies. It results in is an environment where closed and repressive societies have a significant advantage in the information realm, and in the conduct of their national and diplomatic affairs, over open and democratic societies.

Journalistic Hubris (2, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698478)

What he is saying is that the job of a journalist is to decide what the public needs to know. They know better than the government, or they would have kept all of the files secret. But they also know better than you the public, because they should hold back some papers at their discretion. Very noble of them to take on this weighty responsibility.

Re:Journalistic Hubris (1)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698556)

"Very noble of them to take on this weighty responsibility." As in a people governing themselves, as in government of the people by the people for the people. Which is I think very noble of them, to take on this weighty responsibility, but more than noble, Americans have offered their lives over and over again to ensure that such a government shall not perish from the earth.

What a load of crap (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698492)

Taken as a whole, however, a leak of this elephantine magnitude, which appears to demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S., is difficult to defend on any basis other than WikiLeaks' general disdain for any secrecy at all.

Just off the top of my head
Wikileaks has revealed that:

  • Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, is on the CIA payroll and a major drug dealer.
  • The US Government lied to the American people about its activities in Yemen.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered American diplomats to collect information on foreign officials and diplomats
  • At the urging of the Afghan Government, the US State Dept pressured The Washington Post into watering down a story about
    security contractor DynCorp (who were commissioned to train the Afghan police forces) paying for drugs and (pre)teen party boys

"appears to demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S." ?

Re:What a load of crap (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698678)

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered American diplomats to collect information on foreign officials and diplomats"

People who view this as a revelation must have a very naive view of the world. Diplomats are just spies working in the open to both gather information and to spread misinformation (with the weight of a government official).

If they told the truth all the time they wouldn't be very diplomatic.

Re:What a load of crap (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698802)

"People who view this as a revelation must have a very naive view of the world. "

"What? The woman who runs the CIA engaged in spying? The horror!"

Re:What a load of crap (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698798)

The leaks could reveal that the president slept in a bathtub full of childrens blood and personally murdered millions and the right would keep maintaining that the cables had revealed nothing.

it's an article of faith.
it's simply been repeated so much that fox news viewers believe it.

No misconduct? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698516)

Taken as a whole, however, a leak of this elephantine magnitude, which appears to demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S., is difficult to defend on any basis other than WikiLeaks' general disdain for any secrecy at all.

I'm pretty sure that continuing to employ contractors that you know are hiring child prostitutes, as well as helping them hide that fact, [houstonpress.com] could be considered 'misconduct' by some.

Wall Street Journal? (1)

Johnberg (1642323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698570)

I thought that paper lost all of its integrity since becoming part of News Corp. People still read it?

I'm still not convinced (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698642)

I still don't see the real difference between an 'accepted' journalist like Mr. Ellsberg leaking papers and Mr. Assange, a foreign national, leaking papers. Oh, wait, Mr. Ellsberg wasn't a journalist. And so far, Julian hasn't released all the papers he has...

I'm more convinced than ever that these two cases have more in common than not, and are different in two very distinct areas only: First, that the diplomatic papers are unique and especially damaging, and second that Julian Assange has no specific patriotic national interest. If the second test is the lesser one, inagine how we might apply the standard of "he has no real patriotic interest, and is not justified in his actions" to foreign journalists all over the world. But the first is most important, as in 'too important to disclose'.

Disclosing the methods and particulars of American nuclear arsenal security would be very, very damaging, and probably clearly actionable as an espionage and national security threat. Disclosing the secret but frank assessments of foreign leaders by U.S. diplomats is damaging, but in such a different way. First, some of the cables leaked point out facts that are inconvenient for those foreign leaders, but indisputable. If you don't want the world to know you're a Muslim leader who keeps a Ukrainian nurse with him, perhaps he should consider changing his behavior. Such a thing is an open secret in Middle Eastern diplomatic circles, it's just the worldwide exposure that will cause the angst. As well it should.

I just don't see the difference at all. Too big to fail. Too important to disclose. Right.

Deep Throat (2)

threaded (89367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698676)

Of course they are the same, even to the extent that apparently deep throat was involved in both the Pentagon Papers and some incident in Sweden.

Flawed Premise (2)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698686)

From TFA

The Pentagon Papers...revealed official wrongdoing or, at the least, a pervasive lack of candor by the government to its people.

WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret.

and

Taken as a whole, however, a leak of this elephantine magnitude, which appears to demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S., is difficult to defend on any basis other than WikiLeaks' general disdain for any secrecy at all.

This premise is flawed. The government's misconduct is clear - they have systematically lied to the people. We're supposed to be a democracy, and that quite simply IS NOT POSSIBLE without the truth. The quicker we all come to grips with this fact the better.

No misconduct found in the leaks? That's a lie. (3, Interesting)

The Raven (30575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698754)

I'm confused, because TFA states "Taken as a whole, however, a leak of this elephantine magnitude, which appears to demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S., is difficult to defend on any basis other than WikiLeaks' general disdain for any secrecy at all." Did the author even look at them, or just accept this fact from others, because I've heard of several examples of misconduct. I've also heard of a ton of stuff that's innocuous or laudable, and I personally am uncertain this leak was overall a good idea, but to say that the release brought no evils to light is disengenuous at best.

The most notable that I recall is funding of companies that support child sex slavery [change.org] . That's a pretty serious charge that was suppressed for political reasons. I don't really follow all the furor over the leaks, but I know there were other similarly damaging issues brought to light, and you cannot truthfully state that there was 'no misconduct' found.

Potato, Potato; Tomato, Tomato (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698806)

What some people call diplomacy, others call dirty back room deals.

I can't call it diplomacy when the diplomats are called upon to act as a spy. I can't call it diplomacy when it is shown that the government is not acting in the interests of its people but are, instead, acting in the interests of businesses bother foreign and domestic.

Surely, there are grey areas, but I will agree that holding back diplomatic dealings having to do with ending the Vietnam war are different from the materials Wikileaks released. The types of dealings the government is engaged in now is very different from the dealings it was involved in in the past. The motivations and interests are quite different as far as I can see. (I welcome new and factual information if anyone has any... was the Vietnam war motivated by greed and business or was it simply fear of communism?)

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