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The Paradox of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the neither-animal,-vegetable,-or-mineral dept.

The Internet 266

schnell writes "The New Statesman is publishing a new in-depth article that examines in detail the seemingly paradoxical nature of WikiLeaks' brave mission of public transparency with the private opaqueness of Julian Assange's leadership. On one hand, WikiLeaks created 'a transparency mechanism to hold governments and corporations to account' when nobody else could or would. On the other hand, WikiLeaks itself was 'guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.' If WikiLeaks performs a public service exposing the secrets of others but censors its own secrets, does it really matter? Or are the ethics of the organization and its leader inseparable?"

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266 comments

A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833499)

Julian Assange may be a bit cocky, but keep in mind that a lot of this "Cult of Assange" shit and a lot of the infighting reports came from Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a person of VERY questionable motives and honesty--to say the least. His dubious book [amazon.com] is the source of many of these reports.

Now personally, I've always strongly suspected that Domscheit-Berg was an intelligence plant at Wikileaks (working for the CIA, BND, or take your pick). He started to physically sabotage the organization pretty much from day one, acted a lot like an agent provocateur when he was there, destroyed some 3,500 unpublished whistleblower communications as he was leaving, immediately went on a campaign to discredit Wikileaks and Assange after he left, and then unsuccessfully tried [slashdot.org] to set up a leaks site himself that sounded suspiciously like a honeypot to me (send us your leaked documents and trust us to maybe release them to the press--or maybe just send some FBI agents to kick down your door). And apparently Assange suspected this too.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833609)

All I know is, Wikileak's goals were laudable, their execution questionable, and their Fuhrer is a complete asshole.

Where does that leave them ethically? Who the fuck knows, but I'd like somebody else to take their place, because they lost all my confidence in them as soon as they editorialized and monetized their leaks.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833877)

States - in modern, representative democracies, are accountable to the people who fund the state for common welfare and interest.

The transparency and accountability of the state is different in imperative from that of the individual - who has an expectation of privacy to guarantee the conduct of free expression and personal liberty.

Equating Assange's alleged personal characteristics and style of management with the opaqueness and corruption committed by states acting in excess of their authority is false. Doing so reflects a very poor understanding of any of the core rights and issues that are at the heart of the WikiLeaks mission.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (3, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834345)

Further, last time I checked, Assange didn't have a police force or military with which to enforce his Rule of Law upon his subjects.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834619)

Except WikiLeaks leaks things from private organizations as well such as Barclays so that argument doesn't quite hold up.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834855)

Wikileaks also lacks the ability to cause a global financial crisis.

Wow. Simply wow. (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833631)

keep in mind that a lot of this "Cult of Assange" shit and a lot of the infighting reports came from Daniel Domscheit-Berg

I think most of the "Cult of Assenge" thing comes from open-minded and observant people like me who barely even know who this Daniel Domscheit-Berg is.

And speaking of "Cult of Assange" paranoia ...

Now personally, I've always strongly suspected that Domscheit-Berg was an intelligence plant at Wikileaks (working for the CIA, BND, or take your pick...

How often do you need to have your tin-foil hat refitted?

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833727)

How often do you need to have your tin-foil hat refitted?

You know, believe it or not, there are actual conspiracies in this world that are real. And there are actually real spies and real saboteurs whose job it is to infiltrate organizations deemed national security threats. They get paid to do it and everything.

After all, what do you think 130,000 CIA employees do all day, sit around and stare at the walls?

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (4, Funny)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833971)

After all, what do you think 130,000 CIA employees do all day, sit around and stare at the walls?

No, Goats

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (1)

mrops (927562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834167)

No Goatse.

Often they took the pictures.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833991)

Actually, we sit around and stare at the goats.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834205)

After all, what do you think 130,000 CIA employees do all day, sit around and stare at the walls?

No, most sit and do documentation. Some deal all day with bureacratic nonsense. While there is a field operations division, most of them are a bit busy on other continents to worry about some random guy leaking confidential State Department cables.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834363)

After all, what do you think 130,000 CIA employees do all day, sit around and stare at the walls?

No, most sit and do documentation. Some deal all day with bureacratic nonsense. While there is a field operations division, most of them are a bit busy on other continents to worry about some random guy leaking confidential State Department cables.

Yes, other continents like Europe, you know, where Assange was.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834473)

And where 30 million people died within living memory. And where the difference between freedom and democracy (there is one) got a little more than just a toehold in the form of communism, in even more recent memory.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834409)

about some random guy leaking confidential State Department cables.

And you're saying this wouldn't concern them?

Were you born retarded or is this a recent development?

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (1)

Zlotnick (74376) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834829)

I presume they're writing Robert Ludlum novels. At least "24" fan-fiction.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833821)

I think most of the "Cult of Assenge" thing comes from open-minded and observant people like me who barely even know who this Daniel Domscheit-Berg is.

What does that have to do with anything? Whether you know who someone is or not has nothing whatsoever to do with whether they are the origin of a meme you swallowed and began regurgitating.

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (1)

gutnor (872759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833981)

How often do you need to have your tin-foil hat refitted?

Preventing/controlling government secrets leaks and acquiring other government one is like the mandate of the CIA and all other intelligence service in the world. That means that their job is to look for people that have secret document from the government and plan to leak (to China or Wikileaks, it does not matter).

To take an analogy, it is not paranoia to think that police will try to get you/trap you if you plan to rob a bank / set up a drug dealing network / assassinate somebody / ...

Re:Wow. Simply wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834141)

Wait a second, I don't know which side of the 20-sided die you're on but if you claim to be "observant" regarding Assange and Wikileaks and yet you say that you "barely even know who this Daniel Domscheit-Berg is" then you're obviously not observant at all about Wikileaks. That's like not knowing who Jacob Applebaum is.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833639)

Julian Assange may be a bit cocky,

That is a nice way of saying rapist.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833839)

Yeah, those rapists.

I remember a guy who made a speech [guardian.co.uk] calling for a global currency to challenge the dollar. Turns out he became a rapist too, just a few months after making that speech in fact. Well, he was a rapist for a while anyway. The DA later admitted that the previously "rock solid" case against him was completely bogus--exactly three days after his successor at the IMF took office. Coincidental timing, I guess.

But then I guess I would be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat if I suggested that there was anything suspicious about the timing of some rape charges.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834407)

Ain't it curious how people whose politics you agree with are always the "innocent victims of nefarious smear campaigns", and people whose politics you disagree with always use their money, influence, and power to avoid prosecution on charges they were "unquestionably guilty of?"

It's almost like, no matter what happens, you'll find a way to prove that it's all part of the conspiracy!

Clearly the mark of a stable, rational intellect.

And that's a terrible way to say "nosy". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834109)

How DARE he meddle with the crimes of the USA!!!!

We'd have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for those nosy kids!

(PS if you've ever had sex in the mornining then you're as much a rapist as you paint JA).

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833789)

Assange pissed-off a lot of his 'friends' in the journalist world. There's a lot of people who were angry with him, and it had nothing to do with Berg or raping or whatever.

Nothing personal, but the types of people who would form something like Wikileaks are probably not the most psychologically stable. It's not a huge surprise it collapsed into internal dissent.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (3, Insightful)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833845)

If he was a plant, he wouldn't have drawn attention to himself and would still quietly be working at Wikileaks, sabotaging whatever he could. Or giving at least a heads-up to his handlers. Don't get me wrong, informants can be problematic and handlers can be dumb. But all and all, if he was on the take, he'd be acting differently.

Incompetence or ego is significantly more likely than malice.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834013)

to paraphrase Lewis Black:

If you want to bust a guy, and he's an asshole ... you don't hire a BIGGER asshole to go after him, because then the bigger asshole makes the asshole look like it's just a rectum.

Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834709)

I am usually afraid of anyone who feels that they do whatever they want without the fear of being punished for breaking laws, because he is on some "Moral/Religious high-ground"

When you perform Civil disobedience, you do it expecting to be put in jail, as your point is that important.
For Assange, He did his thing he made his statement now he is cowering so the officials don't get them. These are actions of a person who thinks he is above the law and will not take responsibility for his action. This type of attitude is rife for corruption. Because we are all human and it is difficult for us to differentiated what is good for ourselves vs what is good for everyone. When someone has such a strong "Moral" stance it means they are often just as greedy to support themselves.

Paparazzi for The Firm (2, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833501)

People are people, so why should it be, you and I should know everything about each other? Good fences make good neighbors?
Corporations however, are either breaking your heart, or shaking your confidence daily, so you need to have loads of info on them.
Or was that my pretend girlfriend Cecilia that I was stalking? Either way, you totally understand what I am saying.

One can't be 100% transparent (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833543)

Wikileaks and all of the people working for it are OBVIOUSLY going to need to obfuscate details about themselves. Look at the absolutely living nightmare of a shitstorm that Assange has been dragged through. Look where he is now.

But no, hey, let's be transparent. How about all of the contacts at Wikileaks post their full contact information. SURELY nobody on earth has any axe to grind against them, and they will remain in perfect harmony and safety.

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (2)

genghisjahn (1344927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834105)

So, due to the nature of their work, Wikileaks needs to keep some things secret. Governments can't follow the same rationale?

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (3, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834221)

Nope, because governments and corporations are not people. They are virtual entities created and empowered by groups of people and have the responsibility to be transparent regarding what use they do of the power they receive from these people.

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (2)

Loughla (2531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834487)

While governments and corporations are not people, I would argue that governments, at least, have some right to privacy in certain situations.

Again, like with most things, it's not an all or nothing proposition. Should I know how my congressman voted on the last counter-espionage act? Absolutely. Should I know roughly what the spies that now receive funding are doing? Absolutely. Should I know where they're doing it or who they are? No. Maybe I should roughly know where they're operating - as in region of the planet. But, for their safety, and the safety of their operation, they deserve some privacy.

People like you need to stop making the argument that government and corporations are: (a) the same thing and (b) bound to laws that are always black and white all the time. Believe it or not, there is a shit-load of gray area in the world.

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834643)

Nope, because governments and corporations are not people. They are virtual entities created and empowered by groups of people and have the responsibility to be transparent regarding what use they do of the power they receive from these people.

Yeah, totally unlike Mr. Wikil E. Aks, the really real human being person who is not at all a virtual entity created and empowered by groups of individuals supplying and sifting through data supplied to it by other individuals.

So godspeed, Wikil! Your status as a human being who is certainly not a group of people is secure and completely real, as I've been assured! It also renders you completely excused from any responsibility to these nonexistent people who don't comprise you and the organizations to whom you disseminate the stockpiles of information you have in your garage that you personally own, on account of how much you're so totally a person and not an organization!

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834659)

Wikileaks is also a virtual entity created and empowered by people, not a person.

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834311)

Governments can't follow the same rationale?

They're doing it and Wikileaks acts against it. What's your point? Surely governments and wikileaks are two completely different kinds of entities with completely different aims and purposes, just because Wikileaks advocates government transparency doesn't mean or imply in any way that they ought to advocate wikileaks transparency. There is no "paradox" to start with.

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834587)

Indeed. It's a bit like accusing the police of having double standards. "What? You get to carry a gun wherever you go but when I do it I get arrested for bank robbery!?!?!"

Re:One can't be 100% transparent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834613)

Look where he is now.

Evading Swedish authorities by using a tin-pot third world dictatorship who suddenly cares about human rights when somebody is willing to crow about how wonderful they are?

Oh yeah, that really helped Assange's credibility.

"to produce ... a more just society" (2, Interesting)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833573)

My problem with wikileaks is its heavy anti-american bias. It seems like he wants to embarrass the U.S. just for the sake of embarrassment, and not to make the world "a more just society".

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833697)

Perhaps the U.S. have a lot to motives to feel embarrased...

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833763)

The biggest surprise of the leaks was that the US didn't have more to be embarrassed about.....

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834451)

For me, it was the contrary. I was pleasantly surprised at the professional nature of the reports which were leaked. Were mistakes made? Yes, but the reports did not uncover any earth shattering conspiracies that we didn't already know about.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834507)

No mod points, so I will have to reply stating that this is a pretty interesting point.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834903)

Thank you, sir.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833779)

My problem with wikileaks is its heavy anti-american bias. It seems like he wants to embarrass the U.S. just for the sake of embarrassment, and not to make the world "a more just society".

If you look at the great evils in the world today you can pretty much name them the USA, China, and Russia. They're the nations who are wandering around the planet dicking with other nations' governments the most, selling the most military hardware and/or engaging in the most metanational corporate activity. We could argue all day over whether these nations are truly in competition or are really engaged in dividing the globe up between themselves in a way they see as equitable and it wouldn't change a damn thing for the average man on the street anywhere in the world, including within these nations.

The USA is projecting more power across the globe in the name of profit than any other nation, so naturally it should fall under the most scrutiny. And unfortunately, the more scrutiny you subject this government to, the more serious malfeasance you find. At some point you expect things to stop getting worse, but they don't; the system is rotten to the core. It might well look like the USA is being singled out, but perhaps the truth is that the USA is simply up to more misdeeds. The facts seem to support this hypothesis.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834031)

you're forgetting the UK

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834505)

The USA is projecting more power across the globe in the name of profit than any other nation, so naturally it should fall under the most scrutiny.

The issue here is that most people equate American business interests across the globe to American government. Like it or not, they're two different things with two different aims. One aims to protect profits, one aims to protect itself. I'll let you figure out which one is which.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834657)

If you look at the great evils in the world today you can pretty much name them the USA, China, and Russia. They're the nations who are wandering around the planet dicking with other nations' governments the most,

There are many ways to define "great evil".

Syria has been massacring their citizens for some time (no one gives a shit, especially the left-wing anti-US crowd).

North Korea continues to starve their own people.

The left-wing anti-US crowd doesn't seem to care about France's invasion of Mali.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833861)

I understand your point of view, but you are wrong.

The majority of the documents relate to the US because it is the only nation that documents all of their misdeeds so in-depth.

Ironically, that is what makes the US better, they use that data to always improve.

Further, wikileaks has posted numerous documents to political scandals in European, North African, and Asian nations.

Re:"to produce ... a more just society" (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834549)

The Syria files embarrassed the US?

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

The US is embarrassed by things it SHOULD be embarrassed by.

Take it for what it is. (2)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833581)

Anywhere you get news is going to have an agenda or be hypocritical to some extent (some obviously more than others). It's human nature. Take that into account when evaluating the information they give and look at sources from other perspectives as well before making informed decisions. If you wanted to disregarded news because the source was jaded in some way, you'd have to cut yourself off from media altogether.

It takes one to know one (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833607)

Because Assange himself is a private person with lots of things to hide, he is able to think in terms of what it takes to get secrets out -- that is his obsession. Someone who spent all his life completely open, with nothing to hide, would not know the minds of secretive people and could not have made WikiLeaks.

Where is the balance? (4, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833627)

We the people do seem to have spent a lot of time blindly supporting Wiki-leaks without much critical analysis going on of whether the function was being done right or even being done well.

Its rather too easy to just say that we are glad that they are sticking it to the man when they release stuff that causes governments serious embarrassment. But I dont see much discussion of the consequences to the behavior of Government in future as a result of un-redacted mass publishing of private information.

We wouldn't be too happy as individuals if the contents of our lives were copied and published online so why is Wikileaks so immune from criticism? Its high time there was more constructive criticism of Wiki-leaks and its role in the world.

Re:Where is the balance? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833705)

We the people do seem to have spent a lot of time blindly supporting Wiki-leaks without much critical analysis going on of whether the function was being done right or even being done well.

I'll worry more about that when they have more competition. I want done what they are doing. If they're the only hope of transparency, then I'm going to back them. If another, more credible hope appears, I'll back them instead.

Re:Where is the balance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834897)

Amen! Oh crap...

Re:Where is the balance? (2)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833737)

We the people do seem to have spent a lot of time blindly supporting Wiki-leaks without much critical analysis going on of whether the function was being done right or even being done well.

Its rather too easy to just say that we are glad that they are sticking it to the man when they release stuff that causes governments serious embarrassment. But I dont see much discussion of the consequences to the behavior of Government in future as a result of un-redacted mass publishing of private information.

We wouldn't be too happy as individuals if the contents of our lives were copied and published online so why is Wikileaks so immune from criticism? Its high time there was more constructive criticism of Wiki-leaks and its role in the world.

If I committed crimes and acted in bad faith while people died through my actions and inactions, my arrest records, mug shots, and all my secrets would be revealed in court. Rightly so, I would also argue.

So the question is, has Wikileaks published the contents of people's lives who have not done any wrong? If they start doing that, then we can start the criticism.

The lack of consequences to the behavior of governments is because the people don't demand them, because they have swallowed the pill that Wikileaks puts troops in harms way, that trumped up and manufactured rape charges are true, and that those who leak information to them are traitors. Plus they wouldn't even do anything anyway if doors were getting kicked in and people getting rounded up into boxcars.

Re:Where is the balance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834127)

"If I committed crimes and acted in bad faith..."

"The lack of consequences to the behavior of governments is because the people don't demand them..."

What does your bad faith have to do with Wikileaks? I've neither seen nor heard evidence that any innocents were damaged by the publication of materials that were outed by Wikileaks.

The lack of consequences to the behavior of governments is because the people don't demand them.

This last is insufferable. I live in the states, and I've been listening to people call for accountability in government since before Nixon was allowed to resign in disgrace rather than suffer the legal consequences of his crimes. People here began calling for accountability from the Bush administration from the moment is took office, and there's been no shortage of public outcry from the crimes that led the U.S. to war in Iraq to jail-time for bankers.

With all due respect, your opinion is ill-informed, ill-formed and just plain ill. Where do you live anyway, Bhutan?

Re:Where is the balance? (4, Informative)

Americano (920576) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834901)

I've neither seen nor heard evidence that any innocents were damaged by the publication of materials that were outed by Wikileaks.

Then you haven't been paying attention, because Assange himself has admitted that innocents have been killed (not just 'damaged') by the publication of materials outed by Wikileaks.

The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. "1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak," says Assange.

(source [guardian.co.uk] )

He goes on to whitewash that figure by citing malaria statistics - I guess in Africa, if you're responsible for killing fewer people than the average yearly death toll from malaria, you're eligible for sainthood, and all your sins are forgiven.

You can't play it both ways - either there are real world consequences for the publication of the data that you own the responsibility for, or there are no real world consequences and all you're doing is play-acting in front of a camera. Which is it?

I live in the states, and I've been listening to people call for accountability[...]

So you've noticed that there's a difference between what people say, and what they do, have you? Welcome to conscious existence. People have been calling for accountability, and re-electing the same bunch of retards and crooks every couple years, because "it's not MY GUY who's the problem - he's helping us out here! It's those R's or D's from other places who need to get tossed out on their asses!"

Until the public understands and accepts that accountability means more than "bitching to my co-worker who agrees with me while we have lunch," the accountability won't happen. There need to be actual teeth behind the threats of "voting for the other guy," "initiating recalls and impeachments," and other penalties for behaving badly.

In informing people of things governments need to be held accountable for, Wikileaks *does* provide a valuable service. The problem is, that value is often overshadowed by Assange's attention-seeking and grandstanding behavior.

Re:Where is the balance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834155)

Part of the problem most Wikipedia supporters are still neglecting is the fact that what they did isn't real whistleblowing and that they may have done harm to innocent parties. No one seems to care that not every identity that the US government keeps hidden is a spy out in the field. There is a high chance that these documents could have contained information to undermine the effort of a party that really means to free their people from all kinds of ill will. People that the average Wikipedia supporter would have supported themselves had they known the whole truth of the matter.
 
But once that genie is out of the bottle the friendly parties would have their lives and the lives of their families at risk. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Re:Where is the balance? (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834285)

We wouldn't be too happy as individuals if the contents of our lives were copied and published online so why is Wikileaks so immune from criticism? Its high time there was more constructive criticism of Wiki-leaks and its role in the world.

Because governments are not people. They should not enjoy any rights of privacy at all. It is anathema to what they stand for,

Re:Where is the balance? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834825)

without much critical analysis going on

What cave have you been living in? The organization, its process, and the guy have been investigated, probed, and pilloried by governments, media, freelance journalists, and J Random Blogger.

I dont see much discussion of the consequences to the behavior of Government in future

Have you not noticed the backlash against America's use of diplomatic pressure to strong-arm European governments on copyright policy? Did you sleep through the Arab Spring?

We wouldn't be too happy as individuals

These are not individuals and they are not random. They are organizations that are violating their charters. Governments acting against the interests of their citizens. Corporations harming the free market. Just like when a criminal gets caught and the sordid details of his life get published at trial, or like when an innocent person gets accused and the sordid details of his life become the subject of the police blotter.

why is Wikileaks so immune from criticism?

It, and its leadership, have been subject to enormous criticism, and even threats of assassination. Criticism of Wikileaks is the subject of this very article. How did you get here without noticing that?

propaganda (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833647)

It's incredible how anti-Assange the US media is. They even try to create this pseudo-opinion of "I am really progressive and don't like war and all that, but Assange is just not right not to come clean about this."

This is nothing but an empire fighting using the media, and some "intellectuals" not quite realizing how serious the situation really is. Of course the US government wants him dead and we know the US government kills right and left with no considerations for anything.

Re:propaganda (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834153)

It's incredible how anti-Assange the US media is. They even try to create this pseudo-opinion of "I am really progressive and don't like war and all that, but Assange is just not right not to come clean about this."

The US media is anti-Assange because the US government is anti-Assange. US news organizations have basically declared themselves tools of the government. Some examples of this:
- There was recently a dust-up over the New York Times revealing the existence of a drone base in Saudi Arabia, a drone base that several news organizations had known about for 2 years but never reported on, even though its existence had been covered in other media. In other words, there was no legitimate reason to keep its existence secret, because any bad guys would have been able to find out about it using a sophisticated tool known as "Google", but media organizations in the US didn't say a word about it because the government asked them to keep it a secret.

- Cenk Uygur was hired at MSNBC because of his successful online news program. He does a few shows, but then one of the network execs pulls him aside and tells him that some politicians in Washington don't like his reporting, so he needs to change it. Cenk didn't change it, and was promptly fired.

- Several news organizations sat on a story that provided significant evidence of a massive illegal domestic surveillance program run by the Bush administration. For a year and a half. For the sole reason that the Bush administration had asked them to. It just so happened that that year and a half gave Bush enough time to be re-elected in the interim.

Also, there's no major news organization that doesn't like war. War is exciting and entertaining. War draws in viewers and readers. War sells ads for the armed forces and cool guns and fast cars and action-packed movie extravaganzas. Remember, if it's white and bleeds, it leads (not-white and bleeds may be acceptable if no white victims are available).

Re:propaganda (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834845)

The media doesn't like competition. When Assange started dropping major headlines he 1.) took eyeballs away from the latest Kim Kardashian sightings headlining in the MSM thus costing them money and forcing them to do real work, 2.) Made the MSM look trivial and incompetent since they obviously hadn't been paying much attention or care, 3.) endangered the cozy relationship media has with government by dsrupting their monopoly relationship.

DISCREDIT THE MESSENGER! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833655)

guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose,

Oh, bullshit. The scale of obfuscation and misinformation exposed by Wikileaks is nothing like any internal problems it has had.

It is thoroughly depressing that people are suckered in by on-going ad hominem attempts to discredit WIkileaks. It's absolutely pathetic. Pay attention what the organisation was actually trying to do; understand how important it is for modern civilisation; and try not to be distracted by attempts to re-image this is some sort of Saturday evening celebrity deathmatch.

Jemima Khan Turns on Julian Assange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833661)

Jemima Khan featured in the story above.

Assange just wants to be 007. Clearly, Khan doesn't know what being a "Bond Girl" really means (bondage and all).

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/08/jemima-khan-turns-on-julian-assange-the-australian-l-ron-hubbard.html

Yeah, so I guess all sources must be given up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833681)

Yeah, so I guess all sources must be given up, right? Otherwise it's "hypocrisy" to claim whistleblowing whilst hiding your sources from being blown.

What a load of bogshite.

The difference is power (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833683)

Exposing secrets of powerful institutions that can manipulate the fate of humanity isn't in the same league as the secrets that organization may hold. Isn't even the same galaxy.

You can't take revenge and prosecute the powers that be. If you could, they wouldn't be powers and they wouldn't require whistleblowing. Wikileaks, on the otherhand, is very destructible.

Re:The difference is power (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833745)

There's always a justification to hide something, and the organization doing the hiding always thinks they have the right...

News just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833733)

An individual wanting greater transparency for governments and corporations believes in personal privacy! What a hypocrit! /s

Eh, that's just Assange's personality (2)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833813)

He has an agenda. Which is fine. Except that he's not entirely open about it. It'd be more honest, but admittedly not as effective, if he just announced his intentions upfront and transparently. Are the folks he outs bad people? Probably. Doesn't mean he's a good guy. Half of the United States' foreign policy problems stem from a belief in "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Not by a landslide.

Everyone has an axe to grind. Figuring it out is sometimes easy, sometimes extremely convoluted. Assange has an ego the size of the Vatican.

Also I don't pay taxes to Wikileaks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833827)

So I don't expect them to be transparent to me. They don't claim to be a democracy.

This is but another attempt to slander Wikileaks and Assange. You'll have to do a lot better than that...

Wikileaks & Assange 124 - 0 US fascist corporatist cleptocrazy

Re:Also I don't pay taxes to Wikileaks (2)

tiedemann (214491) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834791)

Perhaps the most important thing is to recognize the fact that Assange != WikiLeaks. I for one believe strongly in the latter but not the former. The real work has been done by other people - he's just what media (and some others) mistake for the same thing.

wikileaks didn't say anything people didn't know (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833911)

diplomacy is strong arming other nations
diplomats talk bad about other government officials in private because most top government officials are workaholics who don't mind pissing off others
us is killing civilians in our wars
bankers aren't these glorious people who give you a mortgage with a smile. i know, i ride the train with a lot of them to work.

newsflash to nerds, real life is not star wars or star trek where everyone calls others by their official government/military title and says how awesome they are serving their government and dealing with others on a fair basis. go read some history in how real life really works

Government transparency..... (4, Insightful)

yuje (1892616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833921)

is not incompatible with personal privacy.

Transparency isn't the goal (1)

nuggz (69912) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833923)

I don't think transparency is their goal.

Their goal is to push their political adgenda which is basically anti- anything big & powerful.
Transparency is just a cover.

The reality is we need transparency and accountability to control the big powers effectively.
However, realistically they also need some secrets to function effectively.

It isn't black and white like crypto, with a public algorithm and secret key where everyone (with a clue) is in agreement where the line is.

In the real world the division of what should and should not be shared is not as clear.

Hypocrite != Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42833929)

Can someone please buy the OP a dictionary?

Secrecy (4, Insightful)

msheekhah (903443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42833945)

The secrecy was designed to protect the volunteers that worked on his project. He was anonymous for a long time, before he was outed. He takes the safety of his volunteers seriously, even if he does work them pretty hard.

Re:Secrecy^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HAbuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834359)

presumably you're referring to the Scandinavian women volunteers...

Re:Secrecy^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HAbuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834435)

You mean the ones that never filed charges or couldn't be bothered to actually fight their alleged "abuse"?

Re:Secrecy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834725)

He takes the safety of his volunteers seriously, even if he does work them pretty hard.

Why don't you bend over? I'll work you pretty hard.

Captain Obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834035)

Corporations are not people.

If a significant portion of the population does not immediately understand the difference and come to the obvious conclusion that we should be fighting tooth and nail to fix this insane failure of our legal system, then we deserve to die fat and stupid in our BushObama cages.

Yea, no bias here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834067)

"... of WikiLeaks' brave mission of ..."

Fucking morons, loose lips sink ships, and get people killed.

Is that what you stand for?

I prefer security, of my country that is, fuck all the others.

Wikileaks can do whatever it wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834073)

... since it's NOT public, not payed by MY TAXES.
Unlike governments.

Double standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834079)

Everyone has them, especially corporations and institutions.

One big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834081)

While wikileaks might be secretive too, we didn't elect them, and they don't claim any power over us. The people wikileaks are trying to expose, are people we elected and claim power over us, be it government or corporate. I have to worries about abuses within the chain of wikileaks (and I don't hold them to any great high standard, they are an internet site like any others), but they are in the business of exposing undemocratic parts of democracy. There are a lot of governments (the American one in particular), that is hell bent on shooting the messenger. In this regard they are a lesser version of Vladamir Putin. They don't look at fixing the problem, they look at shooting the messenger. Even when they say 'make this problem go away' what they really mean is 'make the messenger go away'. In this case, our public whipping boy is Julian Assange.

Livestrong (4, Insightful)

kaze (55923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834085)

Is Livestrong's anti-cancer mission any less worthy now that Lance Armstrong is de-famed?

Re:Livestrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834281)

Yes, it's a scam cancer "awareness" charity, designed to line the pockets of board of directors, and pay lance enormous speaking fees - you know, he's raising "awareness".

They give relatively fuck-all to help patients, and even less to research.

But hey, trendy yellow wrist band!

No paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834115)

WikiLeaks is a private organization. They can be as secretive as they want. They're not governments. Or do all you people who demand government transparency broadcast every little aspect of your private lives?

I didn't think so.

Re:No paradox (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834469)

WikiLeaks is a private organization. They can be as secretive as they want. They're not governments. Or do all you people who demand government transparency broadcast every little aspect of your private lives?

I think too many people miss this point. Corporations are not people and can be regulated, and there's a lot of credibility in the idea that both corporations and people have different, but substantial, rights to privacy.

Governments might have a need to keep secrets in order to function well, but they don't have the right to keep secrets. (I mean, they have given themselves the right, but that doesn't make it "right".)

Governments must be accountable to the people they serve, and to the greater world. When government information is leaked to someone who is not represented by that government, how would you want it handled? Would you want them to keep and hold it, sell it to the greatest bidder, or release it to the whole world? Don't you want to know the secrets your government is keeping when they have been leaked? Did not everyone in the US have a pretty decent opinion of Wikileaks when they were mostly exposing secrets of other governments and worldwide organizations before they were given a large number of US documents?

If the tables were turned, and a Russian military officer downloaded volumes of information on current Russian operations, leaked it to a third party, and it contained information the US would want to know, wouldn't everyone in the US praise them for releasing information vital to the US that the Russians were keeping secret?

You don't have to like what wikileaks is doing, but they are generally accountable to their employees and supporters. When they aren't breaking the law of the country they operate in, what more do you want? Either believe them, or call BS and move on.

Truth is Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834271)

It doesn't matter whether the person telling the truth is a secret person, or tells compulsive lies or not.
When they do tell the truth, it is still truth and when they tell lies, they are still lies.
So, how does one tell truth from lies, falsehood, duplicity?

Same age old question has been asked for years. Trust? Proof? Faith?
What is Trust when it comes to in an age where information is all digital and can be manipulated in microseconds and Public figures lie as a career?
What is Proof when for the same reasons evidence can be easily tampered to convince an uneducated online public that the lies are facts?

It all comes down to faith in the end. Faith is the belief in something you cannot prove with your senses.

Question is.... Do you have faith in Wikileaks, and what their mission is? Do you have faith that they will not tamper with the evidence? Do you have faith that the information exposed will be used for the betterment of society, and not to weaken our nation further by distraction from what is truly important?

Kompromat (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834321)

There was a prominent article a few years back from an ex-intelligence guy warning Assange that he would be the victim of kompromat (most frequently a sexual honeypot). That subsequently Assange happened to be accused of rape by a woman who was thrown out of Cuba on charges of working with the CIA may be mere coincidence (a valid roll on a million-sided die) but regardless, Assange wasn't able to put his organization over his hormones, which calls into question the appropriateness of his leadership.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ellsberg, the last generation's Assange, is calling for Obama's impeachment [youtube.com] .

"paradox" (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834339)

So...is that the fancy new word for "hypocrite"?

it doesn't matter (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834429)

on as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.' If WikiLeaks performs a public service exposing the secrets of others but censors its own secrets, does it really matter?

No, it doesn't matter. The situations are not parallel. Wikileaks isn't an elected government. They don't and can't "censor" information about themselves or anyone. They keep secrets, same as any reporter does, in particular to keep sources confidential to protect them. No matter how big a jerk Assange is, it's irrelevant to anyone except those who work with him. And clearly Assange could not "censor" stories about himself. "Cultish"? Bollocks. No one was setting themselves on fire on his command.

PR Bullshit (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834449)

while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.

Expected by whom? Who cares what you claim someone expects? I support Wikileaks, and I think Assange is megalomaniacal, and I think they should be more forthcoming with their material and process. An unsubstantiated claim that someone expects something does not imply that supporters of Wikileaks are blinkered, cultish, devotees. This is a shallow and transparent attempt to manipulate people's perception and make them question their support of Wikileaks.

the seemingly paradoxical nature of WikiLeaks' ... mission ... to hold governments and corporations to account ... On the other hand, WikiLeaks itself was 'guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation

The tactics of the two sides are similar, but Wikileaks is trying to help society. The bad guys instigated the use of these tactics, and are harming society. Supporting the former over the latter is only paradoxical to the willfully blind.

no alliance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42834459)

You cannot start a war without support from someone.

Nobody is dirty but the accountability of a goverment is much more important than the accountability of Wikileaks.

The problem of no transparency (3, Insightful)

mpfife (655916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834475)

I'm glad someone wrote up an article about this. I'm actually for the kind of transparency he's promoting; and I think his work has shown that governments cannot and should not be allowed to hide from the truth. He's a brave new pioneer into the kind of work the 'free press' should be doing - but do not because of their limitations (should all reporters know basic hacking techniques in the future - question for another time). WRT the article, referring to his org as a cult is a bit much (but I'm sure there's elements in there as there always are), but here's the real problem with his organization:

His organization has and gets very secret information. This information is often so powerful/secret/damning that could potentially bring down banks, companies, individuals, or maybe even countries or at least their regimes. There are a number of problems with a sole person with this much power.
How do we know if he's not 'cherry-picking' information and just releasing what he wants to cause the reaction he wants? Does he fact-check anything he releases at all? We know news organizations Fox/NPR/et al can do exactly this to sway public opinion. Just because he's releasing information doesn't mean he's releasing ALL the information that would paint a full picture. It doesn't tell us if he's at all modified or tampered with that information. Unless the person who's accused comes out with counter-proof (if there is even a way if the leaked info was purely made up anyway), there is no way to know without a LOT of fact checking of likely terribly secret stuff. But the damage would be done by then. At best it turns into a credibility war; and with no transparency on either side - who are we to believe?
With information so central and key to financial and government systems, what is to keep Assange and co from going rouge and extorting or holding companies, countries or people for blackmail? "Just leave me alone Obama or I'll dump all that stuff about those drone strike kills you ordered". "Ok Goldman, give me 5 million dollars/year and a Lear jet or I leak how you knew about the housing collapse and fed into it" He very well could have information right now that could upset major governments and/or financial institutions, bankrupt huge corporations, and plunge the world into chaos/worse recession. With as somewhat unstable as he seems at times - do you really trust one man bouncing from country to country - living in hotel rooms - to make decisions to 'do the right thing' at all times?
These are all the exact same problems that news organizations have. They must fact check, and release information in a way that promotes truth in our organizations without destroying the very things we need to survive in a modern world. He has none of these burdens.

Re:The problem of no transparency (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834895)

I'd agree with you, except Assange doesn't have some intrinsic power to information. His "power" is that he's trusted to release this information with the wides disbursal. The moment he develops the appearance if cherry picking, he loses that power and whistleblowers will use other outlets.

"several right parentheses short of a closed block (0)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834583)

Between his abuse of women and lack of ear for national police, I dont think he has got it all together.

Article is missing the point (3, Insightful)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834683)

"WikiLeaks itself was 'guilty of the same obfuscation"

The article misses the point of the premise for more government transparency. The main idea is that the more damage a particular entity can do, the more transparency there should be. If a government can decide whom to kill, there should be a full disclosure of the protocol and a way to correct any errors. If such entity is an organization (say that supplies drinking water), there should be an equal transparency for the same reason that any misstep can do a lot of harm.

This universal principle does not get limited to a case of government vs. citizens. For example, if we as people grant special powers to a policeman to detain anyone while on the job, there should be rigorous checks and disclosures in place at the time when that policeman has those special powers. On the other hand, when he goes home and has no such privileges, his privacy should be protected just as anyone’s else.

Wikileaks is not about disclosing “everything about everyone,” but rather about preventing the abuse of power, which is very much a basic requirement for a healthy and just society.

Let's symbolically punch this Blog in the face. (2)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834859)

On the other hand, WikiLeaks itself was 'guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.'

Back in the day we used to have investigative journalists. We didn't get to know what color underwear Walter Cronkite war, or whether Dan Rather burped after a big meal -- somehow we trudged on.

I did not realize that when I went to WikiLeaks to get some INFORMATION I should know as part of a transparent Democracy (because otherwise, how am I an informed citizen?) -- that I was being "slavish". I'm surprised I'm also not part of a cult and heralding Assange as the next Jesus -- isn't that how these straw man arguments go?

I don't give a rats ass about Julian Assange -- he has no real power in this world to abuse. He is beside the point.

Al Gore can make a speech about global warming -- and the environment will change based on science in action -- not whether Al Gore has integrity, or we should worship him. He could be a crook -- it doesn't matter. He's been telling the truth AFAIK, but we don't "sink or swim" on sea level rise based on the messenger.

Screw everyone who thinks that we have to hold people accountable for bringing us information. Debate the damn information -- or shut the fuck up. Anyone who wants to conflate the purpose of WikiLeaks with some bedroom gazing of it's founder or maybe the Janitor can kiss my damn ass. That goes for any subject in the future; debate the science, debate the value, debate the information. You debate the "personality" and we know you are an a-hole.

The "begging of the question" here truly pisses me off.

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