Wikileaks Department of State documents

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Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Brekkie » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:03 am

There are quite a few people in politics that are either deliberately or unknowingly misunderstanding the DEFINITION of classified material.  I find that very disturbing.
You can't just classify whatever the he'll you want, there is an executive order outline VERY specific criteria for proper justification of classifying a piece of information, and very specific channels through which to get authorization to do it.

This was not some kind of glorious triumph of truth over evil government cover-ups, all those documents were classified for a reason.  A lot of people are being deliberately naive about the realities of the world.

For example, spying. EVERYBODY spies on each other, even allies.  It's simply a question of efficiency.  It's a lot more efficient to let someone else go through all the trouble of gathering information, and then steal it from them, then it is to gather the information yourself and risk your own intelligence resources.
That doesn't mean you go up to the British or Australian prime minister and go "We stole this info from you lol.", A) because it's rude, and more importantly B) cause then everybody knows exactly what your spy capabilities are and the security elements we are able to bypass, thus putting our actual operatives at risk.
It's like if we invented this great new fighter jet, but then immediately put the blueprints for it on the Internet.

Secondly, other governments say stuff to us in confidence, because they are trying to accomplish things we can help them with, and visa versa.   But if we were to immediately post everything anyone says to us in confidence on the Internet, NO ONE WOULD TALK TO US.  Pretty hard to get anything done diplomatically if that happens.

There is no objectively justifiable reason for the public publishing of the Department of State documents, in my humble opinion. I can somewhat understand and intellectually sympathize with the publishing of mistakes and blue on blue casualties by US combat forces. Even if I disagree with outsiders second guessing troops in combat, I can understand the legitimacy of that view point.
I cannot understand how this new release is defensible, however.

Was interested to hear your guys opinions on this, since it's hard to find anywhere to have a reasonable discussion on this topic with people who don't just jump down each others throats.

On a personal note on how this specifically affects me, as an embassy guard responsible for the protection of diplomatic classified material, everybody in the embassies are freaking out. Really freaking out. This could set us back so much and really tangibly hurt this country.
The government issued a notice that none of us are allowed to read the wikileaks releases because it is still classified info, even though it's in public domain now. Guys in Iraq are tell me they literally get a window that pops up when they try to go to any major news site that says "You realize you are potentially breaking the law. Click here to do so anyway."

I do think it's interesting that the Internet is kind of policing it's own, with amazon taking wikileaks down, all the web hosts throwing the site out, pay pal freezing their funding, and numerous DDOS hack attacks attempting to keep the info down.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Passionario » Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:28 pm

I find it curious that among 250K leaked documents, not a single one contains any particularly embarrassing or damning for the US.

Either your government keeps its hands that clean... or the leak was less than accidental.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Brekkie » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:08 pm

I'd have two comments about that:

1) you'll note that the vast majority of the documents are of a very low level of classification, and none of them are above Secret/No Foreign. There is nothing they have at the Top Secret level. This is likely because of the clearance level and Need To Know of whoever the source was; he or she simply didn't have access to anything higher than Secret/No Foreign. In fact, his or her ability to gain access to so many documents at all, from so many different unrelated departments, is weird by it's self. When you get a clearance you don't just get a free reign to open the vault, so to speak, and start looking up the Kennedy assassination and area 51. What you have access to is strictly limited by Need To Know, even to the extent that different people working on the same thing might have different information pools. The fact that the source had access to so much material, even though the vast majority of it is of very low classification level, means they were either in some kind of global analyst position, or they did some serious hacking.

2) what were you expecting? That we have alien space ships and torture small puppies?
And anyway, only a tiny fraction of the documents have been publicly released so far, 700 and something last I heard.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby duruk » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:41 pm

A couple of comments:

1) It's probably not a single source. As a high profile web page, I'd be very careful about posting a one-source leak. Multiple sources confirming each others material is more believable than single source material (conspiracies aside).

2) I've not read any of the documents and I don't really think I will. But the important thing about the leaks is not really what they contain, but that they happen at all. It gives people a possibility to see how the minds in authority think. And perhaps gives people enough incetive to use their votes to change how their government operates.

3) Assange is scary. No matter what people are charging him with, he can claim conspiracies and get away with them. That kind of being above the law is scary.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby thegreatheed » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:12 pm

Passionario wrote:I find it curious that among 250K leaked documents, not a single one contains any particularly embarrassing or damning for the US.

Either your government keeps its hands that clean... or the leak was less than accidental.


That's kinda what people are saying. These "leaks" are causing an outrage among the non-informed, (the majority), but to anyone paying attention with their eyes open, nothing new is being revealed, AT ALL. Yet our government will probably take the opportunity to seize upon this "crisis" and enact some top heavy freedom depriving regulations on media or the internet. Here's the latest buzz, now some politicians are saying, "we need to close down Fox News AND Msnbc." Apparently somehow the censoring of public opinion is ok if you censor more.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Barathorn » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:22 am

All we got by way of notification of this on the news in England was a clip of someone on Fox news saying that whoever leaked this stuff should be executed and the newsreader didn't even comment on that after the guy said it!

I was more shocked that people can say that on a major news channel and not even be questioned about it than the actual leaks which are likely to contain nothing of interest.
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deleted

Postby Njall » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:50 am

Barathorn wrote:All we got by way of notification of this on the news in England was a clip of someone on Fox news saying that whoever leaked this stuff should be executed and the newsreader didn't even comment on that after the guy said it!

I was more shocked that people can say that on a major news channel and not even be questioned about it than the actual leaks which are likely to contain nothing of interest.



It's Fox. Often the voice of the hysterical and/or unthinking - and that's what they are paid to do. Sad, really, how Yellow Journalism has become the norn in the US media.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Shoju » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:32 am

I personally believe that the government has too many secrets about too many things, and it is about time that someone aired some of it. I don't think that this is the way that it should have been done, but I do believe that it is about time that the United States Government realized that they can't just do whatever they want to whoever they want however they want and cram a line of BS down the publics throat about it.
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Re: deleted

Postby fudomyou » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:27 am

Njall wrote:It's Fox. Often the voice of the hysterical and/or unthinking - and that's what they are paid to do. Sad, really, how Yellow Journalism has become the norn in the US media.


That's what cable news and the 24-hour news cycle have done to us. 24-hour news channels don't get ratings from distilling an hour of What's Important like the network news shows do. They get their ratings from What's Now.

I remember watching CNN at lunch at my old job - at lunch, they would simply post videos of burning buses, burning houses, etc. from across the 50 states as submitted by users or various feeds. That's not even that strange for the Youtube era of news. Ratings are based on how fast you have the news, but also on how fast you have an opinion about the news, and the news networks have been forced to follow the money.

Back to the topic at hand: the latest Wikileaks stuff is my least favorite kind of sensationalism, making storms in teacups and claiming that it's news. As mentioned, the last set of leaks about casualties is much more in line with what people deserve to know. It was the kind of information that's been actively and maliciously suppressed in the past (see: Tillman, Pat - the public was lied to in that case).

This stuff is essentially the posting of private conversations, and that's beyond irresponsible.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Dorvan » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:31 am

Hm, Assange's credibility as simply someone who wants to get important information out there doesn't hold up so well when he, for examples, tries to blackmail the US not to arrest him.
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Re: deleted

Postby Njall » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:36 am

fudomyou wrote:
This stuff is essentially the posting of private conversations, and that's beyond irresponsible.


Yes, it is. And is prosecutable under the various acts governing secrecy in the US. And should be prosecuted as such. It is not, however, treasonable - which has a very specific definition thankfully. I just find the inflamed, patriotic chest beating and weeping over the matter on some channels very dissapoiting.

There was a good article on the decay of the US media as a reliable news source by Ted Koppel in the Washington Post last month. Very interesting and sobering reading.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111202857.html
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Re: deleted

Postby Thalia » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:47 pm

Njall wrote:
fudomyou wrote:
This stuff is essentially the posting of private conversations, and that's beyond irresponsible.


Yes, it is. And is prosecutable under the various acts governing secrecy in the US. And should be prosecuted as such. It is not, however, treasonable - which has a very specific definition thankfully. I just find the inflamed, patriotic chest beating and weeping over the matter on some channels very dissapoiting.

There was a good article on the decay of the US media as a reliable news source by Ted Koppel in the Washington Post last month. Very interesting and sobering reading.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111202857.html


I think since it was a military kid who stole all the files, he can be tried under treason, though he didn't give it to another country though so i don't know.

Or at least in a military tribunal. Not Assange though, he can't be tried for treason cuz he's not a US citizen. Maybe espionage. I don't' know that laws though just some stuff i remember from school.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Ascendant » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:55 pm

Dorvan wrote:Hm, Assange's credibility as simply someone who wants to get important information out there doesn't hold up so well when he, for examples, tries to blackmail the US not to arrest him.

I think that's the most biased article that I've read on the subject. Honestly, I find it hard to believe, because, if I recall correctly, the claim is a direct contradiction to the Wikileaks mission statement.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Njall » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:57 pm

Treason regulations are fairly specific which is probably good. Aid and comfort might be stretched to cover it. But the original poster will probably up in Leavenworth (or the equivalent) for a long time. As to the publisher, we'll see what happens. Probably something untoward... which is what happens when you play with the big boys.
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Re: Wikileaks Department of State documents

Postby Dorvan » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:54 pm

Ascendant wrote:I think that's the most biased article that I've read on the subject. Honestly, I find it hard to believe, because, if I recall correctly, the claim is a direct contradiction to the Wikileaks mission statement.


In what way is it biased? I mean, the article directly quote Assange's lawyer...it's not random speculation from a pundit or something. The fact that Assange would undercut the mission of Wikileaks to try and cover his own arse is hardly surprising....I mean, the entire premise of wikileaks is that people withhold information when it's in their personal interest to do so....Assange himself is far from immune to that premise.
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