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Julian Assange & WikiLeaks- thoughts?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

.A bit of backstory for those who haven't heard of this.  Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, an internet site primarily devoted to publishing classified political documents in the interest of free speech and providing the public information about the governments they are paying for as taxpayers.  The US is a big target of such leaks; obviously a lot of people in the US are also willing to leak such documents.  Some of the documents they publish are old (dating back to the Vietnam War), but others document recent political negotiations and events around the current US wars (Iraq and Afghanistan).  This website is well-known for publishing sensitive information, and most recently it has started to publish a bucketload of new documents.  This has led to global outrage amongst various governments.  Assange is now in hiding somewhere in the UK, although he often changes location.  My understanding is that there are a couple of governments who would like to detain him for questioning.  Sweden is one of these countries, they want to have a chat with him about sexual assault allegations (which complicates the whole freedom of speech thread to this story).

 

Some websites of interest:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/11/29/wikileaks/?hpt=T1

http://wikileaks.org/media/about.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/wikileaks-cables-show-what-americans-really-think-of-the-rest-of-the-world/story-e6frf7lf-1225962975233

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/29/3079887.htm?section=justin

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=197195

 

 

Part of me really kind of likes what this guy is doing- here is a person who is willing to put his reputation and life on the line to provide the global public information about decisions that are being taken on their behalf at the highest levels of government.  And I am a big fan of knowing exactly what is being done in my name by my elected representatives and my national government. 

 

On the other hand, I have serious concerns that the published documents have the potential to put some people in danger.  Whether or not those people did the right thing by their respective countries by negotiating with the US, some people who have been named may be at risk

 

Anyone else following this story? Thoughts on Wikileaks?

post #2 of 22

Sorry I don't view what he is doing as free speech I view it as treason.

 

I think that him and anyone associated with him should be prosecuted to fullest extent of the laws in every country capable of bringing charges, at the very least.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input, Arduinna.  Fair enough that you view it as treason- my understanding is that there is some diversity of opinion re: treason.  From what I've heard/read some think that the information leaked is relatively minor, others obviously think differently.  Would you be willing to elaborate on why you think it's treason?  I'm guessing you mean treason against the US?  How would that work to charge Assange with treason if he's an Australian national?  No narkiness in my Qs, just looking for a good discussion on this subject! :)

post #4 of 22

There is already an American serviceman in custody that is suspected of stealing the classified documents that Assange released. Sure Assange as an Aussie doesn't qualify for a treason charge but this American does, as do any other Americans that might be involved in the theft and distribution of them. I'm not a lawyer, I'll let those charged with the task figure out what the correct charges are for Assange. Yesterday I heard Sweden swore out an arrest warrant for him on sex charges.

post #5 of 22

I'm in favor of government transparency. Since that doesn't exist in the U.S., I'm in favor of investigative journalists seeking out and publishing what our elected officials are actually doing. Since that doesn't exist in the U.S., I'm in favor of anyone else doing the job. I have no problem with WikiLeaks. Furthermore, I'm thankful that someone cares enough to do the job that we Americans have been too lazy or apathetic to do.

post #6 of 22

I'm all for wikileaks. IMHO the more we know about wtf goes on in our governments the better off we are. If there are back room dealings going on, we ought to know about them. Since the US govt doesn't seem to be inclined to tell us wtf is going on, and would prefer to put into effect all sorts of laws letting it spy on citizens (think: TIA, Patriot Act, etc), I'm all for private citizens who have access to this sort of stuff leaking it out. More power to them. I hope it continues. The more we know, the better off we are. The government should be afraid of its citizens. Citizens should *NOT* be afraid of our government. 

post #7 of 22
The conspiracy theorist in me makes me wonder if the leaking of this and the media around the fallout is actually even a "leak". Yeah, tin foil hat time, but what if it's a diversion away from something else that has happened or will happen? Or if certain info was going to go public and by saturating the media it'll allow it to slip through or cause doubts of the validity?
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post The government should be afraid of its citizens. Citizens should *NOT* be afraid of our government. 


That is a very good point.  All people should 'own' their respective governments, not just a select few citizens.

 

After a few days reflection, and a few more days reading various media, it seems to me that the only government really concerned about the latest wikidump is the US- everyone else seems to be a bit ho-hum/whatever about it all.

 

I also find it interesting that you can't access the wikileaks website anymore because the local servers won't host it.  Bowing to political pressure, anyone?  Assange is a journalist, perhaps not university trained, but indeed a member of the profession.  And as far as I can tell, right now I am not able to access the information he is publishing.

 

post #9 of 22

His servers repeatedly dumping him due to DDOS attacks is hardly his fault. Last I heard he was trying to find someone willing to host him, and I'm sure the site will be back up soon, one way or another. 

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post

I'm in favor of government transparency. Since that doesn't exist in the U.S., I'm in favor of investigative journalists seeking out and publishing what our elected officials are actually doing. Since that doesn't exist in the U.S., I'm in favor of anyone else doing the job. I have no problem with WikiLeaks. Furthermore, I'm thankful that someone cares enough to do the job that we Americans have been too lazy or apathetic to do.


I completely agree.
post #11 of 22

I want some Wilileaks on the Pharma companies.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Now that would make for some interesting reading.

post #13 of 22

I think what was done is fine.Treason is for a  citizen. Convenient that he was arrest for rape soon after,no?

 

You should not do something that would be considered illegal or immoral,and if you do then work hard at covering it up! The US is just upset they got caught with their pants down.Oops exposed.Some time has passed and all has been forgotten.New things are done.New things exposed. It is unfortunate that peopel have not learned from this exposure and tried to be *better* people.

 

I watched the video of US soilders shooting up unarmed adults and children. Watched the reporter who was shot crawling away,and people laughed when a tank rolled over him.Seemed like a video game to many,but those were people-KIDS for god sake. Ofcourse the US is upset. No one likes their dirty laundry exposed to the world.No one wants to read about soilders killing an entire family so they can rape the 13yo girl.Killing people for fun and then planting guns in their hands to justify the shooting.We like to pretend  the people in country would never do bad things to people in other countries,but sadly that just isn't how things are.

 

 I am glad there is exposure.Either people will act better or they will learn to hide things better.

post #14 of 22

I don't think anything published has endangered anyone. I do think it has brought to light information about our government that we the people have a right to know. Other documents have been leaked when an individual thought the people had a right to know. That man was not treated the way young Bradley Manning, who hasn't even been proven guilty, is being treated--or, to be more accurate, tortured. It has revealed outright lies, the truth about the growing fear of Iran in the Middle East, etc. I think the government should be rectifying its mistakes, not punishing the whistle-blowers.

post #15 of 22
Bradley Manning is a hero. The way he is being treated is in itself an example of why we need people like Julian Assange.

I check the Wikileaks site and browse through the latest cables pretty regularly, although I don't have the background knowledge to interpret what I see very well. I'm glad the information is available to those who can and want to interpret it and share it.
post #16 of 22
And now we have the Guantanamo files.


Torture. Holding innocent people. More of the truth is out. The documents are here.
post #17 of 22

I think it is obvious that the man meant to do good, not evil, and after seeing these documents, I don't understand why he is being punished rather than the people whose misdeeds he has revealed. He saw lies, injustice, torture, indescriminate killing even of innocents, and he told the truth about it. And this makes him a criminal?

 

This has happened before. Daniel Ellsberg was tried for espionage after he released the Pentagon Papers, detailing the misdeeds of Nixon's administration, which was embarrassed internationally. He was never convincted and walks free today. He released the documents because he felt it was wrong to conceal them from the people. People lost public offices and were convicted of crimes like conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

 

By treating this man as a criminal, we are protecting the Bush Administration from being persecuted for its corruption. I hope that history takes presedence and that the young man is not found guilty, is paid damages, and gets to see justice done on those who made it necessary for him to release these documents with their misdeeds.

 

I don't understand how the rest of the world isn't reading the Gitmo files trying not to retch at what was done and what is being done to the man who told the world about it.

post #18 of 22
Opinions on the unredacted dump that has just occurred?




I'm for it. Better to have kept combing through it and releasing it slowly with respect to privacy, which is what Julian wanted, but since it got leaked by other sources, it's good that WikiLeaks has made it generally available.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

I think what was done is fine.Treason is for a  citizen. Convenient that he was arrest for rape soon after,no?

 

You should not do something that would be considered illegal or immoral,and if you do then work hard at covering it up! The US is just upset they got caught with their pants down.Oops exposed.Some time has passed and all has been forgotten.New things are done.New things exposed. It is unfortunate that peopel have not learned from this exposure and tried to be *better* people.

 

I watched the video of US soilders shooting up unarmed adults and children. Watched the reporter who was shot crawling away,and people laughed when a tank rolled over him.Seemed like a video game to many,but those were people-KIDS for god sake. Ofcourse the US is upset. No one likes their dirty laundry exposed to the world.No one wants to read about soilders killing an entire family so they can rape the 13yo girl.Killing people for fun and then planting guns in their hands to justify the shooting.We like to pretend  the people in country would never do bad things to people in other countries,but sadly that just isn't how things are.

 

 I am glad there is exposure.Either people will act better or they will learn to hide things better.




I missed this whole thread, so thanks for bringing it back Mimim.

Mattemma04, I agree with your post 100%.

post #20 of 22

Asanges wikileaks is like Perez Hilton for the government.  It's done nothing but hurt the young kid that helped Asange.  All this commotion over worthless intel.  However it got the people thinking they were actually reading something of importance.  Very little of what was leaked was important most of it was probably tossed as lacking signifigant worth.

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