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posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:15 AM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 


I entirely agree that if an individual comes across information that is evidence of criminal wrong-doing, then that individual can...indeed has an obligation to...disclose that information to law enforcement officials.

And, in fact, the law stipulates that Classification regimes may not be used to cover up the illegal activities of people, organizations or the Government.

My objection to Wikileaks' activities has to do with the wholesale release of hundreds of thousands of (stolen) confidential documents that disclose private but not criminal activities of individuals, organizations and governments.

If they actually combed through these documents, and then (after competent legal advice) only released documents that revealed illegal activities, then I would think they stand on more solid ground.




posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by mobiusmale
 


I suspect our positions are not so far apart.

The issue is clouded by the fact that the leaker in this case appears to have shown disastrously poor judgement. Thats his fault though and he bears the responsibility for it not the journalists.

Once a leak occurs journalists must simply decide if reporting what they are given is in the public interest. Doing journalism in the public interest means seeking to report and provide information on matters of significance and relevance to your audiences.

These include (according to the BBC). www.bbc.co.uk...

1. Promoting accountability and transparency - gathering and presenting information to enable public scrutiny of government and those with authority or influence over audiences' lives

2. Informing public debate - gathering, providing and testing information on key issues to help the public understand and debate decisions made on their behalf.

3. Preventing deception, fraud and corruption - providing audiences with the means to avert being misled by some statement or action, especially when public money is involved.

4. Crime and anti-social behaviour - exposing criminal or significant anti-social behaviour, particularly by public figures.

5. The world - reporting from parts of the world where there are conflicts, where issues of major significance (e.g. climate change, human rights) require understanding, or where the policies of the UK and its allies are having significant effects.

If it doesn't meet one of these it doesn't need reporting.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 10:25 AM
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reply to post by midicon
 



Secrets behind closed doors can’t be good for anyone really.


Of course they can, police investigations, intelligence investigations, assessments of national security issues, poor economic assessments, military plans, specifications of defence and security systems, discussions between constituents and their representatives etc etc. These all require secrecy and confidentiality. We do need transparency and leaks play a part in this but secrecy itself is, in the proper context, is a necessity.

But that’s isn’t why I was replying to you, I was just trying to point out that wikileaks does not intend to only publish government information as you said but will also public private, personal information as well.


There are also organizations that should be exposed for what they are,
Like Scientology or the BNP,


According to whose judgement? Both are private institutions, neither are illegal and the information that wikileaks exposed showed nothing as underhand or illegal.

You may not like either but that’s tough in a democratic system that values freedom of belief. If someone wants to be a member of a legal political party but does not want it known for whatever reason then that is their right and it prejudices our democratic system to tamper with it by exposing membership lists. Where do we stop? What about other organisations? Would you support someone publishing the names of those who work for wikileaks? And how is this different from us knowing your real name, address, etc?

reply to post by justwokeup
 



Nice line in sarcasm :-) However, you would appear to not understand the difference between personal privacy and state secrecy.


As I pointed out above neither does wikileaks.

I agree with the rest of your post but I think it is important to remember that wikileaks does not have a government only rule; it just wants to publish everything that it deems news worthy. I think that’s the OP’s point, wikileaks is not as discriminate as some seem to think.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 11:05 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 



I don’t disagree with you, indeed I had never realised that WikiLeaks will in fact publish private and personal information. I do understand that, the way the world is, or should I say, the sadness of the human condition requires some degree of secrecy in certain areas. I always tend to think of things in a more philosophical or idealistic way and I suppose total transparency is a utopian dream. However for the moment WikiLeaks is here and I for one hope these releases will have some positive impact on society as a whole. Not holding my breath though.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by mobiusmale
 

The problem with your analogy is it's false.

Governments have always needed a small level of secrecy, but it was never to keep their public in the dark. It was to protect it from foreign nations.

The problem today, is that over the generations, and especially these last few decades, the level of secrecy has ballooned into gargantuan proportions and it is now to keep the public in the dark.

Why? They are corrupted by the corporations to do things in the corporation's interests, not the citizens.

Ergo, we need transparency.

That's one reason why your analogy is false. There are many other reasons: Government serves the people, the people pay the Government, the people have granted powers to the Government which they have abused, the Government is not a human being with rights - it's an organization that needs to be examined by the people who it is wronging, etc.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 


As with all things reality is probably in the middle of the available extremes. I don't believe they are a terrorist organisation but I have no problem with believing they have had poor judgement on occasion. If the US govt would stop their panic lynching of the organisation a more useful debate could be had.

Of the examples you provided:

9/11 pager messages. I can see no reason why all private messages between citizens is defensible. Some message content maybe if they brought new understanding of what occurred that day. But the personally identifiable data should be redacted.

Membership of political parties, dubious decision I cant support.

The scientology documents may well be in the public interest but it depends on the documents. If my MP is a secret member of a cult I want to know...

Interestingly there is no 'right to privacy' within UK law although it is covered within the EU convention on human rights. The duties for the handling of the personally identifiable are defined in the Data Protection Act and it is a criminal offence to abuse such data. This is what protects your address, phone number, bank accounts etc.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by mobiusmale
 


Oh lord...give me a break, this desperate attempt to link government transparency with individual transparency is a desperate reach that totally avoids what everyone is really talking about.

Governments shouldn't have civil rights, they are not "people" they are institutions of operation to carry out the ideals of the people and anything done within those institutions is in the "name of" those people who it represents.

Whatever the government workers are doing for the government should be 100% public knowledge this is not a personal privacy issue. This is not about releasing Hillary Clinton's social security number and medical records, its about holding her and those in positions within our government accountable for things they do/say in the name of our government/people...

Yes it really is that simply and stop reaching to confuse people otherwise. Assange has and does acknowledge the existence of "legitimate secrets" such as those one would have with their doctor.

What I do find rather comical though is your attempt to "put wiki leaks supporters in their place" by illustrating what it would be like if individual people had their secrets "made public" is actually a reality. You would be surprised what information about a person is "public knowledge" just by simply participating in anything our "government" controls.

So your argument isn't a "what if" it is a reality. If your are convicted of a crime its all public information, you get married, buy a house, get a divorce, get sued, file bankruptcy, all public info...

The one area where this kind of transparency is absolutely needed is within our government otherwise they can never be held accountable by their people, which is the whole freaking idea behind a democracy no?

You cannot hold someone or something accountable for something you did not know they did...



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by Sly1one
reply to post by mobiusmale
 


Oh lord...give me a break, this desperate attempt to link government transparency with individual transparency is a desperate reach that totally avoids what everyone is really talking about.


Well, I am not sure what it is that "everyone" is talking about, but my intention was/is to give some people pause to think about the ramifications of the wholesale release of privileged information. There is a right way, and a wrong way, to hold our governments accountable...and the Wikileaks way (at least the way in which they are currently conducting themselves) is far closer to the latter.


Governments shouldn't have civil rights, they are not "people" they are institutions of operation to carry out the ideals of the people and anything done within those institutions is in the "name of" those people who it represents.


Actually, as legal entities, Governments do have both rights and responsibilities (like people and corporations). Governments also have powers...and it is this special wrinkle that requires an even higher level of responsibility to the people they govern. Governments must (are supposed to) obey the law too.

If you are interested in reading a legal discussion about this, try here:

www.thehighroad.us...


Whatever the government workers are doing for the government should be 100% public knowledge this is not a personal privacy issue.


This is not correct. I am sure if you stop and think about it, you can come up with a very long list of things that "government workers" do that should not be public knowledge. If not, come on back and I will help you compile one.


The one area where this kind of transparency is absolutely needed is within our government otherwise they can never be held accountable by their people, which is the whole freaking idea behind a democracy no?

You cannot hold someone or something accountable for something you did not know they did...


As I have said previously, publicly communicating evidence of Government wrong doing is fair game. The wholesale release of classified information, where no criminal activity is indicated, is simply irresponsible.

It can and does have the same affect on relationships, as it would if any individual's private thoughts, conversations and writings were put on the air.

If Assange and his gang conducted themselves with some actual professionalism, them perhaps he could be taken more seriously as a "journalist". In time, perhaps Wikileaks will reform itself and its practices...and likely will while beloved Julian is behind bars.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:13 PM
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Really interesting post... I feel like it shows how we can be driven to support only certain types of transparency, and only from certain entities. Corporations and governments should be more transparent, but stay out of my personal life! Sort of hypocritical when you can't practice what you preach, no? Same goes with demanding more transparency from Wikileaks - under the guise of necessary secrecy for self-protection, Wikileaks is able to become opaque. But don't question them - they're "fighting the good fight"!

And I feel like you can't argue that corporate and government transparency is totally different from personal transparency. In my mind, transparency begins on the personal level, and that's why I think your analogy has weight. Sure, we can demand transparency from corporation/government X Y and Z, but will the people owning, operating, and working with these entities actually value transparency? Openness is a personal thing, and any actions that we take will be affected by it. Therefore, it's not only necessary to attack the closed doors of big business decisions, but to actually live transparently - everything else should technically follow.

So sign me up.
I'll just ignore your "hint" of sarcasm in the post

edit on 12-12-2010 by pforkp because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 07:20 PM
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Well, I am not sure what it is that "everyone" is talking about, but my intention was/is to give some people pause to think about the ramifications of the wholesale release of privileged information. There is a right way, and a wrong way, to hold our governments accountable...and the Wikileaks way (at least the way in which they are currently conducting themselves) is far closer to the latter.


The right way isn't practical, lets get real here. There is no legitimate "right way" to approach this thing that will effectively bring out wrong doing, the government will not report or tattle on itself. The only way is through the whistle-blower concept or just out right espionage. Any other method and you will only get sugar coated pills that the public can swallow easily.

An again, Assange and wiki leaks are not putting out social security numbers or medical information (legitimate secrets/private info) the conversations that diplomats or whatever have with one another should be public knowledge so we don't re-elect complete and total incompetent A-holes that hire and keep other total and incompetent a-holes in positions to go abroad and speak on our behalf.


Actually, as legal entities, Governments do have both rights and responsibilities (like people and corporations). Governments also have powers...and it is this special wrinkle that requires an even higher level of responsibility to the people they govern. Governments must (are supposed to) obey the law too.


Well, that should be something we change then shouldn't it. Giving the government a "right" to keep information from its people is a severe conflict of interest unless its a dictatorship then well rights don't matter anyway.

As a democracy the government is installed and held accountable by its people through votes, elections, bills, laws, etc.. IF the people of the country are ill informed or miss informed that just opens up a huge hole for abuse, hijacking, among other things. Please if nothing else admit that democracy cannot and will not ever work as intended if the people who are supposed to be running it and holding it accountable HAVE NO CLUE what is going on behind those closed doors.

The people get a sugar coated pill they can swallow and nothing more, yet we are expected to effectively run this country? Give me a break...it's not happening and you can watch this "democracy" go right down the drain every day because of it...


If you are interested in reading a legal discussion about this, try here:

www.thehighroad.us...
I'm not interested in flawed laws passed by ignorant people who have no idea what is really going on with their country.

[quote=Sly1one]Whatever the government workers are doing for the government should be 100% public knowledge this is not a personal privacy issue.


This is not correct. I am sure if you stop and think about it, you can come up with a very long list of things that "government workers" do that should not be public knowledge. If not, come on back and I will help you compile one.


No legitimate ones really, the only ones I can think of are medical related or secured information related such as SS # etc... Other than that really if it has to be done in the dark there is something completely wrong there.

Please help me compile one and I'll go through them one by one explaining how they aren't or are "legitimate"..


The one area where this kind of transparency is absolutely needed is within our government otherwise they can never be held accountable by their people, which is the whole freaking idea behind a democracy no?

You cannot hold someone or something accountable for something you did not know they did...



As I have said previously, publicly communicating evidence of Government wrong doing is fair game. The wholesale release of classified information, where no criminal activity is indicated, is simply irresponsible.


So it has to be criminal activity to justify the release of the information to the people? I have to argue that there is some very crucial non-criminal information that could turn the tides of elections and definitely change the malleability of the American people. Information is crucial to making educated decisions, do you not think the American people should be educated on how their government works, what their ambassadors and holders of office are doing in their name?


It can and does have the same affect on relationships, as it would if any individual's private thoughts, conversations and writings were put on the air.


Look lies and fair tails and less than whole truth communication just leads to more and more lies, fairy tails, and less than whole truth communication. You cannot and will not ever learn anything from a lie other then a severe mistrust...Anyone who knows anything about successful relationships knows that if there are lies or skeletons in the closet...its only a matter of time before it fails. No relationship built on lies is effective and I don't particularly think our government should be approaching other nations with an intent to manipulate...


If Assange and his gang conducted themselves with some actual professionalism, them perhaps he could be taken more seriously as a "journalist". In time, perhaps Wikileaks will reform itself and its practices...and likely will while beloved Julian is behind bars.


"Actual professionalism" rather relative term for whoever is defining what "professionalism' is. In my mind he is a professional advocate for the "freedom of information" and his less than MSM and Tom Brokaw approach to the matter is actually what cause some to pull their heads out of the sand and pay attention.


edit on 12-12-2010 by Sly1one because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 10:37 PM
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Well I’ve had time to reflect upon the issue of WikiLeaks.
And truly, everything about it can only be good.
When you really think about secrecy, and what it implies,
Is this not really the cause behind all the horrors in the world?
Death, hunger, famine, war, the list is endless.
Take for example Hilary Clinton, who she is, and what she represents,
Should she not be exposed for what she is?
An ambassador for the most powerful nation on earth,
And yet what is she really?
Sly, manipulative, criminal, greedy, egotistical, self serving,
A fine example of everything we don’t want, yet there she is.
People like her, and all of her ilk have to be held accountable,
It is the same all over the world, all these leaders and diplomats.
They rely on secrecy, it is their watchword.
They rely on unaccountability,
We can only escape from this never ending cycle of corporatism,
Fascism, feudalism…whatever label we put on it…
Through transparency,
We need more WikiLeaks…a thousand WikiLeaks…
And if there is a price to pay…in the short term…it is a small one.
Compared to what’s at stake.
Indeed, how can you put a price on freedom from indentured slavery?
And financial terrorism
Look around you, at what surrounds you…
We are in an asylum…you have been born into a madhouse,
A self perpetuating madhouse…
And what about religion, education, the media,
It all needs to be exposed for what it is…it is killing us,
How can we cure something…unless it is brought out into the open?
Let’s get it all out and grow up and deal with it.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 04:52 AM
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reply to post by Sly1one
 



An again, Assange and wiki leaks are not putting out social security numbers or medical information (legitimate secrets/private info)


Sorry to keep repeating myself but yes they are. The private messages that people sent on 9/11 are personal, the public does not have a need or right to this information.

People can’t keep overlaying their own ethics onto wikileaks; they have their own ethics and they’re not just against what you’re against they want total transparency even if that includes private information.


the conversations that diplomats or whatever have with one another should be public knowledge


Do you really think that’s practical? What about the North Korea/China cable that was released in which an American diplomat reported that South Korea believed that China would not support North Korea; how could that have been reported back to Washington without antagonising China, South Korea and North Korea?

Why would foreign diplomats share information with the US if they knew it would be made public? How could a diplomat report honestly about the state of his host nation and its leadership and keep a good relationship with said nation and leadership?

It just wouldn’t work in practice.

You have a point that we need transparency and leaks are important but a government cannot be an open book without prejudicing its relationship with other governments and groups. There needs to be a delicate balance between the government and whistleblowers but both must be selective in what they make public and what they hold back.

reply to post by midicon
 



When you really think about secrecy, and what it implies,
Is this not really the cause behind all the horrors in the world?
Death, hunger, famine, war, the list is endless.


No, I don’t see how. Can you justify that claim?

I think the finite nature of resources, the wide range in human cultures and values, psychology etc play a part. I’m not sure how Rwanda or Kosovo might have been avoided for example; these were down to deep cultural and ethnic differences combined with crushing social and economic pressures.

Also wikileaks isn’t providing total transparency and never will, all it can do is provide a partial view of what is going on.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 09:10 AM
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reply to post by Mike_A
 



I did go off on a bit of a rant I did say that I tend to be an idealist.
But let me address some points…First of all…Famine,
I used to think famine was caused in the main by environmental factors, poor planning, population growth etc…But after participating on a thread, ages ago really, I read various things on the internet that showed that the main cause of famine in the third world, or undeveloped countries, was due to developed countries, pursuing corporate agendas, aided and supported of course by elected politicians, a simplistic example is represented by the term, ‘banana republic’. Shall I go and find some stuff and paste it here?
Death…we only have to look at the recent events i.e. in Afghanistan and Iraq both wars being initiated and promulgated by said corporate agendas and supported of course by our politicians. All based on lies and secrecy. How many wars have been entered into in this way? Political manipulation, deviation and media spin for what?
You mention finite resources. In truth the world has ample resources, if only leaders and politicians utilized them in a proper manner, or at least strived to. They don’t of course every strategy is geared towards corporatism, aided and abetted by secrecy and lies.
You mention culture, values and psychology with the right leadership and transparency none of those need be an issue we are, after all, deep down, just the same really.
Of course there are tin pot dictators and religiously motivated groups and countries, and issues that have to be dealt with, but they never will be unless we set our own house in order. We have to expose our own leaders, politicians, diplomats or whatever for what they are. We elect these politicians, under the illusion of democracy. They are meant to represent us, and represent our best qualities. They are our hope for the future, or a better future, and yet what do we get, secrets and lies.
I don’t disagree with you, how can I? And yet we have to somehow end this eternal cycle that is endemic and ingrained in our political systems.
Transparency in everything may be a utopian dream that can only be realised in some far flung future. But at this moment I would happily divulge any and all information about me and mine if I thought it would make a difference in this world.
Sadly I know nothing will change, and humanity may indeed be heading for some ecological disaster that will make all this pointless anyway.
Sorry about another rant.

Midicon.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by midicon
 



But let me address some points…First of all…Famine,

...


I’m sure that exacerbates the situation but I’d like to see evidence that it is the root cause of all famine. What about the Niger food crisis for example:

en.wikipedia.org...

Also remember that knowing about corruption does not stop it, we are well aware of a lot of corruption in a lot of countries but there’s little that can be done about it. Transparency does not mean people play nice.


Death…we only have to look at the recent events i.e. in Afghanistan and Iraq

...



I think Afghanistan is arguable but there are plenty of others, I mentioned Rwanda and the Balkans earlier.

You can’t be so sweeping, the world is far too complex.


You mention finite resources. In truth the world has ample resources


Not if everyone were to have the same standard of living as in the West. I don’t think transparency would lead to everyone in Europe and the US suddenly accepting a massive reduction in that standard in order to raise someone elses.

But again this is very glib, when we talk about resources not talking about total quantities; for example there may be enough water in the world but it is not distributed evenly therefore where water is scarce control of it becomes a source of tension. The same goes for everything from oil to arable land.


You mention culture, values and psychology with the right leadership and transparency none of those need be an issue we are, after all, deep down, just the same really.


Whether or not it’s possible to overcome these issues with the right leadership (I don’t think it is) is immaterial because so far we haven’t had the “right” leadership but more pertinent to the topic this has nothing to do with transparency. Being transparent does not change cultures, values, norms, priorities or other beliefs or guarantee a new generation of world leaders that all share the same goals.


Of course there are tin pot dictators and religiously motivated groups and countries, and issues that have to be dealt with, but they never will be unless we set our own house in order.


And how do you deal with them when you can’t keep police or intelligence investigations confidential? Or when you can’t protect sources? Or when you are forced to reveal military plans? Or when diplomat can’t engage in confidential negotiations?

Here’s an example of the real affects of openly candid diplomacy:

www.bbc.co.uk...

Some secrets are necessary so long as there are those that will take advantage of information being public. As far as I can see that will always be the case.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 02:50 PM
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Let me try and post a link

www.hartford-hwp.com...reply to post by Mike_A
 



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 05:06 PM
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Full transparency or just a little?
Who says what we can and can not find out?
With full transparency you know where you stand.
With a little you dont really know what is going on.
And can you trust the person who
says what you can and can not know?



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by midicon
 


That piece makes some interesting points but I don’t see what it has to do with transparency, everything that the author criticises was done out in the open. The article neither dismisses natural factors nor places the blame on secrecy. I’m not saying there aren’t detrimental secrets just that total transparency would not cure all ills.



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