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Round 3. MemoryShock v LordBucket: Wikileaks

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posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 12:29 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Wikileaks does more harm than good.”

MemoryShock will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
LordBucket will be arguing the "Con" position.

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posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 11:18 AM
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24 hour extension...



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 10:26 AM
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I would like to once again thank The Vagabond for hosting this tournament, the readers and my opponent, LordBucket for what will truly be an interesting debate as I am certainly torn on this topic.

"WikiLeaks does more harm than good."

There are many subtle aspects to this story and much that has yet to be disclosed and observe with regards to the debate topic. However, it is my contention that the manner of which WikiLeaks has begun their systematic military, government and corporate disclosures is in such a manner as to neglect not only the amount of sway traditional political parties have over their constituents, the amount of influence the media has with regards to the same but as well the lack of attention the common citizen has to attend to these matters and the conflicting analysis' over the WikiLeak disclosures.

Indeed, while many here on ATS believe in the WikiLeaks mission for government transparency, ATS is not necessarily representative of the demographics in the larger population.



Most of those polled - 68 percent - say the WikiLeaks' exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many - 59 percent - say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables.
[1]


As the debate goes on, we will undoubtedly discuss the nature of the harm WikiLeaks is doing which out weighs the good, which is also intangible. We shall look at the subjective nature of the terms "Harm" and "Good" and we shall attempt to apply these subjective abstracts to real world application and perhaps even supposition.

I will also suggest that the manner of WikiLeaks behaviour has forced our political leadership to blatantly deride WikiLeaks which has resulted in public outcry for his arrest and some cases death. Such an effect on the public is certainly anti to the ideology we as a society propagate and serves no helpful means.

This opening will be brief, in deference to my opponent, as I am looking forward to getting this debate rolling.

Socratic Question #1 - In what way(s) can government transparency benefit the average citizen?

Socratic Question #2 - Is it possible for there to be any true government transparency?

Socratic Question #3 - How much effect does our intelligence communities have on government decision making?

Socratic Question #4 - What is the difference between "Cablegate" and any other political scandal?



posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 02:14 AM
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“Honesty is the best policy”
--Benjamin Franklin, from Poor Richard's Almanack

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
--Jesus Christ, from John 8:32

We all seek and value truth. Some to greater extent than others. But there is another saying about truth that is somewhat less well known:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."
-- James Garfield, 20th president of the United States

Truth is not always easy. Where lies and deceit have been allowed to flourish, the revelations of truth may sometimes be painful. Think back to any time in your life that you have been deceived about something important. Perhaps an unfaithful lover who lied to you, perhaps a business partner who asked for your trust and your money and betrayed both. When the truth was finally revealed, yes, it was painful.

But in the long run, we are always better off knowing the truth, better off putting an end to deception, than contining to live in deception so that we may be further abused.

Wikileaks is an organization that serves to promote truth. It is not unique in this regard.

"We help you safely get the truth out."
-- Wikileaks, from their mission statement

It's important to understand what wikileaks is. It is not a reporting agency. Wikileaks admins are not researchers. Their function is not to "discover" lies to be revealed. Wikileaks is simply an avenue through which people who already have access to information the public needs to know can release that information without fear of losing their jobs or livelihood because of it.

Wikileaks is a tool that is available for people to use to give us information. Such knowledge is always useful. However, the greatest value of wiileaks is not the information itself, but the catalyzing effect it has on our society, and those who would harm us, to be reminded that their abuses will be made known.

If one man abuses his power and deceives others, his deceptions may be revealed, and that revelation is useful. But how much greater is the benefit of the message to others who would deceive us that their lies will be found out? The proper function of a guard dog in your home is not to bite burglars, but to deter them from breaking into your house in the first place. Wikileaks is like a watchdog. Yes, it may reveal some truths, just like the dog may bite some intruders, but the greater value is that it sends a message to those who would deceive us that they can and will be discovered. Their lies will see the light of day.

Of course, just like the first couple guard dogs probably had to bite a couple burglars before the other burglars realized they needed to pass over houses with dogs, so too has wikileaks unveiled some fairly nasty abuses. For example:

Wikileaks Reveals U.S. Tax Dollars Fund Child Sex Slavery in Afghanistan:


Wikileaks recently released a cable from Afghanistan revealing U.S. government contractor DynCorp threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring trafficked boys as the entertainment. Bacha bazi is the Afghan tradition of "boy play" where young boys are dressed up in women's clothing, forced to dance for leering men, and then sold for sex to the highest bidder. Apparently this is the sort of "entertainment" funded by your tax dollars when DynCorp is in charge of security in Afghanistan

Is that uncomfortable? Yes. Is it displeasing to know that your tax dollars have been used to fund child sex slavery? Very much so, yes. But is it better to know about it so that we can take action to prevent it in the future? Yes. And there are legal proceedings against Dyncorp now. And with public knowledge and outcry, it will be more difficult for those people to get government contracts in the future. This is how wikileaks benefits us. Every time truth is revealed, every time the "bad guys" are caught in the act, it becomes that much more difficult for them to continue their misdeeds.

Truth is a valuable commodity. It may sometimes be uncomfortable to learn that we have been deceived, but once we are through that discomfort it is always healthier for us to know the truth. Wikileaks is an outlet through which those who know of truths hidden from us may reveal them to us. We benefit from this. And we benefit far more than any apparent "discomfort" that results from the revealing.

Socratic question #1:
I have described how wikileaks benefits us by helping others to make abuses of power known, and sending a message to wrong-doers that their lies will be revealed. In what way are you suggesting that our knowledge of these things is harmful?



Socratic Question #1 - In what way(s) can government
transparency benefit the average citizen?

Government transparency can benefit citizens in many ways. First and foremost, government transparency makes it more difficult for individuals in positions of power to abuse that power. Remember that "government" is composed of real human beings. Real individuals. And sometimes those individuals may be greedy and deceitful. It's natural for people who wish to abuse power to seek positions where they have power. Governent transparency is a safeguard to protect both our government and our society from those individuals who would abuse that power. How? Very simply: the more we know about what they do, the more difficult it is for them to do bad things and get away with it.



Socratic Question #2 - Is it possible for there
to be any true government transparency?

I'm not sure what you mean by "true" transparency. There can obviously be more or less transparency. For example, FOIA requests can be submitted to make direct inquiries on topics that might or might not otherwise be available. The FBI allows FOIA requests to be submitted on the web. If you submit a formal request for a copy of any personal information they've collected about you, they are obligated by law to give it to you. Such facilities did not exist prior to the 60s. Now that we have them there is "greater" transparency than before. Before we had them there was less.

Government accountability is obviously a good thing. Suggesting that there can't be "100% accountability" is no reason to suggest otherwise.



Socratic Question #3 - How much effect does our
intelligence communities have on government decision making?

I don't know. And neither do you. Do you see how that's a problem?



Socratic Question #4 - What is the difference between
"Cablegate" and any other political scandal?

In many ways it's been fairly typical: individuals in government positions making statements and taking actions they wish to keep secret...those secrets are revealed...and government entities react by attacking the source of those revelations. The differences mostly relate to the means of transmission: Documents were revealed online, and this allowed an unusually large quantity of material to be made available more quickly, and more easily to a greater number of people. Compare to Watergate, for example, in which the events were reported on by the media, but the actual source material was not readily accessible to the public for quite some time. For example, there are still Watergate tapes only now being released, nearly 40 years after the fact.

That president Nixon was apparently funding acts of espionage against the Democratic National Committee and lying about it to both his private aids and the entire country was very much relevant information that the public deserved to know. Yes, it was an unfortunate moment in our nation's history. But nobody is suggesting that it would have been better if those secrets had been kept.

Wikileaks is an organization that facilitates the release of information, so that we may be well informed and that we may properly safeguard our system of governance.

 

Socratic question #2:
Misdeeds have occured. Power has been abused by people in positions of power. You've mentioned political scandals in your opening post, and I've pointed out child sex slavery and Watergate in mine. Do you agree that it is better for us know about such misdeeds when they occur?

Socratic question #3:
People with knowledge of abuse of power might suffer personal loss if they reveal what they know. For example, Dyncorp employees who have publicly come forward regarding the child sex slavery abuses have been fired. Do you acknowlegde the value of having an annonymous outlet for disclosure so that people in the know will be less likely to hold onto their secrets out of fear of personal repercussions?

Socratic question #4:
Do you agree that public awareness of abuses of power makes it more difficult for additional abuse to occur?



posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 06:57 PM
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But in the long run, we are always better off knowing the truth, better off putting an end to deception, than contining to live in deception so that we may be further abused.


This seems like a very ideoalogical perspective and not one necessarily bourne of fact. How is it better to know the truth? Especially in the case of WikiLeaks?

What my opponent may not realize is that WikiLeaks has started a global information war that actually only has impact in the social/professional realms of those effected. Thus far, the only 'real' impact that WikiLeaks has had on the majority public is by inundating the headlines of major news medias. The First World public still has their day to day routines and their own personal concerns and as such are only being tossed into a moral frenzy regarding the information that has been thus far released. Making it a media blitz not unlike the Clinton/Lewinsky Scandal. Such a scandal resulted in much media time and pundit/comic commentary but the truth is Clinton still went about his professional business and people still went to work, being effected by partisanship decision making by elected officials.

Likewise, WikiLeaks has resulted in just Media attention that has thus far amounted to gossip attention from Partisanship pundits and focus on Assange the person.

Such has been the majority measurable response to WikiLeaks.

Does anyone focusing on Assange know about the fate of the soldiers who were involved in the now infamous Collateral Murder release?



SEATTLE, Washington - Two more US soldiers face hearings this week over a rogue army unit that allegedly executed Afghan civilians, mutilated the corpses, then beat another soldier for blowing the whistle.
[1]


Socratic Question #1 - How does the persecution of soldiers involved provide any attention towards the system, in this case military, that created the mindset of these soldiers?

Socratic Question #2 - How does the persecution of these two soldiers effect the level U.S. participation in continued Afghanistan Operations?



It's important to understand what wikileaks is.


Actually, it is important, in the purpose of this debate, what effect WikiLeaks is having on the society it is providing information for. The repetition of an ideaological motivation does not necessitate that there is any real impact on governments' policy nor does it it place any attention on how this scandal actually benefits the majority public other than illustrate that life as a whole is nothing but a series of social situations which are at best illy dealt with and which can have dire consequences...especially when First World Countries forcibly impose themselves on Third Worlds.

Which is already well known.



Wikileaks is a tool that is available for people to use to give us information.


So is all mainstream media. So is the entertainment industry. While the quality of the information provided by WikiLeaks is of a different caliber, it can as well be stated that the decades old media in place is doing a 'better job' of providing information to the public than WikiLeaks.

What does that mean?

It means that while there are many contradictions and revelations within many of the releases, there is no provided analysis. That has been left to the public - which benefits the already established media institutions and does more harm than good to the public because of the vehement partisan spin placed on WikiLeaks and Assange. More attention is placed upon the day to day soap opera that is the Assange prosecution efforts than upon any of the releases.


Originally posted by LordBucket
but the greater value is that it sends a message to those who would deceive us that they can and will be discovered. Their lies will see the light of day.


And is there any guarantee that once a lie is revealed that responsibility will be enforced?

As alluded to earlier, the Collateral Murder release has resulted only in attention being placed upon the participants within the video. Not the system that has created the mentality of the soldiers in the war environment. The actions can be analogized with sweeping the issue underneath the rug.

There are many instances where the public has discovered that it has been lied to and nothing happened save for media attention that was left in favor of the new 'big story'. So what we are seeing here is just another scandal that is being misdirected and misrepresented for the majority public that has no influence upon a political system that has been 'entrusted' to make the decisions of society for them.



Socratic question #1:
I have described how wikileaks benefits us by helping others to make abuses of power known, and sending a message to wrong-doers that their lies will be revealed. In what way are you suggesting that our knowledge of these things is harmful?


I am not necessarily suggesting our knowledge of them is harmful. I am suggesting that the already established media outlets are spinning the entirety of the story in an effort to mislead the public, distract from the very problems of the system we have in place and as well create yet another issue for which the public to have their '10 Minute Hate' which has very real social implications in their personal lives as opposed to creating an informed and educated analysis of the implications of the leaks.

I am not merely suggesting, but stating, that the manner WikiLeaks has gone about releasing the documents has not factored in the very real discrepancy of the average citizens capacity to interpret, much less act upon, the information that has been released.



Originally posted by LordBucket
How? Very simply: the more we know about what they do, the more difficult it is for them to do bad things and get away with it.


I don't necessarily agree with this statement. Media and Politics are very big business. The polarizing effect of media and partisanship can still allow for abuse to occur and such abuses may still be occurring. In reality, there is too much information for the average citizen to ingest and interpret, even if we assume that everyone has similar capacity for such.


Originally posted by LordBucket
I'm not sure what you mean by "true" transparency. There can obviously be more or less transparency. For example, FOIA requests can be submitted to make direct inquiries on topics that might or might not otherwise be available.


And FOIA requests can still be denied.


Originally posted by MemoryShock
Socratic Question #3 - How much effect does our
intelligence communities have on government decision making?

I don't know. And neither do you. Do you see how that's a problem?


Yes I can. Merely releasing non lateral examples of abuse and corruption does not account for the many thousands of people who work together to provide information that is than collated for government and military recommendation.

As of now, this is the best process we have in place for the governing of domestic and international interests. Not attending to how that effects the many people in our global society and focusing on minute examples is just another exercise in finger pointing...which perpetuates the problem rather than providing a solution.

Thusly, more harm, the same harm is being effected rather than 'good'.

Socratic Question #3 - How did Nixon's Scandal effect the system upon which resulted in his Presidency?


Originally posted by LordBucket
Wikileaks is an organization that facilitates the release of information, so that we may be well informed and that we may properly safeguard our system of governance.


Again, I find an ideaological statement with no factual basis. I have stated before in many places that the majority populace is manipulated through ideaology from their elected officials and aspiring elected officials.

All that WikiLeaks has done is provided a means for partisanship, an already implemented sociological institution, to thrive upon.



Socratic question #2:
Misdeeds have occured. Power has been abused by people in positions of power. You've mentioned political scandals in your opening post, and I've pointed out child sex slavery and Watergate in mine. Do you agree that it is better for us know about such misdeeds when they occur?


Yes, I agree it is better to know. Does my opinion mean that the ultimate effect will be beneficial? Not in the least.



Socratic question #3:
People with knowledge of abuse of power might suffer personal loss if they reveal what they know. For example, Dyncorp employees who have publicly come forward regarding the child sex slavery abuses have been fired. Do you acknowlegde the value of having an annonymous outlet for disclosure so that people in the know will be less likely to hold onto their secrets out of fear of personal repercussions?


I do acknowledge the value. However, as stated, I do not believe that the ultimate effect is as simple as saying we caught people exploiting other people. There are many other factors involved and while one instance of success is a nice example to turn to, it doesn't account for the far reaching social effects that will occur broad spectrum as a result of WikiLeaks actions.

Let us recall that not all whistle blowing efforts are bad. What we are debating is whether or not the strategy that WikiLeaks has embarked upon is harmful or good. And that requires a look at the current reality of our socio-political status and the strategy...of which there are many considerations.



Socratic question #4:
Do you agree that public awareness of abuses of power makes it more difficult for additional abuse to occur?


No. I believe that there are clever people who gained prominence by knowing how to cover abuse and as well by knowing how to 'pass the buck'.

Socratic Question #4 - Why do you think the media has been focusing on the fate of Julian Assange's prosecution efforts?



posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 04:50 AM
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Socratic Question #1 - How does the persecution of soldiers involved provide any attention towards the system, in this case military, that created the mindset of these soldiers?

Who's being persecuted? Or do you mean the prosecution of those soldiers? Look at your article. Let me directly quote your external quote:



SEATTLE, Washington - Two more US soldiers face hearings this week over a rogue army unit that allegedly executed Afghan civilians, mutilated the corpses, then beat another soldier for blowing the whistle.

...so, two soldiers in a rogue army unit who were executing civilians, mutilating their corpses and beating fellow soliders, are now being prosecuted for those acts.

How is that a bad thing?

Yes, when psycopaths find their way into our military and unlawfully kill the wrong people and "mutilate their corpses" I definitely want those people to face consequences for it. The problem here is that these people are doing these things. Not that whistleblowing is occuring over it.

Awareness of these issues is beneficial to everyone involved. Wikileaks has published much material on this sort of misconduct:


...WikiLeaks for publishing nearly 400,000 U.S. military logs detailing daily carnage in Iraq

The classified logs on Iraq describe detainees abused by Iraqi forces, insurgent bombings, executions and civilians shot at checkpoints by U.S. troops.

Note that those logs also describe abuses by Iraqi forces. This is not anti-americanism. The goal here is to report on misconduct, wherever it may be.



Socratic Question #2 - How does the persecution of these two soldiers effect
the level U.S. participation in continued Afghanistan Operations?

I'm starting to think that wasn't a typo and you really do mean persecution, not prosecution. I'm not sure how "facing hearings" for murder and mutilation qualifies as persecution, but to answer the question...hopefully, the fact that these people are being dealt with will send a message to other possible psycopaths that they won't get away with it. And if it also prompts the Afghan government to get their act together so we can go home, that would be very good too. We have soldiers dying over there. I'd rather bring them home to their families.



Socratic Question #3 - How did Nixon's Scandal effect the
system upon which resulted in his Presidency?

Awareness of the events led to curtailment of executive power, additional government oversight, as well as increased legal protections for the public. If you want some specific examples:

  • It led to the Ethics in Goverment Act
  • Awareness of domestic CIA wiretaps associated with the scandal led to the Privacy Act of 1974
  • Legal precedent was set that executive privilage cannot be used to withold evidence in a criminal trial

    All of these are positive results, yes? Public awareness of corruption and abuse of power can and does have positive benefits.



    Socratic Question #4 - Why do you think the media has been
    focusing on the fate of Julian Assange's prosecution efforts?

    Two reasons.

    First
    Traditional news media is often on the receiving end of PR manipulations by the government. Much material released through wikileaks makes our military and government look bad. As I described in my opening post, they are reacting by attacking the messenger, and they are doing that by feeding a bias to the media in order to manipulate public opinion.

    It is widely acknowledged that this sort of manipulation occurs:
  • Here is Anita Dunn admitting to political efforts to control the media.
  • Here is a New York Times article about pre-packaged news segments produced by goverment-paid public relations firms

    Second
    Remember that the internet is competition for traditional news outlets. It is in their best interest that people not look to the internet for news. They don't want to be replaced. Casting Assange in a bad light allows them to throw dirt on their competition.

     

    "Knowledge is power."
    -- Sir Francis Bacon



    I am not merely suggesting, but stating, that the manner WikiLeaks has gone about releasing the documents has not factored in the very real discrepancy of the average citizens capacity to interpret, much less act upon, the information that has been released

    That sounds very much like you're saying that people can't be trusted to interpret news for themselves, and need to be spoon-fed what to think by an establishment. Personally, I don't want government or media to "interpret" information for me. I'll do that myself, thanks.



    This seems like a very ideoalogical perspective and not one
    necessarily bourne of fact. How is it better to know the truth?

    It's better for exactly the reason I gave: when one knows the truth about abuse and misconduct, one is in a better position to prevent abuse and misconduct from occuring in the future. This applies to all aspects of life, not just wikileaks. If your business partner is embezzling funds, by knowing about it you can take action to stop it. It's very difficult to stop something if you don't even know about it. If a lover is cheating, by knowing about it, one can confront, one can leave, one can start wearing protection to minimize the risks of aquiring SDTS from third parties. The point is that knowledge of circumstance better enables one to deal with a situation, and to minimize harm in the future.

    Wikileaks has informed us of many abuses. It is uncomfortable? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. But it's also empowering for us to know what is going on so that we may react accordingly. And, like I've said repeatedly, it sends a message to perpetrators that they can and will be caught.



    LordBucket:
    Do you agree that it is better for us know about such misdeeds when they occur?

    MemoryShock:
    Yes, I agree it is better to know. Does my opinion mean that the ultimate
    effect will be beneficial? Not in the least.

    Socratic question #1:
    Why is it better to know?

    Socratic question #2:
    You agree that it is better to know. And yet in a previous paragraph you asked me how it's better to know the truth, and accuse me of perspective borne of ideology not fact. How do you reconcile this?



    FOIA requests can still be denied.

    Yes, they can. However, your objection that requests can be denied sort of implies that you would prefer that such information be available. This is where an organization like wikileaks is beneficial. When information is so damning that government entities would deny a request and censor that information, whistleblowers can make it available through wikileaks.



    Not attending to how that effects the many people in our global society and
    focusing on minute examples is just another exercise in finger pointing...
    which perpetuates the problem rather than providing a solution.

    "Minute" examples? Child-sex slavery rings funded by American tax dollars, murder of innocent civilians and corpse mutiliations are "minor?"

    Socratic question #3:
    What are these "greater problems" you're so concerned about that child-sex slavery and murder are "minor" in comparison?

    Socratic question #4:
    How does drawing attention to these events perpetuate the problem?



    LordBucket:
    the more we know about what they do, the more difficult it is for them to do bad things and get away with it.

    MemoryShock:
    I don't necessarily agree with this statement.

    In reality, there is too much information for the average citizen to ingest and interpret, even if we assume that everyone has similar capacity for such.

    You have already acknowledged that you would rather know about these things. And yet here you express concern that you don't feel the average citizen is able to "ingest and interpret" this information. You come across as an elitist who wants the information for himself, but doesn't want John Q. Public to have it. So...

    Socratic question #5:
    Do you really believe it's in our best interest for external entities, be they government, media or other, to "ingest and interpret" these events on our behalf rather than us being directly aware of them to "ingest and interpret" on our own?



  • posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 03:15 PM
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    Socratic question #1:
    Why is it better to know?


    There is no way one can expect to fashion a viable opinion/course of action without all available data.



    Socratic question #2:
    You agree that it is better to know. And yet in a previous paragraph you asked me how it's better to know the truth, and accuse me of perspective borne of ideology not fact. How do you reconcile this?


    Easily. I have stated before that the public is still at the whim of the decisions that their elected officials make which is often times decided upon through corporate interaction. Knowing the truth, from the perspective of the majority populace does not necessitate that corrective action will occur.

    I can say peace and love all day, referencing my environment, but I am not actually describing my environment. The debate topic is not centered upon the ideological mission of WikiLeaks it is upon whether or not WikiLeaks is doing more harm than good.



    Socratic question #3:
    What are these "greater problems" you're so concerned about that child-sex slavery and murder are "minor" in comparison?


    I am referring to the idea that an instance or two of catching wrong doing does not necessarily reflect the entirety of our system nor does it necessarily reflect the aspects of the system that has resulted in these behaviours and actions. The 'greater problem' is how the population is informed and how that information is spun into partisan arguments resulting in constant argument while these instances continue to occur.



    Socratic question #4:
    How does drawing attention to these events perpetuate the problem?


    This is the crux of my point. Partisanship.

    While the obvious position for my end of the debate would be a focus on how WikiLeaks is compromising the national security of many nations as well as the diplomatic relationships of the same and others, it is in my opinion a moot point since the leaks are occurring and will continue to occur. It is more relevant, in my opinion, to focus on the populace and how they have historically reacted to scandal and as well take a look at how our elected officials and other leaders have dealt with the same.

    Save for a few aspects of our system, such as Supreme Court Appointees, our leadership is a revolving door. There is a laundry list of scandal in America alone, known and unknown, and while these issues are best known the result is just another person to fill in the shoes of the publicly shamed. The same lobbying efforts occur, wargames are still played, assumptions on what is best for our nation is constantly being influenced by presumed threats, real or unreal.

    This will always be the case but the process that our elected officials utilize in their campaigns are centered on basic rhetoric that assumes what is best for the average citizen - assumptions which differ depending on party, religion and so forth.

    WikiLeaks has been played by the media to this extent, providing information to the public based on terrorist assumptions and extending that accusation to Assange and his organization. Save for some of us, and I do mean some of us, on ATS there is more of a reactionary opinion based on the same old nationalistic rhetoric - the same rhetoric that allows people to get voted and which results in their getting paid huge salaries to do what some of us on ATS do for free.

    WikiLeaks is not benefiting the public because WikiLeaks will never have full access to the attention of the full public and as of current there is no real expression from WikiLeaks save for leaked documents. Which allows for the partisan media to spin it and divert attention.

    As a result, inadvertently as it may be, WikiLeaks is perpetuating the partisan divide inherent in the pre-WikiLeaks media.



    Socratic question #5:
    Do you really believe it's in our best interest for external entities, be they government, media or other, to "ingest and interpret" these events on our behalf rather than us being directly aware of them to "ingest and interpret" on our own?


    No but my opinion in this case does not have a bearing on how WikiLeaks effects our greater society.



    Who's being persecuted? Or do you mean the prosecution of those soldiers?


    An unfortunate typo. I indeed meant 'prosecuted'.



    Yes, when psycopaths find their way into our military and unlawfully kill the wrong people and "mutilate their corpses" I definitely want those people to face consequences for it. The problem here is that these people are doing these things. Not that whistleblowing is occuring over it.


    And how does this one instance of prosecution effect the entirety of our military exercises? Such is where I am headed. Just because someone has been pointed out and becomes the face for a series of events does not a system fix. And people thinking that it does and using it as a means for rationalizing attention towards other things just perpetuates the slight haze of inattention we have towards our system which will continue on making the same mistakes but in different forms and with newer faces.

    Socratic Question #1 - How did awareness of Guantanamo effect our nations policy on torture?



  • It led to the Ethics in Goverment Act


  • Which in part stipulates the following -


    From the quoted url above [2]
    Represent anyone before an agency for two years after leaving government service on matters that came within the former employees' sphere or responsibility, even if the employees were not personally involved with the matter.


    But such ethical standards do not preclude the appointment of former CEO's to the head of national organizations -

    Former Former Monsanto Exec. Appointed to the Head of the F.D.A.! [3]



  • Awareness of domestic CIA wiretaps associated with the scandal led to the Privacy Act of 1974


  • Which did not prevent the further collection of private information...

    AT&T Sued Over NSA Eavesdropping [4]

    ...or Bush's provision for retroactive immunity for telecommunications execs who were in violation.



    All of these are positive results, yes? Public awareness of corruption and abuse of power can and does have positive benefits.


    Which I contend are media misrepresentations as there are ample examples of continued misuse of public authority and money.


    Originally posted by LordBucket
    Traditional news media is often on the receiving end of PR manipulations by the government. Much material released through wikileaks makes our military and government look bad.


    Socratic Question #2 - Which does the public have more access to, WikiLeaks or Mainstream Media?



    Remember that the internet is competition for traditional news outlets. It is in their best interest that people not look to the internet for news. They don't want to be replaced. Casting Assange in a bad light allows them to throw dirt on their competition.


    So the resulting media coverage on WikiLeaks has resulted in an opportunity to denigrate a new communicative media. I wonder how the fight for the mainstream media to retain prominence in practice and habit is a benifitial result of WikiLeaks.


    Originally posted by LordBucket
    That sounds very much like you're saying that people can't be trusted to interpret news for themselves, and need to be spoon-fed what to think by an establishment.


    That is not entirely true. I am saying that people are polarized on a very many topics in such a fashion that there is no real liklihood for WikiLeaks to have the bureaucratic impact that will result in the actual benefits that such leaks should effect. The differing levels of education, religious belief and other attentions make a feasible and constructive comprehension of how are government works (not how it is propagated to work) require more than the finger pointing that WikiLeaks is participating in.

    As such, more harm than good is being done by WikiLeaks.



    It's better for exactly the reason I gave: when one knows the truth about abuse and misconduct, one is in a better position to prevent abuse and misconduct from occuring in the future.


    I have demonstrated that knowing something has occurred does not prevent similar abuse in the future.



    This is where an organization like wikileaks is beneficial.


    And this is where I find your position to be mostly ideological in nature. Knowing that the military operates in different 'cells' and knowing that there may be times that these groups can 'go rogue' (which I find to be convenient spin in the case of the Collateral Murder video) does not change this system of operation nor does it change the fact that our government wages war.



    You come across as an elitist who wants the information for himself, but doesn't want John Q. Public to have it.


    I disagree. I contend that an attention to the entirety of our system, from how the military/media indoctrinates our troops/public to the corporate interactions with our politicians is a better focus and point of contention and consideration than what WikiLeaks has become portrayed as. This is a very subtle point and the damage being done to the public through ideological communication of WikiLeaks begets such attentions.

    Socratic Question #3 - With the major focus on whether or not WikiLeaks is a criminal operation and the debate within our government on this issue, how do you see substantial change in our government officials' interactions changing?

    Socratic Question #4 - Do you believe that every citizen has the capacity to look beyond ideological communications towards objective interpretation?

    Socratic Question #5 - Has WikiLeaks changed anything aside from our mainstream media's headlines?



    posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 11:05 AM
    link   


    There is no way one can expect to fashion a viable
    opinion/course of action without all available data.

    I'm glad you agree. So clearly an organization that facilitate the availability of data, like wikileaks, is beneficial.



    knowing something has occurred
    does not prevent similar abuse in the future.

    It might not "gauruntee" it, but didn't you've just say that information is necessary to fashion a viable course of action? More information is good. The fact that any given amount of information might be insufficient doesn't detract from the value of information in general.

    So far as I can tell, much of your argument is based on the idea that one can't be "certain." That there's no "gauruntee" that information will be useful. And while that's true, it's a pretty silly argument. A lock on your front door doesn't gauruntee that nobody will break in, either. But having that lock is a deterrent. Knowing that a lover is cheating obviously doesn't mean that the cheating will stop, but as you say...knowing that it's going on allows you to "fashion a viable course of action."

    Having information is beneficial. Knowledge empowers us to make informed decisions. Awareness makes it more difficult for others to abuse us. Yes, there's no "gauruntee" that any particular piece of information will be enough to stop any particular abuse, but without information there can be no stopping it.

    Wikileaks is a valuable and beneficial tool for disseminating information, which by your own admission is necessary to fashion viable opinions and actions.



    Socratic Question #5 - Has WikiLeaks changed anything
    aside from our mainstream media's headlines?

    Governments and human rights groups across the world seem to think so. Russian officials are recommending Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize.. Here's a UN representative for the human rights commission stating that he agrees that Assange is a martyr for free speech.

    In my opening post I pointed out the child sex slavery being funded by US tax dollars, and efforts are now being undertaken to put a stop to that too. Go through the history. Wikileaks has only recently become a popular topic of discussion, but the organization has been around for years, and has revealed a great deal of information, and done a lot of good in that time.



    Socratic Question #1 - How did awareness of Guantanamo effect our nations policy on torture?

    In 2007 Wikileaks released the camp's operating procedures manual, which was subsequently demonstrated to have been partially based off of a Chinese torture manual. This led to a firestorm of public awareness and disapproval that led to the camp's closure in 2009. And even before it was closed, it was through the release of that manual that the Red Cross became aware that they were being denied access to certain prisoners, and because of that, the military opened up and gave them access. These are real life people who were being illegally tortured, who were given access to medical supervision and later released from torture because of information released by wikileaks.

    I'm surprised you asked this. Even if you try to diminish wikileaks involvement in the camp being shut down by pointing out that there were other factors involved...it was the wikileaks release that specifically and directly led to the military changing their policy to grant the Red Cross access to all prisoners.



    Socratic Question #2 - Which does the public have more
    access to, WikiLeaks or Mainstream Media?

    Probably more have access to mainstream media, but it's not like there's any shortage of access to wikileaks data. A quick google search tells me that roughly 88% of US households have internet access. Anybody who wants it can get it.



    Socratic Question #4 - Do you believe that every citizen has the capacity to
    look beyond ideological communications towards objective interpretation?

    Probably not, but if some are unable to interpret it, that doesn't detract from the value for those who can. A huge portion of your arguments seems to stem from demanding absolutes and gauruntees. You keep pointing out that not "everybody" would understand, that not "everybody" has access, that it's not "gaurunteed" that knowledge of abuse will stop abuses. Well, yeah...but so what?

    Socratic question #1:
    Do you acknowledge that if even only a couple people are saved from torture, if only a couple children are kept out of sex-slavery, if only a couple people understand and are able to "ingest and interpret" the information that leads to the end of only some of these abuses...do you acknowledge that wikileaks contributions to these "partial fixes" are definitely beneficial, despite the fact that not all abuses are "gaurunteed" to be stopped?



    Socratic Question #3 - With the major focus on whether or not WikiLeaks is
    a criminal operation and the debate within our government on this issue,
    how do you see substantial change in our government officials' interactions changing?

    It's in the hands of the public. Corrupt officials will only do as much as they believe they can get away with. If the public generally buys into the manipulation that Assange is a bad guy...then those corrupt officials will know that they can simply mislead and misdirect from their own corruption and continue doing what they do. But, if the public sees through it, it will be more difficult for those lies and abuses to take place.

     

    I've given examples of positive benefits brought about by wikileaks, and I've shown support from the international community for what wikileaks does.

    What do you bring to to the table?

    In your opening post you said that eventually you'd get around to talking about harm, but so far you haven't really done that. All you've given is some vague, off-handed statements, like that wikileaks is somehow contributing to partisanship. Personally...when I weigh things like ending torture, stopping child sex slavery...and compare to them to "Oh no! Partisanship!" I come away feeling like you don't have much of a case.

    Socratic question #2:
    What harm has wikileaks caused?

    The only "harm" that wikileaks has caused is that it's embarrassed some people. There are some diplomats and heads of state who've said some moderately insulting things about other diplomats and heads of state, and those people have lost face because of it. That's it. They're embarrased. There's been no actual harm.

    In fact, here's a quote from a speech by US Congressman Ron Paul, saying exactly that:

    0:32 - 0:44


    Despite what is claimed, information so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual




    This is the crux of my point. Partisanship.

    WikiLeaks is perpetuating the partisan divide inherent in the pre-WikiLeaks media.

    Seriously?

    I have shown wikileaks has led to people being rescued from torture, I've shown that it's drawn attention to child-sex slavery, I've shown that the international community supports and values wikileaks contributions, and even you have agreed that information is necessary for viable action, and you've acknowledged the value of having an annonymous outlet for that information.

    Socratic question #3:
    How does perpetuating partisanship outweigh the benefits that I have shown?



    posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 11:22 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by LordBucket
    I'm glad you agree. So clearly an organization that facilitate the availability of data, like wikileaks, is beneficial.


    I am not sure how this can be misconstrued as "clearly".

    The reality of societal interaction is such that one cannot determine precisely how one event will influence subsequent events. Indeed, WikiLeaks is providing damning information on how our officials, military and political, have misused the positions they have gained.

    Does this translate into system reform and a hard look - by all - at how we interact on social and professional levels?

    No. It has thus far translated into a finger pointing campaign that has resulted in a few people being shown the revolving door. I certainly do not intend to denigrate the success of stopping a child sex 'ring' but I do wonder at whether or not human traffiking will be stopped because of WikiLeaks.

    This is what I meant earlier when I stated that the short term victories do not translate into long term benefits, or 'good'. It is thus far only an airing out of grievances that many people on ATS have known for years and the results from the leaks has equated to a 'few' obligatory prosecutions/investigations while the majority of the populace are treated to Assange gossip and the partisan debate on whether or not Wiki is doing anything but damaging national security.

    Where is the lesson in this mainstream media portrayal for the majority populace?

    There is nothing from WikiLeaks that suggests that the average citizen should actually do their homework and look at the system that they were bourne into and how to change such to prevent such abuse in the future. It equates to just another scandal which distracts the majority populace from the issue of why this happens in the first place. It provides an outlet for people to look at atrocity and see a few instances of 'justice' when the entire vehicle for corporate military is the issue.

    The harm WikiLeaks is presenting is based upon neglect, upon their inability to inflect the commentary of mainstream media. As such, while the transgressions of the past may indeed be dealt with righteous consequence, in a few instances despite the severity of the connotation of these few instances, WikiLeaks is merely presenting itself as another scandal...without any actual attention to the differing opinions of the populace and how to change the system that has resulted in this atrocity.

    Thus is the harm. It's a distraction that has been met with partisan debate that distracts from the more basic human attention of Human Rights.

    Why is Partisanship such an important factor in this debate?

    Much of the government actions, be it through popular vote or 'microcosm popular vote', is based on majority opinion. Opinion is varied throughout each national society and without a common ground the reason for the leaks becomes lost in favour of the old arguments of national security. These debates are more prolific than objective reasoning, because of the old institution of nationalism, and as such help to obfuscate the reason and necessity for the the leaks.

    The harm is inherent in the neglect of public reaction and comprehension.



    More information is good.


    More information can be good...depending on the bias and motivation of the one receiving the information. There is nothing in my opponent's presentation that has lead me to believe in any way that WikiLeaks isn't anything more than a 'two minute hate'.



    In George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Two Minutes' Hate is a daily period in which Party members of the society of Oceania must watch a film depicting The Party's enemies (notably Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers) and express their hatred for them and the principles of democracy.[1]


    It's an attention to reactionary behaviour, which my opponent has more than exemplified by re-citing the DynCorp example. One instance of success does not change the rest of the world that traffiks human beings.

    And it should be noted that while I disagree with some of the motivations of First World Militaries in their operations, the only way to stop such widespread human corruption is inherent in their attention to 'democratizing' third world's.



    So far as I can tell, much of your argument is based on the idea that one can't be "certain." That there's no "gauruntee" that information will be useful.


    That is not what my argument is based upon. My argument is that people are going to react to the media's presentation. Since many people are going to inherently rely upon their elected officials, elected through ideological presentation, then there is no real gain and in fact perpetuates the flawed system that has resulted in these actions in the first place.

    My opponent is still focusing on ideological/connotative interpretations of the topic and not focusing on the reality that we live in.



    Having information is beneficial. Knowledge empowers us to make informed decisions.


    And Ignorance is Bliss. We aren't discussing whether or not the idea of WikiLeaks is beneficial but rather the actual effect that the organization has and can have on the populace. Right now, we are in the midst of a media partisanship rhetorical 'war' that dissuades any attention to the reality of the situation.

    Has WikiLeaks succeeded in becoming a global phenom? Yes.

    Have they enacted any change to the system that has resulted in the atrocities and embarrassments that they have leaked? No.

    And currently, I see nothing even remotely close to such a thing happening...which is where I would define 'good'. The perpetuation of the media/political construct without attention to why it exists is harmful to anyone who deigns to make an 'objective and considered' impact.



    In my opening post I pointed out the child sex slavery being funded by US tax dollars, and efforts are now being undertaken to put a stop to that too. Go through the history.


    I have gone through the history. I still see that the media is focusing on whether or not Assange should be free or not and in the 'history' of scandals, WikiLeaks is poised to be forgotten in favour of the issues that our politicians are focusing on now and how it will effect our lives.



    I'm surprised you asked this.


    Bush Announces Veto of Waterboarding Ban [2]

    I did not ask how Guantanamo survived or not...I asked about the effect knowledge of such changed America's policy on torture. America defended it and held to it.



    A quick google search tells me that roughly 88% of US households have internet access. Anybody who wants it can get it.


    Socratic Question #1 - How many people are going to research WikiLeaks when their name is plastered all over their headlines?




    You keep pointing out that not "everybody" would understand, that not "everybody" has access, that it's not "gaurunteed" that knowledge of abuse will stop abuses. Well, yeah...but so what?


    My opponent again misrepresents my position. I am stating that the American Populace elects officials and our elected officials make the decisions for them. I am stating that ideals are used to sway the public into the acquisition of their vote. So what, my opponent asks?

    The very construct of how our society works is the 'so what'. If a vote constitutes a valid participation in the very complicated world of political machination that is defined by the bi/quadrennial exploitation of the majority populace for validation of such decisions then it stands that there are different social motivations at work. If the political and media machine can convince a voter, through ideology, that WikiLeaks is harmful then the divide and conquer scheme has won. The focus is not on the leaks. The focus is on what WikiLeaks is doing...and either Wiki neglected such a reaction or couldn't see the full application of it. Which not only denigrates their mission but even trivializes it in the opinion of many.



    Socratic question #1:
    ...do you acknowledge that wikileaks contributions to these "partial fixes" are definitely beneficial, despite the fact that not all abuses are "gaurunteed" to be stopped?


    That is a loaded question. I acknowledge that it is benefitial to make responsible the people who committed such but at the same time I will not attribute an overall benefit to WikiLeaks as the focus was on one corporation and not on the reality of third world human traffiking. It's a short term vs. long term situation.



    It's in the hands of the public. Corrupt officials will only do as much as they believe they can get away with.


    Socratic Question #2 - In your estimation, how has the public reacted to the mainstream presentation of WikiLeaks?



    Personally...when I weigh things like ending torture, stopping child sex slavery...and compare to them to "Oh no! Partisanship!" I come away feeling like you don't have much of a case.


    Socratic Question #3 - Do you really think that WikiLeaks has resulted in the end of torture and human traffiking?

    Socratic Question #4 - Why hasn't the DynCorp Scandal been propagated over the mainstream media?



    question #2:
    What harm has wikileaks caused?


    I am contending that the harm is indirect in that the perpetuation of the debate on validity as seen prolificly in the mainstream media detracts from the real issues and feeds into the coffers of Big Media as well as helps rationalize the uninformed opinions of the public. This seems like a contradiction but the fact is that Assange and his jail time is not what WikiLeaks set out to communicate...but that is what we hear in the mainstream media.

    Such a subtle difference that prevents any good that WikiLeaks 'could' be capable of.



    Socratic question #3:
    How does perpetuating partisanship outweigh the benefits that I have shown?


    The very partisanship that invokes people to decide on their own values negates the values of others.



    posted on Dec, 18 2010 @ 11:59 AM
    link   


    LordBucket:
    What harm has wikileaks caused?

    MemoryShock:
    I am contending that the harm is indirect in that the perpetuation of the debate on validity as seen prolificly in the mainstream media detracts from the real issues and feeds into the coffers of Big Media as well as helps rationalize the uninformed opinions of the public. This seems like a contradiction but the fact is that Assange and his jail time is not what WikiLeaks set out to communicate...but that is what we hear in the mainstream media.

    So if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the mainstream media is focusing on whether wikileaks' message is valid...and their focus on that means that they're not focusing on the issues themselves? Or to phrase it another way, you're suggesting that wikileaks is not accomplishing what they've set out to do because mainstream media isn't giving proper attention to it? You do understand, don't you, that wikileaks communicates information regardless of what the media says? 40% of Americans get the majority of their news online. Wikileaks is not dependant on mainstream media to get its message out. You also understand, I'm sure, that the majority of the world also does not get their news from American media?

    Socratic question #1:
    How does mainstream American media's lack of focus on what wikileaks is focusing on in any way detract from the value of wikileaks?

    Socratic question #2:
    Even within the country, more Americans get their news from online sources than from newspapers. Would you suggest that information relayed by newspapers is therefore irrelevant somehow?



    Such a subtle difference that prevents any
    good that WikiLeaks 'could' be capable of.

    Obviously it doesn't totally prevent it, as demonstrated by the examples I've already given. However, even if we humor your premise, it doesn't really answer the question, which was: "What harm has wikileaks caused?" Even if mainstream media is "preventing the good" that wikileaks is capable of, that's not an example of wikileaks causing harm.

    I've given specific examples and cited sources for positive effects wikileaks has had on our world. You object, because you think they're somehow not good enough. But when I ask you for harm caused by wikileaks, the best you can give is that mainstream media is stopping wikileaks from doing good?

    That doesn't make sense.

    Socratic question #3:
    Would you cite for me please, some specific examples of wikileaks causing harm? Not hyperbole, but specific events in which harm has been caused.



    LordBucket:
    How does perpetuating partisanship outweigh the benefits that I have shown?

    MemoryShock:
    The very partisanship that invokes people to decide on their own values negates the values of others.

    I'm sorry, but I don't really understand what you're trying to say. How are values being "negated?" What do you even mean by that? How does one person deciding on values for themselves "negate" values of others? What does partisanship have to do with this?

    And how does any of this outweigh the benefits that I've shown?

    Socratic question #4:
    Please explain how partisanship invoking people to decide on values negates the values of others. Or at the very least, explain what you mean by that. Keep in mind that this is the specific answer you've given to a direct question about exactly the debate topic, so clearly it must be very important.

     



    Socratic Question #1 - How many people are going to research WikiLeaks
    when their name is plastered all over their headlines?

    You mean, how many see wikileaks on tv then go look up their website? Probably not many. But as mentioned above, 40% of the public gets their news online. Wikileaks is a viable medium whether or not mainstream media talks about it at all.



    Socratic Question #2 - In your estimation, how has the public
    reacted to the mainstream presentation of WikiLeaks?

    It varies a lot. Some people are made angry by it, some are indifferent to it, others are confused by it. My impression is that the dividing lines are primarily whether or not people have an "us vs them" mentality, and how they react to the rape charge. People who feel that America is awesome no matter what seem to be angry that wikileaks would release anything that makes the country look bad. People who can get past that either hear that Assange has been accused of rape and immediately assume guilt, or they see that it's an awfully convenient accusation and wonder if he's being targeted for character assassination.



    Socratic Question #3 - Do you really think that WikiLeaks has
    resulted in the end of torture and human traffiking?

    I've already cited specific examples of it. I acknowledge that stopping some instances does not stop all instances. But this is where I accuse you of unreasonably demanding absolutes. Yes, wikileaks led to Red Cross supervision and release from torture for Gauntanamo Bay prisoners. And yes, having done so does not stop the fact that torture occurs elsewhere. But the fact that people are still being tortured elsewhere does not diminish the value for those who were saved here. It's unreasonable to demand that wikileaks result in "the end" of torture and human trafficking to acknowledge the good that it does. You may as well suggest that it's a waste of time for us to have lunch because that wouldn't feed our neighbors next door. It's a silly argument.

    Or, for those who care about such things, it's the Perfect Solution Fallacy.



    Socratic Question #4 - Why hasn't the DynCorp Scandal
    been propagated over the mainstream media?

    It has. For example, here it is on the Manchester Guardian. But that's an English newspaper. American media are avoiding the topic, presumably for the reasons I gave before: government PR efforts.

     

    What do international human rights organizations have to say about wikileaks? Amnesty International gave wikileaks the 2009 Internatinal New Media Award for their disclosures of Kenyan human rights violations.

    According to a wired article entitled Why Wikileaks is good for America:


    WikiLeaks stands to improve our democracy, not weaken it

    WikiLeaks is a distributor of this information, if an extraordinarily prolific one. It helps guarantee the information won’t be hidden by editors and publishers who are afraid of lawsuits or the government.

    I've already quoted Congressman Ron Paul's stance on wikileaks. But he is not alone in his view. Here is Congressman Connie Mack of Florida Standing up for Wikileaks.


    Wikileaks is a beneficial organization which serves as an annonymous outlet for whistlerblowers to release information we need to know. This has been demonstrated, and many have acknowledged it.



    Moderator note: "Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference"



    posted on Dec, 18 2010 @ 08:31 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by LordBucket
    You do understand, don't you, that wikileaks communicates information regardless of what the media says?


    Of course I understand that. I am wondering how many people comprehend that there is a real issue that needs to be dealt with and don't do anything because of predisposed and reinforced bias.



    The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.
    [1]


    WikiLeaks may have had some success in pointing out that there is government corruption, even specifically. But there is nothing they have done that has given attention to the system that has allowed such to occur.

    Where some say 'good', I say finger pointing perpetuation which fails to help the public comprehend the system that they are beholden to.



    40% of Americans get the majority of their news online. Wikileaks is not dependant on mainstream media to get its message out.


    Indeed. But in a world that is being pulled from all angles of advertisement and information propagation there is little in the mainstream media that would reach the disinclined. ATS is not necessarily a microcosm for the majority populace. The fact of the matter is that religion and entertainment and work/family obligations compete for the attention of the average citizen. Such is our system and as long as the mainstream media focuses on the ideals of WikiLeaks then we are going to have uninformed opinions on the organization. Which helps no one but those WikiLeaks is attempting to oust.



    Socratic question #1:
    How does mainstream American media's lack of focus on what wikileaks is focusing on in any way detract from the value of wikileaks?


    I have been illustrating this throughout the debate. By focusing on the gossip aspect of Assange and his 'sex scandal' as well as whether or not the cables/leaks effect national security, the ideals of WikiLeaks are lost in the shuffle. Which only perpetuates the lack of information available to the populace as well as placing 'authoritative spin' on the ideology.



    Socratic question #2:
    Even within the country, more Americans get their news from online sources than from newspapers. Would you suggest that information relayed by newspapers is therefore irrelevant somehow?


    No.



    Socratic question #3:
    Would you cite for me please, some specific examples of wikileaks causing harm? Not hyperbole, but specific events in which harm has been caused.


    WikiLeaks has resulted in the incarceration of a 22 year old, Brad Manning, who likely isn't the source for all of the leaks.



    He's been held there for 5 months, but has not yet been convicted of any crime. Greenwald interviewed "several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning's detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard)." He writes that Manning is being held "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture," conditions "likely to create long-term psychological injuries."
    [2]


    While the prosecution of those who actually committed crimes, albeit in a few instances, is a positive, the hanging of the mantle as it were on this young guy seems fairly harmful.



    I'm sorry, but I don't really understand what you're trying to say. How are values being "negated?" What do you even mean by that? How does one person deciding on values for themselves "negate" values of others? What does partisanship have to do with this?


    'Partisanship' is merely a term that describes the inability of people to agree.



    And how does any of this outweigh the benefits that I've shown?


    I still am in disagreement here. A few instances of prosecution does not translate into a successful change. Yes I am glad that an instance of child slavery was caught. Yes I am glad a few soldiers are being held accountable for their rogue behaviour. But I am not satisfied that this amounts to any real change in the system that resulted in such. Pacification is not 'doing good'.

     

    Socratic question #4:
    Please explain how partisanship invoking people to decide on values negates the values of others. Or at the very least, explain what you mean by that. Keep in mind that this is the specific answer you've given to a direct question about exactly the debate topic, so clearly it must be very important.


    I feel it was very self explanatory. To dive off topic for a second, partisanship, or the division amongst common social issues have resulted in intense decades long debate which has resulted in no common ground. Abortion, religion, and even taxes. There is no agreement amongst the population as there are different points of view across the board and our politicians, even if it can be described as regional, feed off this dissidence. Same with our media and the same thing is happening with WikiLeaks.



    You may as well suggest that it's a waste of time for us to have lunch because that wouldn't feed our neighbors next door. It's a silly argument.

    Or, for those who care about such things, it's the Perfect Solution Fallacy.


    It's not a silly argument. You may be approaching this debate from a rhetorical standpoint but I am certain that I am approaching with an honest attention to sociological trends and acknowledgments.

    Life is not a fallacy and I have yet to see anything from my opponent that has interacted with the reality of the public and how the mainstream media tends to go from one scandal to the next.




    Socratic Question #4 - Why hasn't the DynCorp Scandal
    been propagated over the mainstream media?

    -Snip- American media are avoiding the topic, presumably for the reasons I gave before: government PR efforts.


    Indeed.
     

    The debate topic was framed in such a fashion as to almost demand a black and white analysis of WikiLeaks. It is not that simple. WikiLeaks is a rogue organization which has, in the opinion of some, provided a service where the world can see and know about some of the atrocity that occurs while we go about our daily lives.

    But the world is not so simple. There are factions of religious, political and corporate minded peoples everywhere. Will WikiLeaks be beneficial? Based on current data and historical trend on how the public has responded to scandal, I think not. If WikiLeaks intends to inform the public of what our leaders have been doing through a media that has had a stranglehold on public perception for decades than I see nothing but a perpetuation of said manipulation of public perception on this latest scandal.

    A few instances of justice is no different from WikiLeaks than it has been in the past when such scandals were given for public consumption. I have shown that the public has been pacified in past scandals and I have shown that no attention was given to the pacifying legislation our then leaders responded with.

    WikiLeaks is a public distraction as long as they just drop information and point fingers.

    Such gives fodder for partisan debate and distracts from the idea that we as a society have to take a look at our own beliefs and routines in order to actually provide positive and beneficial, or 'good', change within our system to prevent these atrocities rather than allow them to happen and point fingers afterward.

    My thanks again to The Vagabond, the readers and of course my opponent, LordBucket.



    posted on Dec, 19 2010 @ 10:44 AM
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    We began this discussion by establishing that knowledge and awareness of our world is beneficial. This should be common sense. After all, why are you here on ATS? To share information, to be more informed, and to help others be more informed. When it comes to abuse of power, even my opponent acknowledges that it is neccesary to be informed of those abuses in order to take proper action.

    Wikileaks is in the business of making information available. It's certainly not unique in this regard. Books, libraries, television, radio, newspaper...all sorts of media serve the purpose of making information available. Wikileaks performs this same function, but it simply serves a particular niche: it accepts annonymous submissions of incriminating documents and publishes those docuemnts online.

    It is basically a worldwide annonymous whistleblower hotline, similar to the many telephone "annonymous tip" hotlines that exist here in the US. Wikileaks serves the same purpose, on a larger scale.

    Does wikileaks do more good, or more harm?

    The good
    We've already discussed a few incidents, and yes, I've focused on the more sensational examples, like the exposure of DynCorp's use of US tax dollars to fund child-sex slavery in Afghanistan, and examples in which wikileaks has been directly responsible for the results, such as the Red Cross gaining access to Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

    But let's take a moment and look at a few other examples of material exposed by wikileaks. Here is a list of wikileaks leaks since 2006.

    * Assassination orders by the Somali government
    * The internet censorship lists of Australia
    * Bilderberg meeting reports dating from as far back as 1955
    * The nuclear reactor accident at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility
    * Toxic waste dumping off the Ivory Coast
    * Political corruption in the office of Daniel arap Moi
    * Tax evasion by Barclays Bank, the 10th largest bank in the world

    You probably haven't heard about most of these incidents, because most of them are events that occurred in other parts of the world. When it really comes down to it, as indignant as we may be over the "embarrassing" US diplomatic leaks, an awful lot of the corruption and abuse of power going on in the world is going on in other places, being perpetrated by people other than us. Wikileaks has been helping to reveal these corruptions since 2006, and this is why national governments are trying to get Assange nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.

    Wikileaks has done a great deal of good, and many have acknowledged the benefits wikileaks has brought: The Red Cross, Amnesty International, US Congressmen, the Kremlin, journalists of both print and electronic media, and others.

    The bad
    My opponent has utterly failed to demonstrate harm caused by wikileaks. The reason for this is that there hasn't really been any.

    Here is a google search for: damage caused by wikileaks. And here is an excerpt from the number one search result:



    Imagine if you and a cousin exchanged candid e-mails about other members of your family; or imagine you and a fellow business associate exchanged gossip and sensitive information and complaints in written form about other business associates.

    Enter a third party who revealed those exchanges to the subjects of the messages. The result would be hurt feelings, embarrassment, and strained, if any, future relationships.

    On a global scale, the release of thousands of confidential diplomatic messages from the U.S. State Department by Wikileaks this week has clearly done the same damage.

    That pretty much summarizes it. There's been some embarrassment. Some public officials and dipomats have lost face. But there's been no actual damage.

    And so I simply ask you to weigh one on hand the "harm" of a few public officials being embarrassed over having their dirty laundry aired, against the massive benefits of giving medical attention to torture victims, exposing international child sex slavery rings, revealing Iranian nuclear accidents and Ivory Coast illegal toxic waste dumping, and everything else in the huge pile of abuses that wikileaks has exposed.

    Wikileaks has done a great deal of good, and it far outweighs personal discomfort of a couple diplomats.



    posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 10:20 AM
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    Now off to the Judges...



    posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 05:04 AM
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    We have a WINNER!!!!


    MemoryShock took a very unexpected turn in this debate. While I think I kind of understand where he was going with his argument, I am unsure that the foundation for it stands up properly to LordBucket's responses.

    This was indeed a very interesting debate and well played on both sides but I have to give the nod to LordBucket preciesly for his consistent and stalwart arguments. I also want to suggest that MemoryShock's use of Socratic Questions were at times confusing.

    The following quote sums it up for me -


    LordBucket
    It might not "gauruntee" it, but didn't you've just say that information is necessary to fashion a viable course of action? More information is good. The fact that any given amount of information might be insufficient doesn't detract from the value of information in general.


    Such simple statements can have an incredible impact and I feel that MemoryShock did not address such enough to win this debate.

    LordBucket wins



    This was one interesting debate. Interesting in that both fighters obviously believed in LordBucket’s position which made it very difficult for MemoryShock indeed. The fact that he hung in there, goes to character and his debate ability!

    LordBucket’s responses to MemoryShock’s Socratic Questions were “Spot On” as was MemoryShock’s initial approach. I particularly liked MS’S approach that WL not seeing the “Whole Picture” crippled its information value.

    This was a VERY close debate; yet at the end, LB’s consistent responses won the day.

    LordBucket wins by a hair.


    LordBucket Wins!!!



    posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 09:48 PM
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    Much to my relief...I can state now that I support WikiLeaks and was very much in conflict trying to find a way to argue this topic without taking the 'obvious con' position (National Security et cetera).

    Congrats to LordBucket...






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