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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > WikiLeaks latest will erode trust between the US and her allies

WikiLeaks latest will erode trust between the US and her allies
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Nov 25, 2010, 03:14 AM
 
CBC News: U.S. warns Ottawa of WikiLeak release.

From the article: "U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians and could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings ... A State Department spokesman said Wednesday the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner."

Wow. This should be good. And the US doesn't appear to be denying anything.
     
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Nov 25, 2010, 11:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
CBC News: U.S. warns Ottawa of WikiLeak release.

From the article: "U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians and could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings ... A State Department spokesman said Wednesday the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner."

Wow. This should be good. And the US doesn't appear to be denying anything.
This would be good if we were privy to the compromising conversations abroad as well. As if confidential, potentially destructive communications about foreign governments is a uniquely American phenomena; the leaks drum up angst as if it were. I think it takes a degree of discipline to keep this kind of thing in perspective and we shall see.

Like many other things, these leaks will likely have the most profound impact on those already bent on opposing US foreign policy.
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Nov 25, 2010, 11:25 AM
 
I think politicians are already aware that all politicians are backstabbing, spineless cretins.
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Nov 25, 2010, 11:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
I think politicians are already aware that all politicians are backstabbing, spineless cretins.
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Nov 25, 2010, 10:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Like many other things, these leaks will likely have the most profound impact on those already bent on opposing US foreign policy.
The possible expulsion of diplomats clearly proves otherwise.
     
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Nov 26, 2010, 01:07 AM
 
Yawn. Let me know when it actually happens.
     
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Nov 27, 2010, 08:52 AM
 
WikiLeaks revelations will 'expose corruption between allies' U.S. warns Britain | Mail Online

Oooh. A D-Notice (that's a government-requested media blackout). This should be good.

Possible interesting bits:
- Turkey has been helping Al Qaeda.
- The US has been funding terrorists in Turkey.
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Nov 28, 2010, 07:49 PM
 
Anyone else get the feeling that reading through the database is like reading a typical high school diary? Seems to me like a bunch of gossip: who likes so and so, and who hates someone else's guts.

Oh well.
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Nov 28, 2010, 08:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Like many other things, these leaks will likely have the most profound impact on those already bent on opposing US foreign policy.
Try again. US embassy cables: the documents | World news | guardian.co.uk

Iran abuses Iranian Red Crescent to send agents and weapons overseas
Iran attempts to manipulate Iraq elections
Saudi king urges US strike on Iran

So, totally anti-American?
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 08:24 AM
 
What's your point?

I said the leaks would have the most profound impact on those who already oppose US foreign policy. It follows logically that those most interested in examples of alleged US impropriety would be those already opposed to US foreign policy.

Which of the above is actually a shocker to you anyway? For example, you didn't know Iran was trying to manipulate Iraq's elections? I think this has been mainstream news since what... March at least?

And in response to your statement before last - no, the possible expulsion of diplomats clearly proves nothing. This is like saying "the guy's possible MO clearly proves he committed the crime." There is zero reason why the words possible and clearly proves should be in the same sentence.
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Nov 29, 2010, 08:31 AM
 
I don't see this as something really bad. I think an institution like wikileaks can actually help keep governments in check. Obviously, there are some inconvenient publications, but at least the ones in regard to Germany are pretty harmless.
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Nov 29, 2010, 10:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't see this as something really bad. I think an institution like wikileaks can actually help keep governments in check. Obviously, there are some inconvenient publications, but at least the ones in regard to Germany are pretty harmless.
While over-classification is a problem in the United States, for the most part, governments in democratic societies keep secrets because the public has decided that they should.

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Nov 29, 2010, 10:42 AM
 
@SpaceMonkey
I'm not denying there are moments that the media or sites like wikileaks have a negative impact, overall, it's a positive influence.
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Nov 29, 2010, 10:44 AM
 
I do agree with Oreo, however, there is a lot of stuff that WikiLeaks puts out there that can put American lives abroad in danger (not specifically with this information).
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 10:49 AM
 
News just in!: David Camoron lacks depth.

Well I never, blow me down with a feather, etc., etc..
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Nov 29, 2010, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
News just in!: David Camoron lacks depth.

Well I never, blow me down with a feather, etc., etc..
Some of the titles that NYT chose for topics are hilarious. Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government Really?????
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 11:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Some of the titles that NYT chose for topics are hilarious. Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government Really?????
It's all coming thick and fast, isn't it? I'm not sure I'll ever be able to see the world in the same light after all these extraordinary revelations.
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Nov 29, 2010, 11:53 AM
 
Do you believe the leaks? Are some of the released documents propaganda, spread through to cast doubts? I mean WMD's were in Iraq? But we were told otherwise by the press(liberal...oh!).
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 11:56 AM
 
I like the Iran/North Korea link. I can picture those two kooky guys working together - it's like a retarded SPECTRE.
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Nov 29, 2010, 12:24 PM
 
Thus far there doesn't appear to be any substantive new revelations. Just a bunch of stuff that's embarrassing to the US government. It's what happens when things said privately are unexpectedly made public. I imagine Sec. Clinton is going to have a bunch of "uncomfortable" meetings with European leaders shortly.

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Nov 29, 2010, 09:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Thus far there doesn't appear to be any substantive new revelations. Just a bunch of stuff that's embarrassing to the US government. It's what happens when things said privately are unexpectedly made public.
Agreed. The problem is in many cases the sensitive communication is necessary and does get ugly no doubt about it. Like you I'm left waiting for the kaboom, the earth-shattering kaboom, while feeling a trifle embarrassed. I have to think most acknowledge that this is the unfortunate byproduct of such communications and unique only in its publicity.

I imagine Sec. Clinton is going to have a bunch of "uncomfortable" meetings with European leaders shortly.
I hope not and believe it or not, I'm not sure she's got too much to worry about.
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Nov 30, 2010, 10:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't see this as something really bad. I think an institution like wikileaks can actually help keep governments in check. Obviously, there are some inconvenient publications, but at least the ones in regard to Germany are pretty harmless.
I agree with Oreo. Wikileaks should not be treated any differently than say the New York Times. I find it laughable to see these politicians pontificate of these leaks. A quote from Justice Hugo Black
Concurring Majority Opinion, Pentagon Papers.

"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do".
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 11:27 AM
 
How about the way the data was acquired? Isn't that as sleazy as the stuff they are highlighting? Where are the morals?
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 11:29 AM
 
Is there a non-sleazy way to acquire classified information that would meet with your approval?
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 11:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Orion27 View Post
I agree with Oreo. Wikileaks should not be treated any differently than say the New York Times. I find it laughable to see these politicians pontificate of these leaks. A quote from Justice Hugo Black
Concurring Majority Opinion, Pentagon Papers.

"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do".
I could not disagree more strongly. Wikileaks doesn't even consider themselves to be journalists (or at least, they are deeply ambivalent about the question, shielding themselves behind free press protections when it suits them and dismissing journalistic principles when it doesn't). The New Yorker had a great profile of the founder, Julian Assange. I find some of Assange's beliefs laudable, but he and Wikileaks should not be considered anything other than political activists.

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Nov 30, 2010, 11:55 AM
 
@SpaceMonkey
I was talking about the platform wikileaks rather than Assange himself. The idea of this platform is that anybody can upload material and everybody can download material which has been released. In the past, this information may have been sent to select publications (e. g. newspapers), but now, the average Joe can download and analyze them.

The reason that wikileaks (and to a certain degrees also other new forms of `journalism' like blogging) doesn't fit into the established categories is that it's an entirely new concept. Journalists can use it as a source -- but not only the privileged ones who are blessed with access to exclusive information. It may also be useful to political scientists and perhaps historians one day.
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Nov 30, 2010, 12:01 PM
 
Wikileaks no longer allows for user-uploaded material or 3rd party edits, so I question whether there is anything really new about this platform. Anyone can submit material to them, obviously, but in its current state IMO it is impossible to differentiate the site's content from Assange and his cohort's "voice" and, by extension, Assange's perceived mission, which I find to be more political than journalistic (interested more in the dismantling of systems rather than simply illuminating the facts).
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Nov 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM. )

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Nov 30, 2010, 12:11 PM
 
One Congressman is calling for charging Wikileaks and its founder on terrorism and espionage charges. I think the terrorism charges are ridiculous. But isn't what they just did (intercepting diplomatic messages and revealing them to third parties) the very definition of espionage? I think that charge is fair game.
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 12:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
One Congressman is calling for charging Wikileaks and its founder on terrorism and espionage charges.
Been some time since this particular gent last read the first amendment, perhaps?

Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
But isn't what they just did (intercepting diplomatic messages and revealing them to third parties) the very definition of espionage? I think that charge is fair game.
Did wikileaks actually hack the link themselves or did they simply publish what was given to them? (I don't know - I'm asking).
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Nov 30, 2010, 12:48 PM
 
From wikiedia:

On 26 November, via his lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Assange sent a letter to the US Department of State, asking for information regarding people who could be placed at "significant risk of harm" by the diplomatic cables release.[218][219] Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, refused the proposal, stating, "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials."
So, anyone whining about the publication of the documents hasn't got a leg to stand on.
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Nov 30, 2010, 01:01 PM
 
Good thing other countries don't have secrets.
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
From wikiedia:



So, anyone whining about the publication of the documents hasn't got a leg to stand on.
Not really.

The answer, as far as the State Department is concerned, is all of it. That's why they buy all those stamps which say "confidential".
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 01:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
I could not disagree more strongly. Wikileaks doesn't even consider themselves to be journalists (or at least, they are deeply ambivalent about the question, shielding themselves behind free press protections when it suits them and dismissing journalistic principles when it doesn't). The New Yorker had a great profile of the founder, Julian Assange. I find some of Assange's beliefs laudable, but he and Wikileaks should not be considered anything other than political activists.
Come on, the Times is not activist? Maybe you can tell us what constitutes "approved" press. Were not these papers just "published" Or must they be published with comment redaction or publisher discretion. And who might be the arbiter?
     
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Nov 30, 2010, 01:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Orion27 View Post
Come on, the Times is not activist? Maybe you can tell us what constitutes "approved" press. Were not these papers just "published" Or must they be published with comment redaction or publisher discretion. And who might be the arbiter?
The Times is not an activist organization, no. Its goal is producing a commodity -- "news" -- for profit, whereas Wikileaks primary goal is improving transparency and thereby creating "a better society for all people." While it is fashionable in the Internet Age to treat Old Media and New Media on equal terms, the truth is that "journalism" as a profession did not emerge overnight. The standard-bearers of Old Media, at the dawn of the Internet Age, had spent a couple hundred years refining a code of conduct that, while mostly self-regulated, ensured a basic level of reliability and public accountability. There is no such thing as "approved" press, but every media outlet can be judged equally by its credibility and reputation. Therefore, after reading more about how Assange and his team go about collecting, editing, and publishing their information, my opinion is that they are not as reliable as organizations with a track record like The New York Times.
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Nov 30, 2010 at 01:56 PM. )

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Nov 30, 2010, 07:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Wikileaks no longer allows for user-uploaded material or 3rd party edits, so I question whether there is anything really new about this platform.
I think there is.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Anyone can submit material to them, obviously, but in its current state IMO it is impossible to differentiate the site's content from Assange and his cohort's "voice" and, by extension, Assange's perceived mission, which I find to be more political than journalistic (interested more in the dismantling of systems rather than simply illuminating the facts).
I agree that he hasn't implemented the `wiki ideals.' The main problem I see is that the people maintaining wiki leaks are not comprised of a big, politically diverse group of individuals. However, just like with wikipedia: anyone can change an article, but if you're trying to contribute something to an established article, somebody has to screen it first. Otherwise people could flood the platform with worthless junk.

On the other hand, if you publish so many documents at once, so many that it's just hopelessly impossible to analyze them before release, I think it's hard to believe Assange could only release documents that support his political opinion on a specific topic. Even if he is trying to push his `agenda,' I don't think he can effectively do that. (By now, I have an aversion against the word `agenda.' Just like dubious, it means nothing and just scares people into thinking something nefarious is going on.)
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
One Congressman is calling for charging Wikileaks and its founder on terrorism and espionage charges. I think the terrorism charges are ridiculous. But isn't what they just did (intercepting diplomatic messages and revealing them to third parties) the very definition of espionage? I think that charge is fair game.
I agree, the terrorism charges are ridiculous, but the espionage charges very real. On the other hand, I suppose Assange already knows he won't be welcome in the US and many other countries and has taken steps to make sure he's out of reach.

On the other hand, releasing internal documents is nothing new, only the order of magnitude is new (fascilitated by new technologies: you no longer have to smuggle photocopies out of your office). If Assange were an anonymous source for some renouned journalists, I hardly think the journalists would be indicted. It's a tough one for me: even though it's perfectly clear governments have a legitimate interest to keep certain matters to themselves and there should be a legal recourse, it's not quite clear to me how to accomplish that. Blocking web pages is a technologically hopeless undertaking. And if the server is located at a safe haven, it is impossible to shut them down. Arresting someone is only possible if that person is within legal reach. I think governments will probably have to content themselves prosecuting actual sources -- something they're already doing.

Also, the sheer amount of information will make it almost useless to the average Joe. When wikileaks was covered the first time, I've browsed some of the documents and it was boring to say the least. Unless you have a bird's eye view on a topic or you bury yourself in documents for an extended period of time, I don't think you can extract something really useful for yourself. This is actually an upside for governments: the leaked documents are only useful to a select group of people.
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Nov 30, 2010, 07:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think there is.

I agree that he hasn't implemented the `wiki ideals.' The main problem I see is that the people maintaining wiki leaks are not comprised of a big, politically diverse group of individuals. However, just like with wikipedia: anyone can change an article, but if you're trying to contribute something to an established article, somebody has to screen it first. Otherwise people could flood the platform with worthless junk.

On the other hand, if you publish so many documents at once, so many that it's just hopelessly impossible to analyze them before release, I think it's hard to believe Assange could only release documents that support his political opinion on a specific topic. Even if he is trying to push his `agenda,' I don't think he can effectively do that. (By now, I have an aversion against the word `agenda.' Just like dubious, it means nothing and just scares people into thinking something nefarious is going on.)
The website has been redesigned several times. I may be missing something when I visit the current website, but they don't really have "articles" anymore at all. They have a series of sub-sites devoted to each trove of material. Each trove allows for different abilities for users to comment and interact with the information, but I don't see where you are getting the perception that "anyone can change an article," even with a screening process.

On his "agenda" let me clarify: I think Assange's political objective is to eliminate government secrets. Thus whether or not he is capable of selecting material that supports his political opinion that government secrets are bad is kind of a red herring. The point is he would like to release all of it. There have been past instances in which he has edited the material prior to release for effect (albeit providing the "raw" intel as well), such as the case of the video from the Apache helicopter attack that killed the Reuters journalists.

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Dec 1, 2010, 04:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The answer, as far as the State Department is concerned, is all of it. That's why they buy all those stamps which say "confidential".
Marking a document "confidential" or "Top Secret" in the US (or a US Embassy which is strictly speaking US territory) means nothing outside of that territory. I presume that having Top Secret in an email is the same. And yes, I do understand that these communications were stolen.
     
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Dec 1, 2010, 06:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Each trove allows for different abilities for users to comment and interact with the information, but I don't see where you are getting the perception that "anyone can change an article," even with a screening process.
Since people are contributing original documents, the thought of changing them doesn't make sense. The point of wikipedia is that anyone can contribute -- and that is true here as well.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
The point is he would like to release all of it. There have been past instances in which he has edited the material prior to release for effect (albeit providing the "raw" intel as well), such as the case of the video from the Apache helicopter attack that killed the Reuters journalists.
Again, I'm thinking of the platform, not the person: whenever there is a new technology, there are new ways to use it and abuse it. What counts more than the release of the video is that the original video has been made available.

In my opinion, transparency breeds honesty* and thus if I'm given the choice between shutting wikileaks down and keeping it, I'm in favor of keeping it, knowing full well that there are negative implications.

* I'm a little jealous of the laws like the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act: I wish we had a law like it in Germany. People should have a right to check what their government has been doing. They should have a right to check certain procedures which impact them directly or indirectly.
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Dec 1, 2010, 08:24 AM
 
Did you guys know that the source of all these documents (and of the military ones earlier) was one guy, and he's already been in custody for months? I didn't until this morning....

Obama may keep Gitmo open, just for him....
     
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Dec 1, 2010, 10:36 AM
 
How did it get from one guy to WikiLeaks? Who was the handler? What did they get in return? What is the real motive?
     
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Dec 1, 2010, 11:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
What is the real motive?
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Dec 1, 2010, 11:49 AM
 
Obviously these guys hate America and our freedomz.
     
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Dec 1, 2010, 01:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Since people are contributing original documents, the thought of changing them doesn't make sense. The point of wikipedia is that anyone can contribute -- and that is true here as well.
The point of Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute/edit in real time. Sure, anyone can submit documents to Wikileaks, and then Wikileaks will decide if they want to publish them. But that's not any different from how it would work if you submitted your documents to a newspaper or some whistle-blower group. There is no Wikipedia Foundation editorial "voice" inherent in Wikipedia's content -- just the aggregate contributions of its members. In contrast, Wikileaks' content is entirely the editorial "voice" of its curators, since they decide which troves to publish, just as any other "real life" publisher does. I don't see anything new about Wikileaks' model that would separate it from Assange's personal aims in operating it.

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Dec 1, 2010, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
The point of Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute/edit in real time.
No, that's not quite true: if you edit many pages, your changes will not be displayed to the world unless someone else reviews the changes. That's not true for all pages, though: when I edited four wikipedia pages last month (2 in English, 2 in German), the English ones did not have to be reviewed, the German ones did. I had to wait until someone (more privileged and trusted than me, it seems) confirmed my changes. So in that respect, wikileaks is no different from wikipedia.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
In contrast, Wikileaks' content is entirely the editorial "voice" of its curators, since they decide which troves to publish, just as any other "real life" publisher does. I don't see anything new about Wikileaks' model that would separate it from Assange's personal aims in operating it.
It's not an editorial in any sense of the word. They do not edit the documents before publication, you can download unaltered originals. The only thing wikileaks does get to decide is which submissions will be published and which won't. It's not like in a scientific journal where single articles/documents are submitted, refereed and then published -- or not. You get a bulk of material and the only decision wikileaks has to make is whether it is genuine or not.

Here you go again with `personal aims:' if you're thinking of anything other than bringing internal government documents to light, I reiterate that I don't think it is even possible to select document that favor your point of view.
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Dec 1, 2010, 03:45 PM
 
Editorial voice is inherent in what you choose to publish. When Wikileaks decides whether or not to publish material (whether it is a specific cable or an entire batch of cables whose contents is unknown), they are making an editorial decision. The difference between Wikileaks and a conventional news organization is not that Wikileaks' founders have less editorial control, since they alone decide what will be published on the site. Rather, the difference is in their objective in wielding that control. Although it could have done exactly the same thing, The New York Times would have published this batch of cables on its own because (1) most of the material is not very interesting as a revenue-generating "news" commodity, (2) the risk of government prosecution, and (3) an ingrained "do no harm" mentality that is extremely risk-averse regarding government secrets and the individual safety of subjects (either physical harm or, more likely, revealing sensitive personal information as Wikileaks has done in the past with Social Security Numbers). Being the first to "break" these cables would not have been in the New York Times' interest as a for-profit news corporation.

I have no doubt that Assange and his colleagues don't really care about what specifically is in the cables. But the editorial decision to release the cables en masse is in their interest as an organization seeking a political (as opposed to profit) goal of "improving transparency," which they assert will lead to "a better society" (today their Twitter feed declared Wikileaks to be "the first global Samizdat movement"). Whether you think this goal is good or bad is one question. All I am trying to say is that comparisons of Wikileaks to traditional news organizations are flawed because, although Wikileaks asserts the same level of control over its content, the motives of each are completely different.

Although you and I seem to agree that Wikileaks probably does some good as a foil to excessive government secrecy, because of its motives I question their sincerity in their self-professed "do no harm" principle, using the professionalism (and to some extent, the built-in checks of the for-profit motive) of traditional news organizations as a counter-example. A news organization would not have published this material without there being a "news" story, with all of the public significance, context, and vetting of specific content that implies.

EDIT: Interestingly, there have been several stories recently about alienated former participants in Wikileaks that seem to highlight the problem of editorial voice. From Der Spiegel:

But former members of the organization have criticized his supposedly autocratic leadership style. "I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, original coder, organizer, financier and all the rest. If you have a problem with me, piss off," Assange famously wrote to one internal critic.
...
Domscheit-Berg criticized WikiLeaks for concentrating on publishing material about the US while other information was neglected. "There was a lack of transparency about how decisions had been reached," he told the newspaper. "That's why I trust this organization as little as I would trust another organization with similar problems."
( Last edited by SpaceMonkey; Dec 1, 2010 at 05:56 PM. )

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Dec 2, 2010, 04:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Editorial voice is inherent in what you choose to publish.
No, an editorial is the result of processing raw source material -- just like any real journalistic piece of work. You take information from various sources, process it for the reader and write it up so that a complex topic is palatable for the reader. This is something wikileaks is not doing: they're just dumping the raw source material on us.

As I've written before: I agree with you that wikileaks is a new phenomenon that doesn't fit into any paradigm of existing journalism -- just like blogs to a certain extent.

Edit: I just thought about your use of editorial and perhaps we just have different things in mind. For the reasons above, I don't think of wikileak's work as something that is part of an editorial process. What they do is more akin to quality control and checks of authenticity.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Rather, the difference is in their objective in wielding that control.
Any journalist has an objective when covering something. If you compare good newspapers of various political couleur, then the difference is made not by how something is written, it's what is and isn't written. So I don't see the difference here: wikileaks just has a different goal from others. If you know about it, you can keep things in perspective -- but that's nothing new.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
Although it could have done exactly the same thing, The New York Times would have published this batch of cables on its own …
No, they wouldn't have, because that's not how they work. Traditional news media take source material and process it for their readers and viewers.
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
I have no doubt that Assange and his colleagues don't really care about what specifically is in the cables. But the editorial decision to release the cables en masse is in their interest as an organization seeking a political (as opposed to profit) goal of "improving transparency," which they assert will lead to "a better society" (today their Twitter feed declared Wikileaks to be "the first global Samizdat movement"). Whether you think this goal is good or bad is one question. All I am trying to say is that comparisons of Wikileaks to traditional news organizations are flawed because, although Wikileaks asserts the same level of control over its content, the motives of each are completely different.
I agree with that.
That's why I'm saying we (= citizens of democracies) have to figure out how to handle these parts of information society. They do not fit into old patterns of journalism and we have to figure out what to do about them. In my opinion, nothing should be done about wikileaks itself, because it's next to impossible to curb information once it has been leaked online. Instead, governments should do what they have done before and prosecute the whistle blower if possible.

Regarding the article you've posted, as I've said, the people behind wikileaks seem to be problematic. I was thinking more about wikileaks as a platform and platforms like wikileaks. (According to the article, Domschelt-Berg hopes that there are more sites like wikileaks, so if wikileaks itself doesn't succeed, it wouldn't surprise me if similar websites come into existence.)
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Dec 2, 2010, 02:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Edit: I just thought about your use of editorial and perhaps we just have different things in mind. For the reasons above, I don't think of wikileak's work as something that is part of an editorial process. What they do is more akin to quality control and checks of authenticity.
I've been using the term fairly abstractly. Any decision about publishing content, even "raw" content, is editorial in nature, because the reader can only see what the editor has selected. By their own admission, Wikileaks does not publish everything they get their hands on. If Wikileaks decides to publish and do a media rollout of a batch of U.S. State Department cables that is an editorial decision, just as the decision to not publish it would be, and just as would a decision that "no, let's release these secret British cables instead." The worth of these editorial decisions can be judged, taking into account Wikileaks' motives, political, financial, or otherwise.

I think we pretty much agree on this topic though.

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Dec 2, 2010, 07:20 PM
 
There is a group planning on creating a new wikileaks which isn't just US focused but plan to leak out everything and everything, basically all global dirt. That will be interesting to see.
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Dec 2, 2010, 08:19 PM
 
So true, a modern variation of the colonial printing press. Real patriots would welcome the news...the truth is ugly!
     
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Dec 2, 2010, 08:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by wikileaker View Post
help us dont knock us.

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