We need more people like him. Governments are totally out of control and "democracy" is Orwellian doublespeak.
I found it to be a well-spoken, rational response to what's been a frighteningly irrational witch hunt these past few weeks. One thing that stood out, though, was his mentioning that no one has ever been harmed in response to a leak and that this was backed up by the Pentagon itself. One of the biggest anti-Wikileaks rationales I'd been hearing was how the leaks put people in danger, etc. It's interesting to hear how that might not be the case at all.
We need more people like him. Governments are totally out of control and "democracy" is Orwellian doublespeak.
Very well voiced opinions, and an interesting interview, despite Assange dominating the discussion. I liked the way he turned the tables on those accusing him of terrorism.
God knows it's a breath of fresh air from all the haranguing and badgering we normally hear on news shows as it is.
One example: Leaked cable stirs animosity between Hamas and Fatah. I'm sure that Assange would term that "collateral damage", much as he has on other occasions.
(There is some irony that he spent a good amount of time railing against the euphemism 'collateral damage' in the same interview.)Assange does not recognize the limits that traditional publishers do. Recently, he posted military documents that included the Social Security numbers of soldiers, and in the Bunker I asked him if WikiLeaks’ mission would have been compromised if he had redacted these small bits. He said that some leaks risked harming innocent people—“collateral damage, if you will”—but that he could not weigh the importance of every detail in every document. Perhaps the Social Security numbers would one day be important to researchers investigating wrongdoing, he said; by releasing the information he would allow judgment to occur in the open.
IN A TIME
Of government by narcissistic dicks
Only a total narcissistic dick can fight back
Julian Assange says not to worry about Christmas! What diabolical plan has he set in motion?
Bruce Sterling weighs, finally.
This is pretty much the last thing that can be said about the guy that's anything new.
Edit: Good god, there's enough material in there for 20 columns by lesser writers. I continue to be awed by Sterling.So it’s going to take me a while to explain why this highly newsworthy event fills me with such a chilly, deadening sense of Edgar Allen Poe melancholia.
But it sure does.
Part of this dull, icy feeling, I think, must be the agonizing slowness with which this has happened. At last — at long last — the homemade nitroglycerin in the old cypherpunks blast shack has gone off. Those “cypherpunks,” of all people.
Last edited by Jason McCullough; 12-23-2010 at 12:09 PM.
By releasing that information, he opens those soldiers up to crimes committed against them, like identity theft. How does this benefit anyone?Assange does not recognize the limits that traditional publishers do. Recently, he posted military documents that included the Social Security numbers of soldiers, and in the Bunker I asked him if WikiLeaks’ mission would have been compromised if he had redacted these small bits. He said that some leaks risked harming innocent people—“collateral damage, if you will”—but that he could not weigh the importance of every detail in every document. Perhaps the Social Security numbers would one day be important to researchers investigating wrongdoing, he said; by releasing the information he would allow judgment to occur in the open.
Would he be ok with people publishing his own personal information that would expose him in a similar manner?
The ultimate fault regarding all of these leaks lies primarily with those leaking the information. In cases where they are leaking classified information, they're committing crimes and should be held accountable.
But Assange, if he wants to be considered a real journalist, needs to abide by some code of ethics. Releasing information which harms innocent people, and does not do anything to benefit anyone, is simply irresponsible. While not actually criminal (I don't think), it's still something that does not deserve to be applauded.
Watergate? Nobody was hurt in the break-in! So former Deputy Director of the FBI William Mark Felt, Sr (aka Deepthroat) should have been held in solitary confinement for at least four months, without being charged, for leaking information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein?
I think harming innocent people is fine in publishing this information, as long as the releasing organization takes reasonable measures to remove unrelated information which makes people unnecessarily vulnerable.
Under that, leaving someone's name in is ok. They may be hurt, but their own name is already public information and particularly relevant to the documents. Social Security numbers wouldn't be, unless they were relevant or the only way to identify said persons in the documents.
Err... I'm not sure what your point is regarding what I said.Like Watergate? Nobody was hurt in the break-in! So former Deputy Director of the FBI William Mark Felt, Sr (aka Deepthroat) should have been held in solitary confinement for at least four months, without being charged, for leaking information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein?
Do you understand that I was speaking specifically of the issue Lum presented, where the social security numbers of soldiers were made public?
Last edited by Timex; 12-23-2010 at 01:27 PM. Reason: clarification regarding who I was replying to
Wikileaks has changed over time. Now they let the newspapers do all the redacting and just copy whatever they do.
Correct me if I'm wrong but WikiLeaks hasn't wantonly released information but rather worked with big newspapers to filter out sensitive information like names. That seems more professional than Washington Post's Robert Novak outing an undercover CIA agent, which would seem to be more damaging than some US diplomats' assessment that the Italian PM is an asshole.
I'm in the Robert Gates camp. It's no big deal. Yes, some dirty laundry will be aired, but it's not like everyone thought the United States was saying nice stuff about them privately, and most of them already had access to the files if THREE MILLION people could see them.
What will be interesting is anything on the banks and financial crisis.
Last edited by PapaSmurf; 12-23-2010 at 03:09 PM.
I'm also curious if any of the things being leaked are actually being acted on. Is anyone getting sued? Arrested? Taken to task? Has there been any repercussions from the leaks at all besides the vilification of Assange?
That's a perfect description of someone acting with the motives of a whistleblower, hoping to spark needed change through his actions, and nothing like how Sterling condescendingly describes him.Lamo: what's your endgame plan, then?. . .
Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] - and god knows what happens now - hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms - if not, than [sic] we're doomed - as a species - i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens - the reaction to the video gave me immense hope; CNN's iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded - people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . - i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.
if i knew then, what i knew now - kind of thing, or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid . . . im hoping for the former - it cant be the latter - because if it is… were fucking screwed (as a society) - and i dont want to believe that we’re screwed.
It's also naive to think he's in solitary just because that's how armies do things, so tough luck kid. It's pretty clear it's an attempt to get to Wikileaks through Manning. And yea the reason to feel most sorry for Manning is because he's a Lewinsky-esque "media freak", not the fact that he's in conditions amounting to torture. And right after that, again - they aren't doing what they're doing to Manning to make an example out of him, that's naive.
It gets better, though personally I find the characterisations of Assange, true or not, to be tedious and not really the point. He makes a better case for the leaks undermining the nature of diplomacy - discretion - and there's an important discussion to be had there.
But he says things like "...instead of fiercely committed guys [about Assange] who aspire to topple the international order and replace it with subversive wikipedians" which just seems ridiculous. Assange openly works within the system, both of journalism and of law, and has never said anything of the sort. His modus operandi seems to be to (I think he used these words) "crush bastards", namely over-secretive, over-powerful, over-bloodthirsty authority which acts with impunity in committing gross human rights violations. He's not a revolutionary, if anything he's a radical reformist.
Which is the point Sterling seems eager to avoid. In that very lengthy piece I don't think he once mentioned the incredibly valuable insights that wikileaks has given us, such as the hidden civilian bodycount in Iraq and the US secretly extending its wars into other countries. Instead he seems to view it as diplomats vs Assange, which is rather reductionist.
And I gotta say, him "feeling sorry" for absolutely everyone (except Assange) got tiresome.
Yeah Sterling lost me with his characterization of Manning. Here's what Sterling says:
And from the chat logs with Manning talking to Lamo:Now we must contemplate Bradley Manning, because he was the first to immolate himself. Private Manning was a young American, a hacker-in-uniform, bored silly while doing scarcely necessary scutwork on a military computer system in Iraq. Private Manning had dozens of reasons for becoming what computer-security professionals call the “internal threat.”
His war made no sense on its face, because it was carried out in a headlong pursuit of imaginary engines of mass destruction. The military occupation of Iraq was endless. Manning, a tender-hearted geek, was overlooked and put-upon by his superiors. Although he worked around the clock, he had nothing of any particular military consequence to do.
It did not occur to his superiors that a bored soldier in a poorly secured computer system would download hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables. Because, well, why? They’re very boring. Soldiers never read them. The malefactor has no use for them. They’re not particularly secret. They’ve got nothing much to do with his war. He knows his way around the machinery, but Bradley Manning is not any kind of blackhat programming genius.
Instead, he’s very like Jerome Kerviel, that obscure French stock trader who stole 5 billion euros without making one dime for himself. Jerome Kerviel, just like Bradley Manning, was a bored, resentful, lower-echelon guy in a dead end, who discovered some awesome capacities in his system that his bosses never knew it had. It makes so little sense to behave like Kerviel and Manning that their threat can’t be imagined.
Manning doesn't seem like an incomprehensible hacker to me, it seems fairly straightforward.Manning described the incident which first made him seriously question the U.S. Government: when he was instructed to work on the case of Iraqi "insurgents" who had been detained for distributing so-called "insurgent" literature which, when Manning had it translated, turned out to be nothing more than "a scholarly critique against PM Maliki":
i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled "Where did the money go?" and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn’t want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…
i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth… but that was a point where i was a *part* of something… i was actively involved in something that i was completely against…
It's still an interesting, well written piece though with a lot of ideas in it. Definitely a good read.
Last edited by Quaro; 12-23-2010 at 08:14 PM.
It is sort of telling on human nature that Manning has become the tabula rasa. With so little known about him and his motives everyone in media projects onto him the motives that suit their arguments best. Going back to what few original sources we have, I'll chose Lh'owon's take on it as probably close. Sterling is far from alone though as projecting onto Manning.
I think Sterling would do himself a favor if he looked up the definition of sociopath.
Their names weren't printed.
How easy is it to discover someone's identity from their social security number alone?