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  • The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

    Since there's been so much discussion about the Iraq video released by WikiLeaks. I thought that I would start another thread devoted to the relevance, authenticity, or dangers of a group like WikiLeaks.

    The Washington Post released this blog article today mostly concerning the front man of WikiLeaks Julian Assange.

    The man behind Wikileaks


    My offering this morning, dear readers, is a fascinating profile from the new issue of Mother Jones of the man behind Wikileaks -- an Australian former hacker named Julian Assange. How old is he? What does he look like? Hard to say. David Kushner writes that Assange "lives like a man on the lam. He won't reveal his age— 'Why make it easy for the bastards?' He prefers talking on the phone instead of meeting in person, and seems to never use the same number twice. His voice is often hushed, and gaps fill the conversation, as if he's constantly checking over his shoulder. Like him, the organization behind his next-generation whistleblowing machine can also be maddeningly opaque."
    Mostly it's in reference and has a link to a much bigger article wich is quite interesting.

    Inside WikiLeaks’ Leak Factory

    WikiLeaks has revealed the secrets of the Pentagon, Scientology, and Sarah Palin—and the explosive video of a US attack on civilians and journalists in Iraq. Meet the shadowy figure behind the whistleblower site.
    The full article is three pages so I won't post the whole thing. It made some accusations including that WikiLeaks is actually a CIA data mining operation, wich was unsubstantiated. But after reading the article I saw what appeared to be a comment from Julian Assange himself.

    This article is full of errors

    Submitted by Julian Assange (not verified) on Tue Apr. 6, 2010 11:06 PM PDT.

    I am Julian Assange, and the subject of this article, which is full of errors and was not shown to me, even in part, prior to publication.

    The article is full of extremely irritating tabloid insinuations of the type that might be expected from a poor quality magazine which is unsurprising, since the content is recycled from an old article that even Wired refused to publish.

    My interview with the author was 12 months ago. I have not spoken to him since.

    There plenty of gutter journalism insituations, some examples:

    1. The article very irritatingly goes for the "fear" angle, but contains not a single example of any of our publications causing harm related to their content. Not a single example! The whole thesis is pure invention. There is a reason no example was given. No one knows of any case where this has occurred and we have a 4 year publishing record.

    2. The article, despite the insituations, does not mention a single example of us ever having released a misattributed document. There is a reason no example was given. It has, as far as can be determined, never happened. Compare our record unblemished record to, say, the New York Times.

    3. The article outrageously tries to insinuate that the tragic death of two very public human rights lawyers in Nairobi is related to some failing of WikiLeaks. The insinuation deplorable and it is false. The men were not confidential sources. They were public sources and very brave ones at that.

    4. The article states that I believe all leaks are good. I have never stated this. The claim is an idiotic and false.

    There are many others, but Mother Jones can do its own damn research.
    The author of the article responded with this statement:

    re: This article is full of errors

    Submitted by Dave Gilson on Wed Apr. 7, 2010 10:42 AM PDT.

    Hi Julian,
    Thanks for your response. I understand your objections to the tone of the article. However, I do not think it is unfair for a story that highlights WikiLeaks' innovative approach and its successes to also raise questions about its transparency and impact.

    We do take your assertion that this article is "full of errors" seriously. Please let us know of any specific errors of fact and we'll correct them if necessary. Likewise, if there is anything you told David Kushner in your lengthy interview with him that is now outdated or inaccurate, please let us know.

    You write that the article was not shown to you prior to publication. Most reputable publications do not share unfinished articles with their sources—I'm sure you understand how this could create a situation where a source might threaten to withhold information or cooperation in exchange for a favorable piece.

    Thanks for reading the story.

    Dave Gilson
    senior editor, Mother Jones
    Now, to the best of my knowledge the material released by WikiLeaks has never been refuted. I'd be interested to see how the rest of the Sandbox feels about this group and their relevance.
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

    I may have seen products of their efforts before and not known it. The Apache video was the first time I definitively know of that I have seen something wikilinks have produced. The spin on the video makes me wonder exactly what their intentions are. As I said before, it could've easily been released in a manner that promotes the horror of war in general, as opposed to what appeared - to me, and I'm biased in favor of the military being a veteran myself - to be an attempt to demonize the military in a style akin to the insults thrown towards the military in Vietnam.

    So... I'm not sure what to think about wikilinks. The video they leaked did produce a very interesting discussion on the forums, at least.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

      wikileaks does press for open information which I support.
      Their blatant bias in the Apache video shows that there is more to wikileak's purpose than just making information free. Had they simply released the full video without commentary I would have had a better impression of wikileaks as a neutral party just trying to make information free. They may release accurate information, but by editing and injecting a clear bias by calling it murder and claiming the insurgents in the group were civilians, their assessments about the content they are sharing is suspect.

      It's great to have these groups and their commentary should always be taken with a grain of salt since there is almost always a motive behind taking the time to find and spread this information. I know that the military and government operates under the assumption that hiding information is the best policy for controversial situations but I disagree in most cases that the information being available automatically puts anyone in more danger than hiding the information (ie the Abu Gharib torture).
      |TG-6th|Snooggums

      Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

        I think the concept behind WikiLeaks is great. But I agree completely with snooggums on this. The bias kinda spoils the concept for me...
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        • #5
          Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

          Such a great thing is happening and people are still not listening.

          Horrible to see it...



          When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

          And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. ~ Plato

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

            Originally posted by Extinct View Post
            Such a great thing is happening and people are still not listening.

            Horrible to see it...
            What are you even referring to?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

              I heard about Wikileaks years ago but never read much about them.
              The really important leaks are also crimes because most times because the people who have the info have signed non-disclosure agreements or are in the military/government and are leaking classified info.
              I'm a suspicious person by nature and this last video makes me think they are not really about free information.
              I think in the long run Wikileaks is going to be like the ACLU, massively biased but still a necessary counterbalance to government.
              It will be interesting to see how much "leaking" goes on under the current administration.
              You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
              So that when they turn their backs on you,
              You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                On the whole, I agree that the government should be more transparent. BUT!!! I believe there is alot the government does that we either dont need to or want to know, for as much as we would like our government to be honest and forethright. I am sure the government does some really shady things to keep us "safer". As I get older, I get more senical about our governement and its motives, but the soldier in me still tries to hold on to the fairytale that the governement has our best interests at heart.

                |TG-IRR|

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                  Originally posted by Celestial1 View Post
                  What are you even referring to?
                  Wikileaks is a big thing that should have happened along time ago, and should have more attention that it currently is getting. I am also aware it is 3 years old but does not get the attention it deserves..

                  The Government's and *cough* presidents *cough* that are behind these veil's of deceit should be punished. As for the other incidents that it has leaked, people should be held accountable and it shouldn't just be viewed as something unfortunate that has happened. These are real atrocities that are being looked over because no one will stand up and prosecute these people...
                  Last edited by Extinct; 04-11-2010, 11:06 PM.



                  When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

                  And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. ~ Plato

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                    Before wikileaks there were sites like Ogrish which while it was mostly gruesome stuff it was still a site that publicly posted open information that was routinely censored everywhere else.
                    |TG-6th|Snooggums

                    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                      Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                      wikileaks does press for open information which I support.
                      Their blatant bias in the Apache video shows that there is more to wikileak's purpose than just making information free. Had they simply released the full video without commentary I would have had a better impression of wikileaks as a neutral party just trying to make information free. They may release accurate information, but by editing and injecting a clear bias by calling it murder and claiming the insurgents in the group were civilians, their assessments about the content they are sharing is suspect.
                      Of course there is more to wikileaks than just making information free, it is trying to point out the people in our societies that are doing all these horrible illegal things in some case war crimes. I certainly would like our governments to be scared of their public knowing the truth. all the bad people that are making our world a horrible place to live in should pay for their crimes.



                      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

                      And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. ~ Plato

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                        Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                        Before wikileaks there were sites like Ogrish which while it was mostly gruesome stuff it was still a site that publicly posted open information that was routinely censored everywhere else.
                        Wikileaks is going a crap load further than Orgish has ever gone... They are making a fricken safe haven for all the whistle-blowers out there. Changing laws.. that's big stuff.



                        From a profile on: Julian Assange

                        “We have had to spread assets, encrypt everything, and move telecommunications and people around the world to activate protective laws in different national jurisdictions,” Assange wrote in February. He boasts of having fought off more than 100 legal actions, but concedes that the traditional media suffer a disadvantage: “Large newspapers are forced to remove or water down investigative stories rather than risk legal costs.”

                        Of Britain’s Official Secrets Act, Assange declared: “The dead hand of feudalism still rests on every British shoulder; we plan to remove it.” The Ministry of Defence is said to be keeping tabs on the unbridled activist. Wikileaks published the British National party’s membership list and the “Climategate” emails that damaged the reputations of leading global warming researchers.

                        To his detractors, it does not amount to accountability. Assange’s answer? “When governments stop torturing and killing people, and when corporations stop abusing the legal system, then perhaps it will be time to ask if free-speech activists are accountable.”



                        When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

                        And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. ~ Plato

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                          Originally posted by Extinct View Post
                          As for the other incidents that it has leaked, people should be held accountable and it shouldn't just be viewed as something unfortunate that has happened. These are real atrocities that are being looked over because no one will stand up and prosecute these people...
                          Not sure exactly who or what incidents you maybe hinting at here. If we are still talking about the Apache vid, yes their humor or tact maynot be in the best keeping, but their actions were, from what I can see on the vid, within the ROEs and ROFs from that time period. As far as I can recall the ROE/ROF. I was in the desert at about the same time as this vid claims to be from. You must also be very careful in how harsh you judge those in combat. Hindsite is 20/20 and most of the soldiers that have been to the desert get the best training the US can provide under the conditions. We must look at the actions of soldiers under such situations with lenses tinted with the same fear, paranoia, dust, heat, and concern as those that you see in the vid.

                          Soldiers are taught to respect the Iraqis, by and large, as citizens of any country. And most try to do so, until you roll down the streets and realize, there is no enemy uniform. Its kinda like being in the Matrix, unless they are one of us, they could be anyone. The terrorists/ insurgents, that is. Alot of soldiers also empathizes, to a degree, with the populace. They realize that had this happened in the US, they would more than likely be the insurgents.

                          |TG-IRR|

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                            I was sort of saying just in general but as for the Apache video, The Apache crew made some horrible comments that should not be taken lightly. Also as you should know in 2007 it was common for families or communities to have an AK47 or two for protection against insurgents. Also when that poor dude was crawling across the rubble and the Apache crew were saying "Just pick up a weapon..." I do not know how you can defend them...
                            Also when the guy that gets run over by the HumV the dude's just laugh and point it out... What about the driver of that HumV or the hellfire missile attack... There is no excuse for this..

                            I am not calling all soldier's out I am just saying those particular ones have no right to be in a war zone...
                            Last edited by Extinct; 04-11-2010, 11:48 PM.



                            When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

                            And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. ~ Plato

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The WikiLeaks Phenomenon

                              Extinct, Iraqis were allowed possession of one AK-47 per household. They were not allowed to carry it around openly on the streets, unless they wished to be killed by either US forces or Iraqi Police/Army units. A non-uniformed Iraqi walking around a neighborhood of Sadr City that was known to be an insurgent stronghold is an insurgent looking for a fight. The Iraqis well knew the rules about curfew, AK-47s, etc.

                              It's like an Iraqi digging a hole by a roadside in the middle of the night well past mandatory curfew. Yeah, he could be digging for earthworms, or planting a palm tree, or seeing if he can actually dig straight to China... but the preponderance of evidence leads to a conclusion that he's digging a hole for an IED. :P

                              Apache crews reveling in the destruction of what they believed were bad guys about to fire an RPG at American units: wishing pain and suffering upon the enemy is not a crime. To be frank, there's a glorious sense of vengeance and accomplishment when you've killed an enemy who just tried to kill you or your friends. Are you pushing for soldiers to be politically-correct in the application of closing with and destroying the enemy?

                              Read through my posts in that Apache thread if you haven't, Extinct. There's more to that video than what was shown. I've included sworn statements from the pilots on their thought processes, the official report from the investigation that was initiated two years ago right after Reuters reported that two of its reporters had been killed in an airstrike, and a video from CNN. The sworn statements even show that the video was edited to exclude two instances where the Apaches held their fire due to civvies in the area and no PID on any weapons.

                              Is it free information when the source has edited it to slant it towards a particular viewpoint?

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