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Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies?

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Feoric
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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 8th, 2012 @ 09:58 PM Reply

At 10/8/12 08:34 PM, JoS wrote: Its war, shit happens. In World War 2 it was common to bomb entire cities. Not to make light of people dying but sometimes in war you have to make a call in a matter of seconds, while we get years to judge it. Also the pilot saw a guy with an RPG which can be neither confirmed nor denied by the video.

The rules of engagement require there to clear and present danger for the enagement to be justified. The pilot claimed he saw evidence of weapons, but let's look at the video.

http://i.imgur.com/XlCri.gif

This is the reuters photographer that was killed, and his camera which is said to be an RPG. This is all that is seen of the camera and what is ultimately the arbitrator of whether those people's lives end or not. It would be understandable to take immediate action if the photographer were in a ready-to-fire stance and this object were pointed at the helicopter, but there isn't any sign of any tangible immediate threat. Yet the watchout hastily goes from "he has a suspicious object" to "he has an RPG!" without anything of definitive substance. Is there any need to move to engage that quickly before more intel can be gathered to properly identify people as either civilians or combatants?

Then there's this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0#t=8m55s

Remember this line: "If we see a weapon, we're gonna engage."

CH18: Yeah, Bushmaster, we have a van that's approaching and picking up the bodies.
...

CH18: Bushmaster; Crazyhorse. We have individuals going to the scene, possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons."

Once Bushmaster gives the go-ahead to engage the people picking up the wounded, they then of course chuckle about one of the bodies being driven over by a Bradley and joke about not bringing kids to a battle. I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that this was more about eliminating an enemy threat and not satiating a trigger finger.

You've also ignored the second part of the Apache video where they fire Hellfire missiles into an apartment building and kill a completely unrelated passer because they can't be bothered to wait a handful of seconds after being given permission to engage. 2 insurgents try to surrender. The military lawyer gives the Apache clearance to murder them. They run into a building. 4 women come out waving white sheets. Apache kills all 6. There are laws of war, and those laws explicitly mention that the red cross or red crescent or the white flag are examples of "you do not fire on these people, period". Even though those people in the van were not members of the red cross/crescent, they are covered by the Geneva Conventions, which is something every member of the US forces is bound to. When you commit an act in violation of the Geneva Convention, you are committing a war crime. It's as simple as that. I understand the fog of war but it all too often seems like a convenient excuse for sociopathy. Go watch the part where an unarmed civilian attempts to render humanitarian aid to a wounded, unarmed, hors de combat dude and the soldier repeatedly lies to his superiors so he can satisfy his own bloodlust.

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

When there is a culture present, especially in insurgency warfare, that dehumanizes the opponent, it leads to these kinds of issues. And there is plenty of evidence of exactly this kind of culture not just in these videos.

You provided 11 links to 9 different issues. Of those 9 issues, at the most 2 could be seen as legit whistle blowing, and they arent even that huge. So 2 out of 250 000, that's not very diligent now is it. Manning I doubt read most of what he released before doing so, he just released it all in hopes maybe someone would find a nugget or two. This is why Manning is a traitor, not a whistle blower.

But I wasn't cherry picking articles I thought sounded the juiciest, I was merely copying and pasting articles from an article Proteas neglected to read thoroughly. A quick google search brought me this article. So I guess that's 3 out of 250,000 now. Who knows how much higher that number goes when we actually start looking at the documents leaked :O

JoS
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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 9th, 2012 @ 01:21 AM Reply

At 10/8/12 09:58 PM, Feoric wrote:
At 10/8/12 08:34 PM, JoS wrote: Its war, shit happens. In World War 2 it was common to bomb entire cities. Not to make light of people dying but sometimes in war you have to make a call in a matter of seconds, while we get years to judge it. Also the pilot saw a guy with an RPG which can be neither confirmed nor denied by the video.
The rules of engagement require there to clear and present danger for the enagement to be justified. The pilot claimed he saw evidence of weapons, but let's look at the video.

Regardless, as people have pointed out before there is a set process for members of the military to report this kind of stuff, which should be exhausted before other more drastic actions are taken, first is reporting it to your chain of command, then to a member of Congress. Manning did neither.


But I wasn't cherry picking articles I thought sounded the juiciest, I was merely copying and pasting articles from an article Proteas neglected to read thoroughly. A quick google search brought me this article. So I guess that's 3 out of 250,000 now. Who knows how much higher that number goes when we actually start looking at the documents leaked :O

The vast majority of them are not of the public interest. All are supposed to be private and confidential exchanges between diplomats and the US government and are written as such. Of course some of it is embarrassing to be read by someone other than the intended audience, just like it would be embarrassing for me to read all your personal emails. Diplomats need to be able to give the government advice and input without fear that the host country will end up reading their contents.

Even if there are 2500 juicy nuggets in these cables, that's still less than 1% of the material released. You talk big about the rules of war, but you seem to have little regard for the rules of diplomacy, mainly being the Vienna convention and the fact that diplomatic communications and mail are supposed to be sacred. So if it is wrong for a host country to open a diplomatic pouch, why is it okay for someone to post 250 000 diplomatic communications?

Probably though you do respect the Vienna Convention when it comes to Julian staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Seriously though, what greater good does publishing these cables serve? Ok, so you blow the whistle on one thing, how does that justify the release of all the other information? If you want to blow the whistle on something then fine, blow the whistle on that, but that does not give anyone the right to steal and the publish all this information, most of it not even reviewed before it was taken and uploaded.


Bellum omnium contra omnes

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Feoric
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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 9th, 2012 @ 04:23 PM Reply

At 10/9/12 01:21 AM, JoS wrote: Regardless, as people have pointed out before there is a set process for members of the military to report this kind of stuff, which should be exhausted before other more drastic actions are taken, first is reporting it to your chain of command, then to a member of Congress. Manning did neither.

That's actually not true. Manning did actually report it to the CoC. From that article:

"Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to âEUoeshut upâEU and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to..."

I think it's a little naive to presuppose that the military/congress is interested in uncovering criminal/negligent behavior when that same behavior will very likely have a negative impact on the predominate media narrative and/or the massive amounts of money being shoved into campaign coffers and legislative districts. Check out this article which is a good example of the channels you have to go through being part of the problem itself. Go through the CoC, get shut down and disciplined. Go through the Inspector General, and the report gets buried. Go to your congressperson, and even if they agree with you you will be told that everything is legal and and to shut up before something bad happens to you. Go to the press, and you will be targeted. Like Camaro said, the proper channels can be bypassed if the channels in question are part of the very thing you're trying to blow the whistle on. And while I've repeatedly made the point that Manning should not have carelessly dumped all that info, that's not the situation we're dealing with. He didn't properly parse though the data he was dumping them, which allowed him to be prosecuted under the UCMJ, and I'm not arguing this point at all. He should have left it alone and blew the whistle on the documents he has made proper judgement on. My position is that it's not entirely hard to see why both a) why he didn't bother going to congressman and b) why he leaked as much as he did. That still doesn't excuse his actions, and it doesn't negate the fact that we now have free access to information that we otherwise wouldn't be able to see, some of which we should.

The vast majority of them are not of the public interest. All are supposed to be private and confidential exchanges between diplomats and the US government and are written as such. Of course some of it is embarrassing to be read by someone other than the intended audience, just like it would be embarrassing for me to read all your personal emails. Diplomats need to be able to give the government advice and input without fear that the host country will end up reading their contents.
Even if there are 2500 juicy nuggets in these cables, that's still less than 1% of the material released. You talk big about the rules of war, but you seem to have little regard for the rules of diplomacy, mainly being the Vienna convention and the fact that diplomatic communications and mail are supposed to be sacred. So if it is wrong for a host country to open a diplomatic pouch, why is it okay for someone to post 250 000 diplomatic communications?

I really don't get the whole private email analogy, it's just completely and entirely inapplicable to this situation. The diplomatic cable leak is what makes this case extremely complex. A lot of people who defend Manning want to include the cable leaks in that category, in my opinion with no good reason. He didn't have a specific thing he was blowing on as he did with the Collateral Murder video, he just took a bunch of classified documents that he obviously had no capability to proofread and gave them to a foreign citizen. And you're right, the fact that actual criminal behavior eventually trickled out of that leak was just pure luck, honestly. I was never in support of the cable leak and I'm still not to this day. I've made a more detailed argument against the cable leak earlier on in this thread.

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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 11th, 2012 @ 11:45 AM Reply

Time for a reality check.

At 10/9/12 04:23 PM, Feoric wrote: Like Camaro said, the proper channels can be bypassed if the channels in question are part of the very thing you're trying to blow the whistle on.

And what exactly did Manning accomplish by blowing the whistle the way he did?

Oh, that's right, not a damn thing. None of the things he has blown the whistle on or SHOULD have blown the whistle on have been addressed or rectified, and they very likely never will. Why? Because he "blew the whistle" to somebody who had no business hearing about those things and had no authority to make the military account for the things it did.

You think the e-mail analogy was crap? Fine, here's a better one for you; if you worked for McDonalds and you knew your shift-manager and coworkers were mistreating customers, cooking the books, and just being douche-bags in general, you wouldn't go to the guy in the Burger King drive-through and tell him. And if you did, nobody would be surprised or feel bad for you when you were fired onsite and sued for betraying confidential information you were contracted not to divulge.

He swore an oath of allegiance to the United States when he enlisted in the military, and he violated that allegiance by circumventing the military's security protocols and handing over those documents to Assange. To me, that speaks volumes more about him as a man that anything you could say in defense of him or his actions, because it shows a blatant disregard for your country and a lack of respect for the process of whistle-blowing WHICH HE DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO GO THROUGH before going through his "other channels." To borrow from Gunnery Seargent Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, he signed his own death warrant.


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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 13th, 2012 @ 02:55 AM Reply

At 10/11/12 11:45 AM, Proteas wrote: Time for a reality check.

I think we're just running around in circles at this point, to be honest. There's nothing in this post I haven't already addressed.

Camarohusky
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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Oct. 25th, 2012 @ 12:30 PM Reply

Well, if you can't put out anything worthwhile, put out an old report from 10 years ago.

Seems like Wikileaks has become as impotent as an old man and there is no viagra for his problem.

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Response to Assange, Wikileaks: State Enemies? Nov. 7th, 2012 @ 08:23 PM Reply

At 10/25/12 12:30 PM, Camarohusky wrote: Well, if you can't put out anything worthwhile, put out an old report from 10 years ago.

Seems like Wikileaks has become as impotent as an old man and there is no viagra for his problem.

Wikileaks has been having some major financial problems, along with a lot of the people involved being upset that it has become the Julian Assange show. It is quite possible that in the next few years they will be forced to close down permanently. Who knows what happens then. Maybe a new Wikileaks type site will spring up.

As to whether they are state enemies? Well yeah, I think that is reasonable. They did steal a ton of information from the federal government and their aim seems to be, at least in part, to cause damage. I think that makes them a fairly generic enemy of the state, but certainly not a very dangerous one. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 would be declaring war on the United States with a military force, cyber-activism a la Wikileaks might be a 2.