Daniel Sheehan


This conversation is closed.

Where do we stand on on WikiLeaks?

To what extent should we support or oppose WikiLeaks?
Are there limits to what should be exposed to the public by investigators? And who should decide these limits?
When corruption is exposed through leaks how far up or down the ladder should we assign responsibility?
How should bias in reporting leaks be balanced?
If these leaks are produced for corrupt purposes how do we deal with it?
How can we present and prosecute exposed corruption in the public theater without it turning into a witch-hunt?

Closing Statement from Daniel Sheehan

A great deal of this conversation has been on whether our governments have a right to keep secrets from us. Many have pointed out corruptions that the secrets have protected, others site our loss of privacy at the hands of our governments.
Also many insist that transparency is protection from the abuses of authority by the people that we place our most sensitive information with, but few agree that "total transparency" can be achieved or as an over all goal is appropriate.
But it is clear that we believe that whistle blowers should be protected from retaliation.

I believe that we have an increasing problem with the "Free Press" which has become more of a commercialized or biased press that is more concerned with profits or has fallen to the hands of specialized interests, and is enthralled by the depthless mirrored image of spectacle. What had once been an instrument of information now serves mainly to incite and titillate the masses.

It's my opinion that WikiLeaks, and sites like it that supply an outlet for whistle blowers, should have our support as members of the Fourth Estate.

A grateful thank you to everyone that has participated in this discussion.

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    Oct 25 2012: I do not think wiki is the issue. The issue is where does it stop. Is it okay to leak military secrets .... how about your nasty divorce records .... how about your medical records .... how about your credit records .... your school records ... all the pills you take or have taken .... I want the public to know because you may run for office some day that makes it right .. doesn't it?

    Leaks can cause deaths ... grave / serious damage ..... loss of revenue ... public humility .... etc....

    It is all good until it happens to you. In another conversation they want transparency in government but want a secure
    site to hide their secrets from the government. I expect you to tell the truth all of the time but I can lie when I want to. Time to wake up ....

    What we need is accountability. Is there anyone alive that believes a small justice dept in Arizona could overspend their budget by billions of dollars for years with out notice of their bosses? That is what happened in Fast and Furious in the states. AG Eric Holder says he was not aware. Billions must show up somewhere on the balance sheet. When your agency is out of a years budget in 6 months you would think the boss would know and his boss and on up the line. The point is that leaks are convient at times and inconvient at other times.

    Senators make announcements when they come out of secret meetings .... administrations make strategic leaks ... it happens all the time. The one element missing is consequences for actions. Once people can be held accountable this will no longer be an issue.

    The highest standards should start at the top ... when elected you are accountable to the people. As Harry said the buck stops here. Married Presidents having sex with interns .. all good until he got caught ... then lied .... CEO get fired and go to jail ... why not a Chief Executive. No consequences and no ethics.

    Even the mighty should fall if deserved.
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    Oct 25 2012: I can't help but feel that if the leaked information was published in a newspaper rather than on a website the whole thing would have lasted for 5 minutes. When a newpaper prints leaked information it's called investigative journalism. The difference is that governments in general don't understand how the web works so they are scared of it as they can't control it. It will be interestng to see how this situation develops as more newspapers become web based.
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    Oct 23 2012: @Rick Ryan: "Can you prove that a government can operate without secrets?"

    why would i? my point, from the beginning, is that just because we want to respect humans rights to secrets, a similar right for governments don't follow. i never said governments should not have secrets, nor they should not have rights to defend them. my point was that your argument is invalid. i did not present my take on the issue yet, and i also do not intend to go sideways. first things first.

    "Please read up on the Freedom of Information Act, who it applies to, and the restrictions within it that are LAW."

    i'm sorry to hear that you derive your morals from laws. for me, it is the other way around. i have morals which can only be changed with convincing arguments. and laws should follow from these morals. alas, they not always do. we are not discussing here whether wikileaks complies with some law (btw it does, but it is still not the point). the question was where do we stand. referring to the government as a source of the moral rules about what the government can or can not do is as dangerous as ridiculous.

    "And if you honestly believe a government is only responsible to what the people want and should disregard all morals altogether, "

    a complete misunderstanding of how the system works. governments can not have morals, as they are not people. only people can have morals. members of the government have morals. voters have morals. journalists have morals. the bradley mannings have morals. but the government as an abstract organization can not have.

    the rest of your reply is not in any way related to our discussion, and i will consider it a textbook case of moving goalposts. first things first. admit that humans' rights and governments' rights to privacy are totally unrelated issues. then we can move on to different questions.
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      Oct 25 2012: Krisztian,

      I'm just totally confused by yor response.

      On one hand you say, "...my point, from the beginning, is that just because we want to respect humans rights to secrets, a similar right for governments don't follow."

      But then you follow up by saying, "a complete misunderstanding of how the system works. governments can not have morals, as they are not people. only people can have morals."

      Followed by, "first things first. admit that humans' rights and governments' rights to privacy are totally unrelated issues."

      So, evaluting your total post, I have to conclude that:

      1. When I worked for the government and was responsible to keep secrets, I was a "people" who had the moral right to keep those secrets.

      2. But because I worked for the government who did NOT have a moral right to keep secrets, I should just disregard and throw out the window any belief I had that it would be morally wrong to disclose those secrets, at whatever cost to the citizens of the country I was obligated to defend and protect.

      Hmmm. That's puts me as a "people" in one heck of a moral dilemma.

      I'm not "moving goalposts" at all. I'm addressing a valid issue faced by many of the "people" who decide to serve their country by becoming part of "the government". When anybody releases "secrets", regardless of whether it is an individual or an organization like Wikileaks, who's secrets have they released? A governments? Or the secrets guarded by the "people" who make up that government?
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        Oct 25 2012: "When I worked for the government and was responsible to keep secrets, I was a "people" who had the moral right to keep those secrets."

        i didn't say anything of the sort. beware, nor i said its opposite.

        "the government who did NOT have a moral right to keep secrets, I should just disregard and throw out the window any belief I had"

        neither i said that. these do not follow from what i have said.
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          Oct 25 2012: OK, let me pose a question to you, because I am curious how you would answer it.

          The debate about something like Wikileaks is that if it is allowed...if there are "no secrets"...then there would be no corruption. That is the premise of the people who want something like Wikileaks to be allowed.

          I submit it is an invalid conclusion that corruption would be eliminated by Wikileaks posting all secrets, "just because" it created a "totally transparant" society or government.


          Society...the people...can't even come to a consensus on what constitutes corruption already. As I said before, some people think all politicians are corrupt, or all people of wealth are corrupt. They think those of different faiths, or no faith at all, are corrupt. They aren't going to change their minds about corruption taking place just because they have unlimited information...no secrets.

          Corruption is determined one of two ways. It is either legally defined or morally defined, and sometimes both. With 350 million people in one country, or 7 billion people on the planet, who already have vast differences of opininions about what should be legal or moral, even with no secrets there will STILL be the arguments about whether corruption is taking place or not.

          So, why do you support any entity that would be allowed to publish ANYBODY'S secrets on the premise that it will stop corruption from taking place?

          Heck, it wouldn't even stop the DEBATE about whether corruption was taking place.

          The false premise in the reasoning of organizations (or individuals) who promote something like Wikileaks is that EVERYBODY needs to be involved...7 Billion people...in order to determine if corruption is happening. Heck, the more people you add to the decision-making process, the more likely you WON'T get a consensus on whether something is corrupt or not.

          How many people would it take monitoring something to satisfy you that corruption wasn't happening? What qualities should they posess?
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        Oct 25 2012: i don't understand why are you asking these. i clearly explained that i'm not going to discuss anything else until we come to some conclusion about your argument.

        the argument was that governments can have secrets because people can have.

        i said that it does not follow. governments do not have the same rights as people do.

        this line of thought seems to be completely abandoned, and now you are talking about ... i don't know what.
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          Oct 25 2012: And you seem to be avoiding my questions I asked which are directly related to the topic of this conversation as presented by the originator of the topic. Your stance is that people can have secrets, but governments can't. My stance (along with many recognized scholars...go read the Stanford Law Review article again) is that governments ARE the people who make up the government entity itself.

          So I guess you are correct. There is no further need for you and I to discuss it.
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        Oct 25 2012: i'm not going to discuss anything else until we come to some conclusion about your argument. not going to tell once more.
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    Oct 23 2012: @ Daniel,

    Daniel, I don't know how versed you are in some of the areas your topic covers. But here is an interesting Stanford Law Review which addresses many of the questions in the narrative of your topic.


    It discusses the "depth" of secrets, which should be part of any discussion about whether they should be kept secret or not.

    Note that the article does conclude that certain types of government secrets..."Deep Secrets"... can be both necessary BUT in some cases could be abused to the extent of corruption taking place. I totally agree with that conclusion. It's not a perfect world, but the article does give ideas about how the valid Deep Secrets can be monitored without having to release them to "everybody".

    "Shallow Secrets" are a different matter, as the article explains. The public may know they aren't being told "something", but they probably have an "idea" of what that "something" is about...and they will make wild guesses about it. Shallow Secrets actually lead certain segments of the population to develop conspiracy theories more often than Deep Secrets do. Many secrets concerning national security fall under this Shallow Secret category.

    Also note the article takes the realistic view that not all secrets can or should be released to everybody. It does not support any concept of "total transparancy", and actually gives very valid reasons against it.

    The crux of your topic is in the one narrative sentences you posed..."...who should decide these limits?"...where the limit being asked about is the amount and type of "secrets" being released.

    I'm all for identifying corruption wherever it occurs. But like your narrative also implied, I won't support turning it into a witch hunt by somebody who just isn't satisfied they aren't being "told everything".
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      Oct 24 2012: Thank you for the article Rick. I think that it has a lot to contribute in this discussion.

      Neither the "Shallow Secrets" nor "Deep Secrets" are themselves corruptions of the values we hold morally or in law, but that they can be the vehicles of corruption by individuals or groups that use them to advance themselves or their agendas.

      If I interpret the article correctly, it suggests that to counter the likelihood of the secrets being used in corrupt manners there has to be oversight. The oversight can be within the office or across agencies, but there shouldn't be a sole proprietor of the "Secret" because that lends it too easy towards abuse.

      We've seen leaks of information used for corrupt purposes and also investigations (witch-hunts) conducted just to harm by discrediting others. All leaks have to be vetted in order to insure the context in which they are presented.
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        Oct 25 2012: Yes, there has to be oversight. And I'm all for that happening. But the question is who should be doing that oversight, and to what extent when it comes to secrets.

        Let me be clear again...I do not support corruption in any form. But not everybody can even agree on what corruption is. Some people think that just because an individual is "rich", that makes them a corrupt person. Or if someone is simply "a politician", then they must be corrupt. Not very valid assumptions, much less facts. Both conclusions reek of stereotyping, prejudice, and result in a willingness of some to conduct discrimination (your reference to "witch hunts").

        There is oversight in government secrets now. It exists in the system. Is it perfect? Of course not...it is done by "people" who by definition are not perfect to begin with. But it is not imperfect either...not everyone doing the oversight is corrupt and untrustworthy.

        The concept of "total transparancy" by granting an organization like Wikileaks "free reign" to publish whatever secrets it wants to with no possibility of repercussion is very dangerous. Wikileaks seems to think it has a right to know and publish everything about everything. Heck, that right doesn't even exist for "government employees" (people) depending on the "secret". Do a GOOGLE search using the term "Special Compartmented Information" as it applies to "people" working for "the government". They don't have "total trasparancy" rights either.

        Lindsay Bowker made a great post which is currently at the top of this conversation as I type this. She said, "There being insufficient transparency and accountability I am ill at ease at the aggressive suppression of wikileaks and its creator." I would agree with her that "insufficient transparancy" can be as dangerous as "no transparancy". But somebody decide what "insufficient" means to begin with. Insisting on "total" transparancy is not the viable solution to "insufficient" transparancy.
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    Oct 22 2012: @Daniel Sheehan: "point of fact, animals do have secrets."

    we are not talking about whether they have secrets. we are discussing their right to privacy. do you think scientists violate the rights of animals when they observe them in their nests? it is an immoral act?
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      Oct 22 2012: No problem. You questioned if animals had a right to keep secrets in the opening of your reply.
      Whether we recognize it as their right or not, they have secrets.
      I wouldn't argue their right to privacy in any relationship to either government or corporate right to privacy.

      A separate passionate argument of mine is about the ability of animals to form what we believe to be higher level cognative funtions. But that I'm hoping be debate this in another Conversation.
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        Oct 22 2012: do you swear you remember the discussion you are participating in? rick said because governments exist, they have a right to keep secrets, just as humans. i said that this logic applies to animals, so they also have? it is not about secrets, but whether they have right to defend them. and more to that, we are talking about an argument, namely that governments has that right just because humans have. you derailed the conversation to secrets of animals, and now complain about the conversation being derailed? i'm the one on topic here. i'm still discussing a wrong argument about why governments should be able to keep secrets. i have no idea what you are discussing.
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      Oct 22 2012: If I were to tie it into this discussion it would be that we all have reason to have secrets. To exist we have to be able to use subterfuge to avoid predators or stalk prey.
      To a great extent we still use these skills that we learned and have been successful for us in the animal stage in all our dealing in the world.

      Government and corporations are human constructs that must operate in our natural world under the influence of humans. To operate they will have secrets. This is not an argument saying that they are destructive or immoral secrets, but to function they will have secrets.
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        Oct 22 2012: can you prove that nothing in the "natural world" can operate without secrets? because i'm not aware of such a general law. in the animal kingdom and in human behavior, each information hiding is to be shown useful or beneficial (in some way) individually. we never refer to a general law, keeping a secret is good because keeping secret is generally good. it needs further explanation. exactly what information should be kept from who, why and how.
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          Oct 23 2012: Can you prove that a government can operate without secrets?

          Also, in an earlier reply to me, you stated, "whatever rights the government has, it is fully practical and never moral. only moral to the degree that it must serve the people." And you also said, "hence, your argument is invalid. people having right to privacy, and governments having rights to privacy are not even similar, and can not be judged by the same standards, the same mindset."

          Sadly, you are wrong. Please read up on the Freedom of Information Act, who it applies to, and the restrictions within it that are LAW. Laws are what govern rights to privacy and the keeping of secrets. By the way, the FOIA applies to BOTH individual people and government rights concerning secrets. Similar? Yup.


          And if you honestly believe a government is only responsible to what the people want and should disregard all morals altogether, I'm never going to vote for you. I spent 25+ years in the military defending this country and EVERYBODY in it, and I'll be d*mned if I will ever vote for somebody who insists the personal safety of ANYBODY defending my country be jeopardized by releasing classified information to "the People" just because "the People" think they deserve to have it.

          Further, the main fallacy of any "totally transparant" idea as a solution to the things people think it will solve is...GUARANTEE me it WILL solve the problems you think it will.

          1. How will you make sure any information given to you is "factual" to begin with? If the entire government is ALREADY full of "corrupt people" (which seems to be your premise), what in the world makes you think they won't still be corrupt AFTER you "order" them to "give you all the information"?

          2. PROVE to me that a "totally transparant" system will actually STOP corruption from taking place. Heck, you can't even guarantee that the information you get wouldn't be "doctored".
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          Oct 23 2012: There are ignorant solutions to perceived problems. Those are the solutions you implement and watch them fail because you didn't know any better before you implemented them.

          And there are non-critical thinking (some might say "stupid") solutions to problems. Those are solutions you know won't solve the problem, but implement them anyhow, then go "Duh!" when the problem isn't solved or actually gets worse because of the implemented solution.
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          Oct 23 2012: I'll separate the "natural world" from "our natural world". By this I mean the totality of our environment is different from the scope of human intervention.
          And I never meant to implied that "keeping a secret is good because keeping secret is generally good", just that we will always have secrets in the course of human endeavors.

          Do you play poker? It would be a very different game if we were required to play it with all cards face up.
          You bluff, you under bid, over bid, conduct table chatter, your pattern of play, even how you sit is utilized by you to seek advantage over your opponent(s).
          Is lying and secrets good or bad at the poker table? They are part of the game and no one is penalized for it. You don't get to see my cards until the round is over. You might not like having lost the hand but you can't demand your money back because I fooled you.
          But there are rules to the game and if you're caught cheating you get tossed out and everything you have on the table is forfeit.

          The point is that secrets are part of the game/process, we all have them and use them in full cooperation with everyone that participates. Secrets are not inherently corruption.
          There are rules that we set up in our interactions and if we corrupt them we should be exposed and face the consequences of our actions.
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        Oct 23 2012: daniel, if we continue in this manner, the debate will be very, very long. you can make the case that open handed poker is not a good game. and it has no bearing in any way to any other situation. we need to analyze each and every situation individually to decide whether keeping secrets is good or not. you try to make it easier with sloppy analogies. in poker, secret is good, therefore governments need secrets. animals have secrets, therefore the government needs secrets. secrets are natural, therefore it is okay for government to have secrets. these are non-arguments. you would immediately reject such an argument in other cases. like: feathers serve birds well, therefore governments need feathers. lions kill, therefore governments have to kill. this is not good enough.
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          Oct 23 2012: I put a month on this debate because I do expect it to be long.

          Nana taught me to play poker open faced when she babysat, I enjoyed that game.
          The poker I play now is very different, I enjoy that too.

          Poker is a good analogy for business, not a sloppy one. There is a reason that business, and some aspects of governance, is called High Stakes Poker. The examples I list above are utilized in the agreed upon rules in both.

          I haven't claimed that secrets are good or bad, but that they are allowed within the rules.
          I have said that corruption of the rules shouldn't be tolerated and when those rules are breached the consequences of those actions should be enforced.
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        Oct 23 2012: no progress at all. time for me to quit the infinite loop.
  • Oct 21 2012: I am a little torn on the subject. I see the good and bad of the situation, but I do see the need for some security in the government.

    I see what others are saying in this topic. The government should be accountable to the people; we should know what is going on. After all, it is our government and our taxes which are being used to run it. We should know what our government is doing. This transparency allows us to keep our government responsible for its actions and avoid fraud in the government.

    On the other side, I do see the need for security and a little secrecy in foreign affairs and military matters. (This is not in regards to what the government is doing to its own citizens; that is a totally different debate) It would be absurd to openly publish all of our plans and information about our military. It would be used be other countries to develop tactics that to combat our military. That would be ridiculous. Imagine if the president had a press conference before the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden? The guy would heard about it and move. If we let the public know our military advantages, our enemies would end up finding them out too. This does not give the military free reign to be completely secretive, but I see the necessity of it.

    Also a similar foreign situation plays out with foreign policy. If we have secret intelligence about unfriendly country, it would be unwise to let everyone know. They country would then know that we know their secret and probably change their design/strategy. It would also endanger any undercover operations in the area because the unfriendly country would be aware that there was some leak in their security.

    I see why many support Wiki-leaks, but a little government secrecy is needed.
  • Oct 30 2012: Personally I am not against wikileaks though limiting the content that is displayed there wouldn´t be a bad idea since as previous answers have mentioned exposing personal and sensitive could result in harming people, countries , ideas etc...
    On the other hand wikileaks is a great tool to expose certain activities and truths about events that shouldn´t happen he way they do, for instance the apache killings of the movie collateral murderer.
    To sum up wikileaks is a very good platform to expose illegal and unhuman activities , and it can also help companies build up expectation for upcoming products and see the results of what their plans have on the public before even trying them. The problem is people making public everything they see fit, with ought considering the concecuences that this may have. How can you control the content? I have no Idea.
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    Oct 25 2012: For the benefit of the posters I'll attempt to define corruption within the framework of this subject.

    We as people establish institutions to serve us. These institutions have defined limits of their activities. The limits that we impose on the institutions, I will call them rules of conduct, are defined by the moral or legal code (sometimes both) that we impose on them.

    Corruption is the purposeful or incidental breaking of the rules of conduct by the people that we place in the institutions that serve our interests.

    I invite others to add, amend, or deliver better definitions.
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    Oct 25 2012: Weird here in London. Trafalgar Square yesterday. TV pop concert for Remembrance Day being beamed to millions. Actually very small crowd. Minimal tourists. Quite foggy weather. Art installations South Bank Gallery. Tree made of colourful fabric. Other installation two figures climbing onto roof of Gallery. Political correctness now changing into corruption investigations. People with money shopping online. Local high street now 5 pawnbrokers, 5 mobile phone shops and six charity shops. Social benefits being consolidated into universal credit system from next April. Under 25s really getting socially disenfranchised. Banks no longer lending mortgages. Mass movements of young people, many young Russians over here with small children in tow. To a global child like me, feels like earthquake weather. At night everyone indoors with television and computers and playstations. Whole generation feeling like no-one wants them or cares about them. Now not just under 25s but also over 65s. Living through very rapid social changes here. Agree openess and accountability not witch-hunt. Social responsibility not about punishing the poor for decisons made on behalf of the rich. Social responsibilty is 'good enough' and 'sufficient'. Small hills of efficiency and the odd mistake and learning from the experience. Still like my fun formula. C=ETTR2=C. C for creativity and the middle bit for the team work and the other C for the consequences. No return to Dickens London, definately not Shakespear's times. Reflection always more productive than summary justice.
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    Oct 23 2012: This is a very complicated topic.

    At its heart it requires consensus on what information the public ( the global public) has a right to have.

    And then it requires consensus around whether "we the global public", have a right to that information any way we can get it without an intervening process to assess whether the information at issue is in the "public domain" and how, by what procedure it should be disseminated..

    Most things that are "public"involve some sort of rules of common use and access..(a park can be closed at night, prohibit vehicles etc.) So what "we te global people" might agree is "public information:" doesn't mean we can obtain it any way we want.

    And then we don't have any consensus amongst "we the global people" on what supersedes rights and procedures that might otherwise determine how we gain access to what is in the public domain..e.g. global whistle blower laws"..situations in which the information is proof of violation of public trust or is about an urgent matter of public safety.

    As a lifelong "good government person" who seeks and support transparency and accountability between all governing bodies and "we the people"( all government should be by our consent). Wikileaks showed us almost everyday that government was lying to "we the people" on issues of great consequence to our lives, our planet, future earth and future people. And through possession of this information we were empowered to try to re re establish accountability to us and to the truth.

    There being insufficient transparency and accountability I am ill at ease at the aggressive suppression of wikileaks and its creator. Wikileaks gave us an inside view of what we had a right to know in most cases about issues of enormous significance to humanity. But fighting to save wikileaks doesn't strike me as the wisest or most fruitful response either.

    So maybe "how can we" begins with discoverable truths we can seek and share.
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    Oct 23 2012: I love Wikipedia because there I can access all the information that 'academics' disregard. I am able to research about the 'green man'. This is a universal cultural metaphor. It appears in N.Z. as the tiki, it appears in the U.K,. as 'Green Man', it appears in the Koran as the 'green angel' who debated with Moses and in other tradtions. Love the idea of freedom of information. Horrified to see new legislation about surveillance here in U.K. might deny me access to Wikipedia. Formal education by the state always in the interests of the state. Misinformation too easy to create these days. Viral 'bombing' of Iran nuclear power plants only showed up because internet traffic reduced as everyone watching the Olympics or getting on with their lives in other ways. Wiki is just polynesian word for quick, probably derived from roar of the waves when surfing or trying to get away from a massive wave. Interesting ideas about words as lenses, too subject to benign errors let alone intentional ones. Saying that as someone with lack of grammatical correctness in punctuation and prone to typos.
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    Oct 23 2012: I support wikileaks on the following basis:

    Language and communication constitue the primary advantage of humans.
    However, if we turn that advantage against each other we lose the advantage as a species.

    If communication is laced with untruth and concealment, then it is indicative of turning the advantage of communication against the species.

    Conversely, if you do not consider the species worthy of such great advantage, lies and secrets are the ideal way to exterminate it.

    However, nothing is ever that cut-and-dried. A person can, in all honesty utter an untruth. This is becasue of the gap between perception and reality. So we must be prepared to demand evidence and unbiased confirmations.

    Now to the assumption that other groups of people posit a threat to "us". If this is true, then it makes sense not to empower these "others" with knowledge of your weaknesses. .. mind you, that is admitting to weaknesses .. and perhaps it would work better to fix the weaknesses rather than hide them..
    But well, yes, it can occur that "others" have motive to harm "us". I suspect it's a whole lot less than we are lead to believe, but OK - sure, threats exist.
    Why do threats exist?
    Perhaps some work could be done to reduce the threat motives?

    But, you will say, "what about Adolf Hitler?" ..

    Hmm true - psychopath wasn't he?

    Well, how about, instead of registering just paedophiles, we also register psychopaths?

    So to reduce threat motives, address our own weaknesses and detect the damage caused by psychopaths .. and at the same time restore our species advantage?

    Hey - i suppose having access to the truth will help - so long as we acknowledge that people can sometimes be honestly wrong.
    (Edit: BTW - if you appoint someone to represent your interests - would you expect to have access to what they are doing in your name? Probably, And - would it be also reasonable that your appointee has complete access to your information outside of the scope of the appointment? Um .. why?)
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      Oct 23 2012: (Quote): "Now to the assumption that other groups of people posit a threat to "us". If this is true, then it makes sense not to empower these "others" with knowledge of your weaknesses. .. mind you, that is admitting to weaknesses .. and perhaps it would work better to fix the weaknesses rather than hide them."

      Mitch, having a secret is not necessarily admitting a weakness. It can also be hiding a strength. It only becomes a weakness when the strength becomes "public" knowledge, and then a "threat to us" knows how to counter that previously secret strength. Then it becomes a weakness that can be very costly (again) to develop a new strength.

      That's why places like Area 51 exist and the government doesn't give public tours of them. And why the military and the government keep some military capabilities secret. And other capabilities of other disciplines associated with "national security".
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        Oct 23 2012: No, I can't follow that arguement ..

        You are saying that strength is more effective when it is hidden?

        Let me ask you - do you break the speed limit when there's a cop driving behind you?

        Or this one: is the mouse aware of teh strength in the trap?

        Why do we hide a strength? - There can be 2 reasons:
        1. Because we want to entrap victims. This is a psychopathic activity.
        2. Because there is no strength - we are using the cloak to generate a mythical strength that will act as well as a real one.

        For instance - along the roads in my country are speed cameras in little boxes-on-poles. THere are warnings about these cameras on prominent sign-posts up to 1 kilometre approaching the cameras.

        All the drivers cease speeding and drop up to 5 KPH below the limit until the camera-box is past, then resume speeding up to 5KPH over the limit.

        Many of these speed cameras are just empty boxes - but the affect is the same.

        So either, USA has a weakness that should be filled by more than an empty box, or it is a psychopath who is eager to spring the trap.
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          Oct 23 2012: Love you Mitch Smith. Been watching Julia Gillard on tv here getting annoyed about misogyny. Been watching US presidential candidates as well. Want to offer M.C. Escher visual metaphor sky and water to debate nature of communities. Love Aussie history, love creationist stories. Lots of clues about behaviour of humans in etiology of texts. Cheers for feedback on 'free will' debate. Did you ever watch the Hollywood movie 'The Green Mile' Did you ever see the cartoon 'Pinky and the Brain'. From your picture probably about the same chronological age, did you ever see cartoon 'Top Cat'. USA import on NZ tv in 1970s. What teamwork - and the purpose ? Pinky and the Brain - one is a genius and the other insane. Lab mice who must be back in their cages before dawn breaks or they will be dissected. So similar to NZ creationist myths about getting of fire and other myths about visiting the dead etc. Conflict always ultimately about surviving with minimal damage to self so can live to fight another day. Have a look at another of Escher's visual metaphors about the Tower of Babel. Hours of fun.
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        Oct 23 2012: My apology for the either/or falacy.

        There is another angle:

        If you are already in a conflict, then you will have motive to spring traps defensively.
        Best keep them secret so that your enemy is murdered.

        But one has to ask - what is the conflict about?
        Why is there a conflict and what are the objectives of winning it?
        Are these objectives worth it?
        Could the conflict be terminated by addressing the "enemies' motive?

        I had a friend who became a paranoid schizophrenic. He was convinced that there was a bike-gang camped on the other side of a hill that were planning to come in the night and murder him and his family. He kept firearms and layed early-warning devices and booby traps to stop the bike gang.
        We took him to the other side of the hill and showed him that there were no bikies, but he insisted that they saw us coming and covered their tracks.
        Not long after that, he shot himself with one of the firearms "to protect his family" the note said.
        It took us a few days to dismantle his booby traps.
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          Oct 23 2012: While I will agree with some of your conclusions, I have to disagree with them as being "all inclusive".

          I have a "secret" warplane. I may have to put a human pilot in it to defend my country if my country is attacked. Keeping the capabilities of that aircraft secret prevents an enemy from learning how to counter its effectiveness, not to mention more easily destroy the aircraft and kill the human pilot flying it in a combat situation. As long as the aircraft's capabilities are secret, it is a strength (advantage). If I tell all the secrets about it's strength to everybody, it is THEN a weakness.

          So I keep it's strengths a secret. That makes me a psychopath?

          Don't think so. How psychopathic (moral?) would it be to send that pilot into combat and just before he/she took off, I tell him/her, "Oh, by the way. We told the enemy everything about the defensive capabilities of your aircraft, so they are probably gonna be able to shoot you down now and you will die. Have a nice flight."

          There's a reason all those F-111's and B-2 Stealth aircraft were so effective in bombing Baghdad and we didn't lose any aircrew members during the process. (No...I don't want to get into a debate about the Iraq War here. Not topic relative).
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        Oct 23 2012: ERm .. Rick ..

        I did expand the range of inclusion. And I'd like to explore that range.
        But the assumption of conflict falls into paranoia if there is no conflict.
        It is not advantageous to cite the Gulf - that was a clear example of psychopathy on the part of US administration. Specially since I discovered that Haliburton had already arranged the re-build projects before the war was announced. Personal discovery that was - not quoting some youtube conspiracy flick.

        So, by your own arguement, you require military secrets to engage in questionable agressions?
        The fixation on hardware seems interesting, specially when Iran landed one of your drones recently. Your estranged hand seems to be under the control of others - if they could do that, do you not question why they have not strangled you with it?
        Could it be that they have greater wisdom about the dangers of paranoia?
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          Oct 23 2012: Your whole argument is based on the assumption of "questionable aggression". Not everybody would agree with you about that, like maybe the Kuwait population that was currently occupied by the Iraqi military forces, nor the Saudi government who may have been next on the list of Iraq's invasion forces.

          Oh, by the way, your Haliburton comparison is irrational. When we invaded Germany and Japan to end WW2, we already had plans in place on how to re-build those countries after the war too. Those plans included american corporate businesses providing goods and support for the rebuilding.

          I'll agree to disagree with you. We aren't going to change each other's minds.
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        Oct 23 2012: Just to balance this out a bit, I will admit to one scenario where I employed a secret for self-defence:

        I had sacked an employee becuase he was threatening violence to the other employees.
        He came to my house and broke 2 of my ribs (His ex Navy training I suppose - but i did not attempt to defend - good thing because it would escalate the attack).
        After that i installed razor blades on my window sills - this fellow had a record for break-and-enter.
        I filed an asault charge against him.
        He came to my home again and demanded entrance - the plate-glass door was locked.
        When he realised that I was not going to unlock the door, he backed up to get enough momentum to smash through.
        So i stepped back and grabbed a length of steel which i concealed behind my body - my secret weapon. He saw the concealment and, in his mind had to evaluate if it was a firearm or a knife.
        This made him back down.

        So. There was an existing conflict - had my oponent seen that my weapon was flimsy, he might have executed the attack - but he would have died from head injury as he blinked coming through the glass.
        My oponent was a psychopath.
        My mistake was to have anything to do with him in the first place. He was a conflict just waiting to happen.
        If I had a firearm, it would take only one glance for him to back down .. I was confident of winning, but the subterfuge prevented a killing.
        Once again - strength in demonstration is better than subterfuge.
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        Oct 23 2012: LOL So the USA wants to keep secrets so that it can use agression to enrich US companies!

        Well, that's no surprise.

        You need secrecy to bolster your imperialism and rapacious greed.
        You also need it to keep your people repressed. Based on recent defensive moves to greater secrecy,The real enemy of the USA seems to be primarily the people of the USA.

        We are all watching on with great interest to see how the USA defeats itself.
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          Oct 23 2012: "The real enemy of the USA seems to be primarily the people of the USA."

          There's a lot of truth to that Mitch, depending on how it is interpreted.

          And just to be sure, you and I are fine as far as I'm concerned too. One of the great things about the U.S. is that it allows debate, regardless of how controversial it may become. I base my beliefs on my life experiences, which as you mentioned concerning this topic are primarily "military oriented". So if I use an aircraft as an example as why we need to have some secrets, it's based on my experiences of why it is needed that way.

          My main "debate" in this whole topic is the OP's question about "leaks". Doesn't matter to me if it is Wikileaks or an individual citizen doing it. Or a "whistleblower". A leak is a leak. The OP asked questions, and I tried to answer them from my experience and perspective. And my main point has been that a totally transparant, secret-free society is not a viable nor rational expectation to solve perceived problems. My experience indicates it causes more problems not only for a government, but also for the citizens of that country. Obviously, there are people in the world who don't agree with that for whatever reasons they may believe. That's not unexpected by me with a country of 350 million people and a world with 7 billion people, all of whom can have different opinions.

          I'm fine with your position. I spent 25+ years of my life defending your right to state it.
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        Oct 23 2012: Maybe you take a look at this compilation of all revealed truths from the past.


        If he American people at the time had known the truth that was denied over and over by the government the world today would be a much better place.
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          Oct 23 2012: Can't really respond to the credibility of that link, Frans. People will go to and believe whatever sources they want to believe in. Kinda like if they have a pre-conceived notion about the "truth" to begin with, they will search for information that only supports their pre-conceived views. There is not much of anything really objective on that link. It revolves around a pre-conceived notion, then the information on it supports that notion.

          It's like conservatives and liberals choosing to get their information from FOX or CNN or wherever they feel "group membership" agrees with them. They will go to the site that supports their own views to begin with, then use those sites as "proof" of any "truth".
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        Oct 23 2012: I understand your doubts Rick but for me it is what it is.

        I've seen most of it before on documentaries from the BBC and German national broadcasting channels that all don't have any interest than to expose the truth.
        You're not that young so most faces and names has to be familiar to you and are traceable on the net.
        A lot of CIA people involved in those stories gave account of the facts after retirement that confirm every opposing voice that spoke at the time those things where actually happening.
        I remember one guy that got a bag of money on several missions as some new president was elected in a South - or Middle American state that planned reforming the state of affairs. His mission was to offer the money with a threat that if the new elected was heading on that way a horrible accident could happen to him.

        Those things happened.
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          Oct 24 2012: Hi Franz,

          I know these things happened.

          In the 1990's my family gave refuge to a young girl from El Salvadore.
          Her family had been smuggled out of El Salvadore by the Catholic church .. well . what was left of her family anyway.
          Her mother had been so comprehensively brutalised and tortured by rebels, government and street gangs that she was the "pinup-girl" for Amnesty International who used her as a a PR object for their own agendas.
          The family had become so dysfunctional from teh trauma and harm that the daughter had to be separated in order to apply healing and nurture.
          Our own community services people warned us to not even try to do this. In a way they were right, our country simply did not have adequate resources to support our nurture.
          we did our best, but the girl ended up in teh garbage-bin of teh state "correctional" system - a one way ticket to prostitution and drug dependence.
          Through this we became aware of teh propogating stain of harm that radiates through families and their communities and down the generations - undiminished until it is healed.
          And where did that stain originate?
          The USA.
          Call me leftist, but I know - I have seen first-hand that the right wing is formed by child abuse - the right wing is a disease that does not want to be healed.
          I don't need any conspiracy theory - i have seen it in the streets, i have seen it in gangland, in government approved motorcycle gangs and brothels, in corporations from teh bottom to the top, in the churches and in the judiciary. Personally seen it all.
          Most people are brilliant - most people are reasonable, most people have empathy and compassion.
          It's the psychopaths. And it is the sociopaths that they create by damaging the children.

          We, as a species have urgent need to weed-out these monsters and bend our entire resource to finding a cure for them - and to identify them so that good people can make their own decisions regarding them.
          This is the only issue worth fighting for.
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        Oct 24 2012: Hey Rick, many thanks for having the heart to engage in robust discussion!

        I concede in philosophy and personal experience that secrets are necessary in conflict.
        However, one must examine the conflict.
        I have been in a few fist-fights - mostly growing up in a violent community, but also later in day-to-day life.
        About half of the conflicts i got entangled in I resolved by not fighting. Some were resolved by demonstrating superior strength before the violence erupted, some I had to just punch out. Of the full-on punch ups, i usually terminated the conflict by guaging when the oponent's adrenalin had subsided (pride satisfied) and found a political "excuse" to terminate the agression before someone got killed. Of all those fights, the factors were psychopathy, sociopathy, alcohol-induced delusional paranoia, tribal agression (a form of psychopathy) or male sexual competition (another form of psychopathy - testosterone induced).

        All of these factors are open to "gaming" by third parties. Such gaming also falls into the realm of psychopathy/sociopathy.

        It is the third party gaming dynamic that generates secrets through the conflict loophole - and they widen the conflict loophole as wide as they can in order to cover their lies - the role of secrets is to prevent the entire conflict collapsing on themselves.

        But back to the topic - a whistleblower is someone who's loyalty is violated by conflict between the organisational objective and the whistleblower's wider value system. Without some kind of haven, the whistleblower will be prevented or punished by the organisation as a demonstration to other potential whistleblowers. Wikileaks provides that haven.

        As an aside - if Assange is touched, the USA administration will have another conflict to worry about. We all like to believe that we have recourse to our own values - if supression of that potential is demonstrated, all people of conscience will become the enemy of any administration involved. I see Gulags.
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    Oct 23 2012: Hi Daniel,

    In my view, whistle blowers provide (if small) some balance of power.

    Now, one of the reasons why the question spars so much debate is because we all feel that we are on the right side of the morally right vs. morally wrong divide line. Whether we admit it or not, we see the other group as not-so-morally-sound

    Of course, that is a mere illusion. We can't be all in the morally right crowd at the same time or else there would not be any debate. We all must accept that we may be a little wrong from time to time about our own self perception.

    Example: A gay couple that tries to live privately has very little impact on rest of their community. Those who claim to be "morally offended" or to "psychologically suffer" in any way when they see a gay couple, most of the time are just trying to get others to live in the same way they do. So they ostracize, and single out and try to shame others into compliance. So that's a secret which does more damage if made public than left alone.

    Example 2: A president has an affair and tries to deny it. You may say that people have a more valid "right" to feel morally offended by this than the previous example, but still, the real damage is to himself, to his wife/family and his lover. Everybody else outside claiming pain because of this falls in the same category (trying to make the president behave the way they would). Maybe if he was spending tax money on this i would find it a bit offensive

    Example 3: The military learns about the death of innocent lives and not only keeps silent, but tries to keep the episode hidden. Not only the number of people affected is much bigger, but the amount of public money spent is significantly larger. I may not be in the morally right group, but i take more offense with keeping this third example a secret.

    One thing that should NOT be a secret is the very definition of what constitutes a matter of "National Security" (nor should any group hold a monopoly on this definition)

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      Oct 23 2012: we all must accept that we may be a little wrong from time to time about our own self perception

      i totally agree with you .

      the ture me is not the real me .what i thought my self is not what i am .i think we are often describing ourself ,our thought which are always giving us the fouse information.about ourself .
      so never define yourself. or we can not well know ourselves..
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    Oct 22 2012: I have to chuckle every time I see this debate arise.


    Most of the time the people who are demanding "total transparancy" in the government are the same people who complain about the government invading the person's own privacy.

    If you are going to demand the government not have access to any of YOUR own "secrets" in your everyday life, stop the hypocracy of demanding you have access to all the "secrets" the government needs to keep so it can keep the country and it's citizens safe from attack and destruction.

    Everybody has secrets...including the people who want all secrets to be public knowledge. I don't care how moral or ethical you may claim to be. There is/are something(s) in your own personal lives that you would scream bloody murder about if somebody insisted you tell everybody else about them.

    Total transparancy? Look in the mirror first.
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      Oct 22 2012: uhm, pal. the government is not a person. it does not have human rights. would you defend the secrecy of corporations on the same basis?
    • Oct 22 2012: Rick, this is just scary man. People wish to have transparency because of the unbelievable amount of ruthless murder this country has supported and lied to the people about. Where to start, gulf of Tonkin incident, East Timor and the support of murdering maniac General Suharto, Iran Contra, The overthrow of Salvador Allende, 1953 coup in Iran that installed the murderous shah, oh and I almost forgot The lie of WMD and the ensuing death of millions in Iraq. People are fed up and they should be.

      How many more times does our government have to lie the people into war for us to realize that there interest is not in protecting us, or if it is, its low on the list of motivations for foreign intervention.

      There are plenty of things people including myself would not want just broadcasted to the world. Is that a reason to willfully remain ignorant of crimes against humanity? If I killed someone and then saw a man being killed do I just let it happen because, well,I did it, so I have no say in the matter?
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        Oct 22 2012: @Krisztiam and Brian

        Guys, c'mon. Start using some of that critical thinking we are all so proud about around here.

        The fallacy of demanding that any government charged with ensuring the survival of the country and the citizens living within it be "totally transparant" is the assumption that everybody in the world is "good" with no evil intent.

        Face reality. There are plenty of "bad people" in the world who would use the information governments have about it's military capability, intelligence gathering capability, and the intelligence it does gather, to do harm to the country and the people living within that country.

        Yes Krisztian, I WOULD "defend the secrecy of corporations on the same basis". People are an entity, and so are corporations AND governments. They are ALL entitled to have secrets under established laws concerning their activities. And those laws DO exist for very good reasons.

        And Brian, I'm sorry that my position is "scary" to you. But you would be a lot more scared, and a lot less SAFE, if everybody had access to everybody else's secrets.

        Seems to me you both want a "perfect world" where there are no "bad guys". Doesn't exist. Never will. And no amount of "information transparancy" will ever change that. So you need to look for a different solution to solve the problems you want fixed. "Total Transparancy" is not the viable solution.

        Please read that last paragraph again. I'm not arguing that many of the things you say "need fixing" don't "need fixing". I'm saying the proposed solution of "total transparancy" is NOT the solution. It...Will...Not...Solve...The...Problem. What it WILL do is make your life and safety much more at risk.
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          Oct 22 2012: an animal is also an entity. so it has the right to keep secrets? the word "entity" is one of the broadest terms. there are virtually no common attributes within the class of "entities". the fact that something is an entity has no bearing on anything.

          human rights are not defined to maximize output. human rights are not recognized for some practical reasons. human rights are recognized because we think it is moral and the right thing to do. many originates human rights in eternal, unquestionable principles, like god or nature. even if in some situations, violating a human right would bring about better results, we still want to stick to them. we accept a price.

          no such rights are granted for a government. governments do not have such basic rights. whatever rights the government has, it is fully practical and never moral. only moral to the degree that it must serve the people. whatever serves the people more, should be the only compass for a government.

          hence, your argument is invalid. people having right to privacy, and governments having rights to privacy are not even similar, and can not be judged by the same standards, the same mindset.
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          Oct 22 2012: one more thought. you say "And those laws DO exist for very good reasons.", but are you aware that wikileaks did not violate any US laws? under US law, you can not steal information, and you can not share information you handle as a government employee. but if you are not a government employee, and you get secret documents, you are free to do whatever you please with them. especially if you are not even an american citizen. so we agree, these laws exist for a reason. and the reason being, the state has to be exposed, because it can not be trusted to expose itself.
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          Oct 22 2012: @Krisztián, point of fact, animals do have secrets.

          Camouflage coloring is one of the most obvious. Some create false entrances to their burrows, and some create defensible positions within their lair. Beavers hide their burrow entrance from land predators underwater. Your dog may even defecate in an unused corner of the basement to avoid punishment.

          Animals have secrets, they come by them naturally, and there are no moral considerations (by our standards) in their activities.
        • Oct 22 2012: Rick, sorry but i feel just as scared knowing that a bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats are running around toppling governments and creating mass death in the process. I believe the people should run the government end of story. You seem to believe that we should be "guided" by our noble leaders into what is best for us. The more and more documents get released from prior administrations the more obvious it is just how sick and corrupt this government has been. Your endorsing a system that has continuously lead to rampant corruption and illegal war.

          If everyone had access to everyones secrets I think there would be a real chance at world peace. I am also almost certain if the people of this country got a glimpse at the inner workings of our government there would be a revolution....You either are not looking at the kind of brutality and deception the idea you support fosters or you don't care.
    • Oct 22 2012: @Rick Ryan: " There is/are something(s) in your own personal lives that you would scream bloody murder about if somebody insisted you tell everybody else about them."

      Critical thinking? Here goes!
      1. I was not created for the explicit purpose of protecting your rights.
      2. I do not take any money from you for 1, and call it "tax".
      3. I have not exempted myself from being accountable for all my actions.
      4. I have not created a room in my yard, called it "jail", and detained people there.
      5. I do not take protection money from you, and use that to invade other countries.
      6. I do not listen in on your private phone calls, or strip you naked at airports, invade your home while looking for drugs, or do any such thing to you.

      ... Need I go on? ...

      Therefore, I don't see why you must know about my private life.
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      Oct 22 2012: Hi Rick,

      Sorry it makes you chuckle. Not all of us who support the concept of a whistleblower (and the protection that it requires) are hypocrites

      The government knows everything I buy through my credit card transactions, as well as record of almost every book I read. And I would not be surprised if they had a copy of every mail i send and receive. I am not hiding anything from the government, but the fact that they collect this information without asking for it is very telling.

      All this in the name of "National Security" (i am sure my private email conversations must pose a serious threat to the country)

      But the government does not pay me a dime. To the contrary, they take my money very friendly (try not to pay taxes and see the consequences) and they use it without further consultation on my part. Is it wrong to at least want to know how the government is doing its job? Is there any other way to get a straightforward answer to that question?

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        Oct 23 2012: No, it's not wrong to know how your government is doing it's job. But it's unrealistic to expect them to tell you everything about how they do it if you want them to be able to perform many of their roles, like providing protection for it's citizens. Should your local police department publish the names of all it's undercover law enforcement personnel performing "sting" operations? That would make all the corrupt criminals ecstatic.

        And yes, the government may be ABLE to know about your credit card transactions, web surfing habits, and emails. But they aren't the first-line acquirer of those things (in most cases). They can GET that information through legal processes (subpoena) if needed, but the paranoia that exists that the government is actually sitting around collecting this information on every single citizen is way overboard. They will subpoena the information from your credit card company, your ISP provider, and your email provider if they really need it during an investigation of you.

        I don't ever recall just being able to read anybody's private emails during all my "Intel" years just 'cos I wanted to. I, and my government, had much more pressing things to do.

        Why all the paranoia? Honestly, the government doesn't think ALL 350 million citizens are National Security threats, so they aren't sitting around collecting all that info on you unless they have other reasons first. Then they will go get it from the sources who DO have it...and that is when they will also start collecting it on you themselves (FBI investigations, etc). Think about it rationally. If your government had all that information on EVERYBODY in the first place, how the heck would anybody be able to commit any crimes before the government could stop them from commiting them?

        The "Big Brother" concept of your government monitoring every aspect of your life BEFORE you give them a reason to is highly over-rated.
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          Oct 23 2012: Hi Rick,

          Regarding the government, I don't think that it has to be an all or nothing. It is indeed easy to make the case against 100% openness, not so easy to make the case against 80%.

          Having read many of the cables that wikileaks posted (of course, a tiny fraction), I have the impression that the majority are not matters of national security, but on the contrary, they paint a more honest view of how politicians view other countries and governments, and it shines some light on often overlooked motivations or causes behind events that we have seen painted with a different color in the media.

          It does not make sense to publish the names of undercover police officers, but why not legalize drugs instead? the number of undercover police needed would fall drastically. I think that in some areas of people's personal lives the government should realize they cannot bully everybody into compliance.

          You may be right about the paranoia, but wasn't it the case that NSA had an office in the west coast where communications through the optical lines coming from he pacific were split in two and the copy was routed somewhere for archival purposes? I'll have to go debunk myself

          I know for sure that in the past few years ordinary citizens were listening to foreign phone conversations and providing translated transcripts back to the government, and from what i heard at that time, it was 100% regular people, it sounded more like random checking rather than something targeted. No subpoenas

          As i have stated before, who has the monopoly on the definition of a matter of "National Security"? "why is the very definition of it a secret too? seems to me like national security is anything that threatens the government or powerful interests

          Of course 911 deniers mostly sound like nuts to me, but to say that the 911 attack was on every single person living in the country is a rhetorical over statement. Frequent repetition and a framing from that single point of view helped to drill that view
  • Oct 22 2012: "I see why many support Wiki-leaks, but a little government secrecy is needed."

    A little bit?

    Well, we're way past that line now aren't we? That should mean an immediate and total transparency for the military. I want to know what they are doing or planning on doing to the citizens of other countries. I don't want them hiding their resource wars and telling me they are protecting the country.
    I don't believe that National Security is about National Secrecy. Not one bit.
    And since it has been so thoroughly tainted by just about every President since JFK (or earlier?), I wish it to be complete. And we vote on it, even though voting doesn't work.

    Since it doesn't, how are we gonna make these kinds of changes, hmmmm?
    Not by asking. Not by voting. Not by petitioning. Not by lobbying. Not by not paying taxes. Not by civil disobedience. Not by striking. Not by demanding. Not by begging. Not by pouting.

    Well,what then...................? What is .............. obvious?
  • Oct 19 2012: I completely support wikileaks and all whistleblower legislation. You cannot have a democracy without an informed public and you cannot have an informed public while the government hides as many decisions as possible (actually all of the important one and makes public only the most trivial).
    Something like wikileaks dosen't editorialize the leaked documents, they just publish them. I don't see a bias there with the exception that the reported documents may not show a complete picture. If you can explain them then publish the requisite documents if not, they I guess you were caught.
    The problem is not ...can it be published without turning into a witch hunt...the problem is ...can it be published and the correct person prosecuted and not a scapegoat who has been selected to be sacrificed. Whoever investigates after the leak has been made public must go up the ladder to find the top of the corruption.
  • Oct 19 2012: To what extent?
    Completely. 100% support for Wikileaks.

    Complete transparency in our government, military, corporate world, religious institutions, medical, food, farming, drugs, etc. and take it as far as possible.

    All U.S. institutions are corrupt from top to bottom.
    Expose them all.

    I don't know about you but I want the truth, no matter what it is or how frightening it may be.
    It will more than likely be rage-inducing rather than fear-inducing.

    I live by the truth. I'm ethical. So are most citizens. Our leaders are not.

    They need to be exposed entirely. To not do so, is a risk to national security.
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      Oct 19 2012: Of my concerns is that "etc." you mention.

      As I asked, "Are there limits to what should be exposed to the public by investigators?" But there are no limits to "Complete transparency".

      It's relatively easy to accept a WikiLeaks Your Neighbor, but what happens when it's WikiLeaks You, Your Home, Your Job, Your Little Sister, or Your Children?

      There is an argument that if you are doing nothing wrong you've got nothing to hide and nothing to fear.
      Well then, give me your credit card numbers and PINs. I swear that I won't clean out your bank accounts.
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    Oct 19 2012: wikileaks in itself should be enough for obama not to get reelected. people should say: hey, obama, you want to stomp on a website that did not commit any crime according to US law? you have failed to make it crystal clear that no repercussions there will be in any way against assange or wikileaks? sorry, no vote for you then.

    ah, sorry, i didn't answer the question. my extent was 250 dollars.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 19 2012: Secrets are never a good thing
  • Oct 19 2012: This has just started Good and Bad or whatever takes time to see.
  • O W

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    Oct 18 2012: I would neither support or oppose WikiLeaks, or other movements like WikiLeaks. Becasue I personally believe that such organisations must be either supported or opposed wholehearted. Either you support these unconventional methods or totally oppose them.

    The limits are impossible to decide. In these days when most information is digitalized there will always be people searching for it. Searching for "secret" information, with unconventional methods, automatically means that you will find information you did not expect to find or inteded to find in the first place. Even though you did not intend to find this information you publish it.

    If you do not want to take such (extreme) position, the most appropriate way to relate to it is being passively neutral. If you act neutral you can benefit from WikiLeaks but at the same time experience several drawbacks of it.