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Observation OTD

2010-11-30 15:02:49.596472+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

On the risks Julian Assange and the rest of the Wikileaks team are currently taking, over at SE BlutStein1984 observed:

Assange needs to grow a beard, have a kidney fail him and move into a cave if he keeps this up, otherwise he is liable to find himself locked up in a jail cell somewhere.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-12-01 14:22:23.808773+00 by: m

The US needs to have its actions opened up a bit to the sunlight. Wikileaks is insufficient to the task, but it makes for a good start.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 21:04:21.512428+00 by: other_todd

I'm not sure what Manning's comments on Iraq disclosure - which in general I am in favor of - have to do with his leaking confidential diplomatic memos which had nothing to do with Iraqi operations. If he had actually stuck to pointing out how slimy our behavior was in Iraq then I'd probably be cheering him, not calling for his head.

I agree, Dan, that it is either extremely suspicious that a PFC could get that close to that much confidential, or shows that someone was extremely dumb. However, I think I lean toward stupidity here and not malice.

There are a couple of places where these leaks will do serious damage. Unfortunately, those two places are the two most important trouble spots in the world. One of them I noted in my entry - this will give the Iranian theocracy yet another excuse to herd their unwilling subjects into the "world is against us" box and will make them even more loose cannons than betore.

The other is North Korea. South Korea and the US announced already that they will not come back to the bargaining table with North Korea because that's exactly what NK wants and they will not reward its bad behavior. Their hope is that China will quietly take NK aside and say, "Yo, you're really giving us ulcers here, if you want to keep being our BFFs then you have got to clean up your act." But if NK now thinks China is not on their side, this makes them MORE of a loose cannon, not less.

The only reason Kim the Second hasn't started a war yet in his reign is because he really only wants to secure his Courvoisier supply and keep getting foreign food aid so he doesn't have to feed his people himself. If he suddenly thinks there is no chance of getting that through his usual blackmail/diplomacy double play because China isn't trying to shepherd other nations into talking to him anymore, then all bets are off.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 19:54:23.607968+00 by: ebradway

I've begun to wonder if the Chinese comments about North Korea may cause Pyongyang to question the support for Kim Jong Il and his latest antics. I'm sure North Korea wouldn't provoke South Korea into a war if they didn't think China had their backs.

The real proof for the pudding may come when a real international crisis or war is avoided because of these leaks. One can hope!

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 19:40:00.350538+00 by: Dan Lyke

Some of PFC Manning's motivations in his own words:

was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police… for printing “anti-Iraqi literature”… the iraqi federal police wouldn’t cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the “bad guys” were, and how significant this was for the FPs… it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki… i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled “Where did the money go?” and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn’t want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…


at first glance… it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter… no big deal… about two dozen more where that came from right… but something struck me as odd with the van thing… and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory… so i looked into it… eventually tracked down the date, and then the exact GPS co-ord… and i was like… ok, so thats what happened… cool… then i went to the regular internet… and it was still on my mind… so i typed into goog… the date, and the location… and then i see this http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/13/world/middleeast/13iraq.html
i kept that in my mind for weeks… probably a month and a half… before i forwarded it to [Wikileaks]

Note "PFC" and unmonitored access to that much information. One should never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity, but it's almost like someone wanted to change Mideast foreign policy in a way that might, say, expose the words of various leaders of Arab states who are afraid to speak out against Iran publicly and redirect the thrust of the discussion so that it's okay to contemplate walking away from the unwinnable Afghanistan situation.


#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 19:14:49.608995+00 by: other_todd

andylyke: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.../28/how-us-embassy-cables-leaked

Meet Bradley Manning, whom I fully expect will be tried for treason, and who I personally believe will deserve what he gets.

If his attitude were "I've seen things which shouldn't be allowed to stand and I want to blow the whistle," that might be one thing, but his motivation was simply to cause commotion:

"Everywhere there's a US post, there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format ... It's beautiful, and horrifying."

He then went on to use the "information wants to be free" trope (can we retire that now, please) to justify his actions.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 17:03:47.457588+00 by: andylyke

Yes, Wikileaks will survive Assange, even as al-Qa'ida continues despite the assassinations of numerous Numeros tres, and will survive the eventual (possible) elimination of ObL. I haven't read the cables, and am unaware of who released them in the first place, but it was obviously someone who had been vetted for access but couldn't stand what (s)he saw. Ameliorate our behaviors and these institutions won't be threats.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-30 16:17:18.542161+00 by: ebradway

Assange should have created a false persona to act as the head of WikiLeaks. Fortunately, even if he is assassinated, WikiLeaks (or some variation) will continue. Pandora's Box has been opened. You can't close it.