WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

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WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:14 am

Hi guys,

I raced to SoSZ, wanting to read what everyone thinks about these WikiLeak Embassy cables. Am I really the first post on it? Anyway, assuming that I am, here goes!

Like with the Afghanistan and Iraq leaks, so far, I've learned nothing new, and from the responses of the involved countries, neither has anyone else. The only thing possibly gained is a way to cite this information to peers, and possibly also the ability to say "I called it!" on issues, only now there are the actual cables to show what everyone knew all along. A lot of it is, in fact, stuff that I've been trying to just find information on casually, just to know what's going on in the world of international relations. That is, I'm surprised it's secret!

What I have learned, though, is that what I want to be - usually I say "an international environmental policymaker working to implement transfer of technology in environmental treaties" - means "diplomat." I read these cables, and I get excited. I love this whole world of hand-shaking, information sharing - it's like the embassies are a place where countries can have calm relations with each other without the media making conclusions at every second of the way. While The News talks about how the US is (or should be) scared of China Taking Over The World, and The US Shall Be Overtaken, we're seeing the US and Chinese diplomats discussing their common economic goals, hand-in-hand, coordinating international policy to fit China's increasing importance.

I also find it funny that the US media is choosing to focus on things like how the Minister Mentor of Singapore called Kim-Jong Il a "flabby old chap." As if that will actually have ANY bearing on diplomacy. Same with the US giving directives to acquire personal information about UN and other foreign diplomats. I'm shocked that people are shocked about that: I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that if a person is to become a diplomat, they are 100% aware that yes, every country on the planet is going to try to find every single detail about them, from credit reports to medication prescribed to birth records to their pets' names, and that no, they are not at ALL bothered by that, because, as diplomats, they have nothing to hide. In fact, it's helpful that all of the countries will find out that you are not, in fact, a spy.

Also, I'd argue that even the latest-dated cables to be released so far - from early 2010 - are too outdated to actually represent current international affairs. Things change so quickly as governments, businesses, and people adapt to circumstances that the way these cables are being published are giving a sort of misconception that the information detailed is somehow relevant.

So . . . what do people think? Will there actually be any repercussions? Anyone else amused by the gossip-like focus of the US media? How is it being covered in other places? Anyone actually learn anything they didn't already kind-of-know anyway?
Last edited by CaTigeReptile on Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:36 am

:lol: My favourite story about the leaks: Iran fails.

Honestly, it's this sort of thing that makes me think the WikiLeaks thing is way too overblown. I do think he ought to be pressured not to provide cover to the kinds of criminals who steal information for fun and profit, but how to do that legally would be very tricky. At the same time, I find the pundits who immediately began howling for Assange's assassination quite contemptible.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby Harimau » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:27 pm

I'm looking forward to their next release a lot more - Assange says that it might "take down a bank or two", and it's supposed to be a major US bank! It's bound to be juicy, even if he was exaggerating.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby agga » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:02 am

i'm all in favor of wikileaks basic premise - that you'd better be careful what you hide, because it's going to get found out - but i worry that they might prompt an overreaction, and big powers will just be pushed into 1) getting much better at keeping secrets, to the point of destroying communiques and other elements of what would one day become the historical record, and 2) attacking and trying to destroy parts of society that support what wikileaks does.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:16 pm

WeiWenDi wrote: My favourite story about the leaks: Iran fails.

Honestly, it's this sort of thing that makes me think the WikiLeaks thing is way too overblown. I do think he ought to be pressured not to provide cover to the kinds of criminals who steal information for fun and profit, but how to do that legally would be very tricky. At the same time, I find the pundits who immediately began howling for Assange's assassination quite contemptible.


Agreed.

Harimau wrote:I'm looking forward to their next release a lot more - Assange says that it might "take down a bank or two", and it's supposed to be a major US bank! It's bound to be juicy, even if he was exaggerating.


I just hope it's not going to release my bank account number, credit information, personal identification, balance history, debit card number, and pin number!

agga wrote: i'm all in favor of wikileaks basic premise - that you'd better be careful what you hide, because it's going to get found out


So far, I haven't found out anything that I didn't already either know or suspect from any of the leaks. Also, it's important to note that every single country involved in these messages knew that the US government was going to hear exactly what they were saying - that's the point of diplomacy vs clandestine intelligence-gathering - but were under the impression that what they were saying wasn't going to be plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the world. However, I don't think it's going to make much of an impact on diplomacy or relations. It certainly hasn't so far. Why? The actual content is so banal and so utterly not shocking. It's not like the pentagon papers or anything, that actually exposed bad things going on.

agga wrote: but i worry that they might prompt an overreaction, and big powers will just be pushed into 1) getting much better at keeping secrets, to the point of destroying communiques and other elements of what would one day become the historical record


This is spot-on. Look at what the US is doing to itself already - cutting off the availability of information designated as secret from itself (other parts of the government). That essentially sends the message that the US government doesn't trust itself.

And you're absolutely right. After time, classified documents become unclassified in the US. They can't ever become unclassified if they're destroyed instead.

agga wrote: 2) attacking and trying to destroy parts of society that support what wikileaks does.


Less the parts of society that support what wikileaks actually does, I think, but more the parts of society that support what wikileaks says it does - represent the freedom of information. However, like I said earlier, I learned no new information. No one did. That, and the information in these releases is all outdated, out of context, and irrelevant. But like you say, it's the principal of what wikileaks has done, especially by this latest diplomacy 'leak'. This is different than war, where people die, and wikileaks released specific information (although also released sensitive names), and the information learned is sobering. This is diplomacy, where the most ghastly thing happening is, to be honest, some gossip between circles. Trying to make the process of diplomacy - the process of preventing the deaths that we saw described in the previous wikileaks from happening - as some kind of scandalous process . . . and that's not necessarily WikiLeaks itself, but rather the way that the Media are doing.

Non-Sequitur: Ugh. I'm listening to CSPAN-2 right now. Ughhhhhhhh. UGH. But hey. Look. CSPAN is an excellent example of the relative transparency of the US domestic political process.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:04 pm

I just received an email from LinkedIn from my Cornell Uni group and they are talking about how Bank of America may be the next target for WikiLeaks. I just hope no one gets hold of my personal banking information -- again. I'm still going through stuff with them over someone hacking my account now. I'm currently working to close an account I've had for the last 8 years and really my first ever bank account because some jack-off wanted to steal my account number and use it for shipping costs with UPS and FedEx...
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby Ranbir » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:50 pm

Hyped and didn't really reveal anything that we didn't already know or had deduced from previous understandings. The only thing that is true with the "diplomatic 9/11" is going to be the ridiculous level of response from it.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby agga » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:28 pm

there's a report in NYTjust now which is interesting - the govt is trying to suppress dissemination of the leak info by suggesting that linking to wikileaks info on your blog, facebook page, etc., might preclude you from getting a job with the state dept. on top of this, US domain name servers, paypal, and other important bits of internet infrastructure have abandoned wikileaks. the govt is already pushing back really, really hard, and at high enough levels that of course we can't see any of it (until, one hopes, it is one day leaked).
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby Harimau » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:29 am

Zhuanyong wrote:I just received an email from LinkedIn from my Cornell Uni group and they are talking about how Bank of America may be the next target for WikiLeaks. I just hope no one gets hold of my personal banking information -- again. I'm still going through stuff with them over someone hacking my account now. I'm currently working to close an account I've had for the last 8 years and really my first ever bank account because some jack-off wanted to steal my account number and use it for shipping costs with UPS and FedEx...


I doubt that it'll be something like personal banking information. Assange could not possibly be so stupid to release something that will undoubtedly sour public opinion even more.

Rumours around the financial blogs are that it will be material related to BoA's acquisition of Countrywide Financial just before the whole subprime market collapsed. Explosive material that could potentially expose massive fraud (not that most people didn't suspect that already), leading to lawsuits, and potentially a chain reaction where some of the MBS' could be rolled back or modified.

Also, CaT: I am of the same opinion about you regarding diplomats. My opinion of them, quite high originally, has increased considerably - so much so that I am starting to regret not pursuing a career in foreign affairs. Oh well, maybe in the future.
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Re: WikiLeaks: Revealing Open Secrets

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:57 pm

Harimau wrote:Rumours around the financial blogs are that it will be material related to BoA's acquisition of Countrywide Financial just before the whole subprime market collapsed. Explosive material that could potentially expose massive fraud (not that most people didn't suspect that already), leading to lawsuits, and potentially a chain reaction where some of the MBS' could be rolled back or modified.


If that's the case, then that's definitely not new news. I had some dealings with Countrywide Financial before that happened. So I am well aware of that. I guess all those highly paid guys at Cornell started wondering if their salaries and banking information would be compromised. (Or their investments) :lol:
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