Wikileaks release classified documents

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  • #176
Evo
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How can you possibly say that?

Here's the quote (bolding mine):

Clearly, russ is aiming the treason charge at wikileaks (i.e., Assange). The quote is NOT about the person that leaked the video.
I scrolled up and read your post he was responding to, yes, you're right.
 
  • #177
russ_watters
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So we have to pick and chose who gets invaded because practical reality > moral absolutism?
You misunderstand. The practical reality is that we are simply incapable of fixing all of those problems simultaneously. It's not that one trumps the other, it's just that dealing with reality has to be a component of how moral absolutism is defined and applied.
This is at least consistent with the position that US interests > principle of free speech.
What does any of this have to do with freedom of speech?
Moral absolutism is self-defeating and surprising in anyone claiming to have a scientific world view. In science, all is merely hypothesis. The capacity to doubt is the first principle. There are no right answers, just well tested models.
Wow. With such a flawed view of science, it is unsurprising that you don't see how someone with a scientific worldview can be a moral absolutist.

The principle behind my moral absolutism is exactly the same as the principle behind my scientific worldview: the way the universe works/should work is logical.
 
  • #178
russ_watters
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Russ [re: Assange and "treason"]
Since you read where I made my position completely clear, (it's quoted in this post of yours!) I don't know why you are arguing about this.
No, he would be a spy if he actually entered US soil and broke local laws.
You mean like jaywalking? You're just making this crap up as you go along. A spy most certainly does not have to be in the country he's spying against to be a spy. He just has to deal in that country's secrets. Now with the internet, you can be anywhere in the world and do spying for or against virtually any country.
He is basically 'neutral', he has obtained information whilst living in his own country, he has never entered the US under the promise that he'd respect local laws.
One does not have to promise not to break a country's laws to be bound by them/charged with espionage. Heck, you don't have to believe me: believe Assange:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave a bit more detail about why he thinks he’d be in hot water if he went to the U.S. now.

Assange claimed to have a source “inside the U.S. government” who told him that the government was at one point mulling the idea of charging Assange “as a co-conspirator for espionage.”
http://blogs.wsj.com/dispatch/2010/07/27/assange-us-weighed-charging-me-with-espionage/

And some analysis:
Do they have a case?

It depends on how Assange got his information. U.S. law defines espionage as transmitting classified national security information "with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.

If WikiLeaks was actively involved in removing the documents from the Pentagon -- hacking into a computer, for instance -- there would likely be a clear cut criminal case against the organization. But if WikiLeaks merely received the documents from someone who broke the law in leaking them, the law is much less clear.

In 2006, a Federal Court ruled that employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee could be prosecuted for receiving and transmitting classified U.S. information to Israel, even though they did not themselves leak the information. But WikiLeaks is not a foreign lobbyist and courts have generally given media organizations -- though it's not clear whether the group qualifies -- much more leeway.
Now regarding treason - Assange didn't commit treason against the US, but he's an Australian citizen and Australia has troops in Afghanistan. So this is treason against his home country:
Wikileaks founder Australian Julian Assange could have committed a serious criminal offence in helping an enemy of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the lobby group, the Australia Defence Association (ADA) says.

ADA executive director Neil James said much of the 92,201 assorted US military, intelligence and diplomatic documents leaked by Wikileaks would not be new to anyone familiar with the Afghanistan war or wars in general.

But this latest material went well beyond justifiable whistleblowing, he said.
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-new...ave-committed-offence-ada-20100728-10vp8.html
Okay, so be it, you're the bad guys then if you want to believe that international standards make right and wrong.
A public opinion poll does not qualitfy as an "international standard". We're talking about law and policy.
A photoshopped propaganda picture?
Are you claiming this photo is faked? Evidence?
....the majority of the world does not like the US.
Whether true or not, that has no relevance.
 
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  • #179
russ_watters
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If it's irrelevant, then your proclaiming summary judgment upon it is an off-topic, below-the-belt move that doesn't belong in the thread. Save it for the Philosophy forum.
[shrug] Ivan provided his opinion, I provided mine. There isn't anything below the belt in what either of us posted. And I agree that the discussion should be in the philosophy forum.
You can not make the case that Assange chose to ally himself with one side without (as a necessary but not sufficient condition) showing that wikileaks has a policy (stated or demonstrated) to not accept leaks from that side, or to treat leaks from that side in a different manner to leaks from the other side. If they have no such policy, or show no such history, they are not allied with any particular side.
You're wrong by two full steps there, Gokul:
1. Espionage is an action, not a philosophical position or thought crime. What they believe is right and wrong or if they philosophically support one side over the other is irrelevant: they spied for our enemy. By their actions, they have allied themselves with our enemy.

2. You can spy for/against both sides simultaneously if you want.
And taking the argument further, it would be cowardly (or perhaps overreaching) to assert that someone being critical of one side is automatically allied with the other side.
Same as #1 above and I'll give a more direct analogy: regardless of what is going on in someone's head, if they fire a gun for one side, they have by their actions allied themself with that side.
Clearly, russ is aiming the treason charge at wikileaks (i.e., Assange). The quote is NOT about the person that leaked the video.
Perhaps I was sloppy - and honestly I don't remember what was going on in my head when I wrote that - but since I made my position explicitly clear elsewhere, could we please move along? There is no point in dwelling on an error that was long ago corrected.
 
  • #180
russ_watters
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Are UN resolutions and sanctions a good criteria for determining "good guys" and "bad guys"?
More to the point, it is the only internationally recognized standard for making such determinations. People are focusing on my strongly/absolutely worded statements because they don't like the absolutism and decisiveness of the statement and as a result are missing the point.
What happens if our country doesn't like how the UN implements a resolution we agreed to, particularly if the UN sees a particular violation as being more trivial and deserving of a much lesser punishment than the punishment the US thinks would be appropriate?
An example of that would be the Iraq war. In essence, Bush decided that the UN wasn't taking its own threats seriously.

IIRC, there was never any official condemnation of the US, calls for Hussein to be reinstated, etc. and Hussein was an internationally recognized criminal dictator, so it is tough to call us the "bad guys" there, but it is less clear-cut than Afghanistan, so "good guys" is probably too strong.
While I actually agree with your position in this circumstance, I just find it ironic when supporters of the Iraq invasion revert to this particular argument for the Afghanistan war.
If you're referring to me, there, my position on Iraq is too complicated to simply call me a "supporter". Afghanistan was a necessary and immediately needed war and we didn't have the resources to fight both simultaneously, so we should not have invaded Iraq at the same time. But if you look at who Hussein was and where Iraq is today, it is tough to call Iraq a "bad" war.
Although, once again, while the UN denied recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and while it imposed sanctions for years before 9/11, the UN never saw fit to impose an invasion of Afghanistan to remove the Taliban.
Quite right, but Al Qaeda never executed quite such a daring attack before. With their harboring/support of an entity waging war on the US, the Taliban was itself for all intents and purposes waging war on the US. The US didn't ask for UN authorization, nor do I think it was required.
Nor did the US ask the UN to take any action against Afghanistan after 9/11. This was a situation where the US was reacting to an attack on US soil and asking the UN to resolve the situation would have been inappropriate for that type of situation.
Agreed. The UN essentially stayed out until it was time to start supporting the provisional government.
In other words, the US didn't ask the UN to endorse an invasion of Afghanistan and then have to withdraw the resolution because it became obvious that an endorsement wouldn't be forthcoming.
I'm not sure that's a complete sentence.....what are you trying to say there? Are you saying the US was afraid that if they asked for UN endorsement that it wouldn't have happened and they would have hade to withdraw the resolution? Speculation and needless, to me. Bush was not the type to ask permission, nor in this case should he have.
I think the magazine cover is an effective emotional hook to sell the idea of why we need to stay in Afghanistan. A more effective rational argument would compare the overall condition of women in Afghanistan with Karzai in power to the overall condition of women with the Taliban in power.
Meh - I wanted a clear-cut example of evil and this one was delivered in my mailbox the day before. I wanted people to be forced to take a stand because there was a lot of waffling going on. With rare exception (and there was one above), I doubt many people really question what the stakes are/have been for women in Afghanistan and few people do when it is shoved in their face.
There is a difference and conditions for women are better under Karzai than the Taliban, but it's a stretch to say that's because Karzai is a champion of women's rights.
Oh, I certainy wouldn't make that claim. I have no illusions about how difficult it will be to permanently change the culture of Afghanistan and how much easier it is to make people bend to our will when we have 100,000 troops in their country.
I agree that the Taliban is the official "bad guys" in this scenario, but I think the difference between the Afghani "good guys" and "bad guys" may be slightly exaggerated.
I didn't mean to imply that the current Afghani government is the "good guys". We are, and they are our allies, but they are certainly an imperfect work in progress. If we're the "good guys" and the Taliban the "bad guys", the current government would at least be the "better than the Taliban guys", but there may not be anything stronger than that to be said for them.
The issue of whether non-recognized ruling bodies are covered by the Geneva Convention is debatable, although, admittedly, the only reason any debate exists is because civilians in the Bush administration came up with an entirely new interpretation of the GC than anyone had ever came up with before.
Heh - I see it as being the opposite: the issue and debate exists because how to deal our enemies in Afghanistan isn't adequately dealt with by the GC and as a result, the Bush admin had to make a decision without existing precedent to go by.
 
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  • #181
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but... are we really at a point where the purpose of our military is to fight evil and stamp out injustice in the world?
Which evil? The military occupation there is an evil in itself, and the proclaimed enemy now were then the "freedom fighters" that joined the "free world" in their struggle against the "evil empire" (the Soviet Union).
 
  • #182
apeiron
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Wow. With such a flawed view of science, it is unsurprising that you don't see how someone with a scientific worldview can be a moral absolutist.

The principle behind my moral absolutism is exactly the same as the principle behind my scientific worldview: the way the universe works/should work is logical.
Wow, and I would really believe that if you supported your claims with science-based accounts of human morality rather than gory emotive photographs.

If you claim that science backs moral absolutism, please show me where? Game theory? Cultural anthropology? Ecology? Neuroscience? I mean where is the theory and its evidence that says anything about human affairs is absolute? Cosmologists don't even say that about the laws of the universe, so who the heck knows what you think you are talking about?
 
  • #183
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...
There is a difference and conditions for women are better under Karzai than the Taliban, but it's a stretch to say that's because Karzai is a champion of women's rights. ...
And the position of women in Afghanistan (i.e in the region that were under control of the Afghan government) was good at the time the Soviet Union was mixing into the Afghan situation (which they were asked to do by the Afghan government of that time), but then - that was for the US not something of any consideration, so they paied and trained the opposing Mujahedien (the fundamentalist Islamic fighters) cause they were then the "freedom fighters" that would free the Afghans from the "evil" Soviets.....
 
  • #184
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And the position of women in Afghanistan (i.e in the region that were under control of the Afghan government) was good at the time the Soviet Union was mixing into the Afghan situation (which they were asked to do by the Afghan government of that time), but then - that was for the US not something of any consideration, so they paied and trained the opposing Mujahedien (the fundamentalist Islamic fighters) cause they were then the "freedom fighters" that would free the Afghans from the "evil" Soviets.....
I will be very interested in any study on the position of women under Soviet Union. Thanks.
 
  • #185
Evo
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The thread has gone off topic. Actually the off topic posts are more interesting than the OP. Closed.
 

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