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Censorship Government The Media Politics

WikiLeaks Took Advice From Media Outlets 385

Posted by timothy
from the pentagon-papers-on-the-resume dept.
formfeed writes "According to the AP (through Google News), WikiLeaks isn't just sitting on the recent material so they can release it bit by bit to the press, as many people implied. On the contrary, it's quite the other way around: 'only after considering advice from five news organizations with which it chose to share all of the material' are they releasing it themselves. These newspapers 'have been advising WikiLeaks on which documents to release publicly and what redactions to make to those documents.' AP questions whether WikiLeaks will follow these redactions, but nevertheless seems quite impressed by this 'extraordinary collaboration between some of the world's most respected media outlets and the WikiLeaks organization.'" I wonder if some of the anti-WikiLeaks fervor evident among US lawmakers will also be brought to bear against the AP and other mainstream media sources. Update: 12/05 17:42 GMT by T : Yes, that's WikiLeaks, rather than (as originally rendered) WikiPedia. HT to reader Mike Hearn.
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WikiLeaks Took Advice From Media Outlets

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  • The wikileaks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 05, 2010 @11:54AM (#34451288)

    be used to wage war against information access, like 9-11 is used to wage war against liberty and freedom.

  • Fix the summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @11:58AM (#34451314) Journal

    I wonder if some of the anti-Wikipedia fervor evident among US lawmakers will also be brought to bear against the AP and other mainstream media sources.

    Please lets not conflate Wikipedia and Wikileaks. That is not good for anyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      Yeah, wikileaks' information is probably much more reliable, especially on matters concerning African elephants.

    • by ZigiSamblak (745960) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:41PM (#34451676)
      The similarity being that both often don't cite their sources.
      • by bussdriver (620565) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @05:49PM (#34454262)

        The US Media is useless and most people I've heard are quite misinformed about Wikileaks. This is NOT news, WikiLeaks has been working with major news outlets (mostly not in USA) for a while now. Back when the politicians were claiming lives lost and the huge evil of the war log leaks the Media didn't report that WikiLeaks was also working with news partners and the NYTimes was working on it with the Gov to make the leaks "responsible." Sure, mistakes were still made - it was not the big deal like it was blown into. The US Media doesn't think or work for a living, they just repeat what the Gov or talking heads or AstroTurf group says and hardly even moderates between those.

        I'm all for redundant news about how WikiLeaks isn't the only one involved.

        Notice how WikiLeaks is being targeted so much stronger now when instead of WAR information? This had to be the last straw, can't let average to stupid people think badly of our 'diplomacy'! Forget the losing of two wars and the MILLION+ dead people you can't give away our diplomatic policies! I don't think most people would be surprised if they leaked that Iraq was ONLY for oil but WikiLeaks would get bombed and Bush still wouldn't be within eyesight of protesters let alone prosecuted.

    • Re:Fix the summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by fluffy99 (870997) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:50PM (#34451730)

      I wonder if some of the anti-Wikipedia fervor evident among US lawmakers will also be brought to bear against the AP and other mainstream media sources.

      Please lets not conflate Wikipedia and Wikileaks. That is not good for anyone.

      Once again the US Congress is grandstanding, pounding their chests, and proposing another redundant law. We already have several laws that make the disclosure of US Defense information illegal. For non-govt employees Sections 793, 794, 798, Title 18, United States Code apply.

      http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/37/798 [findlaw.com] [findlaw.com]
      http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/37/794 [findlaw.com] [findlaw.com]
      http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/37/793 [findlaw.com] [findlaw.com]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_Identities_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org]

      These are others that apply if you work for or contract to the government, including the provisions of Sections 641, 793, 794, 798, 952 and 1924, Title 18, United States Code, and the provisions of Section 783(b), Title 50, United States Code, and the provisions of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.

      • by drspliff (652992) <harry.roberts@NOSPAM.midnight-labs.org> on Sunday December 05, 2010 @01:20PM (#34452042)

        However we all know no laws apply on the internet unless they were introduced via bills with "E-" or "cyber" in the name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's too late, unfortunately. I was eating at some local old-folks' restaurant and the three old ladies next to my table were talking about that "dreadful wikipedia" blah blah anti-American wharrgarble. People are so fucking stupid and ignorant in the middle of the USA. I wanted to stab them in their wrinkled faces with my steak knife (seriously).

    • by VShael (62735) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @03:24PM (#34453204) Journal

      Well that's just brilliant. After two weeks of cable releases from Wikileaks, the rest of the world can look forward with confidence to the US invasion of Wikipedia.

  • by lousyd (459028) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @11:58AM (#34451316)
    The timothy editor added to the summary, "some of the anti-Wikipedia fervor evident among US lawmakers". I believe that should be "anti-WikiLeaks fervor".
  • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:03PM (#34451376)

    What exactly is Wikileaks doing that all these other media organizations aren't also doing?

    No one gave Wikileaks a security clearance; they are incapable of leaking anything. They are merely publishing information that was leaked by someone else. So how are all these attacks on Wikileaks' right to publish justified vs. those of the NY Times or the Associated Press?

    • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:08PM (#34451408)
      Nothing. That's what makes it so scary. This is a fundamental assault on the very concept of a free press - and I am quite scared of the amount of people wanting to see Assange's head on a pole here. Those people are the enablers of totalitarianism.
    • by fishexe (168879) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:18PM (#34451482) Homepage

      What exactly is Wikileaks doing that all these other media organizations aren't also doing?

      They provide a secure anonymous drop-box so that people can leak to them without leaving a trail by which to get caught. (It's important to note that Bradley Manning got caught because he went around bragging to others about leaking; WikiLeaks didn't blow his cover, he did that himself)

      No one gave Wikileaks a security clearance; they are incapable of leaking anything. They are merely publishing information that was leaked by someone else.

      They don't leak, but they do facilitate leaks. By providing the secure setup they presumably encourage leaks that would not otherwise occur, and distribute material that might be containable by the authorities if the leakers had gone to a more traditional outlet.

      So how are all these attacks on Wikileaks' right to publish justified vs. those of the NY Times or the Associated Press?

      Simply put, the attacks aren't justified, but people in the press and government are self-righteous assholes.

      • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @02:09PM (#34452532)

        They provide a secure anonymous drop-box so that people can leak to them without leaving a trail by which to get caught. (It's important to note that Bradley Manning got caught because he went around bragging to others about leaking; WikiLeaks didn't blow his cover, he did that himself)

        So what was Bob Woodward doing when he refused to reveal the identity of Deep Throat? What have countless other journalists done in refusing to reveal sources, to the point of being put in jail for contempt of court?

        • by fishexe (168879)

          They provide a secure anonymous drop-box so that people can leak to them without leaving a trail by which to get caught. (It's important to note that Bradley Manning got caught because he went around bragging to others about leaking; WikiLeaks didn't blow his cover, he did that himself)

          So what was Bob Woodward doing when he refused to reveal the identity of Deep Throat? What have countless other journalists done in refusing to reveal sources, to the point of being put in jail for contempt of court?

          THIS got insightful? WTF? The clear difference, the absolutely painfully OBVIOUS difference, was that Bob Woodward knew the identity of Deep Throat and Deep Throat relied on him not to tell. The difference is that Woodward didn't do a single thing I just described. Deep Throat knew the whole time that if Woodward woke up tomorrow and had a change of heart, he would be revealed. The anonymous drop-box is a mechanism which presents that possibility, because Assange and Co. never know who does the leaking

    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:29PM (#34451580) Homepage Journal

      >What exactly is Wikileaks doing that all these other media organizations aren't also doing?

      Nothing, but the hypocritical unprincipled politicians* who are calling for Assange's head feel they can attack Wikileaks because it doesn't look like regular, 4th estate media, and they think this means they can avoid charges of attacking the free press. Because Wikileaks is a little bit different.

      They can't, but they think they can, particularly when trying to dupe the least informed members of our societies to rouse support for their attacks.

      *example of lack of principles and lack of adherence to the rule of law (that's just for us little folks) from The Guardian, today:

      "Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, say that they have been surveilled by members of the security services and have accused the US state department of behaving "inappropriately" by failing to respect attorney-client protocol.

      Jennifer Robinson and Mark Stephens of the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent told the Guardian they had been watched by people parked outside their houses for the past week.

      [...] a letter from a state department legal adviser – addressed to both Assange and [Robinson] – which appeared to bracket together client and lawyer as if to suggest that WikiLeaks and its lawyers were one and the same.

      The letter, which was released to the press, begins: "Dear Ms Robinson and Mr Assange. I am writing in response to your 26 November 2010 letter to US Ambassador Louis B Susman regarding your intention to again publish on your WikiLeaks site what you claim to be classified US government documents."

      Robinson said: "By eliding client and lawyer, that was a very inappropriate attempt to implicate me. That is really inappropriate to come from the state department of all places; they understand very well the rules on attorney-client protocol."

      It's quite a serious situation," she said, adding that, according to the UN's Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, governments should ensure that lawyers "are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference" and that "lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions".

      [...]

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/julian-assange-lawyers-being-watched [guardian.co.uk]

    • by copponex (13876) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:30PM (#34451586) Homepage

      The USG has nothing to fear from the NYT or any other news source. They are always interested in keeping access to government officials, so they never step over the line when reporting the news. They don't report on the reality of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Editors at the major media companies are good friends with everyone in Washington and Wall Street, so you can't get good coverage there either.

      Even looking at coverage of WikiLeaks, how many are reporting that the US State Department new immediately that the coup in Honduras was illegal, and then publicly stated a month later that they hadn't decided what had happened? How many are reporting that Hillary Clinton knew Saudi Arabia was the main funding source for the worst extremist groups in the world, but did not publicly reveal this to US Citizens for fear of damaging trade relations with the oil barons?

      You would think that would even be front page news on Fox, who'd bread is buttered by fear mongering about muslim terrorists, but it's always below the fold, or on some opinion column that never sees the front page. That's because one of their main investors is a Saudi Prince.

      A truly independent press is too dangerous for the United States to tolerate. It's told too many lies to too many people for too long. They know WikiLeaks has zero self-interest in American interests, and that's why the organization is so feared.

      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. -George Orwell

      • by sjames (1099) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @03:48PM (#34453386) Homepage

        Exactly. Part of our problems are a result of the free press being neutered. It gives us a continuous stream of tabloid style "people behaving badly" crap, but it's all personal baggage and gossip. The real crimes go unreported because professional political reporters know their career is over if the invites to the press conferences dry up. They can avoid that by sticking to gossiping about the designated scapegoat. Newspapers don't pay reporters to spend weeks pursuing a single story anymore, they need easy sources to keep up the volume.

        This is why the DOJ fights so hard for a narrow definition of press. They don't want people with day jobs who can afford to spend weeks digging to be granted appropriate legal protections.

    • by UdoKeir (239957) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:35PM (#34451632)

      Indeed, Robert Novak should be held to the same standard for reporting that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. He received classified information, was warned not to divulge it, but did so anyway.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plame_affair#Robert_Novak [wikipedia.org]

    • by fluffy99 (870997) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @01:21PM (#34452058)

      What exactly is Wikileaks doing that all these other media organizations aren't also doing?

      No one gave Wikileaks a security clearance; they are incapable of leaking anything. They are merely publishing information that was leaked by someone else. So how are all these attacks on Wikileaks' right to publish justified vs. those of the NY Times or the Associated Press?

      That's the ironic part. Wikileaks is outside the US and its laws, but NYT is inside the US and can be prosecuted under existing US laws. That the US govt is purusing Julian and not NYT is indeed hypocritical.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:03PM (#34451380) Homepage Journal
    Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel for sexual assault charges in an undecided yet country.
    • You are modding this funny now... Wait until they really come after the free press in force under the banner of The War on Terrorism(TM).
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:03PM (#34451386) Journal

    Go ahead and pressure Network Solutions to pull nytimes.com. See how well that works.

  • Recluse (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:07PM (#34451406)

    FTFA:

    A well-known recluse

    Reclusion: you're doing it wrong.

  • by bkmoore (1910118) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:12PM (#34451430)
    I think Wikileaks has been discussed ad nauseam here on /. I am a former insider, but a civilian now. My position is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum on this debate. The U.S. needs to realize that even if they successfully drive Wikileaks from the internet, it is an idea whose time has come and there will be other whistle blower web sites from here on out. I am concerned that if the US makes it a crime to publish classified information obtained from sources, it will basically end investigative journalism and take the US one step closer to being like Russia or China. So instead of focusing on destroying Wikileaks, the US should focus on preventing leaks from occurring. Pvt Manning needs to be punished. His commanding officer, executive officer and security officer all need to be fired and sent into early retirement. Mr. Assange wouldn't have much of a web site if Pvt. Manning hadn't sent him those CDs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by js3 (319268)

      The U.S hasn't actually done anything to wikileaks, I know there's a lot of hysteria around it and the administration are opposed to it because of the embarrassment is causes (and generally makes everyone else's work much harder to do now) but there's really nothing in the leaks that point or show any wrong doing. All it shows in the internal back and forth of the inner workings of the government, as far as spying on diplomats so what? everyone spies.. and believe it or not it's in the best interest of YOUR

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        The U.S hasn't actually done anything to wikileaks,

        I was under the impression that an elected representative and employee of the government, while representing the government, entered into communication with the host of Wikileaks and requested that they no longer host Wikileaks. If that's an incorrect impression, please let me know which points are in error. Because as it looks to the public, the US government has taken direct action to harm Wikileaks.
    • Most Wikileaks supporters are naive and don't understand the imaginably vast resources of the US Government. They also underestimate the ruthlessness of the US Government.

      To understand an individual would have to know the history of COINTELPRO. An individual would have to also talk to people who are being gangstalked today or who have been targeted individuals in the recent past to know that the Government is fully capable of covert psychological torture and entrapment. The rape charge, everything Assange a

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @02:09PM (#34452530)

      I am concerned that if the US makes it a crime to publish classified information obtained from sources, it will basically end investigative journalism and take the US one step closer to being like Russia or China.

      I am not sure if that makes sense. Do you know what "classified" means?

      Some degree of government secrecy has always been needed. Government secrecy was as essential during the revolutionary war, as it is today.

      No, Virginia, publishing classified information is absolutely not the same as investigative journalism.

  • Backlash against AP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by seyyah (986027) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:29PM (#34451570)

    I wonder if some of the anti-Wikipedia fervor evident among US lawmakers will also be brought to bear against the AP and other mainstream media sources.

    Why should they? AP is reporting that Wikileaks collaborated with five media outlets, but Associated Press is not one of those five outlets.

    They are:
    El Pais
    Le monde
    The Guardian
    Der Spiegel
    The New York Times

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:29PM (#34451576) Homepage

    Press coverage today is more favorable to Wikileaks.

    • BBC: "Pursuit of Wikileaks founder 'political'"
    • The Times (London): "Backlash as Amazon pulls WikiLeaks server"
    • The Guardian: "Julian Assange's lawyers say they are being watched"
    • The Australian: "WikiLeaks reveals ugly truth"
    • San Jose Mercury News: "O'Brien: Why we should applaud Wikileaks"
    • The Atlantic: "Must-Read: NYT-Wikileaks on China and Google"
    • Vancover Sun: "Wikileaks an indictment of diplomacy"

    There's even talk that Assange might be Time's "Man of the Year".

    Also, there are now 74 mirrors of Wikileaks. [twitlonger.com]

    • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @01:09PM (#34451898)

      Concerning Assange being "Person of the Year" (it's PC nowadays): duh. Who has had a greater impact on the world than Assange throughout the last year? The other top candidate is LeBron James.

      The "Person of the Year" has been real stupid for the last decade. In 2006 it was "You," 2005 "The Good Samaritans" (represented by Bono and Bill Gates), in 2003 it was "The American Solider," and in 2002, ironically enough it was "The Whistleblowers" (the Enron mess). 2001's selection of Rudy Giuliani was pretty piss-poor as well. Person of New York, sure. Person of the Year? Please. That was Osama bin Laden. All in all the "Person of the Year" was accurate to Time's description (having the most impact globally) about 50% of the time the last decade. It would be just like them to select LeBron James (who, ironically, said it would be a "great honor," obviously not understanding that it's not necessarily an honor at all: Putin, Arafat, Hitler, Stalin, ect.).

      Other past selections that reek of sentimentality/fail the basic criteria of being a person: "The American Fighting Man," "Scientists," "Baby Boomers," "Middle Americans," "American Women," "The Computer," and "The Endangered Earth." Some other media outlet should do the Man of the Year thing. Time has sucked at it for years.

      Yeah, that kind of went off-topic. Oops.

  • by webdog314 (960286) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:31PM (#34451594)

    And the fact that the major media outlets will make WAY more money if they are able to cover the released information as a number of stories over a longer period rather than all at once has nothing to do with it.

    • With people's limited attention span and focus, parceling everything out is a good thing. Otherwise you'd have important stories drowning each other. If the press makes money doing good work, I'm all for it.
  • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:31PM (#34451602)

    If you want to know how the Feds are going to handle this situation just look at how they handled it in the 60s. The church committee report details what the feds could do in the 1960s. Joel Byran Harris is an ordinary individual who pissed off a high level bank executive in the 1990s and he has been subject to a constant harassment and psychological operation ever since.

    Here are the links for anyone who thinks I'm full of it.

    http://www.jbhfile.com/index.html [jbhfile.com] [jbhfile.com] and http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/cointel.htm [icdc.com] [icdc.com]

    • by johnhp (1807490)
      I don't see any reason, so far, to believe that Joel Byran Harris is anything other than paranoid and insane.

      The website you linked to is his own website, made to document his "assault" by federal/corporate harassers. So far he hasn't presented a bit of printed, photographic or video evidence, and refers mysteriously to a crime he committed at age 17 without ever explaining (so far) what that crime is.

      Let's look at a quote from the site:

      "Furthermore, I began to be witness to a number of regularl
    • by 32771 (906153) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @01:43PM (#34452286) Journal

      You see though how ordinary HR people are just as fucked up in this particular case:

      From the first link:

      "I answered no, but also made a note for a verbal qualification as I did have a transgression on my record, from when I was 17 years old and for which I was never convicted of any crime; I was sure this incident would turn up in any public record background check and so I simply mentioned it.

      As it turns out, upon hearing that I had a felony charge on my record, albeit without any subsequent conviction, HR immediately had a genuine grade-A freak out, called security and had me escorted from the building!"

      Somebody was covering his ass, and then the thing started rolling once FDIC got involved. It kind of makes sense that banks would like to employ higher standards, but on the other hand he doesn't have to mention anything from before he was 18 years old.

      When I stayed in the US I always had this feeling that people were terribly paranoid, I wonder how your society turned out that way. I mean you would like to blame the guy who keeps on harassing the poor SOB now but I would also blame HR for their reaction, they could have behaved far saner even though they have a tough job of predicting peoples future behaviour.

  • by joh (27088) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:32PM (#34451610)

    This is really interesting. From TFA: "The Times said it intends to publish only about 100 or so of the records. And the other news organizations that have the material said they likely will release only a fraction."

    Well, this is mostly very boring stuff. Still, having only a handful of newspapers and some journalists try to find something interesting in this large pile of documents means that there will be gems that will not be found. These cables go back to 1966 and there must be very interesting details in there about things that just aren't on the radar for these journalists.

    I'm really looking forward to Wikileaks publishing all of this.

    • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:41PM (#34451672)
      I read most of the stuff published so far, and I wouldn't call anything in there boring. Sure, there is a lot of stuff that is of no great consequence, but I found nearly every document very interesting for someone who cares for international politics. What really surprised me is how well written most of them are - I kinda expected dry and boring bureaucrat speak, but found lots of very polished essays that were straight to the point.
  • No, here's why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigSlowTarget (325940) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @12:40PM (#34451664) Journal

    There's little question the AP and other press sources wouldn't have published anything like the volume of information Wikileaks has. Right now they are acting as a restraint rather than an enabler and it's likely the government will see them as an ally trying to bring a troublesome organization under control. I don't think that's the role the press is supposed to have, but they have decided that for whatever reasons they must make decisions about what the public should see rather than maximizing transparency and reporting simple facts.

    • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday December 05, 2010 @01:00PM (#34451820)

      If they don't help the government they too can be charged with rape, pedophilia, or something heinous. Their career as a journalist can be ended with a phonecall, their marriage can be ended with a phonecall, do you understand the amount of power the spy agencies have? One phonecall and a life can be destroyed.

      Assange might be willing to take a rape charge with a straight face and stiff upper lip but most Americans are cowardly and want to save their asses.

  • Afghan War Logs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hachete (473378) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @03:09PM (#34453078) Homepage Journal

    were far more damaging to the US govt than the State Department leaks have been so far.

    The problem I think is the bank leaks. I suspect they will be on the same par as the other leaks, but banks being banks, the attacks from the establishment will be far greater in force.

  • by Sleepy (4551) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @04:48PM (#34453768) Homepage

    They seem to have all the same functions as the free press, albiet without any hollywood gossip or corporate owners.

    Is there some legal definition which excludes WikiLeaks from being called a media organization?

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