Friday, December 3, 2010

Wiki leaks

Two words. I didn't mis spell it. It's leaking. Duct tape? Here's another.

es·pi·o·nage   
n.
The act or practice of spying or of using spies to obtain secret information, as about another government or a business competitor
I (sort of) recall some of the espionage during the cold war. Spy swaps on bridges and so on. Foreign countries held some pretty serious consequences for spies. Along with the above definition, there is also another word.
trea·son
n.
1. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.
In Canada, punishment for treason is as follows,
"(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
          (b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;

(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act."
It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside Canada.
The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime"

My point? Assange isn't Canadian... he's not guilty of treason, BUT clearly what he's done (and has been doing for some time) is against almost EVERY countries laws. Many of the things he's published are NOT exposing gross misconduct and crimes, they are remarks that were intended to be confidential, much like the disclaimer many of us have on our e-mails or faxes. We have a line at the bottom that might read something like,

"Confidentiality Warning: This e-mail contains information intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this e-mail is not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, any dissemination, publication or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. The sender does not accept any responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system that may occur while using data contained in, or transmitted with, this e-mail. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify us by return e-mail. Thank you."

I think that if someone who wasn't the intended recipient of any correspondence, and that information is given to a third party for no reason other than to disseminate the information publicly without the senders and the recipients knowledge AND permission of at least one of them (or both depending on the circumstances), it's a crime.

If someone hacks an e-mail account, even Sarah Palin's hotmail account, it wrong, plain and simple.

There are times, when courage and civil disobedience is required. Those times are in extreme circumstances. These are not extreme circumstances. Assange found a way to make money by republishing things people feed him.He claims there is now a "smear campaign" against him by virtue of Sweden wanting him extradited for some charges related to some alleged crimes. As if. Does he figure that's the BEST they could do? C'mon buddy. You've clearly pissed off a lot of people.

Sure, I read GH's blog finding the glib suggestion that he should get "taken out by a drone" as unbelievable, and he's right. The comments were clearly not in good taste, but they weren't serious either, making Vic Towes' response absolutely correct. They were not criminal comments.

Assange however seems (in my mind) to have either committed, or assisted in espionage. The penalty for that ranges from prison, to a capitol crime.

Free speech is a right almost everywhere there is a "free country". (article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)That is protected. Assange may SAY whatever HE wants to say. He can PRINT whatever HE wants to write. What he can't do is reprint what someone else has written, especially if that's private correspondence.

Assange, and (by extension)  Wikileaks should be both shut up, and given some time to consider the stolen information he reprinted. After that, he can go the Sweden to face his charges... and hide behind their journalism laws.

This is NOT a Free Speech issue. Our society often limits free speech and other freedoms to fit with our mores and norms (and laws). We take away children from parents who teach their children to hate Jews and Blacks and ink swastikas on their arms. We send Holocaust deniers back to Germany to face criminal charges there (good-bye Ernst Zundel, we miss your stupid hard hat... how is prison in the Fatherland?), and we prosecute people guilty of espionage, either against our country, or industrial espionage. It's just plain wrong.

7 comments:

  1. Assange is merely publishing what others are providing. You want to hand someone for treason, find the leakers.

    Better yet, hang the bastards the leaks expose.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Using that rationale, if I found all your medical records in an abandoned Doctors office, and I published them, I'm not doing anything wrong? Only the Doctor is at fault? I should have either destroyed them, handed them to the Medical authorities, or returned them to the Doctor. (this actually happened to me) I destroyed them after attempting to contact the Doctor (who didn't return my calls)Coming into information doesn't give you the right to publish it in it's raw form. My pont is that he's a PART of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well ok....but really, its the doctor who's at fault.
    Use whatever rationale you want. You are about as right on this issue as i am, and I am about as wrong on this issue as you are.

    Watergate , set the precedence, lets not change the rules just because people are getting caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.

    Besides, fortunately for us, We now know that Karzai funneled 53 million bucks out of his country to the US. Who got it ? Why was it done? who allowed it ? Who's Money, certainly not his ?

    Important questions to be answered. But, tut tut, lets not ask, lets hang the messenger.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would agree with you except I don't personally believe that a government should be allowed to keep secrets from its citizens, and when those secrets are scandalous, no amount of politicians claiming "but those were confidential!" will make me change my mind.

    espionage: What the Americans got their diplomats to do for them according to wikileaks. This is important information to know, and the value of the leak from that alone is enough for me.

    treason: selling out your country to fake persons (corporations) who have no allegiance for profit to oneself.

    see, its easy to put labels on things.

    communists: anyone with a blog.

    as for our society limiting free speech, Its been a downward trend for a while now and I never liked it to begin with.

    the fact that the powers that be are trying very hard to silence this guy is very revealing in and of itself and sickens me.

    as for putting a line on the bottom of something that says "this is confidential and redistribution is not permitted", and then faxing it accidentally to wikileaks, well, they never signed anything now did they. they are under no legal threat to not reveal that information. your snidely worded warning text alone would encourage me to want to disseminate it as widely as possible. You can only count on the kindness and understanding of the person at the other end, not some attached text with questionable legal use.

    It genuinely disgusts me how so many people out there are apologists for our corrupt world governments. We need more wikileaks standing up to said corruption, not blogs like yours bleating out the party line.

    Besides, it seems to be ok for them to spy on us, but its not okay for us to spy on them? what a double standard.

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  5. Well said Reed Solomon. At the rate things are going, it will soon be time for a world wide "French Revolution"(minus the guillotines of course)!

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  6. I'm amazed and alarmed how quickly "word" was issued to shut the site down....PAYPAL ???? like what is going on. A bastion of capitalism and free enterprise capitulated to the new Socialist Republic of the US of A or its masters.

    Be very very concerned..

    ReplyDelete
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