back to article UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info

The United Nations has responded to the ongoing WikiLeaks kerfuffle, urging member states to – ahem – remember the basic human right to access information held by governments and other public authorities. In issuing a joint statement on Wikileaks with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations (UN) special …

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Sounds good to me

Of course, they cannot make accusations, but they certainly indicated that they are more worried about the US government going too far than about WikiLeaks going too far.

Not that the US needs to pay attention to UN if they do not want to.

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WTF?

Highly Hyper Hypocrisy

Not that ANYONE ever pays attention to the UN. Seriously, have they ever stopped a war or done anything remotely useful?

And now the UN is talking about basic human rights? This has more irony than the leaked Swedish documents on Assange's arrest. UN corruption is responsible for more human suffering than Hitler.

Why is it that whenever the UN sends troops anywhere that do NOT include troops from the USA, the UK, or Australia, that those troops end up engaging in human trafficking, mass slaughter, and wholesale rape?

The hypocrisy of the entire Wikileaks scandal just gets better and better.

Up next: Michael Vick joins PETA.

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no clue

you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Take the UN peace keeping mission in Lebanon. The UNIFIL mission does not include US, UK or Australia, but has been fairly successful and there are no reports of mass slaughter, rape or human trafficking.

So I am wondering if you can mention which UN missions that are enganging in such activities that you suggest?

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Grenade

Anglocentric, a little?

You're saying peace keepers from New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland etc. are traffickers, rapists and killers. Probably true. Or maybe you're full of it.

The UN rules would have stopped a recent war that resulted in about half a million civilian deaths, had the USA followed the rules. Instead we got "freedom fries".

But I get it, if you're from the USA, UK or Australia you're *always* the "good guys", never mind what the facts say. For example, US troops in Iraq are there under a UN mandate and they have NOT, EVER engaged in rape or torture, no siree.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/04/06/iraq

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As if the US cares.

The US hasn't listened to the UN for many years.

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Coat

That's not quite true.

Didn't Hillary Clinton get in some hot water for listening to the UN?

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WTF?

As if the US cares?

Ok, name an instance where the US lstened to the UN, one, can you? No!

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One instance...

I seem to remember them making much of the UN Resolution requiring a certain Mr. S. Hussein to disarm.

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FAIL

As if anyone cares

No country has EVER listened to the UN - EVER!

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Hillary

She will get into more hot water if she tries to pawn this rediculous small arms ban on the US citizens...

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Wow.

As UN politics goes, this is remarkably ballsy. I'm impressed.

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WTF?

WOW

As UN policy goes, this is remarkably hypocritical. Even by UN standards of hypocrisy.

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FAIL

Treason.

"...hasn't already been charged with treason."

Well, dur!

Because he is not a US citizen. You can only commit treason against your own government to which you have pledged your loyalty.

Where the f*ck do these people come from for Christ sake?

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Anonymous Coward

erm

America. You know, those world police guys? The ones who apply 'extra territorial jurisdiction' to countries around the world when it suits them?

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Joke

Treason

Julian is most definitely treasonous.

Remember that Julian is Australian, and the US owns Australia, and its politicians. Of course the US is right to regard Aussies as owing allegiance to the US. What good has Australia ever done for itself that the US did not do for it? Julian ought to be grateful, rather than bite the hand that feeds him. Most definitely treasonous, IMO.

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Big Brother

Not as far fetched as it sounds

With Labor Party stooge Mark Arbib being the American's plenipotentiary

http://www.smh.com.au/national/arbib-revealed-as-secret-us-source-20101208-18prg.html

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Pledged my loyalty?

I must have missed doing that.

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Re Treason

The real problem with some 'merkins is they lack knowledge of the outside world. Well, there is the USA, a border (to Mexico), the Axis of Evil and an obscure, medieval place called Europe. If you speak English you are most definitely American. French or German speakers must be European. Wetbacks speak Spanish and all other are either communists or terrorists or both.

In short, Assange is American hence he is a traitor.

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THey use the BT model...

Loyalty, like consent, is implied.

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Stop

A title is required, regardless of whether it offers any value or worth

>You can only commit treason against your own government to which you have pledged your loyalty.

Apparently I can (factually, legally) commit treason against the UK. I can assure you that under no circumstances have I pledged loyalty to the shower of bastards who consider themselves our ruling classes (including their corporate bretheren).

Treason does not mean the breach of an oath of loyalty.

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WTF?

Treason? No. Spying? Yes.

You're right, Assange can't be charged with treason.

That's why he's being classified as a SPY.

@skelbank, I agree. Who is the Mensa candidate that thinks Assange can be charged with treason, of all things?

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Headmaster

Re: Re Treason

"The real problem with some 'merkins is they lack knowledge of the outside world."

Your spelling errata make you seem silly, not clever:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin

Merkins by definition know very little if anything. In fact they probably only know one intimate thing. That is all. Do HAVND old bean.

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Grenade

@BillG

Except that he isn't a spy either.

He's just somebody who has hugely embarrassed a bunch of politicians and diplomats. The US government wants to portray him as a spy to suit their aganda of shooting the messenger.

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Grenade

America...

You know, the ones who pulled your asses out of the fire during WW2 and continue to keep the rest of the world in line so you can drink tea and eat crumpets in peace.

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Actually..

The truth is that we are very aware of the outside world and their endless conflicts over countless centuries. And thats why we live where we do thank you very much.

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Emphasis

"Mensa Candidate"

Emphasiss on candidate

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Paris Hilton

Duplicity is the order of the day?

Can't help but wonder if the kerfuffle would be other ways about were someone to wikileak documents about N Korea or Iran bids to nuclear power with leaks sourced within those countries themselves.

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Big Brother

I vote he gets a Nobel Prize

Just like many other people, he has put himself at risk in bringing information into the public domain which we deserve to know.

He has conservatives, rednecks and morons (they are different you know) asking for bad things to be done to him.

Anyone who has upset all 3 of those groups at once must have some redeeming qualities...

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@Spanners

"He has conservatives, rednecks and morons (they are different you know)"

Not that different. Aren't the first two just subsets of the third?

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Anonymous Coward

It is very bizarre

That so many people are against Wikileaks, i.e., they want to know less stuff about what government(s) are doing on their behalf. Isn't the gov't supposed to work for us?

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Why are you picking on people?

I am a Conservative, and I am NOT against him. I believe he has done a lot of good, even if the government wants to make him look bad.

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Not so bizarre

As always, the problem is where to draw the line, since this is never black & whie.

If a government were acting against me, or in ways that I don't approve, of course I'd want to know.

On the other hand, if it were acting against other people to protect me I may not need, or want, to know, but I *certainly* wouldn't want those other people to know.

This is where the likes of Assange and Wikileaks are a problem. In their arrogant confusion between "in the public interest" and "of interest to the public" they have usurped the right to make that decision. I didn't elect Assange, nor his fellow leakers, and I would prefer them not to carry on as if they had some mandate to decide how I should be governed.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so bizzare

I'm against a lot of what Wikileaks have done*. Not because I don't think there should be transparency, but because Wikileaks haven't been very responsible about how they do what they do.

Dumping any and all documents just because you can isn't whistleblowing.

Failing to properly redact names and then simply stating that it's collateral damage isn't exactly responsible.

Don't give the shite about how the US Embassy refused to help redact the information. Given that they didn't want it published, they're hardly going to help are they?

There's almost definitely a call for these sites, but Wikileaks doesn't currently fit the bill of a whistleblowing site. More of an egotistical information dump (though I'd imagine that may change if they get shot of JA).

I've a view on whistleblowers that probably contrasts to a fair few on here, but that's a story for another day.

Anon cos I'm at work

* I say a lot because they have definitely done some good, think Humanitarian type stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Rigorously vetted

Maybe you are talking about an older leak? With the most recent leak (diplomatic cables), only a tiny percentage of the 250k cables were released and those were heavily vetted and redacted by news organizations such as the Guardian. So they hardly dumped "any and all documents" or "failed to properly redact names"--quite the opposite. It sounds like Wikileaks is doing EXACTLY what you want; maybe you should reconsider your position re: being against them.

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Anonymous Coward

Last sentence is correct

You're right, Assange shouldn't decide how you should be governed, YOU should. That means being informed about your situation. If you need protection (from Nazis, terrorists, whatever) you should understand the threat and what's being done about it, for you, on your behalf. It is impossible to do this if your government is keeping secrets from you.

You say you want to be aware if your government is acting in ways that you disapprove of. How about this:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/24/wikileaks/index.html

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Pirate

Deliberately Leaked

Actually, in the recent, serious leak, some of the documents posted on Wikileaks were NOT redacted. These included the names of Afgans that supported US troops. The news has already reported that the Taliban has the names and a few supporters and their families are already dead.

If I remember correctly, Wikileaks initially posted the documents, then ten hours later posted redacted documents. it gave the impression that Assange wanted it both ways - he wanted to make the names public so a s to get these people killed, then later act as if it was all an accident.

Assange deliberately got good people killed and he profited from their deaths.

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Happy

@Rattus

When we talk about liberals, hypocrites, and idiots, aren't we talking about the same thing?

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WTF?

@BillG

"Assange deliberately got good people killed and he profited from their deaths."

Really? Who got killed and how did Assange profit from their deaths? (BTW You might like to look up the definition of "libel" at some point...)

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FAIL

"If I remember correctly"

OK, we already know you for what you are, stop being so obvious. As they said, this is one of the benefits of the leaks besides the information itself.

Citations or be gone.

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Go

Really?

This is interesting. Can you post a reference to the article?

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Bravo for the UN!

"Without the protection of this right, it is impossible for citizens to know the truth, demand accountability and fully exercise their right to political participation."

And that says it all.

Governments represent their people, so the people have a right to know what the Government is doing in their names.

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Re: Bravo for the UN

I wonder If this could be used to trump "Commercial Confidentiality" clauses that stop us being able to read contracts that the Government enter into.

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WTF?

@Graham Marsden: Really?

So when was Assange an elected official to any government? Or an ambassador representing a country to the UN?

The point is that Assange is not someone who has either the authority, experience, or ability to correctly disseminate information on the behalf of any government.

Suppose Assange leaked reports from the UK that showed that the UK government did something embarrassing? How long do you think Assange would be 'free' on bail within the UK? Commonwealth Citizen or not, he would be deported back to Australia ASAP.

Back in Australia? LOL... Assanage is a convict. He plead guilty to hacking the US. Why do you think Assange is trying to get citizenship in Sweden?

The UN reiterated their position on the need for making information public under a set program. Nothing Assange did remotely represents that. What the UN fears is that there would be a repeal or curtailing of FOIAs in Western countries.

And no, you're wrong. There are things done by governments in the name of their people that you or others have no need to know. At least not for 50 years or so.

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Boffin

@Ian Michael Gumby

"The point is that Assange is not someone who has either the authority, experience, or ability to correctly disseminate information on the behalf of any government."

In other words he's not a party flunky, political spin doctor or someone with a vested interest in protecting the careers of politicians.

Those sound like eminently good qualifications to me!

As for your supposition, why would Assange be treated any different from anyone else who has leaked embarrassing things about the British Government?

And why am I "wrong" because *you* and the Government think that the people that elected them don't "need to know" things that were done in their name? Does that include things like using our own troops as guinea pigs for biological, chemical or radiological research? Does that include co-operating in the USA's "extraordinary rendition" programme where people were illegally flown from UK soil to places where they could be tortured? Does that include forcibly shipping out the population of Diego Garcia island to allow the Yanks to set up a base there? Does that... (this list could go on for a long time).

I can accept that *some* information needs to be secret if it will affect existing operations or put at hazard those who have participated in past operations, but blanket impositions of "it's secret because we don't want you know and it might make me look bad" simply don't wash.

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Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

""The point is that Assange is not someone who has either the authority, experience, or ability to correctly disseminate information on the behalf of any government."

In other words he's not a party flunky, political spin doctor or someone with a vested interest in protecting the careers of politicians.

Those sound like eminently good qualifications to me!"

I'll avoid Godwin here, but it is clear that as a self appointed guardian of public morals and standards he is accountable to no one, apparently takes very little into account when releasing data - and he has acknowledged that:

"He said that some leaks risked harming innocent people—“collateral damage, if you will”—but that he could not weigh the importance of every detail in every document. [...] A year and a half ago, WikiLeaks published the results of an Army test, conducted in 2004, of electromagnetic devices designed to prevent IEDs from being triggered. The document revealed key aspects of how the devices functioned and also showed that they interfered with communication systems used by soldiers—information that an insurgent could exploit. By the time WikiLeaks published the study, the Army had begun to deploy newer technology, but some soldiers were still using the devices. I asked Assange if he would refrain from releasing information that he knew might get someone killed. He said that he had instituted a “harm-minimization policy,” whereby people named in certain documents were contacted before publication, to warn them, but that there were also instances where the members of WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands."

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=9

IOW he's acknowledged the probability that he has harmed people, he being unelected/self appointed.

"Soon enough, Assange must confront the paradox of his creation: the thing that he seems to detest most—power without accountability—is encoded in the site’s DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution."

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=10

IOW, in spite of your apparent complacency, there is an obvious need to have him accountable (arrested I would say). You have absolutely no way, from any perspective, of being sure that this man genuinely represents the public good (in the international sense), and yet you think he has "eminently good qualifications"? Perhaps standards dropped lately. Perhaps people are again more easily gulled, and that would make sense inasmuch that this could be a massive SE job. I'm definitely not supporting this man, and not simply because he is unnaccountable, unelected, self appointed, but also because from his history he is clearly a convict. Julian assange, was convicted in or around 1991 for;

1) stealing passwords from US Air force 7th Command Group in the Pentagon;

2) for hacking computers at two universities;

3) hacking computers at two telecommunications companies;

4) hacking computers to monitor the Australian Federal Police investigation into *his* criminal activities.

Note the last one. This constitutes a gross and fundamental form of interference with the course of justice, within his own country. The judge who let him off lightly, rather than the indicated 10 year sentence of imprisonment, was probably SEd by Assange. Certainly the judge ought to have taken into account the gravity of the last offence, especially its meaning and import for the future.

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Big Brother

Bollocks to that

"And no, you're wrong. There are things done by governments in the name of their people that you or others have no need to know. At least not for 50 years or so."

That was the bad old days, and they're not coming back.

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WTF?

@Armus Bollocks?

Really?

Suppose the US Government has some secret meetings with the Syrians and Lebanese governments in an effort to assist in Middle East peace talks. Suppose that the mere mention of these talks could cause the process to break down? [This is a hypothetical example BTW...]

Sometimes it takes a couple of generations before people are ready to learn some of the secret truths behind what happens. Having someone like Assange dump this type of information months after a peace negotiation is completed could have disastrous effects and definitely people would get hurt.

Looking at Assange's past performance and his hatred of the US, he would feel justified in making this information public.

Is this an example of the 'bad old days'? I don't think so.

How about this... What happens if/when the Israelis bomb Iran's nuke production site(s) and Assange leaks that the Saudi and other Arab states gave quiet permission to allow Israeli and US aircraft fly within their air space? (Again this is a hypothetical example.)

Again, 'bad old days'? I don't think so.

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@Scorchio!!

To pick one example: "By the time WikiLeaks published the study, the Army had begun to deploy newer technology, but some soldiers were still using the devices."

So a) the Army were aware of the problem and b) they *still* deployed the original technology *even though* they knew there were problems. Would *we* have known about this had Wikileaks not revealed it or would it have been hushed up, do you think?

You go on "IOW he's acknowledged the probability that he has harmed people" but you're distorting "might" into "probably has" which BTW still has nothing to do with him being "unelected/self appointed".

As for the rest of your "power without accountability" argument, you're really missing the point, go back and read again what I considered the "eminently good qualifications" I mentioned were and then consider whether the "standards" of our elected representatives are what you would expect in a responsible and democratic country.

If anyone should be arrested, it is those at the top of our power structures (such as those responsible for the lack of security of the computer systems that he hacked!) not someone who reveals *their* complacency.

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Re: Bollocks to that

""And no, you're wrong. There are things done by governments in the name of their people that you or others have no need to know. At least not for 50 years or so."

That was the bad old days, and they're not coming back."

Secrecy will never go, never mind 'come back'. That is because, even now, there are personel putting themselves in harm's way, fighting terrorists in Ulster and in Afghanistan. Military decision makers are subject to protection, as are the mechanisms in place to counter the activities of creatures who would certainly not blink if you died in a Warrington style bomb.

http://www.30yearrulereview.org.uk/

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@Re: Bollocks to that

Again Scorchio!! misses the point.

At the moment the Government and the Civil Service can, effectively unilaterally, decide that "the people don't need to know this" and slap a 30 year rule restriction on it when the restriction on releasing the information involved is more to do with covering someone's political backside than risk to anyone's security.

Nobody is arguing that information on current military or security operations should be released willy-nilly without any care as to the results, so please stop bringing up this specious claim.

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