Thoughts on economics and liberty

Wikileaks has reduced Australian security

Despite whatever Julian Assange may think (and he appears to have delusions of grandeur, sitting in judgement – without any authorisation from the people – about what is good for the world and what is not) he has harmed the security of many Western nations, particularly of Australia.

His actions have reduced the level of trust between Australia and US (Kevin Rudd has been put into a difficult situation with regard to USA).

His actions have damaged relations between Australia and China (by disclosing Kevin Rudd's views re: China).

It will take years, if not decades to repair these relationships. It puts Australia in a truly difficult situation.

And  other harm just adds to the damage caused:

  • US is now shifting many of its diplomats to avoid embarrassing relationships, thus significantly losing corporate knowledge and relationships which take years to build.
  • There is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY reduced information-sharing within the Western world for fear that it may be leaked.
  • Information on vital assets is now widely known, including to terrorists. This is perhaps the least important, but there are other things as well in the leaks that may disclose gaps in information or confirm uncertain information to enemies/terrorists. That is all in really bad form.

Citizens of the world are now far less secure than they were before the latest sage of Wikileaks. Julian Assange has undoubtedly caused far more harm than any good that might have come out of this. I am unable to count a SINGLE good thing that has come out of his recent mindless disclosures.

I reaffirm my view that I'm comfortable for Wikileaks to be shut down in its current form. We can't afford idealist lunatics like Assange. They are bulls in a china shop – destroying years of hard work without any knowledge of what they are doing.

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18 thoughts on “Wikileaks has reduced Australian security
  1. Supratim

    Personally, I do not agree with your views on this matter, Sanjeev
    Let us start with this quotation:
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." – George Orwell
    Then, let us link this up with your review of the recent book that you have read – that of liberty being constantly eroded by our governments.
    Third, let us look at what Assange has actually done (forget for the moment, what he has said) – he has published papers that he has received from a source. Like any journalist, he has vetted the source, he has checked for the importance of the content and then he has published a scoop. Would you have any journalist do any different?  If these papers had been sent to the Guardian or the NYT, instead of wikileaks, would they have behaved differently?
    And, if you are against journalists publishing sensitive material, would you then say that you were against the publication of the Pentagon Papers? Against the publication of the Radia tapes in India?
    Fourth, governments would label everything secret, as a matter of course, if they could get away with that – having the taxpayer know what the government is actually up to is their worst nightmare! – so, any light shone on these dark corners is always welcome,  in my opinion. The documents on Iraq have shown the inadequacy of the US preparations (put US soldiers in harm's way) along with the extra-judicial killings that were carried out – would the civilised world not want to hold the US govt accountable for these actions? Based on these documents, has not a greater case been made for a "crimes against humanity" trial?
    Fifth, so the cables embarrassed Rudd, Zardari, Karzai,  big fraking deal!!!  So, the double dealing of the US have been exposed – are we so naive that we didn't know this before???? Give me a break. Or be like the Israelis – the cables reveal that they say exactly the same thing in private that they say in public!
    I can certainly count the good that has come out of all the disclosures – that everyone will take what the US says, with a pinch of salt, if not a bucket – how can that not be good for Aus or India? Would you rather live in a fool's paradise or the know the double dealing of your "ally"? Heh heh.
    And, what do you have to say about the way the US govt has gone about trying to intimidate Assange, a journalist? They have leaned on Visa and Pay Pal to shut down donations, Palin says he should be assassinated. He published the leaks, he was not the leaker – he has the right to publish his sources, what part of this is so difficult to understand for a liberal?
    Vive la leaks! Vive la revolution!
    cheers

     
  2. Supratim

    Personally, I do not agree with your views on this matter, Sanjeev
    Let us start with this quotation:
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." – George Orwell
    Then, let us link this up with your review of the recent book that you have read – that of liberty being constantly eroded by our governments.
    Third, let us look at what Assange has actually done (forget for the moment, what he has said) – he has published papers that he has received from a source. Like any journalist, he has vetted the source, he has checked for the importance of the content and then he has published a scoop. Would you have any journalist do any different?  If these papers had been sent to the Guardian or the NYT, instead of wikileaks, would they have behaved differently?
    And, if you are against journalists publishing sensitive material, would you then say that you were against the publication of the Pentagon Papers? Against the publication of the Radia tapes in India?
    Fourth, governments would label everything secret, as a matter of course, if they could get away with that – having the taxpayer know what the government is actually up to is their worst nightmare! – so, any light shone on these dark corners is always welcome,  in my opinion. The documents on Iraq have shown the inadequacy of the US preparations (put US soldiers in harm's way) along with the extra-judicial killings that were carried out – would the civilised world not want to hold the US govt accountable for these actions? Based on these documents, has not a greater case been made for a "crimes against humanity" trial?
    Fifth, so the cables embarrassed Rudd, Zardari, Karzai,  big fraking deal!!!  So, the double dealing of the US have been exposed – are we so naive that we didn't know this before???? Give me a break. Or be like the Israelis – the cables reveal that they say exactly the same thing in private that they say in public!
    I can certainly count the good that has come out of all the disclosures – that everyone will take what the US says, with a pinch of salt, if not a bucket – how can that not be good for Aus or India? Would you rather live in a fool's paradise or the know the double dealing of your "ally"? Heh heh.
    And, what do you have to say about the way the US govt has gone about trying to intimidate Assange, a journalist? They have leaned on Visa and Pay Pal to shut down donations, Palin says he should be assassinated. He published the leaks, he was not the leaker – he has the right to publish his sources, what part of this is so difficult to understand for a liberal?
    Vive la leaks! Vive la revolution!
    cheers

     
  3. Anuj

    I agree with Supratim. Sanjeev's argument is flawed at many levels:
    a) Wikileaks acts without authroisation from the people – What authorisation are you talking about Sanjeev? A verdict from the junta? from the intellectuals? The only authroisation required is of one's conscience and the market through readers will expose any lies which get published.
    b) Wikileaks has harmed security of many nations – Well maybe its time nations learnt to control their doublespeak and be more transparent in their external relations. I will prefer that diplomats live with the fear of public scrutiny rather than build houses on pack of cards of lies and deceit. Such relations may lead to short term peace but adverse long term conflicts.
    Lastly if you can't count a single benefit of Wikileaks then maybe you need to learn how to count again. I am using strong language because of your own liberal usage of words like lunatic to describe Assange.
    BTW you recently wrote about discovering Ron Paul. Here is a link to him supporting Wikileaks
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20024605-503544.html
    Lastly it is interesting to note that you are so riled about Aussie security risk due to Wikileaks when the Australian govt. itself blames US govt. not Wikileaks for the leaks http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40561853/ns/world_news/

     
  4. Anuj

    I agree with Supratim. Sanjeev's argument is flawed at many levels:
    a) Wikileaks acts without authroisation from the people – What authorisation are you talking about Sanjeev? A verdict from the junta? from the intellectuals? The only authroisation required is of one's conscience and the market through readers will expose any lies which get published.
    b) Wikileaks has harmed security of many nations – Well maybe its time nations learnt to control their doublespeak and be more transparent in their external relations. I will prefer that diplomats live with the fear of public scrutiny rather than build houses on pack of cards of lies and deceit. Such relations may lead to short term peace but adverse long term conflicts.
    Lastly if you can't count a single benefit of Wikileaks then maybe you need to learn how to count again. I am using strong language because of your own liberal usage of words like lunatic to describe Assange.
    BTW you recently wrote about discovering Ron Paul. Here is a link to him supporting Wikileaks
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20024605-503544.html
    Lastly it is interesting to note that you are so riled about Aussie security risk due to Wikileaks when the Australian govt. itself blames US govt. not Wikileaks for the leaks http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40561853/ns/world_news/

     
  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Anuj

    Let me say that release of operational defence information MUST be authorised – unless it serves a clear public interest. It is generally released after 30 years.

    There were no lies exposed in this case. I am HAPPY for lies to be exposed.

    What you are asking for is total disclosure of work-in-progress documents particularly in the realm of security.

    Have you by any chance read Arthashatra? Are you aware of his extensive analysis on diplomacy, espionage, and defence?

    Let’s not forget that state-art is not for idealists but for real people who are managing real risks.

    And btw, I DO NOT read Ron Paul (I’ve only heard ONE of his talks). He is NOT the person I refer to when I must think deeply about any issue. As a general rule, libertarians have a very limited overlap with classical liberals. We may agree on things like the economy, but libertarians generally don’t recognise the concept of accountability and responsibility. I part company with libertarians at that point. I do not have any idealistic visions about the world – like they often have.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Anuj

    Let me say that release of operational defence information MUST be authorised – unless it serves a clear public interest. It is generally released after 30 years.

    There were no lies exposed in this case. I am HAPPY for lies to be exposed.

    What you are asking for is total disclosure of work-in-progress documents particularly in the realm of security.

    Have you by any chance read Arthashatra? Are you aware of his extensive analysis on diplomacy, espionage, and defence?

    Let’s not forget that state-art is not for idealists but for real people who are managing real risks.

    And btw, I DO NOT read Ron Paul (I’ve only heard ONE of his talks). He is NOT the person I refer to when I must think deeply about any issue. As a general rule, libertarians have a very limited overlap with classical liberals. We may agree on things like the economy, but libertarians generally don’t recognise the concept of accountability and responsibility. I part company with libertarians at that point. I do not have any idealistic visions about the world – like they often have.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Anuj

    The Australian government has NOT "blame[ed] US govt. not Wikileaks for the leaks". That would be an absurd reading of what Kevin Rudd has said, implying that the US government deliberately leaked this information.

    Instead the Australian government has clearly said that such acts would be illegal in Australia (and invite punishment), and presumably such acts are illegal in US as well. How that works in terms of an Australian citizen (Assange) being tried in USA, I don't know. But that these acts are barred by law in Australia is very clear (see: http://bit.ly/g0nIGV).

    And yes, as I've noted in my blog and as Kevin Rudd has repeatedly said, the US must tighten up its secure communications systems to prevent this kind of thing occurring again.

    Just like airport security has been tightened up after breaches of freedom by terrorists of all sorts (they violated their freedom of travel and used the opportunity for ransom or killing), so also defence security all over the world will now be tightened up to prevent such operational leaks.

    For all those who sing great praise about Wikileaks I ask you this: would you have been saying the same thing if India's security had been compromised by such leaks? Don't hold your breath. That, too, will happen one day if India doesn't tighten up its security (and diplomatic) communications quickly.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Anuj

    The Australian government has NOT "blame[ed] US govt. not Wikileaks for the leaks". That would be an absurd reading of what Kevin Rudd has said, implying that the US government deliberately leaked this information.

    Instead the Australian government has clearly said that such acts would be illegal in Australia (and invite punishment), and presumably such acts are illegal in US as well. How that works in terms of an Australian citizen (Assange) being tried in USA, I don't know. But that these acts are barred by law in Australia is very clear (see: http://bit.ly/g0nIGV).

    And yes, as I've noted in my blog and as Kevin Rudd has repeatedly said, the US must tighten up its secure communications systems to prevent this kind of thing occurring again.

    Just like airport security has been tightened up after breaches of freedom by terrorists of all sorts (they violated their freedom of travel and used the opportunity for ransom or killing), so also defence security all over the world will now be tightened up to prevent such operational leaks.

    For all those who sing great praise about Wikileaks I ask you this: would you have been saying the same thing if India's security had been compromised by such leaks? Don't hold your breath. That, too, will happen one day if India doesn't tighten up its security (and diplomatic) communications quickly.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  9. Anonymous

     

    I suggest you read this article.
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41770.html
    You may want to think deeply about your beliefs regarding the harm caused by these leaks and your blatent support for secrecy of espionage and corruption by the US government. You may also wish to consult a credible media outlet, rather than relying on US oppressed media for your information, which is providing you with a biased view to protect their embarrassment.
    I'm sure that If the US was spying and tracing any Indian officials, you would be outraged and want the information available to you…  

     
  10. Anonymous

     

    I suggest you read this article.
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41770.html
    You may want to think deeply about your beliefs regarding the harm caused by these leaks and your blatent support for secrecy of espionage and corruption by the US government. You may also wish to consult a credible media outlet, rather than relying on US oppressed media for your information, which is providing you with a biased view to protect their embarrassment.
    I'm sure that If the US was spying and tracing any Indian officials, you would be outraged and want the information available to you…  

     
  11. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I’m afraid dear anonymous (btw why do you want to remain ‘secret’ and anonymous? can’t disclose your identity? why? – what are you hiding? some “corruption” -sorry just joking), you’ve missed the point entirely.

    I’m happy with genuine whisleblowing (e.g “corruption by the US government” that you talk about). I’m opposed to leaking ordinary operational diplomatic information that is aimed at defending the world against lunatics and barbarians. This world is not for idealists. They cause grievous harm in their “goodness”. Let the realists plod their way through the nightmare of terror that has been unleashed. Idealists who have no clue about what is going on should vent their grievances, but either stealing or publishing “non-whistlebowing” secret material endangers the entire world, and they ought to be restrained.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  12. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I’m afraid dear anonymous (btw why do you want to remain ‘secret’ and anonymous? can’t disclose your identity? why? – what are you hiding? some “corruption” -sorry just joking), you’ve missed the point entirely.

    I’m happy with genuine whisleblowing (e.g “corruption by the US government” that you talk about). I’m opposed to leaking ordinary operational diplomatic information that is aimed at defending the world against lunatics and barbarians. This world is not for idealists. They cause grievous harm in their “goodness”. Let the realists plod their way through the nightmare of terror that has been unleashed. Idealists who have no clue about what is going on should vent their grievances, but either stealing or publishing “non-whistlebowing” secret material endangers the entire world, and they ought to be restrained.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  13. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    There is also a more fundamental issue of accountability. Governments are accountable to THEIR citizens. Not to Assange or any other individual. In this case the work being conducted by the US government is paid for by the Americans. Let their representatives decide whether this kind of transparency is in their interest. They might well choose to throw open Pentagon and their secret services. That’s fine by me.

    But who is Assange to impose his expectation of accountability on the ENTIRE American people? This is a very fundamental question, and relates directly to the social contract.

    It is quite possible that the Americans conclude that Assange is their enemy, in which case where will that put him? And where would it put the Australian government whose citizen Assange is. Will it choose to side with America (in its own self-interest) or with Assange? I think the answer is obvious.

    This is not a stateless world. Governments are ultimately responsible, and Assange is not above the democratic authorisations of the people. WHO has made him the arbiter of what is in the public interest?

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    There is also a more fundamental issue of accountability. Governments are accountable to THEIR citizens. Not to Assange or any other individual. In this case the work being conducted by the US government is paid for by the Americans. Let their representatives decide whether this kind of transparency is in their interest. They might well choose to throw open Pentagon and their secret services. That’s fine by me.

    But who is Assange to impose his expectation of accountability on the ENTIRE American people? This is a very fundamental question, and relates directly to the social contract.

    It is quite possible that the Americans conclude that Assange is their enemy, in which case where will that put him? And where would it put the Australian government whose citizen Assange is. Will it choose to side with America (in its own self-interest) or with Assange? I think the answer is obvious.

    This is not a stateless world. Governments are ultimately responsible, and Assange is not above the democratic authorisations of the people. WHO has made him the arbiter of what is in the public interest?

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  15. Anonymous

    It's quite obvious that there is no harm in political embarrassment other than to the party (or parties involved), and that investigative journalisms' objective is to find information that embarrasses somebody.
    If it took another two years for an individual to develop a close relationship with a US diplomatic insider and find out that Clinton thinks Rudd is incompetent, would it have caused a furore? I highly doubt that. I'm sure the journalist would not be the center of attention.
    Can you explain how you think a written note by a US diplomat that says Rudd is incompetent, or Ahmadinejad is a puppet is "aimed at defending the world against lunatics and barbarians" or "endangers the entire world"?
    "Let them (Americans) decide whether this kind of transparency is in their best interest". Surely you understand that it is not in the best interest of Americans for this information to be released but is in the best interest of the rest of the world who are entitled to understand the kind of hands they are putting their lives in (in the case of Australia) or fighting against (in the case of Iran or North Korea).
    So if you are assessing whether this information serves a public interest, then yes, it does, unless you are an American. Therefore, absolutely, Assange is America's enemy, but he is an ally of the rest of the world, exposing this super power for what she really is. 
    Do you not find it odd that you can use your Visa card to donate to the Klu Klux Klan but a bit of political persuasion has caused this company to no longer accept donations to Wikileaks? Here the evidence lies of gross corruption and evil by a regime which can see their dominance in the world fading. 
    Best take your eggs out of the American basket. 

     
  16. Anonymous

    It's quite obvious that there is no harm in political embarrassment other than to the party (or parties involved), and that investigative journalisms' objective is to find information that embarrasses somebody.
    If it took another two years for an individual to develop a close relationship with a US diplomatic insider and find out that Clinton thinks Rudd is incompetent, would it have caused a furore? I highly doubt that. I'm sure the journalist would not be the center of attention.
    Can you explain how you think a written note by a US diplomat that says Rudd is incompetent, or Ahmadinejad is a puppet is "aimed at defending the world against lunatics and barbarians" or "endangers the entire world"?
    "Let them (Americans) decide whether this kind of transparency is in their best interest". Surely you understand that it is not in the best interest of Americans for this information to be released but is in the best interest of the rest of the world who are entitled to understand the kind of hands they are putting their lives in (in the case of Australia) or fighting against (in the case of Iran or North Korea).
    So if you are assessing whether this information serves a public interest, then yes, it does, unless you are an American. Therefore, absolutely, Assange is America's enemy, but he is an ally of the rest of the world, exposing this super power for what she really is. 
    Do you not find it odd that you can use your Visa card to donate to the Klu Klux Klan but a bit of political persuasion has caused this company to no longer accept donations to Wikileaks? Here the evidence lies of gross corruption and evil by a regime which can see their dominance in the world fading. 
    Best take your eggs out of the American basket. 

     
  17. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Interesting points, but still not convinced, unfortunately. The problem is you are assuming you know for sure what is in your own interest. You don’t – as I’ll presently show.

    E.g. to state that: “Assange is America’s enemy, but he is an ally of the rest of the world, exposing this super power for what she really is.”

    You believe that if you know the truth about American diplomats views then then leads you (the non-American world) to greater security? Not so. Australia cannot survive in this part of the world on its own. I wouldn’t hold my breath on China supporting freedoms in Australia should USA’s power be snuffed out. By all means show the TRUE corruption involved, if any. Even Americans would support that.

    But the kind of stuff that has come out has merely compromised a lot of diplomatic work and has harmed the interests of the entire Western world – including Australia.

    Anyway, I’m not persuaded, and you aren’t going to be persuaded otherwise. So let’s agree to disagree. This is not my problem. I’m just expressing a general view about such things.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  18. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Interesting points, but still not convinced, unfortunately. The problem is you are assuming you know for sure what is in your own interest. You don’t – as I’ll presently show.

    E.g. to state that: “Assange is America’s enemy, but he is an ally of the rest of the world, exposing this super power for what she really is.”

    You believe that if you know the truth about American diplomats views then then leads you (the non-American world) to greater security? Not so. Australia cannot survive in this part of the world on its own. I wouldn’t hold my breath on China supporting freedoms in Australia should USA’s power be snuffed out. By all means show the TRUE corruption involved, if any. Even Americans would support that.

    But the kind of stuff that has come out has merely compromised a lot of diplomatic work and has harmed the interests of the entire Western world – including Australia.

    Anyway, I’m not persuaded, and you aren’t going to be persuaded otherwise. So let’s agree to disagree. This is not my problem. I’m just expressing a general view about such things.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     

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