Comments for en-gb 30 Sat 18 Apr 2015 15:58:56 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Francis power Further to 42... In fact the Financial Times has also come out as tepid as well. Sorry, I was gigging this evening and missed that one. Fri 03 Dec 2010 01:05:14 GMT+1 Francis power @ 41 JClarkson,Touché!@ 40 WolfiePetersI am sure he sees himself as 1,2 & 4 on your list. Possibly also 5 in private company, especially his own company. Personally I would characterize him as none of the above and it seems public opinion is going against him in the polls I have seen this evening, although admittedly the report I saw was from a News International source. Fri 03 Dec 2010 01:01:56 GMT+1 JClarkson #37"If Hillary is really so angry and upset, she's not as smart as we thought she was..."By "we", are you referring to her constituency in New York state? :) Thu 02 Dec 2010 21:26:24 GMT+1 WolfiePeters Assange: is he a Robin Hood, Che Guevara of IT, destroyer of the universe, defender of the truth, genius, oddball or Mrs Hillary Clinton's most special agent? Thu 02 Dec 2010 21:15:44 GMT+1 WolfiePeters Francis @38But, if it's just the leaking of embassy e-mail that upsets Mrs C, that's all internal stuff between the Sec. of State, her Diplomatic Service and maybe the IT dept. She doesn't and shouldn't tell the world about it. Thu 02 Dec 2010 20:40:25 GMT+1 Francis power Ah, so then, my transgression of house rules @ 35 were perceived deformation and either concerned a prediction that website server providers will withdraw service to wikileaks or, if Assange failed to find somewhere to avoid arrest to answer charges against him, then the result of any trail was likely to be a forgone conclusion. I must chose my words more carefully (thought I did but there you go).@ 37 WolfiePeters, I think what Ms Clinton is snaky about is that her Embassy's emails were hacked. Not what the dispatches contained. Thu 02 Dec 2010 19:12:44 GMT+1 WolfiePeters I still haven't heard anything from WikiLeaks that I hadn't known or guessed before. If Hillary is really so angry and upset, she's not as smart as we thought she was or she thinks everyone else was born yesterday. I find it difficult to believe either.The worst thing that has come out of it all, for me, is all the denials and grovelling apologies amongst politicos in the name of their totally dishonest diplomacy. For the peace of the moderator, I've not written names. Thu 02 Dec 2010 18:52:30 GMT+1 Francis power A breakthrough! I have finally broken house rules. I am not sure why yet (they don't tell you) but I am going to test it by re-stating that it might have been that I suggested of Assange that 'because he is a cultist and so far has the ability to maintain his cult through the 'virtual state' of his website he will always have his followers'.As a BBC license fee payer one might as well get one's money's worth. You know we are not allowed access to any televised or radio media here in the UK without paying the BBC a bit over $200 a year first. Some of this goes to another public broadcaster called Channel 4 but the BBC's budget is just shy of a huge £4 billion per annum, which is four times what we spend on environmental protection, flood defense and the regulation of waste. And many people believe it has no serious accountability. There is a Government Charter that is periodically reviewed, a Trust that oversees it and an official watch dog that ostensibly handles complaints, but upon closer inspection it could be seen to collectively act as a rather cosy and impenetrable club. Nobody doubts that standards are generally at the higher end of the spectrum although there is sometimes a tendency for the BBC to prescribe its own view on events and even take it upon itself to dictate the course of our popular culture, which is why I bother with these blogs because they offer a platform for an alternative view. For the benefit of the American's who read follow the BBC output That is how Public Service Broadcasting is done in the UK, although I'm not sure how this non discretionary tax works regarding the internet for UK ISPs, given that the BBC have introduced iPlayer. Thu 02 Dec 2010 17:50:03 GMT+1 Francis power This post has been Removed Thu 02 Dec 2010 16:22:26 GMT+1 Francis power @31 J ClarksonThanks for clarifying the information lag that seems to have compromised post 28. I couldn't bare to do it myself. Actually I'm reading the most recent John Le Carre thriller just now "Our kind of traitor" in which he bases his entire plot upon assuming the general knowledge that the Russian economy is largely controlled by a hard core criminal fraternity that is discreetly state endorsed.For the benefit of Jay the polite word for them is Oligarchs, which implies that they have been around long enough and become wealthy enough to sanitize their dubiously gotten gains. There are many of them. They can be found en mass and at leisure in the world's most fashionable resorts, cities and shopping venues. As can their entourages which include wives, wider families, courtesans and private security. The most successful ones are now so established that they crave public acceptance, thus the need to be seen displaying their wealth outside Russia. They are embraced by the Russian state provided they do not at any time embarrass it, in which case criminal charges are swiftly dealt out and they are promptly hauled of to a Siberian penitentiary for a life concluding sentence of the hardest labour. There are a few particularly high profile examples of this, including the CEO of one of Russia's largest energy corporations, himself a billionaire at the time of his contretemps with Putin. That was nearly ten years ago. There are also large numbers of them who are now desperate to get their money out of Russia's reach by attaining citizenship of another country. Having had their wealth bestowed upon them through their connections and allegiance (with and to the state) they now find the terms of that arrangement are cramping the lavish style to which they have become accustomed. Where I live there are thousands of them and they are more or less singlehandedly propping up property prices and maintaining the illusion that the economic collapse did not effect the rich.With so many of that kind of individual seeking citizenship of countries like the USA and the UK its hardly surprising that the diplomatic service find themselves needing to discuss them from time to time. Thu 02 Dec 2010 15:55:59 GMT+1 redrobb Ok, if any of the embarresed democratic western governments can give proof that these leaks have indeed resulted in human harm fatal or otherwise, would be unfortunate. But lets be honest, between the UK / US government alone some of their actions in the last coupla decades have cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives! If the founder of Wikileaks is still ducking & diving athorities world wide, I'm sure there are a great many people quite prepared to provide asylum, and give him the benefit of the doubt of what happened in Sweden! I think there is a French word for it and my french spelling is shocking Mangage De Twa? whatever....... Thu 02 Dec 2010 09:43:25 GMT+1 Kit Green A bit of background on Assange: Thu 02 Dec 2010 09:09:49 GMT+1 JClarkson #28You are reading an Indian interpretation of the leaks, from their perspective. Instead of relying on others to do the analysis and spin of news and events, you may want to try reading the Wikileaks yourself and then draw your own conclusions. As far as Russia being perceived as a "mafia" state, it's old news. Really old. I believe it's been a pretty constant theme in various circles since the days of Yeltsin. Probably a true assessment too."I did not see any such news report, despite of scanning several newspapers everyday."Cast a wider net when news fishing, you will catch more fish and a greater variety of them...:) Thu 02 Dec 2010 08:00:59 GMT+1 Jay This post has been Removed Thu 02 Dec 2010 03:05:02 GMT+1 Jay I would be happier if Wikileaks exposes Sweden or Germany or Britain's diplomatic interactions as well. I hope it will not be specifically targeting US only. Wed 01 Dec 2010 23:06:35 GMT+1 Jay I welcome Wikileaks for many reasons. Just read today's leak news, "Russia branded 'mafia state'": Then yesterday's leak telling the actual state of Pakistani politics and its military ( and I did not see any such news report, despite of scanning several newspapers everyday. Such news may be very "common" among intelligence and diplomatic circle, but not among general public. I think such news are very crucial for general electorate to decide its relationship with its own government. Wed 01 Dec 2010 23:02:42 GMT+1 Jay @faeyth (#26). " Why do you think more Americans would rather suffer election after election than just decide on the lesser of 2 evils".-I did not say that the whole election will be scrapped. Only that particular election with those specific candidates need to be scrapped. Justice delayed is far better than justice denied. You told, "Only Congress can decide to go to War and to accept terms of Peace.The President only carries out the duties on behalf of Congress".Many of the elected congressmen are too naive and does not feel the same urgency to actively participate in carrying out their constitutional duties. For many of them, it is more like earing easy money (lucrative business without having much fear to make loss) and power.You can check today's news, "US deficit panel calls for deep cuts and tax rises" : many among republicans will agree with the report, particularly tax hike? Many Democrats will also oppose many issues in that report. Do you think they will take such aggressive stand against that report with long term US national interest in mind? I do not think so. Wed 01 Dec 2010 20:40:38 GMT+1 faeyth Jay,yes every thing sounds good in theory.Why do you think more Americans would rather suffer election after election than just decide on the lesser of 2 evils.Canada came close to extra elections.I don't think many were angry when the Queen shut down parliament.Many Canadians didn't want another election.And how is not having an official government working for Iraq? Besides you give the position of the President to much credit.The most power as far as Warfare goes is in the hands of Congress.Senate for over site and appointments and the House for financing.Only Congress can decide to go to War and to accept terms of Peace.The President only carries out the duties on behalf of Congress.That is why the federal Government is so mess up right now.Congress is neglecting it's real duties and getting involved in State business.Because states like Texas and California can't manage their own state business and keep trying to use the Federal Government to legislate and finance for them through the Federal Government instead of improving their State governments and policies and programs.It is way more important who we elect for Congress and our Governors than the President.Congress because they make laws and decisions.And our Governors because our state has more to do with our everyday lives than the Federal Government. Wed 01 Dec 2010 17:21:17 GMT+1 faeyth There was nothing interesting in Wikileaks.Just a lame attempt for some name credit and a few dollars by a loser with a huge ego.He didn't even distribute all the documents.Hypocrite,while he hides and protects his own information and sources,where is the real freedom of the press. Why? Trying to sway the discussion with his own political opinion.Germany was able to hide death camps and the U.S. government the nuclear bomb.There wasn't anything secret in these documents.Everyone knows Americans are blunt and to the point.Why would diplomats be any different.In fact these are nothing they haven't accidentally said in public a few times before maybe with a little less edge to it.This is just a way for this man to criticize the U.S. and make a few dollars on the side while ever exaggerating his own peril.Lame. Wed 01 Dec 2010 17:04:58 GMT+1 Francis power @ 21 JayI have always suspected the driving force behind the decision to get into the second Iraq war was a combination of unfinished business from the first one and the need to produce an adequate response to 9/11.At the end of the first Iraq war in '91 the forces 'of the west' literally had a gun to Saddam Hussein's head. This is now pretty well documented. I was told it first hand in the late nineties by a senior British army officer who was involved. The decision needed to be made: Pull the trigger or strategically would it be smarter to let him carry on as a reduced, destabilized dictator, harmlessly contained insofar as everybody outside Iraq was concerned. This option meant there was no need to engage in further mayhem in the region or overstep the legitimate remit of protecting the Kurds. The first President Bush and his senior advisors decided upon the wisdom of the second option, which actually worked pretty well (for those outside Iraq - those still in it had their usual option of attempting to overthrow their old dictator if they chose to/had the ability - nobody else's problem). However, there were a few 'Young Turks' (not Turkish) on the team, actually not so young, people like Rumsfeld and Cheney, who wanted to take the first option and had been hankering after correcting the mistake for a decade. Between 2001 and 2003 they found their chance. They needed to respond to the attacks on New York and Washington. They knew it would be easy to take out Saddam Hussein and parade his scalp. A scalp badly needed to be paraded to help Americans move on from the shocking and very public atrocity (what other event in history of that magnitude has ever occupied so much or so graphic television air time than the attack on the World Trade Centre)? They also knew that getting Osama Bin Ladden, if he was in Afghanistan, was by no means a certainty (note that it still isn't but Afghanistan has a long history of being a bit tricky to invade). They had to do something effective. Iraq couldn't really go wrong. So invade Iraq. Dr Blix's report ruined everything for them. So get in there before it was published. I think it was a mistake and I would have preferred they had put all their efforts into Afghanistan. Had they done so perhaps they might have taken Bin Laden. We shall never know. They certainly managed to open the Pandora's box in Iraq, and for what?There was another strategic theory floating around at the time, which did involve Turkey. The Turkish were/are big allies but were conflicted by the whole 9/11 fall out because they are an Islamic country and the second Bush administration had started using words like 'crusade' (incredibly dumb). However, two things Turkey has are an enormous and highly capable standing army and big military airstrips. These air strips were a linchpin in America's strategic presence in the region. So the cooling of relations, because America was being perceived as possibly entering into a 'faith' driven conflict meant that a) the use of the air strips could be withdrawn and, less likely b) things could go off in a really bad way with Turkey. Historians may well note that the first thing America did when it had taken Iraq was move its strategic military air strip focus in the region to Iraq. This was probably quite innocent because after all, they were very busy in Iraq. But it did also mean that if things got difficult with Turkey they had a secure base to tackle it from.Now ask yourself if revealing details of the private conversations that had gone into arriving at all those decisions, the right and the wrong ones, would really serve anybody's interest today? If the people involved, for all their human failings had known that their every thought was to be put under the microscope, in those sort of situations, would have been capable of functioning at anything near their best potential? We know what the actions and consequences were. For me that is enough.Pakistan is as much of a worry as North Korea. Everybody knows this. But the sort of decisions that need to be made in managing those situations are likely to be as devious as they are strategic. Keeping ones' friends close and one's enemies closer has been a well understood strategy for millennia. And then relationships change. It gets tactical. Of course the intelligence and diplomatic services need to keep some of their work a bit dark. They work in shadows!I like your idea of a 'none of the above' vote to tick. Sadly the closest option for you is not to vote. Did you know that in Australia that is illegal? They are not allowed to not vote. However, democracy does offer a last resort, even for Australians who are unable to find a manifesto that they can endorse: Run for office yourself. Wed 01 Dec 2010 04:38:11 GMT+1 Francis power @ 20 - Oh well BK, its a pity the BBC doesn't carry advertising then. We could post a situation vacant for a benign despot to rule the world instead. Mind you, it might attract a few weirdos! I see Interpol now has an APB out on Assange, so he can't apply. I wonder how he is going to get into Ecuador, unless he's already there. Last I saw he was in London but that was when he was interviewed by the New York Times in August. Wed 01 Dec 2010 01:23:39 GMT+1 Jay I think US should seriously consider a option during elections to reject any of the candidates. We should have that right to chose "none of the above" candidates in an election. If "none of the above" option get more vote than any one candidate, the election in that constituency should be scrapped and prepare for a re-election. Now if I dislike Democratic candidate then I have no other option but to chose the republican one or waste my vote. That need to be changed. Wed 01 Dec 2010 01:14:33 GMT+1 Jay @ Francis power (#17). I posted my reply but it has been referred for further consideration. I support ur views in #17. The basic question arises- whether we, the citizens of a democratic country, are allowed by our own state to enjoy only that much freedom that does not bother or create problems for our rulers and social elites. I get confused when our political masters publicly say that "Pakistan is our closest ally in war against terror" and then they say, "Pakistan is the biggest threat to world security and our own long term headache" in private conversations. Which one I need to trust to have my own informed decision? How can I exercise my most valuable democratic right, to cast vote, if I strongly disagree with the foreign policy of our politicians, if I do not know what they really think? We all know that what politicians/industrialists say in public is not always their real intension!When a state do not trust its own citizens they get the right to interfere in one's personal communications (by amending constitution or forming new laws), but why the same is not applicable to general citizens or in case of powerful elites? How can I trust whatever our politicians are telling us in public?If there were Wikileaks before Iraq war and if we knew the real reason(s) for US-UK to attack Iraq (we all know that UN mission was never trusted by US and it decided to go for a war irrespective of UN inspectors' conclusion), we could have saved thousands of american and British lives and probably the near total melt-down of financial system. I do not know how much GW Bush was emotionally affected by Saddam Husaain's Iraq; due to his father's view on Iraq and threat by Hussein to Bush's daughters (as told by GW Bush in a recent Jay Leno show). Wed 01 Dec 2010 01:08:56 GMT+1 BK More on Democracy......and the power of rhetoric to subvert the will of most of the people, most everywhere, most of the time. Friedrich Nietzsche noted: “Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” In other words, never underestimate the ability of "the People" to be swayed by smooth-talkers who claim wisdom in areas for which they lack knowledge and experience. One will never be disappointed when wagering on the ignorance of the populace at large; then, it takes only for the usually skeptical and rational individuals to be swayed into thinking along with the group...the most recent, and obvious examples being the election, and in two cases the reelections, of the last three U.S. Presidents.With apologies to Socrates, who sort of said, "Democracy is a bad form of government in search of a Philosopher-King, or even a benevolent dictator" though it probably sounded better in classical Greek. The darkest, and scariest ride in the amusement park called Democracy is to be one of the relatively sane and sober few, on a "ride" devised by the many. Wed 01 Dec 2010 00:40:15 GMT+1 Francis power @ 15 JayBecause she is your Foreign Secretary and it was US diplomatic traffic that was hacked. Most of the others are just trying to keep their heads down, except the ones who are trying to exploit the opportunity. The UK prime minister, who is expecting an embarrassing revelation later in the week has also denounced wikileaks. I expect Burlusconi is indisposed in some way or another. The Russians will probably be preparing a small file of Polonium 210 and doing a bit of hacking of their own... Tue 30 Nov 2010 21:26:38 GMT+1 Jay @ Francis power (#17). I exactly meant that. In other words, our own version of "democracy" is not working the way we like it to be. Right? When such a "democratic" "state" suspects any private citizen, it gets full "right" (through constitutional amendments or new law) to check my personal conversation, email etc. But, when I, as a private citizen, suspects my own state that it is not telling the truth or the whole truth, yet I have no option but to trust its (mostly lier) politicians! Is that the way the "largest democracy" prefer to function?In that sense when George W Bush told everyone else in the world that US and its allies had specific intelligence to attack Iraq, we have no other option but to trust that person. As a result, we, as a country and private citizen, had no other option but to pay from our own pocket, sometimes with our own lives for HIS deliberate mistake. If we had wikileaks that time to leak Bush's personal conversations with Blair or Dick Cheney, then we could have saved many American and British lives and probably from this near total financial melt down as well. If Italian people prefer a corrupt, extravagant Prime Minister then they have to face the consequences and its is up to them to decide it. But as an American or a citizen of any other civilized democracy, I am not ready to accept that. If an American diplomat or President tells us in a TV address that "Pakistan is our closest allay in fight terrorism" and then privately tells everyone else (within political and diplomatic circle) that "Pakistan is the greatest enemy, the biggest threat to our national security"; what I am supposed to comprehend? I should have enough evidence and reason to trust or not to trust Pakistan or Saudi from my national and personal security and well being point of view; apart from supporting that administration for its foreign policy. Tue 30 Nov 2010 21:17:28 GMT+1 Francis power @ 14 JayEverybody in Italy, well everybody really knows all about Silvio Burlusconi's raving, although he might have gone a step too far recently even without wikileaks. It was widely understood even at the time that the reason the Bush and Blair administrations decided to act on Iran before Dr Hans Blix had concluded his report was because they weren't going to like his findings. It had nothing to do with democracy at the time and that is why so many people demonstrated against getting into that war both in the USA and UK. However, that fails to explain why both of them subsequently managed to secure their re-elections after such outrageous behavior, which was democracy's opportunity to defenestrate them. But the fact is that they did...Which brings us to democracy. I believe you nearly have it right but you have omitted the essential rider. Its "for most of the people, by most of the people and of most of the people". We define 'most' as anything above 50% of those who bother to vote. This has the capacity to leave a majority of an actual population feeling disenfranchised by their government. As Churchill said, the worst system except all the others. Tue 30 Nov 2010 20:17:48 GMT+1 Jay I also do not understand why US and other countries do not straightway tell that opinion of one of two diplomats or military bosses do NOT form the basis of a national/government decisions! Any sensible government needs different opinions and some advocates of devil to make a proper, informed decision. Clearly that will not be the case for more dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arab or China. Tue 30 Nov 2010 20:10:55 GMT+1 Jay Correction to my previous post: I also do not understand why Hillary Clinton is so furious while many foreign governments and head of states tooK it easy (at least publicly)! Tue 30 Nov 2010 20:07:07 GMT+1 Jay I do not understand one thing. How do we describe "democracy"? Is it not "for the people, by the people and of the people"? How our matured and modern democracies doing in that regard? If US (through its intelligence and diplomacy) want to know whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, will it not be better route to openly demand UN type international body to send inspectors and find that out, rather than passing some so-called "secret" notes (that can be intercepted/leaked to media later) and start claiming something which may or may not be true? If US or any other country like to know how other presidents/prime ministers behave, then what is wrong in that? If Italian PM is womanizer, addicted to corruption and maintain a very close relationship with Russian PM, then let the whole world (mainly the Italian and Russian people) know it. They need the information while casting their votes next time. Will that not be a better way to make this world a better place, rather than hiding so many "obvious" ("not so secret") facts about a country and its leaders. After all privacy of a "public" figure must have its limit, as they are the role models for many people, and more importantly, fate of many people depends on their actions and personal opinions/emotions. I also do not understand why Hillary Clinton is so furious while many foreign governments and heads too it easy! Tue 30 Nov 2010 19:13:22 GMT+1 BK Something in me wants to dislike Assange as a person, and I certainly distrust his motives for the releases of this information. Having been a "security" worker for the U.S. in both the Navy and Department of the Army, holding a Top Secret, Crypto Access security clearance, I can appreciate the discomfort, if not the severed reputations and careers of those who were charged with keeping state secrets, and didn't.Still it seems that much of the info leaked does not meet the gold standard for classification to protect national security; they seem to be more like middle-school notes, passed from Suzie to Johnnie through a 3rd and 4th trusted cohort, only to have the note end up in Teacher's hands. Additionally, the excuse for secrecy based on the fear that bits of information can be gleaned, assembled with other bits, and which put with other bits of information, may start to form a picture, sometime, somewhere, by unknown people who are in a position to see the entire mosaic of intrigue, is one of the oldest arguments in the history book for keeping citizens unenlightened. Extending that same logic to its fullest fallacy would condone governments banning education for their citizens, because we all know that knowledge, and the ability to access even more knowledge is "dangerous" to a fragile citizenry's psyche, and worse yet, may even cause them to have adverse opinions about governance and that government's management prowess.My greater concern as an American is not any actual harm to the military or a espionage workers from details of this middle-school, "note-passing-in-class" exchange -- Assange being the teacher who intercepts the notes and reads them out loud to the whole class, including the red-faced Johnnie and Suzie -- rather, my concern is this release exposes more evidence of "nanny-governments" taking care of their "children" through applied ignorance, under the guise of national security to say, in essence, "Let's not burden the 'kids' with might upset them...I'm not sure they could handle it." when of course the truthful statement would be more like, "Let's slap a Top Secret, Eyes Only, NOFORN on this, because it makes all of us, look like pompous, royalty-wannabee's behaving badly -- and at worst it makes us look like we're developmentally challenged, gland-driven, adolescents."So, to Assange, let me say...hate the person you appear to be...and if the criminal charges pan out, I'd like you to endure the greatest possible punishment available in your "civilized" European homeland (Note: That was American sarcasm)...on the other hand, love what you're doing to expose the Aburdity of governance, and those who would govern. Tue 30 Nov 2010 16:07:42 GMT+1 Francis power I see Ecuador has offered Assange unconditional citizenship, no doubt smarting from the recent media coup of Chile for rescuing its trapped miners and so now itself seeking attention. And Chevas is also attempting to make some hey out of this weeks leaks, which is not surprising given his dwindling popularity. Perhaps these responses are indicative of the sort of reasons that governments like to keep their secrets, even from their friends.Of course most adults do this too because if they don't then children and enemies will make mischief. Even friends unfortunately, given the chance to have a sneak peek at at private diary, will sometimes turn out not to be such good friends. It is in the nature of mature relationships to maintain secret thoughts and these help to determine one's views and opinions. Having formed these, mature people take the thoughts worth sharing and discuss them with others. Individual adults do this by having an internal monologue. Larger entities, such as governments do this by having intelligence agencies and diplomatic corps to make sense of the intelligence and piece it together, discarding the white noise and focusing their work on what is relevant, either to reduce risk or promote benefit for their country. Commercial organisation do it too (they have intelligence and diplomats too - its big business). They (private adults, corporations, governments) share some of this with their friends but they don't share everything.A BBC report today:"The Spanish paper El Pais says that, according to a secret cable released by Wikileaks, US intelligence operatives wanted to know whether the Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was taking medication to deal with her "nerves and stress". President Fernandez's husband died of a heart attack in October. The message asked: "How do Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's emotions affect her decision-making and how does she calm down when distressed?"I can easily imagine a private person having a private thought about their sibling/patent/neighbor/boss/spouse/business partner/colleague/cousin that went "they are under a lot of stress just now, and there is that family illness on top of that. How are they dealing with it?". Its the sort of thing people want to know, in case there might be a problem that needed to be addressed at a difficult time. It is a well intentioned and good thought.Democracy is what people can do with intelligent thoughts. Gathering ones thoughts is what one does before engaging in democracy. Responsible news reporting understands this. Sensationalist ego maniacs do not. They think it is perfectly OK to read peoples private letters and diaries.What about Ecuador though? Abandoning its adult status for a friend in the playground. It will be interesting to see how grown up America deals with that particular toy being thrown out of that particular pram. If America does it right we never will. Well, not for a first offense (assuming this is a first offense). Although one might equally wonder if Ecuador's offer was a result of their being asked to take him by everybody else to make him go away... We'll never know if such a pragmatic solution to an international legal problem was managed through diplomatic means. However in this case I suspect Ecuador are just making mischief. Diplomats don't move that fast en mass. They prefer to quietly gather intelligence and take more thoughtful decisions. Tue 30 Nov 2010 16:03:42 GMT+1 JClarkson Great. The black hole of Further Consideration...:P Tue 30 Nov 2010 08:59:16 GMT+1 JClarkson #9"Still, as a virtual agency fulfilling a role that used to be occupied by American television press, WikiLeaks seems more beneficial than harmful." Yes, beneficial. I feel as if I benefited from the leaks. I'm sure many of you have also benefited from the leaks. I would even go as far as to make the bold claim that more people have benefited from the leaks than have been harmed by them (rape charges notwithstanding). The simple principle of majority prevailing, if 1 more person benefited from the leaks, than have been harmed by it, it must have been a worthwhile endeavor. A democratically based benefit pyramid of the sort, where the beneficiaries are closer to the bottom, rather than to the top. Before I tell my story of how I benefited from the leaks, I invite you all to tell your stories of benefit from these leaks. Olbermann is part of the corrupted corporate media conglomerate and certainly he must have benefited from the leaks, if in no other way than at least by giving him something to talk about. That alone is more of a benefit than any corporate media should be entitled to. But I digress.Who wants to be first? Tue 30 Nov 2010 07:39:34 GMT+1 Keen Anthony I find WikiLeaks' work alarming, but perhaps necessary in preserving democracy in a United States which still prefers to have its news filtered and interpreted through the commentary of just a few ideologues at its three cable news networks; or worse, network news anchors who are neither real journalists nor capable of reading the news without making flat attempts at humor.I've read little so far in this latest release that either I didn't already know or couldn't learn after a small effort. On MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" tonight, Olbermann revealed that one of the leaks discusses China's true feelings for North Korea and its preference for a unified Korea with Seoul as its capitol. This isn't news, and anyone who's spent a few years thinking about foreign policy could tell you this.The previous large leak revealed military operations. In the US, there was some outrage, but mostly disinterest. There were complaints that the knowledge of these particular secrets would aid terrorists. That was nonsense. A shopkeeper in rural Afghanistan knows far more about what military operations are occurring in his neighborhood than the military wants to admit. However, the potential to do great harm is there.My only concern is that Assange is an ideologue himself who's been characterised as believing there should be no government secrets ever. Were this BBC, The Guardian, the Washington Post or the New York Times, I imagine there would be careful consideration before revealing secrets which could cost lives and affect wars. It's not apparent to me that WikiLeaks makes such careful editorial decisions. Still, as a virtual agency fulfilling a role that used to be occupied by American television press, WikiLeaks seems more beneficial than harmful. Tue 30 Nov 2010 06:01:17 GMT+1 Jay So far Assange's rape charge is concerned, let law take its own course. Punish Assange if proven guilty. I have no problem with that. Those two issues (rape and Wikileak) are totally unrelated. Even if he committed the rape, that will not reduce the gravity of Wikileaks revelations. It makes same sense even if a smoker tells that "smoking is dangerous to health"! Tue 30 Nov 2010 03:07:46 GMT+1 Jay If we (the world of common citizens) did not learn anything new, then our "leaders" need not become so aggressive and defensive about these leaks! In that sense we cannot and should not (as per those asking for punishment for Wikileaks) have any form in investigative journalism, or newspapers like NY Times or Guardian. In that sense if we allow any democratic states to behave so secretively and keeping its real intension (against any country, friend or foe), then we will have trouble to trust them even when they will be speaking the truth. That will make our pride "democracy" not much different than dictatorial rule.We should ask the question to ourselves that, "are we enjoying only that much freedom that does not bother/create problem for our (political) rulers"? Tue 30 Nov 2010 03:04:31 GMT+1 Skippy As a young American I have to say it serves them right. The US government has no respect for the privacy of it's citizens so I hardly feel for them. There is a definite need for privacy in diplomacy but they have misused and misled their people. Any government who does that should expect more leaks to come. Tue 30 Nov 2010 01:06:36 GMT+1 Francis power I agree with 2, 3 & 4. The conspiracy theorists will become unbearable when your man Assange is run to ground and hauled off to Sweden to face his rape charges (if the American's don't find him first). Cries of Robin Hood being carted off to the Sherif of Notingham's castle on trumped up charges will be deafening, and the media will lap it up. Probably even the BBC. The facts are we have learned absolutely nothing we didn't know already (granted it will be quite enjoyable to see a few insufferable individuals trying not to blush) and what is being dragged out into the public arena has all been stolen. What people might be more worried about is their own fire walls. If this can happen to diplomatic ones...To describe this man as the oddball impresario of political indiscretion is to ignore what a lot of people who had been drawn into his organisation had to say about him during the summer. Cult of self etc. He's obviously very clever and has organisational, motivational and hacking skills of the highest order. But it seems many of those who have been close to him, hacked for him, have become very frightened by him. I personally wonder at his motivation in releasing such insignificant detail with such military precision at this time. Is it to reveal the truth or is it in fact to camouflage or contaminate it? I'm thinking of the truth about him. He's obviously manipulative enough. Mon 29 Nov 2010 20:42:27 GMT+1 JClarkson "None of these highly classified revelations, so far at least, comes as a complete shock."Not so highly. Private First Class intelligence analysts do not have high security clearances, nor access to "highly" classified material. All you will find in Wikileaks is low level confidential chatter and gossip. Tabloid fodder. Mon 29 Nov 2010 19:41:56 GMT+1 Scott0962 re.# 1. At 6:06pm on 29 Nov 2010, Jay wrote:"I fully support WikiLeaks. We must have such portals that force our own governments to behave more responsibly and do not indulge in acts that they can not take responsibility of. That is true not only for US, but also for any country that claims to be a democratic one."If the leak was documenting some massive wrong doing on the part of government officals I would agree but in this case I fully support prosecuting the people leaking the documents to the fullest extent of the law. Not everything government does needs the details exposed to the light of public scrutiny and those who think otherwise are incredibly naive. The people who leaked this batch of diplomatic traffic had no possible motive other than embarassing the government and harming our diplomatic relatiosn with other countries by exposing private communications never meant to be made public. Public officals have to be able to speak freely and give their honest opinions to their co-workers and superiors, that means that sometimes they will say things that could be potentially embarassing if leaked. Forcing them to be more circumspect because some malcontent in the next office may decide to leak their words does not serve the interests of good government or the people. Mon 29 Nov 2010 19:27:18 GMT+1 BluesBerry Where Wikileaks leaves diplomacy is the same place that concentrated media ownership leaves excellence in journalism. What passes for journalism is now "spin" - what the owners want to be said.Wikileaks is so drab that I couldn't wade through the verbiage in the hope of finding at least one pearl - somewhere, near the bottom, anywhere.Wikileaks leaks us nothing that we don't already know. It is so drab that I have to believe that it was written by members of the American military/industrial complex hoping to distract the world from more important situations - like the bond crisis, or possible war on the Yellow Sea.There is something for everyone with an IQ lower than 65."Isn't that the new normal in the age of social media?"Oops sorry, I thought the social media had a normal IQ of...."normal".If these leaks are highly-classified, where is thr shock, the dropping of the jaw?Wikileaks is not even raw. If you want "raw", I can give your raw (but I won't). If these "leaks" appeared in my water faucet, I would describe them as no more than pit-pat, pit-pat, drops worth practically nothing, except for the distraction they create from my sleep and the the really important business of the world - like potential war between the Koreas. Mon 29 Nov 2010 19:05:14 GMT+1 Jay I fully support WikiLeaks. We must have such portals that force our own governments to behave more responsibly and do not indulge in acts that they can not take responsibility of. That is true not only for US, but also for any country that claims to be a democratic one. Mon 29 Nov 2010 18:06:16 GMT+1