The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
52 Points
The Contender
Xenith967
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Wikileaks

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2010 Category: News
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,586 times Debate No: 14017
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (10)

 

Danielle

Pro

There's been a lot of controversy over Wikileaks: an international media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks [1]. Recently Wikileaks has come under fire for releasing controversial material, such as classified videos and documents from the U.S. military, and evidence of politicians acting less than scrupulous, even to the point of having enough evidence to possibly warrant resignation for wrong-doing [2].

Everyone from Barack Obama to Glenn Beck has been condemning this website (hey they agree on something!). Even the politicians are finally coming together on one issue; Senator Joe Lieberman's introduced bipartisan legislation to amend the Espionage Act and criminalize Wikileaks that way [3]. Newt Gingrich quipped, "Information warfare is warfare, and Julian Assange is engaged in warfare... Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant. Wikileaks should be closed down permanently and decisively" [4]. Former presidential candidate and popular Fox News journalist Mike Huckabee proclaimed the appropriate punishment for Wikileaks founder and contributor Julian Assange is execution [5].

Of course I completely disagree; I think Assange should be praised as one of the best journalists in the world and believe receiving a Nobel Peace Prize is more appropriate than the death penalty. However I know there are a lot of "intelligent conservatives" here and regardless this is a bipartisan issue that has upset people on both sides of the aisle and all over the world. As such, I would like to debate the merits of Wikileaks with someone who believes Wikileaks and/or Assange should be terminated. While the law will most certainly be pertinent to our discussion, saying "it's against the law" is not a sufficient argument and in fact an appeal to authority when determining the merits of what should be.

Nevertheless I don't mind what contentions my opponent uses. The first round will be for accepting this debate, and Con can post any comments or questions he or she wishes for the Pro though I accept full responsibility to make the first argument (unless my opponent wants to). I will also accept the burden of proving Wikileaks should continue to exist and be available to the public.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.time.com...

[3] http://lieberman.senate.gov...

[4] http://www.politico.com...

[5] http://www.politico.com...
Xenith967

Con

Contention- Wikileaks should be shut down because it is a terrorist organization with only one goal in mind and that is to destroy the United States of America.The latest breed of anarchist is not a protester who takes to the streets, Molotov cocktail in hand. His weapon of choice is the laptop and his battleground the Internet, which he uses to steal information or to disrupt life in the digital age.
The personification of these Internet intifadists is Julian Assange of WikiLeaks infamy.Retaliating for his arrest on rape charges and his pariah status in Internet commerce, a band of hackers known as Anonymous used denial-of-services attacks to crash the websites of Visa, MasterCard and other corporations that refused to have anything more to do with Assange.Surely enough, Anonymous got the world's attention. But the scary fact is that group is just a visible example of growing cyberwarfare.A concentrated attack via the Web could disrupt any facet of American life, from banking to medicine to transportation - and with the same murderous effect as a conventional act of terror.Make no mistake: America's enemies will work that game if they can.Already, Web-savvy jihadists are scouring the WikiLeaks documents for signs of American vulnerability. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, "a member of the jihadi forum the Shumukh Al-Islam initiated a 'workshop' aiming to collect, categorize and pinpoint all U.S. interests worldwide mentioned in documents released by WikiLeaks." That information will without question be transmitted - digitally, most likely - to those most willing and able to harm the United States.America must block such a catastrophe from happening by mounting a massive and ever-evolving cybersecurity drive.Someone recently demonstrated how effective an attack can be by, for the first known time, successfully wielding a cyberweapon against a real-world target. A virus called Stuxnet infiltrated Iran's nuclear program and damaged its processing equipment.The end was fantastic; the means were terrifying. Suppose the tables were turned on the U.S.?Assange has been arrested on rape charges unrelated to his cyberanarchy. The government appears to be moving to indict him under the Espionage Act. It's a pleasing prospect but would no more prevent cyberattacks than sending Osama Bin Laden to the nuse would quell Islamic terror.
President Obama called cyberwarfare "one of the most serious economic and national security threats our nation faces." But America's response has fallen far short of the mark. The government must devote the research and money necessary to exponentially increase cybersecurity.
Former White House terrorism adviser Richard Clarke proposed creation of a Cyber Defense Administration. This new defense system will ban wikileaks as well as current military television and internet shows.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

My opponent has plagiarized his entire argument, which is more than bad conduct. It's downright cheating.

http://www.nydailynews.com...

For laughs I'll respond to the article he copied from. First, "Con" says Julian Assange steals information to disrupt the digital age. Wikileaks has not stolen any documents, and in fact had all of their information turned over to them voluntarily without force making this statement completely inaccurate. Second, the group Anonymous is not affiliated with Wikileaks and thus what that group does has no bearing on the Wikileaks organization.

Next, Con talks about "concentrated attacks via the web" disrupting American life; however, Wikileaks has been part of no such disruption and has no plans to engage in this type of cyberwarfare my opponent describes. As I explained in the last round, they are a media organization -- they do not care to interfere with people's lives (such as what Anonymous did regarding credit cards) but to report important world news. The government would love everybody to be terrified of Wikileaks as quite obviously they don't want Wikileaks to expose any more of their corruption.

Finally even if measures need to be taken to protect against cyber-terrorism, the government should *allow Wikileaks* as Wikileaks and the purpose IT serves (not cyber-destruction) is what is up for discussion.

Now onto my contentions...

News organizations shape the way we view political candidates (many of whom we will never get to meet or observe directly) - the ones we elect into office to run our country and essentially forfeit our liberties to. However, journalism has become an industry not about informing the public and keeping governments honest, but another opportunity for competition and profit completely interfering with the integrity of such endeavors.

Rupert Murdoch owns 9 television networks, 100 cable channels, 175 newspapers, 40 book imprints, 40 television stations and 1 movie studio. His audience consists of 4.7 billion people - 3/4 of the entire world population [1]. Because of his strong ties to Conservatives and their platform, it's safe to say that the vast majority of his publications all have a particular right-wing bias - including Fox News, the most widely watched news channel [2]. Ironically, this is also considered the most biased news channel [3].

Why is this important? Wealthy individuals directly or indirectly tied to the media have founded and funded think tanks that shape political discourse and influence the way people view particular people and policies. It becomes apparent that they have incentives to be less than forthcoming on various issues paramount to public interest. The fact that so many people are receiving limited and tainted information that promotes a particular point of view essentially likens us to manipulated pawns specifically kept uninformed.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks is a transparent, not-for-profit news organization that provides a secure and anonymous way for people to send information to journalists that otherwise would not have made the evening news. The anonymity factor is increasingly important in a world that seeks to stifle our civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the press -- especially because our less than ethical government cannot be trusted to simply not persecute you for truth-telling as they have done so many times before. However, unlike other anonymous sources, Wikileaks actually fact-checks all of their information, and further, provides access to their acquired resources so viewers can be confident they are receiving completely unfettered evidence.

The public needs to scrutinize information in order to have a better idea of the politicians and policies we help elect. In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government" [4]. Ironically, the government has the power to control what the press reports, rendering this a completely moot or rather obsolete point. In order for this to be effective, the press must actually have the opportunity to report important information and so far Wikileaks has proven to be the source for such monumental exposure.

Unlike other news organizations, Wikileaks does not seek to compete for profit but rather work cooperatively to help share pertinent information. This means they do not focus on hoarding information but sharing to help educate and inform as many people as possible. Because they are an independent firm, they do not hesitate to hold certain people accountable or struggle with asking tough questions regarding questionable business or political practices. As such, it becomes apparent that this is one of the most reliable and accurate sources for news we have today.

So far Wikileaks is responsible for breaking several stories regarding numerous instances of blatant government corruption. Quite obviously the government would render this information impermissible to report otherwise, leaving us completely ignorant and impotent regarding our capacity to make informed decisions. Because politicians are supposed to be public servants, the public has a right to know when they've been intentionally deceived, or when their leaders are acting completely unscrupulous.

Because the government has a monopoly on force, they cannot be responsible for holding themselves accountable. In our government we have a system of checks and balances, and likewise, media is a check on government so we can ensure those that work for us (employed by our tax dollars) are actually working in our best interest, and within the parameters of the laws they have established and to which everyone else is expected to abide. While their personal lives are irrelevant (and Wikileaks has not concerned themselves with that), the role they play in our government should be subject to transparency. It is precisely because of secrecy that we endure so much corruption.

Essentially Wikileaks is a haven for whistle blowers to be forthright and help right the many wrongs of our government. Consider Daniel Ellsberg who worked for the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. He came to possess a meticulous record of how the government and military planned to specifically deceive the American people. Upon exposure of such documents, controversy inevitably ensued, but it's safe to say his whistle blowing helped shorten the war and save thousands of American and Vietnamese lives despite criminal charges being brought against him for such heroism. In this way we see the issue is more than about demanding to be kept out of the dark, but also a moral obligation to save and protect innocent people who are affected by our government's dishonesty.

Perhaps the most interesting quandary of the whole Wikileaks debate is the way in which certain criticism has seemed so backwards. Secrecy laws are being used to keep the public ignorant and avoid accountability for those in power. While a few patriotic idealists may be swayed to cite the "necessity" of such secrecy for "our own protection," one only needs to look at Wikileaks' reporting to see exactly how those laws are actually being utilized and why. Upon revelation, you would think that a rational being would acknowledge the deception and feel betrayed by playing into their naivety. However many have expressed outrage at Wikileaks for having the audacity to reveal such abominations in an effort to maintain integrity.

Opponents of this website suggest that those who lie, torture, kill or commit a plethora of other immoral and heinous crimes against humanity are less blameworthy than those who talk about it.

[1] Outfoxed Documentary
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
Xenith967

Con

Xenith967 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Please extend my arguments.
Xenith967

Con

Xenith967 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited the debate. Extend my arguments.
Xenith967

Con

Xenith967 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
I cited the specific case where Wikileaks count reasonably lead to deaths by terrorist attacks: they published a list of terrorist targets that the State Department had identified as most critical, nd some of which were poorly defended. Moreover, there is no mechanism at all to stop Wikileaks from publishing anything they wish to; you propose they have blanket amnesty. It follows that you hold righ to publish anything without restriction to be more important than human life. Suppose Wilileaks wants to publish information about military tactics, secrets on how to make or steal WMDs -- no problem, it has to be legal. A Wikileaks in WWII could publish the plans for the Normandy invasion. No problem because freedom from censorship trumps everything.

How does this thinking make any sense? It clearly facilitates murder. You seem to believe it is moral to have people killed in the name of your higher principle of the ability to freely publish absolutely anything they wish. So what of the people who would prefer to preserve nuclear launch codes even if it means abridgment of publication rights? Yes, giving up a little liberty to preserve temporary safety. Do you really think Franklin would want trading in military secrets to be a constitutional right?

So, do you want to go Pro on "The United States should have no law and seek no punishment against those revealing military secrets."? Or you can negate the converse.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
I'm pretty sure this (incredibly trite) quote sums up what would otherwise be a lengthy response to your reply:

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- B. Franklin

Since that about sums it up, I'll just quickly point out how ridiculous this is -- " However, if you insist upon the position that there ought to be no law, then consistent with that, we can just send out agents to assassinate the people who leak sensitive info. You get choose law or no law, take your choice."

First, I never advocated abandoning law so that is completely out of left field. And second, abandoning censorship laws is nowhere near comparable with abandoning laws against murder. Not only that, law=/= morality. Even if I didn't think there should be a "law" against killing (i.e., if I were an anarchist and 'law' requires government which I would therefore be against) it doesn't mean it's morally permissible to kill. This was just a ridiculous analogy in my opinion.

Finally I'll point out that it seems your last paragraph has ignored mine. Sure the court might grant "legitimate" journalists the right to publish some dirt once in awhile... if they're willing to go through a ridiculously tedious not to mention expensive and probably fantastically lengthy trial... but I *highly* doubt they would allow certain (important!) things to be revealed, such as monumental political corruption of present legislators. I won't even bother explaining further -- I don't expect you to see my POV anyway so I see no need to waste any more time here. Just LOL LOL LOL at the idea of the government permitting you to release stuff that would get them in trouble. If you even so much as Google the wrong thing they'll have your name on a fvcking watch list in a second.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
There is no question in my mind that there is information designated as "classified" that should not be classified. the question is what to do about it. One method is to allow each person to publish whatever he desires. Instructions for building a nuke, launch codes, troop movements, weaknesses subject to terrorist attack ... we'll just let whoever gets their hands on the info decide whether it is worthy of being a secret.

"Embarrass" clearly includes the potential for killing civilians in terrorist targets. When Wikileaks published a list of potential terrorist targets, including poorly defended sensitive targets, the "embarrassment" may involve the death of your friends and family. Are you up for that? If so, then you believe in a form of jihad. The contention is nonsense. However, if you insist upon the position that there ought to be no law, then consistent with that, we can just send out agents to assassinate the people who leak sensitive info. You get choose law or no law, take your choice. If it's just too inconvenient to use the law, then that works for both sides.

I think that it's reasonable to seek easier ways to get information legitimately declassified. Perhaps a special Court could be set up for the purpose. Now, it's necessary to sue. The method is actually practiced regularly by legitimate journalists. It usually starts with a Freedom of Information Act request, then the government may fail to respond or may respond with too much redacted. Then the case is brought to court. It happens frequently in our present imperfect world.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
I think another question is whether or not certain information should be classified in the first place. Why should it be "classified" to see soldiers attacking innocent citizens? If our Secretary of State violates international covenants to which the U.S. ascribes, that should not be considered "classified." By that logic any information that could get anyone in trouble can be considered "classified."

I also don't care if Wikileaks' intention is to "embarrass" the United States. Good for them. The U.S. ought to be very embarrassed. Regardless, this doesn't really mean anything -- people should refrain from that which will embarrass them, I suppose.

While the suggestion of using "legal channels" to sort through this is nice, the reality is that our government can make it impossible for all pertinent information to be relayed correctly. In a perfect world people WOULD use this option. However the massive attempts at restricting particular information from being revealed is precisely why Wikileaks operates in the first place. It's too hard to be a whistle blower. That's why RiseUp is awesome. It provides online communication tools for people and groups working on liberatory social change by securing the information that is transmitted there to prevent people and groups from being spied on, shut down, etc. The government clearly cannot be trusted to regulate these things. The government cannot be trusted with pretty much anything, hence Wikileaks.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Whether or not Assange is a rapist is irrelevant. That's an ad hom attack.

Wikileaks has stated that their purpose is to "embarrass" the United States. Among the items revealed by Wikileaks is the State Departments list of the targets for terrorists that would cause the most damage. The only interest served by making that public is to aid terrorists. The US government already has the list, so there is no argument that is serves US interests. That means Wikileaks guys are not journalists or a news organization. They are partisans. The question is what free speech rights they have, or ought to have, nonetheless.

I don't have a problem with using a copied argument. Arguments stand on their own. However, the source should be acknowledged and instigator should defend the arguments. Failing to do so is bad conduct.

Current espionage laws make it illegal to transmit classified data. If A steals the plans for making a nuke, and B transmits the plans to al Qaeda, then B is liable under current law. The Supreme Court, however, has made the law largely unenforceable.

There is a way to legally declassify documents. Wikileaks could send a copy to the State Department, asking permission to publish it. The State Department would then redact most of the material on the grounds it was correctly classified as SECRET. Then Wilileaks could sue in the Federal Courts on the grounds that the secrecy laws were not correctly applied. Then the courts decide what is properly kept secret and what is not. This procedure is current being used by an ex-CIA guy who has written a book.

I think any Wikileaks debate ought to focus on how classified material can be declassified. Should it be up to the independent judgment of Jullian Assange whether or not nuclear launch codes, or lists of terrorist targets, or State Department luncheon chatter ought to be kept secret? Or should it be through legal channels?
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
Indeed, Mirza. I will be posting another challenge as my first opponent forfeited and my second opponent plagiarized.
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
Mirza
Waste of a possibly good debate.

http://www.nydailynews.com...
Posted by Korashk 5 years ago
Korashk
/// He didn't release documents he felt would threaten lives. ///

This. IIRC they review every document and make a judgment call on whether to release them. If a document seem like it might bring harm it isn't released/its release is delayed.
Posted by Sieben 5 years ago
Sieben
This is 2010

Let us imagine 2015 :D
Posted by dinokiller 5 years ago
dinokiller
I dunno, i mean if things happens like US Operations accidently killing civilians and they try to prevent it from being published, the WikiLeak should be publishing it.

Its just some news we dont want to left ignored.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Brenavia 5 years ago
Brenavia
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: klpmok
Vote Placed by ReptiDeath 5 years ago
ReptiDeath
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 5 years ago
Vi_Veri
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Freeman 5 years ago
Freeman
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 5 years ago
SuperRobotWars
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 5 years ago
J.Kenyon
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by numa 5 years ago
numa
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by RougeFox 5 years ago
RougeFox
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
DanielleXenith967Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70