The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
joshuaXlawyer
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Wikileaks

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2010 Category: News
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,527 times Debate No: 14029
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

Danielle

Pro

Dear Fox News lovers:

I'm calling you out specifically considering I can't seem to find a competent opponent...

"There are traitors in America. Whoever leaked all those State Department documents to Wikileaks is a traitor and should be executed or put in prison for life." -- Bill O'Reilly.

"Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty" -- Mike Huckabee

" [Assange] is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." -- Sarah Palin

"Wikileaks should be declared terrorists." -- Sean Hannity

I'm wondering who among you will defend these sentiments from your beloved pundits.

Wikileaks is 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].

I personally think Julian Assange is among the best and most important journalists of our time, and would love to debate the merit of Wikileaks. 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://lieberman.senate.gov...
joshuaXlawyer

Con

My questions and definitions.......

Definition's:
1.Terrorism- The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda.
Violence against civilians to achieve military or political objectives.
A psychological strategy of war for gaining political or religious ends by deliberately creating a climate of fear among the population of a state.

Questions:
1. What for any reason should anybody give out government information of classified documents and be published globally on the internet for every country to see?
2. How far does the freedom of press extend to opinion rather than important classified documents?
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

My opponent begins with two good questions, and I'll refrain from responding to the first directly since that is the entire focus of the debate: why the government should be exposed for certain crimes. Regarding his second question - freedom of the press - I'd say it's a tricky question that commits the begging the question fallacy. The term "classified information" refers to top secret information to which access is restricted by law. However, the very topic of this debate is IF certain things SHOULD be classified. Therefore asking whether or not classified information should be available is assuming that certain information should be "classified" in the first place. It's fallacious. Nevertheless I'll get on with my contentions...

It's important to understand just how important of a role the media plays in our society. News organizations are responsible for shaping the way we view political candidates - the ones we elect into office to run our country and essentially forfeit our liberties to. Additionally the media determines which stories to report and which not to. Indeed conflicts of interest shape what is and is not reported to the public, which can have detrimental results on a society that relies on the news to help make monumental decisions that affect the way we live our lives and perceive the world at large. Because of this, it's important for the media to be as fair and honest as possible with reporting. However, journalism has become an industry not about informing the public and keeping governments honest, but just 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, 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 these think tanks that shape political discourse and influence the way people view particular people and policies. It becomes very apparent after understanding the ties of these people to politicians and other leaders that they have incentives to be less than forthcoming on various issues paramount to public interest. The fact that the majority of people are receiving limited and tainted information that promotes a particular agenda essentially likens us to manipulated pawns specifically kept uninformed to be manipulated.

Enter Wikileaks. 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 - especially when it involves the loss of life.

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. 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.

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://www.guardian.co.uk...

[3] http://www.fair.org...

[4] http://www.law.cornell.edu...
joshuaXlawyer

Con

joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

This is my third opponent who has forfeited this debate with me :( Please extend my arguments...
joshuaXlawyer

Con

joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Extend my arguments. Thanks anyway, Con.
joshuaXlawyer

Con

First off i must apologize to my opponent for the forfeits seeing how the season is here, with the christmas time and all, i just did not have the time to sit down a debate.
So, im truely sorry for wasting your time, as a good deed i will give my opponent the win for attacking her case now would be abusive since she cannot defend.
I will vote pro for my opponent and i hope her a merry christmas, as well as every one reading this merry christmas to you as well. Again im truly sorry i just was busy with family matter about the holidays.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by initable 5 years ago
initable
I'm wondering why Assange an Australian, is being treated as a criminal for doing far less than Dick Cheney did by revealing the identity of an active CIA agent and is still allowed to walk the streets IN America. Who is more treasonous one who presents the information with Malice or one who presents the information for public assessment
Posted by historyhermann 5 years ago
historyhermann
Here is some pro-WikiLeaks stuff I wrote:
- "...WikiLeaks never leaked the information...WikiLeaks never stole the information from the U.S. government. A U.S. soldier, possibly Bradley Manning leaked some or all of the documents to the U.S. government. So technically they did not leak the document[s], the person who gave them to them did. I think if there wasn't anything revealing in the documents then why does it jeopardize national security. Mainly it seems to just embarrass the U.S. government. Why should you lock up people if they embarrass you?...WikiLeaks has its freedom of expression...The leaks were embarrassing, but much of the information was already known or could be inferred. As many people in established media and elsewhere have said, most of what's be published so far is diplomatic gossip. On another point, WikiLeaks cannot be charged under the Espionage Act because they did not work the person who leaked the information, they just published the information..." (http://hermannview.tumblr.com...)
- Why Julian Assange is not guilty of the Espionage Act: http://hermannview.tumblr.com...

- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: "While it is unclear whether these individual measures taken…infringe on…human rights obligations…taken as a whole they could be interpreted as an attempt to censure the publication of information thus potentially violating WikiLeaks' right to freedom of expression"
Posted by Silver_Falcon 5 years ago
Silver_Falcon
I would give some sources for both debaters claiming the wikileaks can be something else than what is widely accepted (genuine whistleblowers). Use it or leave it be:

http://wemustknow.net...

"WMR's sources believe that it is Wikileaks that is part and parcel of a cyber-COINTELPRO campaign, such as that proposed by President Obama's "information czar," Dr. Cass Sunstein."

http://arthurzbygniew.blogspot.com...

"The US has a hand in this plot, and these reports (posted by the WikiLeaks website) are part of the US psychological warfare," former Chief of the Staff of the Pakistani Army General Mirza Aslam Beg told FNA in Islamabad on Tuesday."
http://arthurzbygniew.blogspot.com...
Posted by Shtookah 5 years ago
Shtookah
Dude..........
Posted by historyhermann 5 years ago
historyhermann
I am for keeping WikiLeaks as a check against government power and corruption. Without WikiLeaks, secret government corruption would not be there for the public to see. Everyone has a right to see information, especially the public. Too many secrets are assigned to documents by the government. That being said, some secrets should be kept. I think the assigning of secrets should be reviewed to make sure we don't have secrets when all they are doing is deceiving people.
Posted by Volkov 5 years ago
Volkov
Woops.
Posted by Volkov 5 years ago
Volkov
It'd be lovely if you threw in Tom Flanagan's comments in here. I know he's not Fox News, but he is conservative.

ttp://www.youtube.com...
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