Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wikileaks Ecuador style

Check out this editorial in Ecuador's La Hora about the penalties someone would bring down on themselves if they tried to release information a la Wikileaks in Ecuador. You would go to jail and pay somewhere between $500 and $10,000. When the information is hacked from the state, you face even worse consequences because of national security laws. It can vary a bit depending on whether you are the individual doing the hacking, or if you are just disseminating the information.

So let's see someone publish sensitive state information that the Ecuadorian government wants secret. I suspect we would hear a lot about jail time, and not much about the joys of transparency.


Roque Planas 10:10 AM  

Thanks for this! Interesting piece. It appears to me that whether we're talking about the United States, Britain, Ecuador or Assange, the most important issue at play is power rather than transparency.

Having said that, 3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine is a far cry from trial by a military court, solitary confinement and the possibility life in prison or the death penalty, which is what Brad Manning got.

Greg Weeks 10:51 AM  

True, though I don't know what penalties would be added if you were in the Ecuadorian army.

boz 10:55 AM  

Back in 2007, the Ecuador media broadcast leaked videos of then Finance Minister Ricardo Patiño meeting with Venezuelan bankers to coordinate manipulating the bond markets. Correa's immediate response was to ban the media from airing any additional videos that were obtained covertly.

That adds to the irony of Correa and Patiño, now the foreign minister, defending Assange and Wikileaks.

Anonymous,  9:21 PM  

Roque, 1) Bradley Manning doesn't face the death penalty, 2) solitary confinement and jail observations had a great deal to do with a suicide watch, and 3) there is a big difference between being an employee with top secret clearance (and then leaking what you have agreed to keep secret) and being a journalist or civilian. I think it is clear Manning voluntarily joined the military and agreed to military terms and conditions, including the military judicial system.

SwampNigger 12:14 AM  

People have the duty to expose crimes, and the US is guilty of perpetrating myriad crimes against humanity.

Manning brought to light the cynical, villainous, and criminal actions of the US military and government.

Your framing of this issue, Greg, neglects attention to contexts--US comtempt for sovereignty and democracy, in general, and a willingness to kill innocent civilians (terrorism) to further it's tyrannical dominion.

Greg, if you would be outraged and vociferous about exposing the US government's malfeasance and well documented criminal behavioi as you are developing tenuous charges of hypocrisy against Ecudador and Assange....well, you would stop receiving a paycheck and would most defiantly never be allowed tenure.

JB 3:10 AM  

I have to agree with SwampNigger on this.

Greg, you need to understand the roots of where the information you read is from. La Hora has declared itself as an "Oposition" newspaper. Meaning that their political and financial interests demand that they strech the truth in order to reach their goals.

Please do some research on your own before you take these political rants as truth.

In Ecuador we are not a terrorist country, we do not have wars and therefore we have nothing to hide. In a transparent democracy very few things that are "state secret".

SwampNigger 10:35 PM  

JB, here in the US intellectuals are frightened into submission, and rare are academics that expose massive crimes on the part of the state..

The US has killed millions to become top dog--and Greg knows his blog is being scrutinized by superiors.
What is off-putting is the paucity of compelling argument, and refusal to debate his suppositions and assumptions.

The obsequiousness and dishonesty are what is so dispicable.

Anonymous,  6:26 AM  

Such tortured rhetoric. How about providing some concrete examples of how WikiLeaks exposed a myriad of crimes against humanity. How did it reveal the US willingness to kill civilians? cynical, criminal and villainous actions? Bradley Manning and his defenders would like to argue in court the leaks were minimally impactful. In public though Assange and Bradley's defenders exaggerate the consequences. A number of private cables reveal normal diplomatic exchanges within the US govt. A handful of resignations, some public embarrassment and apologies for speaking candidly follow. We did learn that a US helicopter unit in Iraq mistakenly killed innocent civilians--but aside from the drama surrounding the videotape--it hardly qualifies as crimes against humanity.

SwampNigger 1:28 AM  

Was my response censored?

Just asking.

Ron Williford,  3:38 PM  

Having been a member of the Armed Forces, please allow me to provide the perspective of someone assigned the task of conducting preliminary investigations.

In our investigations, we had to present finding of fact, clearly identified conjecture and recommendations.

In the case of Manning, I could come up with a few charges that would not be too difficult to prove, those being, Article 80—Attempts, Article 81—Conspiracy, Article 92—Failure to obey order or regulation, and the big ticket charge, Article 106a—Espionage.

The military conducts routine training on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, violations and the related punishments, so Manning was undeniably aware of his actions. As further evidence of his knowledge, Manning reportedly masked the stolen data in CDs with a Lady Gaga logo. That covers the facts.

Conjecture, hmmm, that´s a tough one. A good place to start would be to question the transparency regarding Manning´s alleged motivation. It would take an exceedingly emotional impulse to throw all caution to the wind and disobey a lawful order, thereby exposing one´s self to discipline under the UCMJ. Add to this the fact that the documents appear to be a bit light in the villainous and criminal department. I would go back to square one and ask Manning what had him so upset that he would risk imprisonment. The fact that no one has been charged with a crime as a result of info contained in his leaks, I would be inclined to believe that there is another motivation, rather than a desire to blow the whistle on U.S. government bad guys.

My recommendation would be to throw the book at him. In many cases, military leaders have a number of disciplinary options shy of court martial at their disposal to take advantage of a teachable moment and not ruin careers. Use of the non-judicial avenues are the norm in the great majority of offenses. However, there are a number of egregious offenses that cannot go unpunished. Lying and stealing are chief among them.

Whether or not I have compassion or understanding for Manning, he is guilty by military standards.

dufferin 11:45 AM  

The guy writing this post gives credit to La Hora, whose CEO is Mr. Vivanco. Whoever in Quito knows who is this person. Besides, why he is not rather worried about the USA support to the Israel's killing of innocent palestinian people. One small bomb dropped off in the middle of nowhere is worth the lifes of thousands of people in Gaza!!

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