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Old 2013-07-08, 03:57   Link #29281
MeoTwister5
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To me it matters because the truth can easily be used for good and for harm depending who wields it. The revelations could easily be used to bring real change by opening peoples eyes. At the same time it can be sold to the highest bidder to do some real damage.

It scares me that people actually don't give a damn about motivations. Iirc the times where we just went with the flow backing people claiming to wield the truth for genuine change, dictators were merely replaced by dictators.

Just look at Obama (oh yes I went there).
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Old 2013-07-08, 04:09   Link #29282
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
To me it matters because the truth can easily be used for good and for harm depending who wields it. The revelations could easily be used to bring real change by opening peoples eyes. At the same time it can be sold to the highest bidder to do some real damage.

It scares me that people actually don't give a damn about motivations. Iirc the times where we just went with the flow backing people claiming to wield the truth for genuine change, dictators were merely replaced by dictators.

Just look at Obama (oh yes I went there).
Well we KNOW he didn't sell the truth to the highest bidder. He gave it to the New York Times for free.

So what ARE you worried about?

Why are you using an example that isn't relevant to this case? I mean, you can accuse him of secretly being a Martian trying to initiate invasion by causing political discourse, but that would be as realistic as your claim that he could sell secrets for money.
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Old 2013-07-08, 04:21   Link #29283
MeoTwister5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Well we KNOW he didn't sell the truth to the highest bidder. He gave it to the New York Times for free.

So what ARE you worried about?

Why are you using an example that isn't relevant to this case? I mean, you can accuse him of secretly being a Martian trying to initiate invasion by causing political discourse, but that would be as realistic as your claim that he could sell secrets for money.
He's the only one who knows what his intentions and goals are.

If he's deep down truly doing this out of the goodness of his heart so that people can realize the panopticon they live in now, then I say more power to him and he deserves all the support he can muster from all fronts.

My point is that people are putting him up on too high a pedestal he may never live up to, if at all. And if he doesn't, and IF his world comes crashing down on him by the forces that be, so will the hopes and goals others have been (unfairly) burdening him with. He has more than enough problems as it is, and if he truly fights for the freedoms he espouses, than all the expectations people are placing on his shoulders clearly isn't making things any easier for him. People throw the label "hero" around too easily not realizing the burdens the title carries with it.
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Old 2013-07-08, 04:39   Link #29284
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
He's the only one who knows what his intentions and goals are.

If he's deep down truly doing this out of the goodness of his heart so that people can realize the panopticon they live in now, then I say more power to him and he deserves all the support he can muster from all fronts.

My point is that people are putting him up on too high a pedestal he may never live up to, if at all. And if he doesn't, and IF his world comes crashing down on him by the forces that be, so will the hopes and goals others have been (unfairly) burdening him with. He has more than enough problems as it is, and if he truly fights for the freedoms he espouses, than all the expectations people are placing on his shoulders clearly isn't making things any easier for him. People throw the label "hero" around too easily not realizing the burdens the title carries with it.
We call him hero for one reason only; to stop him from being murdered.

Make someone villainous enough, and they can be worth a hellfire missile to the face. If we don't give him good PR, he would be dead.
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Old 2013-07-08, 04:47   Link #29285
ganbaru
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At least 42 killed in Egypt, Islamists call for uprising
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...95Q0NO20130708
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Old 2013-07-08, 04:53   Link #29286
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Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
At least 42 killed in Egypt, Islamists call for uprising
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...95Q0NO20130708
Let the civil war begin!
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Old 2013-07-08, 05:07   Link #29287
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Originally Posted by monir View Post
Let the civil war begin!
I am just a bit saddened that the only way this can end is in the nation splitting in two.

This is what happens when people have elections, but don't understand the social contract of democracy. To start ripping up the democratic platform as soon as he got elected, is why the army kicked him off. And the only reason he did that was because he doesn't understand what being a democratic leader meant. They still think being a leader means absolute power. I am starting to think they are not so much corrupt, as not knowing how to actually rule democratically.
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Old 2013-07-08, 05:11   Link #29288
MeoTwister5
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The moment you think you RULE in a democracy is the moment problems start happening IMO.
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Old 2013-07-08, 06:28   Link #29289
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I'm afraid some people here are overly naive or idealistic about the nature of the Truthtm, treating it as though it were something universally black and white.

One's motivation for revealing the "truth" does matter.

I'm sure we're more than aware that there are many different ways to tell the truth.

Take the domestic Singapore story of alleged child abuse at a pre-school centre. As I explained in my post, while it's true that the centre operator did not immediately offer to show the parents the CCTV video of the incident, that is because their standard operating procedure was to review the video first.

This is to ensure fair treatment for teachers accused of mishandling children. There are often instances when unreasonable parents would raise the hue and cry for perceived abuse, when in fact no such act occurred.

The truth was that the childcare operator was trying to be fair and careful. But, told in a different way, enraged parents would quickly jump to the conclusion that it was trying to cover up wrongdoing.

It all comes down to the way you spin the story. So, yes, story angling does matter.

When you see the "truth" from a different angle, other "truths" may appear. That is the nature of truth. It is not absolute.

======

So, in the case of Edward Snowden, how do we know, for example, if he is telling the whole truth? In fact, the indications are that he has yet to reveal everything he purportedly found out.

And, lacking insight into the "big picture", how do we know for sure that Snowden fully understood the context of what he is revealing?

Why do we take his word at face value, and not give the other side the chance to reply, to explain?

All this is not to downplay the seriousness of the spying revelations. The concerns are real.

But, seriously, I wouldn't make Snowden out to be a big hero any more than I would regard Julian Assange as a hero.

Especially not after I've read further about their backgrounds.
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Old 2013-07-08, 06:30   Link #29290
risingstar3110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
To me it matters because the truth can easily be used for good and for harm depending who wields it. The revelations could easily be used to bring real change by opening peoples eyes. At the same time it can be sold to the highest bidder to do some real damage.

It scares me that people actually don't give a damn about motivations. Iirc the times where we just went with the flow backing people claiming to wield the truth for genuine change, dictators were merely replaced by dictators.

Just look at Obama (oh yes I went there).
But why do we allow the truth to be used as weapons in the first place? I means it will like back in Soviet Russia when information is limited to protect "the people". Is that how we are playing here?

On the motivation, you are generalising the situation rather than looking to case by case. If Washington actually stood up to fight against the Britain because of personal gain( maybe because he want a bigger share on slave trade for example....) would that make American War of Independent more wrong or mroe right than it is now?

Motivation can be used to judge the character of individuals, but events caused by such motivations have to be judged independently case-by-case. That's what i means
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Old 2013-07-08, 06:47   Link #29291
MeoTwister5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'm afraid some people here are overly naive or idealistic about the nature of the Truthtm, treating it as though it were something universally black and white.

One's motivation for revealing the "truth" does matter.

I'm sure we're more than aware that there are many different ways to tell the truth.

Take the domestic Singapore story of alleged child abuse at a pre-school centre. As I explained in my post, while it's true that the centre operator did not immediately offer to show the parents the CCTV video of the incident, that is because their standard operating procedure was to review the video first.

This is to ensure fair treatment for teachers accused of mishandling children. There are often instances when unreasonable parents would raise the hue and cry for perceived abuse, when in fact no such act occurred.

The truth was that the childcare operator was trying to be fair and careful. But, told in a different way, enraged parents would quickly jump to the conclusion that it was trying to cover up wrongdoing.

It all comes down to the way you spin the story. So, yes, story angling does matter.

When you see the "truth" from a different angle, other "truths" may appear. That is the nature of truth. It is not absolute.

======

So, in the case of Edward Snowden, how do we know, for example, if he is telling the whole truth? In fact, the indications are that he has yet to reveal everything he purportedly found out.

And, lacking insight into the "big picture", how do we know for sure that Snowden fully understood the context of what he is revealing?

Why do we take his word at face value, and not give the other side the chance to reply, to explain?

All this is not to downplay the seriousness of the spying revelations. The concerns are real.

But, seriously, I wouldn't make Snowden out to be a big hero any more than I would regard Julian Assange as a hero.

Especially not after I've read further about their backgrounds.
Yes. Everything I wanted to say, but just for my lack of eloquence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
But why do we allow the truth to be used as weapons in the first place? I means it will like back in Soviet Russia when information is limited to protect "the people". Is that how we are playing here?

On the motivation, you are generalising the situation rather than looking to case by case. If Washington actually stood up to fight against the Britain because of personal gain( maybe because he want a bigger share on slave trade for example....) would that make American War of Independent more wrong or mroe right than it is now?

Motivation can be used to judge the character of individuals, but events caused by such motivations have to be judged independently case-by-case. That's what i means
TRL covered this better than I can.
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Old 2013-07-08, 07:02   Link #29292
GreyZone
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That Egypt's politics would cumble was almost a given. If not even the USA can do "democracy" right, then how could Egypt possibly do it?

I mean look at the elections in the US: there are TWO political parties and they have established their power so deep into the roots of the United States, that it is as good as impossible for a third political party to be established. Also presidents have the right to select the highest judges for LIFETIME? How can you see these facts and say "the US is a democratic country"? In other countries new parties have a much easier time to be established, but still the main problem is that democracy's main flaw is that it gives too much power into the hands of the elected "representatives". It is actually more like an elected oligarchy.

So let us assume for the moment that the elections in Egypt were actually not manipulated. In this case the chosen representative did not meet the expectations of (a lot of) the people, but they were still stuck with the results of the election. So now, that it isn't working out as planned, what can those people do? Democracy has no "deselecting mechanism" from the people's side. So at the end the only way is to change it with violence.

Conclusion: The system is a big utter FAILURE.
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Old 2013-07-08, 07:56   Link #29293
GDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
And, lacking insight into the "big picture", how do we know for sure that Snowden fully understood the context of what he is revealing?
What other "context" do you need? It's Orwellian to the core.

Quote:
Why do we take his word at face value, and not give the other side the chance to reply, to explain?
They've had a chance, and they either lied (and then backpeddled due to contradictions) or pretended it isn't a big deal. That means that what was said is true.

Quote:
Especially not after I've read further about their backgrounds.
Why do their backgrounds matter? Would MLK be less of a hero if it turned out he was kinky? Would Mussolini be less of a villain if he adopted stray kittens so they wouldn't starve? No, because it's what one does for society that matters, not what useless drivel they post/do on their own time.
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Old 2013-07-08, 08:01   Link #29294
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyZone View Post
That Egypt's politics would cumble was almost a given. If not even the USA can do "democracy" right, then how could Egypt possibly do it?

I mean look at the elections in the US: there are TWO political parties and they have established their power so deep into the roots of the United States, that it is as good as impossible for a third political party to be established. Also presidents have the right to select the highest judges for LIFETIME? How can you see these facts and say "the US is a democratic country"? In other countries new parties have a much easier time to be established, but still the main problem is that democracy's main flaw is that it gives too much power into the hands of the elected "representatives". It is actually more like an elected oligarchy.

So let us assume for the moment that the elections in Egypt were actually not manipulated. In this case the chosen representative did not meet the expectations of (a lot of) the people, but they were still stuck with the results of the election. So now, that it isn't working out as planned, what can those people do? Democracy has no "deselecting mechanism" from the people's side. So at the end the only way is to change it with violence.

Conclusion: The system is a big utter FAILURE.
In the words of Wiston Churchill: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."


Sure it has a lot of issues but it's still a whole lot better than the alternatives.
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Old 2013-07-08, 08:23   Link #29295
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Originally Posted by Dextro View Post
In the words of Wiston Churchill: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."


Sure it has a lot of issues but it's still a whole lot better than the alternatives.
Democracy happens. But so far we see it is far more complicated than simply have an election. It seems only the superficial elements of democracy was being taught, and that's why it is a hit or miss whether it takes root or not.

Democracy can only work if everyone understand what elections truly meant, and what an elected leader is suppose to do. Just going through the motions without understand, means no real change in the politics. A big part is that the population has to get involved. It is easy to force a Monarchy or Aristocracy on people, because you don't need the population to do anything. But with Democracy, it is a social contract. Enough people need to be on the same page.

I don't have the answers. There had been many nations converting to democracy in recent history, in part to modernise. And there doesn't seem to be any patten on which attempts succeed and which fails. Sure, corruption and bad leaders occur , but many nations became democratic despite corrupt leaders. So it just seems like a luck of the draw in whether democracy can work in any place.
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Old 2013-07-08, 08:32   Link #29296
ArchmageXin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post

======

So, in the case of Edward Snowden, how do we know, for example, if he is telling the whole truth? In fact, the indications are that he has yet to reveal everything he purportedly found out.

And, lacking insight into the "big picture", how do we know for sure that Snowden fully understood the context of what he is revealing?

Why do we take his word at face value, and not give the other side the chance to reply, to explain?

All this is not to downplay the seriousness of the spying revelations. The concerns are real.

But, seriously, I wouldn't make Snowden out to be a big hero any more than I would regard Julian Assange as a hero.

Especially not after I've read further about their backgrounds.
The other side, I.E the government, has been replying. But so far all we heard is "Snowden is a traitor" "Snowden is a Chinese/Russian Spy"

The U.S government has not denied it spied on foreign civilian's phones and Emails like a global sized Statist state. The U.S government has not denied it spy even on close allies like Germany (exempt countries count are like 4? right?)

So in the end....should we just let them spy on everyone for their "own good"?

Edit: What if Edward Snowden's name was Edward Wang who work for the Chinese public security? I am sure he would be lionized as a hero even if he held orgies with underage girls.
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Old 2013-07-08, 10:27   Link #29297
TinyRedLeaf
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What other "context" do you need? It's Orwellian to the core.
I'll be the first to generally agree with adage that the end does not justify the means. But I'll also be the first to admit that this is just an ideal. It is very difficult to live up to it in practice.

The US government has already said that the surveillance is needed to pre-empt threats to national security. It has claimed that such spying has allowed it to prevent at least one terrorist threat.

It had also clarified that a secret court exists to impose legislative limits to such spying (but this applies only to US citizens; for foreigners, tough luck).

Of course, all these require you to take the US government at its word. Lacking the "big picture" view of all the potential threats to the country, we can't really decide whether these threats are real or perceived.

And I highly doubt that Edward Snowden was any more privy to the "big picture" than the rest of us. Given his background, I also doubt that he has properly assessed the full weight of the enormous pros and cons of the PRISM spying system before deciding to blow the lid on it.

It's notable that he decided to break the news through unofficial channels even though whistle-blower legislation is in place to allow individuals to bring to light egregious behaviour in the organisations they work in.

Sure, you could claim conspiracy theories about how his life endangered, and so on. But that's just what they are: conspiracy theories. We don't know if that will indeed be the case. We'd be guilty of pre-judging the US government if we were to indulge in such speculation.

If Snowden believed in the rightness of his actions, should he not also be willing to stand for his beliefs in a court of law? (I understand that his father's lawyers are currently trying to negotiate the terms of his return to stand trial, so I won't pre-judge the outcome.)

Unfortunately, given the low trust in the US government, it's also clear that few if any are willing to believe in what it says today. Frankly, the US government has dug its own grave and it will just have to live with the outcomes of its tarnished reputation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Why do their backgrounds matter? Would MLK be less of a hero if it turned out he was kinky? Would Mussolini be less of a villain if he adopted stray kittens so they wouldn't starve? No, because it's what one does for society that matters, not what useless drivel they post/do on their own time.
Their backgrounds matter because I need to assess the extent to which they have told the "whole truth". I need to consider whether they have twisted the "truth" to suit an agenda.

And yes, such distortions can happen. It would be naive to think they don't.

More importantly, even in the absence of an ulterior motive, accidents can happen based on how we report the "truth".

The story behind the man killed in famous 'Saigon Execution' photo


Quote:
Perhaps one of the most iconic images to come out of the Vietnam War, there is an undeniable brutality to this photo. But Eddie Adams — who won a Pulitzer Prize for capturing this shot — later admitted that it didn't tell the whole story and he stated that he wished he hadn't taken it at all.

Looking at this image out of context, it appears as though an officer is gunning down an innocent prisoner, perhaps even a civilian. You are apparently witnessing a savage war crime. That is why this image was adopted by anti-war protesters as an indictment against the Vietnam War.

But when you learn the story behind the man who is being executed in this photo, the image and the reasoning behind the execution becomes a little bit clearer.

The man's name was Nguyen Van Lem, but he was also known as Captain Bay Lop. Lem was no civilian; he was a member of the Viet Cong. And not just any member; he was an assassin and the leader of a Viet Cong death squad who had been targeting and killing South Vietnamese National Police officers and their families.

According to accounts at the time, when South Vietnamese officers captured Lem, he was more or less caught in the act, at the site of a mass grave. This grave contained the bodies of no less than seven South Vietnamese police officers, as well as their families, around 34 bound and shot bodies in total.

Eddie Adams, the photojournalist who took the shot, backs up this story. Lem's widow also confirmed that her husband was a member of the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong), and that he disappeared before the beginning of the Tet Offensive.

After being captured with the bodies during the Tet Offensive, Nguyen Van Lem was taken to Major General Ngoc Loan. In a street in Saigon, Loan executed Lem with his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson.

The general then walked up to Adams and said, "they killed many of my people, and yours too", then walked away.

Was this the right thing to do? As with so many things connected to war, the answer to that question is murky at best.

Military lawyers have not yet decided with complete certainty whether or not Loan's actions violated the Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of prisoners of war, so there is no official decision on the matter.

From Loan's perspective, the man before him was a cold-blooded killer who not only killed some of his friends and colleagues, but their families and other innocent people.

He was a dangerous man, who in the name of patriotism nonetheless believed his political stance justified his actions, as presumably did General Loan himself concerning the execution.

The question is, how would you have reacted, on both sides of the coin?

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2013-07-08 at 11:00.
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Old 2013-07-08, 10:35   Link #29298
GDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The US government has already said that the surveillance is needed to pre-empt threats to national security. It has claimed that such spying has allowed it to prevent at least one terrorist threat.
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Quote:
It had also clarified that that a secret court exists to impose legislative limits to such spying (but this applies only to US citizens; for foreigners, tough luck).
You mean the secret court that has allowed nearly (if not completely) 100% of requests? A rubber stamp court is no better than nothing.

Quote:
If Snowden believed in the rightness of his actions, should he not also be willing to stand for his belief in a court of law? (I understand that his father's lawyers are currently trying to negotiate the terms of his return to stand trial, so I won't pre-judge the outcome.)
The government has already proclaimed him a filthy traitor guilty of crimes worse than murder. His "rightness" is of no worth when they can easily toss his ass in guantanamo.

Quote:
More importantly, even in the absence of an ulterior motive, accidents can happen based on how we report the "truth".
Isn't basing the "truth" on the background of someone also twisting the truth? I'd like to call the Boy who cried wolf to the stands!
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Old 2013-07-08, 10:45   Link #29299
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Isn't basing the "truth" on the background of someone also twisting the truth? I'd like to call the Boy who cried wolf to the stands!
You're entitled to believe what you want.

I used the example of the Saigon Execution photo to show the parallels between that story and Snowden's allegations of government wrongdoing.

The truth is "twisted" all the time, depending on who you ask. The only solution is to look at as many possible angles as you can before you decide.

And in that light, yes, I need to know the messenger's background and motivation.

It's as simple as that. You're free to disagree if you wish.
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Old 2013-07-08, 10:58   Link #29300
GDB
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But as was already stated, the government has acknowledged it to be true. Their response is a combination of "get over it", "it's not as bad as you think", and "it's for your own good". You don't need to know Snowden's background at all for this.
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