Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Julian Assange And That WikiLeaks Leak

Lately, the news has been awash with the story of the Swedish Website, Wiki leaks, which is run by an Australian web hacker named Julian Assange, that has published hundreds of classified United States Intelligence documents. Reactions have been as diverse as they have been many, and I have heard and read them all from the laiser fair - those who think it doesn't matter, to the extreme - those who believe that the perpetrators should face the firing squad.

I have even seen the confused - those who don't know the difference between Mr. Assange and Osama Bin Laden and believe that America should invade Sweden in order to take out the terrorist. In all, it has been a very interesting week of great confusion largely stemming from the novelty of this crime (if I can call it that) committed against the country. People don't quite know what to make of it because this is the first of its kind. Therefore, nobody seems to know under what criminal group to classify Mr. Assange, or what group to classify his crime. Is he a spy or a terrorist? Is his crime treason or is it terrorism against the United States?

And nobody seems to know, which is why you hear all of these references when Mr. Assange and Wiki leaks are being spoken about. Sarah Palin referred to Mr. Assange's crime as a treasonous offense in her tweet, the other day, where she also blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop the leak. Other politicians have called for the arrest and extradition, to the United States, of the Wiki leaks founder to face justice for the commission of this crime.

Even political pundits and news anchors on television don't seem to fully understand what this leak is all about and what risks, if any, it poses to the government of the United States. Many of them fall in the group of people who see no harm, whatsoever, that this leak can cause the country and are actually applauding Wiki leaks for "bringing the truth to the people."  I have seen some question the Secretary of State who said that "leaks like this can tear at the fabrics of responsible government."

The truth about this leak is that while Mr. Assange can't have committed treason for the simple fact that he's not a United States citizen, that does not, in anyway, ameliorate the seriousness of his crime against this country and its people. Like Senator Clinton said, this crime can really cause great destruction to a government if it continues unchecked. It's true that the documents that have been leaked, so far, contain nothing that is very harmful to the country but that doesn't mean that the country is home and dry unscathed.

Yes, the leak has not done any physical damage but it has harmed relationships that has been built over the years with blood, sweat and financial resources. The documents in this leak contain trivial stuff like Gaddafi's mistress and a jibe at the French President but that's not the issue. The issue is the crisis of trust that this has brought between us and our allies. How can our allies continue to have faith in our ability to keep our secret discussions secret?

Now, we have our friends and allies wondering what will be the next things to be leaked as we have proved that we are incapable of keeping secrets.That is definitely not how to maintain the trust of others, or earn it. The people who believe that the leaks don't matter say that citizens deserve to know everything their government is doing on their behalf. They, therefore, believe that leaks like this should come more often and some are already calling Mr. Assange a hero.

This, to me, is the most naive of all the positions I've seen taken on this issue. It is bothering on stupidity to think that it's safe to put everything the government does out in the public domain, especially in this day and age. We might as well have our enemies send a representative and put them in the room every time we are formulating a new policy on how to check mate them. That will be better because the representative will not have to take the minutes of such a meeting back and they will have to depend on what he can imbibe during the meeting, unlike this leak which has the ability to give them facts to keep and consult forever, if they want.

A government is like an individual, and every individual has secrets. You have secrets because you are in competition, at all times, with other people for everything, be they jobs, promotion, top spot on the stock market, you name it. You don't want others to know what hand you'll play next because if they knew, they might beat you to that job or promotion, or get on the market and spoil the opportunity. Governments are like that, too, and we don't want North Korea to know what we are planning for their nuclear reactors, nor do we want Iran to know. Therefore, it's simply stupid to say governments shouldn't have secrets just like it is to say individuals shouldn't have secrets.

While I don't subscribe to the extreme beliefs of those calling for Mr. Assange's execution, I believe that he has committed a grievous crime against this country and its people and should be brought to justice. That is why I support the stance of the Obama administration when it says it will find any possible legal means to bring him to justice. What Wiki leaks is trying to establish is a very dangerous precedent and that should not be allowed to happen. This thing, if it is left unchecked, has the potential to be more damaging to this country than Al Qaeda could ever be. It has to be stopped.


  1. who is senator clinton?

  2. Commercial secrets to promote competition are very different to democratically elected government's secrets to mislead it's public. Do not confuse the two. People have a right to know what is done in their name.

  3. That these leaks prove there are people who need to be brought to justice, I agree, but those people are not Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The US has a history of this kind of diplomacy and intervention in other countries affairs since WW2, especially in Latin and South America (where the incidents go back 150 years) and the Middle East. The Viet Nam war was sold to us on lies, we've overthrown a score or more democratically elected governments and installed military generals or strong arm dictators in their place who's loyalty was/is more to the US than their own people and country. All because might makes right.
    Many citizens of this country are not proud the rest of the world is scared to death of us like they would be a drunken teenagers playing with dynamite. We don't take it as source of pride that half the world hates our guts and it has nothing to do with our freedoms, which are being torn at by our supposed leaders so they can be allowed to conduct war easier and with less dissent.
    Of course the government considers them a dangerous thing. This is not about secrets and if it were, a person's secrets and the secrets of the world's remaining -- for now -- Super Power are like comparing sharks to mosquitoes. My secrets are not going to end up in bloodshed or wars or 'regime changes' -- maybe I'll be embarassed, maybe someone will be mad at me. A ridiculous comparison I see made by many to justify what the US does and why its secrets and behavior should be kept in the dark.
    In my lifetime the lying began with u-2 and has continued unabated; those older than me can go back to the late 40s and remember statements made that were bald faced lies designed as self-serving reasons for imperialistic wars or "police actions" and government and election intervention. Our last 3 major enemies were all either created by us or supported or put in power by us -- AQ, Saddam, The Taliban.
    I can see no way this benefits the US or the world. Since We The People are the United States, these decisions made by a few, usually unelected older white males who seem to think if you can do it, it's okay have created chaos and death for millions of innocent people who have wanted merely to live their own lives under their own leaders. If Wikileaks can make us take the first steps toward renouncing empire and imperialism and return to being a Republic with a standing army for defense, the entire world would gain. The cables are written in many cases by those who need to be brought to justice. Assange is the messenger and the message is there may still be time to wake up and quit thinking that without our military intervening around the world, it will fall apart, It won't.
    But it will never happen if we consider the precedent set by them to be more dangerous than the precedents set by our own government.

  4. Thanks gentlemen/ladies for your comments and I must say that I appreciate them very much. I will only make one request that when next you leave a comment that you may also leave a name so I can know, for sure, who I'm talking to.
    Having said that, anonymous 1 senator Clinton is, of course, Mrs. Hilary Clinton, former fist lady and former senator from New York and the present Foreign affairs secretary of the United States.

    Anonymous 2, yes, I agree with you that commercial secrets are different from govt. secrets but don't forget that the govt is also a commercial entity. The way you, as a commercial entity is in competition with other commercial entities is the same way that govts are in competition with other governments and must maintain their own secrets.

    Anonymous 3, I am not trying to imply that our govt is perfect, it is not, just like every other govt everywhere in the world. We have done some terrible things in the past and keep doing terrible things but that should not mean that our govt shouldn't maintain some secrets. It's a competition to exist in the world and to win or stay ahead, like we want to do, our govt needs to maintain some secrets. If the world was just America I would say put everything out there for us to see as we have the right, like you mentioned, to know what our govt does on our behalf, but, sadly, it is not. Anything you make public is seen by the whole world including our competition and enemies which makes it imperative that we keep our cards close to our chest. We have no choice but to trust those we elect to do right by us which is why we should all be more careful with our votes. Being more careful with our votes is the solution and not hoping to have no state secrets, that's not practical. Once more, thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.

  5. "Yes, the leak has not done any physical damage but it has harmed relationships that has been built over the years with blood, sweat and financial resources."

    I definitely agree with you. Govt has secret that should be kept (for good or bad). I think we have to discern between secrets and lies. Just like an individu, govt need space to keep their secrets.. I'm not quite agree with Julian Assange's action to hack govt information, its like stealing. But we can thank him because maybe this case can lead the international order to build a law regarding this issue... Well, i do believe that all things work for our good :D

  6. I have mixed feelings regarding Wikileaks, however I don't think there are any laws on the books that the US can use to arrest or prosecute Assange. If he can be arrested for publicizing secrets that were given to him the same thing could apply to the editors of the New York Times.

    I am very interested in the recent information Assange has procured regarding overseas banking. US corporations have outsourced jobs and some are also outsourcing their money (stashing profits offshore to avoid US taxes). I hope some heads roll over this and some policy changes are made. The corporations are making patsies out of us all and apparently some politicians have secret accounts also. It has the potential to be a very big scandal.

  7. I had never in my LIFE been afraid to speak my mind in my own country until this past year. The US’s behavior is unbeLIEVEable to me right now. I’m in shock. I realy hope that wikileaks stay's on his foots and not give up!!

    Den Haag the Netherlands

  8. Thanks for reading and commenting everyone. den haag, I believe that nobody should be afraid to speak their mind anywhere in the world but I also believe that free speech should be tampered with a great deal of responsibility. Like I said on an earlier post, what if this document leaks into the hands of people who would use the sensitive information in it to harm America and its people. Wikileaks has been editing what they put out and have basically just given out gossip, so far. So what if the documents fall into the hands of people who would not be as responsible?

    No country will be happy to have its secrets floating around in no man's land, therefore, don't be surprised by the US's reaction. I don't mind leaking corporate secrets when they're breaking the law but playing with state secrets like wikileaks is doing is playing on very dangerous grounds. The risk involved is just too big for it to be funny.

  9. The blog proper is very sound.If anything a little soft on the wrong doer.There can be no administration without secrecy.An unholy secret plot can be unearthed, but not all the things necessarily ,and in the public interest, done.
    The greatest crime is to be soft on crime.