Friday, December 10, 2010

Thoughts On Assange And Wikileaks

When Wikileaks first came out, my first suppositional impression was "If somebody can leak the illegitimately classified or concealed wrongdoings of the world via this website, then somebody can also leak the legitimately classified goings-on of the world via this website."

Obviously that is exactly what happened.

When Julian Assange first started making news, my first suppositional reaction was "He might be an iconoclast who wants to expose the illegitimately classified or concealed wrongdoings of the world via this website — then God help him — but more likely he is an anarchist who just wants to stir shit — and then God damn him."

Obviously that is exactly what happened too.

This was generally obvious, but it really wasn't until Assange captured and released pretty much every greasy diplomatic cable of the last decade, essentially the entirety of the world's governments' private gossip about each other, that Assange really began to show his true colors.

(Christopher Hitchens said it best: "One of civilization's oldest and best ideas is that all countries establish tiny sovereign enclaves in each other's capitals and invest these precious enclaves of peaceful resolution with special sorts of immunity. That this necessarily includes a high degree of privacy goes without saying. Even a single violation of this ancient tradition may have undesirable unintended consequences, and we rightly regard a serious breach of it with horror.")

But, finally, it was when threatened with arrest... when Assange threatened to release all of the previously redacted documents in their unredacted states, putting lives and governments unquestionably at risk, that the rest of the world who were not already convinced of this man's perfidy could finally see.

It is an unfortunate fact, though, that Assange will never be prosecuted for being part of what is essentially a spy ring: First Ammendment rights are well established on the subject that receiving of and publishing of (as opposed to theft of) state secrets is not a crime. Add to that the fact that Assange would be standing at the defendants table with his co-publishers at The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel and you can see the impossibility a prosecution would be. Senator Joe Lieberman may be a bit of a dingbat, but his assertion that not only Assange but those newspapers as well might be guilty of violations of The Espionage Act, while inaccurate in the legal sense, is quite accurate in the logical sense.

In other words, the actions of Assange were indeed an infamy, but there is little under the law that can be done about it.


Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, this administration promised an open and transparent government. Guess just not this transparent. Politicians and their ilk are all hypocrites. Say one thing do another. Glad to see WiliLeaks post what really goes on. Just as they tell us, "If you have nothing to hide, then what is the problem?" I guess it only applies to the subjects of the kingdom and not the King and his court.
You been to an airport lately? Government wants to strip you of your dignity and your clothes just to get on an airplane. Maybe a bit of the same treatment back will let them know how we feel.
Send a balikbayan box lately?
Customs taking complete cargo vans and opening every single box to look for things that go BOOM. Do you think things get put back the same way they were packed by the OWNER of those boxes?
Yeah, I am all for letting the government have some of their own medicine, that they freely tell us that it is good for us. Well then it is good for them.
If the government can't protect the classified info, then who is to blame? Maybe they just have a problem on their hands. Google "NASA classified hard drives" and then you wonder who is keeping who safe. Google "FAA and private aircraft registration" and then you can see the pattern. Who should be held accountable. Let's attack the messenger, and not the real culprit. Who is in charge to protect the nation's secrets? I will venture to guess that it is the man sitting in the White House.
He makes policy and appoints the people responsible. If he can't appoint someone that is competent then it is squarely his fault.

Don B said...

Yeah he's probably jumped the shark from his original mission, but before he gets in trouble I want to see what he has on BP and B of A.

Personally I don't really care how big the tits are of Khadafi's nurse are. I think he should have stuck to the true insider information stuff. I am sure Wall Street has more than a few demons we all should know about.

Hey Jil how about that Bernie Sanders? Ya know I am starting to like that guy. We need more Bernie Sanders in Congress and less of the usual suspects. He makes so much sense sometimes that's it's hard to believe we don't have more people like him in leadership posts. His filibuster rant was truly inspirational.

The democrat and republican tools that we have now and their constant vomiting of partisan drivel is really tiring.