Julian Assange: Neither Saint Nor Sinner

The WikiLeaks controversy is unfolding in exactly the way almost everything else in this country unfolds – in a yawning divide lined with yapping dachshunds.

The lefties see WikiLeaks’ head drip, Julian Assange, as a crusader to be hailed, not jailed. The right wants to off the miserable terrorist (Note to righties: Look up the defnition of terrorist before any more name calling) on general principles. The whole sordid affair has become a thermonuclear Jerry Springer show of freaks, geeks, and an audience cheering and jeering so loudly no one can think.

The vast majority of the 250,000-plus cables are mundane. The administrivia that keeps a bureaucratic juggernaut juggering. While a good number of these are classified, the nation probably would’ve suffered little if they had been declassified.

Karzai is Incomptent? I’m Shocked!
Then, there are the embarrassing missives. Unflattering things that local ambassadors said about their hosts. Memos along the lines of “Hamid Karzai is an incompetent pootiehead who can’t be trusted to run sheep herd, much less a country riven by war. And he wears a cape too for Chrissake.”

Karzai a cloaked incompetent? Who knew?

These revelations come as no surprise to those on the receiving end.  Cables from any other country on the planet contain similar comments almost word for word.

And mixed in with the rainforest-sized pile of dubious junk are those cables that actually reveal something important.  It’s rumored that some of them may actually contain truly classified information and would probably be better left secret.

Face it, the world needs whistleblowers. They help give the general public a bit of leverage against the crushingly powerful government and corporate  citizens. But as Assange is finding out, they usually end up in ruin. Ask Daniel Elsberg and the ratter outers of Philip Morris.

In the end, America will be unlikely to suffer any lasting damage other than a bruised ego. The hurt feelings will go away. However, the truly classified parts will casue some short-term dangers. But, aside than the sheer size of the leak, this is the kind of stuff that spies steal every few years. It may turn out that the most important task is figuring out how someone got so many of the crown jewels instead of containing the current damage.

With Assange under arrest, next up comes the legal wrangling.

The charges of rape sex by surprise (WTF?) may just be a way to hold onto Assange until they can get him on the higher charges or it cold be a political charade. Remember, one of the women making the allegations may have connections with a CIA operative. In any case, investigate and if there is sufficient evidence, try him.

Of the lesser leaks, either drop the charges because no actual damage was done or treat them lightly. You’ll have lots of other opportunities to shackle him in his cell at a country club federal pen.

Throw the Books at Him
Of the larger leaks, throw the book at him commensurate with what the evidence and law suggest. Not for treason as Moosilini wants (Note to Sarah: He’d have to be an American to charge him with treason.). Not as a terrorist, because (and I assume here that you righties aren’t still reading the definition) he isn’t one. Try him under US espionage laws. But if he drops his promised dime on the US banking system, I vote AMNESTY!

He broke those laws and he’s entitled to a fair trial under them. We can’t just become a lynch mob of Newt Gingrichi and hang him without a trial elst we cause more damage to our image than calling Putin a crook (Again, what a frickin’ surprise!).

In a way, the real issue here isn’t what he released or didn’t release, it’s who is impartial enough to decide which secrets are the ones we need to keep. Sunshine and legitimate national security secrets don’t always go well together.

If we leave the task solely to the agencies involved, you’d get a disaster similar to Gingrich’s newest great idea – letting companies decide how much tax they should play. Leave it solely to the professional politicians and every little securo-turd that flushes down the pipe will be thrown at their opponets before James Bond could get a plan together to steal them.

We need some balance, a referee. Perhaps Tony Hayward or  Joe the Plumber are available.

I hear they already have the striped shirts, whistles, and the poor (in)sight of any NFL referee.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Tags: cables, daniel ellsberg, Hamid Karzai, Jerry Springer, julian assange, National Security, newt gingrich, Sarah Palin, sex by surprise, Tony Hayward, wikileaks (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

Agree the world does need whistleblowers

WL's primary purpose in life is just to be a drop site for anyone, anywhere. What I really like about all the coverage and - as you've colorfully put it - the yipping dachsunds - is that inside of that entire thread not one example has been found of Wikileaks ever revealing anyone's identity.

Of course, the guy who leaked some of the Afghan war stuff, ended up getting nailed - but it was because he was turned in by a friend, not Wikileaks.

 

Mazeltov!

Good post.

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-08 02:41PM | 0 recs

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