Wikileaks, Enemy of the State?
November 28, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – I’m starting to think this “Wikileaks Guy” (Julian Assange) should be declared an “enemy of the state” and treated as such. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. This is an American issue without political orientation. If you don’t think there can be an American issue without political orientation, read on.
On the eve of what is described as a massive leak of US diplomatic secret documents it’s important to think about what it is Wikileaks is doing and what it hopes to accomplish. The world needs an institution it can turn to to expose corruption in all forms and at all levels. Wikileaks is that institution. Chinese dissidents need a place to show the world the torture they suffer at the hands of an authoritarian government. Small guys in mega corporations need a site to tell the world the extant of the corruption that is an everyday reality. Whistleblower laws in our country have shown to be inadequate, something else is needed. Which is why Wikileaks has a place and should be a powerful force against corruption and evil. But to be that institution Wikileaks, every once in awhile needs to have a filter.
The exposure of diplomatic cables is that time. Our country requires it’s diplomats to be able to speak easily and fearlessly to one another in order to conduct the nation’s business. According to the Obama administration the forthcoming leak will damage our relationships with foreign countries and will directly put our troops in danger and indirectly put our country in danger. There is no purpose that comes to mind which makes the deaths of our troops worth exposing these documents.
It’s taken me a little while to come around on this issue. The first I heard about Wikileaks was in 2007 when Standard Operating Procedures for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Camp Delta, were released. It proved that certain prisoners were “off limits” to the International Red Cross. This leak had merit. It showed the United States, my country in violation of Geneva Convention rules. As a former soldier I hold the standards of my country very high. It pains me when my country fails in it’s moral obligations. Thus, at that time I felt that this leak was necessary and helpful toward fueling the Bush immorality debate.
The next big leak that caught my attention was video footage of a helicopter attack in Baghdad that occurred in 2007. Twelve people died in that attack to include two Rueters news staff who were killed when their camera gear were misidentified as weapons by the helicopter crew. Again, I thought this leak had merit. It opened the debate of whether the “Rules of Engagement” in Iraq were too loose. Iraqi support for the US invasion had slid dramatically by that time, mostly due to what they perceived as wild and reckless behavior by our military.
Both leaks ,while embarrassing to our country, most likely did not harm any US citizen and I supported Wikileaks’ anonymity policy and right to release the information. However, my perception and support for Wikileaks began to wane when on July 25 of this year, 9200o US, Afghan War documents were released. The information contained in these documents concerned all facets of our war against Al Queda and Taliban fighters. Military matters as well as diplomatic matters with our Allies inside Afghanistan and outside were detailed. For the first time, a release from Wikileaks had the real danger of harming our service members. This was the point in which the way I began to look at this organization began to change.
And now here we are. The world is as unstable as it’s ever been. War in the Korea peninsula is a very real threat. The Salt Treaty between Russia and the US is teetering on the whim of Republican politicians who are using the treaty as political toy. And, if you haven’t noticed we’re still very much at war in Afghanistan. There couldn’t be a worse time to have the world know what goes on behind the closed doors of our embassies and State Department.
If leaks like these can harm our people and our country why not label anyone or any organization as an “enemy of the state?” Why can’t they be shut down or if it can be proved that harm was done to our citizens why can’t they be plucked from their hiding places and prosecuted?
Listen, if you’ve read my stuff in the past you’ll know that I’m about as liberal as they come. This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Nor is it a Democrat vs. Republican thing. This is an American thing. I am first and foremost an American. The information that will be released is property of the United States. The very fact that Wikileaks possess it makes them guilty of possessing stolen property. The information will harm America. It’s time Wikileaks needs to be stopped.