Wikileaks is an organization dedicated to blowing the whistle on veiled corruption in any number of different bodies, be they corporate or government. They do this mainly through whistle-blowers within organizations who send them sensitive documents which they subsequently publish, sometimes directly, and sometimes through an agent like a major news organization such as the New York Times or a foreign publication.
This past year, Wikileaks became a much more common name following the release of many sensitive documents which were released containing sensitive and secret information regarding America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time, the US government decried the release of the documents, citing national security concerns, however, as our own military leaders have confessed to, there is no evidence to support the idea that the release of the Iraq/Afghanistan war documents endangered or lead to the death of anyone.
With this latest dump, however, things have changed considerably. The reaction the to the last release of documents was a mere slap on the wrist compared to the actions which are now being taken now.
Let's start with the reaction by many of our elected "leaders" and the abhorrent things they've been advocating we do in retaliation for Assange's perceived crimes.
-"I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law." -Mitch McConnel
-Dana Perino sugggested that the US go after Assange's and Wikileaks financial assets and "put the squeeze" on him and his organization. Subsequently, we've seen just about every organization he's used to collect funds for himself and Wikileaks abandon him including Visa, Master-card, and Pay-pal among others.
-Sarah Palin called Assange an 'Anti-american operative with blood on his hands, and said that we should pursue him with the same urgency that we do Al Qaeda.
So, we're equating the release of documents which contain embarrassing information which nobody has denied is untrue, but has in fact validated (given Hillary Clinton's recent world-wide apology tour) with terrorism?
The cry we hear most often from the transparency haters is that these leaks are going to compromise our security. This is a claim that i am beginning to grow sick from every time I hear it. I wouldn't have thought it, but apparently we Americans are enormous cowards. Ever since 9/11, that has been the dominant excuse for everything we do, and we have willingly handed over our civil liberties to the powers-that-be in the name of security, forgetting , seemingly, that we live in a nation that previously held as one of our core virtues to be liberty. However, liberty and security are not two features which can readily exist together in harmony. The price for one, is the other. The price for the liberties we possess is the knowledge that we are probably going to be less safe overall because maniacs will most definitely, from time to time, abuse those liberties to take innocent life.
This fact is not a failure on part of liberty, nor a call to restrain them, but merely a natural reaction by authoritarians who feel we ought to likewise be bowing to the hand of power. Sadly, this is the path the United States has allowed itself to tread the past decade since we were attacked. Our fear has become the dominating attribute of our lives and now, it is playing it on the world stage across the shoulders of Julian Assange who is bearing the brunt of where our fear has brought our society.
His actions have struck tremendous fear into the hearts of a few powerful people and shamefully, rather than defending him for being brave and exposing corruption and secrecy in high places (where are you now small government, people!?) many of us sit back with our tail between our legs and acquiesce while nodding our heads stupidly as the Barack Obamas, Hillary Clintons, Sarah Palins, Mitch McConnels, and others call for Assange to be criminally indicted, and in some instances, assassinated, all for releasing papers which the government didn't intend for your or I to see- yours and my government. Is the government accountable to us? Or are we accountable to them?
It speaks volumes that so many outside the United States are so eager to aid us in apprehending Assange. Swedish authorities have been trying for several months to apprehend Assange on suspicion that he may have raped two women. The accusations, conveniently arose around the time of the release of the Iraq/Afghanistan war documents. Sweden claims it merely wants to question Assange concerning the allegations, yet despite offering on numerous occasions to make himself available via Skype or some other service wherein Swedish authorities could question him, they have refused. Today he turned himself into British authorities after they put out a warrant for his arrest, and soon he'll be sent to Sweden. After that, who knows that is going to happen. I fear he's going to be extradited to the US, where we'll do who knows what. Given our history of dealing with enemy combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan and even those we found to be innocent or had little to no evidence with which to convict, I do not have high hopes for Assange should that scenario come to pass.
This is a litmus test for the nation. I do not think it is one we are going to see positive results, and I fear it may be the gateway into an even darker period for the nation than we are currently in.