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!

Rep. Rogers: We Should Have Considered Executing Daniel Ellsberg

We had Congressman Mike Rogers on MSNBC today regarding his controversial comments calling for capital punishment of Pvt. Manning, who is charged with releasing classified information to Wikileaks.

Rep. Rogers was very clear and re-iterated his call for execution of Bradley Manning if he is convicted of the charges because he believes they are tanamount to treason.

But he went further when I asked him what he would have done with Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers. He said he wasn't clear on the facts of that case, but if Ellsberg had released information that put soldiers in the field at risk that he would have "absolutely" callled for his execution. I don't think even Nixon went that far.


I've actually said before that I understand why the military has to arrest and punish leakers like Pvt. Manning. As much as those leaks added clarity to the kind of wars we've conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can understand why the military can't have privates making that decision on their own. However, I do think there is an option between not doing anything and executing him.

And what would happen if we held other leakers like Scooter Libby, Bob Novak and Karl Rove to Congressman Rogers' standard? Eventually, all three admitted that they released the name of a secret operative to the press when they outed Valerie Plame (they claimed they didn't know how secret her role was and eventually there was no trial on the substance because Scooter Libby obstructed the investigation -- and was convicted for doing so). Leaking her identity could have gotten her and her contacts in the field killed. Should Libby, Novak and Rove been tried for treason and executed?

Finally, it also seems pretty clear that someone close to Gen. McChrystal leaked his plan for Afghanistan before President Obama made his decision on escalation (this was before the on-the-record interviews with Rolling Stone). Should we find who that guy is and hang him, too? What if it was Gen. McChrystal himself? And how come Republicans weren't calling for executions during all of those leaks?

It turns out that things get pretty messy once you start calling for executions. Let's take a deep breath and figure out what the real solution is to a whistleblower that reveals important information that the public has a right to know but violates clear military rules to do so. That's a complicated question and one that doesn't get solved by killing anyone.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Rep. Rogers: We Should Have Considered Executing Daniel Ellsberg

We had Congressman Mike Rogers on MSNBC today regarding his controversial comments calling for capital punishment of Pvt. Manning, who is charged with releasing classified information to Wikileaks.

Rep. Rogers was very clear and re-iterated his call for execution of Bradley Manning if he is convicted of the charges because he believes they are tanamount to treason.

But he went further when I asked him what he would have done with Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers. He said he wasn't clear on the facts of that case, but if Ellsberg had released information that put soldiers in the field at risk that he would have "absolutely" callled for his execution. I don't think even Nixon went that far.


I've actually said before that I understand why the military has to arrest and punish leakers like Pvt. Manning. As much as those leaks added clarity to the kind of wars we've conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can understand why the military can't have privates making that decision on their own. However, I do think there is an option between not doing anything and executing him.

And what would happen if we held other leakers like Scooter Libby, Bob Novak and Karl Rove to Congressman Rogers' standard? Eventually, all three admitted that they released the name of a secret operative to the press when they outed Valerie Plame (they claimed they didn't know how secret her role was and eventually there was no trial on the substance because Scooter Libby obstructed the investigation -- and was convicted for doing so). Leaking her identity could have gotten her and her contacts in the field killed. Should Libby, Novak and Rove been tried for treason and executed?

Finally, it also seems pretty clear that someone close to Gen. McChrystal leaked his plan for Afghanistan before President Obama made his decision on escalation (this was before the on-the-record interviews with Rolling Stone). Should we find who that guy is and hang him, too? What if it was Gen. McChrystal himself? And how come Republicans weren't calling for executions during all of those leaks?

It turns out that things get pretty messy once you start calling for executions. Let's take a deep breath and figure out what the real solution is to a whistleblower that reveals important information that the public has a right to know but violates clear military rules to do so. That's a complicated question and one that doesn't get solved by killing anyone.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

May 28, 2008 - Peace and Human Rights Rally in Utah to protest Bush / Romney visit

A lot of people might recall then Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's speeches the last two times Bush came to Salt Lake City. (2006 speech) (2007 speech)

Well, Rocky is planning an even larger demonstration when President Bush and Mitt "double-gitmo" Romney visit Utah again next week.

Since leaving office in Jan, has formed High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project, which is sponsoring the event.

Rally for Peace and Human Rights.

If you're in Utah next Wednesday, May 28th, take an hour from 5:30 - 6:30pm at Washington Square in Downtown Salt Lake City (451 South State Street) and lend your voice to this protest.

Even if you're not in the Salt Lake City area next Wednesday, High Road could use a a little help with money to help defray costs. This is a very expensive undertaking and High Road is a non-profit still in its very early stages. You can help out HERE.

There's more...

SIGN THE LETTER - Hold Congressional Hearings to Restore the Rule of Law

So ... what do George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Robert A. Feuer, Rocky Anderson, Blase Bonpane, Theresa Bonpane, Ramsey Clark, Mimi Kennedy, Andy Jacobs, Jr., James Abourezk, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Paul Findley, Kevin Zeese, John Nichols, Tim Carpenter, Marcus Raskin, Jonathan Kozol,  and Harry Belafonte have in common?

They all signed a letter in January of this year (below the fold) asking Rep. Conyers to hold hearings into abuses and violations of the law by members of the Bush administration. The letter got some press coverage, but the Judiciary Committee has so far failed to act.

Now it's time for John and Jane Q. Public to raise their voices (via email and website) to up the volume quite a bit.

http://www.restoreruleoflaw.com

Please add your name to the call for hearings by the House Judiciary Committee and forward the link below to everyone on your email list.  Through networking, we can generate hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of supporters for hearings.

http://www.restoreruleoflaw.com

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads