By Grady Hawkins
The first shots have been fired in this new digital global war. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has surrendered to authorities in London, to answer charges of sexual assault. Charges already clouded by accusations of American Intelligence involvement. A cold war resurrected honey trap engineered to ensnare and eliminate an embarrassment. But Mr. Assange is far more than a thorn in the side of empires. He very well could be the focal point in a global power struggle pitting ordinary people against those who rule them. As he fights extradition to Sweden, governments are closing ranks, determined to crush this dissent.
George Orwell‘s wildest dreams pale in comparison to what’s at stake. And what’s at stake could very well affect global interests.
The gauntlet was tossed when WikiLeaks and its reckless band of maniacs leaked a reported 250,000 classified U.S. State Department documents.
Thousands of pages guaranteed to once again fill with rage and righteous indignation the power elite who call the shots in this American empire.
Shocked Senators and caustic Congressmen howled for blood. Who are these traitors to the cause who dare to release secrets that could bring aid and comfort to the evil doers who despise the liberties we enjoy? Who are these quislings who would endanger our courageous captains in cutaways who stalk the halls of our diplomatic posts across the globe?
The White House is calling for an investigation, the Justice Department wants indictments, and the State department has issued an apology to any and all foreign officials who may have been compromised. Especially those spending way too much money inside the Elliot Spitzer call girl club for middle aged pettifoggers in pinstripes.
Unusually virulent Right-wing radio demanded that the authorities round up the usual suspect; the renegade Julian Assange. Brutal pressure forced the Swiss to close his accounts. Or cut a deal whereby the traditional discretion allowed those banks would no longer be compromised. Others fell into line, coerced or compensated. Pay Pal, Master Card and Visa are refusing to process his cash flow.
Free-lance and contract killer alike must be disappointed. Surely the reward for whacking Assange would have capped a career.
The only laws being mentioned being broken are obscure espionage acts from World War One. WickiLeaks can’t be prosecuted for espionage. If they were spies they would have sold the then secret swag and joined those other financial fugitives in Costa Rica and Bolivia. Nor did they steal anything. They simply published what they were given. The Supreme Court cried no foul when Mr. Ellsberg and the New York Times splashed the Pentagon papers all over the front page. (This event helped spawn those notorious blockheads known as the plumbers, who skulked in the basement of the Old Executive Building, annoying the rest of the staff).
No wonder the government wants everything kept quiet.
Of course our own bought and paid for free press is calling for heads to roll. They have to protect their own interests and that interest is “access”. Without this magic word it alleges it can’t keep proper watch and insure the people have a right to know. It also wants to stay on the cocktail list inside the beltway and be invited to breakfast with the Obamas.
As we go to press the latest batch has been described as a top secret target list for terrorists. Unfortunately, Osama has been forgotten and doesn’t need any help from WikiLeaks. His cave has wireless internet and a direct line to Pakistani intelligence.
Embarrassing in that the accused mastermind behind these leaks is a 22-year old private first class named Bradley Manning. He has been described an intelligence analyst. I’m not familiar with Private Manning’s military occupational specialty (MOS). Perhaps he is an analyst, but most enlisted ranks are ordinary clerks, drivers, cooks, or infantrymen with access to nothing.
How does he steal hundreds of thousands of confidential State Department cables?
No wonder the powers are furious. At a Christmas book signing for children wanabe President Mike Huckabee asked that Manning be executed. God bless us every one.
If the American people were aware of just how corrupt the Karzi government is in Kabul they just might question why we are propping them up. If the American people knew how much they were stealing, how much opium is being produced, how many innocents are being killed to no purpose, they might ask questions.
Too late, those cables were released in the last few days.
If there had been a web site like WikiLeaks prior to the Invasion of Iraq, perhaps that event would not have occurred. Weapons of mass destruction would have been exposed as a fraud, Ahmed Chalabi and his cohorts unmasked as thieves, and the main stream press unmasked as enablers cheerleading an administration hell bent on disaster.
Judith Miller and her editors would have been tarred and feathered.
Neo-cons locked up and the keys tossed into the Potomac.
One of the most shameful episodes in the history of this country could have been avoided.
The fact is governments lie to their people. All governments lie. They also spy on each other, stealing economic, diplomatic and military secrets. If not for their outright usefulness then for leverage; the ability to blackmail an official. They also make incredible blunders. Sometimes deadly ones.
So governments have to cover up, and the easiest way to do that is to cry National Security and classify every piece of paper in sight. Or email.
The government has to protect its own internal interests. And that means it has to protect the reputations and careers of those officials who are overtly partisan, incompetent, indifferent, or just plain stupid. Those cost over runs and duplicate invoices that siphon off millions of tax payer dollars into a looking glass labyrinth of accounts have to be protected. Fiscal freebooting and out right piracy have to be buried in a bureaucratic dead man’s chest.
The friendly fire incident or the military bungle that exposes the murderous Major or bungling brigadier has to be suppressed. War crimes have to be hidden from everyone. American troops gunning down unarmed villagers simply will not do. It’s bad for business. It tarnishes the image of Mr. Eisenhower’s military industrial complex and is inconvenient for the congressmen and senators who take its bags of cash.
Secrets are kept for these reasons and these alone. The government wants WikiLeaks terminated with extreme prejudiced to protect itself-not National Security-whatever that is. There is no document that should be kept from the American public.
Any Historian can tell you that the worst blunders and bloodbaths that happened occurred right out in plain sight. The most cursory survey will reveal hundreds of examples.
Indeed, the United States government is still keeping locked away “secrets’ from the decades past. Probably all the way back to the American Revolution (what about those colonial contracts for flintlocks?)
We have not had the last leak. This story will percolate for quite some time. Its effect on our right to know as citizens we can only guess. It will probably be chilling.