Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Crime Was Committed?

It appears that the politicians who are supposed to represent me are trying to convince me that a website, WikiLeaks, run primarily by a group of Australian citizens has, itself, done something illegal.

I'm usually not one to go out of my way to question things my representatives are saying, but in this case, I feel I have to.

Let me explore this a little bit (with the help of The Telegraph Timeline Reference).

December 4, 2007 A US Army operations manual for soldiers working Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay was posted on WikiLeaks. Some people wondered how the information was obtained, but nobody said anything about WikiLeaks being a terrorist organization.

September 16, 2008 E-mails from the governor of Alaska and vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account showed up. Turns out, she was using her personal account for official business. Sarah Palin and some of her supporters had terrible things to say about WikiLeaks (and still do to this day). Overall, nobody cared much.  Don't remember hearing anything about WikiLeaks itself doing something wrong though.

November 18, 2008 A Membership list for the British National Party (an ultra conservative party in UK politics) was posted to WikiLeaks.

November 17, 2009 Climategate. 1000+ e-mails from various climate researchers, mostly at the University of East Anglia were posted to WikiLeaks. Those who disagree with human-caused climate change celebrated the leak. Don't remember hearing anything about WikiLeaks itself doing something wrong.

April 5, 2010 Video from the cockpit of a US Army Apache helicopter in Iraq, attacking and killing 15 people, including two Reuters journalists. Many people legitimately questioned the value of posting this. Don't remember hearing anything about WikiLeaks itself doing something criminally wrong.

July 26, 2010 This is the last big one. Thousands of classified US military documents about Afghanistan were leaked to the web, and hosted by WikiLeaks. Lots of people didn't like it. However, the information within raised serious concerns about troop behavior in Afghanistan. So, few people were saying that WikiLeaks had done something criminally wrong, itself. People WERE saying that the information was posted irresponsibly, but I don't remember hearing the word prosecution applied to the WikiLeaks site.

Obviously, in all of the above, the sources of these leaks are up for prosecution if they are found.  That's not what I'm hearing this time.

Allegedly, some US citizen, and member of the US Armed Forces sent classified communications between US Ambassadors in foreign lands to this same group of Australian nationals with the expectation that those Australian nationals would post that information on the Internet site they run.  They did.

Which brings me back to the present.  Why am I hearing my politicians saying, now, that Wikileaks has, itself, done something wrong?  What, exactly, is different this time?

...Dismissing the hillarious political calls of "Treason" against people who are NOT US citizens. Dismissing that Amazon.com, Mastercard and PayPal have all stopped doing business with the web site on politician's suggestions that this company has done something criminally wrong. And dismissing anything silly that Sarah Palin has to say, being she was an early victim. Also dismissing anything that the Organization's leader may or may not personally be guilty of...

After all of that, what US law, or even what Austrailian law, is Wikileaks actually guilty of? Doesn't the USA protect free speech? I could have sworn that was one of the things that made me proud of this country.

Seriously, tell me.  I really don't get it.

1 comment:

  1. Gary, I hit you with this offline. I decided to post it here in the comments. This time, I proofread it and made some minor corrections:

    Yeah, Damian made that point to me as well, or maybe it was on his blog. I'm glad you elaborated and broke down the timeline.

    I personally feel this is another example of "Might makes right," or "The winners write the history books," or "Some people are more equal than others." Freedom of Speech exists until it becomes inconvenient for the powers-that-be to allow certain speech.

    This may sound conspiratorial; it's not. To me, it's human nature. Power corrupts. That is why democracy is the great equalizer for the people.

    I am personally going through this with a post I did about some NSF charges I was hit with from my Credit Union. One of their reps isn't too thrilled that it ranks high on Google Search; yesterday, she insinuated that I don't like Hispanics because I did an accent on the Podcast. She did it in a politically correct way, but the attempt to subtly discredit me and my complaint was there.

    So, I shut down new comments. We'll see what happens, if anything. Probably nothing, but it's instructive.

    Anyway, when I first heard about those other leaks you mentioned, I wasn't too thrilled with Wikileaks. I did a post at the time about how "loose lips sink ships." I have since changed my mind. They are, as Damian said, "The anti-Yeti."

    I also think others will keep holding governments and corporations accountable for the actions of their employees and representatives. We're in a new era, right? I think we are. I hope we are.

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