by John Hawkins | November 30, 2010 9:36 am
Wikileaks’ deliberate disclosure of these diplomatic cables is nothing less than an attack on the national security of the United States, as well as that of dozens of other countries. By disseminating these materials, Wikileaks is putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world. — Joe Lieberman
These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies. President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. — Robert Gibbs
One of the weirder tics of modern civilization is that oftentimes, even in matters of life and death, many people would prefer to lose in a politically correct manner than win easily, but make people angry in the process. So, we put nonsensical, self-defeating limitations on ourselves to try to avoid angry editorials and hurt feelings.
Take warfare, for example. We’ve built an overwhelming, nearly unstoppable war machine that can turn any military force that goes up against it into cat food and then we’ve proceeded to create mind numbingly stupid, overly legalistic rules of engagement that nullify many of our advantages. We have a military capable of reducing whole regions to rubble in days and yet we struggle to deal with Somalian pirates and Taliban cavemen because we can’t bear the idea that there might be an unflattering piece in the New York Times if we accidentally kill some of the “civilians” who, short of picking up a gun, are doing everything they can to help our enemies.
We’ve seen the same sort of stupidity in our airports where we treat home grown 80 year old nuns and small children as if they’re just as great a potential threat as a 21 year Muslim man from Saudi Arabia. Rather than acknowledge the painfully obvious fact that some people are more likely than others to engage in terrorism and take it into account as Israel’s El Al airline does, we’ve got TSA security groping people’s crotches and looking at them naked despite the fact most experts agree it won’t do anything to stop the threats those security measures were ostensibly put into place to thwart.
Additionally, we’ve created these same sort of unnecessary problems for ourselves with classified data. In recent years, when leakers have turned crucial national security data information over to newspapers, we’ve made minimal efforts to determine their identities and have done nothing to punish the papers that have acted as freelance intelligence agents for Al-Qaeda. At a minimum, we should be putting these reporters in jail for contempt of court until they give up their sources, so we can put the leakers in jail — but we haven’t even bothered to do that.
Unsurprisingly, since we haven’t treated the problem seriously, it has gotten worse. Julian Assange at Wikileaks has released massive amounts of classified data. Some of it is embarrassing. Some of it is very sensitive. Some of it could have political ramifications for our friends around the world, and worst of all, some of it could lead to the deaths of people who’ve risked their lives to help America. That’s the first reason why the CIA should have already killed Julian Assange.
1) Julian Assange aided the Taliban and risked the lives of Afghans who helped American forces: Some people are appalled by the idea of assassinating Julian Assange. But, why aren’t those same people appalled by the fact that Julian Assange released classified documents that he knew would lead to our Afghan informants and their families being marked for death by the Taliban?
The Times revealed that the names, villages, relatives’ names and even precise GPS locations of Afghans co-operating with Nato forces could be accessed easily from files released by WikiLeaks.
Human rights groups criticised the internet site and one US politician said that the security breaches amounted to a ready-made Taliban hitlist.
…Mr Assange said: “No one has been harmed, but should anyone come to harm of course that would be a matter of deep regret – our goal is justice to innocents, not to harm them. That said, if we were forced into a position of publishing all of the archives or none of the archives we would publish all of the archives because it’s extremely important to the history of this war.”
These people risked their lives to help us and Julian Assange knowingly chose to put a death sentence on their heads and the heads of their families. Why is his life worth more than their lives? Is the idea supposed to be that they’re just poor, simple people from Afghanistan while Assange is a sophisticated Westerner? So his life is supposed to be worth something while their lives are meaningless? In my book, they risked their lives to help American soldiers, while Assange is an enemy of America. So, their lives are worth a lot, while the world would be better off without him in it.
2) Killing Julian Assange would send a message: Julian Assange is not an American citizen and he has no constitutional rights. So, there’s no reason that the CIA can’t kill him. Moreover, ask yourself a simple question: If Julian Assange is shot in the head tomorrow or if his car is blown up when he turns the key, what message do you think that would send about releasing sensitive American data? Do you think there would be any more classified American information showing up on Wikileaks? That’s very doubtful. Do you think the next cyber punk who thinks it is a game to put classified information on the web would think twice? Yes, you bet. Legally, we may not be able to do a lot to Assange since he’s not an American, but killing him would do more to protect our classified data than any new security system.
3) You can’t run a government without secrets: There’s a quirky sort of thinking on the Internet that goes, “The public has a right to know. Information wants to be free. The more you know the better.” There is some truth to that, but as often as not, it’s complete horseflop. If you don’t believe that, post the password to your email account and all your credit card info on the Internet. Let’s see how much your information wants to be free then.
Some things need to be private, particularly when a government is dealing with sensitive foreign affairs and warfare. You reveal intelligence methods and it warns the enemy. You post battle plans and it gets people killed. You put what’s said in private out in public and relationships between nations can crumble or it may even get people killed. To immature, arrogant man-children like Julian Assange, this is all a big game like Civ5 or The Sims. Unfortunately, there are real lives at stake here that shouldn’t be held hostage to the whims of a spoiled brat who won’t have to clean up the bloody mess he leaves behind.
4) Releasing the information to the world is even worse than giving it to a single foreign government: Make no mistake about it: If we knew an Iranian spy had acquired the same information that Wikileaks has and he intended to hand it over to the Iranian government, the CIA wouldn’t hesitate to kill that spy if it was the only way to stop him. While we might prefer to arrest him , few Americans would protest if a CIA sniper killed that spy and retrieved the data before he could cross into Iranian territory.
Assange has one-upped that spy. He’s not just giving sensitive information to one unfriendly regime. He’s giving sensitive classified information to every hostile government in the world. Julian Assange may not be in Osama Bin Laden’s league, nor is he using the same methods, but he has the same goal: To do as much damage to the United States as humanly possible. Assange is an enemy of the American people and our country will be safer when he’s dead.
5) We need to regain the confidence of our allies who’ve been burned by these leaks: If you’re a foreign government, how can you confidently work with the United States when anything you say may end up being revealed publicly by Julian Assange? If you’re Pakistan, how can you work with us on counter-terrorism? If you’re Saudi Arabia, how do you work with us behind the scenes to stop Iran’s nukes? If you’re Egypt, can you afford to work with us to limit the Palestinians’ access to explosives? How do you do these things when what you say today may be in every major newspaper in the world in six months because somebody sent the information to Julian Assange? The first step towards convincing other nations that they can trust us again would be make this a better world by removing Julian Assange from it.
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