Julian Assange is NOT a terrorist, or a traitor, and perhaps not a criminal

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You all know it by now: Wikileaks, headed by an Australian who goes by the name of Julian Assange, released troves and troves of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables.

Condemnation of Assange has been swift and and hysterical. The hysterics have defeated normal brain functioning; there has been a steady stream of grossly negligent, erroneous statements calling Julian Assange a “traitor”. He is Australian, not American. Therefore, he owes no allegiance to the United States and his actions cannot be interpreted in any manner as treasonous.

Then there are the Sarah Palins of the world. On her facebook page, Palin made some pointed remarks on Assange:

He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.

Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

As far as the Pentagon knows, none of Wikileaks’ actions have actually shed blood, according to a report by media outlet McClatchy:

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell has said previously that there was no evidence that anyone had been killed because of the leaks. Sunday, another Pentagon official told McClatchy that the military still has no evidence that the leaks have led to any deaths. The official didn’t want to be named because of the issue’s sensitivity. (emphasis added)

Even with out a shred of evidence that Julian Assange has caused any  harm to anyone, Sarah Palin and others have hinted that the best manner in which to prevent future leaks from Wikileaks is to “hunt down” Assange in the same vein as hunting down Osama Bin Laden.

Revealingly ,  there is a high probability that thus far Assange has done nothing that violates any applicable law. According to an editorial in the Washington Post, former federal prosecutor Baruch Weiss reveals that Assange’s actions may not be illegal in the least bit.

What law did Assange violate? It will surprise many that there is no statute making it illegal to reveal classified information…there is no catch-all law that simply says, “Thou shalt not disclose classified information.

Indeed, when Congress tried to enact such a statute, President Bill Clinton sensibly vetoed it.

The government may try to charge Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, but that is problematic as well. To be successful in charging one under this act, the prosecution “must prove, among other things, that a defendant knew that the information he was disclosing was potentially damaging to national security and that he was violating the law.”

And, Weiss cleverly asserts, in his defense Assange’s first witness would be the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has stated that the hoopla over the impact of the releases on foreign policy have been “fairly significantly overwrought” and that he believes the consequences of the release will be “fairly modest”

Perhaps the weak case against prosecuting Assange is a motivating factor in the calls for Assange to be pigeonholed as a terrorist so that he can be disposed of with ease. A helpful reminder: assassination by employees of the US government or by anyone on behalf of the US government is prohibited by law.

A Disturbing Analogy

Julian Assange is not Osama Bin Laden. Not even close. While there is ample evidence Bin Laden intended to and did carry out terrorist acts(i.e. kill thousands of civilians and claim responsibility for it), there is NO evidence that Assange intended kill anyone, or that his actions have recklessly caused the deaths of anyone.

This unfitting analogy is fairly mainstream in US political circles, uttered by government officials such as Rep. Peter King(R) of Long Island. Thus it would appear that Assange’s palpable ire of all things powerful–the U.S. government being one the most powerful entities out there, if not the most powerful–is justified in light of the immediate aftermath of his actions.

Elements of the US and other world governments want Assange in jail, or dead, even if he has not committed a crime. I suspect it has to do with the future. Even if these particular diplomatic cables have not glanced a significant blow to the world powers, a more shocking one in the future may.

Many have asked, including myself, whether Assange is acting for his purported ideal of greater transparency or for his own exponentially growing ego?

But the converse must be asked as well: Is the U.S. governments’ stridently angry response to Wikileaks due to a sincere concern for the well-being of peoples’ lives? I do not think so; rather, I believe real danger Wikileaks poses is not to others’ lives, but  to the entrenched and growing power of world governments, ones that have, indeed, ended far more lives than any document dump could end.

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2 Responses to “Julian Assange is NOT a terrorist, or a traitor, and perhaps not a criminal”

  1. Cockroach People Says:

    While I think some of the leaks are not helpful (like private comments about dorks like Kim-Jong-Il), perhaps even harmful to our foreign policy; I agree that he is not a terrorist or a traitor even if he were a US Citizen.

    What’s really mind-boggling is the actual charges against him. The women did not want to charge him with rape because they had consensual sex, but then for the second round he didn’t have or wouldn’t use a condom; so one freaked out and tried to find him so he could get checked for STDs. The other women met up with the first women and then made the same claim about the condom which then evolved into a rape claim after fancy lawyers became involved. But rape is a term of art in Sweden that differs somewhat from rape in the US. Their third degree rape can, I guess, include consensual sex but if the person assertively tells the other person that he doesn’t like to wear condoms then that can be construed as rape.

    Is there a conspiracy against Assange? Perhaps, but I don’t think the US cooked it up. Sounds like someone figured Assange was famous and seized the opportunity.

    Again, if a rape really occurred then the bastard should be locked up. But at the very least the charges seem to be conveniently timed.

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