A government gone mad, a media gone flaccid: Attacking the Wrong People
What does it say about the the American government, its president, and its military today, that the the largest military/intelligence organization in the history of mankind has launched a global manhunt for Julian Assange, head of the Wikileaks organization? And what does it say about corporate American journalists that they attack the only real journalist in the White House press corps, when she alone has shown the guts to speak truth?
The Hunt for Julian Assange
Consider first the case of Wikileaks founder Assange, whom Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, warns is in danger if found of being snuffed by the Pentagon’s search teams. First of all, let’s make something clear: he is “guilty” of no crime, but only of doing what American journalists should have done long ago: exposing the crimes of the US government. His Wikileaks famously published the leaked military video showing that the crew of a helicopter gunship in Iraq in 2007 had shot up and killed a group of innocent Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and laughed and mocked the victims as they were slaughtered. Now the same whistleblower website threatens to release hundreds of thousands of State Department cables that, among other things, reportedly include embarrassing comments by US officials about foreign leaders.
How is it (mainstream journalists ought to be asking but aren’t), that the Pentagon can unleash its vast intelligence resources to hunt down the Australian-born Assange, but cannot bring itself to devote those same resources and commitment to hunting down Osama Bin Laden, the man they claim is behind not only the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon itself, but also the resistance to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?
I’m not sure which is the bigger scandal here: the Pentagon’s grotesque misallocation of resources, or the media’s unwillingness to point it out.
There is no indication or claim by the government that Wikileaks has paid anyone anything to reveal US secrets--in fact the government claims it isn’t even interested in arresting Asange, just in “trying to convince him” not to release those cables. (Yeah, sure. I believe that like I believe the government wants fair hearings at its secret military tribunals in Guantanamo.) The secrets he has disclosed have been volunteered to Wikileaks by government and military whistleblowers, one of whom, Army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning, is now under arrest in Kuwait, a US client state where there are no protections against torture. Note that even what Manning did should not be considered a crime in any just, open society. He didn’t endanger US security as claimed; rather, he revealed a possible crime--the killing of civilians by US forces--that the government itself was covering up and refusing to investigate. (He says he tried to pursue justice within the military chain of command and was ignored, which is why he turned to Wikileaks.) The man is not criminal or traitor. He's a hero.