As has probably become rather clear over the last several days, the US Government, amongst others, has gone quite mad. It has ceased to be ruled by reason, because it no longer understands the law. I don’t doubt that legions of US functionaries were ordered to find a way to prosecute Julian Assange. His actions lacked, shall we say, a certain ‘truthiness’ in the eyes of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Joseph Liebermann, et al. It isn’t that they felt Assange had broken US laws, they knew he had. They could feel it, as solidly as they could feel the podium they gripped with clenched fingers.
And so, they went mad, and took the US Government with them. Since Assange had done something illegal, it was only to find the specific laws he had already broken. Guilt had been already established, so there was no need for considering any possibility that he was innocent. In a way, they were right: he could not be innocent, because it seems there is no law for him to be guilty of.
But this was how the US Government went mad. It went mad, because it no longer understood the boundary between legal and illegal; the line had gone away, to be replaced by the sense that everything which was not for its benefit, was illegal. Like the patient at an asylum who stalks the floors insisting he is Bismarck and Napoleon III, the US Government is screaming that it is right.
It is right when it says that Julian Assange has committed treason. Somehow it escapes them that Assange is an Australian citizen, and cannot betray his nonexistent US citizenship. He is to be prosecuted under laws which might not be applicable to his case. US law, as I have read online, seems to be geared toward the person who passed the information (eg Pfc Bradley Manning), and not an editor-in-chief.
The US is right, when it says that WikiLeaks will be prosecuted. It seems to be forgotten that the US Government tried this against the New York Times, over the Pentagon Papers. That effort failed. Perhaps the efforts against WikiLeaks will succeed, but it is not a sure thing. It would be precident setting, rather than following a well-beaten path.
It is right when it says that soldiers and civilians are going to die in droves because of the WikiLeaks Afghanistan files. This has been admitted to be false by Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, but he still manages to insist the contrary. But yet, the Afghanistan files did not prompt Assange being hounded into the ground. It did not prompt WikiLeaks being hounded by various organs of the US Government, masquerading as private corporations. (Amazon, PayPal, et al)
To put it simply, all the other WikiLeaks releases together did not elicit the response which Cablegate by itself has received. This would seem to be further evidence that the US Government is quite mad. Truly credibility-damaging things, such as the Afghan War Diaries, Collateral Murder, the SOP manual for Guantanamo, et al, get protested. There are intimations that Assange has been a very naughty boy. WikiLeaks is frowned upon in a most parental, “we’re very disappointed with you, son” manner, and then everyone seems to shuffle back to their cubicals. Those reports weren’t going to file themselves, after all.
Cablegate saw WikiLeaks being pounded on financial and infrastructure fronts concurrently. Cablegate had landed Julian Assange in prison, facing rape charges, extradition to Sweden, and the looming darkness which seems to pulsate over on the other side of the Atlantic. Senator Joseph Lieberman has his beady eyes fixed on Assange; the old man wants to write the law which will make Assange a criminal. Perhaps there will be a law passed, or even a Constitutional Ammendment, which simply states “We the People of these united States hereby declare that Julian Assange is to be drawn and quartered.”
Then again, Senator Lieberman might not be so clever as to think of this. Let us hope his mind continues to be shrouded.
It should be clear by now that I am a supporter of WikiLeaks. In my opinion, no government should have any secrets. Ever. Not even military ones. Once this is allowed, once the inch is given, I believe firmly that the inevitable result is torture and infinite detainment without charges. I would suppose that you, as well, are a supporter of WikiLeaks, for your various reasons, but I expect my most avid reader will be the Google crawler.
There are many questions which we must be asking ourselves. The most important one, however, is not ‘why is this happening?’ It is perfectly obvious on several levels why Assange is in prison and WikiLeaks persecuted. The US Government is quite mad, and simply does not like what it is hearing about itself.
No, the correct question is, ‘why now?’ Why has Cablegate tripped the wire, as it were, and caused the US Government to explode in madness? Why not Collateral Murder, or the Guantanamo Operations Manual? Cablegate was drolly categorised by Chancellor Angela Merkel as “…part of every better party”, and not something that got her “all that excited.” Why should it have fomented madness when all before it had been met with grumbles?
Although there are many answers, the application of Occam’s Razor allows us to arrive at the obvious: there is something inherently different about the 251,287 files which Pfc Bradley Manning loaded onto a CD marked “Lady Gaga”. There is something amidst this party chatter, to paraphrase the Chancellor, which is so disturbing to the US Government, and other Governments around the world, that a firestorm developed in the blink of an eye.
But let us consider what Cablegate is composed of. It’s perhaps unfair of Chancellor Merkel to have called it party chatter, albeit chatter from better parties; it’s good enough to get the Croatian ex-PM charged with corruption. Simply put, it’s gathered information, of lower-level importance, from foreign government representatives. At times it’s dinner chat; at others, carefully structured meetings at the US Embassy. Nevertheless, it’s a flow of information out of the foreign government, into the US Embassy, and off to the State Department and other Embassies.
Government information is typically compartmentalised. Only a handful of people might know this or that, even if it isn’t terribly important. From these cables, the host government’s intelligence agencies might be able to trace the flow of information back to the source, the US spy. The actual content of these cables (ie “cocktail chatter”) is irrevelent, that is what must be made clear. It’s the flow of information, the route which it had to take to get to the US Embassy, which is critical.
Consider the Australian Senator Mark Arbib: he has been recognised as a US spy, and might face legal repercussions. This is due to his comments released by Cablegate. If critical Australian security information (which will likely remain secret to us) has been passed to the US, there is now a very obvious person to investigate. Even if the source of critical information was not Senator Arbib, it is quite possibly someone he considered ‘reliable’. Thus, an entire spy ring could conceivably be busted apart, due to one little cable of largely irrevelent content.
However, the political turmoil in the discovery of Senator Arbib’s duplicity comes only after 1,193 cables, out of 251,287. It isn’t a great stretch of the imagination to consider what might come out of the remaining bulk of cables. This is what the US Government is deathly afraid of.
Simply put, Cablegate represents the dismantling of the US State Department’s unethical spy ring throughout the world. This is the greatest espionage and diplomatic catastrophy in the history of humanity, and it has been a long time in coming. If you want peace, there can be no secrets. Without WikiLeaks, we are infinitely further away from peace.