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Do Not undermine a fundamental value
Published on December 7, 2010 By Bahu Virupaksha In International

One of the fundamental values that USA and the West propounded in its sustained campaign against the erstwhile USSR was the fact that dissent and freedom of expression is regarded as sacrosant in Western society. Now the fact that the Chinese dissedent who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year is regarded as a hero by large sections of world public opinion is a tribute to the propaganda machinery that worked overtime  to impress upon the world that dissent is not tolerated in the People's Republic of China and all totalitarian regimes stifle dissent using state power and the administrrative machinery.

Now compare the plight of Julian Assange the whistle blower who has exposed a large number of US diplomatic cables on his website. I do not think that the US foreign policy has been in any way undermined by the disclosures made by WiliLeaks. On the contrary, the world has only learnt to appreciate US statecraft in a difficult period in international, affairs. The fact that the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia are edginmg the USA to bomb the Iranians does not come as a surprise to anyone as the Saudis are known for their duplicity and perfidy. The fact that Saudis are finacing terror networks wedded to the Sunni cause is again no great revalationmmas the we were aware of this all through. Yes, the fact that the Yemenis are willing to lie to their Parliament about the USA bombing and taking "credit" for using the airforce against their own  people, came as a nig surprise even by the street smart logic of the Middle East. So far it was Israel which aws held up as the sole reason for all the unrest in the region. WikiLeaks has abundantly exposed the fact that the Sunni rtegimes of the region are also contributing in no small measure to the destablisation in the Middle East. Cynicism is OK provided it is backed by realpolitik.

Julian Assange has exposed the cables from the field and no more. Like the Pentagon Papers he has put into public domain certain facts and those facts in no way compromise the safety or security of USA. The US right wing aided by some Democrats like Joe Libberman want to impose limits on whitle blowing using the outdated Espionage Act which does not cover the situation being discussed. The US Government has issued a diorective that federal staff cannot even see the wikileak site and some Universities have even blocked access to the site. When the Chinese do such uncivilised things the cry goes up that dissent is not tolerated. Why practice double standards in such fundamental matters as freedom of expression. The USA has mounted a world wide campaign to cut off funding for the site. In what matter is this different from what the Chinese Government did vis a vis Google. Sweden has even filed a case of sexual,assault on Julian Assange. It seems for the USA public enemy number UNO is not OSAMA but Assange.


Comments
on Dec 07, 2010
on Dec 07, 2010

#1 - PLEASE!  Get a spell checker!

#2 - FREEDOM of the PRESS and SPEECH is to prevent the GOVERNMENT from restricting the same.  Yet that simple fact is eluding you.  If a College wants to ban a website - as a private entity, that is their RIGHT.  it is THEIR resources that are being used to access the site.  If the Government says the employees cannot access the site while at work - Again, SO WHAT?  the resources to access the site are not a public good, but a private asset (the time to complain is when the government spends the money to BUY the asset).  No, if the government said I could not access the site, that would be China and censorship.  Do your homework and understand your ignorance.

#3 - Assange has done NOTHING - except create a web site to display the data.  bradley manning STOLE the secrets. He took the risk.  And he will pay under existing law.  LIEBERMAN (note the spelling) can pontificate all he wants to and try to pass anything he wants to - but they would not have stopped Manning nor added to his crimes.  Nor will they be upheld in a court of law.

Your lionizing of Assange is merely your preening over the Emperor's New Clothes.  here's a hint - he is naked!  So is Assange.  He is nothing more than a punk seeking his 15 minutes of fame.  he has found it - but like all things in life - what you get is not always what you wanted.

on Dec 07, 2010

I find it odd how most right wingers like myself are opposed to the leaks and view them as espionage, while leftists and even Hilary Clinton herself openly joke about it even as it destroys the credibility of their own left wing government.

on Dec 07, 2010

question: did the founder of wikileaks rape 2 women, thinking himself to be untouchable and able to get away with it, or is he falsly accused in order to silence him?

Answer: I do not know, but lets not jump into conclusions... arresting someone on the accusation of rape is not silencing the press, how evidence and the trial is handled should be carefully observed to see what happens.

on Dec 07, 2010

Your lionizing of Assange is merely your preening over the Emperor's New Clothes
[quote]He is nothing more than a punk seeking his 15 minutes of fame. he has found it - but like all things in life - what you get is not always what you wanted[

/quote]

If a College wants to ban a website - as a private entity, that is their RIGHT. it is THEIR resources that are being used to access the site

This is a dangerous argument for the simple reason the learning environment in a University and in this cast Columbia University must be free of overt and covert intimidation. By extending your argument it becomes a justification fopr cHINA TO PREVENT ACCESS TO THE INTERNET Ion the grounds that state resources are used to either sustain or build the infrastrructure. We are living in an age when the broadband all over the world has enpowered people--both rich and poor, the political and the civil sopciety--alike to question those in power. Assange has done just that. I for one is not surpried at the implications of the leaks in the Af-Pak region as that is just whaT i HAVE BEEN SAYING. Now  as good old Ben Franklin once said: I may disagee with you, but will defend unto death your RIGHT to express it. My position is somewhat similar. Hilary Clinto, just over a year back gave an eloquent plea for Internet Freedom. So is the USA setting an exa,ple. When China does the same, USA cannot raise a whimper of protest henceforth.

I do not think Julian Assange has done or said anything spectacular. If you read the website you will find only low level exchanges there and he has not in any manner compromised US security. Just as the non existent WMD were used as a false justification for attacking IRAQ, the Obama Administration is creating a scare in order to curb your freedom, and I think you will appreciate this point.

I am not lionising Assange, but I defend his right to express himself and be anti-establishment. I think his disclosures are barely worth the fury.                         

on Dec 07, 2010

if a PRIVATE entity wants to ban access to something on the premises that is their right. It has absolutely nothing with china's type of censorship.

The problem is that colleges are NOT private entities, they are government funded entities with a few exceptions.

Only 100% privately funded colleges should have a right to censor their web access (as should any completely private entity).

on Dec 07, 2010

or is he falsly accused in order to silence him

The timing is curious. The alleged incident happened over summer and  Julian Assange says it was concenual sex so it will not stand in Court. I think the rape is only a ruse to get Assange to Sweden and then have him undergo, yes the Bush Administration hasd a new word for it extraordinary rendition to the USA.

I feel that the European court will not permit the extradition to USA due tio the existence of the Death Penalty and the Espionage Act says that the "intentz" must be to aid the enemy in war time.

on Dec 07, 2010

Bush adminstration? you are aware that its 2 years into the obama administration, right?

on Dec 08, 2010

his is a dangerous argument for the simple reason the learning environment in a University and in this cast Columbia University must be free of overt and covert intimidation. By extending your argument it becomes a justification fopr cHINA TO PREVENT ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!!!  Do you even have a conception of private property versus government?  Clearly you do not.  You have a right to march on Washington and demonstrate.  YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO ON MY PRIVATE PROPERTY!

Columbia can bar anything it wants!  It should not, but should and can are 2 different words with different meanings and that is why we have 2 words for them!  Since Columbia is paying the bills (you are buying a service, not an interest in the institution), THEY make the rules, NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

Just as the non existent WMD were used as a false justification for attacking IRAQ,

That is a lie and you know it.  SHOW US where it was used in the manner you lie about.

 

As for Assange, Until you understand the difference between private ownership and public ownership , there is no point in discussing this any longer.   You will continue to be clueless and wrong.

on Dec 08, 2010

The problem is that colleges are NOT private entities, they are government funded entities with a few exceptions.

Most are not.  Many do get student loans, but most are private.  If you count the private loans as government subsidies, then everyone is government.  That is the argument that was used in the Title 9 court fight with Grove City College and SCOTUS ruled against it.

on Dec 08, 2010

Just as the non existent WMD were used as a false justification for attacking IRAQ

1. WMD = Nuclear, Biological, & Chemical weapons. The news was quick to point out that the chemical weapons found were degraded... what they failed to point out was that they degrade in under 2 weeks and we captured lots of chemists whose jobs was to synthesize more, as well as mobile labs to do so (converted vans). It also failed to mention all semi enriched uranium (uranium that they tried to enrich, but it isn't weapons grade yet)... well, at least not until the US tried to take it back home, then they raised a fuss claiming it belongs to the world or some such.

2. WMD were never used as an excuse or a false justification for attacking iraq, they were just one of the reasons. Other reasons included that it was a major supporter of terrorists (not al qaeda, but others who attacked the USA before) and that Sadam was the most hated dictator of all countries who support terrorists (making it seem like it would be easy to win the people of iraq's friendship with freedom from sadam)

on Dec 10, 2010

Sweden has VERY extreme rape laws, very much in favour of victims (and, unfortunately, alleged victims).

It is ironic that Assange fell victim to a law which would normally be celebrated by extremist liberals for protecting women's rights. It matches the irony of Assange's publications showing the opposite of what extremist liberals wanted to be the truth.

But it has likely nothing to do with the US or any government that wants to "get" Assange for the leaks.

on Dec 14, 2010

This is a dangerous argument for the simple reason the learning environment in a University and in this cast Columbia University must be free of overt and covert intimidation.

You got your wires crossed my friend. You have no understanding of what Freedom in the US really is. The Gov't does not have the right to restrict my freedoms, but on private property, the owners do because it is their property. Just like you can shut me up your blog because it's your blog.

you need to get a better understanding of what the US really is rather than this twisted idea that you use to make the US seem like a hypocrite. I personally find it annoying and insulting to have people take our way of life and twist it and make it seem evil just because you don't get it.

on Dec 14, 2010

This is a dangerous argument for the simple reason the learning environment in a University and in this cast Columbia University must be free of overt and covert intimidation.

Speaking of "over and covert intimidation"... in college I am a "liberal". because being a conservative in most colleges here is "hate speech" and grounds for academic suspension.

on Dec 15, 2010

Speaking of "over and covert intimidation"... in college I am a "liberal". because being a conservative in most colleges here is "hate speech" and grounds for academic suspension

Liberals are quite intolerant and I had only the academic environment in mind. Where a researcher can pursue the truth.

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