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Anarchist or Crusader for a free media
Published on December 14, 2010 By Bahu Virupaksha In Current Events

The recent arrest of Julian Assange in London and the denial of bail raises some interesting questions. Is his arrest related to the release of the 250,000 secret cables of the US Department of State and the allegation of rape a mere pretext to extridite him to Sweden from where he can be sent to US to face possible trial under US laws. First, the Espionage Act of 1917 can be involked only against US citizens and those arreseted on US soil like the case of the 2 German spies who landed in Newfoundland duuring World War II and entered US from Canada. In the case of Julian Assange this provision cannot apply as he did not carry out the espioinage and at best Bradley Manning can be tried and even in his case I not sure qwhether his superiors will invoke the 1917 act. Second, the direct linkage between a foreign government and the release of the secret cables is extremely hard to establish and therefore I believe that Julian will not be tried by the terms of the Espionage Act.

The arrest of Julian Assange has raised concerns about the whole issue of the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Expression, both covered under the First Ammendment. The American newspapers like New York Times have carried the verbatim transcripts of the cables and therefore any procecution of Julian Assange will certainly impinge upon the well established right of a Free Press to publish mateial in "public interest" the argument used by the paper during the Pentagon Papers trial in the 1970's. I think the end result of the Assange episode will be that the electronic media will also get the protection that the Press enjoys though there are certain grey areas in the law. Amazon, the famous book sellers, refused to allow WikiLeaks to use their servers for hosting the site probably under pressure from a senator. The grounds given by the Comapny are simply untenable and if WikiLeaks challenges the termination of "cloud computing " facility to WikiLeaks, Amazon will be hard pressed to defend itself. There is absolutely no danger of anyone hurting hiself/herself because of the documents posted and therefore Amazon is only clutching a nonexisting justification.

I would like to raise a more important question pertaining to the motive behind the expose by WikiLeaks. It is quite obvious that apart from causing some embarassment the revelations made do not in any way present material in the public domain that undermines US national security interests. Even with regard to Afghanistan, there is little new in the WikiLeaks. I have in my blogs covered the Araq and Afghan wars quite extensively and without the benifir of the 250,000 new documents, the picture sill remains substanially the same. If Julian Assage wanted to make US leave Afghanistan, the leaks hardly help because President Obama has already set a deadline for US withdrawal. As for Iraq, WikiLeaks has of course exposed some of the American atrocities there, but we all knew about them. So what was the motive for the large scale dumping of documents.

I think Julian Assange, a hacker and computer buff from an early age has an aversion for big powers politics. His worldview is shaped by the ideology of the computer age--freedom without government interference. It is this fundamental belief that impellled him to go ahead with his program. One can call him an anarchist of the Cyber Age but he is certainly not a terrorist that some US politicians are making him out to be. As for me I approve of the Freedom that he espouces, though I wish he were more circumspect.

 


Comments
on Dec 14, 2010

Your whole premise is wrong.  The arrest of Assange has nothing to do with freedoms of press, religion, creed or social origin.  It has to do with rape.

The clowns in DC blustering about the Treason act of 1917 are just blowing smoke for voters.  He will never stand trial in the US as it would be an embarrassment to the government to even try it.

Manning does not have to be tried under the 1917 act.  He is military and so will never see the inside of a civilian court.  The military can try him and shoot him and he can do nothing about it.  But he is indeed the one subject to charges of treason.  Assange just let his ego get the best of him, and decided he wanted little assanges.  And the swede prostitutes were not at all happy about it.  And unfortunately for Assange, that is against the law in Sweden. 

Like Bill Clinton before him (and even Al gore), Assange would be sitting on easy street if he had just kept his pecker in his pocket.  But of course with black helicopters and mysterious men planting explosives in the WTC, no amount of rational thought is going to stop the kooks (present company included) from coming up with all sorts of delicious conspiracy theories.

Assange is just an opportunistic punk.  And he already got what he wanted - his 15 minutes of fame.

on Dec 14, 2010

The big irony is that the arrogant punk thought that revealing the truth would be an excellent weapon against the dark forces of history.

In reality the leaks showed that Israel was the only honest country where politicians and diplomats said exactly the same privately and publicly (and I expected no less from Avigdor Lieberman!) and that the US have downplayed the dangers of terrorism and Iran's nuclear project (rather than exaggerated them as the punk would surely have hoped).

It also turned out that quite in contrast to liberal delusions it isn't Israel who is trying to get the world to attack Iran, it is the Arab countries who are trying to get America to attack Iran. Israel was just more honest, again.

Even as we discuss this, saving-the-world script kiddies are trying to keep the leaks online, aiding more and more those who want to go back to a Bush era foreign policy.

It has finally caught up with them. Liberals got what they wanted. It's fantastic.

I just fear that Lebanon will erupt into a war again over this...

Christopher Hitchens got it exactly right.

Hat tip: Michael Totten.

 

on Dec 14, 2010

The big irony is that the arrogant punk thought that revealing the truth would be an excellent weapon against the dark forces of history.

You give him too much credit.  Manning thought that.  Assange was just looking for a good piece of ass and a way to get it.  Punk is right, but he had no thoughts of nobility when he created the site or dribbled out the cables.

on Dec 15, 2010

It also turned out that quite in contrast to liberal delusions it isn't Israel who is trying to get the world to attack Iran, it is the Arab countries who are trying to get America to attack Iran. Israel was just more honest, again
Assange is just an opportunistic punk. And he already got what he wanted - his 15 minutes of fame.
Like Bill Clinton before him (and even Al gore), Assange would be sitting on easy street if he had just kept his pecker in his pocket

I just have to agree with you.

I think his motives are for more complex than that, and in my Blog have given some insight into how I see that.

I have brought out in [oint in my earlier blog and have given the link.

on Dec 15, 2010
on Dec 15, 2010

I just have to agree with you.

I think you mean disagree.

And I still maintain that you are giving him too much credit.  All he did was plagiarize someone else's work.  For his OWN purposes, not for any altruistic reason.

on Dec 15, 2010

I think you mean disagree

That waS   for a DIFFERENT POINT.

The reasons for MR Assange's behavior is complex and the world of big power politics is completely shaken.

on Dec 16, 2010

The reasons for MR Assange's behavior is complex and the world of big power politics is completely shaken.

No it is not.  All this amounts to is an expose of a husband's love letters to his wife.  Other than killing a few covert agents, the cables contain no real secrets.  Assange - if he was altruistic, would not be using the world stage for his own pathetic one man play.  He has had the cables since February, and has YET to release all of them.  Why?  He is dragging it out for his own self aggrandizement.

Simple minds will find some nobility in his actions - but that sadly is what we have come to expect from faux journalists and those who lack critical thinking capabilities.

That waS for a DIFFERENT POINT.

Then the statement should FOLLOW the point.  Clearly you do not agree with:

Like Bill Clinton before him (and even Al gore), Assange would be sitting on easy street if he had just kept his pecker in his pocket

Since you argue against that point with your very next sentence.

on Dec 19, 2010

The CIA Stationa Chief has been forced to flee from Pakistan as his name was "outed" just as Valerie Palme was a few years back. Now the credit for the "outing " of the CIA station chief cannot be laid at the doorstep of WikiLeaks as that was done by the ISI of Pakistan in retaliation for naming their chief in a NEw York court.

on Dec 20, 2010

Bahu Virupaksha
The CIA Stationa Chief has been forced to flee from Pakistan as his name was "outed" just as Valerie Palme was a few years back. Now the credit for the "outing " of the CIA station chief cannot be laid at the doorstep of WikiLeaks as that was done by the ISI of Pakistan in retaliation for naming their chief in a NEw York court.

Did you read the whole Plame affair, or are just using that as a very poor analogy?  She was never OUTED, because her husband was bragging about her job!  And the one who "outed" her was never prosecuted, because he supposedly did not do it for malicious intentions and was a democrat flunky. (Armitrage).

As far as I know, no one associated the Pakistan chief with the egotistical rapist either.

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