Julian Assange is the founder of Wikileaks and as you have probably heard, he’s publicly posting a large number of uncensored intelligence documents he’s received. Happily, most of them haven’t done a lot of damage. However, the same can’t be said for the information he’s released about Afghan informants:
THE Australian founder of WikiLeaks has been forced to defend his decision to publish tens of thousands of uncensored intelligence documents as condemnation grew over the exposure of Afghan informants.
The names, villages, relatives’ names and even precise GPS locations of Afghans co-operating with NATO forces could be accessed easily from files released by WikiLeaks, The Times revealed this week.
Human rights groups criticised the website and a US politician said the security breaches amounted to a ready-made Taliban hit list.
…He claimed many informers in Afghanistan were “acting in a criminal way” by sharing false information with NATO authorities and said the White House knew informants’ names could be exposed but did nothing to help WikiLeaks vet the data.
Mr Assange insisted any risk to informants’ lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information.
…Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said: “Real people die when sources and methods are revealed. Clearly people who are co-operating with us are now at risk. That is precisely one of the reasons we’ve been so concerned about this leak.
“The whole campaign is about convincing Afghans that it’s worth taking the risk to come and work with us to take a stand against the repression and brutality of the Taliban.” A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai predicted the leak would cause “a big disaster in the future”. Siamak Heraway said: “We worry about this. We will see informants being assassinated by the Taliban; we will see a massacre.”
George W. Bush never took leaks of sensitive classified material seriously and Obama is following in his footsteps, but the reality is that these leaks can lead to big body counts. When we alert the enemy to techniques we use to get information out of them, track them, or our sources — people can die as a result.
That’s why, at a minimum, government employees who leak this sort of information to the press should spend the rest of their lives breaking big rocks into smaller rocks in a federal penitentiary. In a case like this, where informants who risked their lives to help us may be killed along with their families, the people responsible for leaking the information deserve to be hung for treason.
In Assange’s case, he’s not an American and so he has no constitutional protection. Moreover, he’s going to get a lot of people killed. Can we do anything legally about someone from another country leaking this information? Maybe not. Can we have a CIA agent with a sniper rifle rattle a bullet around his skull the next time he appears in public as a warning? You bet we can — and we should. If that’s too garish for people, then the CIA can kill him and make it look like an accident.
Either way, Julian Assange deserves to die for what he’s done and he should be killed to send a message loud enough to convince other people not to publish documents like this in the future.
“Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?” Sarah Palin wants him hunted down and brought to justice, saying: “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.”
The American airwaves quiver with the screams of parlor assassins howling for Julian Assange’s head. Jonah Goldberg, contributor to the National Review, asks in his syndicated column, “Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?” Sarah Palin wants him hunted down and brought to justice, saying:
“He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.”
Assange can survive these theatrical blusters. A tougher question is how he will fare at the hands of the US government, which is hopping mad. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has announced that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation” into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington’s Espionage Act.
Asked how the US could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder said, “Let me be clear. This is not saber-rattling,” and vowed “to swiftly close the gaps in current US legislation…”
In other words the espionage statute is being rewritten to target Assange, and in short order, if not already, President Obama – who as a candidate pledged “transparency” in government – will sign an order okaying the seizing of Assange and his transport into the US jurisdiction. Render first, fight the habeas corpus lawsuits later.
Interpol, the investigative arm of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, has issued a fugitive notice for Assange. He’s wanted in Sweden for questioning in two alleged sexual assaults, one of which seems to boil down to a charge of unsafe sex and failure to phone his date the following day.
This prime accuser, Anna Ardin has, according to Israel Shamir, writing on this CounterPunch site, “ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba…Note that Ardin was deported from Cuba for subversive activities.”
It’s certainly not conspiracism to suspect that the CIA has been at work in fomenting these Swedish accusations. As Shamir reports, “The moment Julian sought the protection of Swedish media law, the CIA immediately threatened to discontinue intelligence sharing with SEPO, the Swedish Secret Service.”
The CIA has no doubt also pondered the possibility of pushing Assange off a bridge or through a high window (a mode of assassination favored by the Agency from the earliest days) and has sadly concluded that it’s too late for this sort of executive solution.
The irony is that the thousands of diplomatic communications released by WikiLeaks contain no earth-shaking disclosures that undermine the security of the American empire. The bulk of them merely illustrate the well-known fact that in every capital city round the world there is a building known as the U.S. Embassy inhabited by people whose prime function is to vanquish informed assessment of local conditions with swaddling cloths of ignorance and prejudice instilled in them by what passes for higher education in the United States, whose governing elites are now more ignorant of what is really happening in the outside world that at any time in the nation’s history.
The reports in the official press invite us to be stunned at the news that the King of Saudi Arabia wishes Iran was wiped off the map, that the US uses diplomats as spies, that Afghanistan is corrupt, also that corruption is not unknown in Russia! These press reports foster the illusion that U.S. embassies are inhabited by intelligent observers zealously remitting useful information to their superiors in Washington DC . To the contrary, diplomats – assuming they have the slightest capacity for intelligent observation and analysis — soon learn to advance their careers by sending reports to Foggy Bottom carefully tuned to the prejudices of the top State Department and White House brass, powerful members of Congress and major players throughout the bureaucracies. Remember that as the Soviet Union slid towards extinction, the US Embassy in Moscow was doggedly supplying quavering reports of a puissant Empire of Evil still meditating whether to invade Western Europe!