The WikiLeaks Dilemma—Why is Any Document Confidential?
- by Late Mitchell Warren
- Posted on 10 December, 2010
Back in June of 2010, the “fate of the Internet” was decided in a back room. The Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal explained that the Federal Communications Commission was holding “closed door meetings” in order to broker a deal on what was called “Net Neutrality.” All of the major corporations were represented by lobbyists and the goal was reportedly to “reach consensus” regarding the rules of the Internet.
At that time the thought struck me: what rules? What are the rules of free press? The Internet is the single greatest invention in the history of politics and human civility, because it gives a platform to the underrepresented portion of society. The ones who don’t hold office, don’t have money, and are not part of an official “mob” of protesters.
The greatest difference between an organized mob and the Internet crowd? A mob can be clobbered by a tank. The Internet army is vast, never ending, and strangely enough, just as fiercely motivated as the common thug. The implication of what big capitalism could do to the Internet (the new technology that indeed killed the video star, which killed the radio star) was nervously anticipated but never realized…until now.
What is WikiLeaks?
And why has Wikipedia guru Jimmy Wales and all those other begging Wikimedia authors turned against us? Actually, WikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia, but did steal its name and concept from Wikipedia. The name “Wiki”, with its free, anonymous and untraceable reporting style, is quickly becoming the new “Judas Iscariot” catchphrase for the 21st century.
WikiLeaks is an international non-profit website that publishes anonymous submissions of “unavailable documents”, which could include classified or even secret documents from governments, corporations and powerful people. The documents come from anonymous news sources and leaks—the same way 60 Minutes, Channel 5 Investigative Reports, and The New York Times did it in the 1990s.
The problem, and hence the source of the great WikiLeaks debate, is just how damn successful WikiLeaks is at uncovering dirt. Since the website’s launch in 2006, the WikiLeaks database has grown to over one million documents. Though Julian Assange is the Australian-born director, the whole organization is made up of various cerebral assassins from all over the globe, including China, the U.S. Europe and South Africa.
In recent months, WikiLeaks has been on a Wiki-roller coaster ride as far as producing confidential documents. Some of the website’s greatest hits have included Sarah Palin’s private emails, classified U.S. military documents on the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, video footage of U.S. helicopters shooting Reuters photographers, and even age old documents dating back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Why Isn’t WikiLeaks Illegal?
That brings us to an interesting question. If WikiLeaks is doing something unethical or illegal by posting documents meant to be private in public, why isn’t the U.S. investigating the issue or shooting people to make it all stop? Well, they are, actually. Historically speaking, the United States takes great pride in torturing innocent people (see water boarding) suing little high school hackers (see David Kernell or the latest casualty from the war on WikiLeaks) and of course murdering its own people for intricate political purposes.
However, the WikiLeaks website has fallen into a complex gray avenue of ethics, morality and law. There is nothing blatantly illegal about what WikiLeaks is doing. They are a journalistic publication following in the footsteps of many news organizations before them that somehow or another got their hands on non-public information.
The term “non-public” is a bit of a paradox. Private documents are the intellectual property of private citizens. Governments distribute information and ideas concerning the public. (Ideas are not copyrightable) If a document is not publicly distributed, but not privately held intellectual copyright, then it is considered non-public. Therefore, practically all publicly available documents, (with the possible exception of Palin’s private emails) are documents that concern the public and thus should be publicly available. In essence, these available documents are not distributed among the public because they are far too complex for stupid people to understand.
This brings to us another principal character in this cyber drama: the whistleblower. The whistleblower, which refers to the actual human being who is “betraying” his country (WikiLeaks claims it never requests any non-public information), cannot be considered a criminal, because he is actually telling someone in authority (namely the people, which supposedly have final say over the law of Democratic government) that dangerous and illegal activity is taking place within the institution.
There you have it. Governments must tiptoe around these legalities and attempt to silence WikiLeaks through other methods—in full view of the press and the public, who are reading these documents and using their brains to make intelligent decisions. At present time, governments are conducting criminal probes of WikiLeaks, and are instead attempting to freeze the assets of the organization, arbitrarily bankrupting it, through the cooperation of professional pussies like Amazon.com, PayPal.com (those bastards take 10% of my pay check) and Visa and MasterCard.
WikiLeaks is not located anywhere near a communist regime or a fake democracy like the United States. The major sites hosting WikiLeaks (there are several “mirror sites” where it can be accessed) are available from any uncensored Internet connection. The main headquarters is in Sweden, and particularly because of Sweden’s laws that vow to protect the welfare of journalists incognito.
Julian Assange’s Arrest
The fact that WikiLeaks founder and director Julian Assange was arrested on December 7, 2010 in London at the request of the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden and Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization), for sexual assault charges (rape, molestation and unlawful coercion) should fill everyone with a glimmer of hope that WikiLeaks is actually winning the ethical war. Despite the threats of various charges of espionage and stolen government property, it appears as if “surprise sex!” is the only charge that’s really capable of sticking in court. Good to know Sweden is so zealous about punishing sex offenders…a word of advice from Roman Polanski to Assange: “Don’t go to Switzerland.”
Of course, we all must step back and consider the possibility that Assange really is a rapist and that the charges are fishy, convenient, contrived and yet totally justified.
While it would be unusual that a man who won the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award, the 2008 Economist Index on Censorship Award, the 2010 Sam Adams Award, as well as honorable mentions from the World’s 50 Most Influential Figures of 2010 by the New Statesman, Utne Reader’s 25 Top Visionaries, and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2010, could also rape a woman, it’s an entirely plausible scenario. (A little know fact: the majority of Time Magazine Person of the Year winners are actually rapists, including The Computer of 1982)
However, what is truly unprecedented is the outpouring of support that Assange has received from world leaders, celebrities and of course, the free Internet community, who believe the charges are phony and for purely spiteful political reasons. British celebrities like Jemina Khan and John Pilger have spoken out on behalf of Assange. American publications like the Washington Post have devoted plenty of ink to Assange’s plight, not to mention thousands of Internet news sites, which show—if not total support—at least a healthy measure of objectivity for the story. A story that could very well be a fabrication, and the starting point for a worldwide-witnessed crime, indicting many of the so-called free world powers of today.
Many world leaders have been outspoken against the legal and peer-oppressive actions taken against Assange, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, who suggested Assange should receive a Nobel Prize, and Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who called the arrest a “blow against freedom of expression.”
Perhaps the most dramatic display of support for Assange’s release comes from the Internet community. “Anonymous”, a group of well, anonymous hackers has vowed to attack major companies showing support for government suppression of WikiLeaks including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon. Other “freelance” hackers are also doing their part to sabotage the daily business routines of other companies and individuals that continue to discriminate against WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization being deprived of its donations.
More threats are being made by the United Hackers who swear to target British government websites for cyber-attacks if Assange is extradited to Sweden—where he then could be extra-extradited to the vengeful United States who has espionage charges lined up. The “Operation Payback” paranoia is so heated that recently Columbia University advised its students not to even mention the word WikiLeaks for fear of endangering a future job with the Federal Government.
The tragedy of the situation is that now that the world has seen how spiteful these world powers are in hanging Assange for whistle blowing, we have no way of ever knowing whether the man is guilty of sexual crimes. Evidence can easily be fabricated, witnesses can be bought off and rubber stamps come cheap in the court systems. It’s sad that the woman who may have actually been raped must now drop her case for the resolution of a larger cause. (Right now, Chris Brown is thinking…If only I had founded WikiLeaks…)
Where You Stand on the WikiLeaks Debate
What is the subversive thinker to think about the most recent WikiLeaks news? How could Subversify Magazine, an alternative and subversive press, ever dream of taking sides against a web publication that promotes free speech? We certainly like the attitude of WikiLeaks but what do the facts show?
By all logic, WikiLeaks has not broken any laws in any Democratic country that supports freedom of speech and freedom of the press. For espionage to be a chargeable offense, one must be actively doing something to support the country’s enemies during wartime, or promoting insubordination in the military—merely blowing a whistle on an illegal activity in public is protected under the First Amendment.
Furthermore, by precedent of the Supreme Court in 1971 with Nixon’s Pentagon Papers, the constitution protects re-publication of illegally acquired information, so as long as the publisher did not break the law to attain it. Therefore, everything that WikiLeaks is publishing—even if it were considered classified information—is completely protected by American law. Even the outside the box suggestion of charging Assange with “stolen government property” doesn’t work, because the claim of intellectual property is not so easy to prove with in court. Ideas and facts are not copyrightable.
Regardless of constitutional rights, and of freedom of press, and whatever other perpetrated myths the U.S. force feeds us through the pledge of allegiance, the Federal Government continues to wage war against WikiLeaks and other free press entities.
Senators John Ensign, Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown are trying to create news laws in congress making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants—something WikiLeaks has already done, and thus would have to stand trial for.
The Barack Obama Administration is also going after Assange and WikiLeaks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has admitted that the Federal Government is trying to think of a way to prosecute Assange for espionage. The Obama Administration is not acting independently of its party. Many Democrats, being the control-freaks they are, are uniting with Republicans on this issue. Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator from California, wrote that Assange should be charged with Espionage.
The British Independent newspaper has reported that the U.S. and Sweden are negotiating “behind closed doors” (those magic words again) in an effort to deliver Assange into American custody. Reportedly, they are not only exploring espionage but practically any angle that silences WikiLeaks. As if the Democrats couldn’t get any creepier, Hillary Clinton had to open her mouth. Clinton called the WikiLeaks controversy distressing, and hoped that countries and companies around the world could “assist us in preventing any of the consequences that could either endanger individuals or other interests internationally.” Face it, if Hillary Clinton is gunning for you, you’re as good as dead.
Clinton also said that she regrets the information getting out because it was intended to be “confidential” information about “our diplomats personal assessments and observations.” Psycho-chick brings up an interesting point. If confidential information is potentially damaging to the United States, say, in time of war or economic uncertainty, isn’t it for the best that this information be censored—or shall we say “kept away” from the public eye?
Subversify Magazine says no. In fact, we underground, freedom-of-the-press radicals have created our own Nicene Creed of New Journalism. The basic theme here is that NO DOCUMENTS SHOULD EVER BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. EVER, FOR ANY REASON. We conclude this dogma based on the following observations:
- We don’t believe in keeping privileged information away from “stupid people.”
- Even if people are stupid, they still deserve to read what their government thinks about them.
- People should be tried according to their actions, crimes and deeds—not what they know.
- Confidential information usually involves the people of the republic. Don’t you prefer to know what your friends and neighbors are saying about you?
- Especially if your friends and neighbors have big guns?
- Why the hell is Hillary Clinton afraid that her administration’s observations about various diplomats and world leaders is damaging?
- Keeping confidential information creates a hierarchy of classes
- Steps have to be taken so that American’s capitalism doesn’t devolve into communism or even fascism because of big business
- And you need a “paper trail” in order to create evidence of crimes
- No one is unaccountable on any local, state or federal level
- Everyone must answer to someone
- Freedom of the press does not punish, kill, water board or smite anyone
- Politicians and the military do
- Politicians and the military piss all over themselves, with minimal help from the press
- If confidential documents cannot be released, there is no evidence of crimes that can be compiled
- Hmm, what did ever happen to those Warren Commission documents, anyway?
- America has always been at war, whether in World War II, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the ongoing War on Terror
- So the argument of “keeping confidentiality because of the threat of war” is giving way too much power to the government
- Come to think of it, did President Obama ever repeal the Patriot Act? The one that said the government has the right to invade your PC, email, bank account and just about anything else you own for your own protection?
- There is no specific reason to keep confidential documents away from “the enemy.” It’s called counterintelligence.
- We the people of the United States apparently ha ve no say in who gets elected (or at least, based on the latest elections, we’re a nation full of stupid tea party retards)
- Thus we have no power to protect ourselves against our elected officials
- Based on our track record of butting into people’s business, the rest of the world should be more afraid of us than we are of them
- Secret documents hide corruption
- If there’s no corruption to be revealed, then there’s no secret
- Ask any cop and he’ll agree
Based on the aggressive actions of Obama-appointed officials to prosecute Assange for other things besides sexual crimes, we can assume that the Obama administration and the majority of the Democratic party (not to mention Republican monkeys who are busy eating their own tea-flavored feces) are against WikiLeaks and against freedom of speech, against the freedom of the press, against exposing corruption from within government ranks, and against the First Amendment of the Constitution.
But what about Barack Obama? Isn’t Mr. Black President trying to be the peacekeeper here? No, Obama hasn’t publicly said anything contrary to what his administration officials have said regarding WikiLeaks, which is telling. There is little doubt that he personally approves and oversees of the suppression of free world speech. If he supports freedom of the press, then an explanation from him is long overdue.
This is a very problematic issue for Subversify Magazine, because practically all of our magazine’s writers supported Obama for his 2008 campaign despite the fact that we all secretly knew he didn’t have a clue how to do his job. But the president’s open policy of targeting journalists and criminalizing their whistle blowing policies is nothing short of espionage in our book.
Obama, what exactly have you been doing in office since we elected you? Instead of fixing the economy, bringing about “change”, creating jobs, lowering taxes, or doing much of anything besides supporting black teachers you hardly know, all you’ve really been doing is talking up a storm while you help suppress freedom of speech from others.
As it stands right now, there is no reason for your administration to try and destroy WikiLeaks or nab up all those secret documents…because 250 million Americans already know
The United States of America along with Communist China, Australia, Germany, Thailand and other nations that suppress freedom of speech, are all waging war against the free Internet community—made up of billions of people. They are united against the world of consumers.
WikiLeaks is just the beginning of this Cyber World War III. How far will a globalized community of logical, thinking consumers who make the world go round, continue to be oppressed and silenced by government officials who obviously don’t give a damn about them?
Sure, the United States of America could drop an atomic bomb on WikiLeaks headquarters and stop the noise for a while. But where will it end? You can’t jail every single hacker, shut down every last video-sharing website and control every connected computer on the Internet. You can’t make consumers buy something they don’t want. As it stands right now, WikiLeaks is continuing on, regardless of Assange’s arrest. Freedom of the press is a much larger issue than one man, one company or one website.
The only hope you (the big corporations and subservient governments who worship commerce) have of winning this “payback” war, where casualties are few but credit is scarce, is to pull out of the Internet entirely. Go ahead, take your money and your commodity back to paper and back to the local market. Abandon the Internet, gain back control all of this free information, and save yourself from internal combustion.
Let’s see what happens if cyberspace becomes nothing but a desolate wasteland of mindless chit chat, non-branded animated characters, outdated web pages, freeware games and of course amateur porn.
Peace and big brotherhood, man.
The Late Mitchell Warren addresses the WikiLeaks controversy…and waits for President Obama to clear his name. “I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Empire!”
What a fantastic article! You’ve eloquently expressed the opinions of all Subversify staff members, and i’m sure of free speech proponents everywhere. Perhaps the hopes and purposes of the capitalist rampage is to make the Internet die so they can resume their dominance over the media. How much longer do they really think the public will tolerate the left over babbling politician’s daughters gone Hollywood and Jerry Springer scandals after a taste of true freedom of information?
They are sore losers. First they begin a cyber campaign of name calling and personal attacks on anyone who disagreed with them, now they want to shut us up completely. That’s called bullying, not an ability to engage in intelligent debate. Their inadequacies are showing and that’s what makes them snivel.
I would like to bring up one point concerning the Assange sex scandal. According to Swedish document, he has been charged with sexual misconduct in the cases of two women between August 14th and August 18th, for failure to use a condom. In fact, exhibit A is a real card. Apparently, Assange used his body weight on August 14th, to press against her in a sexually provocative manner. Apparently, she liked the provocation because her “express wish” was that a condom be used, not that she had objected to having sex. On August 18th, she again had sex with Assange, “but in a way that violated her sexual integrity”. Apparently, he didn’t rock her world that night.
He might have been a little worn out after his performance with exhibit X, who also says he failed to use a condom, but since she was asleep, didn’t protest throughout her apparent ordeal. I suppose the moral of this story is, if you’re going to leak, either satisfy the vessel you’re leaking into or be sure to wear a condom.
To answer the question posed by the title of the article (Why is any document classified?), the answer is simple – because those in power have something to hide! If there was nothing to hide, there would be no need for “classified” status of official documents.
The state is, by its very nature, a corrupt entity that should never be obeyed without question – the fact that the present establishment wants us to commit to it with unquestioning obedience is a sure sign that its corruption has rendered it beyond all hope of reform. The only solution is to arm yourselves and prepare for one hell of a fight against the forces of those in power.
DAMAGE cyber WW3 result: 500k hurt diplomats worldwide. billion soldiers on the side line/out of business (and still insist it’s not a war); final 200 nations restuctured. other side:few hackers political imprisoned/their parrents fined. After a short (for many long) war only 1 global transparent free society survives …..never thought WW3 as a joke. Yeah all wars are surprises.
How can a few wise leaders alone solve complex global issues pending ? People need to be involved/need same info on these complex issues to let our global society decide & survive.
We NEED transparency for our global society that we created an cannot control.To many crises.
We’d never gone to Iraq if we read the cables first?
its e-government(power) not e-commerce(money) that changes our world!
If democracy fails, the only solution is MORE democracy. The only way is UP.
This is Far worse for China, than the US. It’s your Duty to spread your thoughts.
If democracy fails, the only solution is More democracy.
E-vote(power), not E-commerce(money) that changes our world, stupid!
Just do’nt believe technologie is bad, it’s neutral.
There are just people that cannot handle it.
Never jump out of the rolercoaster.
WL to much Change for Obama?
Know It’s a hard path, but harder for our totalitarian enemies.
greets from citzen 434234243!
This article is interesting but what I really want to know is why do people think the IRS need to be punished more than the Cast of the Hangover Part II? Seriously. They all deserve to be punished.
In all seriousness, Karla does have a point what our government along with all the others invovled in this wiki-crackdown are displaying is bullying in the extreme. Why the hell hasn’t the “Give a Damn” campaign gotten someone sexy like Jeremy Sisto to tell us this bullying is bad in a kewl video that we can share? I’m sure that Assange would like a video message from Cher telling him that it will all get better.
Anyway, we love the campaign snippets, about “change” and “bullying is bad” and we love Russell Crowe movies in which fat journalists make a difference. It’s shitty when we have an opportunity to make a real-life statement on freedom of the press and the right for people to decide for themselves what’s what based on information that we all have a right to like Megadeth said a couple of generations ago “It’s still we the people right?”
Apparently not and here’s where we need to all learn and not forget the Demorcrats are just as big of “mean girls” as the republicans. They say mean shit about the rest of the world without thinking. They do what they want while they can, they are all power hungry and we handed that power to them. It’s time to do something about it, and everyone is going to have a different way of going about it because we all have different skills, but it’s time.
Fucken A, Mitchell. Brilliant article.
I believe the Swedish translation for the sexual offense is “sex by surprise” which is a charge that only exists in Sweden. The penalty is minimal and one of the accusers has been reportedly ceased to press charges.
What a glorious clusterfuck.
Sex by surprise… that’s droll. Is that when you partied a little too hardy the night before and wake up the next morning wondering what in the world you were thinking, or when you need to come up with a good excuse real fast for why you cheated on your boyfriend? At any rate, when was the last time a hundred thousand dollar bail was turned down for a misdemeanor?
Der umstrittene italienische Ministerpräsident Silvio Berlusconi hat ein erstes Misstrauensvotum im Senat gewonnen. Bei der Wahl sprachen ihm 162 Senatoren das Vertrauen aus, 135 votierten dagegen. Im Abgeordnetenhaus folgt noch eine weitere Wahl.
The disputed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a first vote of no confidence in the senate. With the choice it 162 senators the confidence discussion, 135 voted against it. In the Lower House still another further choice follows.
More tongue-twisting and convoluted law-speak about the bedroom. Kinky.
“I’m telling you Suzy, I got herpes by riding the tractor in my bathing suit.”
“Technically, the condom did the cheating.”
“13+13 = 26”
[Quote=karlsie]At any rate, when was the last time a hundred thousand dollar bail was turned down for a misdemeanor?[/quote]
It happens whenever it suits the interests of those in power to do such things – after all, sex crimes aren’t the *real* reason he’s being detained and everyone who has been following this story knows this.
It appears as though Julian Assange will at least be out on bail very soon but what about Bradley Manning? Solitary jail for seven months so far without being convicted of anything, without even a trial. That’s wrong!
You guys think wikileaks will come with more exciting news? Or is the lawsuit against him all he can handle at this moment? Gwen
When certain section of the government and military are as backwards as we see in WikiLeaks – then I personally have ZERO problem with that being made public. If you don’t want illegal and/or quasi-legal actions to be brought to the public’s attention, then don’t do them in the first place.
This article is interesting but what I really want to know is why do people think the IRS need to be punished more than the Cast of the Hangover Part II? Seriously.