Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Can You Handle The Truth?

If you have been following the news about Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, you must have read about his arrest in London and you must have felt happy about it. No more leaked information that could put in danger the brave men and women fighting for freedom in the US and in the free world. Right? 

Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth, Chinatown?

Here are a few facts, taken mainly from Glenn Greenwald (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html), but they are well known, at least to people not blinded by their government propaganda, so you can find confirmation elsewhere :

First myth: WikiLeaks has indiscriminately published all 250,000 of the diplomatic cables it possesses. 

The truth:  WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has. Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.). Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm.  Just as they did prior to releasing the Afghanistan war documents, WikiLeaks -- according to AP -- "appealed to the U.S. ambassador in London, asking the U.S. government to confidentially help him determine what needed to be redacted from the cables before they were publicly released." Although the U.S. -- again -- refused to give such guidance, WikiLeaks worked closely with these media outlets to ensure that any material which has no valid public interest value and could harm innocent people was withheld.

Second myth: There was an international manhunt for Assange.

The truth: There was no valid arrest warrant in England for Assange until yesterday; he then immediately turned himself into British law enforcement. In other words, he turned himself in voluntarily, he was not hunted down and arrested.  U.K. officials rejected Assange's offer to pay $280,000 in bail. Three well-known media figures offered to give the court about $100,000 to guarantee that Mr. Assange would return for a hearing, but the offers were turned down by the British authorities.

Third myth: Assange is a rapist.

The truth: Assange had sex with a prostitute , when his condom broke. The prostitute asked him to replace the condom, he refused, they continued and finished the transaction, then she went and put in a complaint of rape, because apparently in Sweden, if you refuse to wear a condom while having sex with a partner who requests that you do, it's considered rape. The prostitute eventually withdrew her complaint, but has now been 'persuaded' to reinstate it.  There are rumors that said prostitute has links with the CIA, but it's more exciting to imagine that she had a visit by mysterious men wearing dark sunglasses, after which she suddenly remembered that she has been raped by Assange.

Third myth: Assange is a criminal, a terrorist, a traitor

The truth: WikiLeaks has never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted for one or convicted of one. A consensus of legal experts agree that prosecuting the organization or Julian Assange for any of its leaks would be difficult in the extreme. Despite those facts, look at just some of the punishment that has been doled out to them and what has been threatened:

  • everyDNS removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack. To go to Wikileaks web site, you now have to type: http://wikileaks.ch/
  • Paypal closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • Mastercard closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • Visa closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • The Australian governement is considering voiding Assange's passport et declaring him persona non grata if he tries to go back to this country.
  • Amazon has kicked out WikiLeaks that had been tapping into Amazon's EC2, or Elastic Cloud Computing service. Responding to the news, freelance data journalist James Ball quipped on Twitter: "For freedom of speech, there's Wikileaks. For everything else, there's Mastercard. And Visa. And, um, Paypal. And Amazon."
  • The Swiss bank PostFinance has frozen an account of over €31,000 set aside for the legal defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
  • Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on national television. He has now withdrawn the remark, calling it a joke, and apologized.

The point is, this poor guy is being persecuted and prosecuted for making available to the public classified documents that were provided to him by other people. But none of the newspapers that published these documents given to them by Wikileaks were bothered. The main lesson to remember from this story is this: if you create an illegal worldwide torture regime, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, abduct people with no legal authority, or invade and destroy another country based on false claims, then you are fully protected. But if you expose any of the evils secretly perpetrated as part of those lawless actions -- by publishing the truth about what was done -- then you are an Evil Criminal who deserves the harshest possible prosecution.

Update - 8 December 2010 : About the rape charge against Assange, please read this recent report: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Swedish+women+want+Assange+charged/3943008/story.html. Please note that 1) the women involved are neither prostitutes nor working for the CIA (as far as we know) and 2) the rape charge is bogus.

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