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September 26, 2012 8:40 PM   Subscribe

US calls Assange 'enemy of state'. The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States - the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy", a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.
posted by jaduncan (234 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Death? Death is so last century. These days, they make 'em want death.
posted by Goofyy at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2012


I wonder if the American people would be able to stomach the extrajudicial killing of a white person. Didn't seem to cause much of an uproar when (among many others) 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed, and that teenager was a US citizen.
posted by threeants at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ruh roh.
posted by Evernix at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012


Under what US law(s) is "enemy of state" a legal category? I am not being snide, I really would like to know if such a thing exists and what its implications are. None of the articles I've seen actually get into this seemingly very important detail.
posted by Falconetti at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well it was nice of the government to say it publicly. I don't think this is really much of a surprise.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The participation of Americans, such as ioerror, in WikiLeaks is a potentially complicating issue here...and just how expansive a category is "supporter?"
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If WikiLeaks is an "Enemy of the State", it speaks volumes about the State. Sigh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:48 PM on September 26, 2012 [45 favorites]


Heck, compared to what Bradley Manning's going through, Assange is living in the lap of Ecuadorian luxury.
posted by threeants at 8:50 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Under what US law(s) is "enemy of state" a legal category?

From my immediate, untutored reading, the designation triggers certain laws, like the one mentioned in the post:

UCMJ Article 104:

Any person who—

(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or

(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.

...

(5) Communicating with the enemy.

(a) That the accused, without proper authority, communicated, corresponded, or held intercourse with the enemy, and;
(b) That the accused knew that the accused was communicating, corresponding, or holding intercourse with the enemy.

...

(6) Communicating with the enemy.

(a) Nature of the offense. No unauthorized communication, correspondence, or intercourse with the enemy is permissible. The intent, content, and method of the communication, correspondence, or intercourse are immaterial. No response or receipt by the enemy is required. The offense is complete the moment the communication, correspondence, or intercourse issues from the accused. The communication, correspondence, or intercourse may be conveyed directly or indirectly. A prisoner of war may violate this Article by engaging in unauthorized communications with the enemy.


posted by snuffleupagus at 8:53 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only found one major US news outlet (Bloomberg) covering this. All the others covered only Assange's speech in a frothing-at-the-mouth madman sort of way, with the requisite nothing-to-see-here statement from the government. Even though the source is a freakin' FOIA. Way to prove the man's point.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:54 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


US Vice-President Joe Biden labelled Mr Assange a "high-tech terrorist" in December 2010 and US congressional leaders have called for him to be charged with espionage

Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee - both once involved in presidential campaigns - have both urged that Mr Assange be "hunted down".

Mr Assange's US attorney, Michael Ratner, said the designation of WikiLeaks as an "enemy" had serious implications for the WikiLeaks publisher if he were to be extradited to the US, including possible military Detention


How do you get "designated" an enemy of the state. Surely it takes more than Biden, Palin and Huckabee taking shit on camera?
posted by Ad hominem at 8:54 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This man will have the Steinkirks rolling in their graves.
posted by unliteral at 8:56 PM on September 26, 2012


Under what US law(s) is "enemy of state" a legal category?

On a quick google, section III of the US constitution defines treason as 'providing aid and comfort to the enemy'... so perhaps Americans shouldn't donate to wikileaks any more.
posted by pompomtom at 8:56 PM on September 26, 2012


Why not just call him a foreigner instead?
posted by Brian B. at 8:57 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do you get "designated" an enemy of the state.

Obama puts you on his list.
posted by pompomtom at 8:58 PM on September 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Well, there's this, linked from the above:

UCMJ Article 99

(b) Enemy. “Enemy” includes organized forces of the enemy in time of war, any hostile body that our forces may be opposing, such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades, and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations. “Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and all the citizens of the other.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:58 PM on September 26, 2012


Under what US law(s) is "enemy of state" a legal category?

From my immediate, untutored reading, the designation triggers certain laws, like the one mentioned in the post:


No way is Assange subject to the UCMJ, that only applies to the military. The UCMJ also bans adultery.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:59 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it now illegal to donate money to Wikileaks?
posted by victory_laser at 8:59 PM on September 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Further detail on the form of the charge:

UMCJ Article 104(6)(a):

"No unauthorized communication, correspondence, or intercourse with the enemy is permissible. The intent, content, and method of the communication, correspondence, or intercourse are immaterial. No response or receipt by the enemy is required. The offense is complete the moment the communication, correspondence, or intercourse issues from the accused. The communication, correspondence, or intercourse may be conveyed directly or indirectly."

Sample charge form:

"In that __________ (personal jurisdiction data) did, (at/on board—location), on or about __________, without proper authority, knowingly (communicate with) (correspond with) (hold intercourse with) the enemy (by writing and transmitting secretly through lines to one__________ whom he/she, the accused, knew to be (an officer of the enemy’s armed forces) (__________) a communication in words and figures substantially as follows, to wit: (__________) (indirectly by publishing in __________, a newspaper published at __________, a communication in words and figures as follows, to wit: __________, which communication was intended to reach the enemy) (__________)."
posted by jaduncan at 9:00 PM on September 26, 2012


psst. read the post text again.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:00 PM on September 26, 2012


No way is Assange subject to the UCMJ, that only applies to the military. The UCMJ also bans adultery.

...no, the military members communicating with Wikileaks are.
posted by jaduncan at 9:01 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is it now illegal to donate money to Wikileaks?

Apparently, if you're a member of the military. I'm not sure this kind of designation could support a charge of treason against a civilian citizen.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:03 PM on September 26, 2012


psst. read the post text again.

Yeah I get that the military say he is as bad as the Taliban, but they can't just say " you are now subject to the UCMJ" can they?

no, the military members communicating with Wikileaks are.

Thank it, that is most certainly true.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:05 PM on September 26, 2012


Just finished going through kliuless excellent FPP of Ted videos about the empowering nature of collaborative projects, open source potential for better democracies, and the social power of reputation, and now this... my government is awful and I shouldn't be afraid as I am to write that.
posted by Shit Parade at 9:11 PM on September 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


So, the US government is now officially on record as being the enemy of people who tell the truth.
posted by Malor at 9:16 PM on September 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm sorry, not to overpoliticize this thread, but Obama is one lucky duck that a massive tool like Romney is running against him.
posted by phaedon at 9:18 PM on September 26, 2012 [28 favorites]


This guy is really the Roman Polanski of internet anarchists
posted by silby at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Assange is James Bond and the U S. is now the U.S.S.R.
posted by swift at 9:21 PM on September 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


pompomtom: "On a quick google, section III of the US constitution defines treason as 'providing aid and comfort to the enemy'... so perhaps Americans shouldn't donate to wikileaks any more."

Donating to Wikileaks is precisely what I am going to do, right now.

Because the regime is putting so much energy into scaring people away from Wikileaks. It means they consider Wikileaks to be an existential threat.

Basically, everyone who wants a regime change should help Wikileaks.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:21 PM on September 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


the U S. is now the U.S.S.R.

but we have jeans and coke and lefty websites!!

i mean, not the kind that do real shit though, but still
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:22 PM on September 26, 2012


When I think about all the creepy fallout surrounding the response to 9/11 (like the conviction of a 15 year old for war crimes) it makes me think about vampire hunters. While most of the villagers trembled under their bedsheets, a few guys rode out to the cemetery to dig up a body, burn the heart, cut off it's legs and stuff the head into it's ribcage.

-problem solved and you're welcome, everybody.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:26 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, unless I'm mistaken, this seems understandable for the US to take action against citizens who leak state secrets.

If it's pretty cut-and-dried under the law, don't gripe about countries enforcing laws. Countries need to enforce laws, and it's in everyone's best interest that they do. If you think the law is unjust, you can work to change it.

So what change to the law would you recommend? If there is no change that would make you happy, then you just might have to accept that what Manning etc. did was illegal, and the state will accordingly take action against him. I'm glad Wikileaks exists. But, just because Robin Hood stole from the rich doesn't mean he didn't steal.
posted by victory_laser at 9:28 PM on September 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


If you're going to donate, get cash and convert it to a money order and send that. Don't make it too easy for them to add you to a list. Because I'm pretty sure there's a list, and until we're allowed to know about the lists that are kept on us, and also know what happens to people who make it on those lists, it's probably not safe to be on any of them.
posted by deanklear at 9:29 PM on September 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:30 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And what happens to people on those lists in the future, when laws change or the USG thinks they can get away with more.

I'm pretty certain I'm on a list from things I've said on here.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:31 PM on September 26, 2012


If you're going to donate, get cash and convert it to a money order and send that. Don't make it too easy for them to add you to a list. Because I'm pretty sure there's a list, and until we're allowed to know about the lists that are kept on us, and also know what happens to people who make it on those lists, it's probably not safe to be on any of them.

Or we could all donate under our real names and tell the government to go fuck themselves.
posted by andoatnp at 9:33 PM on September 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Dude, you think you are on the same list as the Taliban?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:33 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no budget for a separate list.
posted by silby at 9:34 PM on September 26, 2012 [31 favorites]


I find this whole thing terribly tiresome. What the hell did people think the government's reaction was going to be to having a bunch of classified stuff leaked? "Aw geeze. Good one, bro. Here, have a cookie." Of course they don't want people to do that. The laws against it are ancient. And for all that what Manning leaked turned out to be a bunch of low level not actually all that surprising diplomatic cables, it weren't exactly jaywalking, neither. A government that can't keep its communications with other governments secret is one those governments will be reluctant to talk to. So yeah, this was always gonna be a case where they'd come down hard on the leaker, and it doesn't take a Kissengerian level of cynicism to perceive that.

Bradley Manning was a bored jagoff who decided to leak in a fit of petulance, to show that he could. Perhaps more of history's matyrs than we think were. Being a contemporary, I'm content to reserve my awe.
posted by Diablevert at 9:34 PM on September 26, 2012 [28 favorites]


You know, I totally believe that.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "Dude, you think you are on the same list as the Taliban?"

There are many, many lists, as you should well imagine. I guess I'll find out next time I fly.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Regime?" Are you sure you know what that word means?
posted by incessant at 9:37 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I will say that the month that Palantir had all the ad space at Pentagon metro was an exceptionally creepy one.
posted by silby at 9:38 PM on September 26, 2012


> I'm pretty certain I'm on a list from things I've said on here.

Not really, no. I'm not on any lists and I know that the FBI has looked at me. I'm fairly certain I hit several more profiling matches also.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


no, see, this is okay because ___ and ___ and ___, and anyway Assange is a bad person and wikileaks is for low-class nerds, so really if you think about it from a realistic mature adult perspective what the government doing is completely right and defensible
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:39 PM on September 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I got arrested at Occupy. I better be on some lists.
posted by andoatnp at 9:40 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So if Julian Assange is an enemy of the state, would that mean we're technically at war with him? Because if so, I'm in awe of his ability to fend off the entire U.S. military single-handedly. Perhaps he's secretly a giant mechanized Transformer of unknowable destructive power?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:40 PM on September 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


"What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Let's take a look. I give you private information on corporations for free, and I'm a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money, and he's man of the year."

- Bill Hader as Julian Assange
posted by phaedon at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2012 [49 favorites]


You know, unless I'm mistaken, this seems understandable for the US to take action against citizens who leak state secrets.

This goes way beyond that. Donating to journalists has been made into a crime for many Americans.
posted by anonymisc at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree, Diablevert (see my comment above). I think people who say things like "the US gov't is enemy of people who tell the truth" are anthropomorphizing a system of laws. There ARE cases where people in power exploit laws and do terribly shady/evil things that are gross abuses of the law, but I don't think Wikileaks is one of them.
posted by victory_laser at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2012


I've always held the contrarian position when it comes to Assange. I find him to be a self promoting narcicist of the first order and thus don't really sympathize with his plight. Bradley Manning was a member of the US Military who communicated classified documents to the enemy (Taliban, AlQueda) via Wikileaks. I don't see him as a whistle blower he had no idea what the content of his dumps contained so he wasn't revealling things that should have been known to save lives or the commission of crimes. I just don't have a lot of sympathy for anyone involved in the State Department correspondance being aired in the press or on the nets. I am more sympathetic to those charged with making an analysis of information that comes to them and their private communications, Isn't there a saying that there would be a hell-of-a lot less sausage eaten if people watched it being made. Diplomacy and intelligence reports can look pretty unappetizing but it doesn't mean there is always going to be a better way to communicate it up the ladder. Anyway tis article is full of innueno and maybes and could possibly be but very short on fact it is 95% paranoid guessing and the rest pandering to the "Free Bradley Manning" contingent of the net. The US has not said one word about prosecuting Assange if he ends up in a Swedish jail or spends the rest of his life cooped up in an Embassy sort of fills the bill and avoids the public spectacle a trial would bring. It sucks to be him but then he is responsible for his choices and actions.
posted by pdxpogo at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Obama puts you on his list.

i'm sure Obama had a good reason. i could see having a beer with him, i like the guy. why can you guys just trust him to keep us safe? :D
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:43 PM on September 26, 2012


"Narcissist" is code for "someone who is better-looking and smarter than me who embarrassed people I like".
posted by dunkadunc at 9:44 PM on September 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Again, not understanding why the internet is rallying around people who deliberately steal and release confidential diplomatic communication as being unjustly prosecuted for sticking it to the man.

Corporate secrets are one thing, troop movements and international negotiations are another.
posted by kafziel at 9:44 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, now I know what to do with that money that I'm not donating to the Obama campaign.
posted by mullingitover at 9:44 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Narcissist" is code for "someone who is better-looking and smarter than me who embarrassed people I like".

You're calling Assange good-looking?
posted by silby at 9:45 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, anonymisc, that would be something to talk about. Maybe I'm just not familiar enough with all the ways the US has reacted to Wikileaks?
posted by victory_laser at 9:45 PM on September 26, 2012


Well, he's got a certain surfer-ized Bill Maher charm to him.
posted by modernserf at 9:46 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, not understanding why the internet is rallying around people who deliberately steal and release confidential diplomatic communication as being unjustly prosecuted for sticking it to the man.


Yeah, okay, just don't prosecute Assange and take credit for the Arab Spring at the same time.
posted by phaedon at 9:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


You're calling Bill Maher charming? Now I'm really lost.
posted by silby at 9:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bradley Manning was a member of the US Military who communicated classified documents to the enemy (Taliban, AlQueda) via Wikileaks.

You may so assert, but the point of the article is that the USG is divesting itself of any burden of proving this. From now (if one takes the opinion of the lawyer quoted in the article), communication with Wikileaks is good enough.
posted by pompomtom at 9:48 PM on September 26, 2012


Not really, no. I'm not on any lists and I know that the FBI has looked at me. I'm fairly certain I hit several more profiling matches also.

Your assumption of competence is blithely at odds with more documentation than I could carry. ;)
posted by anonymisc at 9:48 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'mon guys, this is all brinksmanship.Is any of this substantially different than what we went through with the Pentagon Papers in the early 70s? They trotted out the same stuff about the espionage act then as well.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:52 PM on September 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Read the frigging article. They have a FOIA document that shows that Manning is charged with "communicating with the enemy" and they simply deduce from this that Assange is "the enemy." Except that that doesn't follow at all. Giving state secrets to someone who will publish them on the internet is a way of communicating them to "the enemy" regardless of whether or not you view that person as, in themselves, "the enemy."

There is no evidence, in other words, of the claim in the FPP or the article headline: that some official determination as to Assange's status as "enemy" has been made. Which is why they have to reach for that tired canard about Biden "declaring" Assange to be a "high tech terrorist."
posted by yoink at 9:53 PM on September 26, 2012 [25 favorites]


Yeah, I'm waiting for more news outlets / analyses to give a definitive legal reporting... like you say, yoink, it does seem to rest on very tenuous "X said... and therefore..." logic that reporters are notoriously bad at. Most of the other articles I've read just regurgitate The Age's claims.

That said, if this does prove to have any grain of truth, it's very troubling (duh).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:56 PM on September 26, 2012


> Is any of this substantially different than what we went through with the Pentagon Papers in the early 70s?

Ask Elsberg and Manning to compare their experiences. Of course you would have to be able to ask Manning and you probably can't any time soon.
posted by bukvich at 9:58 PM on September 26, 2012


They trotted out the same stuff about the espionage act then as well.

Ellsberg could have done time if Nixon hadn't been incompetent --- he got off on a mistrial. Nothing about NY Times v. United States changed dick for Ellsberg. The Espionage Act is almost a century old at this point, and is still in force.
posted by Diablevert at 9:59 PM on September 26, 2012


I find him to be a self promoting narcicist of the first order

Sure, but that and the idea that he is also performing an important service, or at least doing things that lead to very important questions being very publicly asked can exist simultaneouly without brains exploding.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:00 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Read the frigging article

You mean me? I said the same thing as you up top all they have is some politicians talking shit on camera. This is just Assanges Lawyers lawyering that Assange is on some List for execution.

All the politicians posturing is the same as it was in the 70s when various congressment asserted the NYT was guilty of treason.

Ask Elsberg and Manning to compare their experiences. Of course you would have to be able to ask Manning and you probably can't any time soon

Fortunately for Ellsberg he was a civilian working for the Rand corporation at the time. I don't doubt he could have ended up in jail but he wasn't subject to crazy draconian military law.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:03 PM on September 26, 2012


If anybody is interested in donating to Wikileaks, they can do so here.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:03 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


victory_laser - the enemy designation is not being applied Manning.

Asange and Wikileaks have neither stolen nor leaked state secrets (and neither is a citizen of the USA). Part of the pickle surrounding the affair is that in addition to their publishing activities not going beyond those of journalists, they also seem to be journalists under US law, which is a problem if you want to nail them to the wall for what thy published, so people are busy figuring out more convoluted interpretations under which the law could arrive at a different conclusion.

But they didn't steal, they didn't leak, they published. And it should not be a crime to support journalists.
posted by anonymisc at 10:04 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


You mean me?

No.
posted by yoink at 10:05 PM on September 26, 2012


You're calling Bill Maher charming? Now I'm really lost.

Maher is charming, in that after you share a couple bongs with him, he would totally offer to pay for pizza.
posted by mek at 10:07 PM on September 26, 2012


Does this allow the President to now order his killing? The article claims that it does.

I am very conflicted regarding the upcoming elections. I can either vote for the guy who wants to turn the U.S. into what amounts to a Feudal State or I can vote for the guy who appears to condone a Police State (although they haven't come for me ... yet).

Meanwhile ... Woz leaves the U.S. for Australia ...
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 10:07 PM on September 26, 2012


No

Fast moving threads are confusing.

I certainly wish Assange luck, he is the greatest troll ( I mean that in the best possible way) ever.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:07 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, you have a choice to make, if you're American. Is this how America is supposed to be? That's the question to answer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:08 PM on September 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy", a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.
I have not seen these documents referred to above however the operative statements is "may be at risk of being charged" of course if that is true so is the statement "may be discharged from the Army" as well as "may contract cancer and die". The whole article is full of weasle words and supposition. Speculation is just someone guessing it is not a fact. That a document from a counter-intelligence group puts military personnel on notice is certainly not the same as prosecuting the offender. In fact the one analyst being investigated for their contact and involvment with Wikileaks was not prosecuted simply lost their top security status.

No where does it name Wikileaks an "Enemy" of the state however it does say Wikileaks is a conduit for classified information being given to designated enemies of the state. By definition you may be designated an enemy by helping an enemy. That is a legal statement a definition if you will but until charges are brought Wikileaks is a potential enemy of the state there has been no proclamation by the USG on the status of Wikileaks.
posted by pdxpogo at 10:12 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Have to agree that this characterization seems like a real stretch - that "the US" has declared Wikileaks (let alone Assange, who appears not even to be mentioned in the cited investigation) to be an "enemy of state" (I also like the part where the article puts that phrase in quotes like they are quoting something except it doesn't seem like that term is actually introduced anywhere but the title of the article).

I mean the cited investigation is for a charge that was never actually brought against the individual and it's not at all clear that the putative enemy with which communication might have been made was in fact Wikileaks. Basically that headline is complete bullshit, actually. But we got the comment that I absolutely knew was going to be in here about Obama sending a drone after him - less than 3 comments in! So good work valiant truth-fighters.
posted by nanojath at 10:13 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Surely this ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:13 PM on September 26, 2012


Does this allow the President to now order his killing? The article claims that it does.

Not this. The president can order anyone he fancies killed. This is not new.
posted by pompomtom at 10:14 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The article claims that it does.

The article quotes Assange's defense lawyer claiming that it might. It presents no actual evidence that it does.

Fortunately for Ellsberg he was a civilian working for the Rand corporation at the time. I don't doubt he could have ended up in jail but he wasn't subject to crazy draconian military law.

From the Wikipedia article on Ellsberg:
"On June 28, 1971, two days before a Supreme Court ruling saying that a federal judge had ruled incorrectly about the right of the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg publicly surrendered to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts in Boston.

In admitting to giving the documents to the press, Ellsberg said:
'I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.'

He and Russo faced charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Their trial commenced in Los Angeles on January 3, 1973, presided over by U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr.
His case never went to trial because of Watergate. But Ellsberg fully expected to go to jail; he just thought it was worth the sacrifice. The government has successfully prosecuted others for the same types of crimes, most notably a bunch of Cold War spies in the 1980s. I find it irritating that people are all "I can't believe they're doing this" when this is exactly what the government has done, successfully, with the Supreme Court's A-OK, for nigh on 40 years now.
posted by Diablevert at 10:17 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, looks like America got the change, but not the hope. 1 out of 2 ain't bad, right?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:19 PM on September 26, 2012


The president can order anyone he fancies killed.

But none of his enemies?
posted by ericost at 10:22 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


He can order anyone he wants, killed. But there's likely to be a great deal of fallout if he does it with anyone really popular, so he mostly just kills brown people that Americans don't know about.

Including American citizens. All it takes is some demonization in the pliant media, and voila! People are perfectly happy with extrajudicial killings.

If Bush had been publicly doing this crap, the liberals would have been on the streets in protest. But Obama does it, and hardly a peep. That's why I think he's so, so much more dangerous than Bush ever was.
posted by Malor at 10:27 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


the cited investigation is for a charge that was never actually brought against the individual

But they still fired the guy. (They might call it something else, but when his job requires his cert, and they take away his cert because he supports wikileaks, finding him a low level job somewhere else doesn't change that he got the boot).
I agree with their action, for the record. They are charged with keeping secrets, and they have booted people for smaller warning signs. I just think it's a bit sweep-under-the-rug to suggest that no charges means it didn't go anywhere. Clearly wikileaks is categorized as enough of an enemy to end careers. (duh :-))
posted by anonymisc at 10:33 PM on September 26, 2012


Julian Assange lashes out at 'neo-McCarthyist fervor' in U.S.: Embassy-bound activist blames U.S. government for ongoing "persecution" of Wikileaks, saying he's hopeful that President Obama will curb an ongoing criminal investigation.
posted by homunculus at 10:43 PM on September 26, 2012


Christ, I wish news organizations would use scare quotes like that when they're quoting our Commander-In-Chief.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:44 PM on September 26, 2012


I gotta say, reading through the article all I'm seeing is a press release from Assange's lawyer.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:45 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The participation of Americans, such as ioerror, in WikiLeaks is a potentially complicating issue here...and just how expansive a category is "supporter?"

MeFi's own, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


People are perfectly happy with extrajudicial killings.
If Bush had been publicly doing this crap, the liberals would have been on the streets in protest. But Obama does it, and hardly a
peep. That's why I think he's so, so much more dangerous than Bush ever was.


What rubbish. You lost the right to due process under Bush, in a country that supports the death penalty, and the liberals were in the streets over it - it was conservatives who seemed to think this was a-ok and unable to put two and two together. It wasn't until there was a democrat in the whitehouse that significant conservatives were able to understand that the change in executive power matters. I remember people screaming that if this was allowed to last until the next administration, it would be too late because then it would be an established power, less a overreached and abberation, but... sound of crickets from the right.

And now that things are running to their logical and entirely predictable conclusion, people who wouldn't listen back when it was ill-established and they could have done something about it, are complaining that the people who did try when there was still time.
posted by anonymisc at 10:49 PM on September 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


I just think it's a bit sweep-under-the-rug to suggest that no charges means it didn't go anywhere.

I see what you're saying, I was only pointing to it as another element that makes a claim of a new, legally meaningful classification being attached to Wikileaks more unclear. There's no question that the U.S. Military (and a lot of its government) are virulently opposed to Wikileaks, want very much to find ways to take legal action against it and its chief figurehead Assange, and that being involved with it could be hazardous to any military or government career -or worse, as the ongoing fate of Bradley Manning demonstrates. But the article says "U.S. calls Assange 'enemy of state'.
posted by nanojath at 10:52 PM on September 26, 2012


Why do people find the concept of state secrets laudable?
posted by maxwelton at 11:00 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this article says is that a military person lost their top-secret clearance because they openly support Wikileaks. Of course they did, Wikileaks is dedicated to revealing secrets. Very thin gruel here.
posted by msalt at 11:03 PM on September 26, 2012


Julian Assange lashes out at 'neo-McCarthyist fervor' in U.S.: Embassy-bound activist blames U.S. government for ongoing "persecution" of Wikileaks, saying he's hopeful that President Obama will curb an ongoing criminal investigation.
posted by homunculus at 10:43 PM on September 26 [+] [!]

Take this as you will, but the author of that peice, Declan McCullagh, is most certainly a personal friend of Assange. McCullagh was deeply involved with cypherpunks the same time Assange, known as Proff then, was.

He was also vaguely involved with the Jim Bell case, a cypherpunk who espoused "assassination politics".

Bell was a scary and fascinating guy. He routinely posted "target assessments" of federal buildings on the cypherpunk list and claimed he wore a bulletproof vest with ceramic inserts as proof against snipers at all times. Here is a pic of Bell on McCullagh's site. McCullagh is a true believer.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:05 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


msalt - if the bathroom light is broken, you don't wait until someone has had a demonstrably serious injury before figuring out that maybe that light should get fixed before someone gets hurt.
posted by anonymisc at 11:08 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


threeants: Didn't seem to cause much of an uproar when (among many others) 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed, and that teenager was a US citizen.

The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S. He was camping in a remote location with a group including Ibrahim al-Banna, a top al-Qaeda in Yemen operative who was the target. The US didn't know he was there.
posted by msalt at 11:11 PM on September 26, 2012


Unless there are multiple Declan McCullaghs. He is even listed Along with Assange on the cypherpunk Wikipedia page.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:11 PM on September 26, 2012


anonymisc: it's not weird or unusual or even wrong for the government to take away top-secret clearance from someone who supports a group dedicated to exposing secrets. It would be weird and incompetent if they didn't.
posted by msalt at 11:12 PM on September 26, 2012


msalt: "The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S. He was camping in a remote location with a group including Ibrahim al-Banna, a top al-Qaeda in Yemen operative who was the target. The US didn't know he was there."

Maybe they shouldn't be murdering people with flying robots, then.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:14 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Torture of Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 11:16 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


msalt - that there was a criminal investigation launched, not just a loss in clearance, in conjunction with how the charges are laid against Manning (and in context of the extreme difficulty of getting answers from the horses mouth) it seems quite reasonable to me to suspect that wikileaks or Assange or both is considered an enemy.
posted by anonymisc at 11:22 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do people find the concept of state secrets laudable?

The same reason people find personal secrets laudable. I'm not saying I should keep much from my wife, but when I close the door to the bathroom, I do it for a reason. Importantly, this does not mean I get to keep absolutely anything from her -- I don't get to cheat on her and keep it a secret, for instance. But everyone, absolutely everyone has secrets, and nations do get to have secrets too, but we want to limit them to the "close the door to the bathroom" secrets.

Please excuse the inane and entirely out-of-scale metaphor. It's late.
posted by incessant at 11:24 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


msalt: "The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S." claimed anonymous U.S. officials.
posted by mek at 11:25 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


msalt - that there was a criminal investigation launched, not just a loss in clearance, in conjunction with how the charges are laid against Manning (and in context of the extreme difficulty of getting answers from the horses mouth) it seems quite reasonable to me to suspect that wikileaks or Assange or both is

What do you mean by that? We know Manning was turned in by Lamo. Manning wasn't caught by some sort of investigation or survailiance of WikiLeaks.

Do you mean the logic is, The friends (WikiLeaks) of our enemy (Manning) must also be our enemy?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:31 PM on September 26, 2012


Sorry, scratch the Manning part - I was thinking he too had a "communicating with the enemy" charge.
posted by anonymisc at 11:36 PM on September 26, 2012


Maybe they shouldn't be murdering people with flying robots, then.

Because surely soldiers firing mortars from three miles out would've been able to tell he was 16 and a US citizen?

Or soldiers firing on the position from a thousand yards out?

Or a cruise missile?
posted by incessant at 11:36 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


mek: The US was very open about targeting the senior Awlaki. You're welcome to see conspiracies covering up the targeting of some kid no one had ever heard of up to that point, but that wouldn't explain why US officials would comment on the kid's death at all. If they were trying to secretly target him, a more likely response would be "Awlaki junior? Who's that? We have no idea what goes on in Yemen, why don't you ask the government there about it."
posted by msalt at 11:36 PM on September 26, 2012


incessant: "Because surely soldiers firing mortars from three miles out would've been able to tell he was 16 and a US citizen?

Or soldiers firing on the position from a thousand yards out?

Or a cruise missile?
"


How about this: "They should stop murdering people". Is that clear enough for you?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I agree. Jihadis should stop murdering people. But they refuse, and so we fight them.
posted by msalt at 11:56 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


> The president can order anyone he fancies killed.
... like a duck to water. But hey, he's a duck; that's what ducks do; so you're left apologising.

posted by de at 12:02 AM on September 27, 2012


How about this: "They should stop murdering people". Is that clear enough for you?

That's an argument against war, not against drones -- and one I agree with, whether or not your snippy response cares to listen.
posted by incessant at 12:04 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Assange has taken it to the UN.
posted by de at 12:07 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S. He was camping in a remote location with a group including Ibrahim al-Banna, a top al-Qaeda in Yemen operative who was the target. The US didn't know he was there.

With due respect, I am certainly not willing to take the word of an unnamed "US administration official" on this matter. As far as I'm concerned, if you shoot missiles at random groups of people who you haven't identified, that is absolutely an extrajudicial killing of all of said people, whether specifically "targeted" or not.
posted by threeants at 12:14 AM on September 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Obama puts you on his list."

I get the temptation to see politics as a simple game played by recognisable actors, but Obama does not represent the totality of every obscure detail of what the American Government does. Wow can MetaFilter go fucking nuts with fundamental misunderstandings of the US government and failures to even RTFA. There is no list of individual enemies of the state, at the moment the closest thing we would have to such a list would be a combination of the FTO list, our No Fly List, and perhaps a sprinkling of state actors more fucked up than us.

This REVALATION comes exclusively from the fact the Manning is being charged with a very specific crime under a very specific statue of a reasonably obscure aspect of United States Military Law. In the context it is actually a sensible thing to charge him with. Manning's prosecutors have reasoned that when he accessed a fuck ton of classified information he gave it to someone whose interests are fundamentally hostile to the United States government as well as people actually shooting at agents of the United States Government via him, this is both true (assuming the allegations are) and something soldiers should be prosecuted for doing. Manning, assuming he did it, did a really illegal thing that absolutely should be very illegal - even if its laudable - jail remains the correct response to civil disobedience.

"Why do people find the concept of state secrets laudable?"

The vast majority of the secrets the United States government keeps are really really fucking boring. They are either employee records that no one without business looking at should or things that are classified not because of their content but because of their source. Even if you don't like the United States government surely we can all agree that it is everyones best interest that it is able to collect the information necessary to make (hopefully) informed decisions with its massive amounts of power. Not everything that is worth knowing is published in our modern world, and an awful lot of things that are worth knowing - from where the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division happens to be right now to how many people are actually in jail for political crimes in China - require clandestine information gathering. Most forms of clandestine information gathering are fantastically easy to stop if the entity being observed knows how it is happening, and for the most part the source of the information would be fantastically easy to detect from the content. Thus, if we want the CIA knowing where the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division happens to be right now, or how many people are actually in jail for political crimes in China, or what the fuck Netanyahu is thinking, or who is building bombs in the Middle East (aside from us of course), or what Al-Asaad's driver's girlfriend hears on that tapped phone of hers from him, we've got to let them keep how they got that information secret by keeping the information itself secret - if nothing else.

Similarly, with the diplomatic cables, we all do actually have a really significant interest with American diplomats being able to be candid about human rights situations, corruption, and fucked up shit in their host countries with the US State Department. That is a really good thing.

"If Bush had been publicly doing this crap, the liberals would have been on the streets in protest. But Obama does it, and hardly a peep. That's why I think he's so, so much more dangerous than Bush ever was."

This assumes that liberal protests under Bush ever did anything, or would do anything now, aside from pacifying liberals in elections by making them think they were doing something.

"So, the US government is now officially on record as being the enemy of people who tell the truth."

Just people who steal and publish its secrets.

"Is it now illegal to donate money to Wikileaks?"

No
posted by Blasdelb at 12:24 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is no list of individual enemies of the state

Kill List

Perhaps you would call this a list of individuals the state dislikes?
posted by Shit Parade at 12:33 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Perhaps you would call this a list of individuals the state dislikes?

How different is this from the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives, other than the state is sanctioned with the use of lethal force?

Maybe they shouldn't be murdering people with flying robots, then.

True, they could've SEAL Team Six'd it.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:46 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Similarly, with the diplomatic cables, we all do actually have a really significant interest with American diplomats being able to be candid about human rights situations, corruption, and fucked up shit in their host countries with the US State Department. That is a really good thing.

Is it? The US Government has chosen to stand on the wrong side of human rights in quite a number of nations. Even in those where it aligns putatively with the "good guys", I'm genuinely interested to know what achievements in human rights can be attributed to US secret intelligence gathering in, say, Burma or China.
posted by threeants at 12:50 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not trying to derail, but I'm wondering if anybody has insight into what Assange's day-to-day is like in the embassy? I'm watching the UN video and noticing his strangely-tied tie, mismatching loose shirt, haircut, etc. and it's all a bit off to me...I can't find the right context to explain what I'm seeing while I'm listening to what he's saying.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:55 AM on September 27, 2012


"Perhaps you would call this a list of individuals the state dislikes?"

But again, 'enemies of the state' is an awfully specific legal term used only is a couple specific and obscure parts of American military justice that doesn't mean people we are trying to kill. Though regardless, if you could show that there are people in that binder in the white house whose names are not redundant to the list of people associated with FTOs then that would indeed be news.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:56 AM on September 27, 2012


Similarly, with the diplomatic cables, we all do actually have a really significant interest with American diplomats being able to be candid about human rights situations, corruption, and fucked up shit in their host countries with the US State Department. That is a really good thing.

There is much more to the cables than a few diplomats being candid, so their release is certainly in the public interest, to the extent that they expose significant corruption.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reuters: "Assange mocks Obama via video at U.N. event". via a choppy video feed, at that.

They really, really hate him.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:18 AM on September 27, 2012


Yes, of course. If you declare war in the military or nation, it's not surprising when they declare war right back 'atcha.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:21 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"There is much more to the cables than a few diplomats being candid, so their release is certainly in the public interest, to the extent that they expose significant corruption."

Blazecock, that doesn't even make sense. The extent to which the cables were able to expose corruption that was not already public was due entirely to the extent that those same diplomats were able to trust that their words would not be made inadvertently public and construed as the official opinion of the United States Government. Is the idea that diplomats need to be diplomatic with what the say publically really so hard to grasp? Similarly, if Assange were able to get ahold of another set of cables do you really think diplomats would be able to keep talking about sensitive aspects of corruption and the assorted other bullshit that the last set cables revealed?

It is certainly arguable that the release of the cables was in the public interest, but to say that prosecuting their release isn't is absurd. They were so valuable precisely because they were so secret, making them effectively public documents would make them worthless.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:26 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Assange in that video: "[Obama has] done more to criminalize free speech than any other U.S. president."

He clearly has a very limited understanding of American history:

John Adams'
Alien and Sedition Acts:
With particular attention to:
James Thomson Callender, a Scottish citizen, had been expelled from Great Britain for his political writings. Living first in Philadelphia, then seeking refuge close in Virginia, he wrote a book entitled The Prospect Before Us (read and approved by Vice President Jefferson before publication) in which he called the Adams administration a "continual tempest of malignant passions" and the President a "repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor". Callender, already residing in Virginia and writing for the Richmond Examiner, was indicted under the Sedition Act. Callender was convicted, fined $200 and sentenced to nine months in jail.
Matthew Lyon, born in Ireland, was a Democratic-Republican congressman from Vermont. He was indicted under the Sedition Act for an essay he had written in the Vermont Journal accusing the administration of "ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice". While awaiting trial, Lyon commenced publication of Lyon's Republican Magazine, subtitled "The Scourge of Aristocracy". At trial, he was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four months in prison. After his release, he returned to Congress.
Benjamin Franklin Bache was editor of the Aurora, a Republican newspaper. Bache had accused George Washington of incompetence and financial irregularities, and "the blind, bald, crippled, toothless, querulous ADAMS" of nepotism and monarchical ambition. He was arrested for his activities.
David Brown led a group in Dedham, Massachusetts in setting up a liberty pole with the words, "No Stamp Act, No Sedition Act, No Alien Bills, No Land Tax, downfall to the Tyrants of America; peace and retirement to the President; Long Live the Vice President". Brown was arrested in Andover, Massachusetts, but because he could not afford the $4,000 bail, he was taken to Salem for trial. He was tried in June 1799. Brown pled guilty but Justice Samuel Chase asked him to name others who had assisted him. He refused, was fined $480, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

Similarly President Wilson's,
Espionage Act of 1917
and its escalation:
Sedition Act of 1918
With particular attention to:
Eugene V. Debs of Indiana who was arrested for violating the Sedition Act by undermining the government's conscription efforts with his pacifist writings and sentenced to ten years in prison.
and
William Edenborn, a naturalized citizen from Germany who was accused of speaking "disloyally" when he allegedly belittled the threat of Germany to the security of the United States.

In contrast Assange thinks that Sweedish laws against rape don't apply to him and that the fact that they do is somehow Obama's fault.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:43 AM on September 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


For the record, Adams' administration was indeed a "continual tempest of malignant passions" and the President was indeed a "repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor"
posted by Blasdelb at 1:45 AM on September 27, 2012


Blasdelb, if the leaked cables didn't expose anything the public didn't already know, then there is no reason to prosecute the whistleblowers. If the leaked cables exposed corruption, then why are we going after the whistleblowers and not the criminals whose activities are now public knowledge? If the leaked cables need to be kept secret to help the diplomats do their job (which apparently involves spying and colluding with criminal activity, or looking the other way), then maybe the diplomats are not doing their job, nor doing it in an ethical way?

But this is a discussion that has been had so many times that I just don't feel like going through it again. I suggest you read some of the worst cables to familiarize yourself with the egregious abuses that have been uncovered. And, on preview, can you please do this before you derail the thread with inevitable rape talk? Just for a little while? Please?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:52 AM on September 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


> For the record, Adams' administration was indeed a "continual tempest of malignant passions" and the President was indeed a "repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor"

So much for the 2nd amendment right to bear arms.
When America? What's it going to take?
posted by de at 1:56 AM on September 27, 2012


noticing his strangely-tied tie

That's a motherucking Cravat! Modern cravats are suspiciously like a tie but cost $100 more. Maybe he just tied a normal tie like a cravat tomsave some money though.

An ascot is wider and gets tied around neck itself and tucked into the shirt.

He should have gone with an ascot if he wanted to leave is collar open.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:14 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> noticing his strangely-tied tie, mismatching loose shirt, haircut, etc.

His hair style is a recent buzz-cut growing out.

The strangely-tied tie is an (Australian) retro thing. Radical men/hippies/surfies, late60s - early 70s, wore ties that way as a mark of defiance when compelled to wear an occasional tie. (Assange probably picked up the style from his parents' generation.)
posted by de at 2:23 AM on September 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Awesome, thanks people! That's exactly the context I was looking for. Had no idea, and now it makes all kinds of sense, right down to the indexicality of the tie!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:36 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


With extreme sarcasm I must say that I for one am SHOCKED to think that the US military might have issued an order telling its members not to leak secret documents to Wikileaks and outlining the consequences of such a leak. Furthermore the inclusion of Assange on Santa's naughty list is only because of the hegemonic despotism of America against the Norrh Pole and those defenseless elvin workers.
posted by humanfont at 4:52 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Bush had been publicly doing this crap, the liberals would have been on the streets in protest. But Obama does it, and hardly a peep.

I don't know how this jives with the fact that, on Metafilter alone, there's something like a FPP a week on "this crap," largely from somewhat popular American online and print sources, much of which are at least left-leaning.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:30 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I think about all the creepy fallout surrounding the response to 9/11 (like the conviction of a 15 year old for war crimes) it makes me think about vampire hunters. While most of the villagers trembled under their bedsheets, a few guys rode out to the cemetery to dig up a body, burn the heart, cut off it's legs and stuff the head into it's ribcage.

-problem solved and you're welcome, everybody


Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee yet. Can you explain this metaphor? Who's the vampire hunter?
posted by odinsdream at 6:04 AM on September 27, 2012


The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S. He was camping in a remote location with a group including Ibrahim al-Banna, a top al-Qaeda in Yemen operative who was the target. The US didn't know he was there.

From a legal perspective, the only real deviation from precedent here was failing to try him in absentia first, so as to strip him of his citizenship and the due process protections that come with it, transforming him into a run-of-the-mill AQAP member and military target.

But I'm not sure that formalism would have satisfied very many people who objected to the targeting and killing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:07 AM on September 27, 2012


And he by all accounts was targeted, even if the actual strike that killed him was aimed at a more senior person.

Thread from after the targeting was leaked, but before the killing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:11 AM on September 27, 2012


Corporate secrets are one thing, troop movements and international negotiations are another.

Someone said in another thread, recently, that rights are supposed to be had in inverse proportion to power, more or less. This applies to "privacy" and "secrecy" also -- these are rights that serve a serious protective measure for the weak but, in the hands of the strong, promote abuse of power. Besides, the whole claim to democracy thing is a sham if the public is expected to vote with information that is deliberately and in principle incomplete. Keeping troop movements and international negotiations secret from the public that those things are being done to serve is completely anti-democratic.
posted by kengraham at 6:45 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Asange and Wikileaks have neither stolen nor leaked state secrets (and neither is a citizen of the USA). Part of the pickle surrounding the affair is that in addition to their publishing activities not going beyond those of journalists, they also seem to be journalists under US law, which is a problem if you want to nail them to the wall for what thy published, so people are busy figuring out more convoluted interpretations under which the law could arrive at a different conclusion.

But they didn't steal, they didn't leak, they published. And it should not be a crime to support journalists.


In the US, there is almost no difference between a citizen and a journalist. Nor should there be. Everyone has the right to free speech, and nobody (should) have the power to confer any kind of "extra" free speech onto someone they deign worthy of the journalist tag.

Further, free speech- even journalistic free speech- does not absolve anyone of the responsibility to follow the law.

And I believe the problem the US Government has with Wikileaks is not that they passively published some stuff that fell into their hands. Rather that, they allege, Wikileaks materially supported people engaging in espionage. That they did more than just say "send us stuff and we'll publish it".

Why do people find the concept of state secrets laudable?

For the same reason we bitch about privacy on Facebook. People like to retain the right to keep private things private.

(That doesn't mean that I agree with all the things a government does.)
posted by gjc at 6:59 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obligatory Glenn Greenwald column link
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:09 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone said in another thread, recently, that rights are supposed to be had in inverse proportion to power, more or less. This applies to "privacy" and "secrecy" also -- these are rights that serve a serious protective measure for the weak but, in the hands of the strong, promote abuse of power. Besides, the whole claim to democracy thing is a sham if the public is expected to vote with information that is deliberately and in principle incomplete. Keeping troop movements and international negotiations secret from the public that those things are being done to serve is completely anti-democratic.

There is a difference between the person and the state. So yes, powerful individuals lose some right to privacy as they gain power.

But the apparatus of government doesn't work quite that way. Government is, at it's core, what happens when we delegate our individual rights to other people. We band together and hire some people to keep an eye on things for us. Part of that is keeping things secret that need to be kept secret. Not because we distrust the citizenry, but because publishing to the citizens means also publishing to everyone else who might not have the best motives.

No system is perfect, but it is silly to think that a government shouldn't have the ability to keep secrets when it is necessary. It is the line where "necessary" is that we argue about.
posted by gjc at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not tying to derail or to Godwin but back in 1943 my Dad was literally declared to be an Enemy of the State. He and he group he belonged to were said to be in the process of destroying his country and the vast majority of the people in the country agreed and locked him up in a prison camp for 2 years while he was a teenager. The prison camp was called Auschwitz. Of course, looking back , History now has a somewhat different take on the matter,
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 7:42 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


The US was very open about targeting the senior Awlaki. You're welcome to see conspiracies covering up the targeting of some kid no one had ever heard of up to that point, but that wouldn't explain why US officials would comment on the kid's death at all. If they were trying to secretly target him, a more likely response would be "Awlaki junior? Who's that? We have no idea what goes on in Yemen, why don't you ask the government there about it."
In the days following the strike that killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, U.S. officials suggested that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not a teenager, but rather a "military-age male" in his 20s. Under international protocols of conflict, recognizing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki as a "military-age male" provided justification for his killing. However, Awlaki’s family refuted the U.S.'s claim that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was of military age by releasing a copy of his U.S. birth certificate showing that he was born on August 26, 1995 and was aged 16 at the time of his death.
Yeah, man! Freedom ain't free. Sometimes a Just and Righteous Government has to give themselves the right to kill anyone they suspect of terrorism without trial or even providing evidence to any sort of judiciary, and then they have to use a remote control robot to murder a teenager, and then lie about his age, and then claim it was an accident.

You know how those remote control robots are. They self-assemble themselves with US taxpayer money, and then are accidentally piloted by US personnel to takeoff, and then they make a whoopsie and travel halfway around the world, and then they somehow make the mistake of killing people who we apparently don't even know.

It's the damnedest thing.

I agree. Jihadis should stop murdering people. But they refuse, and so we fight them.

And just how many Jihadi bases are in the Western Hemisphere? How many US military bases are there in the Middle East? What's the comparative body count going back one hundred years? How many murderous dictatorships has Egypt, Iraq, or Iran sponsored in the United States?

The first step in understanding the conflict is to understand that history did not begin on 9/11. That was significant because it marked the first time the violence we have been imposing on the middle east for decades made it back to the United States.
And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same, and that we had to destroy the towers in America, so that they taste what we tasted and they stop killing our women and children
bin Laden was talking about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. At least eight thousand Lebanese civilians were killed with 30,000 more wounded. The purpose of the invasion was this:
1. "Destroy the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon, including the PLO headquarters in Beirut."

2. "Drive Syrian forces out of Lebanon."

3. "Install a Christian-dominated government in Lebanon, with Bashir Gemayel as President."

4. "Sign a peace treaty with the Lebanese government that would solidify the informal Israeli-Christian alliance and convert it into a binding agreement."
The reasons people like bin Laden are able to recruit individuals for suicide missions are not imaginary. The drones are going to be the latest recruitment tool. Pretending otherwise is typical and, unfortunately, unsurprising.
posted by deanklear at 7:55 AM on September 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


you just might have to accept that what Manning etc. did was illegal

I agree that what Manning did was illegal and that he should face trial. Emphasis: he should face trial. The sixth amendment states that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury," but instead he has been locked in solitary confinement indefinitely.

Nixon had an enemies list. Obama has a kill list, and he's the sane one in your current election.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:00 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who's the vampire hunter?

Abraham Lincoln.
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


bin Laden was talking about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. At least eight thousand Lebanese civilians were killed with 30,000 more wounded. The purpose of the invasion was this:

1. "Destroy the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon, including the PLO headquarters in Beirut."

2. "Drive Syrian forces out of Lebanon."

3. "Install a Christian-dominated government in Lebanon, with Bashir Gemayel as President."

4. "Sign a peace treaty with the Lebanese government that would solidify the informal Israeli-Christian alliance and convert it into a binding agreement."


The 1982 invasion of Lebanon was not a US operation and those goals were not US goals--they were the goals of the Israelis. Granted, the US--notably in the person of the always hapless Haig--bungled badly in discussions with the Israelis prior to the invasion and managed to convey the impression that if they weren't exactly greenlighting the invasion (which they weren't--Reagan might have been a fool in many ways, but he didn't actually think that this was a good idea) that they were happy enough for the Israelis to proceed.

Moreover, when the US did, in fact, get dragged in to this war that they had not wanted they acted, initially, to save a large number of PLO members who would have been directly targeted by the Israeli forces. They did, it is true, end up actively supporting the Gemayel regime (and paid pretty harshly for it in the Marine barracks bombing) but it's still pretty odd to hold the US principally accountable for the whole mess.
posted by yoink at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee yet. Can you explain this metaphor? Who's the vampire hunter?

...meaning the people setting up black sites, the torturers and those giving them their orders. I'm trying to say that in any society, there's a weird, sadistic subset who are given free reign in these situations when the bulk of the population terrified and confused. They don't care who is tortured as long as somebody is.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:17 AM on September 27, 2012


I agree that what Manning did was illegal and that he should face trial. Emphasis: he should face trial. The sixth amendment states that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury," but instead he has been locked in solitary confinement indefinitely.

Manning's trial is scheduled for early next year. A two-to-three year delay between arrest and trial is pretty ordinary for major crimes. Come to that, the solitary confinement is not all that unusual for people accused of major crimes--although I agree that US prisons abuse this form of detention horribly and that it should probably be outlawed in most cases as a form of cruel, if not, alas, unusual, punishment.
posted by yoink at 9:24 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


me: The junior Awlaki was not targeted by the U.S. He was camping in a remote location with a group including Ibrahim al-Banna, a top al-Qaeda in Yemen operative who was the target. The US didn't know he was there.

snuffleopagus: he by all accounts was targeted, even if the actual strike that killed him was aimed at a more senior person. Thread from after the targeting was leaked, but before the killing.

Yes, but that thread is about Anwar al-Awlaki, not his son who I'm talking about. I was responding to threeants, who was talking about the US "targeting a 16-year old" meaning the younger Awlaki.

In fact, that's exactly my point -- the US was not shy about declaring their intent to kill Awlaki senior, which makes the claim that the son was not targeted more credible in my opinion.
posted by msalt at 9:30 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, let's all donate to wikileaks right now.

As far as I am concerned, the US is often the enemy of good sense and goodwill in the post-WWII era (as most nation-states are) so quid pro quo is fine with me.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:30 AM on September 27, 2012


Government is, at it's core, what happens when we delegate our individual rights to other people. We band together and hire some people to keep an eye on things for us. Part of that is keeping things secret that need to be kept secret. Not because we distrust the citizenry, but because publishing to the citizens means also publishing to everyone else who might not have the best motives.

That's a highly theoretical account of how governments are established and function in practice, and it also seems to rest on the supposition that governments (or other powerful entities keeping secrets) do have the best motives, or at least have motives that reflect "our" motives. Since that's often manifestly untrue in many countries including, often, the US, citizens have a right to know what the government is up to, and this right is more important than the easy achievement of the government's goals. For example, ensuring that the public is aware of recent torture committed and officially sanctioned by elements of their and other governments seems to me to be more important for a random citizen than any "foreign policy" goal. The government's attempts at secrecy and protests to the contrary seem to amount to "trust us not to do bad things while we do things clandestinely to protect you". It's an absurd request, in the face of evidence that bad things are sometimes officially sanctioned and done, and attempts to quash activity that could compromise their secrecy therefore appear to be justified by politics (those aspects of government that depend on the particular people in power) rather than by the type of civic idealism in your comment (with which, of course, we all agree in principle -- the delusional principle that holds that the things we do when we "band together and hire people" don't include waterboarding).
posted by kengraham at 9:44 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is a valid point that we have and continue to support middl east dictators when it is expedient to our interests. obamas cairo speech is very sad in thst regard as is our silence on Bahrain. There so many examples iran Afghanistan etc we have been killing muslims for decades
posted by Shit Parade at 9:46 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


True. However, Obama is at least taking tentative steps in the right direction. What frightens me is that Romney is openly attacking him for it, saying "We need to control events in the Middle East, not respond to them."
posted by msalt at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


We are currently in a military conflict with AQAP. AQAP has decided to bring kids along during their military operations and patrols. AQAP is the one actively targeting civilian aircraft, markets and offices. These actions by AQAP are war crimes.
posted by humanfont at 10:01 AM on September 27, 2012


[ guys, if we could return to Assange-related stuff and less of the tit-for-tat arguing, that'd be great ]
posted by mathowie at 11:39 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, but that thread is about Anwar al-Awlaki, not his son who I'm talking about. I was responding to threeants, who was talking about the US "targeting a 16-year old" meaning the younger Awlaki.

Oops, my mistake.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:42 AM on September 27, 2012


anonymisc: [The concern is] that there was a criminal investigation launched, not just a loss in clearance

Here is the document that this FPP's story is discussing.

The security analyst in question had some sort of emotional breakdown, constantly depressed, "cried for hours and showed no emotion." (?) At that time she saw a skit on SNL about Assange and "became infatuated with ASSANGE and his Wikileaks group" repeatedly Googling him, and attending his first extradition trial. She told one friend that "a lot of classified material did not need to be classified and thought it should be unclassified." That friend told her it was a bad idea to attend Assange's second extradition hearing because of her job, but she said that "if she did not attend the trial she would kill herself," and that she wasn't afraid of being arrested for her actions.

Given that, do you really think it's unreasonable for the government to investigate this security analyst to see if she leaked material? Such leaks are a crime, so yes that would make it a criminal investigation, but what other response would you want the US military to make?
posted by msalt at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2012


In reading the actual documents I think that the Sydney Morning Herald has invented a news story here. The US has advised a single individual that they should be aware that giving classified information to Wikileaks could violate a number of laws, including providing information to the enemy. That doesn't mean that WL/Assange are enemies. If you give classified information to the NY Times and it gets published and read by Al Qaeda, you'd be guilty of the same offense.
posted by humanfont at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Glenn Greenwald has a similar interpretation, minus the "move on, nothing to see here":

But it's the second possibility that seems to me to be the far more likely one: namely, that the US government, as part of Obama's unprecedented war on whistleblowers, has now fully embraced the pernicious theory that any leaks of classified information can constitute the crime of "aiding the enemy" or "communicating with the enemy" by virtue of the fact that, indirectly, "the enemy" will - like everyone else in the world - ultimately learn of what is disclosed.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:33 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> If you give classified information to the NY Times and it gets published and read by Al Qaeda, you'd be guilty of the same offense.

The axis of whistleblowers. Ha!
Good thing journalists protect their sources.
posted by de at 1:53 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This FPP, and the article it links to, are both incorrect and sensationalist. The statement "US calls Assange 'enemy of state'" is incorrect. This is clear if you read the article -- which unlike the headline, is a bit more calm -- carefully:
a probe by the air force's Office of Special Investigations into a cyber systems analyst based in Britain who allegedly expressed support for WikiLeaks and attended pro-Assange demonstrations in London.

The counter-intelligence investigation focused on whether the analyst, who had a top-secret security clearance and access to the US military's Secret Internet Protocol Router network, had disclosed classified or sensitive information to WikiLeaks supporters, described as an "anti-US and/or anti-military group".

The suspected offence was "communicating with the enemy, 104-D", an article in the US Uniform Code of Military Justice that prohibits military personnel from "communicating, corresponding or holding intercourse with the enemy".

The analyst's access to classified information was suspended. However, the investigators closed the case without laying charges.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations does not have the ability to speak on behalf of the United States Government as a whole. And even setting that aside, their attempt to charge some analyst with UCMJ 104-D, absent an actual conviction by a court martial, doesn't represent a finding of fact that Assange or Wikileaks is, in actuality, an enemy. It would be pretty difficult to mount that case, I suspect, which is probably why they dropped it.

Reading between the lines here, my suspicion is that the unnamed analyst got the book thrown at them, and the 104-D claim was used as a bludgeon to get them to agree to giving up their security clearance. Once they did that, it was dropped. There was almost certainly never any intent to speak on behalf of the US Government vis a vis Assange, which is something certainly above the pay grade of whoever in the USAF OSI decided to charge the analyst under 104-D.

It's kind of legally interesting, if you're into such things, but mostly the article is sloppy clickbait journalism.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:06 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


On Assange and on CNN, Glenn Greenwald is talking out of his hat and is an embarrassment to The Guardian

Jeremy Duns (novelist, UK citizen living in Sweden) give detailed rebuttal of Greenwald on Swedish civil rights.
posted by msalt at 2:15 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Handing over classified materials to a media organization isn't necessarily whistleblowing. Was Scotter Libby blowing the whistle on nepotism at CIA when he outed Valerie Plame? No he wasn't he was trying to give classified information to the media to destroy his political enemies and influence US policy and public opinion.
posted by humanfont at 2:35 PM on September 27, 2012


Wow are you really bringing up scooter libby in a discussion about whistleblowers?

The issue here is that the Current American goverment, did make a tiny little pwomise-- kindly read under the "protect whistleblowers" part --that blew up in their faces with wikileaks. Is whistleblowing inherently wrong? no. Is it ethically questionable, yes.

Also, troop movements? Really, be kind to show me before the fact (that is troop movement information leaking before the displacement) proof of a leak.

ALL cables i've seen as it relates to troop names and civilians names, were redacted.

NEXT.
posted by xcasex at 2:45 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow are you really bringing up scooter libby in a discussion about whistleblowers?

No, Scooter Libby is being brought up in a discussion about Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. Who were not and are not whistleblowers. And are, in fact, a hell of a lot closer to Scooter Libby.
posted by kafziel at 2:51 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was Scotter Libby blowing the whistle on nepotism at CIA when he outed Valerie Plame?

Great question. Does WikiLeaks release information because that information is in the public interest? Or do they release information to silence dissenters and help push an illegal war through the UN?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:55 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


kafziel, that's just equating and ascribing attributes without knowing the facts as it stands, nice try though. (and if you are in fact sitting on proof relating to the not-official-inquiry-that's-so-secret-nobody-should-know-about-it you could be a star witness, kindly proceed to your closest official)
posted by xcasex at 2:57 PM on September 27, 2012


[...] my Dad was literally declared to be an Enemy of the State. [...] History now has a somewhat different take on the matter.

I'm not getting it. The implicit point seems to be that having an "Enemy of the State" category at all is a bad idea?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:06 PM on September 27, 2012


Bradley Manning was not a whistleblower because his release was indiscriminate -- there was no "thing" he was blowing the whistle on, he just did a data dump. Assange is not a whistleblower because he has no direct knowledge of the things he's releasing -- he's just a conduit. Humanfont's point is, just because you make secret information public does not make you a whistleblower, and Scooter Libby is a perfect example of his/her point.
posted by msalt at 3:08 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assange is not a whistleblower because he has no direct knowledge of the things he's releasing

Is that true? It runs contrary to claims made around the original set of cables that they were vetted for information likely to get confidential sources killed before they were released.

It doesn't take much to imagine they were sorted on other criteria as well.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:12 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assange is not a whistleblower because he has no direct knowledge of the things he's releasing

Well, sure, except for the part where WikiLeaks released both a full and an edited version of the "Collateral Murder" video. And that time when WikiLeaks released only part of the Afghan War documents:

We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.

And that time that they asked the Pentagon for help with redacting the leaked documents. Oh, and during Cablegate, when WikiLeaks decided to release cables as they are vetted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm not being clear on my point. In the Collateral Murder video and Afghan documents, Assange/Wikileaks were not whistleblowers, because they didn't work for the government. They were conduits, essentially journalists. Whoever in the military gave them those videos and documents was the whistleblower.

Just as in the Pentagon Papers -- the New York Times was not a whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg was. He was the one who had a security clearance and willingly faced prosecution because it was the morally right thing to do.

This is no criticism of Wikileaks, it's just a different role, and taking different risks.
posted by msalt at 3:39 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Folks we understand if you need to go to MetaTalk but otherwise please be decent to each other and maybe dial the snark back in this thread touchy thread?]
posted by jessamyn at 3:45 PM on September 27, 2012


Assange gave unredacted cables to Putin and Lukashenko. I'm sure they are being super helpful in the process of cleaning up the names of Russian and Belarusian dissidents.
posted by humanfont at 4:05 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


There might be some grey areas, but I'm not sure that working for the government is a prerequisite for being a whistleblower. Ellsberg did not work directly for the government, for instance (though he worked for a company that received federal funds and completed contracts for the government). There are other whistleblowers outside of the public sector, who have revealed corruption and cult-like practices in the Church of Scientology, price-fixing by ADM, unsafe practices in Kerr-McGee's nuclear fuel processing plants, shady accounting by Enron, etc.

Here are some criteria that the US government use to define the actor, who exposes:

* A violation of any law, rule or regulation
* Gross mismanagement
* A gross waste of funds
* An abuse of authority
* A substantial and specific danger to public health
* A substantial and specific danger to public safety


If the primary whistleblower had given data to the New York Times or another major media outlet, it is arguable that most or all of these important stories would not have seen the light of day.

To the extent that WL was capable of routing raw and vetted data to the media and, more importantly, having the power to get the story into the public record, they did play an active role in exposure.

So I think it is arguable that there are several ways in which the data WL released to the media meet some of these criteria, and, in any case, calling them whistleblowers doesn't need to diminish the role played the individuals who gave them information.

While WL fulfills some of the missions of a journalistic outfit, they have been an important conduit of stories to other media sources, so I'm not sure that this necessarily must be an either/or situation. There is some overlap that is worth consideration.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


blazecock pileon, mancrush, ssshhh sekrit!
posted by xcasex at 4:57 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm not getting it. The implicit point seems to be that having an "Enemy of the State" category at all is a bad idea?

I'm just pointing out that a country can declare one person - or a huge group of people - to be terrorists and enemies of the state and a good chunk of the country can go along with that idea .... and both that government and people who went along with them can be so very, very wrong. My entire family back then were deemed enemies of the State at the time and most were executed for it.

All that history makes me very suspicious of almost anything which does not involve a legitimate due process.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 5:47 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about when the enemy of the state is Hitler?
posted by humanfont at 5:55 PM on September 27, 2012


Wow. You went there.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm not sure that working for the government is a prerequisite for being a whistleblower

It's not--but having some inside knowledge of the organization you are blowing the whistle on is. A newspaper is not a whistleblower--the people who come to them and say "hey, I have inside knowledge about this bad thing my company/the government/City Hall is doing" are. Assange is not a whistleblower unless he reports on some shenanigans in the Wikileaks organization.
posted by yoink at 6:11 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm just pointing out that a country can declare one person - or a huge group of people - to be terrorists and enemies of the state and a good chunk of the country can go along with that idea .... and both that government and people who went along with them can be so very, very wrong.

There is precisely zero evidence, thus far, that Assange has, in fact, been declared an "enemy of the state."
posted by yoink at 6:15 PM on September 27, 2012


There is precisely zero evidence, thus far, that Assange has, in fact, been declared an "enemy of the state."

The Australian press article in the link is claiming exactly that. That's exactly what they say that the military has declared him to be.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2012


AFAIK, there's two possible interpretations:

(1) Wikileaks and Assange are the enemy, and leaking to them is communicating with the enemy.

(2) Leaking at all is communicating to the enemy, because even though you're just communicating with journalists, the enemy reads the papers too.

Both of these are scary.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm just pointing out that a country can declare one person - or a huge group of people - to be terrorists and enemies of the state and a good chunk of the country can go along with that idea .... and both that government and people who went along with them can be so very, very wrong.

Fair enough.

Still, there are also quite a few cases where people deemed enemies of the state turned out in history's eyes to be enemies of the state. Filter everything through a "what will they think in fifty years" filter and you'll never get anywhere.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:44 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(2) Leaking at all is communicating to the enemy, because even though you're just communicating with journalists, the enemy reads the papers too.

Umm, I think that's *supposed* to be scary. The people who put you in charge of keeping data secure would like you to keep it secure and have listed a set of punishments if you purposefully betray their trust.

I'm not sure why that arrangement would scare you if you're not the one charged with keeping the secrets?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:47 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Daniel Ellsberg, he and Chris Hedges are doing an AMA on the NDAA.
posted by homunculus at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2012


(2) Leaking at all is communicating to the enemy, because even though you're just communicating with journalists, the enemy reads the papers too.

Hey man, I just put these deployment plans on pastebin, is all! If al-Qaeda searches the site and finds them there, that's nothing to do with me!
posted by kafziel at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2012


That is not the case at hand and dishonest to boot, and you know it.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:53 PM on September 27, 2012


kafziel, imma still waiting on you to back up you statement concerning troop deployment and movements that were leaked before they took place
posted by xcasex at 8:36 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The document does not say that Assange or WL is an enemy. It doesn't even actually say that giving information to Assange or Wikileaks would be equivalent to giving information to an enemy. There are a few statues related to the handling of classified data mentioned in notes taken by investigators, one of which includes the crime of passing information to the enemy.
posted by humanfont at 8:51 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, did the investigators turn full on voodoo tech on us just now, i thought tech statue fetishes were only used in cyberpunk books by Gibson! sorry, someone had to make a quip about statues, might as well be me & my insomna
posted by xcasex at 8:55 PM on September 27, 2012


The Australian press article in the link is claiming exactly that.

No, the headline claims that. The phrase "enemy of the state" does not occur in the article. Nor does the article present even a shred of evidence to suggest that any formal finding has been made that Assange is an "enemy" of the US. What it tells us is that the US military contemplated charging someone who had communicated with Wikileaks with passing secrets to the enemy; it then infers from this that Assange has been ruled "the enemy." Given that A) the case apparently came to nothing and B) communicating secrets to Assange is communicating them to the entire world (which includes many straightforward enemies of the US) this seems an extremely tenuous inference.

What the article does not present is a single shred of evidence to support the ridiculously overblown claim in the headline.
posted by yoink at 9:29 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, the headline claims that.

No The article states that. The very first sentence. Presumably you have not read the article or you would have seen the first sentence.

What the article does not present is a single shred of evidence to support the ridiculously overblown claim in the headline

It's the Sydney Morning Herald. An internationally known and respected newspaper which decidedly does not have the reputation of making things up. It's called journalism. You of course have the right to believe what you will and reject all manner of proof. Had you read the article you would have found that the Herald obtained documents by an FOI request which specifically named Assange as such.

This will be our last exchange as I do not believe you are communicating in good faith at this point
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:06 AM on September 28, 2012


Podkayne; respected or not, the Herald's article does not back up the claim in its first sentence. I posted the actual document above; you can read it yourself. The only link from that document to Assange is a statement by Assange's US attorney in the Australian newspaper, and he has no other evidence either.

Dunkadunc: AFAIK, there's two possible interpretations: (1) Wikileaks and Assange are the enemy, (2) Leaking at all is communicating to the enemy,

You're missing the third possibility: some dim bureaucrat had to fill out that form to start an investigation, and when it said charge, they said, "Uh, I dunno, communicating with the enemy?" and filled that in. The investigation was done, and no charges were brought. Perhaps because the investigator said "What enemy? You don't even know what you're talking about."
posted by msalt at 12:58 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The article is really poorly written.

Thing is, "US CoIntel Threatens Suspect With Trumped-Up Charges," which is what actually happened, isn't that sexy an article. Instead, the reporter spun the article so that it states that military personnel "may be at risk of being charged" under a law that, by inference, would mean Wikileaks and Assange would be categorized as "enemies."

The first sentence of the article is factually incorrect. "The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States..." The documents obtained by the SMH document a charge that was never formally made. They can say literally anything in an inquiry -- that's why it's an inquiry. Maybe they're strong-arming the suspect. Maybe they're really exploring whether or not the suspect could've been prosecuted as "communicating with the enemy." But exploring and threatening are not the same thing as actual follow through.

When my kid doesn't want to put on his seat belt, I tell him that the police have cameras installed in our car and they will give him a ticket if he doesn't. The SMH's headline would read "Police Install Cameras in Young Family's Car."

The first 6 paragraphs of the article specifically address the issues at hand. The next 14 paragraphs recount Assange's plight, with some quotes where Assange's lawyer discusses only one aspect of the documents -- all he talks about is whether or not the threatened charge uses the word "enemy" to refer to anyone other than wikileaks. He believes that because "[a]lmost the entire set of documents is concerned with the analyst's communications with people close to and supporters of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," that "it appears that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the 'enemy'." That's it.

The SMH reporter does not quote a US government source, named or unnamed. Aside from random quotes from Biden, Palin, and Huckabee referring generally to Assange, there are no other quotes in the article. My suspicion is that if an actual legal scholar with some expertise in the area of 'enemy of the state' status were quoted, the quote would be something like, "You're making these documents out to be more than they actually are." To me, it's telling that no one else is quoted in the article.

"The suspected offence was 'communicating with the enemy'" (emphasis mine) states the article. "[T]he investigators closed the case without laying charges." If charges had been filed, then there might be something there, but this, not so much.

Truthdig got it right -- their headline calls him a "potential enemy of the state," which is certainly true.
posted by incessant at 1:05 AM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


It seems that the author of the article in the SMH has himself run afoul of state secrecy laws in Australia.
posted by humanfont at 7:36 AM on September 28, 2012


Sorry, mods. I'll get to my point and move on. This is a long argument, but not meant to be a speech or a derail.

This is the crux of the whole issue: the US government is not accusing Assange of misrepresenting the way American foreign policy works; the way American foreign policy is. They are accusing Assange of telling the truth, and they also claim that the truth is damaging to our National Security. That's an extraordinary place to be, isn't it? The truth is a threat to our national security.

Right at this point, there are a few people saying, "Well, of course, exposing national security secrets always are a threat." But what truths about Denmark, or Norway, or Argentina could threaten their national security? There is a sort of bubble of assumption in America that everyone else in the world has to fear the same truths, when that simply isn't the case. The truth tends to set other nations free, but not us, and I think it's important to remember that. It's one of those little facts — like remembering that torturing people and holding people without charging them were both illegal on September 10th, 2001 — that can reach through the doubt and the spin that we are constantly subjected to.

Inside of this bubble, I hear support for the way state secrecy operates, and I hear criticism. And I also hear rote regurgitations of (expletive expletive) perceptions about our current involvement in the Middle East that seem to claim that we just woke up one day in Baghdad, and said, "Jesus, what happened to this place? Who is this crazy Saddam guy? Why are those Iranians so pissed off over there?"

We treat the whole region like a little project car that's always on blocks. Or better yet, a shower that we're trying to get the right temperature on. Eh, that's a little too socialist. Try this guy. Hmmm, too supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood. Can we send that guy to kill those guys and crown the loser and sign this treaty with our allies? Alright, let's give that a shot.

And during those experiments in Middle Eastern politics, over one million people died, and millions more had their lives and minds irreparably destroyed. I realize that a lot of Americans don't know that happened, but the victims did not forget. They never will. The indigenous opposition to occupation is not new, and it can't be summed up by implying that "evil jihadists" appeared out of nowhere and started murdering people. Every consequence we have suffered due to our occupation of the Middle East is the predictable response to decades of extraordinary violence paid for and committed by our government, often in secret.

That is why WikiLeaks and the Pentagon Papers are so important: only the truth — unspun, unredacted, whole, and real — can lead to understanding about why the world is the way it is. If the public had known the same information that the Bush Administration knew about WMDs in Iraq, I believe Iraq war wouldn't have happened. But they kept the truth secret because they wanted their war. They desecrated the memory of the victims of 9/11 by using that anger and fear to engage in military adventurism, and as a result we lost hundreds of thousands of lives, and destroyed millions more on both sides of the conflict through displacement, dismemberment, psychological hardship, and the very real consequences of losing over three trillion dollars that was invested in destruction instead of constructive investment.

The institutions that manipulated public opinion by lying about September 11th and Saddam's involvement are still in Washington. They are still claiming, despite evidence to the contrary, that the drone strikes don't kill civilians or ruin our desire to win hearts and minds. They are also trotting out fantastically hypocritical rhetoric to criticize the smallest resistance like the attack in Libya: "Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith."

What do you think the Middle Eastern world feels when someone like Hillary Clinton says that violence is not acceptable? I'll bet it's the same feeling they get when the US government talks about freedom and democratic principle while Guantanamo is still open. It's probably the same feeling they get when Obama talks about diplomatic solutions in Iran while we are arming Al Qaeda in Syria to oust Assad, and flying drones over much of the rest of the Middle East. It's the same feeling I get when someone reduces the situation into terrorists are bad! America is good! because that sentiment is an obvious fabrication. It's a dishonest narrative crafted so politicians can have bullet points for national security credentials in their next election.

The only antidote to those false mythologies is the truth, and that's why the truth is illegal. When they say the phrase "national security" they are never talking about you, or me, or any of the vast majority of Americans. They are talking about the security of the State itself, and the way business currently gets done in the world, and they are correct: the United States Empire will not survive if the truth is known about it, instead of just rumored.

The State has been slowly destroying the protections provided by the Constitution because our right to know what our government is doing is incompatible with their ability to wage wars in secret to keep the empire intact. That's the reason the dovish Obama Administration has been prosecuting anyone who leaks information that isn't beneficial to his campaign. And that's the reason we should continue to tell the truth in the face of the propagandized narratives that have dug the hole for the stinking mess we all find ourselves in.
posted by deanklear at 8:06 AM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Had you read the article you would have found that the Herald obtained documents by an FOI request which specifically named Assange as such.

No, they did not. If you care enough about this issue to insult strangers on Metafilter about it, you might care enough to actually inform yourself on the matter. They got documents that showed that the US military tossed around the idea of charging someone with who had communicated with Wikileaks with communicating with the enemy. Unfortunately for the reputation of the SMH they chose to jump to the false inference that this meant that some formal ruling had been made that Assange was an "enemy of the state." This, however, is self-evidently untrue. For one thing, although these charges were contemplated, they were not, in fact, levied. For another, the fact that communicating secrets to Wikileaks could conceivably be construed as communicating with the enemy does not prove that Wikileaks or Assange is being defined as "the enemy." If I was a US serviceman who published military secrets in the NY Times classified advertisements, I might well be liable to be punished for passing secrets to the enemy. This would not mean, however, that the NYT or its editor was being declared an enemy of the state.
posted by yoink at 9:09 AM on September 28, 2012


deanklear: This is a long argument, but not meant to be a speech or a derail.

And yet....

So basically, you're saying that the U.S. is occupying the MidEast; the killing of the ambassador of Libya was just "the smallest resistance" to "the United States Empire" and the US is hypocritical to complain about it; Denmark, Norway and Argentina don't have or need any diplomatic secrets because they're not empires; and all US military and diplomatic secrets need to be revealed so as to destroy the US empire. Is that about right?
posted by msalt at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Can folks consider keeping this thread vaguely on topic, please?]
posted by jessamyn at 10:02 AM on September 28, 2012


That's an extraordinary place to be, isn't it? The truth is a threat to our national security.

No. It is not. You seem to think that the only reason to keep something secret is because it is reprehensible. But there's plenty of other reasons. You must have encountered some: do you always tell a potential employer how low a salary you'd be willing to take? A seller how much you'd pay for the house? A spouse how hot you think one of your co-workers is? These are all situations in which the truth doesn't set you free, it gets you screwed.

Diplomacy is negotiation, deal making, trying to get as much of what you want as you can while giving away as little as you have to. A lot of the time, what you want conflicts with what other people want, and you have to figure out a way around that without pissing them off. A lot of the time, people lie, to you and to themselves, and you have to work to figure out how straight they're being with you. All of these things generate discussions that you'd rather not have in public. When some bastard is ruling a country and you'd be perfectly happy to see him deposed, you can't tell him that to his face. If someone is threatening you, you might want him to think you'll fight him even if in reality you don't. You can't play poker with your cards face up on the table.
posted by Diablevert at 11:04 AM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Diablevert, that was a bucket full of hypotheticals. How does our historical support of Saddam Hussein fit into your narrative that the secret arms deals and loans the Reagan Administration arranged were beneficial to every day Americans? How was our national security improved by keeping our support of murder squads in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras a secret?

For the sake of argument, let's assume that a nation-state can direct world events through violence with some reliability. Even with that assumption, there's no evidence that the United States is any good at it.
posted by deanklear at 1:36 PM on September 28, 2012


Secret arms deals to Iraq reduced direct state revenues of the Sovet union by displacing Societ weapons system sales to Iraq. Other forms of assistance such as limited supply of satellite imagery prevented a rout of Iraqi forces at key moments thus protecting oil supplies and keeping prices low. The low prices of oil in the 1980s also contributed to te collapse of the soviet economy. Covert support for Iraq was also a request by our allies in various gulf states and thus answering that request was necessary to maintain good relations with our allies.

The US has significant financial and strategic interests in Latin America. Navigation in the Gulf of Mexico, the Panama Canal along with agricultural imports and natural resources such as Venezualean oil are important to the overall wealth of the US economy.

The USSR and USA ended up in a significant low intensity conflict in that region as part of the larger Cold War conflict. This needed to be kept secret because in any conflict information is power.
posted by humanfont at 3:08 PM on September 28, 2012


Really getting far afield here. Mods JUST asked us to keep roughly focused on Assange et. al. Saddam Hussein and Honduran death squads are not Assange-related.
posted by msalt at 3:22 PM on September 28, 2012


Diablevert, that was a bucket full of hypotheticals. How does our historical support of Saddam Hussein fit into your narrative that the secret arms deals and loans the Reagan Administration arranged were beneficial to every day Americans?

My what? I didn't attempt to argue that the Iran-Contra affair was beneficial to all Americans. Maybe someone else in the thread did and I missed it, but I'm confused about what you're alluding to here.


How was our national security improved by keeping our support of murder squads in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras a secret?

I don't think the Reagan administration should have supported the dirty wars of Central America, full stop. I think the action was reprehensible; the secrecy is irrelevant to whether or not it was reprehensible.

But I think that's the point of confusion we're having. I am not arguing "all secrets are good." Some secrets are clearly very bad, and governments quite often use them to conceal policies which the public would not support.

I am arguing that "while secrets can be used for evil, they are nevertheless necessary for diplomacy to function." There are lots of things that it's worthwhile for someone drafting a policy to know that are nonetheless not something you'd want to announce to the world. Maybe the prime minister's a drunk, maybe the leader of the opposition's mobbed up. Those are things that might shape how you deal with a country, that people need to be able to talk about with their bosses, in private.

Certainly, there are lots of bad reasons to keep secrets. But there are good (and neutral) ones too. Just as in any negotiation.
posted by Diablevert at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2012


I think the action was reprehensible; the secrecy is irrelevant to whether or not it was reprehensible.

The problem is that secrecy is often what allows such actions to continue unacknowledged and unchallenged. The document, a two-inch-thick operations manual, was first posted on Wikileaks, a Web site that encourages posting of leaked materials.

There are many, many more examples of recent human rights abuses my government has committed and a culture of secrecy is perhaps the most important condition that has allowed it to happen.
posted by Shit Parade at 5:18 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now here's an interesting idea:

Assange is willing to go to Sweden if he's given guarantees he won't be extradited. Given what he's potentially facing, I think that's pretty brave.

What reason would Assange have to belive a non-extradition guarantee in the first place?
What consequences would the USG or Sweden face if they broke a guarantee?
Would they even care about consequences if they extradited him anyway?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:10 PM on September 28, 2012


In other news: Electronic Surveillance by US Law Enforcement Agencies Rising Steeply
posted by homunculus at 9:44 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assange is willing to go to Sweden if he's given guarantees he won't be extradited. Given what he's potentially facing, I think that's pretty brave.

This has been discussed previously. He isn't currently facing extradition request other than the one from Sweden. It has been well documented that extradition from Sweden to the USA would be more difficult than UK to US as previously stated.
posted by humanfont at 10:08 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assange is saying that he's willing to go to Sweden, but he also said he was willing to meet the police and face charges in Sweden (before he fled the country after scheduling an appointment with them), and said he would accept the verdict of the British appellate courts on extradition (before he hid from them in the Ecuadorean embassy.)

So at this point, what he promises to do doesn't seem to carry a lot of weight.
posted by msalt at 12:50 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am arguing that "while secrets can be used for evil, they are nevertheless necessary for diplomacy to function."

I think the justification given by entities like Wikileaks is something like: "Because secrecy by governments has a well-documented history of hiding nefarious activities, the function of diplomacy is less important than the public's right to know about what activities are being engaged in on its behalf."

If that's the argument for radical transparency being deployed, then "secrets are necessary for diplomacy to function" doesn't really engage with the actual controversy at all.
posted by kengraham at 7:09 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am arguing that "while secrets can be used for evil, they are nevertheless necessary for diplomacy to function." There are lots of things that it's worthwhile for someone drafting a policy to know that are nonetheless not something you'd want to announce to the world. Maybe the prime minister's a drunk, maybe the leader of the opposition's mobbed up. Those are things that might shape how you deal with a country, that people need to be able to talk about with their bosses, in private.

The only thing secrecy enables is for dishonest people to continue to pretend that they are honest, and that only benefits the United States when we suppress the truth in order to benefit ourselves. In organized crime this behavior is simply referred to as complicity, because that's what it is.

There is no reason we had to do business with Saddam, or Suharto, or Mubarak, or Gaddafi. The reason we did is so tiny sectors of American business could benefit, which perhaps the general population would approve of, but that is factually unknowable because we're never given the full truth. The function of State secrecy is to take that choice away from voters, and put it in the hands of people who are easily corruptible because they know they can't be caught. It's anti-democratic at it's core for both states suffering from corruption, and on top of that, it benefits elite power and almost no one else.

To put it another way, secrecy not only denies us the right to self-govern, it also denies us the right to put government officials behind bars for breaking the law. Democracy should be better than electing a King and a Court for shorter terms, shouldn't it?
posted by deanklear at 8:42 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


the justification given by entities like Wikileaks is something like: "Because secrecy by governments has a well-documented history of hiding nefarious activities, the function of diplomacy is less important than the public's right to know about what activities are being engaged in on its behalf." If that's the argument for radical transparency being deployed, then "secrets are necessary for diplomacy to function" doesn't really engage with the actual controversy at all.

Unless you think diplomacy is a good thing. Compared to, say, war.
posted by msalt at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2012


Unless you think diplomacy is a good thing. Compared to, say, war.

Sure. That's an argument against what I believe is Wikileaks's position, in a way that "secrecy makes diplomacy function" is not. One of them is an argument about the relative merits of diplomacy and transparency, and the other assumes the conclusion of such an argument in a way that talks past the (possibly caricatured) version of Wikileaks's position.
posted by kengraham at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. I hate orthogonal arguments, no offense to orthogonal.
posted by msalt at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2012


In other Swedish extradition news: Pirate Bay Founder Remains Locked Up Without Charges
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2012


yep, the old indefinetly detained thing which is kinda big in Scandinavia. and the extradition of Ass-ange seems to veer more and more into semantics territory-- as in, 'we wont extradite if he faces the death penalty, buuuuuuut ... if a request were to be filed for extradition for a crime that didn't carry with it a possible judgement that results in the death penalty we will-- according to local news, pundits and certain elements within the liberal circlejerk.

Seriously, no. When it comes to political sentencing, Sweden is right up there with Russia in puppeteering.
posted by xcasex at 8:04 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


'It's like living in a space station': Julian Assange speaks out about living in a one-room embassy refuge with a mattress on the floor and a blue lamp to mimic daylight
posted by homunculus at 10:24 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The WikiLeaks Copycat That Worked
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


That last link (about BalkanLeaks) is cool. Besides their care with Tor and anonymity, the other key is probably that the two principles are well-respected journalists.

This cracked me up though: "The leaking scene had become so crowded that two environmentally focused sites, GreenLeaks.com and GreenLeaks.org, threatened legal action against each other over the rights to the name."
posted by msalt at 2:48 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe now that Assange has nothing to do all day he could get to work on the backlog of things like the BOA hard disk.
posted by humanfont at 5:06 PM on October 1, 2012


BOA hard disk?
posted by msalt at 11:15 AM on October 2, 2012


BOA hard disk?

Wikileaks stated that they were in possession of a Bank of America hard drive that contained evidence of financial crime. Allegedly Daniel Domscheit-Berg destroyed the data before leaving; who knows if that's true, but it certainly isn't showing up.
posted by jaduncan at 6:07 PM on October 2, 2012


Thank you. How frustrating though. Wasn't there some secret file that they sent out to everyone on earth, just didn't release the encryption password?
posted by msalt at 7:14 PM on October 2, 2012


The password to the insurance file was leaked, and then champion of press freedom and a secrets free world, Julian Assange sued the UK Guardian Newspaper and its editor for breaking their confidentiality agreement and harming Wikileaks by publishing their confidential data.
posted by humanfont at 7:23 PM on October 2, 2012


Reason : DoD: Assange, WikiLeaks Are Not “Enemies of the State”
From this document, the reporter concluded that Assange was now an “enemy of the state.” I had some suspicions, though. The analyst was not charged. Was this because an investigation showed that the analyst was not engaging in the communication alleged? Or was it because somebody determined that the charges weren’t valid because Assange and WikiLeaks aren’t actually “the enemy”?

So I did a thing that journalists do sometimes and called the Pentagon to ask.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:22 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Humanfont: Wait, so the password was revealed? What was in the insurance file? Was it the video of Obama talking about Hurricane Katrina in 2007?
posted by msalt at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2012


Benedict Cumberbatch in line to play Julian Assange in biopic
posted by homunculus at 12:25 AM on October 4, 2012


Assange seeking to sue Gillard for defamation
posted by homunculus at 2:06 PM on October 7, 2012


Funny. Assange is suing Gillard for defamation for saying he committed crimes -- from his hideout where he is evading extradition for his (alleged) crimes.
posted by msalt at 3:06 PM on October 7, 2012


Lady Gaga Had Dinner With Julian Assange for Some Reason
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


WikiLeaks Goes Behind Paywall, Anonymous Cries Foul
posted by homunculus at 4:47 PM on October 11, 2012


Julian Assange: In early December 2010, WikiLeaks was receiving $120,000 per day in donations from the general public.

Seriously? You were pulling in $40 million a year and now you're already broke? Where did all that money go?
posted by msalt at 1:14 PM on October 12, 2012


@AnonymousIRC on Pastebin:
We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for a while. In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange. ... the public has a right to know. But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That's great for him but not much of our interest. ...

The conclusion for us is that we cannot support anymore what Wikileaks has become - the One Man Julian Assange show. But we also want to make clear that we still support the original idea behind Wikileaks: Freedom of information and transparent governments. Sadly we realize that Wikileaks does not stand for this idea anymore.

posted by msalt at 1:21 PM on October 12, 2012


Obama Provides Paper Protection for Whistleblowers … Why Now?
posted by homunculus at 8:52 PM on October 12, 2012


In other news: Gary McKinnon extradition to US blocked by British government
posted by homunculus at 9:46 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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