WikiLeaks: The Touchstone
Your reaction speaks volumes
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
WikiLeaks is a touchstone. Amid all the brouhaha and legal shenanigans engaged in by various governments – the Brits, the Swedes, the Americans – the prospect of having a web site devoted to spilling the secrets of the elites has brought out everyone’s true colors. To those truly devoted to liberty, it has evoked cheers; for those with other agendas, it has provided a target for their polemical arrows.
The cheers, sad to say, have been few and far between: the jeers, however, have been deafening. The legacy media, which has led the pack in denouncing WikiLeaks, is intent on keeping its gatekeeper role, no matter what price is to be paid. Our "journalists" are even ready to sacrifice the First Amendment, just as long as they’re assured the Information Police won’t be coming for them anytime soon.
Aside from the few cheers, the WikiLeaks case has inspired three responses from its critics: hypocrisy, vitriol, and outright weirdness.
None are more hypocritical than former New York Sun chess columned turned "national security expert" Gabriel Schoenfeld, a neocon who spent a great many months some years ago defending Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman from accusations of having committed espionage on behalf of Israel.
Charged with violating the Espionage Act – the same legal weapon the administration is said to be preparing to prosecute Julian Assange – Rosen and Weissman engaged in a two-year long effort to procure highly classified US secrets from Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin. Successful in their quest, they summarily handed over the stolen information to top officials at the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., with whom they regularly met. Unbeknownst to them, the FBI was on their trail, and they were arrested and prosecuted.
The AIPAC defendants had no more energetic defender than Mr. Schoenfeld: if the two traitors were convicted, he averred, then every journalist in Washington, whose job it is to collect information, would be imperiled. In high dudgeon, he wrote:
"The Justice Department has irresponsibly confused the distinction between spying and lobbying. Keith Weissman and Steven J. Rosen, two former employees of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying organization, are charged with unlawfully receiving and transmitting classified national-defense information. The stakes are high."
He then approvingly noted the judge in the case had "decided a pivotal preliminary issue in the Weismann-Rosen case. The defense has subpoenaed 20 present and former administration officials to appear as witnesses for its side, including Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Douglas Feith, Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley and Condoleezza Rice. The idea is to use their testimony to demonstrate that their clients had every reason to believe that what Mr. Franklin told them in conversation — no classified documents ever changed hands in this case — was part and parcel of the normal back-channel method by which the U.S. government sometimes conveys information to the media and/or to allied countries, in this case, to Israel."...
According to Schoenfeld and the War Street Journal, if WikiLeaks had obtained those classified documents and then duly turned them over to the Israeli government, Assange would be one of the Good Guys, a mere "lobbyist" on behalf of transparency, and engaged in doing what journalists in Washington do "all the time." Unfortunately, he took those classified cables and put them on the web, for all to see: therefore, he is "waging war" on the US government and ought to be prosecuted.
How’s that for hypocrisy?
Turning to vitriol, we have the example of Michael Moynihan, and Reason magazine: both have taken the lead, among ostensibly "libertarian" publications, in going after WikiLeaks and Assange, hammer and tongs. Moynihan, a senior editor at Reason, has written a number of pieces for the magazine smearing WikiLeaks. In one article, he avers that Assange is not a journalist but a "political activist" – precisely the formulation used by the Obama administration to lay the groundwork for prosecuting WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act...
You would think that Reason magazine, with its tech-savvy audience of geeked-out libertarians, would be the prime example of a pro-WikiLeaks constituency, and a great opportunity for the financially-strapped magazine to please their rapidly-deserting readers (after the magazine’s vicious assault on Ron Paul, they lost readers and credibility among that crowd). But Reason‘s loyalty is apparently to a higher power: the US government and the sanctity of its secrets.
Weird, eh? Not any weirder than Glenn Beck’s defense of Assange:
"Everybody is freaked out about this man. They’re terrified of the mere thought of what secrets he might expose about them on the Internet. The truth shall set you free. But it will make you miserable first. We’re about to hit the misery part.
"Many people would rather have slave chains to secrecy than endure the misery required to live in the truth. And so, they will fight, oh, they will fight – which puts Assange straight in the crosshairs. But who is aiming at him?
"I want you to come with me and hear this tale. I don’t think anybody has really told the tale of Julian Assange in an explainable way. We’re going to try tonight. Something is not right here.
Beck goes on to detail the multiple absurdities involved in the "rape" case against Assange – which I detailed here – and concludes:
"I want you to understand, I don’t support this guy. I don’t support what he’s doing, but I’m really torn on this story. He is exposing the fact that our governments all around the world have been lying to us. It’s been a job we’ve been trying to do but been pilloried over and over for doing it."
Damning secrets held by the elites, exposed to the light of day by a fearless crusader for truth and transparency – hey, that’s supposed to be Beck’s shtick! Assange is horning in on his act, but Beck, to his credit, is calling out Assange’s accusers — while still pleasing his bosses at Fox News by calling Assange an "anti-American dirt bag." I know Beck is supposed to be a right-wing warmongering blowhard, but it looks to me like he recognizes a kindred spirit when he sees one. Unlike Moynihan, the alleged "libertarian," he at least has enough integrity to say "something is not right here."
One’s response to WikiLeaks and its charismatic founder tells us more about the respondent than it does about the subject of transparency in government. Like a work of art, WikiLeaks evokes a visceral emotions and brings out our true selves: "libertarians" (some of them) are outed as closet authoritarians, right-wing blowhards are exposed as libertarians at heart, and shameless hypocrites are impaled on a sword of their own making...MORE...LINK