12.12.2010 08:11 AM

In today’s Sun: we come to praise Assange, not bury him

“Now, I know what you are thinking. It’s become fashionable to call for the WikiLeaks’ founder to be assassinated (Tom Flanagan), or charged with terrorism (Newt Gingrich), or hunted down like “al-Qaida leaders” (Sarah Palin on Facebook).

Right-wing types are reaching rhetorical heights in describing what they’d like to see done to Julian Assange. But, in the dark recesses of their tiny black hearts, a lot of conservative politicians love him.

Those “al-Qaida leaders” who somehow mysteriously eluded Palin’s party when it controlled the White House as well as the entire U.S. military and intelligence establishment for year after year? Well, maybe some enemies are more useful alive than dead.”

19 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Had the Wikileaks involved solely dispatches from China, Russia, or Iran, the hypocrites on the right would be hailing Assange as a hero.

    • The Doctor says:

      I find that in a lot of the commentary on this site, and in WK’s column, there’s a lot of fast and loose accusations involving what “the right” supposedly thinks about this issue. News flash, folks: there are a lot of people who consider themselves conservatives (especially fiscal conservatives) in Canada who do not consider Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich or Tom Flanagan to be their spokesperson. I’m willing to venture that a lot of Canadian conservatives consider Sarah Palin to be an idiot.

      For that same reason, I take issue with people here, including WK, making sweeping generalizations about what “the right” presumably thinks about the whole WikiLeaks issue. It’s a big, complex issue, and lots of people — conservatives included — have diverse and often complex and nuanced views on it.

      I would also remind everyone that Tom Flanagan retracted his statement. Yet for some reason, certain people seem to want to pretend that he didn’t do that.

      • Namesake says:

        What, so there’s a Mulligan on “Hang ’em High” calls to vigilante justice or incitements to murder? Does it have a time limit? What if, oops, some crazed fan acts on it first? Or if they don’t hear or believe the retraction? Does the no harm / no foul sports ‘law’ trump the incitement common law? Do tell, great Time Lord.

        • The Doctor says:

          I merely pointed out that he retracted the statement. That’s all. I’m not his legal counsel or anything, and I’m not defending what he did in the first place. But the fact is that Mr. Flanagan is now clearly and officially on record as not advocating the murder or assassination of Assange. That’s what a “retraction” means.

          As for your other questions, I suggest you go pose them to someone who’s interested in pondering such matters. Because I’m not.

          • Namesake says:

            Ok, so I hereby officially retract my glib comment implying you were making some bone-headed argument to try to defend the PM’s former Chief of Staff’s remarks. Obviously, it shouldn’t have been taken seriously and should in no way be taken as a reflection upon you. Doctor.

  2. mississaugapeter says:

    Folks, decisions our politicians make every day affect the lives of millions every day. Making it seem that Assange has any more power than the politicians is pure crap.

    Spending $B to pay for war planes instead of helping millions of Canadians out of poverty (1 in 10 Canadians) is a greater evil than anything Assange has done.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Canadian+children+living+poverty+Report/3876784/story.html

    Assange may be an egotistical nymphomaniac (maybe even a rapist who should be jailed), but he has thus far released Facts/Truths around the world of some pretty unsavioury activities.

    Already, and in the end, many unsavioury folks and organizations will be affected negatively by the release of the Truths/Facts. The good folks affected by Wikileaks are collaterial damage like the 600,000 Canadian children living in poverty.

    • Namesake says:

      “Assange’s leaks are a crime.” Says… you? And your expertise in international law is…?

      Reality check: here’s what someone who actually WAS a US federal prosecutor and who served in their Treasury and Homeland Security departments has to say on the subject:

      “What law did Assange violate? …there is no statute making it illegal to reveal classified information. There are statutes that criminalize the disclosure of very specific types of classified information, such as the identity of a covert operative …or ”codes, ciphers or cryptographic systems.” But there is no catch-all law that simply says, ”Thou shalt not disclose classified information.”

      …[Moreover], The fact that classified information is involved does not preclude First Amendment safeguards…. the Justice Department would have to prove that Assange’s disclosures were so dangerous to national security as to override the First Amendment…. That is a heavy burden to meet.

      …Instead, prosecutors …would resort to the Espionage Act of 1917… [but would have to prove the] defendant knew that the information he was disclosing was potentially damaging to national security and that he was violating the law.

      Here, Assange can make the department’s case especially difficult. Well before publishing the cables, he wrote a letter to the U.S. government, delivered to our ambassador in London, inviting suggestions for redactions. The State Department refused. Assange then wrote another letter to State, reiterating that “WikiLeaks has absolutely no desire to put individual persons at significant risk of harm, nor do we wish to harm the national security of the United States.”

      In that second letter, Assange stated that the department’s refusal to discuss redactions “leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful.” He then indicated that WikiLeaks was undertaking redactions on its own. ”

      From “Why prosecuting WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange won’t be easy,” By Baruch Weiss
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120303267.html

    • mississaugapeter says:

      Gord, what century are you living in?

      How is a leak a crime? Or it is, and Harper is spending $B building new prisons to house Ottawa reporters who dare to report a leak.

  3. moose says:

    How utterly silly to refer to Chomsky’s “paranoid delusions”None
    of his critcs ever challenge his arguments and that’s because they
    can’t.He presents facts.His critics,such as Dershowitz and other
    low-lifes have no interest in the welfare of anyone except their
    own.
    The US aided the islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan when
    they were trying to save their country from the Russians and the US
    provided Iraq with chemical weapons when Sadam was at war with
    Iran.It would be nice if some of had any real interest in finding
    peaceful solutuions to these horrible conflicts.

    • Namesake says:

      well, since you asked, chew on this (but not here: go start your own blog if you wanna battle everyone who criticizes your precious ‘merica):

      http://www.counterpunch.org/dixon06172004.html

      http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php

      • Namesake says:

        yeah, whatever. Fine, they don’t establish, & I doubt that ‘Moose’ meant precisely that the U.S. gov’t actually handed over finished chemical weapons to Hussein, but what all the various media sources & books & Senate reports named in (& linked to, after) those articles point out is that:

        the American gov’t made some bank loan guarantees opening up a line of credit making it possible for Iraq to purchase not only the makings of various types of chemical weapons (incl. mustard gas) but also the delivery systems (incl. ‘crop-spraying’ helicopters), whose exports from US firms were approved by the US govt, AND the CIA gave tactical advice on how to use said equipment.

        But, as I said, I have no interest in pointless debating or splitting hairs with you (on the meaning or criteria of “proof,” e.g., or on how you feel free to discount any sources you find have a “lefty” like Lloyd Axworthy associated with it, as you did for a survey on the Afghans’ views about the war).

  4. Namesake says:

    More death threats, Gord? Charming. Funny how selective this Gov’t & its supporters seem to be when it comes to leaks:

    it’s high treason when it embarasses their fawned upon friend; but hunky-dory when the gov’t does it itself to soft-launch & trial balloon unpopular policies (we’re killing the senate bill; er, no we’re not; we’re nixing the potash deal… maybe; etc.); or ‘nothing to see here, folks, just a rogue agent’ when it’s a gov’t staffer leaking Finance reports to Party-affiliated industry lobbysists.

  5. Jan says:

    You’re not making much of a legal case. You are going to need more than outrage.

  6. dave says:

    Just browsing over a couple of their mirror sites. One of the things that strikes me is that so little seems info that should be secret, or classified, or even confidential. It’s as if our governments automatically stamp everything as secret, as integral to national security. That so much looks like stuff of interest only to the most esoteric historical research suggest to me that automatically stamping items as ‘secret’ is a way to cover butts.
    Maybe Frank Baum was on to something writing about that little fellow behind the curtain.

    • Mr. Chamberlain says:

      RE: the diplomatic corps: Their job is to file reports on what they see and hear and say. Much of it seems to be not unlike most of the tweeting that happens in a day. So, for those US officials who consider it treason to leak the cables — well, OK — but if I may, please don’t flatter yourselves. A text book example of self-importance.

      I think the deeper concern is the leaks will reveal that our world leaders are really quite aimless… as if stuck in junior high.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*