Wikileaks and Tangential Truths

wikileaksI have to talk some more about the Wikileaks story.  Notice that I don’t say “controversy.”  I’m not sure what is so controversial about telling people the truth.

I don’t mean that, of course.  As an attorney I know that the theatrical concept of “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is utterly alien to the procedural systems that make everything from Traffic Court to International Treaty negotiations work.  We talk about wanting to find the truth, but even as we talk, we are often kicking evidence under or behind the bushes.

What is truth?  Any good Evangelical or Taliban would tell us that it is often necessary to lie to reach greater truths.  The “Christian” Southern Baptist Convention agrees with the anti-Christian Mormon Church that many things Jesus said in the Bible are not true.  When Jesus said the greatest law was to follow the Golden Rule, most modern Christians believe that he wasn’t speaking the truth.  Today’s corporate “Christian” truth is that everyone should take care of themselves first, get all they can and say whatever is necessary to grab and keep the most stuff possible.

There was a time when self-styled conservatives would proclaim “The truth shall set you free.”  But now the official Republican line is: “Telling the truth should land you in jail, or in front of a firing squad.”

This isn’t just about Wikileaks.  The Tea Party movement claimed to be about reforming government, so that the will of the people could be heard and enacted.  They told us that we should stop politicians from hiding behind legalities and procedural details and let the people decide.

But the Tea Party Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska lost the election.  Now he’s suing to overturn the expressed will of the voters.  He’s actually arguing in Court that ballots that clearly show a voter preference for a candidate should be thrown out because voters wrote in a phonetic instead of grammatically correct spelling of a candidate’s name.  The truth is that he’s attacking the will of the people because of his desire for a lucrative job raking in corporate “donations.”

The Republicans who speak loudest about prosecuting Julian Assange for violating a 1917 law are the same ones who told us throughout the Bush administration that we had no business following the law, if that meant not invading countries, or bringing charges against soldiers who used children for target practice, or giving political prisoners due process rights.  How quickly their contempt for the law changes when the lawlessness they praised and practiced is turned toward disclosing their corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing and other mendacities.

julian assangeIf we are suddenly so committed to the rule of law, why is Guantanamo prison still open?  Why haven’t we applied the rule of law to the children and farmers and even occasional combatants who are held there?  If the law is now important to us, how soon will we be extraditing the Bush administration figures for whom other countries have issued warrants?

Extradition questions pop up on the other side of the Wikileaks problem.  The U.S. wants to extradite Assange to face political persecution for revealing too much of the truth.  Assange wants to avoid a Swedish test of sex crime allegations.  But some legal scholars, point out that Sweden has laws much more protective of press freedom than England, and that Sweden might be a harder place than England from which to extradite Assange.

Political analysts point out that England’s current class of ruling politicians is so sychophantic toward any desire of U.S. leaders that they are much more likely to extradite Assange to the U.S. than is Sweden, regardless of limitations in the law.  With more to hide than Sweden, the truth is that English politicians are more likely to take a very lax, Republican attitude toward adherence to laws on due-process or the rights of an unwanted political prisoner.

All these shifting positions on truth and law help distract attention from real issues.  People who long campaigned to have sexual abuse recognized as a true social problem suddenly start arguing that Assange is a target of untrue allegations – they know this “truth” without any hearing on evidence.  And little attention is paid to either the inconsistency or the possible losses to women’s rights that come from crafting exceptions for ‘important’ men.

The Republicans gain cover for overt discrimination.  The Wikileaks story started just as the Pentagon was acknowledging that there is no military reason to continue discrimination against gays.  This followed hard evidence that some military specialities, like translation and intelligence were truly harmed by anti-gay discrimination.

But while Faux News and right-wing blowhards fabricate against Wikileaks for publishing the truth, the Republican Party voted to reaffirm its opposition to ending discrimination in the military, even if such discrimination hurts the nation’s security.  Even if their stated reasons repeat lies that even conservative generals admit are untrue.  The Wilileaks distraction protected the corporate media from any coverage of the Republicans intentional use of untruths, against national security, solely for political and economic gain.

The same distraction was used as cover for a huge step toward ending Social Security.  President Obama, giving the Republicans exactly what they want, chose the middle of the Wikileaks excitement to embrace a Republican tax plan that includes a cut in Social Security taxes, with the guaranteed effect of advancing the announced Republican plan of undermining and destroying Social Security?

Spinning the tax cut as a stimulus, Obama pretended that it is a one-year-only cut.  But the Republicans who dictated the “deal” immediately stated the truth that they intend to convert the one-year only cut to permanent status, when their new majority takes over in January.  They could not win a public debate over ending Social Security, so they waited for a distraction moment and had Obama embrace their plan, burying the Social Security cut under layers of argument about tax cuts for the middle class.

These days, Republican pundits claim that Obama was responsible for the Bush administration deficits and “borrow-and-spend” policies to fund Haliburton, KBR and the Wall Street bailouts.  In the next election cycle, they will be claiming that Wikileaks was responsible for the cuts to Social Security.  The truth is always their enemy.

What is truth?  One truth is that we no longer have a two party system.  We have two branches of one Corporation Party running our government.  While corporate media focused on the evil of Wikileaks revealing the truth, the back pages of a couple of publications told us that the FDA under Obama has continued the Bush era practice of letting drug companies go on selling some brand name medicines, even after science proves them to be more dangerous than the diseases they are supposed to cure.  But the medicines are profitable and their sellers give millions to politicians.  So the FDA hides the science and lets the companies keep selling the poisons.  And the press focuses on the “more important” Wikileaks.

Tom HallThe leaks prove that Senator Diane Feinstein knew, before she voted in favor of Bush’s wars, that all the claims to support her vote were untrue.  She voted not for freedom or defense, but for investment profit.  This is a truth for which she now wants blood.

And she wasn’t alone.  The reason the Democrats didn’t support single-payer, and do support prosecution of Assange, is that they are financed by the same corporate interests that fund the Republicans.  For them, Wikileaks is nothing more than the new “communism” or “terrorism.”  It is a code word identifying a new “enemy,” pursuit of which allows them, once again, to escape scrutiny or responsibility for how they run the country.  And progressives, once again, let them get away with it.  Truth.

Tom Hall

Published by the LA Progressive on December 14, 2010
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Tom Hall

Tom Hall is a family lawyer in West Los Angeles. He is from Boston, and was raised in Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers) to think that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people in techniques for disciplined nonviolent demonstrating. After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make a comfortable life. The Bush administration shocked him back into social concerns. Now he’s working to see that the Obama administration lives up to its progressive promises. Tom can be reached at ProgBlog@aol.com

Comments

  1. If you believe in total openness on all information, tell me your home address, phone number, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, social security number [if you have one], the name of your favorite pet, and your date of birth. I will show you all the journalistic integrity Assange did by publishing it all over the Net. You will get the same redaction as 77,000 Afghans did that are now at risk.

  2. ¶Under 18 U.S.C. § 793 : US Code – Section 793: Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information, a ten year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine are the sanctions, “(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.”

  3. “A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case.”
    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-13/justice/wikileaks.investigation_1_julian-assange-wikileaks-case-grand-jury?_s=PM:CRIME

  4. ¶WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is behind bars as his legal team prepares for another court battle to secure his release on bail.
    ¶A judge decided to free the whistleblower on Tuesday after supporters agreed to post a £200,000 cash deposit.
    ¶But in chaotic scenes the decision was overridden two hours
    later when Swedish authorities appealed.
    ¶As a result the 39-year-old Australian returned to Wandsworth
    prison in south-west London, where he is being held in solitary
    confinement. He will appear at the High Court within two days
    where a more senior judge will consider the appeal and whether to
    overturn the bail decision.

    █One of the women, a political activist in her 30s described as Miss A, claims she was unlawfully coerced and subjected to sexual molestation and deliberate molestation. The other woman, Miss B, who is in her 20s, has alleged he had sex with her without a condom while she was sleeping.
    █”I don’t believe Miss B felt she had been raped until she went to the police station. She was encouraged by a policewoman and a junior female prosecutor to think that way. While I don’t think there was any conspiracy, Julian says he is being victimised because of his role with WikiLeaks. The fact that he has a high profile has made him a target for opponents,” said Hurtig.
    █He, however, remains confident that his client will get a fair hearing in Sweden.
    ►IF Assange can get a fair hearing, THEN why does he resist extradiction

    Wikipedia puts it this way, which seems reasonable – “Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state.

    Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties.
    Exceptions? A couple of technical points which don’t apply here
    and fears that the extraditee may face the death sentence or
    torture, which doesn’t apply here either, and nor would he be
    extradited for political crimes as he would apparently be charged
    with espionage..

    Prerequisites? Apart from technical ones, many countries insist on prima facies evidence, but the UK does not in its treaty with the USA. The main prerequisite here is that the alleged offense be recognised as being an offense in both countries. And sexual abuse and espionage are offenses in thUK, the USA and Sweden.

    If you are a lawyer, why make all these arguments going after Republicans? You should know better than to use ad hominem arguments. Of course, if ad hominem arguments are allowed thanlive by the sword; die by the sword -a sharper one:
    “Just as the First Amendment is not a license to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater, it is also not a license to jeopardize national security..”-Mrs. Feinstein, a Democrat,U.S. senator from California and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703989004575653280626335258.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_News_BlogsModule

  5. ¶ That the names of Afghan individuals who have been allies of the US were revealed, injuring US military and diplomatic mission there, is a fact. In the text of the US Code, the onus is put on those who released the information to prove they did not intend that.Those 77,000 Afgans who reported the Taliban for rapes, robberies, kidnappings, extortions, and murders are the first victims of Assange and they are being victimized all over again.

  6. ¶Interfering with military operations and supporting America’s enemies during wartime, promoting insubordination in the military, or interfering with with military recruitment are prohibited .In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Schenck v. United States the act did not violate the free speech rights of those convicted under its provisions.While a great deal of caselaw on free speech has evolved since then, the k.ey feature of the US Code is those involved intend or know “… information is to be used to the injury of the United States…”

  7. ¶In Presidential Order 12958 it is clear Julian Assange is in violation in, Part 1. Original Classification, Sec. 1.1. Classification Standards that: (b) Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information.(c) The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.

  8. garry walsh says:

    Amazing article. This piece may be an exception to LBJ’s observation “When two people are in total agreement only one is doing the thinking” Mr. Hall you and I are in total agreement.
    Thank you

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on Google+