Vail Daily letter: Lessons from WikiLeaks |

Vail Daily letter: Lessons from WikiLeaks

“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”

Thomas Paine

The continuing saga of Wikileaks and its leaked documents demonstrates that the last thing the U.S. government wants anywhere is a government that is accountable to its own citizens instead of to itself.

It should be noted that the classified and confidential cables were purloined by an inside governmental employee, and then in turn furnished to Wikileaks or Julian Assange.Wikileaks did not steal this information.

This material was then published through the ether world of the Internet for global dissemination.

What is most profound is that this information simply revealed the truth about the illicit, duplicitous, clandestine and egregious activities of the United States government in what it calls “diplomacy.”

The U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled in the Pentagon Paper’s case that the publishing of classified and confidential information by the news media was legal, even though such material was illegally obtained.

On Dec. 7, Assange himself commented on Pentagon Paper’s case, saying “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth, especially when the likes of Sen. Joe Leiberman’s office proclaims, “The First Amendment does not trump national security interests”!

Query: Does the preservation of a furtive and dishonest American government trump the inalienable rights of the American citizens?

I say that this government of ours is not worth preserving were we to sacrifice the very reasons for which it was first established. A free press is paramount to the expose of some embarrassing and fallacious remarks by our governmental representatives.

I can’t understand the vitriol of governmental personnel toward Assange.

He is only the messenger.

These critics of Assange are calling for every possible police state measures, including extrajudicial murder, to stamp out anyone who makes truthful information available that enables the citizenry to hold government accountable.

Some politicians even advocate the murder of this messenger, yet seemingly condone the illicit, libelous and degenerate behavior of the authors of such cables, the U.S. diplomatic corp. Are the revelations of the truth of the nefarious activities of our government worse than the wars it instigates for fabricated reasons; e.g., weapons of mass destruction?

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” (1st Amendment) and this stricture seemingly would preclude American law enforcement from invoking the Espionage Act of 1917 against Assange, who only published the truth (the diplomatic cables).

Nor is Assange guilty of treason as it is defined under Article III, Sec. 3 of the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies… .”

Besides, Assange is not an American citizen.

Therefore, I see only two courses of retaliation left to our government, those being: liquidation of the messenger or enacting a new criminal law to outlaw messengers of the truth. However, this latter remedy just might be barred by the ex post facto provision of Article I, Sec. 9 of the Constitution.

It appears that the U.S. government really fears the American people and believes that only news that is managed and spun by the government is fit to disseminate?

Unfortunately, the leaked cables were the candid remarks of politicians and diplomats behind closed doors, and were not spun for public consumption.

As a last resort, our federal government has now endeavored to expunge the First Amendment right of the Wikileaks by coercing various service providers (Amazon, for one) into not facilitating the distribution of the truthful, but purloined, information.

If there is any embarrassment in this whole episode, it is with the U.S. government in its duplicity, and not with the American people who now know the truth — and the truth shall set you free.

Fredric Butler

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