“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops.” — Luke 12:2-3
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage… If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” — Shakyamuni Buddha
“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” — John F Kennedy
The facts are that leaks happen, have happened in the past, and will continue to happen. People who leak that are motivated by immoral means do not just turn over their powerful and valuable information to the press and disseminate the information publicly. They sell it, they trade it, and they keep it a secret. Leaks to the press however are almost always painful yet enlightening for the public, serving a much greater good for the people while usually tarnishing the reputation of those which the information is about. People who leak information are often called traitors, immoral, or are even threatened with their life. The current Wikileaks storm is not the first time that questionable judgment by the government was brought to light. Further, the alarmingly aggressive actions by the government at the highest levels is indicative of a much more sinister cover up by those in power. In 1971 the case of New York Times Co. v. United States established that the freedom of press and information is above the government’s urge to censor and keep secrets. The Pentagon Papers where the government claimed that the release would cause, “irreparable injury to the defense interests of the United States” turned out the be one of the catalyst that helped the American public stop their government from waging an endless war in Vietnam. The Court decided that the freedom of press from censure is paramount to the freedom of the people.
The release of the Pentagon Papers derailed the government plan to expand the Vietnam war. Also it showed that President Johnson was lying to the public and congress about the urgency of the threat of communism. “We seek no wider war” he claimed running for President in 1964 yet continued to build the war not primarily for freedom or the Vietnamese people but only, according to a DOD internal memo, “to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat”. Putting our soldiers lives on the line and expanding the chaos and tragedy of war simply to avoid egg on the government’s face is truly the ultimate humiliation.
Around 1971, Daniel Ellsbery leaked the top secret documents because he saw the unjust war and the horror being unleashed by the government, lost and out of control. He was harassed and called a traitor. The president systematically organized a secret campaign called “The White House Plumbers” to smear Ellsbery’s name and used all their power to make anyone question their association or will to associate with Ellsbery. This is the same committee which then went on to perform the cowardly Watergate burglaries leading to uncovering the Watergate scandal. The government couldn’t ever prove that Ellsbery leaked the documents.
Fast forward to 2009. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, in Iraq since 2005, was well aware from his intelligence position of the brutal oppression and torture suffered by Iraqis from Americans in the name of preventing terrorism. Pvt. Manning also had access to the secret plans and blunt accounts of top government official’s complacency and encouragement of perpetuating the horrendous acts all in the name of homeland security. It is believed that Manning leaked the documents to Wikileaks. Manning couldn’t keep his ego in check and bragged about the release of some recent leaks to Adrian Lamo. Wikipedia references, “According to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a reporter from Forbes has published information, according to which Adrian Lamo works as a “security specialist” with “Project Vigilant”, a private security institution which also works for the FBI and the NSA” Most likely the victim of indirect entrapment, Pvt. Manning is now facing up to 54 years in prison for removing the dark blindfold placed over the American people’s eyes in the name of their security.
With the most recent releases, Secretary Clinton now says that the leaks are “an attack on the international community.” This is the same rhetoric used by previous corrupt governments and their officials once they realized that their despicable and illegal actions were coming to light. Even though news organizations all over the world are reporting and reading the leaks, Wikileaks and especially Jullian Assange is being singled out by what is by evidence of its own documents a brutal and unchecked government out of control in this war on terrorism. The Denial of Service attacks against Wikileaks are not being condemned or even investigated. Business associates are being coerced into disassociating themselves with the organization. The government is showing no outrage for illegal attacks against websites and sits idly by as some representatives claim they would be comfortable with the murder of Assange.
The truth is that the United States government should never be involved in despicable acts against people in other countries or against its own people. The freedom of the people to know and the press to keep us informed trumps the claim that nearly all secret information about government operations should be kept secret from you for your own protection. Realize that truly the protection is not for you but the criminals which are operating in secrecy, wary of their transgressions being challenged and fighting tooth and nail to get back the powerful leverage they gain through secrecy.
The government fears the empowerment of an informed people and will always act to quell the the dispelling of this “secret” knowledge which gives them leverage against anyone else. The cloak of secrets allow them to lie directly and have no repercussion of their actions, neither thoughtful discourse nor debate, only absolute power. Their secret actions and collusion with powerful private parties are coming to light. Do not have shame but relief that now the truth is revealed. Let information of the government and its actions empower everyone, not just those who use these “secrets” for their own personal interests.
This post was inspired by the Institute for Public Accuracy release, “Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures“