Human Rights/Constitution

WikiLeaks and Local Leaks

By Jim Smith

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.  ~Aldous Huxley

Silly Hillary. Did she really think the internet was a safe place for her deepest, darkest secrets? She’s not alone. The geniuses of the military end of the Empire also put its secrets – massacres in Iraq and Afghanstan – on the net. Private First Class Bradley Manning probably wasn’t the only one to read, and enjoy, other people’s mail. But he was the only one to download the dirty deeds and send them off to Julian Assange at Wikileaks.

For his efforts at letting us know what these fools are doing in our name Manning has been cast into a dank dungeon and will be lucky to survive with his head intact. When it comes to military justice, there isn’t any.

Once it became known that the word was out and that the New York Times and the UK Guardian were actually reprinting the Empire’s secrets, a meeting was called to discuss damage control. A motion by Dr. Stangelove to nuke the headquarters of Wikileaks was passed unanimously. However, it was soon discovered that Wikileaks only had a virtual headquarters, which was immune to thermonuclear attack. A second motion was passed to kill the messenger, Julian Assange. Changing the subject has always been a good defense. U.S. officials caught with their pants down are now threatening to charge Assange with espionage, even though he is Australian and committed no crimes in this country.

Meanwhile, Assange was quickly charged with ‘sex by surprise.” No matter that no one had ever heard of this crime, he was quickly brought to account in London. At this writing, his extradition to Sweden to stand accused of this heinous crime is still in doubt. The Americans are slobbering to take him into custody. If the past is any indication, waterboarding no doubt awaits.

According to Beachhead correspondent and investigative reporter Ron Ridenour (our man in Copenhagen), ‘the accusing women are: Social Democrat party organizer of Assange’s speaking tour last August, 31-year-old Sophia Wilén; and Anna Ardin, a 27-year-old anti-Cuba activist allied with US-paid so-called “dissidents” in Cuba. Ardin was, reportedly, kicked out of Cuba for subversive activities with right-wing groups there. Her brother purportedly worked for the Swedish Secret Service/SEPO, which works with the CIA.”

In spite of having Assange in a British prison, secret messages from the Empire continue to be released at countless internet sites around the world. The machinations of the Empire in the four corners of the world continue to be revealed. It should be no secret that the bloodthirsty king of the Saudis – a staunch U.S. ally – wants the Empire to invade Iran should come as no surprise. But to see it is print is delightful.

Who are these people running rampant over the globe? They are our public servants. And yes, we had a right to know what they are doing in our name. If Cablegate reveals anything, it is that our public servants have gone seriously off the track. Now that we know what they are doing, thanks to Wikileaks, they need to be reined in. If we allow them to continue on their merry way, we will have done a disservice to ourselves and to them. While we can’t say that their souls will burn in hell for their misdeeds, we can say that what they are doing is not in our interest, and they should resign forthwith, after apologies all around.

The Wikileaks disclosures and the official reaction to them are a classic battle between free speech and government secrecy. Lately, secrecy has been gaining ground with illegal spying and wiretapping of millions of people, the accumulation of “data” on all of us from the internet, credit reports, Facebook and countless other sources. Wikileaks should be welcome by everyone who values the Constitutional “guarantees” of free speech, a free press and privacy. A few governments, including Brazil, Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela and the United Nations, have applauded Wikileaks, but not Uncle Sam.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government is attempting to bluster through this debacle. The attacks on Bradley Manning and Jason Assange are misplaced. Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev was correct in recommending the Noble Peace Prize for Assange. There should be ticker-tape parades in every American city for Assange and Manning. For they have stolen the fire of the gods and brought it to earth. Prometheus lives.

But will Assange and Manning’s deeds have a lasting effect among the less-than-heroic American populace? The Pentagon Papers, stolen and released in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg and Tony Russo certainly helped bring some sanity to the U.S. cruel invasion and bombing of a third world country, Vietnam. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post printed extracts of the Pentagon Papers. Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel read it into the Congressional Record (where is a Senator or Representative today with the courage to do that?). Yet, by 1971 the Vietnam War had largely been decided in Vietnam’s favor by a combination of worldwide support, a powerful U.S. peace movement, an army that would no longer fight, and more importantly, by a determination of the Vietnamese to win freedom and independence in their land no matter the cost.

Closer to home, official secrets of Los Angeles city officials were disclosed in February, 2005, thanks to the investigative work of Beachhead reporter John Davis. The documents showed how city officials including Arturo Pena (now Venice deputy to Councilmember Bill Rosendahl) LAPD Capt. Bill Williams and officers Gerry Smedley and Theresa Skinner; Sandy Kievman (aide to Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski); city attorneys Mary Molidor, Gita Isagholian, Aaron Gross and Susan Wagner; mediator Gary De La Rosa and one Venice resident, Rick Feibusch, conspired to destroy the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC). One of those, de La Rosa, was supposed to be a neutral arbitrator ruling on an election challenge, which he used to bring down the Council.

While none of the conspirators were fired, or even disciplined, for subverting democracy, the revelations did create a healthy skepticism among Venetians which exists to this day.

Likewise, the Wikileaks revelations should create a healthy skepticism about U.S. government pronouncements, which may or may not be the truth.

Because of aggressive efforts by government hackers to bring down Wikileaks websites, no web address can be considered permanent. To read the documents, and see the videos, on Iraq, Afghanistan and diplomatic cables, search the web for “Wikileaks” or “Cablegate.” To read L.A.’s secrets described above, go to: