Broken Trust, Not Condoms

Freedom of the Press?

Broke No Laws

Legal experts have said that WikiLeaks has “likely broken no laws” and this is in contrast with the branding that top US politicians called the website. Politicians are calling WikiLeaks a terrorist group and some had even gone further to even cause to endanger the life of its staff.

WikiLeaks is providing information to the public based on documents provided by various whistleblowers. These documents came from legitimate sources and are authenticated documents even by those in the US military and US political sphere. However, with the potential sensitivity of data various governments had called the move by WikiLieaks and Julian Assange as careless and may cause potential casualties.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting.

Lawmakers and Legal Experts Call For Restraint in Wikileaks Hearing

The House Judiciary Committee held a surprisingly subdued hearing this morning on the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Wikileaks' publication activities. Committee members repeatedly emphasized the importance of protecting First Amendment rights and cautioned against overreaction to Wikileaks. The seven legal experts called to testify agreed, almost all of them noting that:

Excessive government secrecy is a serious problem that needs to be fixed,

It's critically important to protect freedom of expression and the press, and

The government should be extremely cautious about pursuing any prosecutions under the Espionage Act or any legislation that would expand that law, which is already poorly written and could easily be applied in ways that would be unconstitutional.

Is Julian Assange arrest really about sexual misconduct?

Since the first mentions of a leak of potentially embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables, a quiet war has blossomed between those who claim they support openness and free speech and those who claim they are protecting lives, international cooperation, and the rights of the Swedish court system.

The war has opened on two fronts: The first front is an attempt to stop the public from getting access to WikiLeaks' trove of diplomatic cables and war documents. The second front is an attempt to get WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange either behind bars or, if Assange's claims are to be believed, assassinated.

-In August, 2010, shortly after Wikileaks announced it would be releasing thousands of documents about the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, Swedish prosecutors open an investigation into charges of rape and sexual molestation of two women in Sweden against Assange. Charges against him are promptly dropped.

Rape Charges Dropped

One week after the initial charges are dropped, Swedish prosecutors reopen the case against Assange and seek an International Arrest warrant for the Australian national because, prosecutors said, he refused to come in for questioning. Assange and his lawyers claims the case is politically motivated and fights the order; his lawyers call it part of a larger "smear campaign."

The two women who filed the original claim, are said to have had sex with Assange on two successive nights. There's not much in the reports about forced sex or molestation, or rape. In fact, besides stating Assange had “an aversion to the word no” there is no description of anything resembling rape. The rape charges were dropped in August 2010.

Julian Assange no longer faces sex abuse charges in Sweden after a prosecutor decided to investigate only one of two complaints against him, and not as a sexual offense. Mr Assange is still suspected of molesting a woman on August 13, but molestation is not a sex crime under Swedish law, according to a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority. It can cover a wide range of offenses, including reckless conduct or inappropriate physical contact with another adult, and can result in fines or up to one year in prison.

Daniel Ellsberg, the man who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War defended both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Army private suspected of providing the site with thousands of sensitive government documents.

Daniel Ellsberg said Thursday that Wikileaks' disclosure of government secrets on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and thousands of diplomatic cables was "exactly the right thing" to do.

Daniel Ellsberg said the government is wrong to pursue criminal charges against Assange, comparing him to New York Times and Washington Post journalists who have published information from classified documents.

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Comments 20 comments

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

It seems to me the biggest issue here is what he exposed, not why or how, WHAT!

I gotta say why the secrets, and shouldn't government be held accountable. I can imagine the desire to let the public know about these issues and topics. We are a democracy and enjoy freedom of speech. I'm amazed at the details put in such fragile areas, we all know smart computer hackers can access most anything so why store it in this method. It's just wacky...

If I were to have such a vital job in government, I'd do my job as a servant and earn every dollar and never imagine my work would be kept secret and if I were to do something stupid I'd feel most confident I'd be exposed for it. I just don't get it, where's the accountability? Hmmmm weird science. Well done and thought provoking. peace :)


msorensson profile image

msorensson 5 years ago

My son was asking me about this today, so in that context I had to think about it.

In the first place, Assange had the right to do as he pleased.

In the second place how he obtained the information is subject to interpretation.

In the third place, even if all the knowledge that he was purported to have stolen and released were released to the public, what good or bad will it do?

We are already swimming in a sea of data than we care to analyze.

My one cent.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

katiem2,

As one who main occupation was Top Secret stuff in Joint Chiefs of Staff - Far East, I can tell you if the information was classified, no one had access, other than those with a need to know.

Given this, our government has gotten sloppy, or the information was not really "classified" in terms of National Security, but classified in terms of not letting others know about our "gossip."

I am all for "transparency." However, the sources of information must be protected... Apparently Wikileaks is now doing a better job of redacting (blacking out sensitive information - names)...

The Pentagon Paper release in retrospect was a good thing... Not sure if Wikileaks is good, or bad... I like the idea accountability, however, there may be some really embarrassing information coming out.. I have seen pictures that I have chosen not to include... It ain't pretty... but, does this embarrassment justify talks of killing (eradicating, or eliminating) the source of the information?


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

msorensson,

My "wise owl!" As I understand the unfolding events... He was given the information. If this is true, he is no different than the newspapers....


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

brilliant up to date summary of this major issue - thank you.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

arthurchappell,

Thanks... "Brilliant" perhaps meaning more light needs to be shone in this arena...


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Now I worked for organizations that required me to have a top secret clearence, now I have had two. If you work into a sector of our government and if the reasons are for national security, it is very important to honor that role. With that said, I have not followed this issue as I am so busy trying to figure out what is going on with Nancy Grace. Free speech is an issue, but what exactly has been leaked and to whom, and who benefits from this kind of progranda? Love & peace Darski rate up


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Darlene Sabella,

"If you work into a sector of our government and if the reasons are for national security, it is very important to honor that role." Absolutely agree. However, if "illegal cover-ups" are classified to prevent embarrassment, or ineptness, transparency is a good thing.

Thanks for you comments.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Interesting little bug in your vote widget. You can say 'no', and it reports you said 'yes'. The only thing worse than a bad poll, is a pollster that only hears what he wants to hear.

As for Assange, I have no doubt that making folks in the U.S. mad is near the bottom of his worry list. We play fairly mild and sedate compared to others he's offended.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

FitnezzJim,

Oops on the poll "bug." Will check it.

We are mostly a "kind and gentle nation..." Example we do not stone offenders...


World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 5 years ago from USA

Those are the very same problems that keep good people from coming forward to report incidents of corruption. It is precisely how the powers that be remain in power. The simple message is, report and we will make your life holy miserable. Miserable for ever. Voted Up!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

World-Traveler,

We have choices: to be a bug, or the windshield, the hammer or the nail. If we choose to be passive, there will be no accountability...

Thanks for stopping by...


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

I don't think he is about sexual misconduct, and always thought that whole part of the bigger issue was odd. Potentially hurting whole groups of people in a country shouldn't be encouraged and allowed. I found it sad that to express that, that some make it sound like that you are "for corruption" in government, which I am not. All very odd, and very indicative of what we are dealing with today in the world. Thank you for sharing!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

oceansnsunsets,

I agree. The title is designed to be a "play on words."

His alledged "misconduct" is a separate topic. I believe the charges would have gone away, if not for the publicity of the leaks. They did drop the charges, only to reinstate them.

My background involves being a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - Far East. I would die before I divulged sensitive information...


ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 5 years ago

Great hub, catchy title! Thanks for keeping me informed!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

ACSutliff,

Thanks for your comments!


RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

Great article.

I don't know if you've seen this yet... but I wanted to send it along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4ZdbiSLnv4

It is a real eye opener.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

RunAbstract,

If we knew what "runs beneath the still waters...." it would freighten us...

Thanks for your co0mments.


wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Thank you for the update on Wikileaks. The last I had heard anything military secrets such as troop movements had been posted for the world (and our enemies) to see.

It this type of thing is not true, then I cannot see any reason to persecute him either socially or legally. I've always suspected that the sex scandal was just that - a scandal with little substance.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

wilderness,

Anything he saw was low-level stuff. I am not approving what he did...

However, there is too much smoke, and not enough substance...

There is a hidden agenda...

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