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On Assange and Wikileaks

Updated on December 10, 2010

Crimes and Whistleblowing

In the past weeks, Wikileaks had taken a huge chunk of the airtime dedicated to the reporting of news in various countries.  This is because of its release of controversial conversations and documents that could affect the diplomatic relationships between countries.  Furthermore, there are some intelligence data that should not have been privy to the public which had been released.  Hence, the intentions of those who are trying to destroy the wiki is quite clear.

I do not have any intention of taking sides, but I personally believe that there are somethings that are best kept secret especially if these could cause problems in the relationship of one person with another.  Using the same line of reasoning, there is all the more reason why certain transactions, conversations and documents need to be kept secret so that the relationships between states are maintained civilly, at least upfront.  I say up-front because it is quite possible for government officials of different countries to act as if they are friends, but in reality they are hostile towards one another.  Still, this is better than there is open hostility between two countries.

Nevertheless, I do not think the United States and its allies are sending a good message in trying to put the wiki down and arrest its founder if the reason for this is the leak of confidential military information.  Currently, there are reports that the founder of Wikileaks have been involved in sexual offenses.  If these are true or if there are laws which allow imprisonment on the grounds of these allegations while the case is being heard, then, by all means, Assange should be imprisoned because not doing so is a breach of justice.  Not catching him just because he is a source of controversy or just because he has a huge following and support base is a breach of the ideals of equality, fairness and justice.

Still, we cannot disregard the idea that some of these accusations might be politically motivated.  Some might just be finding ways to arrest him and put an end to Wikileaks.  While I do not agree with what Wikileaks had done, I do not think the United States of America and its allies are doing right in doing so if they are doing so.  In the first place, America is perceived to be the land of the free and an icon of democracy.  America is one of the countries which try to intervene in other countries so that freedom of speech and democracy is ensured.  To have the Wikileaks founder arrested on grounds of leaking military information is contrary to the very principles America portrays itself to be advocating.  It is as if America had said that the governments of other countries should free the activists in their countries and should let people speak while exempting itself from the same, clearly a sign of unfairness and lack of equality.

If Assange is really guilty of sexual and other crimes, I believe the best setup is for him to be arrested and imprisoned or punished as provided for by the law.  Nevertheless, Wikileaks should be allowed to flourish, and he should still be given press conference opportunities, if only to maintain the image America is trying to portray.

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