Uncovering the Emperor: WikiLeaks Only Crime is Exposure

2010 November 29

by Roy W. Bakos

On my way home from school this afternoon, I happened to be tuned in to NPR.  They were broadcasting an interview with a former US State Department staffer that was lamenting the publication of classified US communiques by the website WikiLeaks.  She was also questioning the legality of the publication and was openly asking (in a very rhetorical sounding way) if WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, should be charged with acts of terrorism against the United States.  To this question I have only one answer and that is a resounding no.  If anything, Assange should be praised for publishing documents that may cause the citizens of this country to demand that our appointed officials in the Department of State, the Military, and the CIA and the elected officials that put them there start following the laws of this country in regards to our foreign policy and our actions throughout the world.

As of this evening, the biggest “stories” to come out of the paperwork so far were the King of Saudi Arabia asking us to go to war with Iran; the Prime Minister of Yemen telling us that he would continue to claim that US bombs and attacks were really done by the Yemeni Army so as to hide our involvement in that country; and that we have secretly been removing nuclear material from Pakistan.  In the past, WikiLeaks has published documents that have shown Pakistani government support for the Taliban and the US Army killing of Iraqi civilians and foreign journalists during a helicopter attack.  What is in all of the material released by WikiLeaks is important in that it shows that we have a foreign policy that is often at odds with what we say that policy is and that it is often at odds with International Law and the code of conduct that we and the world use to judge the actions of nations on the international stage.  Quite frankly, these documents show that we have not only violated the letter of our laws but that we have and continue to violate the spirit of our laws and the spirit of the very system of government that we champion and live by…that is a Democratic Republic.

For those that believe that the US has crossed the Rubicon and that the Republic (if not ended already in practice) is under a dire and direct threat , the publication of these documents is more proof that we need real reform and a real review of our foreign policy and the military industrial complex that drives the American Empire.  A special shame goes to the Obama Administration, the one that ran on promises to restore our honor and standing with the rest of the world.  The Administration that ran on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Administration that was to usher in an end to torture, renditions, and abuses of the rule of law that were seen by many as so heinous since 2000.  The Administration that was to do things differently than before and help to make the US the “good guys” once again.  Sounds like a bunch of bullshit at this point, doesn’t it?

We, the citizens of this great land must not be fooled into thinking that shedding a light on the true foreign policy of the United States is a bad or an evil thing.  We must instead demand that our foreign policy be one that is above board at all times.  It must be a policy that respects and endorses our own and International Law.  It must be a policy that promotes truth and rewards those nations and individuals that are willing to tell it.  It must be a policy that encourages the spread of the ideas of democracy and peace while being ready to defend those ideas with force, but only when necessary and as a last resort.  It must be a policy that reflects the democratic values that our society was founded upon and those values that so many have risked their lives for in the past and still risk their lives for today.

Today, the actions of our government over the last 50 years have been unmasked for all to see.  Instead of pretending that the Emperor’s new robe is beautiful and amazing, lets demand that the Emperor step down and let the people rule the land once again.  This may be our last chance to do so.

One Response leave one →
  1. lorna permalink
    December 10, 2010

    I get what you are saying here, Roy, but it is not the nature of diplomacy to be transparent. You are equivocating between foreign policy and diplomacy and they are not the same thing. In regards to the former, I agree with your points. For too long our foreign policy has been structured around a kind of willful blindness wherein the American people simply ignore (by choice) the kinds of actions that the government and the military take in their name. But this is willful ignorance. It is not an inability to know. But Wikileaks is not publishing our positions on foreign policy; they are publishing diplomatic cables and those are entirely different things. The nature of diplomacy is such that there is some need for privacy and a lack of public access to it, because it is about negotiation (sometimes in good faith, sometimes not). Diplomacy is about the chess game, not the end result. The kinds of ways we dictate the terms of that chess game is what our foreign policy positions and actions are. And frankly, the American people already have access to these and don’t care. As a culture if it is not easy, neat and able to fit in a sound byte or a tweet we don’t care. We are overwhelmingly more interested in Facebook, shopping, gossip news, or videogames than we are about the impacts of foreign policy. Our stupidity and laziness is our own fault. Julian Assange is not making us more enlightened and he is not a defender of free speech or free media. He is a dangerous person who cares more about his own infamy than he does about the consequences of his actions.

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