When the News Isn't Fit to Print ... Blog

Wikileaks: None Dare Call It Journalism

In Disappearing Ink, Harvard Math on 01/08/2010 at 21:34

Editor’s Note: Many of my posts are now published on Associated Content. Do me a big, big favor and click on a few of them. Thank’s so much for your support.

Back in the glory days of the CIA—that was about 15 minutes in 1948—Julian Assange would have been found face down in an ally near the Brandenburg Gate with a slit throat. That is if he were a Western traitor. Had he been a Russian turncoat in 2007, he would have been found in the selfsame “ally” in the West End of London, having died from indigestion after eating a dinner of tainted clams.

If Julian Assange were Russian, today’s blog would be an open discussion on the neato methods former KGB head Vladimir Putin uses to “disappear” Russian traitors. Gotta love that Vlad. My favorite Vlad clip was during McCartney in Red Square, when the then Russian president entered the concert to “Back in the USSR.” Paul positively gushed.

Instead we’re stuck here scratching our heads in wonder at American stupidity. Face it, anyone can convince Pat Robertson to apologize for saying that the U.S. should “take out” Hugo Chavez, has perfected stupidity to an art form. Of course we should take out the little scab, he poses a threat to U.S interests in the Western hemisphere. I realize that one cannot arrive at this conclusion with a social science degree from Dartmouth, but every big rig trucker on the I-10 between Santa Monica and Jacksonville knows it.

The U.S. has had a long history of traitors, in and out of the media. During World War I, Congress and the Wilson administration enacted the Espionage Act of 1917 to deal with, not only the medial but anyone who releases the nation’s secrets, whether during a time of war or peace. The penalties included death.

“[F]or decades, American newspapers and broadcasters have regularly censored themselves on security grounds, plucking compromising details from a story, delaying its publication or killing it entirely,” says New York Times columnist Scott Shane.  “The New York Times has withheld articles that might have jeopardized counterterrorism programs or efforts to protect vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear material.”

Oh, really? And just what level security clearance does the Times issue to Mr. Shane and his colleagues that qualifies them to make such judgments, one way or another? The arrogance of the U.S. press is beyond belief in divulging the nation’s intelligence, and it has on a number of occasions caused untold damage. This should be—and in any other country of the world is—a crime. Yet we quibble over propriety?

Let’s digress for a moment. Remember Manuel Noriega? The U.S. under George H.W. Bush went into Panama to arrest the “strongman” for narco trafficking. He was brought back to the U.S., tried and sentenced to 40 years for his crimes.

Yet over the 90-plus years since the Espionage Act was passed, we have developed such a profaned reverence for freedom of the press, that we allow the New York Times and Washington Post to place at risk the lives of tens of thousands of U.S. and allied troops, without so much as a Senate investigation.

Make no mistake: the government will investigate the Pentagon. But no one will go after the Times or anyone at Wikileaks. It is in times like these when even the most conservative American must tip his hat to Vladimir Putin.

The publication of these classified materials is treason. Julian Assange is a traitor to Australia and the editors and publishers of the New York Times are traitors to the U.S. Hundreds, if not thousands of allied soldiers, not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistani assets, will die as a result of their treason.

The issue at hand is not whether the government has lied to the American people. Suppose it has? It is not up to the Times or the Washington Post or some third-rate website to pass sentence on U.S. soldiers because perceive the government has lied to us.

There is a way for the media to deal with government wrongdoing, in the event such information comes to its attention. Tell the world they have the information, and turn it over to their favorite liberal congressman.

Over the weekend we were treated to a banquette of news magazines headlining the Wikileaks controversy with banners like: “Wikileaks: Journalism or Treason?” and “The Politics of the Leak.”

Nonsense. It is treason pure and simple. And, yes, U.S. intelligence should track down Julian Assange wherever he is in the world and whack his anti-American butt.

Then someone should pay a visit to the Times.

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