Julian Assange- is he exercising Freedom of Speech or Espionage?
By now, most people that read the news have heard about the international whistle blower website, WikiLeaks, which was created by Julian Assange. Opponents of WikiLeaks describe the website as a threat to international security, because it publishes classified information. Some members of the United States Government have accused Wikileaks of espionage, while people world-wide praise the web-site for increasing government transparency.
First we need to define what espionage is. Espionage is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as- the practice of spying or using spies to obtain information about the plans and activities especially of a foreign government or a competing company.
According to the above definition, what the website does may be espionage.
Secondly, we need to define what “Freedom of Speech” is. “Freedom of Speech” is defined by the New World Encyclopedia as the ability to speak without censorship or limitation. Also called freedom of expression, it refers not only to verbal speech but any act of communicating information or ideas, including publications, broadcasting, art, advertising, film, and the Internet. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are closely related to the concepts of freedom of thought and conscience. So, according to this definition, what Assange’s website is doing is actually Freedom of Speech.
I never paid much attention to WikiLeaks until I saw how much embarrassment Assange caused International Governments. I have gauged the amount of embarrassment Assange caused World Wide Governments with how much effort Interpol put into a World-Wide man hunt because two women with ties to U.S. Government agencies, that also knew each other said that they had consensual sex with Assange and his condoms broke. Both women said that they began having consensual sex with Assange, but the condoms broke during intercourse in Sweden, where that is a crime. The entire international community had a world wide manhunt over two broken condoms. This man was placed in a medieval style jail, and then released after foreign opposition to house arrest, with an electronic monitoring device, with daily check ins to the police department… all because his condoms broke. This shows that this was a ridiculous attempt to intimidate this man and stop his web-site’s activity.
As a former U.S. Army Soldier and Airman, I understand the the importance of keeping Government secrets for the sake of National Security, but there are some secrets that the Government keeps just for the sake of claiming something is a secret to remove liability for its actions. For instance, George W. Bush made as much as possible classified under his administration to be sure that he wouldn’t have to defend information and conversations that he and his administration knew couldn’t be defended if the files became public about the invasion of Iraq. If WikiLeaks was around during the Iraq ‘Shock and Awe’ days, a few things might have went a little different. Common Americans would have been able to hold the people that they sent to Washington accountable for supporting weak or fraudulent intelligence. American News agencies would have also had real information to report to people and not the same parakeet lines like- ” Weapons of Mass Destruction and Yellow Cake” Also, what if the Martin Luther King files weren’t classified for 40 years? African Americans would not have endured Jim Crow racism for so many years if the racist American ideology of the time was wide open for the whole world to see. I remember a few years ago when I was active duty and another Airman showed me the video of the helicopter shooting the unarmed Reuters reporters. The military needed to be accountable for that action and describe why American Troops are shooting unarmed people on the streets and in a van.
On the other hand, Government secrets should sometimes be left as Government secrets. Positions of troops in combat shouldn’t be disclosed. At the start of the Iraq War, the American media outlets were given too much information about the location of the route of troops. That was a problem. The terrorist have the internet, which means that they could have been watching television and learned the routes of our troops.
As for information about how the U.S. Governement secretly feels about other countries that it has relations with being leaked, I believe that those U.S. Goverement Officials need to be more diplomatic behind closed doors and begin to respect people in other countries and attempt to have real relationships and watch what they say.
This could go bad if some information is disclosed that gives up locations of people that harms them,but at the same time, the secrecy of Governements need to be more transparent. After all, the tax payer that isn’t allowed to know anything is the boss.