The Conspiracy Against WikiLeaks
From "63 Documents The Government Doesn't Want You To Read" by Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell
Excerpt from the introduction to '63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read' by Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell, available here.
In November 2010, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order establishing a program to manage unclassified information. This rescinded a Bush-era order designed to keep still more documents away from public scrutiny by putting new labels on them ("For Official Use Only" and "Sensitive But Unclassified.")
But soon thereafter came WikiLeaks' first releases of a claimed trove of 251,287 secret State Department cables. This followed the group's disclosures earlier last year of 390,136 classified documents about the Iraq War and 76,607 documents about Afghanistan.
As everybody knows, the politicians and the media commentators went ballistic over the cables being in the public domain - even though the New York Times, among others, was running front-page stories every day about their contents.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was for a moment our biggest bogeyman since Osama. Sarah Palin says he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" who should be pursued "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders." She stopped short of saying he should be hunted down like the caribou she shoots in Alaska. Hillary Clinton calls what he's done "an attack on the international community." (I've never known Palin and Clinton to be this cozy in the same bed, so to speak.) Mike Huckabee called for the execution of whoever leaked the cables to WikiLeaks. Newt Gingrich referred to Assange as an "enemy combatant." Joe Biden described him as "closer to being a hi-tech terrorist" than a whistleblower, and some liberal democrats would like to see Assange sent to prison for life. He's also been labeled an old-fashioned anarchist, mastermind of a criminal enterprise and, at best, a control freak and a megalomaniac.
This smacks of worse than McCarthyism - we're in a lynch-mob moment, folks. Didn't Thomas Jefferson say that "information is the currency of democracy" and that, if he had to choose between government and a free press, he'd take the latter? Ron Paul is one of the only folks to have spoken up on Assange's behalf. Paul made quite a statement on the floor of the House, when he asked his colleagues what had caused more deaths - "lying us into war or the release of the WikiLeaks papers?" He added, "What we need is more WikiLeaks. In a free society, we're supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."
Paul's point is important. Nobody has died as a result of WikiLeaks' disclosures, but maybe we've forgotten that the whole Iraq War was based on fake evidence manufactured by the Bush-Cheney White House and the Brits, resulting in 4,430 American troops dead and about 32,000 wounded as of early December 2010. In Afghanistan, the toll is climbing fast: close to 1,500 Americans dead and almost 10,000 wounded. This doesn't take into account, of course, the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. Do you think it's possible, as one Internet columnist has written, that Julian Assange is the scapegoat for arrogant American officials who'd rather point the finger at someone else than admit the blood on their own hands?
[ Jesse Ventura's Take ]
Our country has such a short-term memory. In the 1980s, Congress covered up the fact that illegal drug deals were at the heart of the Iran-Contra story, just as the CIA has been deeply involved in drug trafficking for decades. It's a situation that continues today in Mexico and Afghanistan, and the reality is that our economy is secretly deeply embedded in the gloabl drug trade.