WikiLeaks: Is the truth unpatriotic?

Is it not the right of the people to know what their leaders are planning?

Musabmemon December 10, 2010

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks indomitably dominated the headlines of late. The content of the leaked US diplomatic cables is definitively headline worthy. The repercussions of the unveiling of dangerous government secrets are colossal. As the US Justice Department considers the Espionage Act of 1917 to charge Assange with, I wonder if speaking out the truth is unpatriotic or if it’s just the only right thing to do?

According to the Espionage Act, “unauthorised possession and dissemination of information related to national defence is illegal”. But then what about the First Amendment to the US Constitution? It guarantees freedom of press.

Robert Wright writes in the International Herald Tribune, “Well thanks to Assange, many nations will now hesitate to speak candidly with us”. A concern well taken and well deserved.

Is it not the right of the people to know what their leaders are planning? If you and I are giving a chunk of our income to the government as taxes, and God knows how tough parting with that five to 10 per cent is, then is it not fair that the government tells us where our money is being spent? Is it being used to train Pakistani soldiers to fight America’s battle in Afghanistan? Let’s not answer that.

It remains to be seen how the US government will treat Assange, who has made it very clear that he has a problem with the "authoritarian regimes" of the world. Why must the governments have secrets to begin with if they can become hazardous to national and international security, once leaked? Why must officials hide information from the very public it strives to serve?

And if someone does leak the confidential information, which is not forged or tampered with, to the general public, is he unpatriotic or quite the opposite? America worries that it has angered many leaders around the globe with this WikiLeaks fiasco. I think they had it coming. Transparency and freedom of press is nothing new. If it wasn’t Assange, it would’ve been someone else, but ultimately truth does come out. Will the world punish the one who comes bearing it?

Musabmemon A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Talat | 11 years ago | Reply The wikileaks story s not over yet n your already want to talk about its "repercussions"
Momin Ansari | 11 years ago | Reply WikiLeaks is not saying this. UK's Guardian newspaper is The Guardian newspaper is claiming this report is 'fake'. Here is why you should disregard Guardian's claim for being biased: WikiLeaks is not saying this. UK's Guardian newspaper is. It's one of 4 or 5 newspapers that have been selectively releasing the Wiki cables. About 1,200 have been released so far out of 251,000 or so. Guardian and others have manipulated the leaks to release material that supports US policy on Pakistan, specifically on Pakistani nukes and Pakistani policy on Afghanistan, India and Kashmir. This selective approach was not limited to Pakistan. It extended to countries such as Russia and China, in addition to Pakistan, countries with whom US foreign policy is at odds. WikiLeaks handed over the entire stash of cables to these 4 or 5 newspapers. What these papers did is to hold off everything and target these few countries in a surprising overlap with US objectives. So the good work of WikiLeaks has been hijacked by these newspapers, including the Guardian. Now there is this story in the Pakistani media and The Guardian is horrified that there is someone else practicing manipulation besides them. Substantial parts of the story in Pakistani media is correct. It's only that The Guardian and the other newspapers are misleading the world public opinion by a selective focus on the things they want from WikiLeaks cables. WikiLeaks did a good job of exposing US bully diplomacy, and here comes NYT, Guardian and 2 or 3 other 'partner' newspapers of WikiLeaks to selectively release the material to suit US policy objectives.
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