WikiLeaks: Is the truth unpatriotic?

Published: December 10, 2010
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Why must the governments have secrets to begin with?

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

Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Madiha

    In the past few days I have been warring with this question in my mind, has he committed an international crime or just acted responsibly by bringing out the truth to the world? in anycase, we already knew it in our hearts what we get to read now on the cables. The only difference now is, we can say out loud to the deniers, “see i told you so!” . As with julian assange, he knew what he was doing, he knew he’s playing with fire, whatever his motives but for U.S its only ‘either your with them or with the terrorists” Another point which goes against him is the twisted law of freedom of press, according to which, if you read between the lines that is, You are free as long as you don’t go against the government! and as for julian assange he’s gone not against any other government but against AMERICA.Recommend

  • http://NIL Momin Ansari

    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.

    http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/2010/12/10/guardian-uses-wikileaks-for-propaganda-pakistani-media-can%E2%80%99t/Recommend

  • Talat

    The wikileaks story s not over yet n your already want to talk about its “repercussions” Recommend