A dissenting voice on the journalistic sainthood of Julian Assange

There has been a rush among some conservatives to join hands with some in the extreme left to sanctify Julian Assange as a journalist.


Well, pardon me, but Assange is not a journalist; he is a propagandist. Wikileaks is not an unbiased organization seeking the truth, but an anti-Western-civilization band of radicals who promote a left-wing agenda, using illegal means to do so. Assange doesn’t write stories; he writes tables of contents for stolen documents that were leaked to him by people with a left-wing agenda. Assange doesn’t look for context or the other side of the story, and he doesn’t care about the dangerous consequences of what he publishes.


In fact, Wikileaks is the apotheosis of anonymous sources, the most dangerous aspect of modern journalism. But using anonymous sources does not excuse you from the responsibility of seeking both sides of the story, nor should it be a license to publish state secrets or other confidential material. The First Amendment has reasonable exceptions and publishing confidential material obtained illegally should be one of them.



It shouldn’t matter to conservatives that Wikileaks published emails that were harmful to the Democrats in 2016. We must judge Wikileaks on what they did to violate rules of law and decency, not whether we like the results of their actions. To give this group of radicals free rein to publish anything they want is to invite chaos in governance, business and ultimately private lives. Wikileaks is in essence a group of anarchist thugs. I won’t stand with them.


My disdain for Wikileaks is not new. Here is a column I published in the Daily Inter Lake nine years ago.



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Wikileaks culprits must pay a price


By Frank Miele


August 8, 2010


It is being compared to the Pentagon Papers document dump of the Vietnam War era, but don’t you believe it.



The WikiLeaks publication of thousands of pages of U.S. intelligence documents regarding the war in Afghanistan is much more devastating at a human level than the Pentagon Papers, and will no doubt result in many deaths than can never be justified or explained away.


The so-called Pentagon Papers project was a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of American political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. It was leaked to the New York Times in 1971 by one of its authors, Daniel Ellsberg, and was a roadmap to the gargantuan lies told to the American public by our own government about how and why we were fighting the war in Southeast Asia.


Whether the Pentagon Papers leak was a violation of law or not may never be decided, but Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, president and publisher of The New York Times, probably was correct when he noted that the Pentagon Papers “were really a part of history that should have been made available, considerably longer ago. I … didn’t feel there was any breach of national security, in the sense that we were giving secrets to the enemy.”



The Pentagon Papers were instead giving information to the American public about a war that was being fought in their name.
In the case of the WikiLeaks, something very different is happening. There is nothing, or very little, new about U.S. policy in the documents, as even President Obama has acknowledged, but there is a treasure trove of data about how the war is being fought on the ground in Afghanistan, which will very much aid and abet the enemy.


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world. Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures, will become known to our adversaries.

”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has cavalierly dismissed the claim that innocent people or informants will likely be targeted as a result of the publication of the “Afghan War Diary” documents.


Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, said this: “Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family. Disagree with the war all you want, take issue with the policy, challenge me or our ground commanders on the decisions we make to accomplish the mission we’ve been given, but don’t put those who willingly go into harm’s way even further in harm’s way just to satisfy your need to make a point.

”
The possibility of revenge by the Taliban is not just hypothetical. Newsweek reports that, “ A spokesman for the group quickly threatened to ‘punish’ any Afghan listed as having ‘collaborated’ with the U.S. and the Kabul authorities against the growing Taliban insurgency.

”
Indeed, “just four days after the documents were published, death threats began arriving at the homes of key tribal elders in southern Afghanistan. And over the weekend one tribal elder, Khalifa Abdullah, who the Taliban believed had been in close contact with the Americans, was taken from his home… and executed by insurgent gunmen.”


Assange and anyone else who is found to be responsible for publishing this top-secret material should face prosecution to the fullest possible extent. War is a most serious business. Putting our soldiers’ and allies’ lives at risk should have the most serious consequences.



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HeartlandDiaryUSA.com hosts the commentary of Frank Miele, former editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. Your support for this blog is appreciated. Please consider purchasing one of my books at Amazon. My new book is “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake?” — a look at Fake News from the perspective of a small-town newspaper editor. In addition, my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy documents the downward spiral of the USA that made Trump’s presidency so important. The books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Go here for a free sample of “The Media Matrix”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/sitb/B07PDQBJM4



 


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