|WikiLeaks Exposes Liberal Double Standard on Whistle Blowers|
By Ashton Ellis
Tuesday, November 30 2010
Ever since Daniel Ellsberg and his enablers at The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, liberals have championed the right of so-called national security whistleblowers to be the final arbiters of what’s in the public interest. Though deserving of zealous prosecutions for endangering American lives, saboteurs like Ellsberg and WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange are celebrated by the left for cloaking their motives in the First Amendment.
That is, so long as the subject is war. No less an authority on patriotic dissent than Senator John Kerry (D-MA) sought to redirect national outrage last summer when WikiLeaks released 90,000 stolen military documents related to the Afghanistan war.
At the time, Kerry excused the disclosure with the following rationale: “However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
So, according to Kerry, illegally obtained information – while misappropriated – probably helps policy makers make better decisions. Why? Presumably, most if not all of the key players already have access to the kind of information contained in confidential files. The value of disclosure cannot be its newness to principals, but rather its relevance to the public. Most importantly, is its ability to shape public opinion. Damaging information about a war always shifts the balance of power to those who want to end it. Ellsberg wanted to end the Vietnam War. Assange wants to end the war in Afghanistan. Kerry is their brother-in-arms.
Interestingly, Kerry takes a different view when the focus of disclosure is diplomacy. When Kerry is not presiding over meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he often moonlights as President Barack Obama’s ambassador-at-large. Perhaps this helps explain Kerry’s about-face on top secret disclosures coming from the State Department.
On Monday, Kerry tried to explain the difference between Vietnam-era whistle blowing and WikiLeaks’ illegal conduct. Distinguishing the current scandal from the Pentagon Papers fiasco, Kerry said “this (WikiLeaks breach) is not an academic exercise about freedom of information … Instead, these sensitive cables contain candid assessments and analysis of ongoing matters and they should remain confidential to protect the ability of the government to conduct lawful business with the private candor that’s vital to effective diplomacy.”
How bizarre. Lest anyone forget, the information in the Pentagon Papers contained over a decade’s worth of “candid assessments and analysis” of both previous and “ongoing matters” related to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
Everyone aware of their content agreed that the information contained therein painted a much darker and more complex picture of the situation than the general Washington, D.C. line. In arguing for an injunction to block the documents’ publication, however, the United States government urged the Supreme Court not to put at risk, in addition to national security, the lives of service members, intelligence agents and foreign human assets.
Treating the case like “an academic exercise about freedom of information” instead of a serious national security breach, the Court sided with liberals like Kerry and allowed publication.
So far, the most interesting pieces of information to emerge from WikiLeaks’ recent barrage are more confirmatory than revelatory. Saudi Arabia and other Muslim governments throughout the Middle East have been urging the United States to “cut the head off the snake” and bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Chinese government is accelerating Iran’s armament program with technology shipments, while Syria (with Iran’s help) continues to smuggle weapons to terrorist organization Hezbollah. All this while ambassador-at-large Kerry said in a private meeting with Qatari leaders in February that Israel should give the Golan Heights to Syria and agree to a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. No wonder Kerry is flip-flopping on WikiLeaks; now it’s making him look bad.
Kerry’s facile distinction between acceptable disclosures related to war and unacceptable leaks related to diplomacy is pure fiction. Both are illegal publications of sensitive national security documents that put peoples’ lives in danger. That Kerry can only be bothered to care when his name is on the line is a stark reminder of the kind of man who came close to being president.
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