Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why the US Government needs to change course on Wikileaks

Over the past few years Wikileaks has received what seems like almost constant criticism over the publication of secret documents. I just read an article on Al Jazeera on this topic: and the Obama administration is making a major mistake.

Here's why. A transparent government should not have to hide anything from their people. Speaking out on wikileaks should only give the opponents more firepower. The most stable governments in the long-term are the ones that are the most open to investigation, look at Nazi Germany, where speech was heavily censored and it lasted only 12 years, compared to the United States which has lasted over 200 years with the same Constitution and without a major revolution in-between, the civil war doesn't count.

The difference between the free nations of the world and the tyrannical nations of the world are their freedoms. Free nations have freedom of speech, tyrannies don't. Over the past 12 years the United States has been moving further from the status as a free nation and closer towards the policies of tyrannical nations. As soon as the United States Congress passed the PATRIOT ACT (which I think of as the UnPATRIOTic Act) the status as a free nation has been in question. There has been very little debate about the PATRIOT ACT over the past four years, and President Obama has been foolish to not address this issue. President Obama needs to reverse course on his comments on Assange and pressure our allies to rethink our policies regarding free speech. It is critical to our survival.

I think the European Union is a marvelous institution, but with flaws. While the free travel, lack of customs, and easy dialogue between nations has worked well over the past 57 years to keep relations cool between its member states, I have growing concerns that their economic policies are not in the best interests of the people of Europe. Starting with their copyright policies which I think are often extreme, and then their issuing of an arrest warrant on Julian Assange makes me question whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

The European Union, United States, and the rest of the free world needs to do some major thinking about what being a free nation really entails. You cannot have free speech if everytime someone publishes something about your government that was a secret because that is an enfringement on the freedom of the press, a right sacred to all free peoples, or at least the founding fathers of America thought so.

The policies against Julian Assange are unwarranted, illegal, and the governments of the world need to realize that as soon as the American government released the internet it was just a matter of time before someone founded a website to publish these sorts of important secrets we have a right to know. Julian Assange has done more to make the inequities of our systems more apparent, and for this he is a great man. I also cannot find, except perhaps for "computer-related crime" a crime that warrants a European Arrest Warrant. Espionage is not a crime for which a European Arrest Warrant can be issued.

This has implications far beyond Wikileaks to every freedom loving person in the world, and everyone who has ever written anything that is not in agreement with our government, without which Democracy can not function. I urge President Obama and the Heads of State of Europe to remember this.

Let freedom ring.

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