Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2010 / 6 Teves, 5771
WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
By John Kass
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange is under pressure from the U.S. and other governments he embarrassed with his leaks of American diplomatic cables, but at least his "hactivist" disciples are behind him.
With Assange in custody in
It's the most bizarre story of the year, with enough chatter about Assange to fill a cheap novel, which surely is being written.
Naturally, the spy movie will follow, staring some guy with an accent, someone cool like
To some, Assange is a champion of the anti-American left. Meanwhile, many conservatives want to see him convicted of espionage and sent to prison or worse.
Though I'm a First Amendment absolutist, I wouldn't have published those stolen
But Assange — or the newspapers that published the documents — don't have the right to pretend there are no real consequences.
"WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone's aware, has been harmed," Assange wrote in a hubris-filled op-ed piece Wednesday published in The Australian. "But the U.S. with Australian government connivance has killed thousands in the past few months alone."
It sounds very much like a big speech from a
But once the big speech is over, and you're driving home with popcorn on your breath, you might be tempted to think logically about what happens next.
Sure, WikiLeaks and the newspapers have redacted some details, but the clues are there. It's safe to assume that all those documents on the Web site have been downloaded by the intelligence services of every country on Earth. Not just enemy or rogue states, but friendly nations as well.
Their analysts aren't wringing their hands over whether they should be studying the secret cables. They're just studying. They have computers. And their analysts do what analysts do best — connect the dots.
And not only the salacious and entertaining big dots, like that Saudi prince and the prostitutes at his big bash, or the attributes of the curvy Ukrainian nurse for
Analysts aren't interested in the well-known names, the public names, the official names. They're interested in the names hidden between the lines. And they'll find them.
These smaller dots aren't famous. They're foreign nationals. They could be clerks and janitors and such. They have names and friends and families. And soon, one dot is tied to another dot is tied to another dot.
Once they're connected, a door is kicked in by the security forces. The dot is put into the back seat of the car, then driven to a place where sunshine does not illuminate anything. And nobody notifies Assange about what became of the dot or its family.
By then, they're not dots anymore. They're not abstractions. They're real people. Or they were. And that's something that Assange — who reasons like a child — pretends not to understand.
America spent years building up such networks. The WikiLeak extravaganza is an invitation to other nations to grab a broom and sweep them up.
This debate isn't new. Since I'm based at the
The Tribune under Col.
The implication was clear: The
So after five days of secret hearings, a federal grand jury in
Did McCormick have the right to publish? Of course he did. The First Amendment is quite clear.
But as a retired
And that's something Assange and his hactivists — prattling childishly about sunshine and how nobody's been hurt "as far as anyone is aware" — pretend not to understand.
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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.
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