when does espionage become terrorism?
The revelations resulting from the leak will continue for months, even years, as the information contained in the documents is processed.
In this post I am not so much interested in Assange and the landmark event he has orchestrated. Rather I am interested in some of the questions, not least those of a political nature, which are raised.
At this point it is worth noting the reactions by certain political figures at the historic leak:
- Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential hopeful, has been reported as saying those responsible should be charged with treason and executed
- Sarah Palin (no introduction needed) has compared Assange with al-Qaeda and claimed he is “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands”
- Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, accused WikiLeaks of an “attack on the international community”
- An advisor to the Canadian PM, Tom Flanagan, has claimed in a television interview that Assange “should be assassinated” and that Barack Obama “should put out a contract and maybe use a drone”
The assumption here, of course, is that America and its allies are the guardians of order in our world, and that any attack on them is unjustified and deserves to be punished (by death, according to some).
Palin has asked, “What, if any, diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt WikiLeaks’ technical infrastructure?” Again what is taken for granted is that US intelligence information is beyond culpability. This is despite the fact that many of the cables leaked reveal the extent of the US’s espionage in other nations, including its own allies.
How have we gotten to the point where the US thinks that it has the right to gather information on other nations by espionage, but when its own information is released this is called terrorism?
Of course the US government argues that the leaking of such information has put the lives of countless people (not least those in the military) at risk. But there is no evidence of this whatsoever. Caveats of this kind are ruses, says John Kampfner (Chief Executive of Index on Censorship) – the powerful preventing information from reaching the public domain. Assange himself has rightly pointed out that “US officials have for 50 years trotted out this line when they are afraid the public is going to see how they really behave.”
This is in addition to the fact that US patriots who are insisting that the leaks will cost American lives are the same ones who vocally support wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and attacks in Pakistan (over 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq alone).
At the end of the day the attitude of the US and some of its allies is disgusting, though I suppose this is how empires behave. From Egypt to Assyria to Babylon to Greece to Rome all the way up to the US, the same tactics have been applied. When someone does something to reveal the dirty tricks actually being used by the empire the only response it can produce is to silence the voice, by violence or murder if necessary (thank you Mr. Flanagan).
I encourage people to rethink how we perceive global politics, and the role of some of Western nations involved. What right exactly do nations like ours have to assume we can police the rest of the world? And even if this role was justified (which it isn’t), what excludes us from playing by the rules we set? Why is it in the best interests of the international community when America do something secretive to acquire information, but terrorism when China or Iran or al-Qaeda do it?
(I am definitely not supporting the actions of such parties, I am just pointing out the contradiction).
If you come from the same faith tradition as I do, let’s rethink our allegiances as kingdom people. We should, of course, be loyal to the kingdom of God, which is in essence an anti-kingdom/empire. Nationalistic attitudes were condemned in Scripture when Israel held them, so why should we think any differently about how we feel regarding the US or Australia? Sure, our countries are good to live in, but that doesn’t mean we are inherently good or right or true…
…let’s be careful we don’t confuse the will of the West for the will of God.
Posted on December 2, 2010, in Culture & Art, Current Events, Politics and tagged America, Empire, Espionage, Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Terrorism, US, US Embassy Cables, US Intelligence, USA, WikiLeaks. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.