John R. Houk
© April 15, 2019
I am amazed at the number of Conservatives that are wholly supportive of Julian Assange as a hero in an age of corrupt government. In full disclosure, I am extremely grateful the old self-serving cad exposed the wickedness of the Crooked Hillary campaign for President. There were plenty of DNC secrets BUT there were ZERO Classified State secrets/documents that would harm Military or Intelligence personnel in their duties for the U.S. government.
When I posted Justin Smith’s “Julian Assange — A Good End to America’s Enemy,” (SlantRight 2.0 & NCCR) the majority of the Social Media Conservative comments were quite hostile for condemning the nefarious side of Julian Assange.
From those comments I was persuaded that the “Pentagon Papers” defense could apply to Julian Assange as much as SCOTUS sided with Daniel Ellsberg. At first reading the comments applying the Pentagon Papers/Ellsberg was compelling to me. Then I ran into an article by Harry Melkonian in 2013 in relation to Wikileaks and transgendered Bradley Manning which provides scope that obliterates the Assange/Pentagon Papers argument:
But there is a major difference: Ellsberg released classified information and he faced criminal charges for that act. However, the documents released by Ellsberg were only historical and could not seriously be thought to compromise the interests of the United States.
The Pentagon Papers revealed a lack of candor by Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration concerning the Vietnam War and subjected the US to ridicule, but it did not jeopardise security. The papers were released during the Nixon presidency but none of the documents related to events that occurred during the Nixon administration.
Ellsberg may have done something unlawful but no-one could claim that it compromised ongoing military operations. This point is clearly revealed by the Nixon tapes, in which the president and his aides were initially rather pleased by the leaking of documents that embarrassed Johnson. In fact, the Supreme Court refused to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers because they found that nothing in the documents could possibly be considered a military secret. The charges against Ellsberg were ultimately dismissed because of the misbehavior of Nixon’s infamous plumbers unit.
But Manning is charged with releasing many thousands of government documents and not just historical records. The US government contends that this distinguishes Manning from Ellsberg’s situation – Ellsberg simply released documents that he was not authorised to release, and there was not a serious claim that his conduct put any American interest at risk.” (WikiLeaks and aiding the enemy: the court martial of Bradley Manning; By Harry Melkonian; The Conversation; 6/5/13 4.42pm EDT)
Assange and Manning did expose potential war crimes committed by the USA:
“… The publication provided explosive evidence of human rights abuses in Iraq and Pakistani cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan — among many other revelations …
… A brief experiment with automatic redactions was aborted. The journalist-led redactions were abandoned too after Assange’s relationship with the London press corps turned toxic. By 2013 WikiLeaks had written off the redaction efforts as a wrong move.
Three Saudi cables published by WikiLeaks identified domestic workers who’d been tortured or sexually abused by their employers, giving the women’s full names and passport numbers. One cable named a male teenager who was raped by a man while abroad; a second identified another male teenager who was so violently raped his legs were broken; a third outlined the details of a Saudi man detained for “sexual deviation” — a derogatory term for homosexuality.
Scott Long, an LGBT rights activist who has worked in the Middle East, said the names of rape victims were off-limits. And he worried that releasing the names of people persecuted for their sexuality only risked magnifying the harm caused by oppressive officials.” (Private lives are exposed as WikiLeaks spills its secrets; By RAPHAEL SATTER and MAGGIE MICHAEL; AP News; 8/23/16)
To date there have been no public revelations of people who died resulting from the Wikileaks/Manning document dump, BUT lives were endangered according to the National Review:
“… Among the documents Manning turned over to Assange were war logs that contained the names of hundreds of civilians who cooperated with U.S. forces. Assange simply published those logs en masse, without redacting the names of civilians involved, placing those fighting for freedom in their countries in great peril.” (Chelsea Manning Is Not a Whistleblower; By KYLE SMITH; National Review; 5/19/17 6:26 PM)
The DOJ is asserting that Manning did not act on his/her own volition in the once sealed indictment against Julian Assange. Evidently the DOJ believes it can prove criminal conspiracy with Manning rather Manning acting alone and dumping Classified material into Assange’s lap:
“In an indictment revealed Thursday morning, U.S. authorities say Assange conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal and publish huge troves of classified documents. Prosecutors said Assange at one point tried to help Manning crack a password to access military computers where the information was stored.
Over four months in 2010, Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of secret reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as State Department cables and information about detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Manning turned the records over to WikiLeaks, which passed them to journalists and published them on the internet.
Prosecutors said it was one of the most extensive leaks of classified secrets in U.S. history.
Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The charge, delivered by a federal grand jury in March 2018 but kept secret until Thursday, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.” (Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, faces US hacking conspiracy charge; By Bart Jansen, Sean Rossman, Doug Stanglin and Kevin Johnson; USA Today; Published 5:50 a.m. ET 4/11/19 – Updated 12:29 p.m. ET 4/12/19)
Assange Indictment (PDF on Google Documents date-stamped 3/6/18
In fairness to Assange, he does have his supporters that pooh-pooh everything I just disclosed. For example Sharmini Peries of the Real News Network interviewed Daniel Ellsberg in correlation to Assange’s recent arrest. However Peries is a Leftist and her past association with Hugo Chavez may suggest she has a Marxist orientation. Which brings me to the mantra – Leftists lie.
This is what began these thoughts on, “Is Assange a criminal or hero,” is a submission by Justin Smith taking a stand that Julian Assange is an enemy of America and not a hero.
I’d like to think Justin’s submission resulted from a Facebook Messenger text I sent him yesterday about the pushback I was receiving from his earlier Julian Assange submission. As of this writing I have not gone back to Facebook to read my messages, but it’s at logical I’m not the only relaying feedback about his earlier submission (which Justin certainly submitted to other blogs and websites for publication as well).
In honesty I don’t like to share contributor’s post unless I can validate the info within the submission. As I began that process with Justin I ended up just adding my own response. I sense most of what I sourced in my thoughts corroborates Justin’s submission; ergo this is a rare time that I will not be adding corroborating sources. It may interest the reader that Justin provides a list of titles for me to choose from. I get to choose the title that I sense best fits. Enjoy and if you are in the camp Conservative that Assange is a hero, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. If your politics are Left-Wing, I could care less about any hateful vitriol in defense of Assange.
Your generosity is always appreciated:
Assange — An Enemy to America Our Republic
Assange Is No Hero
By Justin O. Smith
Sent 4/14/2019 10:54 PM
FOREWORD ___ No matter how beneficial one may have found Assange’s information dump to be to Conservative America overall, he still cost American lives in the Middle Eastern theater and the lives of many who were working with our nation.
Of late, my tolerance for people who advocate for actions that subvert “the rule of law” and by those actions the republic has slipped to zero. Some things are just pretty black and white to me. No matter how one wishes to frame the picture, Assange is no friend to America.
Julian Assange was a hero for much of the American Left when he was undermining American national security and putting Americans and allies in jeopardy, but a villain when he helped Vladimir Putin damage Hillary Clinton. But hold on. Assange became a hero for many on the right for the very same reasons. He was a villain for working with then–Bradley Manning for a lot of people. But that was all forgiven when he helped Putin damage Hillary Clinton.
If it’s your view that Assange was noble for undermining the U.S. war effort or national security but evil for undermining the DNC or Hillary Clinton, then your standard for such things is entirely team-based. And if it’s your view that Assange was evil for undermining the U.S. war effort or national security but noble for undermining the DNC or Hillary Clinton, your standards are also entirely team-based.
What Assange did wasn’t “journalism”. If he had filtered the information that he helped steal and simply focused on the Bad Guys and actual misdeeds and corruption found, I might have been more forgiving, but he Lumped the Good Guys in with the mix and released ALL Their Information for all to see, DESPITE PLEAS FROM HUMAN RIGHTS organizations [Some of which actually funded by George Soros] for him to redact that info.
Assange is an enemy of democracy not just for publishing stolen political gossip, but for aiding and enabling Manning’s espionage against the United States, in what far too many call an act of a “whistleblower”; Manning helped Assange publish far more sensitive, far more important, indeed life-endangering material.
Among the documents Manning turned over to Assange were war logs that contained the names of hundreds of civilians who cooperated with U.S. forces. Assange threw all caution to the wind and indiscriminately published those logs en masse, without redacting the names of civilians involved, placing those fighting for freedom in their countries in great peril.
Many CIA operatives and many covert assets working in country in Afghanistan and Iraq were subsequently outed and murdered as a direct result of this info dump. The embeds who weren’t killed, including several U.S. SOF personnel, report that the Taliban and Al Qaeda regularly poured over the information, sorting and sifting, to learn of U.S. tactics, strategic plans underway, and personnel strength and positions as well as armaments on hand.
The “benefit” from this information could have been achieved without the indiscriminate dumping of information.
If Assange thought there was criminal activity underway in the U.S. government, he should have simply released that criminal related information alone. His intention was to harm America, since the manner of his release didn’t focus on the Bad Guys; and he released the UNREDACTED NAMES, addresses, phone numbers and everything else related to ALL the other Good and Decent Young Men and Women in Our Armed Forces WHO HAD DONE NO WRONG — placing their information in the hands of the enemy, endangering them and their families.
Anyway one wants to look at it, if one is intellectually honest and views his actions through the prism of “the rule of law”, Assange is absolutely an enemy to America and a criminal GUILTY of ESPIONAGE, who should be under a U.S. prison, if not executed — the sooner the better.
~ Justin O Smith
Forgive me if I think You are in error to take Assange’s side in this. That some benefit came from his crime of espionage doesn’t absolve him of the crime and all the real world harm that came from it.
Julian Assange’s arrest and indictment should provide us with a moment of reflection. He is an awful man. He dumped American military secrets into the public domain without any regard for human life. He conspired with an American soldier to crack American security systems in the effort to deliver more secrets to the world public.
His co-conspirator, Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, wasn’t a “whistleblower” — and neither was Assange. Manning didn’t carefully extract evidence of alleged wrongdoing from classified files and go to the press (a defensible, though still illegal, act). He just dumped hundreds of thousands of pages of classified files into Assange’s hands, and Assange posted them, en masse, on the Internet.
Any jihadist or enemy with Internet access could read the documents and not just learn about the identities of American allies on the ground (placing them at immediate, mortal risk) but also gain extraordinary insight into American military tactics and plans — including learning exactly how effective (or ineffective) their own weapons and tactics were.
Manning committed treason. Assange helped him. And there were Americans who celebrated both men.
The First Amendment doesn’t protect criminal acts and what Assange did wasn’t journalism. He didn’t write any story that focused on the Bad Guys and any of the wrongdoing in government. All he did was steal info that he later sold to the highest bidder; it’s not remotely in the same ballpark as reporters reporting it in the NYTs and WaPo afterwards. You seem not to care that he dumped Good and Decent Americans UNREDACTED Names, Addresses and Phone Numbers along with the Bad Guys, and HE COST AMERICAN LIVES in the aftermath.
In 2010, everyone on both sides of the aisle saw Assange as an enemy to America. The Obama administration condemned him, conservatives called him a traitor, and Donald Trump said WikiLeaks was “disgraceful,” adding that there should be the “death penalty or something” for its actions. Fast-forward to 2016, and WikiLeaks enjoyed a reputational renaissance on the right. Why? Well, WikiLeaks was the same organization, but its target had changed. Rather than taking on alleged American imperialism, it was the conduit for an alleged Russian hack that was systematically embarrassing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party in the middle of a hotly contested presidential election. “I love WikiLeaks,” Trump declared to rousing cheers at a rally. Sean Hannity defended him during the election and even referred to Assange to advance his absurd Seth Rich conspiracy theory. Even worse, the special counsel’s office has alleged that a “senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign.” Trump “loved” Wikileaks, and his campaign allegedly endeavored to get information from WikiLeaks — the same organization that had just a few years before conspired with a traitor to place American soldiers and American allies in mortal danger.
HYPOCRITES ABOUND — Julian Assange intentionally and deliberately works against American interests. Yet there are Americans who will intentionally and deliberately share WikiLeaks information, wield it as a weapon against their political opponents. There is no virtue in Assange. Those who celebrated his “transparency” in the Manning document dumps forget that responsible reporters who gain access to classified material carefully vet that material to make sure that their disclosures do not needlessly endanger innocent Americans, and they carefully weigh the value of the disclosure against the gravity of the harm.
Assange and Manning did not seem to care about the men and women they betrayed. Those who celebrated Assange’s role in the DNC and Podesta hacks forget that he was playing a willing and even eager role in a foreign plan to disrupt an election and divide our nation — a plan that worked beautifully in large part because of the very celebration of the hacks themselves.
In “Flight 93 elections,” I suppose, advancing Russian interests is a small price to pay for a news cycle or two that humiliates Hillary. And, by the way, if one is going to rightly denigrate the role that Russian hacking had in swaying the American election, how can one also then claim that advancing Russian interests and magnifying Assange was somehow important enough to be worth the costs?
Julian Assange is an enemy of the United States. Just because he is the enemy of our enemies as seen in the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, and you now consider the enemy Assange to be your friend, that doesn’t make your “friend” Assange any less the actual entity trying to undermine American security, divide American society, and even threaten American lives.
I have no problem whatsoever with TRUE Whistleblowers who take precise aim at SPECIFIC WRONGS and SPECIFIC Crimes they have found within the U.S. government. But even then, there are proven and viable methods within our government for just such cases, and Manning never made the first attempt to take his concerns to his superiors and the proper chain of military command, as outlined in the Uniform Military Code of Justice, and Assange never cared one way or another who got hurt by his actions; all he saw was dollar signs and fame, but what is anyone to expect from a narcissist and a rapist like Assange.
There is so much that stinks around this entire episode in our nation’s recent events. Assange actually sought temporary relief and cover in Russia and regularly bashed America on his TV program ‘Russia Today’.
One of his first guests was the High Cleric and Hezbollah terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Assange’s motives were far from pure or noble. He’s no “hero”.
Julian Assange is an anti-American LEFTIST, and an ENEMY to America.
And, to tell the truth, I’d probably drop a hammer on him if I ever had him in my sights.
God Bless You All and God Bless Our Beloved America. May He Keep Her Free For All Eternity and Damn Her Enemies Both Foreign and Domestic to the Hell They Have Earned and So Richly Deserve.
Your Friend Always ~ Justin
Thanks to Justin Smith, More Thoughts on Assange
John R. Houk
© April 15, 2019
Assange — An Enemy to America Our Republic
Edited by John R. Houk
© Justin O. Smith