By: Forest Gates
Looking at the lengthy history of WikiLeaks, from its Apache gunship camera recordings to letters between politicians urging for an attack on particular countries, it is not hard to see why Julian Assange and his team are at the center of so much controversy. Some view him as a white-knight of free speech and to others, a terrorist. In the opinion of this writer, Assange is slowly edging towards the latter.
The people supporting Assange and his team believe that it is their right to have access to some of the classified information, and in some cases, this is true. While the cockpit footage from the Apache gunship that shows the gunning down of innocent journalists and civilians could be used as propaganda by terrorists, it is something that makes sense being made public to that the pilots may be reprimanded and American citizens given a view as to how effective airstrike protocols are. This release led to a questioning of ROE (rules of engagement) and could have very well led to an improvement in the efficiency of air-assault units operating in the Middle-East. However, releasing such things such as locations and sites that are vital to the security of the United States, and incredibly detailed reports on the status of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, helps no-one but terrorists.
No-one but the people running their respective countries and wars should have access to certain secrets. If Assange wants to expose corruption in Russia, so be it, it can only serve to improve the well-being on the country, but if he releases a letter from a middle-eastern country’s president to the White House in America, its contents urging the United States to attack Iran and its nuclear installations, these only serve to escalate tensions between the already feuding countries and can even lead to warring.
While completely liquidizing WikiLeaks through violence seems to be the safest option, WikiLeaks threatens to release a cache of files if anyone of them is placed under arrest. This effectively prevents anyone from taking action, legal or not, against them for the publishing of their material through fear. There is a term that partially fits the bill for these kinds of tactics: terrorism. WikiLeaks is, in this writer’s opinion, the tabloid of nations: obtrusive, dangerous, and uncalled for.