I haven’t spoke up about my opinion on the recent Wikileaks fiasco. Frankly I don’t know what to think here. I’m all for the information being released because a government that keeps secrets from it’s citizens is a government that is up to something bad.
What I find most interesting is the recent movements against Wikileaks. Some people are calling for Assange to be charged with treason which is moronic because he’s not an American citizen (so note to Sarah Palin, Wikileaks itself committed no treasonous act). Others are clamoring for him to be charged with Espionage under the Espionage Act of 1917. I find this rather interesting for the following reason:
(a) of this section in time of war shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for not more than thirty years; and
(b) whoever, in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy, shall collect, record, publish or communicate, or attempt to elicit any information with respect to the movement, numbers, description, condition, or disposition of any of the armed forces, ships, aircraft, or war materials of the United States, or with respect to the plans or conduct, or supposed plans or conduct of any naval of military operations, or with respect to any works or measures undertaken for or connected with, or intended for the fortification of any place, or any other information relating to the public defence, which might be useful to the enemy, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for not more than thirty years.
Emphasis mine. Under our Constitution the only way the United States can be at war is if Congress declares it. Congress has declared no war since World War II so can Assange really be lawfully charged under the Espionage Act? I’m not stating either way but I find it a most interesting observation.
Strangely enough you’ll notice many stories about people calling for the head of Assange. Do you want to know a little secret? Assange isn’t Wikileaks, he’s just their figurehead. Nabbing Assange will not shut down Wikileaks as there are far more people behind the scenes doing the real work of keeping the site up.
I’d also point out the fact that any potential damage has already been done. You can’t erase information from the Internet, especially a heavily mirrored site such as Wikileaks. Shutting down the main Wikileaks servers, high jacking the domain name, or any other such nonsense will accomplish absolutely nothing. The base technologies of the Internet were designed as a decentralized method of communication that would be difficult to take down should the Russian decide to let nukes fly. It’s incredibly resilient and does not lend itself well to censorship.
The United States government should realized the damage is done and there is nothing they can do to take the information back. They need to realize the only method of correcting this problem is to stop conducting backroom deals that would be embarrassing if they should ever come to light.