Matthew Rozsa - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) articulated perfectly the position that needs to be taken against Julian Assange.
Here is the conversation that followed:
I'm a big fan of wikileaks
You're practically an anarchist, so I'm not surprised. lol
Big fan of freedom of the press
As Senator Feinstein so accurately put it:
"Just as the First Amendment is not a license to yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, it is also not a license to jeopardize national security."
That's just dumb. bogus analogy
The reason it's illegal to shout "fire" in a crowded theater is because your use of free speech, in that situation, needlessly endangers the lives of innocent people. This is precisely the same reason why you don't have the right to jeopardize national security on First Amendment grounds.
A lot of media could potentially fit that definition, fyi
I'm not sure what specific examples you're referring to, but it is entirely possible that I'll agree with some of them.
jepardizing national security is pretty broad, use your imagination. It shouldn't be so subjective [main point] freedom of the press should be understood as something fundamental [an ideal we should aspire to achieve in reality] and not particular to a certain situation, place or time (such as Wikileaks) otherwise we might as well go after Ellsberg for the pentagon papers, that there is a line I don't like to see crossed. Throw him in jail for good you say, I don't see it as right
While I agree that the term "national security interest" can be used too broadly, the same can easily be said of "freedom of the press." All liberties, to be truly sound and just, must include inherent limitations, all of which begin at the precise point when the freedoms which they endow to one individual violate the rights of others. This is a basic principle upon which our founding fathers, from Jefferson and Madison to Franklin and Hamilton, staunchly agreed.
The question, therefore, insofar as the WikiLeaks controversy is concerned is not WHETHER it is right to prosecute speech on the basis of national security, but rather WHEN it is right to do so. In cases such as those of Seymour Hersh (who exposed the My Lai massacre), Daniel Ellsberg (who exposed the fraudulent basis of the Vietnam War), and Joseph Wilson (who exposed the fraudulent basis of the Iraq War), those leaks were distinguished by two facts:
(a) They achieved a greater social good by enlightening the public about serious moral wrongs perpetrated by the state.
(b) They could not be reasonably construed to have either directly harmed or caused potential harm to other human beings.
Neither of these criteria apply to the Assange leaks:
(a) Assange did not expose great lies about why we went to war or of acts of mass murder that had been covered up. Indeed, the worst moral offenses that he brought to light involve the kind of diplomatic chicaneries and backbiting in which every nation in the world engages - and, what's more, needs to be able to pursue without worrying about public exposure. As liberal pundit Christopher Hitchens pointed out:
"One of civilization's oldest and best ideas is that all countries establish tiny sovereign enclaves in each other's capitals and invest these precious enclaves of peaceful resolution with special sorts of immunity. That this necessarily includes a high degree of privacy goes without saying. Even a single violation of this ancient tradition may have undesirable unintended consequences, and we rightly regard a serious breach of it with horror."
(b) Assange's leaks have directly imperiled our nation's ability to effectively fight real terrorist threats. As conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer observed:
"The Yemeni president and deputy prime minister are quoted as saying that they're letting the United States bomb al-Qaeda in their country, while claiming that the bombing is the government's doing... this will undoubtedly limit our freedom of action against its (al-Qaeda's) Yemeni branch, identified by the CIA as the most urgent terrorist threat to U.S. security."
Remember that Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric in Yemen with close ties to al Qaeda, has been connected to the Fort Hood shooting, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bombing attempt, the attempted assassination of a British cabinet minister, the recent bombing attempts on several Chicago synagogues, and even the Manhattan kook who threatened the creators of "South Park" (al-Awlaki also issued a fatwa on the head of the woman who orchestrated "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" in response to the "South Park" incident). Considering that he has repeatedly made efforts to attack the United States, it stands to reason that he will continue to try - and may very well succeed - until he is stopped. There can be little doubt that Assange's revelation has just thrown a serious kink in our ability to achieve that result... and this, by the way, is just one example from WikiLeaks.
The reason so many people are defending Julian Assange, as I see it, is that we live in a world in which people with an anti-establishmentarian ideology find it impossible to believe that a so-called "underdog" could be wrong when it takes on an institution that (correctly or otherwise) is perceived as having great power. Unfortunately, such a knee-jerk assumption ignores the fact that reality is much more complicated than any simplistic designations of "good guys" and "bad guys" would have you believe. Yes, the use of our government's power can be wrong (slavery, the genocide against American Indians, federal support of segregation, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the My Lai massacre), but it can also be used to achieve great good (Andrew Jackson's destruction of the Second National Bank, Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Theodore Roosevelt's trust-busting, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman's reconstruction of Europe and Japan under George Marshall and Douglas MacArthur, Lyndon Johnson's passage of civil rights legislation in 1964, 1965, and 1968). Even though it is chic to have a default cynicism toward the American government, that doesn't mean that approach is factually or morally correct, just as the fact that it was fashionable to be blindly patriotic in the 1890s or 1950s doesn't mean that THAT mentality was the right one. Truth, because it is so nuanced and convoluted, will always defy simplistic categorizations, and people who fail to recognize this do so at their own peril.
PS: Please post your responses on my blog article. I want to keep this conversation going (assuming you're interested, of course), but it's a pain-in-the-ass to reformat and copy-and-paste everything from Facebook to Blogspot. If you just posted your thoughts in the comments section of the article on that website, it would make my life a lot easier.
Assange has put the the TRUTH out there for all to see, whether the impact is good or bad, is not a concern to me.
Also, anytime I see you reference Krauthammer, I know u are reaching.
Should we also prosecute the many mainstream news orgs, including the AP, for working in tandem with wikileaks?
2) I may not agree with Krauthammer ideologically, but he is still an intelligent and honest source of information.
3) Prosecuting the members of mainstream news organizations who abetted him would be impractical, although I frankly feel they are complicit in this crime.
After this I repeated my request that Tiguhs post all future comments on my blog article.