Satan has his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and detested.
~ Mary Shelley. Frankenstein.
The government of Ecuador this week expelled U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges. "We have asked that she leave the country as soon as possible," said the Foreign Minister. Reason? The leftist leadership of that country objected to classified cables recently released by Wikileaks which describe in detail how "corruption among Ecuadorean National Police officers is widespread and well-known" and that "this situation is more pronounced at higher levels of power." In other words, the embassy reported a true fact about Ecuador.
Last month U.S. ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual felt compelled to resign in face of incessant denunciation by that country's thin-skinned president. Reason? Wikileaks released classified cables in which the American embassy reported, "Official corruption is widespread, leading to a compartmentalized siege mentality among 'clean' law enforcement leaders and their lieutenants." "Prosecution rates for organized crime-related offenses are dismal; 2% of those detained are brought" to trial. In other words, the embassy reported an uncomfortable and universally known truth about Mexican law enforcement officials.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, was recalled to Washington in January after WikiLeaks posted his candid assessment of Moammar Gadhafi's oddball behavior, including his employment of a contingent of female Amazon bodyguards. This, of course, occurred before Libya blew up and at a time when we were trying improve relations with that country.
In Kenya, WikiLeaks-released cables put Ambassador Michael Ranneberger in the hot seat with that nation's leadership, particularly over a description of Kenya as a "swamp of flourishing corruption." One member of parliament submitted a motion to censure Ranneberger and have the U.S. government recall him.
I've said it before in this blog. If Assange weren't throwing purloined U.S. government secrets to the four winds, somebody else would be. The ultimate blame goes to the USG itself for its loose controls over dissemination of sensitive material, enabling one lowly and screwed up Army private to download hundreds of thousands of state secrets onto a cd and walk out the door with them. What I question is the intent of Assange and his supporters.
His monied supporters include British film-maker Ken Loach, the socialite Jemima Khan, the journalist and filmmaker John Pilger; Patricia David, a professor, and well known lawyer Geoffrey Sheen. They help Assange financially. Wikileaks' workabees are a melange of misfits and iconoclasts who appear to be riven with dissension. In any case, one hears the terms "freedom of information," "transparency" and "human rights," amongst others from these supporters as reasons to defend and promote Wikileaks.
Taking the examples cited above, one has to ask how revelation to the world of confidential and truthful embassy reporting on corruption in Ecuador, Kenya and Mexico, leading to the withdrawal of two U.S. ambassadors and marginalization of another, has anything to do with human rights or the legitimate right to information. Will Loach, Pilger, Khan, David and Sheen please open their business files and publish every correspondence, every private financial document, every personal note, letter and email to the world? To put their morals where their mouths are, I call on them to do this. Why shouldn't every citizen of the world not know about lawyer Sheen's clients' secrets? How about Prof. David's personnel evaluations? And socialite Khan's documented personal views on others in her circles? Pilger absolutely must post on the internet for all to see his journalistic sources and what they've told him in confidence. What deals is filmmaker Loach negotiating behind closed doors and how much is he willing to pay one actor over another? Come out with it! The world deserves to know. Place a webcam over your shoulders, put all of your correspondence on Google docs. Let's not be hypocrites, after all.
My take is that Assange's supporters mainly comprise the naive, the stupid and those who are driven by malice. What's being revealed is not today's equivalent of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, but plain, hard truths about other governments conveyed to U.S. leaders by their official envoys. Like it or not, truth often requires discretion and, yes, secrecy. Without it, we might as well shut down our national security establishment and return to a nomad hunter-gatherer society.
Assange has created an out-of-control monster called Wikileaks whose victims keep piling up. His supporters are fawning Igors who leer and cheer him on. Mary Shelley would write a book about them at the drop of a quill pen.