BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
WikiLeaks! Julian Assange! Traitor! Terrorist! are the latest chants of joy as our religious right and sanctimonious conservatives proceed to the Christian day of “Peace on Earth and good will towards men.”
So what if Assange’s WikiLeaks dumped 250,000 State Department internal memos for global viewing? So what!
By the way, Assange is not a traitor – he is not a U.S. citizen. No matter how fun the name calling, it’s just not factually true. But when did truth come to play with the holier than thou element of today’s conservatism?
The question American’s must ask, “Just what are we seeing?” Thus far most released documents amount to clothesline gossip by people dedicated to being a corps unto themselves, answerable to no one.
What we’re seeing is how governments actually operate; in secret with a great amount of deception toward the people who hire them.
There are sinister elements to the Wikileaks release. These elements reside not in the documents, but in the government and political reaction to the release.
It is sinister indeed when media pundits and political figures openly call for the killing of a single person, for no other reason than that they have been offended, not harmed … offended.
One of the more shameful of these is Fox News pundit Bob Beckel who made a public call for the killing of Assange. How brave Beckel must be, safe behind a camera, large check in his pocket acting like a Mullah offended by a cartoon.
He is not alone, a litany of conservative and tea bag elements who, while wrapping themselves in their beloved Constitution, have completely disregarded the First Amendment. They have/ are calling for Assange to suffer physical harm and imprisonment for doing exactly what the first amendment was meant to protect.
It is strange that a government, whose policy is to allow women and children to be groped, fondled and probed in public for merely wanting to get on an airplane would now be offended when their own knickers are pulled down in public. This same government would make anyone a criminal and deny right to air should they complain too loudly as TSA commits their personal intrusions.
Would the Constitution’s framers have thought it reasonable to threaten students and members of the armed forces with job discrimination and discipline for reading government documents? How long before cadres in tri-corn hats adorned with tea bags assault libraries cleansing the shelves of books Americans shouldn’t be allowed to read because of national security threats to our Constitution and the First Amendment?
This lends itself to the conservative belief that, while professing a deep love of the constitution and its democracy, they don’t want the voting public too informed. An informed electorate is bad for the conservative agenda.
This is not the first time the American people have been treated as idiots, unable to make their own decisions. One need only look to the days of Henry Kissinger and his geopolitical agenda, which did not include an informed electorate.
Look back to the steamy days of 1969 when the U.S., by Kissinger’s design, began the “secret” bombing of Cambodia.
Cambodia: In his diary in March 1969, Nixon’s chief of staff, HR Haldemann, noted that the final decision to carpet bomb Cambodia ‘was made at a meeting in the Oval Office Sunday afternoon, after the church service’.
In his diary on March 17, 1969, Haldemann wrote:
Historic day. K[issinger]’s “Operation Breakfast” finally came off at 2:00 PM our time. K really excited, as is P[resident].
And the next day:
K’s “Operation Breakfast” a great success. He came beaming in with the report, very productive. A lot more secondaries than had been expected. Confirmed early intelligence. Probably no reaction for a few days, if ever.
Kissinger’s plan was to keep the bombing “secret” from the American people. One can only imagine groups of Cambodian officials and villagers standing about looking at craters made by thousands of pounds of bombs falling from a B-52 filled sky and wondering aloud – “Who was that?” Perhaps they thought Luxemburg had, for its own reasons, purchased a fleet of bombers to wreak havoc on the country and then fly back to Europe with a chuckle and a grin.
Imagine a diplomatic cocktail party where career diplomats pondered and wondered, “Anyone know who’s bombing Cambodia?”
No, the secret was not from the people being bombed or even the rest of the world – they knew. The secret was from the American people. Kissinger did not trust the American people and convinced President Richard Nixon they should not be trusted.
Any time a government does not trust its people? Something is seriously wrong. Wikileaks has shown that the government does not trust the American people.
What is it we were/are not supposed to know: The government of Afghanistan is corrupt? That’s a shock. The Vatican didn’t want to air its dirty laundry in public? How dare, again shocked? North Korean made arms deals with Iran, neither of which likes us very much? It just never ends.
Consider: Most career diplomats know or have heard of their counterparts – they attend the same parties, their kids go to the same schools, they drink at the same pubs and maybe even share the same mistresses and cabana boys. They are, for the most part, professionals. They darn sure better know what the other guy is thinking, or they’re not much use to their governments.
The diplomatic corps is a world unto itself. This was explained very well by Craig Murray in his book A Murder in Samarkand of which the BBC produced a radio drama regarding his stint as the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
None of the internal thoughts in the memos should come as a surprise. Maybe a raised eyebrow might be seen, but surprise, no.
Even as the obvious becomes obvious American politicians, such as newly elected tea bag friendly Florida Congressman Allen West, were calling for press censorship. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/14/allen-west-censoring-wikileaks-_n_796574.html
What Wikileaks has shown is simple: American politicians can, for their own political reasons, sink to the level of the Mullahs of Iran, the government of North Korea or the most ardent Taliban or al Qaeda religious zealot. They are willing to subvert the constitution, calling for the killing of people they find offensive and censor the press in order the keep the public uninformed for their own political ends, which have nothing to do with preserving democracy.
These people who would sacrifice the constitution, its first amendment and populous democracy, fit nicely into the Scottish play Act 5 Scene 5:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Wikileaks has become instructive, and it’s a cold lesson.
– Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer, providing both essay and video commentary [see Observer home page]. His latest book, Martian Llama Racing Explained, is available at http://www.richardfricker.com.