The Final Word on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, the 1st Amendment, and Journalism
By: Jim Byrd
Ever since Julian Assange consummated his pathological compulsion for recognition and notoriety by releasing stolen classified documents via WikiLeaks, and his subsequent arrest, journalists have mobilized en masse to defend Assange and his conduit to pandemonium and criminality, WikiLeaks. Statistically speaking, the modes, or the four most prevalent of the various defenses used to defend Assange and WikiLeaks, are as follows:
1.) Journalists have been wielding the same Thomas Jefferson quote regarding defense of a free press in a benighted and deceptive manner.
2.) The much overused clichÃ© that is the automatic response of journalists, regardless of circumstances or transgressions, is the proclamation that Assange enjoys wholesale protection under the 1st Amendment because he labels himself as a journalist, and the retrograded assertion that journalists are immune from crimes committed while pursuing a headline.
3.) The irrelevant and misconstrued use of the Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. United States (The Pentagon Papers), as legal precedent that Assange possessed, as a journalist, carte blanche rights to disseminate classified cables stolen from the State Department.
4.) And finally, the much perpetuated bohemian and jejune idea by journalists and the Left that a free society’s government should not have any secrets, and we would all be better off if all activities of the government were readily available for citizens to peruse.
These four defenses of Assange and WikiLeaks have produced, after intense cogitation, contemplation, and analysis, not one shred of a credible defense for his transgressions against the United States and the other nations involved in the dispersing of stolen classified documents.
In addressing the Jefferson quote, one of the more consistent and perennially anti-American digital tabloid authors, of www.atlargley.com, started her apologetic essay defending Julian Assange with the currently overused Jefferson quote in an article entitled “Freedom of the Press? Really?” with the quote highlighted in yellow for some peculiar reason, as testament that Jefferson would readily endorse Julian Assange’s treason against the United States:
“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it”.–Thomas Jefferson, 1786
Note the date of the quote:1786. What the proprietor of this digital scandal sheet, Larisa AlexandrovnaÂ (not her real name, but a pen name due to her phantasm that she has been targeted by Vladimir Putin for criticizing him, and it protects her family who still lives in Ukraine), formally of Ukraine, has done is use a selective quote by Jefferson to make her point, and since she and other journalists ignore Jefferson’s rapidly evolved disdain for a free press and journalists, she and other journalists who start their pieces with this quote have negated their arguments by starting with a calculated misrepresentation.
Read her articles; she is a propaganda ideologist whose ideas are more important than the truth. Read the New York Times, a yellow press propaganda machine with a strong adversity to the truth if it contradicts their agenda. The press and journalists are marionettes twitching, writhing, and animating at the behest of their ideologies, which are pulling the strings. The Thomas Jefferson quote must be put in perspective for validation; it must be preceded by a quote three years earlier: “Printing presses shall be subject to no other restraint than liableness to legal prosecution for false facts printed and published.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1783. To understand what he means, and the history of this quote, read the answer found here.
Once loosened from their prior censorship confines, newspapers and journalists advanced down an accelerated evolutionary path to a disreputable and unprincipled lot, as did Jefferson’s accelerated disgust of journalists and the press:
“Our newspapers, for the most part, present only the caricatures of disaffected minds. Indeed, the abuses of the freedom of the press here have been carried to a length never before known or borne by any civilized nation.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1803
“From forty years’ experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice.”–Thomas Jefferson, 1816
And for good measure, three more quotes by Jefferson regarding the mercenary and contemptible state of journalism and the press:
“Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”–Thomas Jefferson
“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it”. –Thomas Jefferson
“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” –Thomas Jefferson 1807
The journalism and the press we currently enjoy has had 200 years to continue its evolutionary degradation since the founding era to achieve its current level of disgust and malignancy. Following the quote about Jefferson, the article had nowhere to go but to rapidly degrade into hero worship for traitor Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of stealing the classified cables that Assange dispersed, something about Ann Coulter being a plagiarist, how every journalist should stand by WikiLeaks, and something or other about valuing the truth [sic]. It would be highly advisable for journalists to avoid Jefferson for support of their ideological debris in lieu of the truth.
Journalists have spent large sums of effort to convince themselves and the American public that the laws that apply to non-journalists do not apply to journalists.
The 1st Amendment does not offer journalists blanket protection from prosecution for committing crimes while in pursuit of headlines. Journalists are just like you and me, except they lie more, skirt the law, have a pathological crusade to control politics, are generally corrupt, and believe that their ideologies will always take precedence over the truth.
The Supreme Court has always ruled that not all speech is protected by the 1st Amendment; for example, “at risk speech,” “clear and present danger,” “fighting words” that promote violence, defamation, libel, sedition, incitement to cause a crime, and words or actions that would compromise national security, and various variations are not protected by the 1st Amendment. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have violated almost every exclusion to 1st Amendment protection.
The United States has a very long history of punishing a wayward press and the passing of State secrets to the enemy. In 1608, Captain George Kendall of Jamestown was executed by firing squad for committing journalism for Spain. Kendall–and it is highly doubtful he was guilty–did basically what Assange did by passing along secrets to enemies of the state.
Thomas Jefferson, Edward Rutledge, John Adams, James Wilson, and Robert Livingston were appointed by the Continental Congress “to consider what is proper to be done with persons giving intelligence to the enemy or supplying them with provisions.” Washington wanted a more severe punishment for doing exactly what Assange did, and in 1775, they added the death penalty for espionage to the Articles of War, at George Washington’s insistence. If Assange had committed in 1775 what he did in 2010, he would have been summarily executed by the very people who made it possible to create the Constitution and its 1st Amendment.
Abraham Lincoln, the revered emancipator of the slaves, always listed as one of the top five U.S. presidents, shut down any newspaper that he believed to be unpatriotic and sympathetic to the North, and for good measure, arrested and incarcerated the editors and publishers of said newspapers. How would Julian Assange have fared by releasing the Union’s classified secrets to the world during Lincoln’s tenure? How would the New York Times have fared under Lincoln’s tenure during the Civil War?
Julian Assange accepted stolen classified information, owned by the United States government, then published it on the internet. This classifies as journalism? Why were Ethel Rosenberg and Julius Rosenberg not protected by the 1st Amendment? If Assange is a journalist, then so were the Rosenbergs. If Assange had valid, truthful information acquired through proper channels, and the legal right of possession, he would be protected by the 1st Amendment.
The fraudulent use of the Pentagon Papers by the Left, as they did with the Jefferson quote, is most probably due to unsatisfactory intellect, as authors omit key elements that would support their detractors rather than their own arguments.
Daniel Ellsberg was the man responsible for the Pentagon Papers. He served in Vietnam, worked for RAND, was a military analyst, and worked at the Pentagon. While working at RAND, he was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to work on a top-secret study of the Vietnam War. The resulting document was called United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967. These documents later became known as the Pentagon Papers.
Ellsberg began to be pulled towards the anti-war Left of this country, and became enamored with one Randy Kehler, a draft dodger. After soliciting the assistance of another RAND employee, Anthony Russo, Ellsberg, and Edward Kennedy’s staff began copying the classified documents.
Floyd Abrams, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has surmised the difference between the WikiLeaks case and the Pentagon Papers:
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg decided to make available to the New York Times (and then to other newspapers) 43 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, the top- secret study prepared for the Department of Defense examining how and why the United States had become embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. But he made another critical decision as well. That was to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.
Not at all coincidentally, those were the volumes that the government most feared would be disclosed. In a secret brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. government described the diplomatic volumes as including information about negotiations secretly conducted on its behalf by foreign nations including Canada, Poland, Italy and Norway. Included as well, according to the government, were “derogatory comments about the perfidiousness of specific persons involved, and statements which might be offensive to nations or governments.”
The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret, according to Sanford Ungar’s 1972 book “The Papers & The Papers,” by saying, “I didn’t want to get in the way of the diplomacy.”
Julian Assange’s entire intent was to disrupt diplomacy, embarrassing the United States and all nations involved in ongoing diplomacy. Julian Assange has displayed an unrepentant and caviler attitude regarding any collateral damage to ongoing peace processes or human life; he did this in a seemingly pathological quest for notoriety. Ellsberg understood the paramount importance of secrecy involved in diplomatic negotiations. Julian Assange would have released the entirety of the Pentagon Papers, so would his supporters, even if by proxy.
Does the public have the right to know the entirety of governmental endeavors while conducting foreign affairs? Should the United States government be prohibited from keeping State secrets regarding sensitive negotiations with other countries? The Leftists, progressives, the majority of journalists, and press believe this to be a sound operating system for our government. But, in their standard hypocritical credo, this is not how the Leftist journalists and the press conduct their own affairs. The public does not have the right to know the highly sensitive negotiations between nations regarding diplomacy, national defense, and unorthodox yet necessary compromises to attempt to promote stability in this world, prevent wars, and manage trade. Make no mistake, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks would release the exact location of America’s nuclear weapons, all military submarine locations, the names, ranks, and military histories of every special ops team in the military, and the names and personal addresses of the entire CIA, FBI, NSA, etc, if he possessed that information. Journalists around the world would applaud his valiant accomplishment, and rush to his defense.
In an effort encompassed in predictable irony, Assange’s lawyer has lodged a formal complaint against The Guardian for releasing the squalid and private details of Assange’s alleged sexual assault on two women in Sweden. This same newspaper was instrumental in constructing Julian Assange as the paladin of truth for releasing the classified documents stolen from the United States government. In manifesting the irony of the The Guardian vis a vis the stolen classified documents Assange released, Assange’s lawyer articulated his umbrage at the release of Assange’s “classified information”:
I do not like the idea that Julian may be forced into a trial in the media. And I feel especially concerned that he will be presented with the evidence in his own language for the first time when reading the newspaper. I do not know who has given these documents to the media, but the purpose can only be one thing, trying to make Julian look bad. It is with great concern that I hear about this because it puts Julian and his defense in a bad position.
The New York Times, a conduit for anti-American propaganda and State secrets, withheld information about New York Times reporter David Rohde, and his being kidnapped in Afghanistan; The New York Times then beseeched all media to not make public any information regarding the kidnapping of David Rohde, for fear of his safety. The Times had the opportunity to run dramatic headlines, such as New York Times Reporter David Rohde Kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, yet they refrained for fear of his safety. But when it comes to the safety of the United States military, CIA, and various clandestine informants, it is journalism, and must be printed.
And as far as Larisa Alexandrovna, and her bizarre guise to avoid using her real name, if her current state of relevance was increased 100 times, in the grand scheme of things, she would still be irrelevant. But since she supports Julian Assange and his total disregard for human life, and the shards of peace the world grasps, perhaps she could be consistent with WikiLeaks, and make available to the world her real name and the name and addresses of all her relatives in Ukraine.
Is Julian Assange’s fate sealed if he is extradited to the United States? As preposterous as it may seem, the United States may be his only safe haven in this world; statistically speaking, the law of probability dictates that he will receive the same punishment as Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo for releasing the Pentagon Papers: none. Because of an incomprehensibly incompetent and corrupt federal prosecutorial effort, Judge William Byrne dismissed all charges against Ellsberg and Russo. As with Ellsberg and Russo, Assange’s fate will lie in the hands of one Eric Holder, who has demonstrated that he has that rare capability of consistently applying world-class incompetence to major prosecutions. Holder, with the support of Barack Obama, thought it best to try Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the terrorist who helped detonate bombs at two U.S. Embassies in East Africa that killed 224 people, in a civilian criminal court. Working with a 280-count indictment, and with conventional wisdom dictating that a worst-case scenario for a first year law school graduate would be to convict on less than 50% of the indictments, it is telling that Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted of 279 of the 280 counts. He was convicted of only one count: conspiracy to destroy U.S. property with explosives. This, in relation to the severity of his crimes and the plethora of indictments, is the equivalent of being convicted for jaywalking.
Summation: Thomas Jefferson despised the reprehensible and loathsome evolution of journalism and the press in just a few short years; Julian Assange does not have 1st Amendment protection for dispersing stolen State secrets; journalists and the press cannot break the law chasing a headline; the Pentagon Papers have no relevance to the actions of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks; and the accessibility of governmental secrets does not make for a safer and better government.
Jim Byrd's website is A Skewed View.