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The Real WikiLeaks Villian Is Not Julian Assange

December 9th, 2010 - 11:05 am

The Berkeley City Council plays a handy role in contemporary American politics: If you want to know what your opinion should be regarding any particular event, note carefully what the Berkeley City Council has voted on that week, and whatever they’re for, that’s what you should be against. In this instance, Berkeley is voting to give Bradley Manning — the traitorous ex-soldier who was the original source of all the “Wikileaks” documents — an award for heroism.

Berkeley’s sickening municipal resolution has received a smattering of media coverage here and there, but it hasn’t aroused the national outrage it deserves, for the simple reason that most Americans still don’t know who Bradley Manning even is. Bradley who? Shouldn’t Berkeley be giving an award to Julian Assange, just as so many other leftists have lavished praise on Wikileaks’ Australian-born head honcho?

Well, no. Say what you want about Berkeley, but they got it right this time, in their own sick way: If you’re going to praise the America-hating traitor responsible for this incident, your award should go to Manning, who actually leaked the secret government files, rather than Assange, who merely put them on his Web site.

The very fact that this incident is usually dubbed “the Wikileaks case” by the media is absurd; it’s not about Wikileaks. It should be called “The Manning Incident” or “The Manning Files.”

Julian Assange is a bit player in this case. His crime, if any, is minor. I can’t fathom why there has been so much media attention focused on him as opposed to Manning, who after all is the one who stole the secret documents.

The focus should be on the leaker, not the leakee. When the Rosenbergs “leaked” nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, did we put Stalin on trial for treason? Of course not. He was simply the recipient of the leak. Even though Stalin benefited from the treachery, it was neither his fault, nor was he under U.S. jurisdiction, so he could not be (nor should he have been) prosecuted. Instead, the law and the nation’s attention were correctly directed at the people who actually did commit treason and who were under United States jurisdiction: the Rosenbergs.

Antiquated Espionage Laws Inadequate to Handle Stateless Anti-American Sentiment

Just as our honor-based rules of war are not equipped to handle our interactions with stateless amoral opponents in an age of terrorism, so too are our laws against treason and espionage not equipped to deal with stateless opposition in the Internet era.

Despite the much-mocked phrase “war on terror,” we’ve never officially declared war on anyone since 9/11, because you can’t declare war on an individual, an ideology or a tactic. And now it’s becoming clear that it may be difficult to prosecute someone like Bradley Manning as a traitor or a spy because there is no foreign government to which he has betrayed his nation.

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