Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wiki, Wiki, Wiki, Who's Got The Wiki, And Why President Obama Should Be A One Term President, but Probably Won't 3

Rape. Wow, that's a pretty serious change. One that I find particularly onerous. Many do.
Julian Assange has been accused of one count of rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion, allegedly committed in August of 2010.
These charges stem from the accusations of two women, a Jessica and a Sarah, and apparently have to deal with the use of, or non-use, or use of a broken prophylactic, and it seems that the laws Mr. Assange are said to have violated are peculiar to Sweden, technically labeled "rape," charges but no allegations of the use of violence of force have been leveled at him, allegations that one would associate with the charge of rape in the United States.
It is known that the two women knew each other and counseled each other before taking the matter to the Swedish police. At first Assange was wanted for questioning by the police in Stockholm and looked for. The story then leaked to the press which was when the world first heard of it, the emphasis of the story being focused on the word "rape." A Chief prosecutor reviewed the charges against him and dismissed the case believing that what had occurred were no more than minor offenses.
Then Sarah went public speaking to a newspaper, saying, "In both cases, the sex had been consensual from the start but had eventually turned to abuse."
Would she had done this if the man in question was not the now famous media activist, Julian Assange? It would seem to be unlikely. Victims of rape generally do not seek publicity.
The two ladies then hired a "specialist" lawyer, and As a result, in September the case was reopened by the Swedish authorities, and Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest for "sex crimes."
Assange, in England, eventually turned himself in, was jailed, was released on $370,000 bail and placed on "house arrest," in a 650 acre estate near London.
Assange has denied the charges of sexual assault, maintaining he is the victim of a smear campaign led by the United States, which is considering his criminal prosecution for espionage. He states he will fight extradition to Sweden.
If he's not guilty why does he fight extradition? Well he gives a fairly compelling reason. The Swedish authorities only wish to question him and have not actually filed any specific charges. Why, he asks, should he be forced to go to Sweden just because some police investigator wants to question him? If they have any real evidence let them file charges.
Considering that the allegations against him are based solely on the testimony of the two women sans any physical evidence that is usually available in cases of rape, I think I can see his point.
As I write this (Friday afternoon) I'm watching an impassioned Michelle Bernard (a political and legal analyst for MSNBC, and President and CEO of the conservative Independent Women's Forum and Independent Women's Voice), make an impassioned plea on The Dylan Ratigan Show for filmmaker Michael Moore to reconsider revoking his support for Mr. Assange (Moore had donated money towards Assange's bail and legal expenses) siting the seriousness of the crimes involved, suggesting the Mr. Moore maybe "just wasn't thinking right" when he offered assistance. I suggest to Ms. Bernard that she remember the that in this country at least, the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and Mr. Assange's guilt in the above matter has hardly been proven.
Listen: All of the above serves as a distraction. If Mr. Assange is indeed guilty of sexual misconduct, even if no other country in the world has laws quite like the ones he's been accused of violating, then he should be prosecuted to the greatest extent of that law. If he's not guilty of anything, or if the matter of guilt and non-guilt will never be known due to the nature of the crime he's accused of, and the "victims" were not overtly harmed, then he should be acquitted of these charges. In any case this matter has nothing at all to do with Wikileaks, and the work that this organization has done in the past and will continue to do in the future, for as Julian Assange has stated, even if he's locked up Wikileaks will still function, and still publish information.
Fortunately for the sake of "national security" the CIA has just launched its own task force assigned to access the damage or impact of the latest Wikileaks document dump. It's offical name is the WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF, for short. Yes, really... WTF. lol!
Since the documents were released last November, and since this business in Sweden has surfaced, some financial institutions in the United States that have processed payments to Wikileaks in the form of donations have stated they will stop doing so apparently due to pressure placed upon them by the U.S. government who of course would like nothing better than to shut Wikileaks down. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and then Bank of America. They say they have suspended payments to Wikileaks pending an investigation of the organization's business... whatever that means.
In a stunning display of solidarity, thousands of global computer hackers calling themselves "Anonymous," and "Operation Payback," launched coordinated attacks against the websites of these institutions effectively shutting them down. In response networking sites like Facebook and Twitter shut down the communication lines between these hackers, risking retaliation themselves. If nothing else these attacks and subsequent shutdowns demonstrated the vulnerability of these sites, and brought attention to the plight of Wikileaks, perhaps sympathetic attention, perhaps not.
What I find particularly disturbing about the recent events involving Wikileaks and Mr.Assange, is the negative attention paid to him as some sort of traitor (even though he is not an American and therefore cannot be considered a traitor), or terrorist, with some influential Americans calling outright for some outrageous remedies of retribution...
"Some critics," Assange told MSNBC's Cenk Uygur while under house arrest, have "called for my assassination. If we are to have a civil society, you cannot have senior people making calls on national TV to go around the judiciary and murder people. That is an incitement to commit murder." Is the legal tradition of due process "just thrown to the wind whenever some shock jock can use it to make a name?"
He's quite right of course. Calling for one's assassination over a public forum most likely is a violation of law itself, although one that is rarely prosecuted, except when threats are made to the President and senior members of the government. But considering the Obama administration has sanctioned the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric based in Yemen accused of terrorist acts and recruiting for Al Qaeda, and an American citizen, well, I suppose the rule of law is not as important now as it once may have been.
Despite campaign promises to the contrary the tendency toward maintaining secrecy in the present administration is more than a little troubling. When officials first refused to release a Secret Service list of the names of White House visitors last year, warning signals went up in my mind. The White House argued that it sometimes needs to hold secret meetings on sensitive issues, but a federal judge had already dismissed that argument in two Bush administration cases.
The response to the last document dump by Wikileaks has concentrated on efforts to possibly prosecute Mr. Assange for violations of The Espionage Act of 1917, although legal scholars have stated the Justice Department would have a difficult time doing so as Assange more than likely had nothing to do with the actual procurement of the documents themselves.
Establishing new rules for prosecuting individuals or entities for publishing information related to government malfeasance may have a dampening effect on organizations historically charged with that very task, such as the print media, investigative reporters, and any other form of legitimate news (one could even possibly include bloggers). The Washington Post's reporting of the Watergate burglary and subsequent cover up could be considered to be against the national interest, and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and senior Post management held accountable and possibly prosecuted.
That would be a slippery and dangerous precedent indeed.
Leaking of a cable, let's say, describing efforts of the Obama administration and senior Republican leadership to stop the prosecution of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon's former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel, for "creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture." by Spain's National Court, could be prosecutable if current laws are tampered with, or changed in favor of maintaining government secrecy in the so called interests of national security.
And we may never have found out about this as it happened in the first months of the new Obama presidency as detailed in a cable leaked by Wikileaks. Obama had campaigned that no one was above the law. No one. And if it came to light that the former president and his staff had indeed broken the law then he would support their prosecution.
However after he was elected he distanced himself from that position on a continuous basis, turning these matters over to Eric Holder and the Justice Department, stating that it was a time to "look forward," rather than dwell on the mistakes of the past. A laughable argument anyone fresh out of law school could counter, as any crime that has ever been prosecuted has by necessity taken place in the past.
But this cable demonstrates Obama's unwillingness from the very beginning of his presidency to investigate and prosecute the obvious war crimes of President Bush and his senior staff. In this he outright lied to the American people, and in doing so, in failing to fulfill his duty he may in fact be breaking the law himself, and that is why I say President Obama should be a one term president, despite the good that his election has done for the country, despite the lame duck successes of last week.
He caved on the Bush tax cuts, creating further debt for future generations, we find ourselves with watered down financial and health reform that happens to be a boon for big business. His economic policies are the exact opposite of what the country needs to pull itself out of the doldrums. We have domestic spying on a large part of the country's population. An attempt to create a special new legal system to indefinitely detain people by Executive Order. We have what seems unending military actions around the world, etc. Despite all of that I would still support Barack Obama in the election of 2012.
But not now.
The Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners, a group advocating for human rights, had contended that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under the nation's "universal jurisdiction" law, which permits its legal system to prosecute overseas human rights crimes involving Spanish citizens and residents. Five Guantanamo detainees, the group maintained, fit that criteria. Chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza indicated he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he'd pursue it.
But Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), with the blessings of the Obama administration, intervened and according to the leaked cable "underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the US and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship between Spain and the United States," jointly applying pressure on Spain to kill the investigation of the former Bush officials. The investigation soon came under question by Spanish officials and eventually died out.
No, I would not support a second term for Barack Obama after he misrepresented himself to the American people in such an important point of law and justice. Too many innocent people died due to the illegal actions of the Bush presidency. It cannot and should not be excused or forgotten.
I'd vote for Russ Fiengold or David Kucinich, or Howard Dean, if I felt they had a tinker's chance in Hell of winning against a charismatic figure of the likes of Sarah Palin, even though she's dumber than a freaking rock... literally. Due to the overall lack of an informed electorate, and the rise of the Tea Baggers, someone like her could very well take the White House in 2012 (Hey, Bush got into office twice).
And unfortunately this country isn't ready for a true progressive agenda, an agenda that at least Fiengold and Kucinich would bring to the Oval Office. No, this country likes to wallow in it's misery.
So I'll vote for Obama the next time around.
But I know I'll not find any change I can believe in.

1 comment:

  1. Forget Assange and his $1,500,000 corporate book deal (some rebel, what a sell-out), instead read a book that’s really been BANNED like “America Deceived II” by E.A. Blayre III.
    Last link (before Google Books bans it also]: