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Opinion The truth hurts: Wikileaks stains Clinton reputation

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denounced Wikileaks saying that it is an attack on both the United States and the entire international community. She states that those released documents “tear at the fabric” of the proper function of government.

Interestingly enough, earlier this year she said that internet freedom was the new human right of the 21st century and that America stands for “a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.”

 Those are some contrasting opinions coming from the same person. Wedged between those stated positions was a Wikileak that portrayed Clinton as anything but the defender of transparency in government and guardian of the rule of law.

A revealed classified cable, reported by Wikileaks, detailed how Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on United Nations diplomats including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as well as UN Security Council ambassadors. Information included credit card and frequent-flyer account numbers, personal passwords and encryption keys as well as biometric data such as DNA, fingerprints and iris scans. Sounds like some serious identity theft to say nothing of violating the UN Charter clause that states, “The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial, or legislative action.”

Never mind about Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Hypocritical Hillary has a bead on this “stealing of secrets” game. Let’s see if I have it straight: It’s commendable to commit a crime but condemnable to report it? After all, such hijacked personal information couldn’t possibly be used for nefarious purposes, could it?

“Trust me, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you” is a long-standing sarcastic cliché that has been considered a truism by most Americans. We may generally support the government but not without certain reservations. Remember, the whole thing about power and absolute power corrupting? Now there seems to be a paradigm shift in which the expansion of state secrets and deception in the name of security gets a free pass.

Free speech is like alternating current — it flows in both directions. The right to say something has very little value if an equal right to hear that information doesn't exist. Wikileaks is hardly the first entity that has butted up against a White House hell-bent on silencing it.

In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times in its publishing of the “Pentagon Papers,” despite the objections of the Nixon administration that claimed the release of the documents would cause “Irreparable injury to the defense interests of the United States.”

Justice Hugo Black had a different take on the matter stating in his written opinion on the case: “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

The legitimacy of a government is based on the “consent of the governed.” It is quite a brain twister to figure how consent works when the governed are kept out of the loop. Could it be that Ms. Clinton and other advocates of censorship are the ones unraveling the fabric that makes for the proper function of government?


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