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How Should the Public Find Out?

February 28, 2011 – All the talking heads to whom I normally look for information and inspiration are just kind of blathering away these days. The news on the climate change front is uniformly bad and getting worse; the news from the peak oil sector is nothing if not redundant. Everybody’s waiting for a shoe to drop, and until it does, there’s just not a whole lot to say. The major news right now – governments in the Middle East toppling, workers in the US finding their collective voice – is only tangentially the stuff that usually occupies me. I’d intended to bring my copy of The Joy of Cooking with me, so I could tell you why I think ALL transitioners need to make it their business to own a copy. That will need to wait until next week, however.
All the aforesaid being the case, I’m going to wander a little bit from my established path and talk about Julian Assange today. He’s been set up, and that deserves talking about. Our government seems never to take its eyes from the path of misguided self-preservation/promotion, accompanied by lies told in the interest of protecting the world’s oldest former democracy. Assange had to have known the U.S. would be gunning for him. He may not have known exactly how big - or how far-reaching - American guns are.
More about Assange in a minute. Last week I was listening to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interview Glenn Greenbaum about Wikileaks accomplice Bradley Manning. In order for Wikileaks to obtain the plethora of information they have made public, they need well-placed stool pigeons, like Bradley. Manning was presumably aware that by feeding classified information to Wikileaks, he was placing himself in the line of fire. He did a brave thing. (To what extent he was exploited by Assange isn’t known.) He’s being housed on the government’s nickel in solitary confinement, which I suspect is pretty standard for anyone accused of treason. Nine months, however, is too long, and Greenbaum’s contention that the plaintiff is attempting to break Manning through inhumane treatment is probably right on the mark. Justice delayed will always be justice denied. Just ask Jose Padilla.
As for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, he apparently attended a conference at which not one, but two, young ladies found him so alluring they invited him to their rooms (not simultaneously). Assange’s guard was inexplicably – though at the same time, understandably - down, and he accepted both invitations, both of which (go figure) apparently culminated in a) consensual sex, or b) non-consensual sex, depending upon whom you believe. That two young women would find Assange so irresistible is believable only to someone who has never seen a picture of Assange. Senator Scott Brown he ain’t. That an individual so unaccustomed to feminine wiles could be lured into such an obvious trap was a no-brainer for our intelligence types. They offered the bait, and he bit. So now the disgustingly compliant Swedish government has extradited him to stand trial for rape. All of which is intended to put Wikileaks out of business.
Assange and Manning are both brave and naïve, neither of which is a crime. They both wanted us to know that our government does things we don’t want it to do, in our name. That’s news, plain but not so simple. It’s not Assange’s government; he’s Australian. An Australian who recognizes news when he sees it. Manning is a citizen who rightly believes that government of, by and for the people should be transparent enough that the people can know what’s being done in their name. He stands accused of treason, though the breach of security seems not to have endangered anyone other than Manning himself. Their ends were laudable, and their means (they announced their intention to publish prior to publication) above board. Now they’ve got the fight on their hands they thought they wanted.

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