The Interpol-ation of Julian Assange, the most widely-known of the Wikileaks founders, is a thoroughgoing exercise in logical fallacies and predatory smoke-screening.
First, the fallacies...
Straw man: The sex was consensual, though it may have gotten out of hand in one case. Charges weren't brought until the two girlfriends found out about each other. They backed and forthed about whether they wanted to press charges or not. (Whether large men in dark suits paid them furtive visits is open to debate.)
Selective memory: Sweden has a shamefully high rate of unexamined, unpursued, unprosecuted cases of true rape -- that is, forced sex, nonconsensual sex, sex with minors. Why pursue this sexual "irregularity" over condom use and infidelity?
Entrapment: Why give him direct permission to leave the country, at his explicit request, then send the Rottweilers after him?
These charges are not designed to bring someone down. They're designed to tie him up. How else were they going to keep tabs on someone who can afford to dress like that without having a fixed address?
The real harm was not done by Assange. That imputes too much leverage to a self-infatuated ho with mad hash skillz.
The U.S. was hoist by its own sloppy petard. The State Department and the Military decided to share records, without sharing precautions. Let's look at that, shall we?
The U.S. State Department, whose core purpose is the pursuit and use of social and political information, has an educational requirement involving alphabet soup behind your name; a staggering array of tests; and a final examination for *entry-level positions* that takes days to complete. The computers are subject to high levels of security, including an inability to even accept removable media.
The U.S. Military has three things it wants to know: What's your name? Got a pulse? All your parts attached? And some people scrape by on the third try.
The military develops some of the fiercest computer security in the world, but guess what? Removable media! Oh, and all that State Department data ... accessible by anybody with technical skills. Guess what the Army and Air Force specifically teach? Technical skills, maybe?
So here's the setup:
Tons, masses, heaps of socio-political data ...
- collected on the basis of strict secrecy
- sometimes at terrible personal risk
- on people and issues who remain viable and valuable;
Gets passed by the State Dept. ...
- from graduate-prepared, carefully-selected, highly-socialized personnel
- in an environment with lojack and hijack protections in place
- with no meaningful guarantees of its continued protection;
To the U.S. Military,
- an organization with minimal entry requirements
- and a post-adolescent social environment
- staffed by technically competent personnel.
Doesn't that seem kind of silly to you? I realize most of us are not masters-prepared, much less possessed of a law degree, but pure common sense would make that unthinkable. Wouldn't it?
Now, as for the leaky boy ...
While being accused of being gay is a common put-down these days, in the U.S. Military this accusation could lead to someone losing his job, his housing situation, his social network, and his entire career path. Feel powerless, much?
They're isolating, freezing, and tormenting an idiot kid over the staggering, monumental idiocy of the Military implementation of secrecy AND the State Department's lack of due diligence.
They're hunting down and marginalizing a tired, aging hack who misjudged the value of his own charms, over his willingness to advertise that kind of collective stupidity.
There were a whole lot of much brighter, much better-educated, far better-informed people who fucked up on a simply staggering scale before Assange or that kid ever got into this.
Where are the courts martial? Where are the heads that should be rolling out the state dept. doors and down the steps -- bouncing on the way?
The real damage, sadly, is to the wider world. The US has lost credibitlity and leverage on the world stage to a degree unmatched by anything since the initial invasion of Iraq. That, folks, is the real tragedy: we have demonstrated that we are poisonous even to our most important friends.
How many more will die for _this_ mistake, eh?