US Military Classifies Wikileaks As 'Enemy Of The United States'
from the uh...-what? dept
Back when Wikileaks first released some State Department cables, creating quite the uproar among government officials, the Treasury Department was clear that it would not declare Wikileaks a terrorist organization or list Julian Assange as a "Specially Designated National" on the list, because it did not meet the proper criteria. However, a document from the Air Force, released under a Freedom of Information Act request, has revealed that Assange and Wikileaks have been declared "enemies of the US" in a specific investigation into a cyber systems analyst who dared to "express support for Wikileaks" and attended a pro-Wikileaks demonstration. By designating Wikileaks an enemy of the US, the military is effectively declaring that any contact with Wikileaks or its supporters could be deemed "communicating with the enemy" -- which can be punished severely (even death). For all sorts of reasons, this seems like a ridiculous and horrific overreaction. Even if you disagree with Wikileaks or how Assange goes about what he does, having the US government declare you an "enemy to the United States" for seeking to increase transparency seems both extreme and completely out of proportion with the reality of the situation.
Meanwhile, Assange himself was able to address the UN via video, in which he lashed out at the hypocrisy of the US government, defending freedom of speech with one breath, while at the same time seeking to bring down Wikileaks.
While it's no secret that Assange and Wikileaks have embarrassed the US, it's a massive leap to go from that to claiming that it is an "enemy" of the United States. Just doing so could put incredible chilling effects on all sorts of journalists. The idea that leaking relevant and newsworthy information can get you classified as such has incredibly scary implications. It broadens the definition of an "enemy of the state" to ridiculous proportions, and begs to be abused by a government that doesn't seem to handle embarrassment particularly well. Even if you think Wikileaks goes too far or that Assange himself is an egomaniac, it seems that we should all be quite worried about the implications of declaring him and the organization enemies of the state for merely leaking information that they felt was newsworthy.