Something is not bad because it is criminal; it is criminal because we think it is bad

15 Apr 2013

How many people think Julian Assange is a criminal? MasterCard, Visa and Paypal do. Whilst Visa saw an increase of 26% revenue, ending December 31, from the year previous, WikiLeaks lay dwindling in lost donations, cutting deep into reserve funds, their founder confined to an insignificant room with an unreliable source of hot water. What is apparent is the malicious censorship of truth. Absurd as it may be, Visa, MasterCard, Paypal are no fools. Yet they break the biggest rule in business, “never don’t maximise profit”. So what could lead such money possessed individuals to thrust down the very nature of their livelihoods?                 


John F. Kennedy said, “No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding, and from that understanding comes support or opposition, and both are necessary. ”President Obama has broken his promise to make his terms in office the most transparent in history; ironically more whistle blowers have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. It is worth mentioning that the Espionage Act was passed in 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War One. It made it a crime “To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States”[III]. WikiLeak’s intent is to inform, the press, the people. Currently it has not been proven that WikiLeaks hacks government databases but obtains information through anonymous submissions to its website.                

Currently Assuage is held in Ecuador’s embassy in London. As leaked in June 2012, the Metropolitan Police force has the right to arrest Assange but cannot enter without the Ambassador’s permission. Currently he seeks asylum for his “political beliefs”, however it is proving difficult to prove he faces danger in his country, Australia. There now exists a stalemate. And though Ecuador’s diplomatic land can be accessed through The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. Mr. Assange faces charges in Sweden of rape and sexual assault, both non-political crimes. If Mr. Assange were to be found guilty his asylum would be terminated, however he cannot be lawfully convicted until he is extradited to Sweden. Whether Mr. Assange has or has not committed serious sexual assault, the United States of America has absolutely no legitimate reason what so ever to demand his extradition. If Sweden agree to send Mr. Assange to the U.S. then he will face Federal U.S. courts, “he will face very serious U.S. jail time without the possibility of parole or early release.”                

How reluctant do you think the UK government would be to hand over Assange? Not very in my opinion, in the summer of 2010, British armed forces came under scrutiny when; Coldstream Guards shot four civilians, Royal Marine commandos killed or wounded civilians eight times in six months, rifles were involved in three incidents, of these civilians were children and in one case a mentally disabled man. This is appalling, compelling evidence enough as to why governments really want Assange and his organisation out of the way. Ignoring the UK, let’s head over to the U.S. “The Guantánamo Bay files leak (also known as The Guantánamo Files) began on 25 April 2011”, one week after on May the 2nd 2011, President Obama ordered for Osama Bin Laden to be killed. The files were hard evidence that exposed Guantanamo Bay’s practices- torture, unjustified detention of prisoners. The power that WikiLeaks holds is that, unlike lawful court cases, it allows anonymous submission of evidence that would otherwise threaten the safety of its contributors.                

WikiLeaks has played an important role in the “Arab Spring”, two weeks prior to fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi setting himself on fire, WikiLeaks released a document displaying the corruption Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The Arab spring is an ongoing tremendous example at just how vulnerable those at the top are when faced with the fury of the people. Frankly, attempting to crush a key source of information to the public is depriving them of the truth, making them incredibly susceptible to subjective propaganda. It is ludicrous; to the extent that Bashar al-Assad’s wife spends £3795 on crystal-encrusted, 16 cm high heels, whilst hundreds were massacred in Homs. The press and public found out about these emails too through leaks, though not explicitly WikiLeaks. Is this not criminal?              

This ridiculous attempt at quieting down public outrage in what is meant to be the technology era is not only repulsive but also even naive. How dare they try to censure our collective right to information? And why are the poor always burdened with the loss of death when it comes to the rich’s petty disputes? Young British soldiers should not die in Iraq for the sake of BP. The poor should not pay the cost of austerity for reckless banking whilst the take cap is reduced 5% from 50% to 45%.     

Why do we vote for a system of corrupt democracy that favours a select elite and attempts to appease the rest with cheap words? After all promises are nothing but promises, to be kept or disposed of. The people at the top make the law and have done so through history. When we ask for change they “evaluate it” and are “doing everything in their power to resolve the issue.” Eventually we forget, give up, relinquishing the power to punish our overindulged leaders. However when a challenge to government, an organisation comes to light that holds governments accountable through the power of public opinion, the government is incredibly resourceful and flexible in its pursuit of shutting it down. This is censorship. It seems like many important people have many important things to hide. If anyone will expose these atrocities, WikiLeaks will.

Define criminal and I may give various examples, corruption, rape, slavery but never “because the law says so”. Politicians are just people, sure rich, educated, sly people, but just people. Most of the time they are not even the best of us. So why do we allow them to think they are?     

By Yassine Benlamkadem


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