Blind Man's News

December 8, 2010

Freedom of Speech or Piracy?

Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 in Copenhagen.

Image via Wikipedia

The buzz around Wikileaks and Julian Assange is unnerving.  How do we deal with a man who takes stolen government documents and then publishes them without conscience? The range of suggestions begin with the death penalty and end with sainthood. Can we see through the fog and decide what is going on, or will we simply fight this out until our ship of fools crashes on the rocks?

The question that needs to be answered first is, “Does he have the right to publish stolen documents?” Does the United States government, and all the involved nations of the world, have the right to privacy and ownership of the stolen information? I believe that stolen documents are “stolen documents,” and the recipients of the stolen documents are accessories after the fact. Theft is a crime in every nation on earth. Receiving stolen property is a crime in most nations (possibly all.) Selling stolen property or profiting from the theft in some way is piracy. Mr. Assange has profited immensely from his illegal activities. He is no different from the hacker who steals books, music, or videos and publishes them without permission.

Every person who supports Mr. Assange would cry for justice if it were their lives he was ruining. If he was publishing personal secrets of his supporters they would call for his execution too.

A blind man should see that Mr. Assange is a criminal, publishing stolen material for profit, and at what cost to the world? Secrets or not, no one has the right to publish stolen information.

Now, if he had taken the documents and condensed them into his own words, maybe he could publish that. It would still be a crime in my eyes, but then it would be his version of what the documents contained. That would leave an out for anyone questioning the facts. The US and other nations could still deny the information as fabricated lies.

As is, Mr. Assange is a criminal, and he should be dealt with appropriately. Spies can still be executed by firing squad. Unfortunately, our leaders are too politically correct to ever do that. Hopefully, he ends up in prison for his crimes.

If he were publishing my personal secrets, I would want him locked up. Wouldn’t you?

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