Death to the WikiLeaker

Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee, the once and probably future presidential candidate, advocates the death penalty for whoever provided all those cables to WikiLeaks. Speaking to a gaggle of reporters at the Reagan library, Huckabee said:

“Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.”

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Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/01/2010 - 10:59 am.

    As are many right-leaning politicians, Mr. Huckabee is somewhat removed from reality. Nothing has been revealed that threatens the security of the United States. What the documents show is that diplomats – and national leaders – are not, somehow, “above” the petty and trivial that many of the rest of us find consuming much of our day. What’s in the documents is embarrassing – and the leaks may cost Mrs. Clinton her position as Secretary of State – but candor revealed is often embarrassing. Much of what has been labeled as “secret” deserves nothing more, if we’re applying labels, than “snarky.”

    Could the documents released create diplomatic problems? Sure. Telling your wife (or husband) that s/he actually DOES “…look fat in that outfit” carries similar risks. Mr. Assange needn’t be a paragon of virtue himself for the information he’s revealed to be worth knowing by the public. He’s easy to discredit – and many are busy doing that right now, including Huckabee – but that doesn’t negate the accuracy of what the documents Wikileaks has released show about our conduct of foreign affairs.

    The documents also show that both Republican and Democratic administrations have routinely lied (say “misinformed” if you’re inclined toward generosity) to the public when it suits the narrow interests of the administration in question. Misinformation makes democracy a sham – THAT’s something Mr. Huckabee ought to be concerned about. Apparently, he’s more outraged by the fact of revelation than by what’s actually IN the revelation, thus displaying a discouraging level of intellectual shallowness.

    Whether Julian Assange personally deserves the label of “hero” or “scum,” Wikileaks has done a substantial public service, and I look forward to seeing what they’ve been able to uncover regarding the financial world in the next release. Bankers won’t be able to hide behind “national security” hysteria and misdirection.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/01/2010 - 12:12 pm.

    I expect nothing nothing else from a pro-life candidate.

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 12/01/2010 - 12:46 pm.

    What’s Huckabee’s stance on the person(s) who committed treason by revealing that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent?

    Never mind, I already know the answer to that question: He doesn’t care one whit about those traitors because they were GOPers.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/01/2010 - 12:59 pm.

    Mr. Assange will no doubt go down in history as the first person to be hunted by Interpol for alleged sex crimes. One source I read yesterday said he actually hasn’t been charged, but is being sought as a “witness.” Can a person, under country or international law, be arrested as a witness to the crime s/he is suspected of? It’s getting too complicated for me!

    Many of the cable excerpts I’ve read seem to reveal a determination to prevent Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld et al. from being brought to justice here or in any other country for their crimes. In Spain, we pressured that country’s government to silence a judge who wished to prosecute themfor, I believe, torture. In Yemen, we got its government to say that our drones — and Yemeni civilian deaths — belonged to their country, not ours. News reports were altered to say some of the CIA’s secret prisons were in “Eastern Europe” so host-country Poland would not be identified.

    Our foreign policy needs a cleaning out – and perhaps a yet larger airing in the public air.

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 12/01/2010 - 01:31 pm.

    I’m no Huckabee fan, but he raises a valid point. Ray points out what he and a lot of you seem to miss…as least as it appears to me. There ARE 2 issues, the fact of the relevation and the revelations themselves.

    Basic principles of trial law allow for (1) attorney client priviledge and (2) that settlement negotiations are actually inadmissible in court. Both serve to allow for the free flow of ideas and sometimes uncomfortable candor. Violating these two rules and the legal system grinds to a halt. I shudder to think of foreign policy that requires complete tranparency.

    Or, in order to not make a short story long, Mr. Assange’s ends don’t justify his means.

  6. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/01/2010 - 01:39 pm.

    Two simple words to describe Mr. Huckabee: erratic and unpredictable.

    A third possible personal trait: dangerous.

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/01/2010 - 01:47 pm.

    Technical point: Julian Assange is not a citizen of the US, so he cannot be prosecuted for treason (even if this amounted to “levying War” against the United States, or “in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort,” which I doubt). The soldier who may have leaked the documents to him is being court-martialed for the leaks.

  8. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/01/2010 - 01:49 pm.

    If nothing else, Huckabee is guilty of high illiteracy.
    Since Assange is not a U.S. citizen (he is Australian), he cannot be guilty of treason.

  9. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/01/2010 - 01:49 pm.

    I would like to predict that this whole “WikiLeaker” stuff will blow over real soon, and be wiped off the front pages in a very short time.

    The “Free” World is doing a superb PR work now, everybody is calm and collected. It is not as if the world is now on the brink of Third World War anyway. Yes, a few individuals may face personal (political) embarrassments. But they will survive.

  10. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 12/01/2010 - 02:53 pm.

    As an article elsewhere about this asked: What’s so secret about communications that 3 million people have access to?

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/01/2010 - 04:33 pm.

    Rather than a case of high illiteracy, I think Paul has provided a demonstration of low comprehension.

    Huckabee is talking about the employee of the US government that passed classified information out of the country; that’s the textbook definition of treason.

    Assange’s actions are more properly defined as espionage.

    Being against state sponsored murder, I cannot advocate the death penalty. However I aver a life sentence is not unreasonable for either Assange or his unindicted co-conspirator.

  12. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 12/01/2010 - 04:39 pm.

    Why do people think he is referring to Assange? I thought the “Who in government” part of the quote would make it obvious he is not speaking of Assange. PFC Bradley Manning is one who will be charged with treason. So one could say that #8 is “guilty of high illiteracy”

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/01/2010 - 05:39 pm.

    //Rather than a case of high illiteracy, I think Paul has provided a demonstration of low comprehension.

    Speaking of low comprehension, it takes real talent to misread a ten word single sentence. I didn’t say anything about Assange. However, I doubt Huckster would be apposed to executing Assange citizen or not. Either way, another pro-lifer to the rescue with a great idea to kill someone.

  14. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/01/2010 - 09:17 pm.

    Too much stuff is classified in the first place, then they let too many people have access to the stuff that is actually sensitive. Don’t let the word “intelligence” fool you.

  15. Submitted by Don Medal on 12/02/2010 - 06:09 am.

    Never thought I’d post agreeing with Huckabee (well, sort of).

    Assange will be difficult to prosecute and Wikileaks would survive him anyway. He may just disappear.

    The person(s) Huckabee refers to are US citizens, and have sworn one or more oaths to protect the US, and were well aware of what they are doing. If this isn’t treason, what is?

    That too many people had access to this information is a separate matter. It deserves investigation and changes to the system. But it doesn’t alter the theft of the information. Try walking out of your local Walmart with a bunch of electronics under your coat. Yes, it was out there and yes, millions of people have access. You are still going to jail.

    The difference is the recent cables are far more valuable and far more damaging. To those who say ‘show me who lost their life as a result’: I think that’s a fake argument for a number of reasons. Those who lose lives will be in the future, and are not yet known, may never be known.

    Some good activities can only be done out of the public eye. Confessions (in the Catholic sense), working out differences with your spouse, keeping a diary, and diplomacy are four. Things are possible in private that are not possible in print. Everyone knows this.

    When diplomacy fails we usually don’t see the lost opportunities. Next time we face a terror attack will we respond without the cooperation of other nations? Will these leaks make it impossible to get international cooperation regarding Iran and nuclear weapons? Seems likely, and seems very likely to result in future deaths. In the modern world most things of value are achievable only with cooperation and yes, often require secret deals.

    The release of the Pentagon papers (Vietnam or Afghanistan) could be said to be have been motivated by a desire to inform the people as to what is really going on. There might be merit to that, but it is still treason if the documents are secret. The diplomatic release seems motivated only to cripple future diplomacy by the US and to alienate those countries we work with.

    So the US employee(s) who released these cables committed treason. I disagree with Huckabee on “pro-life” and oppose the death penalty generally, but there isn’t really a conflict between opposing the death of babies and supporting the death of the worst of criminals. A better example of Huckabee’s hypocracy would be being against abortion AND programs to protect the health of pregnant women and children. Perhaps a lifetime of hard labor in a military prison?

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/02/2010 - 09:19 am.

    //The person(s) Huckabee refers to are US citizens, and have sworn one or more oaths to protect the US, and were well aware of what they are doing. If this isn’t treason, what is?

    Actually Don, you take an oath to protect the constitution, not the government. There’s a reason for that. Even in a democracy a government may not be conducting itself constitutionally, and any government can act contrary to the best interests of a nation. The president is acknowledged as the commander and chief, but the military code of conduct also requires that illegal orders be disobeyed.

    People are being killed and tortured here. This is no time for pedantics. The espionage laws are deliberately vague. They can and have been applied capriciously.

    We can’t ignore the question of whether or not any real damage has been done by this leak. Nor can we pretend that there’s no reason to consider a balance between whatever harm may be done and the good the light of day may bring to policy.

    If Mr. Manning did leak the information, we have to ask not simply whether not it fits the definition of espionage, but whether it looks more like whistle blowing as apposed to spying? Spies don’t take information and give it wikileaks, they steal it and give it to another government, usually either for pay, or because of blackmail. Manning looks more like a whistle blower than a spy to me. He didn’t give intelligence to any foreign government. Nor did he provide intelligence to an enemy, Wilileaks is not an acknowledged enemy of the United States. Assange is not a terrorist.

    If you see that the government is involved in massive deceptions that may be harmful to the nation, is blowing the whistle on that a violation of your oath? This is the question Ellsberg faced, and it may be the question Manning was asking himself. Why Wikileaks? Who else? If you give it the media, we know that they may very well be convinced to sit on it, it’s happened in the past. If you give it to any foreign government you are definitely committing espionage.

    I suspect this is the same question prosecutors are facing, is manning a spy or is he a whistle blower? As a whistle blower he may well be entitled to legal protection. I think intent to harm the nation must be a factor in esionage, but whistle blowing implies no intent to harm, quite the opposite. One can question Manning’s judgement in this matter, but I think his intent makes a difference. The outcome is certainly relevant.

    These leaks are embarrassing more than damaging. They reveal massive duplicity and deception directed not so much at our enemies, and allied governments, but rather the citizens of governments. No one in Pakistan needs to be told that special forces are operating in Pakistan, but Pentagon is telling the American people they’re not. No one needs to tell the German and Spanish governments that they backed off prosecuting crimes against their citizens… but their citizens might be interested to know that.

    Some secrets are necessary, we’re all adults here. But history shows us that giant deceptions and disastrous policies flow out of such secrecy. The light of day has always been the only and most effective remedy.

    I don’t think it’s all clear that Manning is a traitor.

  17. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/02/2010 - 09:30 am.

    The blood-lust coming from Republicans is nothing new, nor remarkable. The CIA or the Israeli Mossad will assassinate Assange once things cool off. Obama will blow it off as something that “happened in the past.”

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/02/2010 - 09:39 am.

    //there isn’t really a conflict between opposing the death of babies and supporting the death of the worst of criminals.

    Yes, there is a basic conflict if your claiming to pro-life i.e. killing humans is wrong. What’s described here isn’t a pro-life position since life imprisonment is an option for any criminal. What’s being described here is discriminating between worthy life and not worthy life. This is why I refer to pro-lifers as “pro-fetus”. Someone elses fetus seems to be the only form of life on the planet from traitors to polar bears that they can’t find a reason to kill.

    Of course the irony is if I’m not mistaken, this judgment as to the worth of one’s life is supposed to be reserved for God, hence the thou shant kill clause. I’ve never met a pro-fetus advocate who wasn’t a bundle of moral confusion. This is not the first time a Christian pastor has advocated the death of someone for having a different political point of view. Apparently political differences are sufficient to land one in the category of “worst criminal”.

    Manning may be guilty of mishandling classified information, but I’m not sure you nail him for treason because he looks more like a whistle blower than a spy.

  19. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2010 - 11:11 am.

    To review the quote; Huckabee said:
    “Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.”
    Neither Assange or Manning is “in our government”.
    I agree that Manning might be closer to that description than Assange, but Huckabee provided neither names or offices to support his statement.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/02/2010 - 12:09 pm.

    Paul, I think your over-parsing here. Manning is a specialist in the US army, he draws a government paycheck. Huck isn’t a lawyer, I think your considering his words more than he is.

  21. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 12/02/2010 - 12:31 pm.

    Paul – Could you please explain to the group how PFC Manning is not “in our government”. PFC means Private First Class.

  22. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2010 - 02:45 pm.

    I meant that Private Manning (if that’s who Huckabee was referring to) was not engaged in governing, although he is a government employee in the sense of being paid by the government. I will grant Paul U’s accusation of overparsement.
    Again, Huckabee did not name either of the two individuals who have been identified with the leaks, although he should be aware of them.

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/03/2010 - 08:39 am.

    Mr. Huckle’s may not be a lawyer, but you don’t have to be to know that naming a person and advocating their death may be the best idea. Best to keep it generalized.

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