Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer takes complete control in 3-1 win vs. Davidson -

September 25, 2017

Shaughnessy Naughton speaks on STEM professionals in politics -

September 25, 2017

ESPN author and journalist talks sports and mental health at UMass -

September 25, 2017

UMass men’s soccer remains unbeaten at home -

September 25, 2017

Minutewomen split Pennsylvania trip -

September 25, 2017

Kozlowski’s minutes limited for second straight game in loss versus Fordham -

September 25, 2017

Late penalty-kick goal not enough vs. Rams -

September 25, 2017

UMass football nearly upends Tennessee Saturday in 17-13 loss -

September 25, 2017

A conversation with the Pixies’ Joey Santiago -

September 25, 2017

The problem with peer mentors -

September 25, 2017

Jukebox the Ghost take Northampton by storm -

September 25, 2017

Let them eat cake -

September 24, 2017

Three weeks in, and two UMass fraternities under suspension -

September 23, 2017

UMPD crime alert informs campus of motor vehicle theft near Rudd Field Sept. 17 -

September 22, 2017

‘It’ has revitalized the modern monster movie -

September 21, 2017

UMass Republicans feel ostracized in political climate -

September 21, 2017

Irma hits Cuba, putting rain cloud over students’ study abroad plans -

September 21, 2017

UMass football travels to Tennessee for its first Power Five game of 2017 -

September 21, 2017

UMass women’s soccer looks ahead to Thursday matchup with Davidson -

September 21, 2017

Perussault and the Minutewomen are ready for the start of A-10 play -

September 21, 2017

Julian Assange: James Bond level villainy

There are two types of whistleblowers: those who change the course of history for good and those who throw caution to the wind.

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks, led by founder Julian Assange, released a classified military video of U.S. armed forces killing civilians and two reporters in Iraq. Whether or not the military decision to attack those people was a tragic error in judgment or plain carelessness, WikiLeaks exposed an aspect of the harsh reality of modern warfare. Most people are aware of the suspect actions soldiers, commanders, and militaries sometimes take, but to see it first-hand from military video was shocking and proved how military intelligence in that area was faulty and that war often times kills more civilians and allies than real enemies. With that in mind, I was hopeful WikiLeaks would continue to expose crimes committed by other militaries, national or insurgent in character.

Within the last year, Wikileaks obtained roughly 250,000 secret documents from American military and State Department cables from embassies around the world. It was at this stage that I believe Julian Assange and his close crew approached a fork in the road. The public disclosure of these highly sensitive documents only serves to hamper the progress nations were making together, as well as reopen old wounds. Why release documents exposing to terrorists how our military communicates? Why release State Department cables showing how what we hear and see in the news isn’t always as it seems? It seems to me it would have been more prudent to hold off releasing these documents given the uncertainty of current political conditions.

Julian Assange has thrown caution to the wind. He has exposed for the sake of exposing. He has grown arrogant and is doing what he is just because he can. He has let the power of WikiLeaks get to his head, and he will pay the price for that.

The situation with the State Department cables has some good and bad mixed with it. When reading some of the cables from Tel Aviv to America, the countries’ feelings towards Iran seemed a lot more desperate that what has been reported in the media. Even other nations in the Middle East fear a nuclear Iran. What good can come from exposing such deep-rooted fears? Now that everyday people have access to State Department cables, there may be a sudden urge to confront Iran. I’m not talking about UN sanctions; the United Nations has no power in the world these days. Every sanction imposed on Iran has only strengthened Tehran’s political resolve and nuclear ambitions.

On the other hand, the release of these cables has created tension with our allies. While back-talking and harshly criticizing political counterparts is nothing new, WikiLeaks has undermined the security of our government. If a few low-ranking soldiers can get their hands on highly secretive information, what’s to stop more organized and skillful organizations, such as Al Qaeda, from gaining access to more dangerous information like nuclear codes? The State Department, FBI, CIA, NSA and other defense organizations need to revamp their internal security if they never want to hear from Julian Assange again.

The biggest problem I have with WikiLeaks’ latest release is that it fails to consider the often fragile balance international policy seeks to maintain. Assange and WikiLeaks are missing the point about why most of these cables are kept secret. Do they have any idea how many possible wars have been averted, how many treaties have been signed, or how many allies have been made behind closed doors? There is a reason why Egypt, for example, does not want to be publicly portrayed as a major ally to Israel. The last time Egypt went out of their way to show the rest of the Arab world that Jews and Arabs can live side by side, Prime Minister Anwar Sadat was assassinated. No wonder they want to do business under the radar. Doing so has saved lives in the Middle East.

Politics is about perception. Sometimes senators, presidents and ambassadors say certain things in public that aren’t always 100 percent accurate. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors. The public would be naïve, though, to think there isn’t constant communication between President Obama, Harry Reid and John Boehner. But, imagine if the discussions President Kennedy and his staff were having with the Russians and Cubans were exposed as they were happening? If so, the Cold War may have thawed due to a nuclear blast.

It is one thing to be controversial and quite another to be reckless. WikiLeaks’ actions are very much the latter. Although the organization could show the world how some governments operate in an educational manner, they just throw whatever they can find at the public. There also seems to be a double standard, as WikiLeaks has yet to find documents from terrorist organizations or nations which support terrorism. If Julian Assange wants more global credibility, he needs to stop aiming the barrel of his gun at America and our allies. No one really believes angels are running the Department of Defense; nothing in these leaks is very surprising. However, the documents’ content could prove to be fatal obstacles to world consensus and peace.

Roy Ribitzky is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at

Comments
5 Responses to “Julian Assange: James Bond level villainy”
  1. Pavel says:

    Love your analysis. First one I’ve seen that agrees with my own opinion to such a large extent. I’d also like to add, however, that while the US government can’t just sit on the sidelines, that’s no excuse for it to do something illegal/unscrupulous itself. The arrest warrant from Sweden is certainly of questionable legality.

  2. Frank Shifreen says:

    How does Mr. Ribitzky know how many wars averted, treaties realized by the state of diplomacy as it is. We are in an intractable war, and who was helped by all the lies and politesse that passes for public comments? I think it would be better to just say it, and let the chips fall where they may. About Iran for instance. Israel has take the blame in public for wanting to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. It turns out everyone in the area except Iran wants to end the program by any means possible.
    What was the purpose of not calling it as it is? Middle East nations like Saudi Arabia can hide, lie and pretend with our connivance. This is expanded on a truly international scale. This might be out in left field, but I think this acceptance of diplomacy of lies is like our screwed-up childhoods. “Do as I say- not as I do”. “I know what’s best for you” etc

  3. Pablo says:

    You give too much credit to “perception.”

  4. Peeter P. Mõtsküla says:

    “WikiLeaks has undermined the security of our government.” WRONG! They’ve only pointed out a gaping security hole created by your government. But of course it’s easier to shoot the messenger and pretend everything is ok.

  5. mike says:

    Frankly, the leaks have presented nothing new to me. Yea, I am a know it all. That being said it’s kinda lonely being a know it all. You wish that others read a bit more than Google News as it’s all there to be read, and analyzed by the average person with a computer and his or her bias, racism, ignorance, jingoism put away for a bit.

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