Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dear US State Department

Regarding your letter to Wikileaks.  You write:
As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.
It is a shame that you would concern your self with the violations of law of someone simply making information public while you brush aside the torturers and war criminals you harbor.
It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents. Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would:
* Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals -- from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;
Lets hope that the names of anyone at risk are redacted, but I understand it will be challenging because you refuse to help redact those names.  You clearly care more about keeping your secret information secret than actually keeping people safe.  More than likely this is just propaganda - it is all you have to counter the truly life-threatening operations your administration continues to engage in.  How many soldiers have been killed needlessly in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq under your administration's watch?  If you truly care about journalists, why does your administration defend the murder of journalists by U.S. forces in Iraq?  Why is the previous administration not held accountable for imprisoning and torturing an innocent journalist in Guantanamo Bay for 6 years of his life?
* Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,
The U.S. military is engaged in reckless, unecessary and deadly military occupations in two countries and engages in other abuses within the borders of other sovereign nations across the globe - killing thousands of innocent people (including many children).   If any of these operations are put at risk, it will be a blessing.
* Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries - partners, allies and common stakeholders -- to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.
Like our cooperation with (not to mention the billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars going to) countries like Israel and Egypt, who have horrific human rights records and tremendously disrupt the stability of their region?  Pandemic disease?  You mean like all the aid and doctors we send to Haiti?
In your letter, you say you want -- consistent with your goal of "maximum disclosure" -- information regarding individuals who may be "at significant risk of harm" because of your actions.

Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger. We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials. If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks' databases.
Sincerely,
Harold Hongju Koh

Mr. Koh, as someone who has vigorously defended the right to kill people in Pakistan and Yemen with aerial drones, you have no standing to lecture an organization that is simply shedding light and bringing the truth out in the open.  For those of us who's careers and ambitions are not tied to empire, Wikileaks is doing a great service.  The concerns you raise are mostly disingenuous and clearly a well-tailored message that seeks to deflect any embarrassment from the release of information you consider classified.  Maybe if you spent as much time and energy trying to improve how the U.S. acts around the globe and support real accountability, transparency and the rule of law, the secrets of the people you work for would not be so embarrassing.

Please stop lying and, if you have a shed of humanity, consider resigning from your position in protest.

Sincerely - C Villarreal