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Nobel and Amnesty International take wrong turn with Wikileaks

Post by Brian O'Neill on Feb. 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm with 5 Comments »
February 3, 2011 8:43 pm

Even the best of us make mistakes. That may be the only way to spin recent actions by two international agencies that have made peace and justice their cause.

A Norwegian legislator recently made the rare decision to divulge his nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize: Wikileaks. In a similar vein, Amnesty International has stepped into the treason case of Pfc Bradley Manning, the US Army soldier allegedy behind the release of a vast amount of classified documents to Wikileaks, alleging that Manning may be due a better quality of justice than American.

Both of these long-standing agencies have a history of controversial decisions. China took major exception with the Nobel’s recent decision to recognize a well-known government dissident; Amnesty International, on behalf of the cause of freedom and justice, has locked horns with numerous governments including our own.

Both agencies have made excellent progress for their respective causes, which is why their dual support of Pfc Manning and Wikileaks is disturbing. For some reason representatives of both the Nobel Peace Prize and Amnesty International seem to have no problem with the visceral act of betrayal that lies at the heart of an alleged treasonous act and the subsequent publishing of stolen documents.

The Nobel Peace Prize, awarded since 1901, is usually a closely held state secret. But a legislator from Norway’s Socialist Left Party, Snorre Valen, decided that Wikileaks further the cause of peace by an action that involved, at the least, trafficking in stolen property, and at worst, divulging state secrets that might endanger an untold number of lives.

Valen, a 26-year-old politician, may not be a naive and simple-minded individual. Yet nothing about a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for hackers specializing in espionage appears wise.

Amnesty International, in operation since 1961, stepped into this quagmire by pushing the British government to look into the possibility that Manning, who was born in Oklahoma, was actually a British citizen. Regardless of whether or not that’s true, Amnesty International should have stopped this action after considering two facts that should by foremost in this matter: 1) Manning is a serving member of the U.S. Armed Forces and is subject, like all other soldiers, sailors and airmen, to military justice; 2) Manning swore an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

That oath didn’t say anything about selling out his country.

The Nobel Peace Prize and Amnesty International have stood as icons for the type of heroism that transcends cultural, ethnic and geographic borders. Let’s hope these entities can get back to the more important business of peace and justice and leave the question of treason to the American people.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Thankyou for your article. Amnesty International and the Nobel Peace Prize have not, however, as you say, taken a wrong turn, but continue to push for the cause of peace and social progress.

    It would be small minded to believe that the issue of wikileaks, and indeed, the fate of Pfc Manning is purely an American one, and that the rest of the world has no say in the fate of the individuals involved. Wikileaks, and indeed, whistleblowing in general, is essential to improving our society, by identifying wrongdoings wihthin organisations and governments, in the hope of improving the way our world functions.

    It is not wikileaks, but secrecy and a culture of deciet that harms our society – a culture that is being increasingly uncovered within the US military, in addition to other international institutions.

    Indeed, is has been widely reported that under 1% of the total documents held have been released*, and that Julian Assange has withheld information that would directly endanger lives** – choosing instead to release information that damages reputations – perhaps it is political death that you are afraid of?

    Amnesty International and Nobel are still committed to peace and justice. The justice they serve is not the swift handed execution of ‘traitors’, as you suggest, but the protection of the right of the people to know the actions of their government and its affiliates.

    In the eyes of the international community, the US military would be foolish to punish those serving the cause of global citizens everywhere – including many US citizens themselves.

    * http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/08/fraction-of-1-percent-of-wikileaks-cables-released/

    ** http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/11/28/104404/officials-may-be-overstating-the.html#

  2. blakeshouse says:

    Who gives a damn what these 2 socialistic / neo marxist orgs think or say about anything the US is doing. Nobel lost any and all credibility yrs ago and reiterated its irrelevance by giving Obummer an award for doing absolutely NOTHING. Amnesty’s credibility disappeared long before nobels did. Both of these groups have an overblown sense of themselves and have little or no meaning in the real world
    Both Manning and Assange deserve life in front of a firing squad on live TV.

  3. I love how we champion Chinese dissidents and damn our own.

  4. The Nobel prize has become just another form of cheap international currency. Obama won it for what? Being a good orator as near as any sane person can figure. He sure hasn’t done anything noteworthy on the international stage deserving of a Nobel. The protesters in Tunisia are more deserving then Wikileaks, as are the ones in Cairo and other places in the Arab world.

    Wikileaks merely affirms what most of us already knew, politics is a dirty business and most engaged in it, no matter what the country, are liars and prone to secrecy. In other words, it’s old news and recycled gossip. Whoopee.

  5. Brian O'Neill says:

    All comments notwithstanding, I still absolutely oppose the notion that Wikileaks is a whistleblower worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize or that Pfc Manning is a dissident. If every country’s military and clandestine agencies chose to put their cards on the table, then so be it. That is not the case, thus all countries have the right to protect their secrets from eachother. The content of that secret communication may be as silly as emails we let fly at work, but that does not change the fact that we (and our country) have a certain right to privacy. Pfc Manning was not a hero, nor do his comrades, the Army or his country consider him to be one.

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