by: Connie H. Deutsch
In July, 1947 a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, and the government tried to cover it up by saying that it was not a flying saucer but an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified program named, “Mogul.” However, many proponents of the UFO theory claim that a crashed alien aircraft and bodies were recovered and that the military staged an elaborate cover-up because it was a threat to national security. Now, 64 years later, the debate is still going on and the government is no more cooperative about revealing the details than it was then.
Throughout the years, it has been shown time and again that information that was originally classified as confidential because it was a threat to national security, remained classified many decades later even though the crisis had long since passed and no threat remained. It has also been seen that anytime the government needed an excuse for anything, they only had to say that the information was classified.
In the United States we have run into this kind of obfuscation time and again so when President Obama announced to the world that we were going to have transparency in government, I was overjoyed. It meant that we were finally going to see what went on behind the scenes with Congress. It meant that we could turn on C-SPAN and be privy to the wheeling and dealing of our legislators as they bargained for earmarks.
This has had a so-so effect. Not much has changed. Enter WikiLeaks. At first I was thrilled at the prospect that what I’ve wanted for years was finally happening. Hundreds of thousands of confidential papers were being aired publicly. The bad guys were being excoriated in the press and the good guys were going to win the war of public opinion and maybe even bring about some good governments. But it isn’t turning out that way. There are no clear-cut winners and losers and the head of WikiLeaks has had problems within his own ranks as well as being in trouble with the law of several countries, ours included.
Understandably, the guys who have committed the worst offenses want him out of the way and everyone is taking guesses as to how long he will remain alive before someone kills him. The people in OpenLeaks is doing this a little differently; they are leaking the information to the media in bits and pieces and letting them take the blame for the leaks, hence, presumably, no one’s life is on the line while this classified information reaches the public in a safer form of whistle-blowing.
I’m one of the people who has been in favor of what WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks are trying to do. I’m tired of all this secrecy and I do want it to stop. And if that was all there was to it, I’d hitch my wagon to it and ride out the storm of controversy.
But now it has taken a much more sinister turn. It is no longer about public officials misusing and abusing power and corrupt and ruthless governments toppling; now it has come to the doorstep of the people; it has come into the lives of all of us.
Hackers, in their rallying cry for transparency and no more secrets, has taken to hacking into the files of banks and financial institutions. Millions of depositors have had their personal information, their identities, and their lives stolen out from under them. People who stood behind the precepts of WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks are now their victims. It’s still not clearly understood whether these hackers are part of WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks or are just hanging onto their coattails and operating on their own. It doesn’t matter at this point whether they are independent agents or working in unison with WikiLeaks or OpenLeaks. All that matters is that these people who have had their personal information hijacked, had nothing to do with the secrecy in government nor the corruption that ensued as a result.
These hackers have taken it a step too far and it’s time for them to reassess their objectives and find a better way to attain them without causing the rest of the world to come toppling down around them . . . Unless, of course, that is their intent.