Friday, August 17, 2012
Assange or Corzine?
This is a very good, short little article that highlights where our justice system stands these days. There are two people whose ongoing cases have been widely publicized, and in which the outcomes carry high stakes. One of them is a former politician and head of Goldman Sachs, whose brokerage firm "lost" $1 billion of its customers' money. The other is a man who runs a website that exposes what some would say is "sensitive" information and intelligence that is held by our nation's governments, and in which others would say that this is information that we have a right to know, as taxpayers and as citizens.
In the one case, there is a diplomatic standoff, and things are escalating to the point where one country may very well invade the embassy of another sovereign state where one of these men are staying. The other case, after nearly a year of investigation, is about to end with no criminal prosecutions expected. Care to guess which one is which? As I hope you guessed, the man who stole up to $200 million of his own clients' money is the one who will not be prosecuted. He is Jon Corzine, former governor of New Jersey and former head of Goldman Sachs. The other, of course, is Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. He is staying at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, and Britain is threatening to raid the embassy to apprehend Assange. He will then be extradited to Sweden, where he stands trial for a rape charge that sounds at least somewhat suspect. He will then almost certainly be turned over to the United States, and tried (or held indefinitely without trial) on esponiage charges.
To close, I want to relay something that I remember reading in a book by Jesse Ventura, one of my heroes. In the book, he wrote that any citizen in the United States who pays taxes should be able to ask his or her government any question, and that citizen should have a right to an answer. Assange is the keeper of the flame for those of us who look to our respective governments and think, "how dare you tell us that we don't have the right to know this or that piece of information?"