Why Julian Assange is a journalist by Scott Gant at The Nation argues that Assange "almost certainly is a journalist -- at least as far as the First Amendment is concerned." (although, this writer is highly ignorant of what Wikileaks does. Take this passage- "One potentially credible argument for denying WikiLeaks full First Amendment protection is that it is merely posting documents without adding its own analysis or commentary. Although I am not sufficiently familiar with the details of WikiLeaks’ website to evaluate the veracity of this claim, if it is true, it could provide a basis for prosecutors and courts to thread the constitutional needle and proceed with a case against WikiLeaks without running afoul of the First Amendment." -Come on! How many here know that they indeed do add analysis AND commentary? Everyone?! Anyhoo, here is a bit of the article:
Let us first dispense with the idea that Assange may not enjoy the safeguards of the First Amendment because he is not a United States citizen. The language of the First Amendment does not limit its protections to citizens, and the courts have never interpreted it that way.
Let us next dispense with the canard that Assange does not enjoy First Amendment protection because he is not objective, has a point of view, or is seeking to achieve a particular political outcome. As a historical matter, it is clear that objectivity has never been an indispensable characteristic of journalism.
Prosecutors and judges will have to put aside their subjective judgments about what constitutes journalism, and instead apply well-established constitutional principles to determine what protections, if any, the First Amendment affords Assange. And applied dispassionately -- without regard for one's personal feelings about Assange's actions -- those principles suggest he is entitled to whatever protections the First Amendment extends to his activities, just as if they had been undertaken by the New York Times.
And that leads us to Glenn Greenwald tying Wikileaks with this article by Dana Priest and William Arkin in the Washington Post about America's vast and growing serveillance state. I did not see word one about this reporting on the TV at all this past week. Although, I do know that Palin said something about desserts. Anyhoo....from the Post article:
The special operations units deployed overseas to kill the al-Qaeda leadership drove technological advances that are now expanding in use across the United States. On the front lines, those advances allowed the rapid fusing of biometric identification, captured computer records and cellphone numbers so troops could launch the next surprise raid. Here at home, it's the DHS that is enamored with collecting photos, video images and other personal information about U.S. residents in the hopes of teasing out terrorists.
At the same time that the FBI is expanding its West Virginia database, it is building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.
Greenwald says this about that and Wikileaks:
It's crystal clear that the Justice Department is engaged in an all-out crusade to figure out how to shut down WikiLeaks and imprison Julian Assange. It is subjecting Bradley Manning to unbelievably inhumane conditions in order to manipulate him into providing needed testimony to prosecute Assange. Recall that in 2008 -- long before anyone even knew what WikiLeaks was -- the Pentagon secretly plotted on how to destroy the organization.
That's the mindset of the U.S. Government: everything it does of any significance can and should be shielded from public view; anyone who shines light on what it does is an Enemy who must be destroyed; but nothing you do should be beyond its monitoring and storing eyes. And what's most remarkable about this -- though, given the full-scale bipartisan consensus over it, not surprising -- is how eagerly submissive much of the citizenry is to this imbalance. Many Americans plead with their Government in unison: we demand that you know everything about us but that you keep us ignorant about what you do and punish those who reveal it to us. Often, this kind of oppressive Surveillance State has to be forcibly imposed on a resistant citizenry, but much of the frightened American citizenry -- led by most transparency-hating media figures -- has been trained with an endless stream of fear-mongering to demand that they be subjected to more and more of it.
This March, 17 2010 NYTimes article reports on how Wikileaks leaked the the Pentagon's 2008 report on Wikileaks! :
To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.
The Pentagon assessed the danger WikiLeaks.org posed to the Army in a report marked "unauthorized disclosure subject to criminal sanctions." It concluded that "WikiLeaks.org represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC and INFOSEC threat to the U.S. Army" — or, in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information.
Greenwald adds this update to his article:
(1) Joe Biden not only voted for the Iraq War, but was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2002 as the Senate authorized that attack, one which resulted in the deaths of well over 100,000 innocent human beings and which was launched under the strategic banner of "Shock and Awe," designed explicitly to terrorize Iraqis out of resisting through the use of a massive display of urban devastation. Julian Assange has never authorized any violence, never killed anyone, never advocated killing anyone, and never threatened anyone's death. Yet the former can accuse the latter of being close to a "high-tech terrorist" without many people batting an eye -- illustrating, yet again, what a meaningless and manipulated term "Terrorism" is; to the extent it means anything, its definition is this: "those who impede or defy American will with any degree of efficacy."
So what else is new?
Bill Quigley Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights; Professor, Loyola New Orleans writes "Cover-ups, coups, and drones - A Holiday Sampler of What Wikileaks Reveals about the US" at the Huffingtonpost. Here is some:
The transparency, which Wikileaks has brought about, unveils many cover-ups of injustices in US relations with Honduras, Spain, Thailand, UK and Yemen over issues of torture at Guantanamo, civilian casualties from drones, and the war in Iraq.
US Government is Two Faced over Wikileaks
The US government has twisted itself into knots over Wikileaks. It routinely disregards the privacy of citizens while at the same time trying to avoid transparency for itself.
Gabor Rona. writes that:
By calling a guy who publishes classified documents a terrorist Biden dilutes the meaning of the term. By the same token, absent evidence that Assange somehow participated in the initial leak of classified documents, every news organization, web site and dinner conversationalist who publishes or cites these materials is also now a terrorist.
What's worse, this dilution diverts our attention from the task of fighting the true phenomenon that is terrorism.
On this point, I'd say you're either with us or against us, Mr. Vice-President. You could ask the boss to send a predator drone after Julian Assange (kinda like he jokingly threatened to do to any young whippersnapper who looks at his daughter the wrong way - ha, ha, ha).
Or you could retract if you truly respect the seriousness of what terrorism is, what its victims suffer, and that the way to fight it is through appeals to reason, not bluster.
Jefferey Smith keys us all into a particular cable:
"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU" [Emphasis added] --Recommendation by US Ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton.
WikiLeaked cables released over the weekend revealed more about the US' role as a global bully, trying to thrust unpopular genetically modified (GM) crops onto cautious governments and their citizens. In a 2007 cable from Craig Stapleton, then US Ambassador to France, he encouraged the US government to "reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list." A list, he added, that "causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility."
Doc in full
AlJazeera English Interview
It's about 22mins long and well worth it. Again, here is the exchange that I think is VERY important at about the 10min mark:
When the host asks Baruch Weiss, a former U.S. Government lawyer,
if leaking classified information is a crime in the United States, he says:
"I'm going to say it twice because noone will believe me the first time, but the answer is usually no. No.
There is no statute on the books in the United States that says 'Thou shalt not leak classified information.' There is no statute of that sort. Congress tried to pass one during the Clinton administration and Clinton Vetoed it and for a very good reason. And the good reason is, that in the United States there is a huge over-classification problem. There is a huge amount of material that should not be classified that is."
Rep. Conyers hearing on Wikileaks It's 3 hours long and worth it.
The basic links:
Dec 19 cables
Dec 20 cables
Unofficial Wikileaks information thread
Greg Mitchell at The Nation
Guardian cable page
Also from Greg Mitchell is this:
4:30 Alexi Mostrous of the Times of London tweets: "had long face-to-face interview with #assange today...says he has enough material to make bosses of a major US bank resign."
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
US Constitution Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
Near v. Minnesota
Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931), was a United States Supreme Court decision that recognized the freedom of the press by roundly rejecting prior restraints on publication, a principle that was applied to free speech generally in subsequent jurisprudence. The Court ruled that a Minnesota law that targeted publishers of "malicious" or "scandalous" newspapers violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (as applied through the Fourteenth Amendment). Legal scholar and columnist Anthony Lewis called Near the Court's "first great press case."
It was later a key precedent in New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), in which the Court ruled against the Nixon administration's attempt to enjoin publication of the Pentagon Papers.
New York Times Co. v. United States
New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), was a United States Supreme Court per curiam decision. The ruling made it possible for the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure.
President Richard Nixon had claimed executive authority to force the Times to suspend publication of classified information in its possession. The question before the court was whether the constitutional freedom of the press under the First Amendment was subordinate to a claimed Executive need to maintain the secrecy of information. The Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment did protect the New York Times' right to print said materials.
As Assange told Time: "It is not our goal to achieve a more transparent society; it's our goal to achieve a more just society."
Sorry if the informationthread yesterday was only about one subject. I only thought it appropriate to get some info out there about Manning.
Ok folks. Watch the video at the top. I know it's a few days old but, still tied with Double-Rainbow for best video of the year.
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