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Wikileaks is serving Democracy

Dec 3 note: More links are being added at the end of this post. The Guardian UK has some excellent coverage, both in reporting on the cables and in followup articles.

Dec 3 note: The Library of Congress has today blocked access to WikiLeaks. So much for freedom of information there. Indeed, the United States is starting to follow the lead of China by setting up firewalls to prevent U.S. citizens from accessing foreign websites that have news and information. Actually, I saw this six years ago when the Abu Gahraib prison torture scandals hit the U.S. military in Iraq. Huffington Post has finally today posted up a link to the WikiLeaks website. We are six days into this. Better late than never. Guess they finally found the courage.

Dec 3 - note: The Guardian UK has an interview today with Julian Assange. Very informative. He says they used the Amazon servers to test Amazon's supposed commitment to free speech. Amazon, of course, quickly deleted the WikiLeaks site when the U.S. government suggested they should. See Guardian link below this article.

Dec 3 note: Wikileaks has opened a new website in Switzerland. wikileaks.ch The ch stands for "Confederation Helvetica," the latin name for Swiss Confederation. The old address of wikileaks.org was bullied off-line by the U.S. Feds over the past couple days. WikiLeaks continues to post new U.S. State Department cables. And inform us of what our government has been up to in foreign affairs these past 20 years. And allow us to learn how our government has really been acting overseas in our name. We as voters need to know so we can vote intelligently.

Now let's see if our U.S. government will follow China, with its great firewall, and block our access to WikiLeaks.

Note 10 pm Dec 2: WikiLeaks has been knocked down by wimp U.S. Internet services - to wit, Tableau and everydns.net. Tableau because Sen. Lieberman asked them to, and everydns because WikiLeaks was under too many attacks. And so for tonight there is no WikiLeaks site. And this is how tyrants destroy freedom. One piece at a time.

Added Dec 2: By the way, I've not heard anything about this on NPR. Has anyone?

Added note - Dec 2: In England, the Guardian - a major London newspaper - has a link to WikiLeaks. It is at the bottom of a page and not obvious, but it does exist. Most interesting is the Guardian - and apparently other European news media - are actually explaining the leaked U.S. cables. Our American media, including Huffington Post and TPM, are just making a circus of the reactions and playing a game of "Where is Julian?" Little substantial coverage of the content of the cables. Sad. Am adding a link below this article to the Guardian.

Another interesting item to note: Most news media you have seen or read have said WikiLeaks released 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Not true. WikiLeaks has posted about 611 cables - and intends to post all 250,000 over the next six months. Our news media cannot get very much about this story right. WikiLeaks did give all 250k to four European news outfits, on the condition they release them only after WikiLeaks has. But our American media do not report it that way. Meanwhile, our U.S. government, under Obama, is on a huge campaign to shut down all servers aiding WikiLeaks. Remeber when the Soviet Union always tried to block the Voice of America and we felt so good because we lived in the Land of the Free?

Added note - Dec 2: I cannot find a link to WikiLeaks.org on any other website. None at Huffington Post, NY Times, or Washington Post. James Fallows comments in two posts about Wikileaks, but has no link to the site. If anyone knows of news sites with links, could you let us know? Are the Feds pressuring news media to not post links and the news media are not telling us? Just asking.

I support WikiLeaks. I support the release of government documents by WikiLeaks. I believe that in a democracy - in a Democratic Republic - in a Republican form of Democracy - we citizens need to know what our government is doing so we can vote intelligently. I have donated to WikiLeaks via a credit card at the WikiLeaks website. I support the defense fund for Julian Assange. I have posted a link to WikiLeaks in the right side column. I have downloaded and read several of the government documents on WikiLeaks. I am commenting here about it all.



Having posted the above statements, I am now open to prosecution by the U.S. government. If I were a student posting that, I could be barred for life from working for the U.S. government, or even working for a contractor who deals with the government. Even though the New York Times has published this information on its front page and inside pages, any citizen is now at risk for even talking about this. Even visiting the WikiLeaks website.



Want evidence for the above stuff? Check the first link below this article for a post by respected Atlantic columnist James Fallows. The government pressured Amazon to stop hosting WikiLeaks today and Amazon fell all over itself to comply. I will not be buying anything more from Amazon - perhaps ever. I don't like economic boycotts in general, but we are now fighting for democracy. 



You know, up till today I was going to ignore this issue on NWCitizen. It was a national issue and enough national voices are weighing in. This website is primarily for local issues. But seeing the dramatic escalation of oppressive steps the Obama administration has taken today, I feel all of us need to stand up and speak out. Our federal government is truly stepping into the zone of activities that the oppressive dictatorships of the 20th century used. Hello.



Some or many readers may strongly disagree with me. Posting this may hurt my hope of getting more advertising on this site. I may go through a hellish experience next time I drive to the Canadian border to visit Vancouver, or fly to visit a friend. They now keep files on all of us. But we need to speak out. What is truly amazing is how strongly many of us supported and voted for Obama, thinking we would then avoid the increasing oppression under the Bush administration. Fooled us. Fooled me.



If you run a blog or website, I urge you to also post on this. If enough citizens speak up and object, maybe we can stop this madness. If only a few of us do then they will make examples of us. I have already been warned by friends I should not do this as I may suffer federal consequences.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Tip Johnson

Dec 02, 2010

Gee, I guess I should just say that I have no comment at this time.  ;-)

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Craig Mayberry

Dec 02, 2010

I am not a big fan of the ends justify the means and although Wikileaks desire to ensure transparency is admirable, the tactics do not make it right.  In saying that however, I spend a lot of time teaching college students about business ethics and the most important point I make during the quarter is the importance of transparency.  If a business is not transparent it does not mean they are unethical, but there is a lot higher chance of unethical behavior occurring.  Adrian Cadbury was a highly regarded CEO of Cadbury and his ethical view was that if you would not be comfortable with something being reported in the Wall Street Journal then you should not do it.  This applies to government as well.  When you hide behind classified documents as an excuse to not be transparent then you should not be surprised when some really stupid stuff happens that is not ethical.  It would be wonderful if our government at the local, state and national level used the same philosophy as Cadbury’s.

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Todd Granger

Dec 03, 2010

Warren Buffet style, his ethics page!

??I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper ? to be read by their spouses, children and friends ? with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter.?

Thomas Jefferson style, to James Monroe!
“...by publishing in their papers the naked truth always, whether favorable or unfavorable. For they will believe the good, if we candidly tell them the bad also.”

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Paul deArmond

Dec 04, 2010

It seems inevitable, but here it is.  Get it before it’s taken down…

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Elisabeth Britt

Dec 04, 2010

Interesting post. I’ll be watching for updates.
Elisabeth

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Ham Hayes

Dec 05, 2010

I must admit to mixed feelings on the behavior of WikiLeaks.  On the one hand, I am an advocate for transparency in government.  On the other hand, I object to the unauthorized publication of information without due process.  WikiLeaks has stepped into the space once held by some, if not all, emperors, dictators and demagogues.  That is they have self-determined themselves to be the arbiters of legality and morality.  I?m not sure that the rest of us have had a say on that self-enrobed authority. 

Their doomsday ploy is interesting.  They have indicated that some of the files they might release include files from Bank of America.  So what is in those files?  My account information perhaps? Who knows?  But by what right does Mr. Assange have to provide that information to the world?  I argue that he has none and in fact he would be committing a criminal act if he does release it. 

We are in an interesting age.  Governments can and do collect massive amounts of information about all of us.  In a democracy, we have some chance of limiting abuse of that information.  In a non-democracy, the citizen has no chance.  One good thing this experience has shown us is how vulnerable that information really is.  Interestingly, many people have also voluntarily put private personal information into the open websphere.  The result is even more exposure and further degeneration of our cultural concept of privacy.  Voluntarily or involuntarily, we are all becoming the ?emperor who has no clothes.?  Are we ready for that?

At one and the same time, WikiLeaks may have done us service (exposing those vulnerabilities) and a disservice (unnecessarily exposing information that will cause harm).  Only time will tell the balance between the two, but right now I think their arrogance has and will produce more negative than positive.  Sorry Mr. Assange, I don?t support your authority as the judge of my welfare.  However imperfect it may be, I participate in an electoral form of government and that?s the way I prefer to keep it.

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Elisabeth Britt

Dec 05, 2010

John,
FYI:
U.S. Government orders Federal Workers and Contractors not to read WikiLeaks cables.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/world/05restrict.html?hp

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Todd Granger

Dec 05, 2010

But in a republic, democracy in speech has been clearly ruled illegal. Shown best with Justice Stevens for the majority.

Citizen United v. FEC

When word concerning the plot of the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington reached the circles of Government, some officials sought, by persuasion, to discourage its distribution. See Smoodin, ?Compulsory? Viewing for Every Citizen: Mr. Smith and the Rhetoric of Reception, 35 Cinema Journal 3, 19, and n. 52 (Winter 1996) (citing Mr. Smith Riles Washington, Time, Oct. 30, 1939, p. 49); Nugent, Capra?s Capitol Offense, N. Y. Times, Oct. 29, 1939, p. X5. Under Austin , though, officials could have done more than discourage its distribution?they could have banned the film. After all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force.

    Modern day movies, television comedies, or skits on Youtube.com might portray public officials or public policies in unflattering ways. Yet if a covered transmission during the blackout period creates the background for candidate endorsement or opposition, a felony occurs solely because a corporation, other than an exempt media corporation, has made the ?purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value? in order to engage in political speech. 2 U. S. C. ?431(9)(A)(i). Speech would be suppressed in the realm where its necessity is most evident: in the public dialogue preceding a real election. Governments are often hostile to speech, but under our law and our tradition it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime. Yet this is the statute?s purpose and design.

    Some members of the public might consider Hillary to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to be neither high art nor a fair discussion on how to set the Nation?s course; still others simply might suspend judgment on these points but decide to think more about issues and candidates. Those choices and assessments, however, are not for the Government to make. ?The First Amendment underwrites the freedom to experiment and to create in the realm of thought and speech. Citizens must be free to use new forms, and new forums, for the expression of ideas. The civic discourse belongs to the people, and the Government may not prescribe the means used to conduct it.? McConnell , supra , at 341 (opinion of Kennedy, J. ).   

    The judgment of the District Court is reversed with respect to the constitutionality of 2 U. S. C. ?441b?s restrictions on corporate independent expenditures. The judgment is affirmed with respect to BCRA?s disclaimer and disclosure requirements. The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

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James J Johann

Dec 06, 2010

The human race has had a several thousand year history of SECRET diplomatic relations so that the powers that be can work their magic towards trade, war, peace, etc.

Interestingly, none of the secret negotiations have led to peace and justice.

Perhaps it is time to open up all negotiations and dispatches between states for the hoi polloi to see.  Could humanity be served any worse than it has already been?

James J. Johann

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David Camp

Dec 06, 2010

John, Thanks for posting this and providing a local forum for discussion.

A couple of points:
BU law school (as you note) has warned its students not to publically support Wikileaks nor to link to it, since doing so will permanently deny them the opportunity for US government service jobs. I think you attacked the wrong target in this - BU is serving its students by informing them of the consequences of their actions. They would be negligent in not doing so.

That the United States government is using such threats to deny its citizens information on what it’s up to is the problem. I consider it yet another offence against the Constitution. It stands to reason that an illegitimate government will do all it can to ensure its citizens don’t figure out it’s illegitimate. Now maybe more people will figure out what evil is being done in their name.

The again, maybe not. Consider what Ham Hayes wrote in his post - he alleges that Wikileaks release “will cause harm” - without evidence of any harm actually occurring nor any noting of what kind of harm he’s talking about. This is exactly the kind of unsubstantiated assertion the corporate media has been pumping out. And fooling a lot of people, apparently, just as it fooled a lot of people with government misinformation and disinformation in the sales job on the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

I think Julian Assange is a very courageous person and Wikileaks is doing a valuable job exposing the nasty things our government is up to in our name. And I think it’s telling that our government doesn;t want us to be informed and will threaten us in order to stop us from informing ourselves.

DO we really want to become like China? Do we want to allow our government’s corporate owners to reduce our status from citizen to serf? This is, IMHO, what is really going on.

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Todd Granger

Dec 06, 2010

John Adams, had a little incident, known best at the XYZ secret affair, and the French bribes for Tallyrand. Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Mr. Z, later revealed as Jean Conrad Hottinguer, Pierre Bellamy and Lucien Hauteval.

Welcome to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798?

“I discharged every person under punishment or prosecution under the Sedition Law, because I considerded & now consider that law to be a nullity as absolute and as palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship a golden image; and that it was as much my duty to arrest its execution in every stage, as it would have been to have rescued from the fiery furnace those who sholud be cast into it for refusing to worship their image.”
Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804.

“Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”
Benjamin Franklin

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Todd Granger

Dec 07, 2010

Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead?

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

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