Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WikiLeaks Updates And UN To Investigate Bradley Manning Treatment!

WikiLeaks Updates And UN To Investigate Bradley Manning Treatment!

Broad Coalition Calls on U.S. Government Officials to Protect Free Speech

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations sent an open letter to U.S. lawmakers today, calling on government officials to respect freedom of expression in the debate over the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.

In the wake of Wikileaks' recent publications of U.S. diplomatic cables, some lawmakers have attacked newspapers' rights to report on the information in those documents. Other government officials have cast doubt on Americans' right to download, read, or discuss documents published by Wikileaks and even the news reporting based on those documents. 

Rash legislation was proposed that could limit the free speech of news reporting organizations well beyond Wikileaks. In the open letter sent Wednesday, 30 groups urged lawmakers to remember and respect constitutional rights as Congress continues to discuss the issues at stake.

"By likening publishers and reporters to spies and cyber-terrorists, some government officials have irresponsibly created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty leading many to question their rights to publish, read and discuss the Wikileaks cables," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "But American law is well settled on these issues: the First Amendment strongly protects publishers' right to distribute truthful political information, and Internet users have a fundamental right to read and debate it."

In a congressional hearing about Wikileaks last week, all seven witnesses to the House Judiciary Committee cautioned against attempts to suppress free speech and criticized the overwhelming secrecy that permeates the U.S. government. The coalition joining the open letter today similarly called for caution against any new laws that could weaken the principles of free expression that are vital to our democracy.

"In a free country, the government cannot and does not have unlimited power to determine what publishers can publish and what the public can read," said EFF Activist Rainey Reitman. "We encourage a robust public debate about Wikileaks and the secret government documents, but lawmakers must protect the rights of all involved."

Join EFF in standing up against Internet censorship:

Marcia Hofmann
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Rainey Reitman
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Related Issues: Free Speech

According to a report today in Norway's top business publication, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has managed to get a hold of the entire "Cablegate" database of some 250,000 diplomatic cables—Wikileaks has not granted any news organization this access, and has instead been providing access to relatively small batches, one at a time (what the Herald Sun calls "drip-feeding").

 How did Aftenposten get access? They won't say, and Wikileaks won't either, but one guess could involve the database being stored on a server within Norway. Snip:

Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told Dagens Naerings: "We're free to do what we want with these documents ... We're free to publish the documents or not publish the documents, we can publish on the internet or on paper. We are handling these documents just like all other journalistic material to which we have gained access."

Around 20 Aftenposten journalists are sifting through the file dump. The news articles are written in Norwegian, which may restrict their immediate impact in the English-speaking media world .. for a time at least.

United Nations Investigates Manning Detention

Wikileaks: Imperial Precedent

Similar to the British in 1917, the United States government talks of a new international politics, of a commitment to openness, freedom, and the greater good. But at the same time, realpolitik and old-fashioned assessments of the national interest continue to rule the roost in Washington. This national interest may (eventually) have positive outcomes that fit with the rhetoric, such as serious peace negotiations in Israel/Palestine. But it will also lead to the backing of authoritarian and corrupt regimes when it is thought to be expedient, and an ongoing effort to shape the political landscape wherever it has the will and the way.

The leaks are doing a good job of chipping away at the thin veneer of the Obama administration’s public image. But they only reveal what is already plain to see in the actions of the United States in the middle east and elsewhere. The real threat to US power in the long-term is not the freedom of Julian Assange; it is the stubborn attempt to conduct foreign policy as if we still lived in the 19th century world of imperialism and great power politics. As the British started to discover ninety years ago, those days are over. 

WTF? OMG, LOL! CIA Gives Wikileaks Taskforce Naughty Name

John Pilger - The War You Don't See

By Rob Kall
a wide ranging conversation between whistleblower hero who released the pentagon papers over 40 years ago, Daniel Ellsberg, Rob Kall and Cheryl Biren, discussing wikileaks, Assange and Manning, his recent 80th arrest with 130 Veterans for peace, civil disobedience, protest, Obama...

The federal government, under the phony auspices of anti-terrorism, is vacuuming up untold quantities of data on citizens in this country. All in the name of keeping us "safe".

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