By Colin Marston ’13
U.S. government overreacts to Wikileaks, jeopardizing freedom of speech
Imagine a world where Wikileaks poses a dire threat to the United States federal government and needs to be brought down.
Imagine the results have been dramatic: abuses have been exposed and this is uncalled for.
In this make believe world the people of the United States cannot know what its government is committing and I’m calling for the immediate arraignment of Julian Assange, the head of the group, at any cost.
Illegal if needs be.
We could possibly ship him down to one of our black sites in Eastern Europe. That could work.
I hear Cheney’s wanting some retirement fulfillment.
Sure I’m only kidding, but I fear this dramatic over reaction is a very feasible possibility in today’s convoluted political climate.
The release of more than 200,000 diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department by the whistle-blower group Wikileaks in December shed light on some of the most important geo-political events occurring around the world: the vulnerability of Pakistan, the concern over an Iranian nuclear program, Afghani corruption, etc.
But the most important factor to look at is the U.S. government’s reaction as its mechanisms of global control are exposed to its populace and the international community.
It has launched a full assault onto Wikileaks and the ideas of global transparency that the organization enshrines ever since reports of the diplomatic cables were published in the New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel.
There has been talk of Julian Assange, the head of the group, being tried under the Espionage Act, and several leading commentators and politicians have called for the immediate capture of Assange.
The supposed source of the leaked information, former private Bradley Manning, has been under solitary confinement since July at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, according to a January 14, 2011 New York Times article, “Accused Soldier Stays in Brig As Wikileaks Link Is Sought.”
Many, including the group Psychologists for Social Responsibility, have considered his solitary confinement of more than five months, forced lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation as equating to psychological torture.
The suppression of Wikileaks, the censoring of a free flow of information, and the persecution of individuals responsible for informing the public have grave consequences for the future of civil discourse and civil liberties in the United States.
Assange is currently facing rape allegations in Sweden, which is an issue for the Swedish legal system.
But if Assange is prosecuted in the United States for his connection to Wikileaks, it will set a precedent for any reporter or publication releasing classified information to be open for prosecution.
Under the misnomer of terrorism, the United States government is stealthily waging a war against dissent, and it’s on multiple fronts.
In an event that has got shockingly small mainstream media coverage, on Sept. 24, 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of seven anti-war activists and an anti-war office, issuing subpoenas, forcing these 14 activists to appear before a grand jury, according to the article “Terrorist by Association” in the January 2011 issue of In These Times.
Since the initial event, the number has swelled to two dozen activists in cities across the country.
The freedom of the press is an essential right in this country, and it is under sustained attack.
Use your voice to change it.