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Green Party: Attacks on Wikileaks threaten freedom of the press, enable government officials to commit crimes with impunity

Logo used by Wikileaks

Image via Wikipedia

Green Party leaders called the attacks on Wikileaks by the US government a direct and deliberate assault on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press.

“The war on Wikileaks may set a precedent for the treatment of journalists who expose government wrong-doing,” said Carl Romanelli of the Pennsylvania Green Party.  “While the US government has increasingly operated outside of US constitutional and international law, Wikileaks’ actions would not be called a crime in a free and open society.”

Greens expressed dismay and outrage over the decision of companies like Amazon, Pay Pal, MasterCard, and Visa, as well as several Internet hosting companies, to cooperate with US government demands for censorship.

Greens listed several reasons to defend Wikileaks: 

  • There is no proof that Wikileaks has broken the law, and no criminal charges have been filed.
  • Reporters and media organizations like Wikileaks that expose ‘top secret’ documents showing evidence of criminality deserve praise and support, not condemnation.  The Wikileaks cables revealed secret US military operations in Yemen that killed dozens of Yemenis (previously denied by Obama officials), orders from the US State Department for personnel to steal personal information from UN officials and human rights groups, manipulation of Britain’s Iraq inquiry to protect US interests, pressure from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah for the US to launch an attack on Iran, and many other examples of information that the American public and the world deserve to know.
  • Despite warnings that Wikileaks has endangered military personnel and individuals in Afghanistan working with the US, publication of the cables has resulted in no known deaths.  On the other hand, US operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen have caused the deaths of countless civilians.
  • The demand by politicians in the US and abroad for Julian Assange to be hunted down and executed, without due process, demonstrates why media organizations like Wikileaks are vitally necessary.  The Bush Administration authorized prolonged detention without due process, denial of habeas corpus, extraordinary rendition and torture, warrantless surveillance of US citizens, harassment of whistleblowers, and false justifications for war.  The Obama White House has maintained most of these policies and refuses to prosecute Bush officials who approved torture, including President Bush himself.  The Green Party supports the rule of constitutional law — as should every American — and therefore welcomes the Wikileaks revelations detailing official abuses of power.
  • The calls for legal action against Wikileaks, a small media organization, are cowardly and hypocritical, since no such calls have been made for legal action against The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and other major corporate media that have published the cables.  Furthermore, the published cables were redacted by Wikileaks to to protect innocent individuals.
  • In the context of recent attempts in Congress to undermine net neutrality and impose corporate and/or government control in the US over access to the Internet, the attempts to block public access to the Wikipedia logs represents a dangerous step towards censorship.

MORE INFORMATION

“Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths” By Julian Assange, The Australian, December 8, 2010 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/dont-shoot-messenger-for-revealing-uncomfortable-truths/story-fn775xjq-1225967241332
“Assange’s rights should be upheld: Brown” Quotes from Australian Senator and Greens leader Bob Brown, The Greens, December 6, 2010 http://greens.org.au/content/assanges-rights-should-be-upheld-brown

Glenn Greenwald’s coverage of Wikileaks and the media response in Salon.com http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

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