Criminalizing Whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America’s SHIELD Legislation

Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD)

Criminalizing Whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America's SHIELD Legislation

On Dec. 2nd, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced a bill entitled the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD), effectively criminalizing whistleblowers. Yet over 1,200 websites now mirror WikiLeaks in what is clearly public support of such disclosures.

The next day, the Library of Congress confirmed that it blocked Wikileaks from its database, bluntly denying access by the Congressional Research Service. Not only is the public being prevented from viewing whatever Wikileaks has to say, but so are government researchers who advise Congress. 

Writing for the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood said, “if CRS is ‘Congress’s brain,’ then the new access restrictions could mean a partial lobotomy.”

Most of the suspicion over WikiLeaks results from how mainstream media used the latest data dump.  But is it fair to hold the whistleblower accountable for how corporate media uses his information? Is the gun maker responsible for murder by a gun owner?  The fact that the U.S. diplomatic cables were only sent to powerful mainstream news sources also raises suspicion, as well as all the attention founder Julian Assange has been given by them (in several interviews).

Upon reflection, the website, Signs of the Times, contends that we should defend Wikileaks and its flawed founder on the principle of defending the exposure of truth,  no matter the source.  In The Baby and the Bathwater – WikiLeaks and the Principle of Truth, SOTT warns that whether we like it or not:

“Assange is the spokesperson for an idea whose time has come, but the leaked material he is representing is not worth dying for. In short, Assange and the propaganda within the leaks are the bathwater, the public right to expose government corruption is the baby.”

A cited Guardian editorial raises an interesting notion: “[Wikileaks] represents the first really sustained confrontation between the established order and the culture of the internet. There have been skirmishes before, but this is the real thing.” In other words, WikiLeaks expands the dichotomy to a triad, allowing for a third point of view, from a source that uses tactics not limited to the internet. Is this not something a free press should defend?

Another Guardian piece in defense of WikiLeaks reminds us that:

“Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure.”

Certainly no one with integrity would describe the US government as accountable — it holds itself above the law and beyond moral stricture, while committing heinous acts of kidnapping and torture, wars of aggression, genocide and looting of pubic coffers.  Those within such power centers who do possess integrity have no recourse but to leak information. The quality of information (more on this below) released is less relevant than the effort to expose a psychopathic government.

In a recent interview, investigative journalist and filmmaker John Pilger noted, “Secrecy in government has become a plague…. They read our emails, why shouldn’t we read theirs?”

Another sticking point for many is Assange’s view that 911 truth is “nonsense.” SOTT responds with “we don’t agree that Assange should be required to be a 9-11 Truther to be an activist for Truth and Transparency in government.” Again, this allows for a third, alternative point of view — something all advocates of a free press should defend. How fundamentalist are we to demand that all must accept our take on 911 or be denied membership in the truth-telling club?

Admittedly, we should remain wary of anyone who buys the government version of what happened on 911, which defies the laws of physics according to independent experts. But can we agree that one does not have to be a 911 truther to be a truthteller in other realms?  The chauvinistic notion that to expose 911 truth will expose all other truths strains logic.  Just a few years ago, leaders in the election integrity movement urged everyone to go after Diebold, assuring us that once the giant was brought down all the other electronic voting companies would fall.  What happened is that Diebold went down and all the other e-voting companies picked up that business. We still have unverifiable e-voting today.  There is no single keystone in an empire with a myriad of bridges.

Fake Rape Charges

Another way these authoritarians seek to silence Wikileaks is the phony rape charge. Assange surrendered to London authorities yesterday. For the record, Assange has broken no laws in his home nation of Australia or in the U.S., notes Adelaide Now. Kirk Murphy at Fire Dog Lake clarifies how Julian’s honey-trap is a CIA asset.

Citing the tweets of one of her accusers, Anna Ardin, Assange lawyer James Catlin, who represented him in October, revealed that she continued to see Assange after they had glove-free sex. Later, on August 20th, Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén went to the Klara police station in Stockholm to see about forcing him to submit to STD/HIV tests.  In Sweden, natural sex and having multiple partners are apparently crimes. Today, Catlin asks why the Swedish prosecution still hasn’t provided some of “the most powerful exculpatory evidence” in the case. That comprises those tweets which were later deleted, translated at Radsoft:

 Crimes Documented by Wikileaks

What no one denies is that: 

* Leading political figures like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, ex-Pentagon official KT McFarland and Canada’s Tom Flanagan have called for the assassination of Julian

Assange;

 * At least one Member of Congress want his site to be deemed a “foreign terrorist organization“;

 * Elites have engaged in cyberwarfare to silence him, shutting down his site via denial of service attacks, leaning on Amazon to stop hosting him, and blocking access to his PayPal funds;

 * They have even gone so far as to forbid government and non government employees, as well as private students, from accessing his site; and

 * They preclude internal investigation and analysis with the Library of Congress blocking access to Wikileaks.

If the latest data dump is so irrelevant, and “not worth dying for,” why do elites seek to kill the messenger?  Why have they taken so many steps to block access to the information he posts?  Even more importantly, why have they blocked their own researchers from having access to the site? Clearly, they recognize that if there is one government insider willing to leak information, there are more.

That over 1,200 mirror sites now host Wikileaks reveals strong support for whatever Wikileaks wants to reveal. The actions taken and threats issued by the US government against WikiLeaks rise far beyond political theatre. It sincerely wants to stem this flow of information. It was already moving in this direction with the illegal shut down of over 80 domains and with entertaining COICA, the bill to create an internet blacklist. Of course, the SHIELD Act furthers elite aims of total information control.

Congressman Ron Paul also defends WikiLeaks: “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.”

In defending the quality of information released, one commenter harshly confronts the notion that the latest release is irrelevant, listing several actionable crimes confirmed by the release: 

“The only people who say ‘they revealed nothing new that wasn’t already known or well suspected’ are the stupid dipshits who are commenting on the cables without reading them. Also, even the stuff that WAS well known now has official confirmation- meaning that it can now be used in court against those responsible. 

“Cables from the Saudi embassy indicate that the Saudis are attempting to gain access to government backchannels so they can make use of the US’s military in order to handle Iran.

 “The US has been violating international law by spying on UN officials. 

“The Chinese Poliburo (instead of petty hackers) directed the intrusion into Google’s gmail systems, something which all gmail users needed to know. As a gmail user, I was under attack by a foreign power and my government didn’t tell me.

 “The US is unwisely continuing to give our tax dollars to Afghani officials who, the cables reveal, are smuggling it out of Afghanistan in suitcases.

 “The US is still doing business with Saudi businessmen who turn around and use the money to finance militants. 

“We are bombing Yemen without congressional approval. The War Powers act does not legitimize such action after 90 days. 

“Details about US black planes from UK airbases. These unmarked missions have traditionally been used for extraordinary rendition to Syria for torture. 

“Details about plans to deceive the British parliament over the use of banned US weapons.

 “Obama killed the Bush torture probe.”

To this we can add cable confirmation that AFRICOM, representing U.S. interests in Africa, has been gathering intelligence to advance the use of genetically modified foods and agrofuels in Africa.  U.S. tax dollars are thus being used to promote a corporate agenda: GMOs and biofuels. (To search the cables, see http://cablesearch.org/)

How is this information irrelevant or meaningless?

The video released in April of US soldiers killing unarmed civilians (including two Reuters journalists), while they laughed about it, vastly impacted the public’s perception of the US presence in the Middle East. To discount this because mainstream media massaged the latest release to support war on Iran is to ignore that mainstream media always serves elite aims.

Instead it appears that Wikileaks opponents unwittingly join elite aims to kill the messenger. Those who cherish free speech and a free press need to defend Wikileaks and its founder.


Articles by: Rady Ananda

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