07 December 2010

The lawless Wild West attacks WikiLeaks

Under this heading Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, provides a summary of the various punishments meted out to Julian Assange and his organisation since the last batch of WikiLeaks began to be published.

He begins:

WikiLeaks has never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted for one or convicted of one.  A consensus of legal experts (see here) is that prosecuting the organisation or Julian Assange for any of its leaks would be difficult in the extreme.  Despite those facts, look at just some of the punishment that has been doled out to them and what has been threatened:

He goes on to present case after case: withdrawal of domain name, freezing of PayPal account, consideration by Australia of the withdrawal of Assange’s passport, freezing by a Swiss bank of Assange’s legal defence fund, Amazon shutting off access to its site, and so the list goes on.

Greenwald concludes:

People often have a hard time believing that the terms "authoritarian" and "tyranny" apply to their own government, but that's because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces.  The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and effectively challenge its authority:  do they act within the law or solely through the use of unconstrained force?

This is a first class piece, required reading for anyone interested in the WikiLeaks issue. Read it in full here.

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