"So, how does freedom of speech apply when EVERYONE is dead in a nuclear war?
Explain that to me. Do you have freedom of speech when everyone is dead?
You fools don't know what you are playing with..."
Do not fear, free press, asserting your power against the the government and the corporate powers that be!
Their actions just show they fear the education and illumination of the masses. They have a vested interest in keeping opinions in check, as without such control, the government and corporate powers simply fear their arbitrary claims to power will somehow be diminished. You see, it is through the enlightenment of the people, that their power could be destroyed.
The free press (those without vested interest in the advertisers they serve) directly challenges a government's justification for their behavior in one arena or another. Here, it is the government who obviously is fearful. This is an information revolution of sorts, it is not a war in the militaristic sense of the word.... so
Do not fear... it is the paradox of one generation, that becomes common in the next. This is a new order of freedom of information. Never before has information been so widely available. There are no longer the borders or physical boundaries limiting the power of the free press to allow people access to information and opinion garnered from so many possible sources.
Clearly, people who chose to act in direct contradiction to the powers that be must greatly consider whether or not to tell the truth however important it is to the greater good. It is going to be fear that restrains the common man to stand up against political power. The power brokers (including corporations) fear the common man's ability to destroy this power of restraint.
No. These people, including Assange, are no fools playing a game, they are the representatives of a greater movement enforcing our civil right to choose how to be governed and who we choose to be governed by.
Understood. But international human rights law may apply. The Universal Declaration of Human rights Article 19 reads:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
So arguably, Visa and MCs refusal make cardholder's transactions to an organization promoting free speech such as Wikileaks, is a violation of world people's universal right to freedom of expression. Who knew VIsa and MC were violating my universal human rights? Bastards.
Its interesting. Visa and MC are international players and Wikileaks is arguably and international organization. And the US is involved as they put pressure on Visa and MC to shut of the flow of $ to Wikileaks. Very very interesting.
"If I as a private citizen, travel to Thailand to have sex with minors (boys or girls) the US govt. will arrest me when I get back. I guess companies that actually facilitate this in Afghanistan are exempt?"
Whoa. Slow your roll.
No. Thats actually not true. Thailand can arrest you. But the crime is out of the US's jurisdiction. That's why they don't arrest every US citizen who flies in from a vacation in Amsterdam or Jamaica smelling of weed...
As far as the second point, I am not sure where you got the impression that I support the "pimping out of children". All responsible parties should be held accountable, and I have stated that. I am simply looking at this from a critical, rather than emotional perspective.
When I use the word "document" I am referring to the information itself, compiled the way it is in whatever format, not necessarily something tangible.
So ..."They've put out a demand that Wikileaks "return" the remaining diplomatic cables in its possession".....
Just pointing out that this is merely a legal formality to set up a case against Assange. They have put it in writing that they think this information could harm or injure the US and they have asked for it back. That is in preparation for a case. Wikileaks actually "returning" the cables is impossible and I am sure the government knows it.
This letter serves not only as the basis for a case against Assange, but also a warning. Read between the lines.... What the government is really saying is "Don't release anymore cables, asshole".
That is exactly what it is. The Espionage Act makes it a crime to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation"....and also makes it a felony to fail to return said documents. The request was a formality.
So, if its a crime to "possess or transmit" said docs, how many people could get screwed here? If they only go after Assange is that selective prosecution?
I am shocked that the State Bar would allow such a practice. It seems very unethical to have a private attorney (subcontracting for a public entity) benefit in such a way as to be able to keep a portion of "what they win in court". Lawyers have rules of professional conduct to follow, and those rules likely address the issue of an attorney receiving a financial benefit from a client other than the standard fees for working upon the case. Someone should raise the issue with the state bar.
As far as the seizure of intangible assets such as domain names, the fact that the asset is not physical does not make it valueless, however its value is unquestionably difficult to determine. The legal question is whether the seizure was constitutionality proper and if not, what is just compensation? If the government can prove that the domain name was being used to promote or engage in illegal activity, well then, they can take it (despite its intangibility) and keep it and do whatever they want with it. If one challenges the seizure, and wins, well they are supposed to give it back or compensate you for it. Problem is, most people can't afford to challenge such seizures and if they win, they government will likely argue the domain name has little or no value, thus no damages.
Maybe not. Libel is defaming or falsely attacking a person or organization (depending on the state) in a permanent medium (like writing) for mass viewership. The truth, opinions or criticism based on how a person who is a voluntary public figure, or privilege (like court testimony or legislative speeches) are all defenses to libel.
If Assange is charged and convicted of a crime, even subsequent to the statement, well then the truth could be MCs defense. Also, it is hard to argue that Assange/Wikileaks would not be considered a person/organization that has voluntarily put themselves out to the public. Could such a statement as "engaging in illegal activity" be considered an opinion? A legal conclusion? A fair criticism by a non-attorney?
The fact that MC failed to name the crime does not matter. It could still not be a libelous statement. Non-lawyers who speak critically about organizations that put themselves voluntarily out there, need not have accurately named the crime before any charging documents have been filed to have a defense against libel for a statement that after the fact turns out to be true. I am sure MC has many lawyers reviewing any public statements regarding this issue.
Many countries, not just the US are talking of charging Assange with a crime, not to mention, he is awaiting extradition to Sweden for a (likely bogus) crime. MC is considering Assange and Wikileaks as one in the same.
I don't believe this is a due process issue, as MC as a private business has the right to engage in business activity with whomever or whichever entity they please.
Free speech and freedom of the press have their limitations when it comes to the "protection of vital national security interests". I suppose the US may charge Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act which makes it a crime for an "unauthorized person" to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."
I hate to say it but Assange has an uphill battle. He's screwed. He has pissed off one to many foreign governments for them to let this one go. Ugh.
At least the debate will continue, because it is an important one.
The government is promoting order, because they fear chaos and lack of control. They are setting an example of Assange so people think twice before they release "sensitive" information to the general public. The Library of Congress is simply stepping in line with the government's plan of (re)action to this crisis of control. I am sure they are fully aware that their "blocking" access, will have little practical effect.
Despite all the fear mongoring, perhaps this shall serve to reinforce principles of free speech in the US, rather than erode them.
On a pratical level, should we expect anything less from our government than to try to regain control and some level of secrecy? If the US to simply "be cool" with the release of sensitive information, well then, EVERYBODY would be doing it.
No. They have to take a stand, and they'll figure out the constitutional questions later.
Remember, free speech does have limitations, and the US is wise to attempt to enforce such limits, for the sake of order and keeping people's faith in the government.
But laws are truly only as strong as the people who choose to follow them. Those who enforce the laws are much less by sheer number than those who choose to exist within the system of law and order. What is there to fear? The power shall always lie with the people.
As far as pending" criminal charges (none I am aware of in the US so far but....)
From an interview NOV. 28 2010 with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini....
He claims, that “Wikileaks has committed crimes against our national interests”.
When asked..., "Do you mean that Italy too should be opening criminal proceedings against Assange and Wikileaks?"
“I think the judiciary should be seriously weighing up that possibility. As a lawyer myself, I can tell you that a crime has been committed. But there’s another consideration as regards Wikileaks: the secret services have got nothing to do with this. Here we’re talking about Embassy cables that American diplomats throughout the world send back to Washington. It’s what embassies do. I get tens of reports from Italian ambassadors every day. You see, one of the pillars of diplomacy is that confidentiality must be guaranteed. Otherwise, it could no longer act as an instrument to address and resolve disputes, engage in dialogue with adversaries or express criticisms, even on the work of our friends. Transparency doesn’t come into it”.
(He also claims that "The director of Wikileaks is under trial in at least 10 countries and is on the ‘wanted’ list.") Just FYI...
I agree. Wikileaks is supposedly an organization "dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public", dedicated to increasing transparency. Now Mr. Assange says he has the equivalent of a dirty bomb that he will release if anything happens to him or Wikileaks. Hmmm.
It is not quite extortion, which is "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right." 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).
Now, I am sure that governments have tried to extort Assange, but I would argue in this case, Mr. Assange is simply trying to protect himself and Wikileaks, but frankly, its not a very strong negotiating position.
Its simply hypocritical of Mr. Assange to take such a position. And he really has no choice now but to release the "insurance file" eventually. Say nothing happens to him or Wikileaks.... Is he going to withhold the "insurance file" from the public forever? Well then...that's not right. The cat's out of the bag. People know Assange has something damming, and people won't forget it.
It makes Assange look just as bad as the corporations and governments he is exposing. He is keeping secrets for the best interest of .... (In this case, himself.)
Regarding Paypal, who cares? I hate PayPal. This is probably just another money-driven business decision, and may have nothing to do with them "responding to the pressure of the government". I bet PayPal received some memo from some government lawyer, citing all sorts of legalese as to why Paypal cannot engage in business with Wikileaks. Paypal probably simply decided the $ wasn't worth it compared to the cost. They probably don't really give a crap about Assange, and who knows? Perhaps Assange has some info to expose about Paypal?
The problem is that weapons or explosives technology keeps changing, and "in light of current technology" the ability to detect the presence of weapons or explosives thereby keeps changing as well, evolving.... thus the "constitutionality" of any of this stuff is bound to reflect the changing nature of the threat. Its a changing standard.
The conservatism or liberalism of the court to hear the case will ultimately be the deciding factor regarding the legality or illegality of the searches, not some previous appeals court holding. (Like.... Corporations now have free speech (constitutional) rights!)
In light of the apparent power of Wikileaks to bring a superpower to shame, I would imagine we are bound for more intrusion, not less. So....I'm gearing up for more feelin' up! A natural reaction to one extreme (complete disclosure) is a ratcheting up of governmental secrecy and protection. Thus the pendulum swings....