Author Topic: We Are All Enemies of the State  (Read 812 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline hermes.zoster

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 224
We Are All Enemies of the State
« on: November 19, 2012, 22:20:45 PM »

We Are All Enemies of the State
WikiLeaks and the War on the First Amendment
by Nozomi Hayase / November 19th, 2012

In 2010, a little known whistleblowing site came to public prominence with the release of a video called Collateral Murder. Since then, WikiLeaks has become a center of media attention, bringing issues of transparency and government secrecy to the world. Revelations of leaked material exposed corruption of institutions and governments and called out the illegitimacy of governments at a global scale. WikiLeaks provided vital information and engaged the public with the right to know. No one can deny their impact on society. After the birth of WikiLeaks, the world has changed.

By creatively using the platform of the globally connected Internet, WikiLeaks shook up the existing power structures. Their document releases and the controversies surrounding them brought up questions regarding the First Amendment, particularly what these basic human rights mean now in a global context. At the Hope 9 conference in New York, ACLU lawyer Catherine Crump pointed out how the WikiLeaks case revealed the need to reexamine national laws and the broader ramification of their interpretation in a digitized world. The borderless domain of the Internet opened a new horizon within societies that for decades have been governed by national laws and boundaries.

On the one hand, there are authoritarian and repressive governments such as those in China and Bahrain that suppress any form of dissent. Bahrain, a key US ally recently banned protesting and revoked the citizenship of 31 opposition activists for allegedly having ‘undermined state security.’ On the other side there are Western countries such as United States where speech freedom has traditionally been protected, though this distinction is fast fading. There has been a trend of using international laws and treaties to thwart and suppress the free flow of information between people globally. Many political leaders across the West pay lip service to such things as human rights and democracy with rhetoric like ‘humanitarian intervention‘, while actually serving the forces that work against basic human rights and justice.

These forces to control people are now being met by the impulse to create structures that protect the basic rights of free communication and association. The potential to harmonize laws and emerging principles of justice into unified values is being realized in various instances. The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) is a good example of people coming together to crowd-source progressive legislation from around the world in order to battle against threat of legal attacks on journalism. It is meant to create a safe haven for investigative journalists everywhere and safeguard media outlets with source protection. While Hollywood and the copyright industries attempt to exercise further control over digital communication through insidious censorship bills disguised as copyright law, grassroots activists and everyday people’s resistance continue to fight such efforts. Which direction the world will move -toward a more authoritarian or a more free society remains to be seen.

WikiLeaks is a transnational organization that was born within the stateless infrastructure of the Internet. It provides a platform for people to challenge structural laws that protect government abuses of individual rights. Julian Assange spoke about how in some ways WikiLeaks is bringing the First Amendment to the world. At a rally in Melbourne for Julian Assange, founding member of WikiLeaks Dan Mathews shared an idea that lived at the heart of the organization from the start:

“The people of this world are treated like mushrooms: Kept in the dark, and fed shit. Wikileaks is a fundamentally anti-mushroom organization…. Wikileaks proposed that the people reject their status as fungi – find out what their governments are doing, what corporations are doing, what the powerful are doing, what the 1% are doing.”

read more :