Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WikiLeaks - One Government to Censor Us All



PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1  
You have to admire how well our government can function when they have a singular purpose, one clear goal, and are determined to work together to achieve success.  In order to see the full picture of  the U.S. government as a well-oiled machine, we only have to put together five stories from the past 24-hour news cycle.  Our first story begins with those pesky Republicans. 


Encouraged by their recent mid-term election success, the Republicans have been beating their elephant chests with pride. Not only will they clog Obama's wheel of change, they will spin it backwards, to the point where it started, which would be.....um, the collapse of our banking system and the beginning of the great recession.  


Here is their chance to be true mavericks. Will they praise Julian Assange for bringing transparency back into our governement, for using the free market system to reveal our secrets-on classified stamped memos, and for embarrassing the pants off of President Barak Obama? Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave us a hint of his party's stance.  
I think the man is a high-tech terrorist,” Senator McConnell stated when asked about WikiLeaks by host David Gregory, “He’s (Assange) done an enormous… He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the, the fullest extent of the law; and if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law. I think it’s done enormous damage to our country and, and to our relationships with our allies around the world.”    
I think to change that particular law, we would need a constitutional convention, Senator.   Here is a video of the interview.  I swear on my mother’s tiger-eye jewelry I did not manipulate the video in any way.







Not to be outdone, the democrats sent  Attorney General Eric Holder out to meet with the press and express his determination to hold Mr. Assange accountable in some vague way.  According to the article written by Voice of America’s Jim Malone, Mr. Holder condemned, in strongest terms possible, WikiLeak’s publication of classified diplomatic cables. 


Photo:AP
When asked by reporters on the type of action he intended to take, Mr. Holder said, 
"With regard to all the tactics that we can do or can use to ameliorate the consequences of these actions, I do not want to get into those as well," he added.  "But we will do everything that we can both to hold people accountable and to minimize the harm that will befall the American people."


Dance, little puppet dance!  Frankly, we will have to accept this as a typical kinda-sorta democratic response that fully supports the capture and crucifixion of Julian Assange. Democrats just don't know how to be strong, forceful, and determined. They just don't want to offend anyone.  But no worries.  As soon as Senator McConnell gets a new law passed that extends our legal boundaries into every other country in the world,  we can hang that bad boy, Osama Bin Laden Julian Assange.


Our third story originates at the State Department, the TMZ of our government services.  An overzealous State Department employee warned Columbia University officials that students who want to have a career at the State Department should censor themselves from participating in anything resembling WikiLeaks.  As reported by Digital trends reporter Molly McHugh,  students were warned in an email that said, well...read it yourself:




From: “Office of Career Services”
Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 EST:
Hi students,
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Regards,
Office of Career Services


Apparently, learning the truth about U.S. diplomacy would call into question a future State Department employee's ability to deal with confidential information, which is based on being truthful with your superiors about your political situation.  


Not to be outdone by the State Department, our military brass jumped onto the speeding bandwagon.  Our fourth story comes from gawker.com.. Iraqi soldiers who attempt to access WikiLeaks are greeted with a warning page from the Department of Defense that...well, read it yourself. This is a quote from a spokesperson for U.S. Forces, as reported by gawker.com:.
"U.S. forces in Iraq have not blocked any news websites from being read. Because of the Wikileaks release of secret documents and their easy availability on the web, USF-I has posted a warning page NIPRNet computers go to first. This page simply warns the user that the website they are about to view may contain classified documents and that such documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or distributed on NIPR computers. There is a button at the bottom of this warning page that then allows the user to go to the website."
Now we have the Republicans, Democrats, State Department, and the U.S. Military all on the same page, which apparently is not classified.  That should be enough to drive our wagon down the hill and over the almost deceased corpse of Mr. Assange, right?  If you answered in the affirmative, please sit down, this lesson on "government in full cooperation" is not quite finished.  We haven't mentioned the Library of Congress yet, or the Social Security Administration.


We are of the opinion that the Library of Congress is a stuffy old building where millions of books sit on shelves half a mile high.   To one day work at the Library of Congress must be every librarian's dream.  What a magnificent repository of the history for our culture. Certainly, this great institution would be date-stamping those classified diplomatic cables  and scanning them into their computers for all future generations to view.  Is there a quote? Of course, there is a quote!  From their own blog,:
“The Library decided to block Wikileaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information.  Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
 We could go on, we do have one more.  Oh what the heck, this is such a long article, if you made it this far you might as well  suffer to the end.  According to Undernews, the online report of  the Progressive Review,
the SSA has restricted access to WikiLeaks.  The Pregressive Review reports it received a copy of an email sent to SSA staffers with the subject line "Information Security Bulletin: WIKILEAKS"   that states,
"Earlier this year a large amount of United States government classified information was illegally released to the public website WIKILEAKS. The documents on WIKILEAKS could place military personnel and United States supporters in Iraq and Afghanistan at an increased risk of harm.

"Despite these documents being publicly accessible over the internet, the documents remain classified and SSA employees should not access, download, or transmit them. Individuals may be subject to applicable federal criminal statutes for unlawful access to or transmission of classified information."
Following this posting on UNDERNEWS were some excellent comments. My favorite was from Anonymous,  
 Oh, I see. We do not want Americans or federal employees having the same access to information as the rest of the world. Got it, brilliant.
The one person having the most difficult time staying on the internet is WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Yet despite being cut off from his swiss bank account (something about him not being an actual resident of Switzerland, if that makes any sense), and struggling with a personal problem/smear campaign in Sweden, Mr. Assange is adamant on releasing all 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.  We can cry, whine, censor, restrict, threaten, intimidate, arrest, and  prosecute and it will not matter- we will still have to take our medicine. With over 500 mirror sites now releasing documents, WikiLeaks is here to stay.


But it is nice, in a perverse and disturbing way, to see our national government work so perfectly together. Imagine how good our health care would be, how deep our pockets would be filled, and how much more meaning our lives would have if government agencies and political parties were working together to improve the world around us instead of shielding us from the world around us.








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