Do our laws protect a troubled and dysfunctional Australian cultural renegade who ignores the accepted conventions of human decency, thumbs his nose at U.S. institutions, and posts on the Internet deep secrets of national defense and awkward details of diplomatic interplay? No. Certainly our nation’s provisions against those who steal state secrets to harm our nation and advance their own ends dictate that WikiLeaks malefactor Julian Assange should be charged with seditious acts against the United States. Although he may not be guilty of treason, which may require an attempt to other the overthrow the government, he is certainly guilty of sedition: “any act, writing, speech, etc., directed unlawfully against state authority, the government, or constitution, or calculated to bring it into contempt or to incite others to hostility, ill will or disaffection.”
The US opened new fronts in its fight against WikiLeaks today as civil rights groups accused the authorities of censorship.
The whistleblower’s website went offline for the third time in a week this morning – the biggest threat to its online presence so far. The site re-emerged later on a Swiss domain.
France joined international calls for WikiLeaks to be closed down, warning that it was “unacceptable” for a “criminal” site to be hosted in the country.
The moves came only days after Amazon pulled the WikiLeaks site from its servers after political pressure from Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate homeland security committee.
Lieberman is not finished with Amazon, and is planning to write to the organisation within the next 24 hours asking for details of its relationship with WikiLeaks. The issue is fast turning into a row over freedom of speech, as Democratic and Republican politicians joined calls for action against WikiLeaks, including emergency legislation for legal challenge.
Australian and US law enforcement agencies are reportedly studying the possibility of criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including charges under the Espionage Act, for publishing classified US diplomatic cables.
“We have an active, ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter,” US Attorney-General Eric Holder told a press conference on Monday.
I do not expect this Justice Department to put national security above civil liberties. It is doubtful that it will take action. That is a shame, because Assuage is not a civil libertarian; he’s a criminal, and the WikiLeaks precedent is dangerous.
WikiLeaks should be shut down, and Assange should be shut up. I think he’d look good in a jumpsuit at Gitmo. Leak that.