67 Comments

Summary:

Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all cut off support for payments to WikiLeaks, saying the organization has been involved in illegal acts — but is there any real justification for this? Not really. In fact, it’s not clear that what WikiLeaks is doing is even illegal.

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The cyber-noose is tightening around Wikileaks: Visa has joined the list of corporations that will no longer allow its users to send payments to the organization, which is looking for funding support as it continues to release thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables. MasterCard has done the same, and so has online payment service PayPal. All three have said they have legal concerns about dealing with WikiLeaks — but is there any real justification for this? Not really. In fact, it’s not clear that what WikiLeaks is doing is even illegal.

As media analyst Jeff Jarvis and others have pointed out, Visa and MasterCard and other payment services allow online users to send funds to a wide range of questionable entities, including sites that offer pornography. So why are they so concerned about WikiLeaks? Visa said that it had suspended support for payments to WikiLeaks while it “investigates” the organization, while MasterCard said that its rules prohibit customers from “directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal.” PayPal also said its terms of use prevents the service from being used to “encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.”

Needless to say, the phrasing of those rules casts a pretty wide net — not just engaging in illegal activity, but encouraging it or instructing others in how to engage in it. But do even these broad rules apply to what WikiLeaks is doing? It’s not clear that they do. All the organization has done is to publish classified documents that originally belonged to the U.S. government — something that may be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but is not obviously illegal (even the Justice Department doesn’t seem too sure about whether WikiLeaks is guilty of anything). The only obvious crime that was involved in the release of those diplomatic cables was committed by the person who originally took them, since doing so is an offense under the U.S. Espionage Act.

Publishing those documents is not illegal — or at least, not yet, which is why Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn), the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, has put forward his proposed SHIELD law (which stands for Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination), which would make it a crime to publish leaked classified information if doing so endangered U.S. agents or was otherwise not in the national interest. And this law would not just apply to WikiLeaks, but potentially any mainstream or online publication or media outlet that chose to publish any of the information, since — as I have tried to argue before — WikiLeaks is effectively a media entity.

Interestingly enough, while companies such as Amazon, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have cut off the organization, Facebook released a statement saying that it has no issue with WikiLeaks — although so far no classified cables have been posted to the site’s Facebook page. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks’ leader Julian Assange is in court in London facing possible extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

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  1. wow what happened to Media freedom? If this goes unchecked the US will censor its Media and then how is it any better than China? The people have a right to know what the government is doing in their name! The US can point fingers at others but they commit far greater atrocities and the citizens think they are completely innocent. Wikileaks could change that

    1. Scary isn’t it, now they will pick and choose their words to gain support for their opinion on this issue. Propaganda pure and simple, don’t help them pull the wool over our eyes stand up and for what is right, who cares if Government officials are expected to take responsibility for their actions? Since when did they become above the rest of us? How is the privacy of their public policies and dealings more important than the freedom of information?

    2. USA will look like real hypocrites if they will accuse China or Russia from now on that they censor freedom of speech and not let their own people read certain stuff, because that’s EXACTLY what USA is doing to thir citizen, too.

  2. I find interesting that you think Wikileaks did not commit a crime.

    If it is a crime for a person to sell a product that they are aware it was stolen, even if not stolen by them, why wouldn’t be a crime to publish stolen documents – when you are aware they are stolen and not your property?

    If Apple can have prosecutors start an investigation and throw Gizmodo in court for buying lost property and publishing an article on it, don’t see how Wikileaks is safe. Especially when they were warned well in advance the documents were not their property and they were stolen.
    Now some people my second guess the law, others might think first amendment will be the savior, and others disagree with the law. But the fact here is quite simple and easy to prove on a court that the “documents were stolen” – and “wikileaks was well aware of it”. The interesting part would be, did they purposely push someone to steal it?

    1. I think you must not have read the chat logs with Pfc. Bradley Manning. He was not pushed by Wikileaks. He was “pushed” by his superiors’ treatment of what he saw as serious misconduct by the Iraqi police/militia.

      And how is this different from the NYT position with the Pentagon Papers?

    2. Entities considered to be “journalistic” have been given a limited free pass when publishing purloined documents, the 1st Amendment and all that. Whether Wikileaks passes a “journalism” test is up to you. To read about the legal ins-and-outs of the Pentagon Papers an incident nearly 40 years earlier see:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/30/washington/30leak.html?_r=1

      and

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers#Legal_case

    3. Selling is not publishing.

      And you obviously have not done your research.
      The documents were stolen by Bradley Manning. He was a private in the military who was abused. He stole the documents and is currently being held in isolation.

      Bradley Manning copied the documents onto a fake Lady Gaga cd and gave them to Wikileaks. Wikileaks did not ask for this information, but they have the right to publish it.

    4. Tony,

      The documents weren’t stolen. Far from it. They were provided to WikiLeaks by a military intelligence analyst named Bryan Manning, who is about 24 or so. He is the one who committed a crime and will probably be imprisoned for decades.

      As the recipient of these cables, Assange has committed no crime. His position is analogous to a journalist at the NYT for example who publishes confidential material.

      There’s no valid legal justification for the pursuit of Assange. It’s entirely political.

      As Lord Northcliffe famously said, “News is what somebody somewhere wants suppressed; all the rest is advertising.”

      IMO’s it’s nice to see some news out there for a change. Lieberman is trying to make sure we don’t see much more of it.

      1. First of all these are not documents. They are telegrams! It is a form of wired communication.

        Secondly please do no compare wikileaks to new york times. There is no journalism involved with just publishing other people’s communication.

        If I was to publish all your emails, and document what you have said on people’s back without your permission you would throw me to court in a heartbeat.

      2. Receiving stolen property is a crime in the US. That simply cannot be argued.

      3. @Tony

        “First of all these are not documents. They are telegrams! It is a form of wired communication.”

        Talk about arguing for arguings sake.

        “Secondly please do no compare wikileaks to new york times. There is no journalism involved with just publishing other people’s communication.”

        There is plenty of journalism involved at Wikileaks. They have to first organise the mass of information they have, prioritize what gets released and when. Work with all the major papers like the NYT and The Gaurdian in many different countries. They also oversee the redaction and editing process that the news organisations given the leaks go through. And while they aren’t major publishers themselves, they have published leaks and I suppose they will do in the future.

        From everything I’ve read, the people working at Wikileaks, including Mr Assange are real journalists who have worked for newspapers, published articles and written books.

        “If I was to publish all your emails, and document what you have said on people’s back without your permission you would throw me to court in a heartbeat.”

        I may want to throw you at a court but the way the law works, I could only go after the person who stole the emails. The person that stole them and then subsequently gave them to you is the one breaking the law. You, as long as you were a journalist would be protected under the law and allowed to publish those emails.

    5. Wikileaks publishes information provided by confidential informants… whistle blowers. If that’s illegal, then every single media organization in existence is guilty. Heck, Bob Woodward made an entire career out of it. Silencing people = Totalitarianism. Simple as that. Mastercard and VISA are playing Joseph Goebbels old game.

      1. This is not whistle blowing! There wasnt some conspiracy to hurt someone, there wasn’t any illegal activity going on.

        What was leaked was communications between diplomats, putting negotiations at risk in other countries. Next time you are about to negotiate anything with another person or company, please let me publish all your communication you are doing behind the scenes – will see how happy you will be.

    6. Look up “New York Times vs United States” or the “Pentagon Papers”.

      The same situation from the 1970’s

      1. There is a difference between documents and telegrams. Even the supreme court references that the law and the goverment distinuishes between documents and communications.
        Cables = Telegram = Wired Communication

    7. While I do agree with you that posting state secrets is going on treason I’ll point out one problem with the issue of knowing something stolen. I remember reading a lot about the Apple vs Gizmodo arrest. They said that the law of buying/selling stolen property being illegal in the case of Gizmodo was specifically a California law. I doing know that the federal government has the same laws against property or their classified files. But I hope they catch someone and try them for treason. Because this goes beyond freedom of choice and media freedom.

      1. How can it be treason if he isn’t a US citizen?

    8. You do not appear to understand how USA law nor International law work.

      You cannot use metaphors between different media so these arguments/comparisons are directly thrown out:
      The cables are not a ‘product’ as in ‘manufactured product’
      Cables are not a phone
      Cables are not a ‘prototype’ (where trade secrecy laws apply)

      (also, Apple only had the DA raid Gizmodo and then the DA had to back off after realizing Gizmodo may be protected by the shield law. Apple never took Gizmodo to court, sued them or began legal proceedings other than the DA raid and request for the return of stolen property.)

      Knowing that Assange and Wikileaks are not an American entity and there is no proof they committed a crime on American soil they cannot be tried under American law (or said to have committed treason). I would agree than ‘intent’ is about all they can get on Assange/Wikileaks internationally at the moment.

      Freedom of speech is both a national and international law but it is defined differently in each country. The US may be able to get Assange if he is in a country that does not tolerate ‘hate speech’.

      Remember, the rights of free speech allow the media to report and you to read and discuss a topic. Therefore, if Wikileaks is illegal because it does not conform to free speech then you and all media organizations reporting on it can be tried for committing crimes as well (similar to The Red Scare of the 50’s).

      It is not a trivial or simple matter to change the law or even interpret it to say that ‘Wikileaks has committed an illegal act’. This is why we have yet to do so and why the US is trying to put up a new SHIELD law to allow this to be illegal. If you agree with the SHIELD proposal then tell your senators and governor but realize that it MAY also take away more of your freedoms (much like the allowed wiretapping laws from 2001 to 2007 under Bush that allowed them to spy on Americans without their knowledge and not be held litigious! See http://cryptogon.com/?p=2806)

      Regardless, disseminating, reading and discussing classified documents is far more complex than you may think. After all, did YOU sign a ‘government clearance’ legal paper? If not, then is it illegal for you to read or know what is in classified government papers? What if you read a classified mafia document that shows criminal behavior? Is it illegal for you to read and report that? If the cables reveal illegal crimes should we try and hold people directly responsible? Is there any document that a US citizen cannot read that the rest of the world can? If so, then the government can control censorship in what you read, where you go on the internet and what you discuss. This is very similar to China.

      1. Yes, if I read the classified documents in Wikileaks I am violating US law. And no, I haven’t. Having worked in secure environments in the past, I have no sympathy with people who steal and publish classified documents.

      2. Thank you for injecting some sanity into this discussion! I know I shouldn’t be surprised but the level of misinformed opinions on this topic is truly saddening.

    9. I’m not saying Wikileaks commited a crime or that it did not. What I’m saying is the Citizens of the US (any country to that matter) should know what the government is doing in their name. Other countries, terrorists dont just prosicute (hate, kill, take hostage, bomb etc) the US Government for its acts but the Innocent Citizens as well. This applies far more strongly to the US Government, because they act as if they are the pure race.

  3. Rather than pontificate legalities, I challenge the Om blog network to become a mirror for the wikileaks cables.

    By “putting your money where your mouth is”, if you’ll pardon the cliche, you can experience first hand the wrath of payment gateways dropping you from their service.

    Also, If Om decides to not become a wikileaks mirror, I’d like to know why.

    1. @Todd Becoming a mirror isn’t an issue. The documents are all encrypted. Only Wikileaks have the key to unlock them. It would be madness to try and go after the hundreds of mirrors. They aren’t in and of themselves making the leaks available to be read by anyone.

      If there was news that the mirrors were being targetted, I bet my mousepad that the hundreds of mirrors would turn into thousands within days. Push geeks buttons and they bite back the way they know best :)

  4. Benjamin Kline Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    I as an American citizen who believes the Constitution is the rule of law, have denounced the secrecy of the U.S. government, and opt for freedom over security forever. Freedom of information keeps We the People in charge, and no authority can take that freedom away by power of the Constitution.

    1. The issue isn’t even whether the government is entitled to keep facts from the people. It’s whether the government is obligated to keep facts from foreign powers who have vowed to strike at us from home and abroad. Do you think that Ahmadinejad and others are entitled to our most classified state secrets, just because you have this deep-seated need to feel informed? Do you still feel entitled to know the names of contacts in Afghanastan who are supplying us with information, even if that knowledge results in their deaths and the deaths of their families? Or will you feel the same way if one of your friends or relatives is killed during a terrorist attack at one of the high priority targets that Wikileaks just published over the internet?

      1. The US is not the center of the world. What about the families of the middle easten countries or the detainees in guantanamo bay or the innocent lives it has destroyed over the years in Africa,and the Middle East?? Right now it maybe the most powerful country in the world but that doesnt mean it has the right to walk all over other countries. There is always two sides and the world would be a better place if we gave a moments thought to that.

  5. sigthor jonsson Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    This is exactly what I have thought since this block started.

    Apparently not everyone have the same rights, innocent until proven guilty obviously now when people consider to prosecute them it is enough to make international corporations draw the conclusion that they are in fact guilty, but VISA was on the other hand a bit more careful in there statement.

    Tony
    Tuesday, December 7 2010

    Most newspaper around the world publish “classified” information everyday, often those documents are leaked by government officials in the purpose to hurt opponents or to cast view on issues they do not find feasible.

    So if we would follow your suggestion media of the world should all send documents first to the government before they can print it?

    And why have VISA and Mastercard not blocked the Guardian? Der Spiegel? Le monde? New York times, they are the one who published this before Wikileaks and worked with Wikileaks in the beginning?

    How have Wikileaks done anything different then them?

    If Wikileaks would have been the hidden source of those information the US would most likely not be taking the same actions as they do against Wikileaks.

  6. This is war. It’s not the kind of war we fight with guns and soldiers, it’s a war between what We the People should be able to do, and what government, monarchical or democratic, wants us to do. It’s the oldest war we are fighting here in The U.S. and if we aren’t careful we are going to lose after 237 years.

    @Tony:
    That’s not an apt comparison. Digital or information “property” does not equal physical property. The laws concerning such are not yet the same despite what large corporations desire for their pocketbooks. I myself, and the rest of the Internet would appreciate it if you and yours would stop bandying around the idea until you let them make it true, and we are all consumers instead of peers.

  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._United_States

    already been here done that. The people who stole the documents are the criminals not the people publishing them. the gov doesnt have iron grip over the media liek china does over its media.

    Free speech isn’t limited to speech that doesn’t rock the boat. Sorry. And the espionage act has to do with communication of information to enemies secretly, not PUBLISHING that information.

  8. The freedom of press and freedom of speech is to protect the citizen from speech that the state finds offensive. It’s not there to protect nice speech. If you can be tried for telling or publishing a secret that was told to you about the government these right are null and void. Julian Assange is just talking he commuted no crime. Any American that wants him arrested are advocating to give up their rights to speech also. Where in the constitution does it say you are protected to speak accept about things the state considers secret.

    1. Freedom of speech does not mean there are no consequences to that speech. The government cannot pass laws preventing you from talking, but they can press charges based on what you say. It’s truly amazing how little people know about their own government and laws.

  9. Freedom of expression is priceless. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

    1. Genius. I hope you don’t mind my sharing this.

    2. That there is gold my man.

    3. As far as I know, WikiLeaks has not done anything illegal and shouldn’t be treated as such. They are not an American Entity, and Julian Assange is not an American citizen.

      As such, neither can be tried under American Law.

      Also, they did not receive these leaks on American Soil (however did FROM American soil so I’m not sure how that works).

      Now, whether or not this was in poor taste is another debate altogether.

      1. I am sorry but you are incorrect. This is not how the law works. If you commit a crime that “involves, or touchease and concerns” Americans or America though abroad, the US government can arrest you and prosecute you under US law. For instance, Osama Bin Laden never stepped foot on American soil, but nonetheless, he is hunted by the US for violations of US law. This is one of the reasons why countries have extradition.

  10. Phillip Bradham Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Those documents are not the property of WikiLeaks, were obtained in a questionable manner and are labeled at various levels of privacy. I think every company pretty much has a message signature that states if the message was not sent or intended for you then delete it….

    Governments do things of questionable legality and morality and that is part of it’s inherent composition. If there is something above the norm it will bubble to the top (public) on it’s own.

    Wikileaks has crossed a line in attacking the US, yes it is an attack on the US Government and its foreign policies and methods, and has crippled it’s ability to function in the political world.

    1. So if a globally operated company were to have confidential cables going across the globe stating that their products had harmful chemicals in it that could kill people and Should an Employee LEaks those documents to a Media Entity, Should that Media Entity not Publish them??? “Say” the War in Iraq was based on false information and the government knows about it should the Media Entity not publish them??? YEs they are wrongly obtained But the People Have a right to know!

      Legal or Illegal aside, The fact remains that the citizens of the US should know what the government is doing in their name.

  11. I can understand this argument if you actually believe WikiLeaks to be a media outlet. I do not see them that way. I see the publication of the cables as a purely political message and thus fall outside of any protections the media may have. WikiLeaks is not media, it is a political statement.

    1. Do you even know that Wikileaks did not publish anything first? It was all published by newspapers across the world. Newspapers have been driving the release of all of the cables, going as far as selecting which ones to release.

      So, when are you going after the Guardian, New York Times and all the others?

  12. People keep coming out and saying that the cables are not the property of Wikileaks… has the rightful owner come out and claimed them to be theirs? In the Apple / Gizmodo case Apple had to admit and claim that the property in dispute was in fact theirs. Has the U.S. Government done that? For each and every document? Until then, I can only speculate whether the documents are truly real U.S. diplomatic cables or fakes.

  13. Julian Assange is a proponent of accountability and truth. I can support that regardless of what laws may or may not be involved. The government has no one to blame but themselves for their leaked information.

  14. Mr Assange has claimed in interviews that he is in possession of evidence showing that a major financial institution was in gross breach of regulations, and that he is withholding that evidence from the relevant regulators and law enforcement agencies.

    If he is telling the truth, that is an admission of a crime. In the UK, we call it “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”. I don’t know what you call it in the US.

    1. Julian Assange is not an American citize. There is this thing called jurisdiction, it is rather important to understand.

    2. @Ian Kemmish

      I think if all Wikileaks had were a few leaks, they would have released them already to the press. But they don’t, they have a quarter of a million of them. If you were simply to let that lot go, even if you had a team big enough to sift through and redact what needs redacting to protect named people, it just wouldn’t have anything like the effect you’d want.

      Nobody can absorb that amount of news. Releasing a steady stream of leaks allows the press to absorb and package it for the masses. I read that Mr Assange was planning on ramping up the releases as time went on and I’d guess that would make sense as the best bits were published.

      Anyway aside from that, even if Mr Assange was an american or a brit, no court would expect one man or a small team to release that amount of information at once. It’s obvious there has to be a period of time where you sort through what you have and how to release it as responsibly as possible.

  15. So for the record everyone is pro-Assange is willing to let anyone break into their house and steal all their private/sensitive materials and let billions of people read it?

    Just wanted to double check this is what I’m reading.

    1. Sure, if you share your dirty laundry I’ll share mine. I’ve really nothing to hide. Especially since the gov’t has subpoenaed Google to surrender all searches made by individuals several times already (that’s my most embarrassing behavior!)

      A more accurate request would be to reveal all emails and paper trails made from your work. That would be not only fine with me but preferable!

    2. Difference is I’m not acting on anyone else’s behalf. The government represents the People and the People should know what crimes the Government is committing. This way we can hold the government accountable. Other Countrie’s Citizens (MIddles Easten Countries, North Korea, etc) Don’t Hate just the Government of the US But the US in general. So a citizen (note im not a US citizen) maybe completely innocent and have done nothing wrong his entire life but will be hated or in extreme cases be killed, taken hostage, Due to the Policis of the US Government.

  16. Does it matter?

    Getting bogged down in the specifics, while compelling for a variety of reasons, seems to me akin to focusing on Napster in the media piracy debate. Specific actors in this are less important as struggling entities as they are symptoms of an underlying, undeniable, and irrevocable change. In fact, the particulars here seem to follow, fairly predictably, the same worn path that other complacent legacy institutions seem to travel as they realize they’ve been left behind. If the pattern continues, the short haul will be more painful.

  17. 18 USC 793 includes, in part:
    “Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or 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, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it…Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    18 USC 798 reads in part:
    “Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information…obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—…Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    1. USC stand for UNITED STATES CODE so this certainly applies to Bradley Manning but is not pertinent to Julian Assange or Wikileaks.

      1. I know what USC stands for–I’m the one who looked it up.

        See this comment (from the article linked above), which explains the likely violation that has occurred and gives examples of the ability of the US to prosecute non-US citizens for illegal acts within the border of the US.

        http://www.lasisblog.com/2010/11/12/wikileaks-has-committed-no-crime/#comment-383

  18. Put it this way, regardless of whether the taking or publishing of these papers is illegal, which I don’t think it is, do you support the laws in China that prevent people having free access to the internet or the laws in South Africa that kept people of different colours apart? Laws are made by people, laws can change. If a law is wrong ethically and morally no amount of justification makes it right.If the US Govt thought the economy was a problem, then I think this is going to be bigger, not in the actual details but in the terrible way they are handling the fall out.

    1. @Karl I agree with you, I don’t think they’ve done anything illegal either but wanted to comment as you raise the issue of how the US government is handling this. I really hope this doesn’t get swept under the carpet as Mr Assange gets all the media over rape charges. The real issue here, for me at least, is how the US is acting. Quite openly and in front of the press, they are taking out Wikileaks in every way they can without any charges being brought, let alone convictions.

      It’s getting harder to see the difference between Chinas government and the US’s at this point and I suspect its only going to get worse.

      1. “It’s getting harder to see the difference between Chinas government and the US’s at this point and I suspect its only going to get worse.”

        I do hope this hyperbole is just a slip. If you don’t know enough about how China treats its citizens as far as dissent, policing, the justice system, political freedom, religious freedom, freedom of movement and employment, environmental justice, etc, then please educate yourself. Your statement is ignorant at the very least.

        Perhaps you meant to suggest that the US is as bad as China with regards to information control. That’s a slightly less stupid statement on your behalf, but still hyperbole. The spying on surfing habits intended on arresting (and subsequent torture and banishment to a far-flung jails) of thoughtcrime citizens that goes on in China has no equivalent in the US, or anywhere in the West. Nor will it ever. The same goes towards the massive blocking of access to free (rather than stolen classified) data around the world. If you still stand by your statement as it is, then you are a delusional alarmist.

        Finally, the US government applying political pressure (leaning on Mastercard, etc) and Wikileaks’ political assault on the US and NATO is equivalent. If Wikileaks’ purpose is to combat the US and NATO over Afghanistan to the point they’ll release HUMINT information that isn’t redacted, they’re no better than an Islamist site showing you how to assemble IEDs and encouraging you to attack ‘The Infidels’. The only difference is that their motivation is leftist (of some vague trotskyist / anarchist flavor). If the US actually assassinated Assange, that would be an overreaction. But giving trouble to them where trouble is due in payment for similar, not quite the crime you make it out to be.

  19. A little 4Chan justice for Mastercard : Canada's online magazine: Politics, entertainment, technology, media, arts, books: backofthebook.ca Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    [...] as Mathew Ingram points out on gigaom.com, even the U.S. Justice Department is unsure whether WikiLeaks has done anything [...]

  20. A Real American Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Cockroaches hate the light, and Fascists have to silence the truth to survive!

  21. WikiLeaks Gets Its Own “Axis of Evil” Defence Network: Tech News « Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    [...] for WikiLeaks in the past week, despite the fact that it’s not clear the organization has actually done anything illegal by publishing classified military documents (something the New York Times and The Guardian have [...]

  22. Okay what has wikileaks actually released that was not already known about or already been in the news? Wikileaks has not done anything illegal they are just a drop box that is it. The people uploading the stuff well they have done illegal things not wikileaks or assange I cant help but go there is some major distraction going on here and to much hype in the media and government over wikileaks. There is nothing earth shattering. Also everything seems aimed at America what about other countries why have they not used wikileaks to release things? Most western countries are wanting to bring in a law that monitors the Internet is this a way of making it happen and occur? Either way something is up and does not make sense.

  23. Matt, I like your article because it encourages debate. Good job. That being said, your interpretation of the law is incorect. The justice department knows this is illegal and an investigation is pending as we speak. UNDOUBTEDLY, charges will be filed against Wikileaks and its owner and as much as people don’t like it, it is illegal to disseminate classified materials, even if the publisher or republisher was not the party who stole the classified information. This is the same concept as with defamatory statements.

  24. Is WikiLeaks breaking the law and putting Americans at risk? « The Scarce Man Thursday, December 9, 2010

    [...] Further evidence of the legality of WikiLeaks’ endeavor can be found here. [...]

  25. There are laws which were made years ago which state a journalistic freedom for the people involved in making the news.It would be relatively easy enough to find something that will defend wikileaks’ decision to publish this stuff (i.e in the UK we have certain laws which provide a freeedom of imformation act and a data protection act)
    This is a sure act of political coersion towards these companies.After all they wouldn’t want to lose their tax breaks,and other incentives,which are always geared toward helping those companies which one day can be asked for ‘favours’,and who are likely to comply.
    The truth is that wikileaks found a moral obligation to publish these documents and the goverments of the world felt threatened by the fact that they could not control the content.Goverment does not like it when something or someone is outwith their control.
    Now,if there were any illegalities in wikipedia publishing these documents,then I’m sure there would have been someking of injunction to stop the site publishing.I have an image of high powered lawyers scuttling around in the dark trying to find some technicality that will close wikileaks down.
    I think that there is a possibility that these charges against wikileak’s founder may be a heavy handed attempt to shut him up.However,I cannot look at this person as a rapist yet,party because because I have not yet saw any news company trying to make connections with this guy and the alledged crime.I do not think that anyone should get away with rape,that’s for sure.But I have saw evidence of corperations and goverments getting thins their own way through manipulation.
    The rape allegation will be played out in court,while wikipedia will be shut down or gagged through a behind the scenes underhandedness.

  26. Clinton: We Love Net Freedom, Unless It Involves WikiLeaks: Tech News and Analysis « Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    [...] on a legal case involving the Espionage Act, despite the fact that publishing classified documents is not actually a crime under U.S. law, Plus, if the DOJ is successful, the same charges would apply to the New York Times and other media [...]

  27. one of our basic rights is the freedom of press

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