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WikiLeaks is the New Red Scare

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[The article was originally published on MichaelMoore.com. This is a reprint of the article which is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. We are republishing it here because we believe it is close to the vision of Free Software Movement -- Editor]

I founded and lead RevolutionTruth, a growing, global community and organization dedicated to defending WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, and legitimate democracies.

RevolutionTruth defends WikiLeaks – not because WikiLeaks is perfect or uncomplicated. The WikiLeaks (WL) phenomenon is indeed, very complex. We defend them for two primary reasons: First, the way the U.S. government has responded to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is alarming at best, and very dangerous, at worst. The U.S. government’s response to WL is so extreme, it has signaled a willingness to change U.S. laws on espionage, in order to ensnare Julian Assange.

What does this mean? It means severe curtailing of the “free” press. A press that is already highly compromised, in its corporatized, sanitized state. If the U.S. government has its way, journalists could be forced to reveal their sources, and anonymous leaks of classified information could (i.e. instances of whistleblowing) will be considered “espionage.”

If we allow this to happen, you can say goodbye to the last of our democratic freedoms. Freedoms that have been profoundly weakened since the year 2000.

Under the Bush administration, the U.S. government began to engage in unprecedented spying on U.S. citizens – both legally and extra-legally. Innocent people are being wire-tapped without cause. Journalist’s emails are monitored in an attempt to discover sources of classified information. Innocent citizens, regular people who are exercising their democratic rights of activism or protest, are monitored. Why? Because the Patriot Act allows for an unprecedented over-reach into our lives as private citizens. Moreover, hundreds of different types of groups, including environmentalists, have been classified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as “threats”. Upon examination of the policies and behaviors of our federal government over the last ten years, a picture becomes clear: the U.S. government is treating its own citizens as enemies.
This is madness. It is death of democracy by a thousand cuts that goes unnoticed by a nation.

When considering WikiLeaks, one must ponder several fundamental questions. One of them is: Is it ok for any one organization to have the power to expose state secrets, at random? The answer to this is: “No, but…” No, on the surface, it is not ok that a stateless organization have the power to release critical state secrets at will. Every democracy has need of some measure of secrecy. In a world of political realism, with countries that behave far, far worse than the U.S., this is a simple fact.

But a democracy (or a democratic republic) has to balance secrecy and transparency. A democracy is the will of the people, it IS the people; in the U.S., it is the people, allegedly governing themselves, through representation. A democracy EARNS its secrecy, by abiding by and upholding laws that serve true democratic governance. A democracy earns its secrecy by serving the best interests of its citizens. In order to survive, democracy must have functioning checks and balances against abuses of power – across all systems of government.

We are so far away from healthy and functioning democratic governance that it is mind-bending. We stand poised on a metaphorical cliff in the U.S.: Fundamental rights and freedoms remain basically intact at present, but they are perpetually either chipped away, or outright assaulted. As a people, we are too tired, too busy, too entertained, too distracted, to pay attention to what is dying in our midst.

Is it ok for any one organization to expose state secrets, at will? No, but….WikiLeaks functions as a profound course correction – a clarion call in profoundly dark times. WikiLeaks’ revelations momentarily give us, the people, the keys to the kingdom. WikiLeaks opened the door to shed light on what people in power are doing in our names. And WikiLeaks’ revelations prove, without a doubt, a systemic lack of accountability, abuses of power, lack of integrity, and unethical behavior, much of it in the name of a twisted sense of “national security” that is so bent in on itself that what it produces is the antithesis of what it is allegedly working toward – a safer nation for its citizens. The federal government’s concept of national security since 2011 is shockingly dysfunctional. And in the midst of this madness, WikiLeaks’ revelations paint a clear picture of a nation that has abandoned its democratic moorings.

Does WikiLeaks itself need a course correction? Perhaps. EVERY organization needs checks and balances, EVERY organization needs to be accountable. And an organization that wields such power as WikiLeaks absolutely has to adopt impeccable, relentless journalistic standards. Even beyond this, WikiLeaks needs to be examined for the game-changing phenomenon it is – and rational, sensible, people of the world – people who do not have a stake in denying freedoms, but who understand the dangers of political realism, need to think on best uses of, and evolution of WikiLeaks. And the outcome of these deliberations needs to be taken seriously by this organization.

But we, the people have much to think on, and much to do. We need to understand that we stand at a critical juncture – not just in our own nation’s history, but in the history of humanity. WikiLeaks has redefined the nature of that juncture. This organization has momentarily made it possible for common people to regain power – and to put their governments back in place – WikiLeaks helps us ensure legitimate democracies.
However, the U.S. government’s assaults on freedom are so effective that many people are afraid to express support for WikiLeaks. Each week I encounter at least one instance of hushed tones and hesitation, fear and reluctance and comments such as “I have a business to run” or, “I have a mortgage to pay”. Legitimate facts, however, what do these things have to do with WikiLeaks? If we support WikiLeaks openly, we may lose everything? This message, dire and drastic and unfathomable as it seems, is percolating behind the scenes. The U.S. government’s assault on our freedoms, and even on what we perceive to be our rights, has been a slow creep, since the year 2000. The people of this nation, and people elsewhere as well, have been inured to a loss of fundamental freedoms we once took for granted in the West. Self-censorship is becoming “normal.” It is reflexive to be quiet now. WikiLeaks is the new “red scare.”

RevolutionTruth supports WikiLeaks, because, if we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of building our own mental prisons, if we fail to stand up and together, and choose the course of our nations, we fail ALL of our futures. We fail to take this breath of freedom, this moment of possibility, and we slink back to allow a profoundly wayward government (and other, even more insidious powers) to define our world. If we fail to stand up, now, we sell ourselves, and our children, into modern-day, corporate, national security state slavery. Silence, now, is our enemy.

The choice is yours. Will you wait on the sidelines as the U.S. government sinks deeper into its own lies and pathology? Which side do you stand on? The truth, painful, ugly, dangerous as it may seem, or the way the truth is being taken from you, ever more lawfully?

It is up to us to shape our futures. The members of RevolutionTruth know where we stand. And it is on the right side of history.

We are looking for aspiring bloggers and journalists for The Mukt. If you are interested, apply now!

[The article was originally published on MichaelMoore.com. This is a reprint of the article which is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. We are republishing it here because we believe it is close to the vision of Free Software Movement -- Editor]

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