2010-11-30 Cablegate: Official reactions: Truth is terrorism, part 2 [Update 1]

(Part 1 of this coverage series is available here.)

US Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. said the Justice Department and the Pentagon have launched "an active, ongoing criminal investigation" into WikiLeaks. According to The Washington Post, "Others familiar with the probe said the FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the documents, including those who gave the materials to WikiLeaks and also the organization itself.[...] Former prosecutors cautioned that prosecutions involving leaked classified information are difficult because the Espionage Act is a 1917 statute that preceded Supreme Court cases that expanded First Amendment protections.[...] But the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is rapidly unfolding, said charges could be filed under the act."

"It is not saber rattling," said Holder. "To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation that's ongoing."

But, the Washinton Post notes, "All the experts agreed that it may be difficult for the United States to gain access to Assange, who apparently has avoided traveling to the country. Most nations' extradition treaties exempt crimes viewed as political. 'I can imagine a lot of Western allies would view this not as a criminal act, but as a political act,' said [former federal prosecutor Baruch] Weiss.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday said: "WikiLeaks and people that disseminate information to people like this are criminals, first and foremost. And I think that needs to be clear," according to CNET.

CNET also quotes State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley: "We're not going to let what WikiLeaks has done undermine the global cooperation that is vitally important to resolving regional and global security challenges." But Crowley did rule out more aggressive action against WikiLeaks. When asked "is any action going to be taken that could involve" an "extra-legal process such as renditions or a one-way trip for Assange to Guantanamo Bay," Crowley replied: "No."

Former Arkansas Gov. and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that, for anyone who provided information to WikiLeaks, "anything less than execution is too kind a penalty," according to The Florida Independent.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the meantime urged the US administration to call for a manhunt on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that would be carried out with "the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders," reports The Huffington Post. She called Assange "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands."

Former Senator Rick Santorum, another possible GOP presidential candidate for 2012, said at a speech in New Hampshire that Julian Assange should be "prosecuted as a terrorist" for posting classified information, according to The Huffington Post.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that "We're at war. I hope Eric Holder, who's a good man, will start showing some leadership here and get our laws in line with being at war," reports CNET. Was he referring to Iraq or Afghanistan? No, the war against WikiLeaks.

In the meantime, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that "a taskforce of Australian soldiers, spies and officials has been formed to pore over 250,000 US files being published by WikiLeaks."

WikiLeaks replied on Twitter: "Australia deploys Taskforce against WikiLeaks http://is.gd/hXB2g help us deploy counter force: http://is.gd/hXGAf "

Let us stop to contemplate for a moment the fact that "terrorism" now includes telling citizens what their own government does, in that very government's words. Let us also note that more than half of the embassy cables concerned are not classified, and that only 6% of them are classified as secret. What the establishment's reactions show is not any actual national security concern, but simply, as Noam Chomsky put it earlier today on Democracy Now!, "a profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership."

Update: Joining the ranks of crazed assassination advocates is Tom Flanagan, advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has called for the assassination of Julian Assange, "by a drone or something," on public television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqtIafdoH_g

Is incitement to murder not a punishable offence in Canada? These are the people running your governments, world. Take notice.

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