Monday, November 29, 2010

Could Saying Nice Things About WikiLeaks Get You Arrested?

Hot on the heels of that last post, I find this: WikiLeaks should be designated a 'foreign terrorist organization,' Rep. Pete King fumes.

Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to designate WikiLeaks a "foreign terrorist organization," saying it "posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States," and to prosecute founder Julian Assange for espionage.
Again: Not an American.

But aside from that, this is deeply disturbing. As NPR points out, the laws against supporting supposed foreign terrorist organizations are incredibly extensive. It's not just material support: even talking to them could get you arrested and indicted, if not shipped off to one of the foreign covert prisons that we're not supposed to know about.

So is that how this is going to play out? Are Americans supposed to pretend that the site doesn't exist, for fear of getting arrested? Or are Americans only allowed to pretend it exists if they engage in the sort of kabuki dance of overt condemnation that you normally only see in salacious sixties films about the dangers of drugs and promiscuity? It won't keep any of this information out of American hands, since the Internet is global. The best that the Government could do is redirect DNS requests, as they've tried to do with BitTorrent sites. But that didn't work, and wouldn't work. It's not worth it.

As Susan Delacourt says, this is really just another revolt against "elites". America clearly no longer trusts the people that are supposed to be running it. Either they're spitting angry against a government that doesn't care that they're out of work, or simply distrustful of a state that seems to be governed BY Wall St. bond traders, FOR Wall St. bond traders.

In a country where Matt Taibbi seems to uncover fresh horrors on a daily basis, where security theatre has TSA goons laughing at your genitals when they aren't smacking them with the backs of their hands, and when Congress collectively decides that protecting mortgage fraudsters is more important than ensuring that people don't die of starvation during the Christmas season...why the hell should anybody care about whether some diplomats get some egg on their faces?

I don't know about you, but I'm drawing a blank.

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