Τρίτη, 18 Ιανουαρίου 2011

The Bolsheviks chose power

Forced to choose between truth and power, the Bolsheviks chose power. Their regime and its spinoffs became the gold standard for secretive government. The strength of leaks is that it faces no similar choice. It's not a state, nor do its principals evince any intention of making it one. Truth is its entire portfolio, and this drives kleptocrats insane. It threatens their aspirations to unquestioned power. It forces them to explain themselves to the rest of us: To the serfs who, as kleptocrats see things, exist for the sole purpose of footing the bill, in money and in blood, for those aspirations.
Treason and betrayal of the state is service to humanity. Leakers are your friends. Kleptocrats are your enemies. Never forget that.

Prosecuting leakers would be unconstitutional, a stupid idea. The courts have made clear that the First Amendment protects independent third parties who publish classified information. Leakers would be no different from prosecuting the media outlets that also published classified documents. If newspapers could be held criminally liable for publishing leaked information about government practices, we might never have found out about the CIA's secret prisons or the government spying on innocent Americans. Prosecuting publishers of classified information threatens investigative journalism that is necessary to an informed public debate about government conduct, and that is an unthinkable outcome. Politicians should recommit to the ideals of transparency. The public should not have to depend on leaks to the news media and on whistleblowers to know what the government is up to.



It would be far better if we didn't have a system of endemic overclassification, so that genuinely sensitive material were not mixed in with routine reports available to thousands of contractors and fresh-faced junior military personnel. It would be better if whistleblowers within government who tried working through internal channels did not face reprisals. And it would be better if traditional media outlets had been quicker to fill the niche internet now occupies.

We are troubled to see political actors pressuring intermediary firms in an effort to throttle a media organization that has been convicted of no crime. Indeed, the State Department's assertion notwithstanding, it's not clear that Wikileaks could be convicted in light of the strong precedent set by the Pentagon Papers case. As a recent report from the Congressional Research Service put it: We are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it. There may be First Amendment implications that would make such a prosecution difficult, not to mention political ramifications based on concerns about government censorship.

A small group of privileged private actors can become points of control; states can use them to exert control over a much broader group of other private actors. This is because the former private actors control chokepoints in the information infrastructure or in other key networks of resources. They can block or control flows of data or of other valuable resources among a wide variety of other private actors.

The freedom of the global Internet comes with an increased dependence on globalized intermediaries, over whom political actors in large and valuable markets will typically exert enormous leverage. A dissident publication running its own press may have an incentive to resist that political pressure, but a multinational credit card company or hosting provider, for whom the publisher is a relatively insignificant source of revenue, will often find its bottom line better served by compliance.

To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything. The idea that a controversial speaker can be so effectively attacked quite outside the bounds of any direct legal process, thanks to the enormous leverage a government exerts on global telecommunications and finance firms, ought to provoke immense concern for the future of free expression online.

The impunity of the 300 Graecokleptocrats of the Grand Brothel on Syntagma Square is the most freakish thing on Earth. Even though they looted many billion euros in kickbacks and churning, not a single Graecokleptocrat has ever gone to jail! They are protected by the parliamentary immunity, and nobody can touch them, no matter what. Moreover, they have the nerve to jail dissident bloggers. It's a long way from the 300 Spartans of Leonidas!

The infamous government of Greece uses the cybercops as a political tool. On October 18, 2010, a vindictive Greek Minister went completely insane, and she did not think twice about abusing her position in destroying a dissident blogger, an innocent victim of a wild political witch hunt. Under wild orders, a freakish gang of brutal cybercops broke into the home and into the college office of a distinguished professor and robbed his computers, software, files, documents, personal data, personal codes, and personal secrets.

The wild Graecocybercops locked the 65-year old professor in jail, they humiliated him with handcuffs, fingerprints, mugshots, and lies, leaked false information to the media parrots, and initiated sham court proceedings for treason! There was no mattress, no pillow, and no toilet facility in his jail cell. At night, the world renown had to urinate in a bottle! There was neither toilet paper nor soap. He lost his job, and his life is stolen forever by a deranged Greek minister. That's why the Global Tax Revolt declared October 18 as the International Day Against Cybercop Brutality. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globaltaxrevolt

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