Wikileaks may spawn new “sedition act”

posted by
December 27, 2010
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
by Bob Barr  
Posted in Commentary, LAND Commentary

"The infamous Sedition Act, which criminalized speech critical of the federal government and which was passed by the Federalists during another of America’s undeclared wars (that time, against France), lasted only three years, from 1798 to 1801. However, if the congressional critics of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have their way, a new and revised version of the Sedition Act may be in the offing." (12/27/10)  

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  • Submitted the following at Bob Barr blog ~10:12pm MST but it has still not appeared at 11:30pm:
    WikiLeaks is actually providing a service to individuals, enabling them to discover, or confirm earlier suspicions, that governments are counter to their own individual best interests. Governments, especially the US one, are being shown to be "Emperors" with "no clothes", but are desperately trying to keep up the illusion by way of their paid enforcers. And now some in Washington DC are strongly considering changing laws so as to charge Julian Assange (as the head of WikiLeaks) with a crime, "sedition"…. %| eyes rolling at this one!

    Additionally, the issue of public access to government has already been addressed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Papers written on research funded by NIH must be freely available to the public. The first sentence from its stated policy –
    "The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research."
    And of course "NIH funded" is US taxpayer funded! This is the same funding for *all* the actions of the US government, whether directly or by way of interest payments on money borrowed.

    WikiLeaks, therefore, has simply preempted the US government by making some (small amount) of the vast amounts of government actions/statements available to US citizens/taxpayers and the rest of the world. Keep it up WikiLeaks! (My support is verbal and monetary.)

    As for Bradley Manning, if he provided government documents to WikiLeaks, it appears to me from what I've read of his statements, that he acted as a person horrified at the information (Afghanistan related) that he had come across in his work and considered it imperative that other USers be aware of the same. The same writers/commenters here (including Bob Barr) and elsewhere who want him prosecuted – even shot by a firing squad – would likely have praised Nazi German and Soviet Russian soldiers who provided similar information to a publisher for world-wide dissemination. The philosophical contradiction by such writers/commenters is clear to me.

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