As Glenn Greenwald noted in salon.com, censorship is a fact of life in China, and access to the WikiLeaks site with its recently published US diplomatic cables is simply blocked. The United States, on the other hand, proudly claims to uphold various kinds of freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of information, etc. At least, on paper. Enter Joe Lieberman, chairman of the U.S.Senate Committee on Homeland Security, who ordered amazon.com to stop hosting the WikiLeaks website, because — well, because Julian Assange and his ilk are criminal terrorists. No, they’re endangering people’s lives. No, they’re endangering our security. In any case, the American public can’t be exposed to this kind of information. They might start to think independent thoughts, heaven forbid!
The funny thing is, of course, that so far there have been very few hitherto unknown revelations. Embarrassing gossip, yes; but manipulative and coercive tactics, like Hillary Clinton ordering US diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations — well that’s entirely possible and shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
The arrogant attitude which is exposed with the cables and which also characterizes the reaction of top American officials is simply appalling. No attempt to explain their embarassing content so far; only indignant condemnation of the fact that the cables were released. Which encourages dimwits like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin to ask for Julian Assange’s head (she calls him an “…anti-American operative with blood on his hands”). In the meantime, Interpol put him on the “Most Wanted” list and is trying to arrest him for alleged sex crimes that he denied. A good friend of mine was raped a few years ago; she identified the perpetrator but is still waiting for any kind of justice. The guy has never been arrested, there was no trial, nothing. The operative double standards want me to throw up.
I hope that many people will refrain from ordering from amazon.com. They issued a rather disingenuous statement explaining why they took the WikiLeaks site down, but the bottom line is that they’re chicken shits who don’t want to endanger their profits. No backbone.
If you want to add your signature to a petition that asks amazon.com to reinstate WikiLeaks, go to change.org.
Here’s Assange on TEDTalks.