Local Gov’t Stories, Events
02.22 To solve its pension crisis, Maryland should change how its funds are invested [as California and other states have discovered...]
02.21 Baltimore public schools face $129 million budget deficit, plan mass layoffs [city needs more help from businesses and the public!]
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
02.25 Revealed: thousands of children at London schools breathe toxic air [you can't see the most dangerous pollution, the particles are too small which makes them dangerous]
02.23 Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of 'McCarthyist attacks' [sociopathic behavior...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.25 Steve Bannon: Trump is 'maniacally focused' on executing promises [videos; will increasingly unregulated and immoral capitalism save us?]
02.24 Police remove last Standing Rock protesters in military-style takeover [our government supports polluter rights over the public rights]
02.24 'I was naive': after losing healthcare battle, factory workers fear next blow [4:38 video; sociopathic CEOs don't care about workers]
02.24 Islamophobia grows louder in North Carolina: 'Can we not kill them all?' [sociopathic groups uniting in hate]
02.23 Why Kansas' Fiscal Implosion Is Bad News for Trump ["Stupid is as stupid does." – Forrest Gump]
02.24 New Law Would Let Arizona Treat Organized Dissent as Organized Crime [to suppress non-fascists only, perhaps?]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
02.22 Donald Trump's Mystery $50 Million (or More) Loan [will our nation's bookkeeping become more like Trump's?]
02.22 Palestinians must hang on to the green line, whether the aim is two states or one [We mustn't let fear trump morality]
02.22 EUROPE’S CHILD-REFUGEE CRISIS [We mustn't let fear trump morality]
CRIMINALIZING WHISTLEBLOWERS, FREE SPEECH:
Shield Act Targets First Amendment Freedoms
Sunday, 9 January 2011
For decades, America's freedoms have eroded, notably post-9/11 with:
Introduced on December 2, it was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, not passed, but likely to resurface in the 112th Congress.
HR 6506 is the House version, introduced on December 8, referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. It also didn't pass, but again very likely will resurface.
On December 2, Senator John Ensign's (R. NV) web site headlined, "Bipartisan Ensign Legislation Goes after WikiLeaks by Amending Espionage Act," saying:
WikiLeaks published none. In fact, on October 17, Reuters reported Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying:
Yet according to Ensign, Lieberman and Brown:
According to Attorney General Eric Holder:
Congressional Research Service Analysis
On December 6, Congressional Research Service (CRS) legislative attorney Jennifer Elsea headlined, "Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information ," saying:
Also at issue is whether information gotten and published relates to lawless government actions that create "clear and present danger(s)" for everyone. Public interest/self-defense/criminal act disclosure arguments are reasons enough for disseminating such information.
CRS also called prosecuting WikiLeaks unprecedented and challenging, both legally and politically, saying:
Targeting Constitutional Rights
The Shield Act targets whistleblowers, amends the 1917 Espionage Act, criminalizes free speech, and compromises the public's right to know how their elected officials govern. Suppressing truth is the first step toward tyranny. America is hurtling toward it as well as third world status and ruin.
On December 7, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Shari Steele headlined, "Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship," saying:
Writing for Lawfare.com, Benjamin Wittes, senior Brookings Institution Governance Studies fellow, headlined, "Espionage Act Amendments," saying:
At issue most of all are fundamental constitutional rights. Earlier Supreme Court decisions addressed them.
Two Notable Supreme Court Decisions
During the 1919 Red Scare, California passed a criminal syndicalism law to restrict activities of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an activist international union called the Wobblies. The statute prohibited advocating changes to the capitalist system of industrial ownership or political control. Under it, Charlotte Anita Whitney, a social activist, was charged and convicted, solely for her short-term Communist Labor Party (CLP) membership.
In Whitney v. California (1927), the Supreme Court unanimously upheld California's statute based on its right to protect the public from violent political acts. However, Justices Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes contended that Whitney's attorneys should have argued for a "clear and present danger" test to distinguish between membership and dangerous action. They reasoned that Fourteenth Amendment Due Process protection and First Amendment speech and assembly rights superseded state regulation.
Specifically they wrote:
In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Court overturned Whitney v. California and Ohio's Criminal Syndicalism statute, ruling that government cannot constitutionally punish abstract advocacy of force or a law violation. It can only do so in cases of directly inciting "imminent lawless actions." The "Brandenburg standard" thus affirmed the "clear and present danger" test, what Congress now wants to abolish unconstitutionally.
On January 3, Law Professor Geoffrey Stone's New York Times op-ed headlined, "A Clear Danger to Free Speech," saying:
In fact, the William H. Rehnquist Supreme Court, in Bartnicki v. Vopper (2001), held that anyone publishing information "from a source who obtained it unlawfully" may not be punished "absent a need....of the highest order....it would be quite remarkable to hold" that such individuals are criminally liable because the government didn't "deter conduct by a non-law-abiding third party."
In fact, whatever's in the public interest should and must be published. It's the only way fundamental constitutional principles are protected, ones lawless House and Senate members want stripped.
A Final Comment
On January 8, a WikiLeaks statement said:
It requires a San-Francisco-based micro-blogging site to hand over all details of five individual accounts and private Twitter messaging, including the computers and networks used. Assange and four others were named. Another report said he was offered a plea bargain if he cooperates. So far the subpoena's contents are sealed. Assange demands they be revealed, and he promised to fight the alleged charges.
Administration and congressional members accuse WikiLeaks and Assange of compromising US national security and endangering the lives of human intelligence sources. They also say nothing of importance was published.
In a December 7 op-ed in The Australian, Assange said:
No one since WikiLeaks began publishing was harmed. In contrast, Washington's imperial wars harmed millions at home and abroad with no accountability or acknowledgement by America's dominant media, portraying lawless conflicts as liberating ones. As a result, "truth emergency" conditions demand that whistleblowers and independent writers do what corporate-paid ones don't - their job.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on January 9, 2011.
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