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It's troubling to see innocent whistleblowers like Tom Drake bankrupted by selective and vindictive prosecutions. It's equally repugnant to see news game-changers like WikiLeaks teetering on financial collapse, orchestrated by governments and businesses. An amazing nonprofit organization, Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched yesterday. It's aim is to foster more transparent government by insulating groups like WikiLeaks from commercial censorship.

In case you haven't noticed, a free press--something enshrined in the First Amendment--is under an unprecedented, brutal assault in this country. This takes many insidious forms, from prosecuting whistleblower sources under the Espionage Act, to rampant over-classification, to the financial blockades of one of the most important news outlets in the world.

Another thing that deserves notice: The U.S. government and business have done everything in their power to shut down WikiLeaks.  In addition to refusing to allow its founder, Julian Assange, to enjoy the political asylum he's been granted, the United States has refused to grant him assurances against extradition. Those close to WikiLeaks are under travel restrictions normally reserved for terrorists. In the most obvious from of government creep, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are not accepting donations for WikiLeaks, which choked off 95% of its funding.

While we seem paralyzed in ending the government's crackdown on whistleblowers, there's now something easy and concrete you can do to help end the commercial censorship: donate anonymously to pressfreedom.org

Freedom of the Press Foundation is now serving as a conduit for donations to organizations like WikiLeaks and the National Security Archive--to insulate their fund-raising efforts from draconian political and business pressures.

Board members range from Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dan Ellsberg to actor John Cusack.

You can donate not only to WikiLeaks, but to various journalistic and investigative projects. There will be a rotating list of participating organizations expected to receive financing. By accepting donations for more than one organization, the site hopes to prevent any single one of them from being targeted.

I urge people to think beyond WikiLeaks. If you believe in investigative journalism and government openness, transparency, and accountability, you should think about organizations committed to--an paying the price for--these ideals.

A free press is a lynchpin for democratic government. WikiLeaks documents were published in all the major news outlets around the world. It has not, as Congressmen warned in stark terms, created "a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States." Rather, it has made phenomena like the Arab Spring possible.

Financial blockades of terrorists is one thing.  Cutting off funding for news organizations is part a the slick and dangerous slide towards tyranny.

Originally posted to Jesselyn Radack on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Whistleblowers Round Table.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:13:04 AM PST

  •  Leaks become the lifeblood of the Republic. (8+ / 0-)
    In 2011, the U.S. Government classified over 92 million documents, four times more than were classified under George Bush in 2008.
    Moreover, President Obama's Justice Department has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all the previous administrations combined.
    When a government becomes invisible, it becomes unaccountable.

    To expose its lies, errors, and illegal acts is not treason, it is a moral responsibility.

    Leaks become the lifeblood of the Republic.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

    by allenjo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:34:40 AM PST

  •  Reading your posts (4+ / 0-)

    Reading these posts is almost always very damn depressing.

    But I keep doing it, because reading these posts is always
    (no almost about it) very necessary.

    Thanks again for your courageous work.

  •  Oh, cry me a damn river... (0+ / 0-)
    In addition to refusing to allow its founder, Julian Assange, to enjoy the political asylum he's been granted,
    "Asylum" status only has relevance to a country that declares someone has it; no country is obligated to accept another country's declaration of "asylum".  

    The guy is running from rape charges.  The UK has not even the right to let him go; their Supreme Court has already ruled against him (along with two other courts in the UK and two in Sweden, including the Swedish Supreme Court).  The guy needs to stop running and face trial for what he did.

    •  So that Sweden can ship him off to the USA (0+ / 0-)

      to become a political prisoner — yeah, no deal.

      Even if he did it, from my perspective, our freedom is more important. And it is our freedom we're talking about here.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:54:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is, of course, nonsense. (0+ / 0-)
        So that Sweden can ship him off to the USA to become a political prisoner — yeah, no deal.

        It would be difficult to design a more difficult extradition scenario than that.  An extradition from Sweden after being surrendered there from the UK would require the approval of five separate bodies (any one can overrule it) - the Swedish courts, the Swedish government, the UK courts, the UK government, and the European Court of Human Rights.  All five of which are banned from extraditing for political charges, for where the death penalty is possible, or for where abuse is possible.  Even supermax prison is declared as "abuse".  Two of the bodies (the Swedish courts and the Swedish government) are additionally banned from extraditing if the crimes are about intelligence or the military (Assange thought so much of the Swedish judicial system that before the charges came up he referred to Sweden as his "shield" and was applying for a residence permit).  And the ECHR exists solely to prevent political prosecutions and human rights abuses, and is often accused of way overstepping its bounds, to the point where they ruled, for example, that it's abuse to ban prisoners from voting or having access to state-funded assistive reproductive care.

        The two most "friendly" bodies toward extradition among the five are the UK government and courts.  Yet even concerning just them it's an absurd proposition.  It took eight years to extradite Abu Hamza.  Abu F'ing Hamza, a guy pretty much nobody liked, who was working to set up terrorist training camps inside the US.  To get him the US not only had to promise no Guantanamo, no death penalty, but even no supermax and all sorts of other stuff.  And this was only concerning the UK!  Just recently the UK refused the extradition of the foremost hacker of US military systems (thnk the US didn't really want him?) because "he has Aspegers".  As if Julian "I have to wear specific types of jackets to write specific types of messages" Assange doesn't?

        And this is just concerning UK!  Sweden is one of the hardest countries in Europe to send people to the US from because of their restrictive extradition treaty.  You know the foreign minister Assange rails against, Carl Bildt?  He was Prime Minister back in the 1980s when Sweden refused to hand over Edward Lee Howard, a CIA defector who was giving info to the Soviet Union (think the US didn't really want him?)  Sweden has harbored dozens of US defectors and not once handed someone over to the US for military or intelligence crimes because it's illegal to do so.

        It would be difficult to design a more difficult extradition scenario than this.  And laughable given that Assange famously jetsetted all over the would and the US could have grabbed him from pretty much any country they wanted without any of the European extradition restrictions, without ECHR overview, and certainly without the added Swedish restrictions.  And really, so this is all a giant CIA plot, but the US never bothered to tell Sweden that Assange was going to the UK?  Or bothered to tell the UK that he was going to the Ecuadorian embassy?  Who's running the CIA these days, Bozo the Clown?

        And this is all premised on the concept that the US would even try to get Assange rather than be content to watch him fall into obscurity serving his sentence.

        Even if he did it, from my perspective, our freedom is more important.
        Wow.  Just F'ing Wow.  "People I like should be allowed to rape whoever they want and get away with it."  Do you really support that?!

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