Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Oh the irony

The US is hosting next year's World Press Freedom Day! Meanwhile, the US wants Assange on espionage charges: despite the fact that he didn't leak the Wikileaks files, Bradley Manning probably did.

If Assange is a spy, then so is every newspaper editor who's every published leaked information, and every blogger who's repeated it. Assange may have committed a sexual assault, and if so, he deserves to face justice (though last night's Newsnight seemed to have decided that he is a rapist, rather than innocent until proved guilty), but he isn't a spy.

And so it comes to pass: weirdo egotist Senator Joe Lieberman has now called for the New York Times to be investigated for espionage (even though that craven publication sought Administration permission to publish). At this point, I'll draw on Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States:

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to the whole world.

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

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