Columbia School of Journalism Comes Out Against Prosecution of Julian Assange

Discussion in 'General Global Topics' started by Synthaholic, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Synthaholic
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    Synthaholic Platinum Member

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    Columbia School of Journalism Comes Out Against Prosecution of Julian Assange

    By: David Dayen Wednesday December 15, 2010 8:14 am


    Twenty members of the Columbia School of Journalism have written a letter to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing their opposition to charging Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with criminal counts for leaking a cache of classified State Department cables.


    Some of the professors who signed the statement don’t agree with Assange or his methods. In fact, one high-profile signer, Professor Todd Gitlin, wrote a condemnation of Assange just a week or so ago in The New Republic. He said in the story that Wikileaks would weaken diplomatic relations across the world and increase official secrecy. And yet he believes that Assange should be protected from prosecution. “There are plenty of unethical or otherwise wrong-headed actions that should be morally sanctioned but remain legal,” Gitlin said. He added that Wikileaks is certainly conducting journalistic activity, and that a prosecution would chill journalistic conduct across the country. This is from the letter:


    Any prosecution of Wikileaks’ staff for receiving, possessing or publishing classified materials will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity.

    As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.
    The U.S. and the First Amendment continue to set a world standard for freedom of the press, encouraging journalists in many nations to take significant risks on behalf of transparency. Prosecution in the Wikileaks case would greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration.


    Gitlin said that the Espionage Act in particular, which he couldn’t cite used in a case of this type since World War II, would create a very broad standard for prosecution on publishing virtually any state secret. “WikiLeaks, approve its m.o. or not, is certainly conducting what the letter calls ‘journalistic activity,’ however flawed,” Gitlin concluded.

    ...


    More at the link
     
  2. Revere
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    Well, journos see themselves as stewards of the decline of the United States.
     
  3. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    Leftists sure do love leftist criminals, don't they?
     
  4. Mini 14
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    All of you worried about him having to face trial in the US need to relax.

    He's going to be assassinated before any of that could ever come to pass.
     
  5. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    saw this this morning....interesting..Ellsberg held back....hummmmm.



    * DECEMBER 29, 2010

    Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers
    Everyone knows that Daniel Ellsberg leaked top-secret government documents about the Vietnam War. How many remember the ones he kept secret, or why?


    In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg decided to make available to the New York Times (and then to other newspapers) 43 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, the top- secret study prepared for the Department of Defense examining how and why the United States had become embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. But he made another critical decision as well. That was to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.

    Not at all coincidentally, those were the volumes that the government most feared would be disclosed. In a secret brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. government described the diplomatic volumes as including information about negotiations secretly conducted on its behalf by foreign nations including Canada, Poland, Italy and Norway. Included as well, according to the government, were "derogatory comments about the perfidiousness of specific persons involved, and statements which might be offensive to nations or governments."

    The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret, according to Sanford Ungar's 1972 book "The Papers & The Papers," by saying, "I didn't want to get in the way of the diplomacy."

    Julian Assange sure does. Can anyone doubt that he would have made those four volumes public on WikiLeaks regardless of their sensitivity? Or that he would have paid not even the slightest heed to the possibility that they might seriously compromise efforts to bring a speedier end to the war?

    Mr. Ellsberg himself has recently denounced the "myth" of the "good" Pentagon Papers as opposed to the "bad" WikiLeaks. But the real myth is that the two disclosures are the same.

    The Pentagon Papers revelations dealt with a discrete topic, the ever-increasing level of duplicity of our leaders over a score of years in increasing the nation's involvement in Vietnam while denying it. It revealed official wrongdoing or, at the least, a pervasive lack of candor by the government to its people.

    WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret. It assaults the very notion of diplomacy that is not presented live on C-Span. It has sometimes served the public by its revelations but it also offers, at considerable potential price, a vast amount of material that discloses no abuses of power at all.

    more at-
    Floyd Abrams: Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers - WSJ.com
     
  6. JWBooth
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    Good for them.
     
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    So?
     
  8. Synthaholic
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    They obviously consider him a journalist.
     
  9. Revere
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    There is no such thing as journalism anymore. It's all advocacy.
     
  10. The Infidel
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    The Infidel EVIL CONSERVATIVE

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    The Fourth Estate has become The Fifth Column.....
     

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