A round-up of the week’s top news on WikiLeaks, Whistleblowers, and Civil Liberties
Last night WikiLeaks began releasing tens of thousands more U.S. diplomatic cables, bringing the total number of WikiLeaked cables to nearly 100,000. Among the findings revealed in the latest release is evidence that the Obama administration has worked with the Egyptian government to keep the Gaza border with Egypt closed. As the Washington Post describes, WikiLeaks is relying on twitter followers (hashtag: #wlfind) to pull out important pieces of information from the newly released cables.
Just hours before the release, federal prosecutors issued an order to Dynadot, a California Internet registrar that had hosted WikiLeaks, demanding that Dynadot produce “information on Julian Assange.” A few weeks earlier, the same prosecutors approached Twitter seeking records of accounts held by Assange, WikiLeaks, and Bradley Manning.
CODEPINK Kansas Coordinator Priti Gulati Cox highlights how Manning’s treatment and ongoing pre-trial detention serve as a troubling barometer for democracy in her insightful new article Parallel Lines of Dissent. Her critique compares the case of Manning, currently imprisoned in the author’s home state of Kansas, to that of Dr. Binayak Sen, a pediatrician and civil liberties activist who blew the whistle on government arming of militia groups in her birth country of India. Gulati Cox points out that like Manning, Sen faced life in prison for his alleged crime of doing service to his country – a sentence he was spared only due to international public outcry on his behalf.
In anticipation of the release of Dick Cheney’s new book, In My Time, CODEPINK has launched a two-sided Free Bradley/Arrest Cheney bookmark highlighting why war criminal Cheney should be “Doin’ Time” and Bradley Manning should be free. CODEPINK is also holding a photo contest to encourage activists to move Cheney’s book to the crime or other appropriate section of local bookstores.
An investigation by the Associated Press revealed on Thursday that after 9/11, the NYPD collaborated with the CIA to secretly monitor mosques and target ethnic communities. The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition has issued a statement condemning and demanding accountability for the NYPD’s spying on Muslim American Communities.
The FBI’s post-9/11 counter-terrorism tactics are also under scrutiny in the wake of an investigation released by Mother Jones magazine this week. The report found that nearly half of terrorism-related prosecutions after 9/11 have involved the use of informants, many of whom were given large cash incentives to produce victories for the FBI’s War on Terror.
In “How Washington lost faith in America’s courts,” Karen Greenberg laments another post-9/11 trend: the use of executive intervention to bypass the judicial system and due process. Greenberg draws parallels between the pre-trial punishment of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and that of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, noting
“Like bin Laden’s killing, both cases reflect an unspoken worry in Washington that our courts will prove insufficiently ruthless and so incapable of giving the “obviously guilty” what they “obviously” deserve.”
In his first solo op-ed, Thomas Drake describes in his own words how he was attacked for blowing the whistle on illegal activity and waste within the National Security Agency. Like Greenberg, he sees his case as a troubling sign of how constitutional rights have been subverted in the name of security post-9/11:
“The government’s penchant since Sept. 11, 2001, for operating in secrecy and hiding behind an executive branch “state secrets” doctrine has damaged our long-term national security and national character. It has, by sacrificing Americans’ general welfare and civil liberties, given rise to a persistent military-industrial-intelligence congressional surveillance complex.”
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