THIS IS A MUST READ… Sorry about all the Glenn Greenwald links this week. He’s just on fucking fire lately. Read it if you care about, well, basically anything :
That WikiLeaks is being targeted by the U.S. Government for surveillance and disruption is beyond doubt. And it underscores how vital their work is and why it’s such a threat.
WikiLeaks editors, including Assagne, have spent substantial time of late in Iceland because there is a pending bill in that country’s Parliament that would provide meaningful whistle blower protection for what they do, far greater than exists anywhere else. Why is Iceland a leading candidate to do that? Because, last year, that nation suffered full-scale economic collapse. It was then revealed that numerous nefarious causes (corrupt loans, off-shore transactions, concealed warning signs) were hidden completely from the public and even from policy-makers, preventing detection and avoidance. Worse, most of Iceland’s institutions — from its media to its legislative and regulatory bodies — completely failed to penetrate this wall of secrecy, allowing this corruption to fester until it brought about full-scale financial ruin. As a result, Iceland has become very receptive to the fact that the type of investigative exposure provided by WikiLeaks is a vital national good, and there is real political will to provide it with substantial protections.
If that doesn’t sound familiar to Americans, it should. At exactly the time when U.S. government secrecy is at an all-time high, the institutions ostensibly responsible for investigation, oversight and exposure have failed. The American media are largely co-opted, and their few remaining vestiges of real investigative journalism are crippled by financial constraints. The U.S. Congress is almost entirely impotent at providing meaningful oversight and is, in any event, controlled by the factions that maintain virtually complete secrecy. As I’ve documented before, some alternative means of investigative journalism have arisen — such as the ACLU’s tenacious FOIA litigations to pry documents showing “War on Terror” abuses and the reams of bloggers who sort through, analyze and publicize them — but that’s no match for the vast secrecy powers of the government and private corporations.
The need for independent leaks and whistle-blowing exposures is particularly acute now because, at exactly the same time that investigative journalism has collapsed, public and private efforts to manipulate public opinion have proliferated. This is exemplified by the type of public opinion management campaign detailed by the above-referenced CIA Report, the Pentagon’s TV propaganda program exposed in 2008, and the ways in which private interests covertly pay and control supposedly “independent political commentators” to participate in our public debates and shape public opinion.