I mean, let's face it: WikiLeaks exists because the mainstream media haven't done their job. Instead of holding government accountable as the "fourth branch" the founders intended, I guess the corporate media's role today is to protect the government from embassassment. Assange has pioneered "scientific journalism" (his term) – a news story is accompanied by the document it's based upon and the reader can make up his own mind. WikiLeaks' small team of reporters has unveiled more suppressed information than the rest of the world press combined! Assange is the publisher, not the one who revealed the "classified information." That's apparently Private Bradley Manning, who somehow found a security loophole and now is being held in solitary confinement at our Quantico, Virginia base facing up to 52 years in prison. Are we surprised that the United Nations' special investigator on torture is looking into whether Manning has been mistreated in custody? As for Assange, how our government wants to try him under the Espionage Act of 1917 is beyond me. Come on, he's an Australian citizen and his Internet domain is in Switzerland. (By the way, he also received the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in 2010, and the Amnesty International Media Award in 2009).
And what about these cyberspace sabotage attacks against WikiLeaks that are being carried out across national borders by our government? As far as I can determine, these are illegal under both U.S. law and international treaties. Meantime, it blows my mind that students at Columbia and Boston University and probably other institutions of "higher learning" are being warned not to read any of these documents if they want to get a government job in the future. The Office of Management and Budget sent out a memo that forbids unauthorized federal employees and contractors from accessing WikiLeaks. The Library of Congress has blocked visitors to its computer system from doing the same. The Air Force started blocking its personnel from using work computers to look at the websites of the New York Times and other publications that had posted the cables. Instead, a page came up that said: "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored." Over in Iraq, our troops who'd like to even read articles about all this get a "redirect" notice on their government network telling them they're on the verge of breaking the law. And a lot of these same soldiers have security clearances that would have allowed them to see the cables before they were leaked.
Given the close ties between the government and large corporations, I can't say I'm surprised that Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and Bank of America took action to make sure that WikiLeaks could no longer receive any money through their channels. And I can't say I'm upset that a group of young "hacktavists" calling themselves Anonymous have taken retaliatory action against some of those same companies. They call it Operation Payback. "Websites that are bowing down to government pressure have become targets," a fellow named Coldblood posted. "As an organization we have always taken a strong stance on censorship and freedom of expression on the internet and come out against those who seek to destroy it by any means. We feel that WikiLeaks has become more than just about leaking of documents, it has become a war ground, the people vs. the government."