What is the larger threat? Is it the threat WikiLeaks poses to the national security of the United States or is the threat posed to WikiLeaks by the political and financial blockade led by powerful entities like Bank of America, MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa?
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” and claimed it appeared to “meet the legal criteria” of a terrorist organization. Many in the media jumped aboard King’s anti-WikiLeaks hysteria, seemingly oblivious to King’s history of ridiculous rants.
Clinton herself has also been publicly critical of WikiLeaks, but it is questionable whether it’s because she believes them to be a real threat to our nation’s security or if she is more concerned they will expose government corruption and stupidity. She whined in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, “I should have a jacket that says THE APOLOGY TOUR because everywhere I go, I’m apologizing for any embarrassment.’”
Political journalist David Corn wrote in a column for AOL, “Clinton, like predecessor Condoleezza Rice, signed orders instructing U.S. foreign service officers to spy on the diplomats of other nations. Cables went out under her name telling State Department officials overseas to collect the fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans of African leaders, to obtain passwords, credit card numbers, and frequent flyer accounts used by foreign diplomats, and to gather private information on United Nations officials.”
We only know this because of WikiLeaks’ release of confidential documents. Many agreed this was information to which American citizens should be privy, but the embarrassed U.S. government unleashed Attorney General Eric Holder, who opened a criminal investigation. One year later, no charges have been filed against WikiLeaks. However, Holder did authorize some actions against them.
“With regard to all the tactics that we can do or can use to ameliorate the consequences of these actions, I do not want to get into those as well. But we will do everything that we can both to hold people accountable and to minimize the harm that will befall the American people,” Holder was quoted as telling reporters in a Voice of America article.
Was it coincidental that shortly thereafter a financial blockade was launched by MasterCard, Bank of America, PayPal, Visa, Western Union, and Amazon? Most of them cited some form of “policy violation” as their reason for blocking donations to WikiLeaks. These companies are refusing to allow American citizens to send money to a whistle-blowing company that has not been found guilty of a crime and hasn’t even been charged with a crime. The strangling of the donations, which is their lifeblood, has left WikiLeaks on financial life support.
Regardless of your feelings about WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, the blockade raises serious questions about what kind of precedent this tactic sets, questions that deserve answers from the parties involved:
If you don’t think this affects you, you should read this Atlantic Wire article by Adam Clark Estes about the erosion of our Internet privacy as a result of the WikiLeaks fallout.