Sunday, December 5, 2010

David Samuels on the Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

David Samuels has a bold and illuminating article in The Atlantic, which does an excellent job at calling out other so-called journalists for their shameful cowardice in their responses to the Wikileaks exposing of US diplomatic cables. The closing paragraph is telling:

In a memorandum entitled "Transparency and Open Government" addressed to the heads of Federal departments and agencies and posted on, President Obama instructed that "Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing." The Administration would be wise to heed his words -- and to remember how badly the vindictive prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg ended for the Nixon Administration. And American reporters, Pulitzer Prizes and all, should be ashamed for joining in the outraged chorus that defends a burgeoning secret world whose existence is a threat to democracy.

Apart from the sad irony that Obama's memorandum is completely at odds with his administration's actions and statements, this closing paragraph makes an important point. So many of our news media's reporters and many in the American public alike should be ashamed by their cowardice. Rather than buy into the false argument that our government's exceptionally "secret" activities are somehow making us safer, they should wake up and realize how dangerous that sort of unchecked secrecy is to our democracy. That more journalists and more Americans have not actively stepped forward to defend Julian Assange and Wikileaks is as frightening as it is disgusting.

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