DNC Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks Poses Serious Threat To Press Freedom

BAILEY T. STEEN | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018

This week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a lawsuit proving party members just won’t let the 2016 presidential election go away. Despite the appearance of stones being thrown from glass houses, considering reports from Wikileaks and former DNC chair Donna Brazile exposed the unethical collusion, financial ties and internal bias that rigged the electoral process in favour of former candidate Hillary Clinton, the DNC lawsuits instead points the finger everywhere except themselves.

According to The Washington Post, the sore losers committee have decided to go big with their accusation hit-list that includes the likes of: all the officials in the Russian government, Russian oligarchs, hackers they suspect are Russian, members of the Trump campaign, regular InfoWars contributor Roger Stone Jr. and the controversial Julian Assange headed news outlet Wikileaks.

The DNC’s accusations vary across parties, meaning some parties are accused of unspecified “Russian collusion”, which somehow cost the election for Clinton despite no smoking gun significantly linking the parties of a crime, unnamed sources are accused of “hacking” the DNC severs, which former FBI director James Comey said wasn’t formally investigated by the FBI upon the committee’s request, while Wikileaks are accused of committing journalism, which is listed as “economic espionage” (paragraph 170) since the outlet published the DNC’s scandalous emails.

Regardless of their intent for publishing, which they claim was done to benefit both the Russian government and their special agents, The Intercept reports the publishing on material, stolen or otherwise, is common journalistic practice. We need only look at The Pentagon Paper, the heavily classified military documents from the Eisenhower days to Nixon, where were leaked to the press by former government analyst turned Vietnam War whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. This lawsuit was taken all the way up to the supreme court which ruled 6–3 in favour of The Washington Post and The New York Times’ constitutional right to publish the war material that, for example, exposed the military’s use of the highly toxic chemical “agent orange” that is considered illegal under international law.

Corrupt entities have a clear vested interest in protecting their behind, which brings us to the justification the government has used time and time again in the attempt to destroy Ellsberg-like whistleblowers and the newspaper platforms: The Espionage Act of 1917. This was the same law that was used against Chelsea Manning, the former Wikileaks source who stole classified footage of the U.S. military killing Reuters journalists during the Iraq War. This is the same law the government is attempting to use against whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA) that exposed the government’s unconstitutional warrantless wiring tapping and metadata collection against United States citizens. Sure enough, establishment entities are now using this law and more to take on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks platform, one of the few media outlets that are willing to release information without the authorisation from the corrupt.

Other than their anti-establishment ideology, what separates the journalistic conduct of Wikileaks from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, MSNBC and other award-winning media? They all covered Ellsberg, NSA spying, Trump’s taxes returns and the Panama Papers — and yet all of them were released without the consent of their targets. I argue there is none, because hardly any secret would be exposed if it were left up to the secretive rulers. As Glenn Greenwald agrees, framing these stories as “part of an unlawful racketeering plot”, so says the DNC lawsuit, is to make producing real news a crime. This very article would make TrigTent an accomplice to the non-crime of journa- I mean, “economic espionage” just for accurately reporting about Wikileaks’ case.

Corporate media talks of big game when it comes to President Donald Trump and his fight against the media. Often they cry about mean tweets, such as the famous CNN wrestling meme, or the condemning of individual reporters from the mainstream the president considers laughably false. This is nowhere near the problems the president poses to online media like Wikileaks, recently appointing former CIA director Mike Pompeo as his new secretary of state. It just so happens that Pompeo is the same establishment insider that, on CSPAN, called on Snowden’s execution for the crime of exposing other crimes. This would be the perfect time for Democratic resistance — if it weren’t for Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) who pledged support from the president’s pick earlier this week. It’s like the Democratic Party want to resist Trump, the man in power, more than they want to resist the conduct that makes American presidents, from Obama to Trump, problematic tyrants to the freedom of the press.

Two sides of the establishment coin, the DNC and the Pompeo-aligned elites, are hoping manufactured hatred for Wikileaks will outshine the inconvenient truth that they’re a news organisation unlike any other — considering the outlet has never had to retract a story on their factual authenticity. “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us,” Pompeo told Center for Strategic and International Studies on April 13th, 2017. “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

Sadly for Mr. Pompeo, the first amendment is what protect every outlet from the perversions of the CIA, the NSA, the DNC and corrupt entities that would rather news stay silent than reach the light of day. It was the Obama administration that found they could not prosecute WikiLeaks since it would jeopardise the press as a whole, thus exposing their tyrannical intent. The DNC and company best learn from this past — or they’re bound to repeat it with frivolous lawsuits sure to blow up in their faces.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet on occasion.

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