Recently, I finished reading Lawrence Wright’s new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollwood, & the Prison of Belief, about Scientology. It’s a lucid history and examination of the movement. [More . . . ]
Glenn Greenwald makes a strong case that the government was intentionally making an example out of Swartz in order to assert corporatocratic control over the Internet. Government information belongs to the government and big business
But the abuses here extend far beyond the statutes in question. There is, as I wrote about on Saturday when news of Swartz’s suicide spread, a general effort to punish with particular harshness anyone who challenges the authority of government and corporations to maintain strict control over the internet and the information that flows on it. Swartz’s persecution was clearly waged by the government as a battle in the broader war for control over the internet. As Swartz’s friend, the NYU professor and Harvard researcher Danah Boyd, described in her superb analysis:
“When the federal government went after him – and MIT sheepishly played along – they weren’t treating him as a person who may or may not have done something stupid. He was an example. And the reason they threw the book at him wasn’t to teach him a lesson, but to make a point to the entire Cambridge hacker community that they were p0wned. It was a threat that had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a broader battle over systemic power.
The government bullying of Aaron Swartz is one of many government abuses that all fit into a pattern, as Greenwald notes:
The grotesque abuse of Bradley Manning. The dangerous efforts to criminalize WikiLeaks’ journalism. The severe overkill that drives the effort to apprehend and punish minor protests by Anonymous teenagers while ignoring far more serious cyber-threats aimed at government critics. The Obama administration’s unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers. And now the obscene abuse of power applied to Swartz.
Why the focus on the Internet?
[T]he abuse of state power, the systematic violation of civil liberties, is about creating a Climate of Fear, one that is geared toward entrenching the power and position of elites by intimidating the rest of society from meaningful challenges and dissent. There is a particular overzealousness when it comes to internet activism because the internet is one of the few weapons – perhaps the only one – that can be effectively harnessed to galvanize movements and challenge the prevailing order.
Found this cartoon on Facebook, but cannot determine how to link directly to it, even at the site mentioned in the cartoon. I’m reprinting it because it is one of the best statements I’ve seen regarding of America’s massive denial regarding the significance of the actions of Bradley Manning:
What kinds of scandals has Bradley Manning revealed? Here are more than a few.
Jeffrey Tucker sizes up Bradley Manning:
He didn’t cheat. He didn’t make anything up. He didn’t even hurt anyone. All he did was reveal what is true. (The best background on the case comes from Wikipedia.) The result was explosive in showing the world what goes on behind the scenes in the wars for democracy. He showed innocents being slaughtered, people taking pleasure in bombings and killings, a gigantic catalog of deceptions and tricky, and much more. It wasn’t hard to find this material. He only had to download it and upload it.
Any true American would have done the same — or should have. It takes guts to stand up for what is right. He has languished in prison for two and a half years, for the Orwellian crime of revealing the truth. Julian Assange is exactly right that he is a hero.
Reality seems upside down in many ways, including the manner in which mainstream journalists have treated Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. Glenn Greenwald comments at The Guardian:
The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama’s first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning’s treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning’s guilt when he asserted in an interview that he “broke the law”.
Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”, for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison). The government’s radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.
Do you want to hear the other candidates running for president of the U.S.? You can watch it live on October 23, 2012 at 8pm central time. Here’s more from Huffpo:
The debate, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, will feature Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party).” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/third-party-debate-al-jazeera-english_n_1988014.html
The debate, which will be moderated by Larry King in Chicago, will be sponsored by Free and Equal. This debate will not be carried by any major American TV network, but it will be carried by Al Jazeera.
Amber Lyons recently lost her job as a reporter for CNN. The problem is that she is a reporter who simply reports what she sees, and lets the chips fall where they may. This is much too inconvenient for CNN, which allows subjects of news reports buy favorable coverage. Let that sink in.
Here is an eleven minute video where Lyons reveals the extent of the problem, referring to the censorship of her reports regarding the regime in U.S.-ally Bahrain. Her message is even much broader, however, and applies to the willingness of the lapdog media to encourage needless war against Iran. This is really eye-opening information. This story also points to the incredible importance of preserving net neutrality, because you won’t hear about this mainstream media corruption on the mainstream media.