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Wikileaks - Is America being imprisoned by free speech?

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Introduction

´╗┐Is America Being Imprisoned by Free Speech? ?If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear? (George Orwell). Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blowing global organisation Wikileaks, is accused of ?threatening America with the cyber equivalent of thermonuclear war? by publishing government documents online with louring intent. These leaks contain eight of the biggest leaks in history. Some of which include lists of members from racist political parties, and Afghan war logs. Exposing the transgressions of the powerful is a lasting and honourable tradition, often the primary purpose of free press. However, many of the ?life endangering? leaks that are being sited as due cause for prosecution are insignificant and of the ?Did you know the Pope is a Catholic?? variety and have yet to prove that they pose any manner of threat to civilians of military operations and national security. As many citizens of the US desire transparency, elected officials of public servants and services have no defence for continuing to guard its information from public scrutiny. ...read more.

Middle

Whilst leaking information from America, Australia, and the UK; he is not leaking information from countries such as North Korea, Iran, Russian or even China. This alludes to Assange targeting particular governments and whilst he cannot be tried for treason, should he be tried for terrorism? Despite this, American?s have no constructional right to privacy therefore free speech tends to trump privacy. As both are fundamental rights, they cannot be protected when in conflict. Naturally the governments are in favour of privacy to prevent the misdeeds of their past being exposed. For example, there is a leak that states George Bush, in building a case for war against Iraq falsely claimed than Iraq where attempting to purchase Yellowcake (a chemical used in fuel for nuclear reactors) from Africa. Frankly this is not true. Another leak exposes that America has killed five times the number of civilians killed on 9/11. This ultimately contributed to the increased number of Jihadists. To outlaw Wikileaks would be ironic in a democracy as it would restrict freedom of speech and people?s right to communicate their opinions and ideas. ...read more.

Conclusion

George Bush once said ?If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear? As of yet no deaths have been directly attributed to the leaks initiating in 2006. Bradley Manning ? a soldier of the American army, has accepted 10/22 charges against him. When in court Manning stated that he will plead guilty to sending documents to Wikileaks in violation of the US military regulations, but denies ?aiding the enemy? and may still be prosecuted. It is expected that manning will receive a 20 year sentence and dishonourable discharge. Why is Manning being tried so hard? Is it to make an example, to remind us of the consequences when exposing those is control? To conclude, I have outlined that as few leaks have the potential to risk lives; many more have little significance in this respect. Both privacy and freedom of speech cannot be protected when in conflict. However, in a case of democracy freedom of speech should outweigh privacy greatly. Citizens have a right to be aware of their governments and without this awareness democracy cannot exist. But, in doing this do they have the right to disregard the privacy of others? (952) ...read more.

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