Top Democrat sticks up for WikiLeaks

Justin Elliot reports:

The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this morning on WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act, the law that has been touted as opening up a possible route to prosecute Julian Assange. But the most interesting part of the hearing has been listening to a prominent congressional Democrat, committee chairman John Conyers of Michigan, argue strongly against prosecuting WikiLeaks in haste — or at all.

“As an initial matter, there is no doubt that WikiLeaks is very unpopular right now. Many feel that the WikiLeaks publication was offensive. But being unpopular is not a crime, and publishing offensive information is not either. And the repeated calls from politicians, journalists, and other so-called experts crying out for criminal prosecutions or other extreme measures make me very uncomfortable,” Conyers said, according to his prepared remarks.

“Indeed, when everyone in this town is joined together calling for someone’s head, that is it a pretty strong sign we need to slow down and take a closer look,” he continued.

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2 thoughts on “Top Democrat sticks up for WikiLeaks

  1. rick

    Obviously, John Conyers should be publically beheaded, with the video posted to Al Jazeera.

    Since we are a nation of laws, I cite the Alien and Sedition Acts as legal justification.

    Besides, Conyers supported single-payer healthcare. It doesn’t get much more seditious than that.

  2. Ian Arbuckle

    This is the kind of discussion that is used effectively to keep weaker minds occupied while the wolves steal the chickens, or rather pass out tax handouts to billionaires.

    It is as simple as;
    The journalist’s job is to get any new information that informs his readers and is not already published and publish it.

    The government’s job is to:
    A, release information to the media that informs the citizenry of the essential results of its activities, and of the state of the nation in general,
    B, hide details of its activities from the media which might compromise them or the results of their activities.

    A leak, is when details which are meant to be held in secret “B” are released without being authorized and then, by being published, they do effect the result. Some leaks are deliberate, some are not, and some that appear to be not deliberate, in fact are.

    It is a game, a dance, a ballet with many players on both ends of the wire and involving a great deal of nuance and intrigue. With a government that is hiding more than its not, and a publisher which arguably does not come under US jurisdiction, any legal decision, even one to indict will be a political one.

    My opinion is that although governments of course have and always will have secrets, it is their job to keep them hidden. However once the information has been released to the media, they have failed in their job. To criminalize the media that is doing its job, and only its job, collecting and publishing information, is to jeopardize a fundamental necessity of democracy; the flow of true, relevant and actual information to the citizenry on the activities of government.

    Also in my humble opinion, if Assange’s lawyer can just show once, only once, that the government has leaked sensitive information to the press “deliberately”, (yes, the Valery Plame case comes to mind), they can say, “well, we were under the impression that we were being fed these documents unofficially and with plausible deny-ability, by some part of the government that wanted them released”. And why not indeed, since there is a whole line of conspiracy argument which shows quite convincingly that what has been released may in fact contribute only to reinforce American and Zionist policy, to use military force in the ME and South Asia, while providing control over descent, and cover for an attack on freedom of information in the new electronic age?
    (-note see: Who is Behind Wikileaks? by Michel Chossudovsky, at

    But certainly the cries for blood and legal sanction against Assange coming from the galleries are just another part of a political show.

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