UPDATE: Just to underscore the climate of lawless initmidation that has been created: before WikiLeaks was on many people’s radars (i.e., before the Apache video release), I wrote about the war being waged on them by the Pentagon, interviewed Assange, and urged people to donate money to them. In response, numerous people asked — both in comments and via email — whether they would be in danger, could incur legal liability for providing material support to Terrorism or some other crime, if they donated to WikiLeaks. Those were American citizens expressing that fear over an organization which had never been remotely charged with any wrongdoing.
Similarly, I met several weeks ago with an individual who once worked closely with WikiLeaks, but since stopped because he feared that his country — which has a very broad extradition treaty with the U.S. — would arrest him and turn him over to the Americans upon request. He knew he had violated no laws, but given that he’s a foreigner, he feared — justifiably — that he could easily be held by the United States without charges, denied all sorts of basic rights under the Patriot Act, and otherwise be subject to a system of “justice” which recognizes few limits or liberties, especially when dealing with foreigners accused of aiding Terrorists.
All the oppressive, lawless policies of the last decade — lawless detention, Guantanamo, disappearing people to CIA black sites, rendition, the torture regime, denial of habeas corpus, drones, assassinations, private mercenary forces, etc. — were designed, first and foremost, to instill exactly this fear, to deter any challenge. Many of these policies continue, and that climate of fear thus endures (see this comment from today as but one of many examples). As the treatment just thus far of WikiLeaks and Assange demonstrates, that reaction — though paralyzing and counter-productive — is not irrational. And one thing is for sure: there is nothing the U.S. Government could do — no matter how lawless or heinous — which (with rare exception) would provoke the objections of the American establishment media.
How many of the 500+ sites now mirroring Wikileaks are U.S. based? This ought to be a point of national pride, that our citizens move on equal footing with their own government, but instead cowardice is seen as the face of Prudence.