What Is An Assange? My Interview With John Cusack

turley_jonathan220px-John_Cusack_Comic-Con_2011John Cusack and I had a dialogue last year about civil liberties and other issues. John has now run a second interview (actually half of a second interview) on Huffington Post. This interview focuses on the case of Julian Assange.

For full disclosure, John and I grew up together — spending countless hours at the kitchen tables of our houses debating politics and philosophy through the years. The two families remain close and we still have the same houses where we grew up.

Huffington Post will run the second half of the interview this week.

36 thoughts on “What Is An Assange? My Interview With John Cusack

  1. I read this late last night over at Huff Po. Good stuff. To his long list of talents, I’m going to say Cusak needs to permanently add “interviewer” after reading these two outings. He’s far more engaging than most of what passes for journalism in the infotainment world.

  2. “Because it is from the revelation of truth that all else follows.

    Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong.

    Our civilization is only as strong as its ideas are true.

    When our buildings are erected by the corrupt, when their cement is cut with dirt, when pristine steel is replaced by scrap – our buildings are not safe to live in.

    And when our media is corrupt, when our academics are timid, when our history is filled with half- truths and lies – our civilization will never be just. It will never reach to the sky.

    Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by the same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions.

    You can’t build a skyscraper out of plasticine. And you can’t build a just civilization out of ignorance and lies.” -Julian Assange


  3. Shano, The UK extradition order is to remove Julian Assange to Sweden for interrogation re the alleged sexual assault. Once interrogation, charges might be forthcoming, but it’s a classic ‘he said, she said’. Assange’s presence in Sweden is allegedly a ruse for extradition to the US.

    Things aren’t quiet on the Aussie home front regarding the Australian government’s failure to help this citizen. The same has been said of now former Gitmo detainee and Australian citizen, David Hicks. http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-walls-of-guantanamo-know-a-truth-that-australia-will-not-tell-20121019-27wmu.html

    The issues surrounding Wikileaks seems to be more about retaliatory prosecution for causing the US embarssment rather than free speech. Given recent assaults on free speech, one might argue that actions against Julian Assange are a criminal SLAPP. In this case, his removal to Sweden on, at best, questionable grounds appears placatory to the US.

  4. The national press has ostracized Assange because he scooped it. Period. All this clamor and specious argument about Assange’s status as a journalist is more a matter of form following function. The defect implied here by Professor Turley’s analysis is that if one isn’t legally incorporated as a news organization it somehow diminishes the validity of the content provided. As though corporately supported news accounts should be privileged simply because the report is generated by a so-called news organization, for profit or not for profit. The even more monstrous implication is the true scope of the myth of objectivity exposed by Assange. For nearly a century the west chided the Soviet news agencies because of its propaganda-oriented regulation of content. And here Assange exposes the so-called western democracies for practicing the same thing, only this time on behalf the neo-plutocratics of capitalism.

  5. Kevin said at the end of this exchange that we need a movement to protect Americans constitutional rights. I disagree. We need a movement to stop the U.S. Military policing the world. Ethiopia considers Assange a hero for exposing the U.S. support of brutal military leaders. We need a movement not based on the constitution but on adherence to internal law specifically the Geneva Convention, which the U.S
    continually breaches. Assange’s revelations remind us of Dr. King’s warning that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. As long as we ignore oir nation’s increasing militarism across the worls, the more injustice we will face. See http://www.InPDUM.org and http://www.ANSWERCoalition.org

  6. When you try to publicize gross constitutional violations of people’s rights, the press will either grab onto it (if the people are right for the grab) or ignore it totally (and thus contribute to the gangbang) or punish it severely (if it hits home). Assange hit home in a big way.

  7. I would like to point out some fundamental misunderstandings you all seem to have regarding Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Wikileaks.

    Wikileaks is about creating a system as a hedge to conspiracy, not a file dump. It is not about the possible journalists at Wikileaks, lead by Assange, collecting and exposing documents that are embarrassing or detrimental to governments.

    It is completely different than the Daniel Ellsburg situation with the Pentagon Papers. Daniel was a whistle blower, he smuggled out documents, he and the New York Times exposed them to the public. What Assange is trying to do is very different. Wrap your head around this simple idea: Wikileaks is not about documents. It is more like a complex hedge derivative.

    For a conspiracy to take place you have to have certain elements in place: More than one person, a secret, and agreement to keep the secret, and a general need for the secret. There are good conspiracies (The Underground Railroad) and bad conspiracies (Iran-Contra affair). Governments (and others) have created the system of secrecy that allows conspiracies to flourish. They spend billions every year on shoring up this system. They spend next to nothing on sunshine. C-Span is a private corporation, so the government doesn’t even spend a dime on showing us the floor of congress. They make you pay for your own photo-copies when you do a Freedom of Information request.

    Assange is trying to create something like an algorithm. He’s not done. He knows he is not done. He is an inventor trying to show the rest of us the way. He’s clearly stated over and over, this is not complete, step in and help to work on this. In the same way the Pentagon never brushes it’s hands and says that “the secrecy apparatus is complete, job well done, everyone go home”, Assange presents his invention as never being complete and in constant need of refinement. What is Wikileaks? It is a system to anonymously publish information. A system. Not a server in Sweden. Not a person named Assange. Not a group of hackers. Not a group of programmers. Think of the Gutenberg press as a system, not an actual piece of equipment. Once the system of the invention is presented, does it matter that it was a physical press (wikileaks servers) operated by Johannes Gutenburg (Julian Assange) in Mainz Germany (over the internet, or based in Sweden, or giving speeches from an embassy in England)?

    The main purpose of this system is not to receive information and publish it. The main purpose is to stop the conspiracy before it even starts. I’ll repeat that so it sinks in: The main purpose is to stop the conspiracy before it even starts. If you divert the conspiracy before it starts, there will be do documents to receive and publish. In its ideal state, Wikileaks receives no documents.

    Let’s get back to the conspirators. Let’s say there are 5 people in the room and they agree to a covert war against ‘East Whateverstan’. In the past they would feel protected in growing and operating this conspiracy because they had the tools of the security state working and applying incentives to their advantage. If person (2) were to divulge proof of the conspiracy to the press, he could be arrested or punished in some serious way, even retroactively (Why Feld didn’t disclose is being Deep Throat for decades after the event.) If person (3) drops the conspiracy to a foreign government, they can be tried for treason and executed. Person (4) might just be fired and cut off from access to his/her livelihood. The point is, everyone in the room knows that everyone else has shifting motivations for keeping the conspiracy alive (time changes motivations) and everyone has long term incentives for keeping the conspiracy alive. Now comes Wikileaks. Now the conspirators have to look around the room and wonder who in this small group is going to anonymously present our secret to the world. If they can truly be anonymous our incentives toward secrecy don’t work. In fact this new system changes the whole paradigm and presents a whole new set of incentives for the conspirators to deal with (think adding a whole new set of factors to a game theory dilemma). Now they have to realize their potential for secrecy has gone way down. “What is the cost benefits analysis for starting/maintaining or dropping this conspiratorial plan?” “If we can not rely on secrecy, should we move forward with our plan, and can our plan operate efficiently if it is in the open?” Apply these questions to Richard Nixon’s administration. Assume this system is in place when Regan decides to trade arms for hostages for funding the Contras. Now you see. They don’t even start these operations.

    This is the system of Wikileaks.

    Understanding this is crucial to framing your perspective on Manning, Assange, the organization known as Wikileaks, and the opponents of Wikileaks.

    By trying to determine if Assange is a journalist, or a figurehead, or a rapist, or trying to figure out if Wikileaks needs access to funds, or has a right to operate servers, or is a group of hackers hacking for the documents, or if Bradley Manning is a whistle blower or hacktavist or a scapegoat… you and other fine fellows play into the government’s (et al) framing of the new invention. “It is just a printing press, we can crush it. He is just a printer, we can imprison him. They are bibles, we can burn them. We can isolate this to a few incidents and contain this to Mainz.

    Frame your discussion with a fundamental understanding of Wikileaks the system. Apply that understanding to all that follows.

  8. Michael
    1, January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    he is NOT Anonymous….his work is successful and foundational to just what you say, Prevention of Conspiratory….and people are tired, I think, of being fleeced for lies…and the Bradley Manning thing is just too low for most Americans to fathom….

  9. “The main purpose of this system is not to receive information and publish it. The main purpose is to stop the conspiracy before it even starts. I’ll repeat that so it sinks in: The main purpose is to stop the conspiracy before it even starts. If you divert the conspiracy before it starts, there will be do documents to receive and publish. In its ideal state, Wikileaks receives no documents.”


    Thank you for that comment. It had been my thought about the role Wikileaks was playing, but I didn’t know how to verbalize it correctly. My long held belief is that the world has become a corrupt Corporate Plutocracy trying to reimpose feudalism. give the power it represents both in money and in arms it can’t be defeated by the old means and certainly not by violence. We need new systems to effectuate a change and Wikileaks represents part of this system. OWS had some of it for awhile as it helped create an effective meme in the 98% v. 2%, but when it continued to use the old failed methods of the 60’s by using a version of the “sit in” it began to wane. What it did prove though and what Assange’s persecution has shown, is that there is a movement in the right direction, or else why the over-reaction by those with power?

    Main stream journalism has far too much corporate control to provide the service once represented by a free press. The internet has provided the same capabilities that pamphleteers like Paine had during the American Revolution. The difference is that today those “pamphleteer writers” have a far wider range of opportunity to reach a great many people.

  10. Here is the Occam’s Razor in this entire affair.

    If a regular, non-controversial person had been in the same position as Julian was, that is with being wanted to questioning for the he said / she said sex issue and went into the embassay to hide out, would the British Gov’t even bother posting guards outside 24/7 to secure his arrest if he came out. They wouldn’t even waste their time, they would just throw up their hands and move on to something more pressing.

    But, one of the superpowers wants Julian and they will get him when they can.

    And what would it be if Julian actually voluntairly surrendered himself, went back to Sweden and then lawyered up (if that is available in Sweden)? The interview would get nothing from him. Just seems to me this is some smoke and mirrors to hook him up and railroad him into custody, and then the extradition to the United States.

    Time for these governments to just bite the bullet and make this entire affair go away. But it won’t and Julian is going to be the next Roman Polanski, living in a country that will not extradite to the US, a virtual exile.

    The rules of engagement with governments, from the local to the international, you can get away with just about anything except embarassing the government or whistleblowing. Then you paint a big target on your back.

  11. “The rules of engagement with governments, from the local to the international, you can get away with just about anything except embarassing the government or whistleblowing. Then you paint a big target on your back.”


    Exactly the case here.

  12. There are a lot of threads here. One topic which needs to be singled out is Who is a criminal in the wiki leaks story? Let us start with crimes against humanity committed against an individual who has not been convicted of a crime. Manning. This person has been stripped of clothing and forced into a cell 24 hours a day without proper heat, clothing, food, water, communication. This is a war crime committed by the United States and each person in command from the top down to his jailer. May they rot in hell.

  13. I do not have any sympathy for Julian Assange as a result of what he did with the STOLEN and, much of it, confidential and secret, US Government property. He is just as guilty of an offence as Bradley Manning (if Manning is ultimately convicted as seems inevitable) .

    It is irrelevant whether or not it was in the “public interest” to publicly release US Government property as Julian Assange seems to believe it was. Who appointed Mr Assange as judge of what is and what is not in the public interest to release in any event. Mr Assange, however, believes he is some higher being who should be the judge of what material in his possession, and obtained totally illegally, should be distributed into the public domain for viewing by both friends and enemies alike.

    The material he obtained was STOLEN, he had no right to take possession of any of this STOLEN property and he had no right to, and no business in, releasing these proceeds of theft (much of it classified and secret) into the public domain regardless of its classification. Simply – it was not his

    It is also fascinating how the few supporters of Mr Assange rally to his cause but are virtually silent when it comes to the alleged principal co-perpetrator of this theft, Bradley Manning. Yet Mr Assange is just as guilty as Bradley Manning.

    If Bradley Manning had stolen a 50 ton truck load of powerful US Army weapons and passed the load of weapons to Julian Assange, who then proceeded to distribute the weapons to whom ever he pleased, there would be an outcry. This is what Manning(allegedly) and Assange have done. But, rather than weapons, Manning stole – and Assange became receiver in this theft – of private US Government documents and video and then Assange perpetrated its free distribution.

    In effect, Mr. Assange is nothing more than a receiver in a clear case of theft. This property did not belong to Bradley Manning and certainly not to Mr. Assange. The latter now attempts to defend his illegal actions by claiming that the world had a right to know about the nature and content of this stolen material. Well it did not. It was not Assange’s property. It was stolen, he was the receiver and he had no rights in relation to it.

    Mr Assange and his equally misguided mother continue to whinge and whine about the lack of support by the Australian Government for his plight. Well I can tell you, very few Australians give a dime about Julian Assange or what happens to him as a result of his illegal actions in relation to the stolen property and no doubt very few Australian Government officials and politicians care that much. The media over there is not that interested either unless there is some juicy news to amuse and “infotain” the masses.

    I have no doubt that eventually the US Government will get their hands on this guy and he will be tried under US law and a Court can decide whether he is guilty of an offence or offences – or not. He cannot hold up indefinitely in the embassy in London. Eventually he is going to need to leave one way or the other.

    If Mr Assange had half a brain, rather than an obviously overblown ego, he would have thought twice about publicly releasing stolen private US Government material. It should have been perfectly obvious to him (as it is to everyone else with a brain) that if he distributed this stolen property he would be hunted down, prosecuted and incarcerated. In his position would YOU have taken a punt, received this stolen material and then published it for viewing by friends and enemies alike? I just bet you would not have unless of course you would enjoy making some “new friends” in jail some years hence.

    The trouble with people like Mr Assange is that they really think they are superior beings and are somehow above the law and should be protected at all costs. Well I suspect he is soon to find out – just like the poor and misguided Bradley Manning.

  14. What was STOLEN wasn’t STOLEN by Assange and what it was regardless of ownership and method of procurement was evidence of crimes and lies perpetuated by the U.S. Government. He’s guilty of reporting evidence of crimes far more serious than stealing documents. Crimes that embarrassed politicians.

    He’s not a criminal. He’s a whistleblower. The people he ratted our are the ones who think they are “superior beings” and above the law.

  15. Cameron: Are you Australian? You do NOT speak for Australians and I can’t imagine what would make you think you do. You speak for only yourself. You certainly do NOT speak for me, thank you all the same. Kindly desist from doing so.

    Speaking of stealing “U.S. Government property” indicates that you have a very poor grasp indeed of the issues at hand. To reduce what is involved to the simple notion of theft of stolen property from the U.S. Government is to see a tiny crack where there is actually a massive canyon.

    Your understanding of the issues is very primitive at best.

  16. “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” (Thomas Pynchon)

    Well done, Michael (Jan. 2 @3:20pm)

  17. It seems pretty apparent to me at least that Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and William Mark Felt, Sr if they did their whistleblowing today would probably also be persecuted as well.

  18. Sorry Gene H and others. Mr Assange did receive stolen US Government property and he did distribute this stolen material. He had no right to receive or possess it and no right to distribute it regardless of what it was.

    As much as you and others like to bend the truth as you do, that is exactly what happened.

    If you think you have a right to receive and distribute stolen US Government property then I suggest you might study the law and quote some of the statutes and case law that indicate that such activity is perfectly legal. Best of luck with that.


  19. Cameron,

    The one bending the truth here is you and for an obvious agenda: you apparently think not reporting crimes because they are committed by a government is okay. Technically speaking, theft is a crime and so is receiving stolen property, however, a whistleblower by definition is the disclosure by a person, usually an employee in a government agency or private enterprise, to the public or to those in authority, of mismanagement, corruption, illegality, or some other wrongdoing. Such “thefts” are generally overlooked or the circumstances are considered mitigating and whistleblowers granted protection for the service they provide to the greater good (at least until the last two criminal Presidential administrations got involved) as evidence of greater crimes.

    You might want to look at 5 U.S.C.A. §§ 2302(b)(8), 2302(b)(9), and the many various state laws protecting whistleblowers if you need some clarification. 5 U.S.C.A. § 2302 applies to Federal civil service, but there is precedent for granting whistleblower status to those who inform on crimes by the military in the form of the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg who was a civilian military contractor working for the RAND Corporation. Manning may face valid theft or other charges under the UCMJ, but Assange won’t. He’s not a government employee. He’s analogous to the reporters at the New York Times that Ellsberg shared his “stolen” report with. In truth, Manning’s charges should be dropped for he is a whistleblower as well. He, like Assange, is the victim of a political vendetta by the very criminals in government that they exposed in the form of malicious prosecution.

    And my law degree is from a prestigious private Catholic law school that is fully accredited. Where’s yours from, Cam? Good luck with that.

  20. All those crimes committed by the US government that were uncovered by Julian Assange?

    All of them were committed using my tax dollars. I have a right to know what the heck they are doing with my money and the big pools of collective assets of all Americans.

    When 5 million people working for the government have access to this supposedly ‘secret’ information, but the people who PAID for this can be kept entirely in the dark, we have another sort of class system in the US.

  21. Wikileaks didn’t steal anything, they published it, much like the NYTimes published the Pentagon Papers. Manning is the whistle blower and should be receiving government protection, not persecution. Obama’s administration has punished more whistle blowers than any other and ignored all the real criminals

  22. Maybe the next round of releases by Wikileaks will reveal the truth about
    what’s going on in the U.S.


    What Country Do We Want to Keep?
    November 27, 2011

    On Nov. 21, former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake was honored for his courage in blowing the whistle on the U.S. government’s abuse of its secrecy powers. In his acceptance speech, Drake explained the larger and more frightening context – the loss of American liberty.

    Excerpt of acceptance speech:

    Jesselyn and I now stand before you alongside the other whistleblowers before us – like Dan Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley (who also nominated me for the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize), as well as Larry Wilkerson, an Integrity in Intelligence award recipient.

    We did not take an oath to see secrecy and subterfuge used as cover for subverting the Constitution and violating the law. Our oath to support and defend the Constitution took primacy. I fear for the Republic.

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” – Benjamin Franklin

    So what expired on 9/11 – the Constitution?

    “Those who give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

    Jesselyn and I became whistleblowers and our whistleblowing was both a warning and an alert to those in government and eventually the public about serious wrongdoings, and danger and malfeasance created and concealed within the government. Our whistleblowing also occurred because there was profound institutional failure – a multi-layered breakdown in accountability.

    Today we have a frightening lack of responsibility and accountability within the national security complex and it poses a direct threat to all our personal freedoms, as well as a clear and present danger to our Constitutional Republic. Both cannot co-exist – as the social and legal contract is being broken. Our government has profoundly lost its constitutional compass and has been tainted to its core. And our enshrined liberties ARE our national security.

    What country do we want to keep?

    Jesselyn and I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution versus an oath of loyalty to the organization and false secrecy used to bypass and break the law.

    But what is meant by personal integrity and by loyalty? Our personal integrity meant that we held consistently firm and true to the ideals and values centered on upholding and defending the Constitution! By loyalty we were steadfast in our allegiance to the Law of the Land. However, loyalty when blind or misplaced ceases to be a virtue and turns into a corrupting mechanism to hide and obfuscate wrongdoing, embarrassment and cover-up.

    We blew the whistle because we saw grave injustice and wrongdoing occurring within our respective organizations. At the core of our whistleblowing lies accountability by exposing and disclosing government wrongdoing.

    In my recently and successfully concluded case that ended decisively in my favor, the government wanted to put me away in prison for many, many years (I was actually threatened with 35 years) for simply telling the truth as a whistleblower and exposing government wrongdoing and illegalities.

    The government found out everything they could about me and turned me into an Enemy of the State. Having the secret ability to collect and analyze data with few if any substantial constraints – especially on people, is seductively powerful and when particularly done without the person’s permission and in secret – is the ultimate form of control.

    In fact, the government, with its monopoly on certain powers, sometimes has a darker side than even the most cutthroat corporate environments. So it chose to sell out national security to big business and also violate the Constitution. All was SO unnecessary.

    American ingenuity and the Constitution were quite sufficient to protect and defend the country with the best and under the Law. There was NO, I repeat, NO need to go to the dark side.

    Those who have served in the military know what it means when the flag is flown upside down. It is a sign of distress. When a government hides behind its veil of secrecy, when it professes openness and transparency while practicing opaqueness and deceit, that’s when its citizens need to become very wary of what the future might hold – regarding what liberties they believe they possess that are then eroded and even taken away in the name of national security.

    Modern governments today increasingly perform mass surveillance of their citizens, explaining that they believe that it is necessary to protect them from dangerous groups such as terrorists, criminals, or political subversives, dissenters – in order to track the citizenry and maintain social control.

    We are fast approaching a genuine surveillance society in the United States – a dark Orwellian future where our every move, our every transaction, our every communication, and our every contact is recorded, compiled, and stored away – ready to be examined and used against us by the authorities whenever they want at any time.

    What country do we want to keep?

    Mass surveillance will erode our privacy. Yet privacy is an absolutely essential prerequisite to the exercise of our precious individual freedoms – the inalienable rights we have as human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And yet the erosion of privacy also weakens the very constitutional foundations and boundaries of our democracy.

    Five centuries ago, Machiavelli explained how to undertake a revolution from above without most people even noticing. In his Discourses on Livy, he wrote that one “must at least retain the semblance of the old forms; so that it may seem to the people that there has been no change in the institutions, even though in fact they are entirely different from the old ones.”

    In other words, keep the old government structures, even while you make profound changes to the actual system, because the appearances are all that most people will notice. So today, instead of seeing the mere corpse of the Republic in which we supposedly live, we only see the clothing – and those clothes would appear to look the same as before, even if increasingly worn and threadbare.

    We have had a revolution from within that has not eliminated our elected representatives – it has simply made them largely irrelevant — especially since Congress is largely occupied by Wall Street – err, preoccupied by Wall Street!

    It’s been a long journey to our current state of affairs — and wars and conflicts have been a major catalyst in that journey, especially since WWII. Most wars fought by the United States have added power to the Executive Branch, while taking away power from the Legislature.

    I consider the immediate aftermath of WWII as the real turning point when the American Dream began to go south at the very moment when the U.S. sat astride the world at the pinnacle of power. Consider all the centralizing legislation for a national security state that was passed either by Congress or put into play by the Executive Branch. And therein lies the problem.

    For this is when the American Republic began its transformation into a national security state and then this transformation was exponentially accelerated as a result of 9/11 into a Top Secret America – an increasingly ‘off the books’ secret government operating within our Constitutional form of government that hides behind unitary executive privilege and the invocation of state secrets when questioned or held to account.

    President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the rise in this kind of a complex in his Farewell Address. Sen. Frank Church feared the future, and that given the right circumstances turning back might not be possible, if the national surveillance complex turned its enormous capabilities on the U.S. from within, with even more advanced technology.

    We now live in post-9/11 America, only to suddenly discover that we are not doing the driving and the brakes are failing and others are in the front and backseat and also following us.

    What country do we want to keep? We increasingly no longer govern ourselves – as in of, for and by the people.

    Consider the “nonstop” number of U.S. military actions around the world these days. And when did Congress last issue a formal declaration of war? Think about it! Consider the ramming through of the Patriot Act a bare month after 9/11 (an Act I would add that NSA was already violating with even more secret programs), when it was obvious that not a single member of Congress read it thoroughly?

    And have you wondered what is really in the secret interpretation by the Executive Branch of Section 215 in the Patriot Act? And what about Section 1031 of the National Defense Authorization Act bill that would authorize the indefinite detention of American citizens?

    Or how habeas corpus was gutted on Oct. 14, 2011, when Janice Rogers Brown of the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia held that in habeas suits, judges must grant official government records the presumption of regularity – defined as simply accepting that an “official act” has been done, and that it will be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the said act “complied with any necessary formalities” and that the person who did it was “duly appointed”?

    With such a massively expanded ability by the government to spy into your personal life, we might as well bid adieu to the Fourth Amendment – the foundation of a citizen’s integrity as an individual person and in their personal effects in this country as well as their ability to speak and associate freely with others – under the First Amendment.

    Have we become the proverbial boiling frogs? What country do we want to keep?

    Consider the conviction held by this country’s Founding Fathers that a functioning Constitutional Republic and democracy requires an informed citizenry.

    And in the case of an uninformed citizenry? The experiment in “government by the people” is doomed to failure, and would inevitably transform into what we increasingly see today. Is this the day of bread and circuses – like in the twilight years of the Roman Empire?

    Is our exceptionalism an excuse to end run the very foundational precepts and principles of this Republic and used to violate certain human values that must never be transgressed – like torture is never an acceptable human value and eroding away the First and Fourth Amendments removes the very heart of our experiment’s exceptionalism?

    Machiavelli had it right, and as the old song goes, “something’s gotta give.” What else are we willing to give up? Are we becoming the National Security State – Under Surveillance Always – the NSS/USA? Is secret government the new fig leaf for a quaint and outmoded Constitution?

    Orwell’s 1984 is real and now already screamingly relevant. Only the government can create a police state, and our technology can now make that happen. There is a long list of both private industry and government actions that are ripping away our privacy and our Fourth Amendment rights and our ability to speak freely about it!

    I challenge you all to demand accountability, to update our protections in the Internet Age, and to insist upon adherence to the Constitution — conservative and liberal and independent alike. Even in the open press, we know enough about what both the industry and government are doing. Do you care? What will you do about it?

    What country do we really want to keep? Do we want to continue to have a burgeoning military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-surveillance-cybersecurity-and-media complex? Whom does it benefit? Do we want to concede the eroding of basic human rights? Why?

    Because we fear enemies, that creates the need for security, and we are then persuaded that human rights are ignored because of the primacy of the national security state – beyond legitimate protections and the identifying of those who would actually do us harm, both abroad and domestically – as a unifying cause for obsessing over national security and the use of fear by the government to control the public and private agenda?

    What country do we want to keep?

    On Aug. 3, 1857, Frederick Douglass delivered a “West India Emancipation” speech at Canandaigua, New York, on the 23rd anniversary of the event. He said:

    “The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing.

    “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

    Power and those in control concede nothing without a demand – they never have and they never will. Every one of us – each and every one of us – must keep demanding, must keep fighting, must keep thundering, must keep plowing, must keep on keeping things struggling, must speak out and must speak up until “justice” is served because where there is no justice there can be no peace!

    What country do we want to truly keep?

    Consider what actions you will take when you leave this evening. After all, it is OUR country! So take the necessary action to conserve the very best of who we are and can be – for this generation as well as future generations yet to come – and keep us free. Our future depends on it.

  23. Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement

    March 11, 2013

    By Trevor Timmm and Rainey Reitman

    “Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

    While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.”


  24. A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words for the First Time

    by Daniel Ellsberg

    Posted: 03/12/2013 9:13 am

    “Today, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organization that I co-founded and of which I’m on the board, has published an audio recording of Bradley Manning’s speech to a military court from two weeks ago, in which he gives his reasons and motivations behind leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks.

    Whoever made this recording, and I don’t know who the person is, has done the American public a great service. This marks the first time the American public can hear Bradley Manning, in his own voice explain what he did and how he did it.

    After listening to this recording and reading his testimony, I believe Bradley Manning is the personification of the word whistleblower.”


    (John Cusack on Freedom of the Press Foundation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-cusack/why-im-donating-to-fund-t_b_2632389.html )

  25. John Cusack bashes Obama and Holder via Twitter, calls them the “virtual president and AG”


    Actor John Cusack isn’t too thrilled with the American commander-in-chief or his top attorney this week.

    The “High Fidelity” actor ripped President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder via Twitter Wednesday over their lack of accountability over the controversy surrounding the seizure of phone records belonging to several Associated Press reporters and editors. Cusack’s tweets were part of a conversation between the actor and Jesselyn Radack, the National Secretary and Human Rights Director at the Government Accountability Project.

    Holder announced earlier this week that he’s not sure how the Justice Department seized the phone records of Associated Press journalists occurred because he had previously recused himself from the investigation. He instead delegated Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to be in charge of the decision to subpoena records from the press.

    Tweets (5/16) (visible via above link):


    Jesselyn Radack @JesselynRadack

    “Finally, media waking up 2 reality that Obama’s war on #whistleblowers is not separate f/ threats 2 #FreePress.” http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/05/15/holders-gutless-recusal-the-justice-departments-seizure-of-ap-records/

    John Cusack ✔ @johncusack

    @JesselynRadack I think we should accept we have a virtual president and AG – no accountability -recuse themselves? It’s a joke.. The only

    11:26 PM – 15 May 2013


    John Cusack ✔ @johncusack

    @JesselynRadack I think we should accept we have a virtual president and AG – no accountability -recuse themselves? It’s a joke.. The only

    Jesselyn Radack @JesselynRadack

    .@johncusack Holder #recused himself f/ #leak probe, but he’s not recused f/ defending 1st Amend. http://m.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-eric-holders-abdication/2013/05/15/61a42d12-bdaf-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html … #Recusal=Abdication

    6:36 AM – 16 May 2013

  26. I forgot to count… It has three and seemed to post… or did it go to moderation first? Sorry for the trouble. 😉

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