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Greenwald: Our rights are being attacked

Glenn Greenwald's column today is about how "the U.S. and allied governments exploit both law and cyber-attacks as a weapon to punish groups that challenge it."

He begins, "Whatever one thinks of WikiLeaks, it is an indisputable fact that the group has never been charged by any government with any crime, let alone convicted of one. Despite that crucial fact, WikiLeaks has been crippled by a staggering array of extra-judicial punishment imposed either directly by the U.S. and allied governments or with their clear acquiescence."

After elaborating on the "punishment," he writes:

So this was a case where the U.S. government—through affirmative steps and/or approving acquiescence to criminal, sophisticated cyber-attacks—all but destroyed the ability of an adversarial group, convicted of no crime, to function on the internet. Who would possibly consider that power anything other than extremely disturbing? What possible political value can the internet serve, or journalism generally, if the U.S. government, outside the confines of law, is empowered—as it did here—to cripple the operating abilities of any group which meaningfully challenges its policies and exposes its wrongdoing?

If you haven't seen keeping score, our Fourth Amendment is in tatters inasmuch as the government collects countless pieces of information about us, without due cause for doing so: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It's not just the Fourth Amendment that's under attack. At the heart of it, Greenwald's column is about an assault on the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

These are trends we all should be concerned about. To my mind, it's more than a bit ironic that Greenwald, a ferocious voice for human rights and against government abuse, writes for a British newspaper.

Here's the link to the full column:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/23/anonymous-trial-wikileaks-internet-freedom

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