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The Future of Free Speech

Free Speech Journalism Julian Assange Government Secrets Wikileaks

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#1
caltrek

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I thought I would start this thread with what I suspect will be a very controversial case.  That of Julian Assange.  Mind you, I am no fan of Assange.  I think he very much helped Trump get elected in 2016, and as most of you know, I am no fan of Trump. Still, I think he has a valid argument that what he engaged in was journalism. At least in regards to violation of the Espionage Act.   Protecting the rights of journalists is always hardest when said journalists have a different ideological agenda than your own.

 

I am a little more open to the charge of "computer intrusion" as their may be legitimate privacy concerns there.

 

I am hoping that this thread is not confined to the Assange case, but will include other cases as well.  Nor should it be confined to cases involving only the United States.

 

To start the thread:

 

Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange

 

https://www.courthou...julian-assange/

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News)  — Swedish prosecutors on Tuesday said they are dropping a rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who could face extradition to the United States for his involvement in exposing alleged war crimes committed by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Swedish prosecutors said the investigation was dropped because the evidence against Assange has become “weakened” by the lapse of time since the alleged rape and molestation took place in August 2010.

  

Conclusion:

 

In the United States he faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and violating the Espionage Act. If convicted, he could face decades in prison.

 

A hero to many free-speech advocates, the Australian-born internet activist has long been viewed as a scourge by U.S. officials. His nonprofit WikiLeaks was behind the release of millions of pages of documents related to U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, detentions at Guantánamo Bay, and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

 

The U.S. indictment alleges that Assange conspired in March 2010 with Chelsea Manning, who at the time was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, to leak secret documents.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
starspawn0

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Assange is basically Ben Kingsley's character in the film Sneakers, except without as noble a purpose:
 
https://youtu.be/coDtzN6bXAM
 
Free speech is great, in principle.  In practice, you can do tremendous damage to innocent people, if you apply it irresponsibly.  The Left has been both defenders of Assange's "journalism", and also critics concerning his releasing information irresponsibly.  Greenwald, for example, said:
 
https://thedailybant...ange-sociopath/

...I think that — not just as a journalist but as a human being — I have the ethical responsibility to avoid actions that can harm innocent people. And if you look at some of things that WikiLeaks has published, even in this latest batch of material from John Podesta's emails, there are things in there talking about the mental health problems of individuals who have no power in Washington, people whose private lives have been exposed for no reason whatsoever.


They support Assange because of the precedent it will set if free speech is diminished, and if journalists can be rounded-up and imprisoned for exposing uncomfortable truths.

In the future I see free speech used as a weapon to harm the poor and powerless. The rich will have much greater protection from hacker intrusion, which will make them relatively even more powerful.
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#3
Erowind

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Free speech is predicated on the idea of a free marketplace of ideas. Since we don't have a free marketplace of ideas we don't actually have free speech even in absence of active censorship. One can say what they wish, but their pool of information and people to engage with is severely limited. The average person in the United States is never/rarely exposed to ideas outside of social liberalism, conservative liberalism and classical liberalism with an occasional resurgence of social democracy.

 

Even within that echochamber though the rhetoric between those tendencies rarely engages in good faith when portrayed by mass media whether traditional or through the internet. The only times the echochamber is disrupted are during times of capitalist crisis when it's clearer that liberalism isn't working. This is why we see a resurgence of fascism today and to a lesser extent socialism and anarchism.



#4
quantumdoc

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this is a tough one and i appreciate the thread. this is frightening because computer intrusion is very real and probably the largest threat to our lives in the future. i believe cyber security is becoming and will be the largest business in the world. with  the future becoming essentially "the borg", cyber security will inevitably the only thing keeping us as biological humans alive. with that being said, assange and the like, perhaps may be among the first to infiltrate and manipulate the online arena. I think this is natural and evolutionary and if a society does not want it to happen then the party concerned should do better to protect the information. there will increasingly be people trying to infiltrate the collective information system to obtain any amount of sensitive information stored within it. global corporations have already been implicated. they just use it for profit. other individuals such as journalists use it for exposure and their particular agenda. 

as far as free speech , once obtained, I think that the information gathered should be exposed if it was allowed to be exposed. every entity who failed to keep it protected should be held responsible as an individual. this notion of placing blame on journalists for extracting data and exposing it perhaps is just wrong. the blame is on the cyber security department tasked with protecting it.

 

the very information I have entered in this text in this forum will likely be used in the future when collecting data among individuals to build a "profile" for me to input into the future collective. it will now know or partially know some of my beliefs. personalities will be able to be categorized into threatening or non threatening to a particular objective. ok, went off topic there. 


"what we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning" WH


#5
Outlook

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███████ ██ ██████ ████ ███████ ███ ███ ███ ████ ████ ███. ██ ███████████ ███ ████ ███████████ ███ ██████ ██ ███ ██████ ██ ████ ██ █, ██████████ █████ █████ ███████ ██ ██████ ██ ██ ███ █████ ████ ██ ████. ███████ ███ ████ ████ ███ ████████ ███, ████████████ ████ █████ ███████ ██ ██████ ██████ ███ ███████ ██ ██████ ██ ██████ ██!!! ██████ ████ █████ ██ ████████████ ████ ████ █████████ ███████ ██████?


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Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#6
quantumdoc

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███████ ██ ██████ ████ ███████ ███ ███ ███ ████ ████ ███. ██ ███████████ ███ ████ ███████████ ███ ██████ ██ ███ ██████ ██ ████ ██ █, ██████████ █████ █████ ███████ ██ ██████ ██ ██ ███ █████ ████ ██ ████. ███████ ███ ████ ████ ███ ████████ ███, ████████████ ████ █████ ███████ ██ ██████ ██████ ███ ███████ ██ ██████ ██ ██████ ██!!! ██████ ████ █████ ██ ████████████ ████ ████ █████████ ███████ ██████?

why cant i see this?


  • Outlook likes this

"what we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning" WH


#7
caltrek

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^^^I think it is a joke.  I think Outlook is pretending that his post has been censored.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#8
Outlook

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I wrote a serious reply, but had it censored for jokes. I said that for as long as freedom of speech is determined as a right in the west, it won't disappear, which I think will last quite a while. The issue isn't freedom of speech or that the rule of law is degrading. In the west, it's historically increased and has become more fair. Rather I think what will happen with freedom of speech will be an increase in public manipulation, which will only become a far greater game in the information age. By allowing freedom of speech, you allow freedom for mass manipulation and deceit, which the masses do not seem ready for AT ALL.

 

But what makes me skeptical about this belief is that it isn't as though it hasn't happened before. Compartmentalization of information, and personal bias occured in the 20s except it was with newspapers and social groups. Shit like yellow press. It still seemed as though the information age would've pulled us out of it, but it seemed to have dug a bigger grave. Now most of us rely on what massive corporations cater to us. Shit like twitter, but YouTube and Google are a more apt example. It's decried the necessity of decentralization, but decentralization relies on the idea that a population is smart enough to discern rumor and jokes from real works. In the end, I don't know. AI has made and will continue the make more confusing as well. We'll see.


Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#9
caltrek

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@ Outlook,

 

I think the solution, if there is one, to the problems you point out is not censorship, but more free speech.

 

That is to say, folks that want to put out baltantant lies should be allowed to do so.  Still, social media platforms, to take one example, should be responsible for reviewing the content that is carried on their platforms.  If blatant lies are forthcoming, then the platform providers should clearly identify them as such. Of course, this involves a lot of effort, so such platform providers may be resistant to this idea.  It does involve an extra step.  Instead of merely censoring questionable content, they would need to take an additional step of identifying the nature of blatantly misleading mis-information, and then articulating the nature of the deceit.

 

There is also the issue of prior restraint versus collection of damages after the fact.  If a person is libeled, they have grounds to collect damages from those who libeled them.  That is different from other wise restraining people from telling their lies in the first place. When a third party is involved, de facto  prior restraint of speech can occur.  A media platform may refuse to air the offending material on the grounds that they do not want to be drawn into a lawsuit in which they may have to pay damages.

 

A problem with this approach is it favors the wealthy.  If one has wealth, then it is easier to pay the up-front costs of an attorney to bring action.  Conversely, if one does not have wealth, then it is more difficult to defend against a libel claim, even when one is telling the truth.     


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#10
caltrek

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Of course, freedom of the press is not just a matter of formal rights, but also freedom from fear for violent retaliation for reporting unpleasant realities.  Although Malta is a relatively confined geographic area, there is always the danger that practices there can spread to other countries that are influenced by kleptocrats and mobsters.  Just on the scale of the individual human tragedy involved, it is sad to hear of a case where the reporter paid the ultimate price for having her stories published.

 

 

Maltese Prime Minister Announces Plans to Resign After Protests Intensified Over Journalist's Murder

 

https://www.commondr...ntensified-over

 

Introduction:

 

(Common Dreams) Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced Sunday that he intends to step down soon amid protests demanding his immediate resignation, which intensified over the weekend after a businessman who allegedly has ties to the government was charged with complicity in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

 

Caruana Galizia, who reported extensively on government corruption and was widely known for her work related to the Panama Paperswas killed by a car bomb explosion near her home in Malta on Oct. 16, 2017. The investigation into her death has drawn global attention to the small Mediterranean island nation. Some of the reporter's surviving relatives are among those who have called for Muscat to leave office.

 

The alleged contract killers—Vince Muscat (who is not related to the prime minister) and brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio—were arrested in December 2017. On Thursday, Reuters published an exclusive report on a "previously untold account of the plot to kill Daphne, a contract killing that earned the killers just 150,000 euros."

 

Conclusion:

 

…According to Reuters, Vince Muscat "revealed these sensational details to the police in April 2018, in the hope of getting a pardon," which the prime minister has so far refused. Details of the confession were obtained by the new agency "last year but were not published until now to avoid damaging the investigation."

 

Despite Vince Muscat's reported confession, Reuters noted, "the brothers continue to deny Daphne's murder and have declined to answer police questions."


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Free Speech, Journalism, Julian Assange, Government Secrets, Wikileaks

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