Saturday, January 8, 2011

So how is Obama different?

The Obama Justice Department has served subpoena(s) to Twitter to get all sorts of info (addresses, credit card numbers etc.) about Julian Assange and several others associated with the WikiLeaks publication of semi-secret U.S. documents. Only one of the targets, Bradley Manning, has been charged with a crime; two of the others are computer programers and one is actually a member of the Icelandic parliament.

The Obama administration is more concerned about secrecy than about any actual harm the leaks have caused. In fact, in spite of the wild talk about potential assassinations of "outed" agents, many of these people had their names x-ed out by either WikiLeaks or the news outlets (e.g. NY Times, Der Spiegel, etc) who published the leaks. To my knowledge, there is not a single case of anyone being injured -- except through embarrassment -- by the leaks. Recently, Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked if he could name anyone so far who suffered serious harm from these leaks. He was unable to do so: here is the interview (video) from Face The Nation.

Just like the Bushies, the Obama folks don't like any invasion of their official privacy. I suspect that they are far more concerned about protecting the privacy of their gossip than the privacy of the folks they think might be guilty of , well, anything they don't like.

While Europe itself doesn't have a great record on human rights, let's hope that Sweden and Iceland at least have enough independence to say no to American fishing expeditions.

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