This week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a lawsuit proving party members just won’t let the 2016 presidential election go away. Despite the appearance of stones being thrown from glass houses, considering reports from Wikileaks and former DNC chair Donna Brazile which exposed the unethical collusion, financial ties and internal bias that rigged the electoral process in favor of former candidate Hillary Clinton, the DNC lawsuits instead point the finger everywhere except themselves.
According to The Washington Post, the sore losers committee have decided to go big with their accusation hit-list that includes the likes of: all the officials in the Russian government, Russian oligarchs, hackers they suspect are Russian, members of the Trump campaign, regular Infowars contributor Roger Stone Jr. and the controversial Julian Assange headed news outlet Wikileaks.
The DNC’s accusations vary across parties, meaning some are accused of unspecified “Russian collusion,” which somehow lost the election for Clinton despite no smoking gun significantly linking said parties to a crime; unnamed sources they accuse of “hacking” the DNC servers, which former FBI director James Comey said wasn’t formally investigated by the FBI upon the committee’s request; while Wikileaks is accused of committing journalism, which they instead call “economic espionage” (paragraph 170) since the outlet was responsible for publishing the DNC’s scandalous emails.
Regardless of their intent for publishing, which the DNC claims was done to benefit both the Russian government and their special agents, The Intercept reports the publishing of material, stolen or otherwise, is common journalistic practice. We need only look at The Pentagon Paper, the heavily classified military documents from the Eisenhower days to Nixon, which was leaked to the press by former government analyst turned Vietnam War whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. This lawsuit was taken all the way up to the supreme court which ruled 6–3 in favor of The Washington Post and The New York Times’ constitutional right to publish war material that, for example, exposed the military’s use of the highly toxic chemical “agent orange” that is considered illegal under international law.
Corrupt entities have a clear vested interest in protecting their behinds, which brings us to the justification the government has used time and time again in the attempt to destroy Ellsberg-like whistleblowers and the newspaper platforms: The Espionage Act of 1917. This was the same law that was used against Chelsea Manning, the former Wikileaks source who stole classified footage of the U.S. military killing Reuters journalists during the Iraq War. This is the same law the government is attempting to use against whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA) that exposed the government’s unconstitutional warrantless wiring tapping and metadata collection against United States citizens. Sure enough, establishment entities are now using this law and more to take on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks platform, one of the few media outlets that are willing to release information without the authorization from the corrupt.
Other than their anti-establishment ideology, what separates the journalistic conduct of Wikileaks from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, MSNBC and other award-winning media? They all covered Ellsberg, NSA spying, Trump’s taxes returns and the Panama Papers — and yet all of them were released without the consent of their targets. I argue there is no difference, because hardly anything would be exposed if it were left up to the secretive people in government. As Glenn Greenwald agrees, framing these stories as “part of an unlawful racketeering plot,” as says the DNC lawsuit, makes producing real news a crime. This very article could make TrigTent an accomplice to the non-crime of journa- I mean, “economic espionage” just for accurately reporting about Wikileaks’ case.
Corporate media talks big when it comes to President Donald Trump and his fight against the media. Often they cry about mean tweets, such as the famous CNN wrestling meme, or the singling out of individual reporters from the mainstream media. This is nowhere near the problems the president poses to online media like Wikileaks, recently appointing former CIA director Mike Pompeo as his new secretary of state. It just so happens that Pompeo is the same establishment insider that, on CSPAN, called for Snowden’s execution for the crime of exposing other crimes. This would be the perfect time for Democratic resistance — if it weren’t for Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) who pledged support for the president’s pick earlier this week. It’s like the Democratic Party want to resist Trump, the man in power, more than they want to resist the conduct that makes American presidents, from Obama to Trump, problematic to a free press.
Two sides of the establishment coin, the DNC and the Pompeo-aligned elites are hoping manufactured hatred for Wikileaks will outshine the inconvenient truth that they’re a news organization in many ways like any other — possibly aside from the fact that the outlet has never had to retract a story based on factual inauthenticity.
“We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us,” Pompeo told Center for Strategic and International Studies on April 13th, 2017. “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”
Sadly for Mr. Pompeo, the first amendment protects every outlet from the perversions of the CIA, the NSA, the DNC and any entity that would rather news stay silent than reach the light of day. It was the Obama administration that found they could not prosecute WikiLeaks since it would jeopardize the press as a whole. The DNC and company best learn from the past — or they’re bound to repeat it.