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Joe Lieberman emulates Chinese dictators

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The comparison of these two passages is so telling in so many ways:

The Washington Post, today:

Revelations by the organization WikiLeaks have received blanket coverage this week on television, in newspapers and on Web sites around the globe. But in parts of the world where the leaks have some of the greatest potential to sow controversy, they have barely caused a ripple.

Authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders' views.

In China, the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the government's "Great Firewall," and access to other sources for the documents has been restricted. Most Chinese are unable to read the contents of the diplomatic cables. . . .

The Guardian, yesterday:

WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure

The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure.

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The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's committee on homeland security. . . .

While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon's move. . . .

The question is whether he was acting on his own or pressed to do so by the Obama administration, and how much pressure was applied to Amazon. . . .

Lieberman said: "[Amazon's] decision to cut off WikiLeaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material. I call on any other company or organisation that is hosting WikiLeaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."

The department of homeland security confirmed Amazon's move, referring journalists to Lieberman's statement.

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Talking Points Memo -- in an article headlined: "How Lieberman Got Amazon To Drop Wikileaks" -- detailed that Lieberman's "staffers . . . called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, 'Are there plans to take the site down?'" Shortly thereafter, "Amazon called them back . . . to say they had kicked Wikileaks off." Lieberman's spokeswoman said: "Sen. Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site."

That Joe Lieberman is abusing his position as Homeland Security Chairman to thuggishly dictate to private companies which websites they should and should not host -- and, more important, what you can and cannot read on the Internet -- is one of the most pernicious acts by a U.S. Senator in quite some time. Josh Marshall wrote yesterday: "When I'd heard that Amazon had agreed to host Wikileaks I was frankly surprised given all the fish a big corporation like Amazon has to fry with the federal government." That's true of all large corporations that own media outlets -- every one -- and that is one big reason why they're so servile to U.S. Government interests and easily manipulated by those in political power. That's precisely the dynamic Lieberman was exploiting with his menacing little phone call to Amazon (in essence: Hi, this is the Senate's Homeland Security Committee calling; you're going to be taking down that WikiLeaks site right away, right?). Amazon, of course, did what they were told.

Read the entire article at Salon


For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot (more...)

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Only next time please do not include a picutre of ... by Dennis Kaiser on Thursday, Dec 2, 2010 at 1:31:07 PM
"That Joe Lieberman is abusing his position as Hom... by Ralph Dratman on Thursday, Dec 2, 2010 at 6:11:25 PM