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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/9/11

Shield Act Targets First Amendment Freedoms

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The Shield Act targets whistleblowers, amends the 1917 Espionage Act, criminalizes free speech, and compromises the public's right to know how their elected officials govern. Suppressing truth is the first step toward tyranny. America is hurtling toward it as well as third world status and ruin.

On December 7, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Shari Steele headlined, "Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship," saying:

"The debate about the wisdom of releasing secret government documents has turned into a massive attack on the right of intermediaries to publish truthful information" the public has a right to know. "Suddenly, WikiLeaks has become the Internet's scapegoat," but what affects them harms everyone unconstitutionally.

Everyone everywhere, including WikiLeaks, may publish truthful political and other information. Moreover, Internet users have a right to access it freely without censorship or other government interference. America's duopoly disagrees and may enact repressive legislation that criminalizes legitimate news reporting online, in print, or over the public airwaves. Other nations may follow in a systematic attack on fundamental freedoms.

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"Like it or not, WikiLeaks has become the emblem for one of the most important battles for our rights that is likely to come along in our lifetimes. We cannot sit this one out." The choice is simple: either freedom or tyranny, the latter very much out in front.

Writing for Lawfare.com, Benjamin Wittes, senior Brookings Institution Governance Studies fellow, headlined, "Espionage Act Amendments," saying:

The Shield Act "would dramatically expand the scope of 18 USC 798, which is now a relatively targeted provision criminalizing the disclosure or publication of cryptographic systems and communications intelligence. (The) Espionage Act is so vague (and) legal(ly uncertain (that) it tend(s) to inhibit its use."

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The Shield Act "offers the worst of both worlds. It leaves intact the current World War I-era Espionage Act provision (with its many problems) and expands its scope to the point that it covers a lot more than the most reckless media excesses."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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