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Dark day for the U.S., if the Law on Anti-spy will be used against WikiLeaks

Updated on January 27, 2011
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Numerous U.S. officials are calling for the resurrection of the Law on Anti-spy as a tool for persecution WikiLeaks. Using the old law, after a long oblivion seems almost certain. However, the result of a constitutional dust removal from the old law, that surely will follow, will be a triumph or a tragedy of the American Bill of Rights.

In 1917, war hysteria in the middle of the United States adopted the Law on anti-espionage activities. This law has no relation to the prosecution of spies. From the outset, he had direct relation to the suppression of dissent. The Great War was unpopular among Americans, which is very similar to the situation with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rest assured - the Law on Anti-espionage activities were directed against political dissidents. Sen. Kenneth Makkelar from Tennessee gave a simple excuse for the law when he was introduced in Congress: "If we can not convince people to be loyal, it's time to get them to be loyal." Others, like Rep. William Greene of Iowa, have been more straightforward. His statement was reminiscent of today's speech in support of the penalty the suspect "denouncer" WikiLeaks Bradley Manning: "In order to eliminate these harmful parasites, no measures can not be too hard."

The Law on Anti-spy inflicted damage to the American Left, destroying the young American Socialist Party and one of its most advanced unioins - "Industrial Workers of the World." For many others, including intellectuals, journalists, filmmakers, and religious pacifists, were also indicted. Prison sentences were long, and some political prisoners have died in federal prisons. Abuse of the law were legendary, and marked a dark period in U.S. history.

Why the threat of prosecution under the Act on WikiLeaks combat espionage activities so potentially damaging? This law is not limited to need to ban the publication of classified information. This law is not limited to reasonable protection of state secrets. The law broadly prohibits any publication by anyone (including newspapers), information related to national security, which may cause "harm to the United States."

Who determines whether or not national security at stake? Who determines what constitutes "harm to the United States? In 1917, the courts have climbed out of his way to allow the Justice Department formally charged and tried thousands of dissidents. America's commitment means nothing. Protective mechanisms of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding freedom of expression have been negated. Protests against U.S. military policy to dictate who should be imprisoned.

There are the responsible mechanisms that control really abuse of information leakage. The Law on Anti-spy is not such a mechanism.

Attorney General should stop trying to revive the law on anti-espionage activities and, instead, to wipe the dust from the U.S. Constitution. If he has questions about the meaning of the First Amendment, he should read it in 1789, James Madison, in which he introduced the Bill of Rights at the opening session of the Congress of the United States: "Freedom of the press as one of the most important bulwarks of liberty is inviolable."


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