Julian Assange, Wikileaks mastermind, writes in today’s Australian Times:
WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?
Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.
Comparing himself to Rupert Murdoch, Assange is clear in his message: I’m not sorry. But then, Assange is always clear in his message.
Assange opens his oped with a Murdoch quote: “In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.”
After his arrest today for charges of “surprise sex” no longer shrouded in secrecy, British police threw Assange in jail pending his extradition to Sweden, with no possibility of bail.
WikiLeaks’s defenders support Assange on the premise that the First Amendment protects speech and freedom of the press. But it is not the First Amendment that is offended by information disclosures that threaten the security of America’s banks. It is not the First Amendment that comes to mind first when dealing with the very sovereignty of the United States.
Indeed, the First Amendment was part of a structured compromise intended to grant positive protections to negative rights. Individuals’ negative rights rely on protective outer boundaries to ensure that citizens can behave as they please within a safe space, these United States.
Without the positive stated protections of the First Amendment Americans would still protect free speech. But without sovereignty to protect Americans as a people, speech would likely be much less free.