Russian Press And Pakistani Courts Apparently Have More Respect For Free Speech Than Joe Lieberman

from the time-to-resign,-joe dept

We’ve already discussed how the US is, quite clearly, trying to censor various information despite its claims of being anti-censorship and it’s efforts to pressure foreign countries to stop censorship of things like the internet. Yet here are two interesting stories, concerning the Wikileaks situation, suggesting that two countries, which are not exactly known for being bastions of free speech, appear to be a lot more open to it than certain US politicians.

The first, via Glyn Moody is a long and interesting opinion piece in Pravda, of all places, pointing out the hypocrisy of the US government’s response to Wikileaks and comparing it to the government’s response to the release of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent. It also runs through a nice history of the US’s back-and-forth battle with free speech issues, such as with the Alien & Sedition Acts and the McCarthy era. It also highlights how the Wikileaks’ release shows evidence of the US government covering up all sorts of politically motivated acts. The conclusion is dead on:


It is the American people who should be outraged that its government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

It’s pretty sad when Pravda is lecturing the US on free speech, tolerance and respect for human rights.

Then we move over to Pakistan, where the country’s High Court has dismissed an attempt to get Wikileaks banned from that country. Someone had petitioned the court, saying that the latest leaks could “create a rift among Pakistan” and other countries. However, the court dismissed it with the judge saying: “We must bear the truth, no matter how harmful it is.”

And yet, here in the US, we have Senator Joe Lieberman running around trying to shove truth back into the hole he in which wishes it were buried. A very sad statement on the state of US respect for free speech.

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Comments on “Russian Press And Pakistani Courts Apparently Have More Respect For Free Speech Than Joe Lieberman”

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58 Comments

Complacency

Complacency is the worse position to take while dealing with this sort of story. Things won’t change unless people revolt, and I refuse to accept censorship of that nature. I’m Canadian, but I can’t help but feel outraged at this kind of story.

The USA has been in neutral gear for decades because most of their citizens are comfortable enough in their life to not participate or care about their government anymore. They’re rich enough that they don’t feel anything more can be done to improve their country, and that is perfect enough as it is.

The Groove Tigersays:

Re:

It doesn’t have to be “news” that the USA is equated to hypocrisy.

It however, is news that this has been said by these two countries. Since it just happened.

You need to look up the definition of “news”. It means: this just happened. Not “we learned something new from this experience”.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And that is what it makes it wrong. The article clearly links to the “news” that Russia and Pakistan point to U.S. hypocrisy.

If you have a problem with the article, you should direct your comments to the article’s author (Mike) using the form at the bottom of the page, not by responding to someone else’s comment. Please learn how threading works. It’s not that difficult.

It doesn’t link to “news” that the U.S. is hypocritical.

No one said that was news.

If you ask people in North Korea about their rights and the quality of information they receive on a daily basis, many of them would say that they are doing just fine. Of course it’s clear to anyone outside the country that they are clearly being raped of their basic rights on a daily basis.

The exact same thing happens in the United States all the time, of course to a much lesser extent, but many would still never consider the fact that their own country lies and hides things from them all the time.

My point is that people in any country are subject to way more propaganda and censorship that they would find ‘acceptable’ in any other country, but since they are too close to their own censor, and are already used to their own system of censorship, that they just don’t see it as a big deal.

If you had to start your own country from scratch, which words, if any, would you want to ban from television? Would those words be different than what’s currently banned today? Why do we tolerate laws that don’t make sense, only because “that’s they way we’ve been doing things for a while”?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Amazing

Doesn’t matter who else said it, from Russia, it’s propaganda. My bubble survived.

American propaganda is stronger than Russian propaganda!

The point being made is that even a country where censorship is part of life, everyone can see that US loves censorship as much as anyone else. And here you are, screaming “LALALALA” at the top of your lungs because you don’t like the source.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Re: Amazing

from Russia, it’s propaganda.
Russia hasn’t been a monolithic, controlled state for at least 20 years or so. There are now many different voices coming from there.

You wouldn’t lump comments from the EFF with the US government or major corporations – and so Pravda is no longer simply a mouthpiece of the state.

rabbit wisesays:

timely

I actually started reading Pravda on a daily basis last week. I just got completely fed up with the daily smack in the face of the complete lack of credibility and sheer incompetence of the US media machine so I figured it was either Pravda or The National Enquirer (the order vrs chaos is how Pravda won out – though the NATO and its 80 prositutes and “C.I.A – Cocaine Import Agency” helped).

All of you out there mocking on the Russians – yeah, at this point, they actually have more credibility than any main media outlet in the US. (Even if they do tend to end paragraphs with veiled questions.)

Especially considering the breaking news (dare I say, “hot news”) of the FTC’s Do Not Track which just proves that every single person in our govement and media are complete idiots.

Go Pravda. Have at it.

DogBreathsays:

It will be Russia's turn soon enough

Right now they are talking the talk, but we’ll see if they’ll be singing the same tune when the sand gets blown into their eyes. When the release of the Russian information takes place, all bets will be off.

Moscow’s Bid to Blow Up WikiLeaks

As U.S. officials struggle to control damage from the secret cables, Russia is planning to block a similar dump about the Kremlin. And they will be ruthless, Philip Shenon reports.

American intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, outraged by their inability to stop WikiLeaks and its release this week of hundreds of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables, are convinced that the whistleblowing website is about to come up against an adversary that will stop at nothing to shut it down: the Russian government.

National-security officials say that the National Security Agency, the U.S. government?s eavesdropping agency, has already picked up tell-tale electronic evidence that WikiLeaks is under close surveillance by the Russian FSB, that country?s domestic spy network, out of fear in Moscow that WikiLeaks is prepared to release damaging personal information about Kremlin leaders.

?We may not have been able to stop WikiLeaks so far, and it?s been frustrating,? a U.S. law-enforcement official tells The Daily Beast. ?The Russians play by different rules.? He said that if WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, follow through on threats to post highly embarrassing information about the Russian government and what is assumed to be massive corruption among its leaders, ?the Russians will be ruthless in stopping WikiLeaks.?

rabbit wisesays:

Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

blink

There is just so much in there – where to start?

First, the US can’t figure out how to “stop” WikiLeaks so they’re hoping that the Russians can get around US law and the technical properties that are the internet to “stop” it?

And after saying that, they’re worried about the WikiLeaks documents? Really? So they’re upset that someone might think that a diplomat is making sure he knows how many kids his counterpart has but they’re perfectly ok with everyone knowing they hope the Russians will “stop” WikiLeaks and its founder?

Seriously?

Wow. Just wow.

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

You’re right – they said it, out in the open. The US is fully aware of the extremes the Russians will go to to remove an “obstacle”, so if anyone turns up poisoned and/or dead, any claim by the US of “We didn’t want the Russians to do that”, will most likely fall on deaf ears.

Russia’s Killing Ways – Thursday, December 14, 2006

In 2003 the journalist and reformist politician Yuri Shchekochikhin was murdered in Russia. It was obvious from the way his “illness” developed that he was poisoned.

Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist, honest and intelligent, was shot two months ago. Well before that — in 2004 — she was poisoned on a flight to the Caucasus. It was, I am certain, the work of the FSB. Afterward, the Putin-controlled media put out the usual propaganda to cover up the act. After Politkovskaya’s death this year, many Russians said — because she was Jewish and had American citizenship — “Oh, just as well someone shot her; she was probably an American spy.”

In July Russia’s parliament passed a law, introduced by Putin, to permit the assassination of “enemies of the Russian regime” abroad. As a result, overeager — perhaps chauvinistic, anti-Semitic or xenophobic — factions within the FSB may suggest someone to kill. But there is no paper trail. (By the way, I don’t think the recent illness of Yegor Gaidar — a man whom nobody reads, whose importance is entirely in the past — was due to poison. He is too insignificant to be killed by the regime.)

Here, too, the FSB has learned from the example of Joseph Stalin. Documents proving Stalin’s atrocities continue to surface. To prevent such disclosures, orders for assassinations no longer have names or signatures on them, according to what I am told by my connections. Directives such as the one to assassinate Alexander Litvinenko are written to say, for example, “Request permission to carry out inquiry abroad,” with no mention of the target. The document goes to an archive with nothing tying those involved to an assassination.

The Invisible Handsays:

Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

Yes, it’ll be fun to see the US and Russia becoming best of buddies now, just to crush a common enemy: democracy.

Or better yet, the US going ballistic like “Look world, there go those pinko commie Russians attacking freedom of speech again!!!”, and blowing up the scale in the hypocrisy meter.

Either way, this is going to be fun. I’m getting the popcorn.

Anonymoussays:

Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

Right now they are talking the talk, but we’ll see if they’ll be singing the same tune when the sand gets blown into their eyes. When the release of the Russian information takes place, all bets will be off.

Hate to burst your bubble, but it wasn’t the Russian gov’t making that statement.

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

I never said it was the Russian governments statement, but it did come from the pro-government nationalistic news site Pravda.ru (not to be confused with the printed newspaper version during the Soviet Union reign, or the current incarnation which is more leftist). It’s doubtful they would ever post something not in the best interest of the current government.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

I never said it was the Russian governments statement,

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were talking about the Russian gov’t. Has Wikileaks announced plans to relase information about Pravda.ru and “blow sand in their eyes”?

but it did come from the pro-government nationalistic news site

Kind of like the US mainstream media, huh?

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were talking about the Russian gov’t. Has Wikileaks announced plans to relase information about Pravda.ru and “blow sand in their eyes”?

To clear things up for you, when I said Russians in my original post, I meant it as in “people who are citizens of the country of Russia”, will have sand blown into their eyes (No, before you go there, not everyone who is Russian will have sand blown in their eyes), just as many Americans of the United States had sand blown into theirs by the current round of leaked documents. Unflattering information that members of the Russian government and Russian businessmen have kept secret, will be brought into light for all to see, when Wikileaks decides to release it. China is next on the list to have a little sand placed into its eyes as well.

Kind of like the US mainstream media, huh?

Yes, Exactly.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

To clear things up for you, when I said Russians in my original post, I meant it as in “people who are citizens of the country of Russia”, will have sand blown into their eyes (No, before you go there, not everyone who is Russian will have sand blown in their eyes),

Oh, I see your problem. You seem to be confused and thinking that Pravda.ru represents the “people who are citizens of the country of Russia”. It doesn’t. The closet thing to that is the Russian government. Thus, when you go talking about “the Russians”, people are more likely to equate that with the Russian government than some website.

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

Oh, I see your problem. You seem to be confused and thinking that Pravda.ru represents the “people who are citizens of the country of Russia”. It doesn’t. The closet thing to that is the Russian government.

No, I merely stated the Russians will have sand in their eyes too. It’s your confusion in thinking when I said “Russians”, you though I was referring to the Russian Government. After you pointed out that the statement wasn’t from the Russian Government and I replied as to where it came from and their nationalist leanings, you then jumped to the conclusion that I was now referring only to Wikileaks putting sand into the eyes of Pravda.ru . I wasn’t confused as to who I was talking about, you were, as I was always talking about the Russian people, which includes everyone who is Russian.

Thus, when you go talking about “the Russians”, people are more likely to equate that with the Russian government than some website.

It all depends on the audience. It can be subject to something as simple as which part of the world to whom you are talking. For example, if you say “The Americans” a majority might think of US Government, or the People of the United States, or Native Americans, or even choose the whole of both North and South America. When someone says “the Russians” it is an error to automatically assume they are only talking about the the Russian Government (as the definition also covers the people of that country in the context of what I wrote). If I had meant to implicate only the Russian Government or Pravda.ru, I would have stated so in my original post.

P.S. This sad little game of “Minutia Semantics” has become boringly banal. Type what you wish in reply, it won’t change anything in the short or long term about what has and will happen in the world due to these current and upcoming document releases. All countries in the world have embarrassing secrets they would rather not allow anyone to know, and to which their indigenous populace will have to bear the burden of shame. Sand can be removed from ones eyes, but the memory of the pain it caused and who threw it still lingers long after the tears have dried up. Whether these leaks will do more harm than good still remains to be seen, and only time will tell.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

No, I merely stated the Russians will have sand in their eyes too. It’s your confusion in thinking when I said “Russians”, you though I was referring to the Russian Government. After you pointed out that the statement wasn’t from the Russian Government and I replied as to where it came from and their nationalist leanings, you then jumped to the conclusion that I was now referring only to Wikileaks putting sand into the eyes of Pravda.ru . I wasn’t confused as to who I was talking about, you were, as I was always talking about the Russian people, which includes everyone who is Russian.

Oh, so you were saying that Wikileaks is going to blow sand into the eyes of “the Russian people, which includes everyone who is Russian.” All of them, eh? Wow, that’s going to be quite a leak.

This sad little game of “Minutia Semantics” has become boringly banal.

What’s sad is watching you try to dance around your apologetic words.

Type what you wish in reply, it won’t change anything in the short or long term about what has and will happen in the world due to these current and upcoming document releases.

I really have no illusions that my words, by themselves, will. I am but one of many.

All countries in the world have embarrassing secrets they would rather not allow anyone to know, and to which their indigenous populace will have to bear the burden of shame.

And exposing shameful behavior is the first step in stopping it, which is why some people oppose it.

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It will be Russia's turn soon enough

You just want to argue about nothing, and now everyone can clearly read for themselves that I already told you in my prior comment of “Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 10:51pm”

To clear things up for you, when I said Russians in my original post, I meant it as in “people who are citizens of the country of Russia”, will have sand blown into their eyes (No, before you go there, not everyone who is Russian will have sand blown in their eyes),

because I wanted to cut off any superfluous argument over “every Russian” having sand placed into their eyes. Now you come up with:

Oh, so you were saying that Wikileaks is going to blow sand into the eyes of “the Russian people, which includes everyone who is Russian.” All of them, eh? Wow, that’s going to be quite a leak.

I thought based on my prior statement (No, before you go there, not everyone who is Russian will have sand blown in their eyes), you would be able to comprehend that “the Russian people, which includes everyone who is Russian” would mean anyone who is Russian could be affected by these leaks, whether they be government, business, military, farmers, factory workers etc. (I know you won’t understand how these leaks could affect Russian farmers, factory workers etc, but you might, someday.) You’ve focused only on replying to my last comment, while ignoring the definition I had already made. Perhaps I was asking too much of you. Maybe I should leave links in each and every one of my posts for you, to dictionary definitions of what I mean, so you might have a slight chance to understand them better… Nah.

What’s sad is watching you try to dance around your apologetic words.

If my words were too apologetic for you, I’m sorry.(Damn, I’m doing it again.) I’ll try to be more unsavory in the future.

THE FUTURE:

I’ll leave you here, with a rhyme that fits you to a “T”:

Troll, troll, troll a post shoddily down it’s thread,

Wearily, wearily, wearily until the thread is dead.

TtfnJohnsays:

They may not bother as they don't seem disturbed

Hate to mention this but Putin and Russian President Medvedev have commented on all of this and they seem to be not in the least disturbed by it.

There really isn’t anything surprising in what WikiLeaks has other than it’s the first time the words themselves have come to light, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.

Fer goodness sake, most of this stuff is diplomatic cables full of observations, “analysis” and opinion (read gossip) that flies around the planet every day of the week to every capital on earth that just about every other capital on earth pretty much already knows about or has figured out on their own.

And who knows. If the Russians are worried maybe they’re behind the DDOS attacks on WikiLeaks though, at the moment, that would be a serious overreaction. Maybe a shot across the bow.

Nor am I surprised that the Russian internal security folks are sniffing around to see if there’s some disgrunted Private in the Russian Army with access to mid and low level classified documents, which WikiLeak’s releases certainly are, who might spill the beans just like what happened in the USA.

I can’t imagine any country not looking around for that right now.

I don’t know what’s worse, the media reaction to this as if it’s an intelligence Pearl Harbour (it isn’t), the political reaction that’s almost as bad or the grandstanding of Joe Lieberman.

Anonymoussays:

The “author” of the cited article is an attorney residing in the US and writing opinion pieces regularly for Pravda.

People are always entitled to their opinions, but reading what this individual has had to say over the years long ago convinced me that he was so far to the left of the left that he made the left look centrist, if not almost right wing.

Re:

People are always entitled to their opinions, but reading what this individual has had to say over the years long ago convinced me that he was so far to the left of the left that he made the left look centrist, if not almost right wing.

Fair enough, but I tend to discount it when people dismiss specific complaints by saying “oh, that doesn’t matter, he’s a leftist/rightist/etc.” Why not respond to the points rather than the labels?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

I did not respond to any of the points simply because after reading them I asked myself “What’s the point?”

There are far better and more informative articles for which time can be taken to craft a response the one by this individual. I may disagree with what these people are saying, but at least I can respect them for sticking to the subject of the seizures and free speech implications.

Anonymoussays:

Here’s a fun little game… try to name one governing body that wasn’t full of corrupt politicians serving the interests of that nation’s wealthiest majority. If you can actually do that… then go @#^’n move there. Otherwise, accept you live somewhere on this planet called Earth and you will always have people in power taking advantage of those who are not. Welcome to reality folks, hope it didn’t sting too much.

rabbit wisesays:

Re: Re:

Which one is bad and which one is worse?

A. Pole-dancing despot who’s proud of it and yells it out as much as he can while wearing red satin.
B. Simpering little despot who runs around and says “trust me, I understand the situation that you, obviously, do not” whilst lighting the bill of rights on fire.

Bad? Worse?

Pickle Mongersays:

Pravda? Truth? Give me a break...

Having grown up in Soviet Union, I remember reading Pravda’s opinion pieces about the morally bankrupt, hypocritical US government. So now they wrote another one. Big fucking deal. If the US can critisize other countries for stifling free speach while doing the same, why can’t the Russians? When Pravda start writing about the heavy handed, authoritarian Russian regime as well, THEN I’ll take them seriously.

Pickle Mongersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Pravda? Truth? Give me a break...

Not if you’ve bought the propaganda. If you’re believe that “evil liar” bit, then you’re excused from believeing me. At the same time, you’re also excused from believing in man-made climate change, evolution, and that the Earth rotates around the Sun.
All the best,
PM

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pravda? Truth? Give me a break...

If you’re believe that “evil liar” bit, then you’re excused from believeing me.

Hey, you’re the one who started using what they read growing up as an excuse. Or does that only work for you? Evil, liar and hypocrite, huh?

At the same time, you’re also excused from believing in man-made climate change, evolution, and that the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Oh, so you’re claiming credit for those ideas too? What a liar, indeed.

Re: Pravda? Truth? Give me a break...


If the US can critisize other countries for stifling free speach while doing the same, why can’t the Russians? When Pravda start writing about the heavy handed, authoritarian Russian regime as well, THEN I’ll take them seriously.

Well sure they can, and sure they have an agenda, but that doesn’t mean that Pravda is wrong. The point, I presume, of highlighting this article, and of the other posts recently here on Techdirt and elsewhere about this topic, is that these developments are deeply worrying.

The US, and other countries in the “liberal West”, seem to be moving increasingly away from a presumption of innocence and towards a requirement to prove you’re not doing anything wrong – the war on the unexpected. It needs to be discussed so, hopefully, we can start to effect change.

Lancesays:

Wish I was surprised

Seems like TechDirt has picked up the same virus that eventually led to my leaving Digg off my reading list. The US certainly isn’t a pristine utopia, but the characterization of the US as the new soviet state is way off base.

I have plenty of issues with our government. Dealing with them can certainly be a soul sucking experience. But to hold up an article from Pravda as some sort of truth telling is to take the irony of their name to new heights. I understand when the european sites and people post this kind of article, but for TechDirt to legitimize it is something I find galling.

Mike, you, your staff and readers, certainly have the right and freedom to continue posting this kind of stuff. But having that right and freedom doesn’t mean that encouraging it is the right thing to do. My hope is that TD doesn’t follow Digg down the path of becoming another “bash the US” at every chance site.

Lancesays:

Wish I was surprised

Seems like TechDirt has picked up the same virus that eventually led to my leaving Digg off my reading list. The US certainly isn’t a pristine utopia, but the characterization of the US as the new soviet state is way off base.

I have plenty of issues with our government. Dealing with them can certainly be a soul sucking experience. But to hold up an article from Pravda as some sort of truth telling is to take the irony of their name to new heights. I understand when the european sites and people post this kind of article, but for TechDirt to legitimize it is something I find galling.

Mike, you, your staff and readers, certainly have the right and freedom to continue posting this kind of stuff. But having that right and freedom doesn’t mean that encouraging it is the right thing to do. My hope is that TD doesn’t follow Digg down the path of becoming another “bash the US” at every chance site.

Re: Wish I was surprised

Seems like TechDirt has picked up the same virus that eventually led to my leaving Digg off my reading list. The US certainly isn’t a pristine utopia, but the characterization of the US as the new soviet state is way off base.

I have not characterized it as such.

I have plenty of issues with our government. Dealing with them can certainly be a soul sucking experience. But to hold up an article from Pravda as some sort of truth telling is to take the irony of their name to new heights

I did not post it as “some sort of truth telling.” I posted it because it seems ironic to see Pravda, of all places, calling out bad US censorship practices. And if you have specific problems with that article (beyond, but it’s in Pravada!!!!!) why not post them?

Mike, you, your staff and readers, certainly have the right and freedom to continue posting this kind of stuff. But having that right and freedom doesn’t mean that encouraging it is the right thing to do. My hope is that TD doesn’t follow Digg down the path of becoming another “bash the US” at every chance site.

I certainly do not bash the US at every chance. I’m a citizen and I love this country and work hard to help IMPROVE it. That means calling out the mistakes when they happen.

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