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    WikiLeaks, iPhone Incidents Show that U.S. Needs Shield Law

    by Clothilde Le Coz
    July 1, 2010
    WikiLeaks is involved in several events that highlight the need for a federal shield law in the United States

    The United States’ global reputation as a champion of free speech is at stake. This is partly because the legal framework has not kept pace with the evolution of free speech, and also because the Freedom of Information Act is not being applied correctly. Today, the U.S. is in danger of losing its place as the bastion of free speech because other countries are stepping up and creating new ways to protect freedom of expression.

    Issues With FOIA and Protecting Sources

    As many people are now aware, a secret military video featuring a deadly U.S. air strike in Iraq that killed several civilians was published on WikiLeaks on April 5, 2010. Among the dead were Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.

    Iceland...will likely host websites to ensure their servers are not forcibly shut down."

    The release of the video caused a scandal and made major news. But the truth is that it should have been made public long ago. Reuters had filed a FOIA request in for the video back in 2007, but the footage was never released. According to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it should have been. Under FOIA, all U.S. government agencies are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request, except those records that are protected from disclosure as a result of nine exemptions and three exclusions.

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    WikiLeaks specializes in securing confidential information from whistleblowers in return for guarantees of anonymity. This work has led its founder, Julian Assange, to fear for his freedom in the U.S.

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    Julian Assange

    “[U.S.] public statements have all been reasonable. But some statements made in private are a bit more questionable,” Assange told the Guardian last week. “Politically it would be a great error for them to act. I feel perfectly safe … but I have been advised by my lawyers not to travel to the U.S. during this period.”

    The lack of access to government information is one problem in the U.S. Another significant issue for bloggers and reporters is the ability, or lack thereof, to protect their sources. The WikiLeaks case also has implications for protecting sources.

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    It recently came to light that a 22-year-old U.S. intelligence specialist in Baghdad named Bradley Manning contacted a former hacker named Adrian Lamo via IM and “confessed” that he was the one who leaked the controversial video. Lamo had told Manning that he was a journalist and subsequently turned him in to the authorities.

    After Manning was arrested, the story was published in Wired magazine. The bottom line was that Manning’s so-called confession could not be protected by a shield law even though he thought he was speaking to a reporter. Admittedly, this is a rare situation. Usually, government officials request that journalists reveal their sources, rather than having a journalist turn someone in.

    In those situations, a shield law should help with the protection of sources. But another recent incident is testing the limits of a shield law in California.

    The iPhone Incident

    On April 23, police carried out a raid on the California home of blogger Jason Chen, the editor of gadget blog Gizmodo. The site had obtained — in a questionable way — a prototype of the next-generation iPhone and published an exclusive about it, together with photos and videos, without Apple’s agreement.

    The state of California’s shield law is one of the most protective in the country when it comes to sources and the working material of journalists. Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, is claiming that the police search warrant was illegal under section 1524(g) of the Californian criminal code. It is also citing O’Grady vs Superior Court, a case in which an appeal court ruled that the shield law applies to online journalists.

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    The courts must now decide between those who invoke the shield law’s protection in the name of the right to information, and those who accuse Gizmodo of receiving stolen property.

    Reporters Without Borders has been advocating for years to obtain a federal shield law when it comes to the protection of sources, but that prospect seems far off at this point.

    Maybe the current difficulties in the U.S. come from the fact that the First Amendment rules that no law can be made against free speech. But what about having a specific law protecting it? What would that look like?

    Is Iceland a New Model?

    On June 15, Iceland’s parliament unanimously approved a resolution to draft legislation for the protection of media, journalists and bloggers. It aims to create a single, holistic law to guarantee the protection of free speech.

    According to the resolution, “the proposers suggest that changes be made to laws regarding the rights and duties of official employees (no. 70/1996) such that official employees be allowed to break their duty of silence in the case of extreme circumstances of public interest. Similar changes could be made to municipal governance law (no. 45/1996) regarding employees of municipal governments.”

    The initiative comes partly from the fact that in August 2009 the country’s RUV television station was prevented from broadcasting a story about the Kaupthing Bank, which was immersed in a financial crisis. Once again, the story was based on information from WikiLeaks, which had already published information about the bank. An injunction obtained by Kaupthing Bank prevented RUV from broadcasting the item, but the station told its viewers about the injunction itself.

    Now it appears as though that won’t ever happen again in Iceland. The country will soon be a leader in protecting sources and freedom of speech. This kind of legislation is needed by netizens and journalists the world over. It has to spread to countries far and wide because, as of today, all the jailed reporters in the world are local ones.

    Another useful feature of the Icelandic proposal is that the country will likely host websites to ensure their servers are not forcibly shut down. This law would be a legal shelter for the sources and source material of reporters, similar to the one previously set up by Reporters Without Borders.

    Correction July 1, 2010: This post originally and incorrectly said the video of the deadly U.S. air strike was filmed in Afghanistan. It was in Iraq.

    UPDATE July 6, 2010: Adrian Lamo and I had a talk over the weekend. According to him: “Manning did not believe I was a reporter. I told him I could act as one and then he could benefit from the shield law. He simply did not want any protection, mainly because he was naive to believe that he could cope with it. Manning never asked me if I was going to publish the story. When I turned him in, I was just acting as a human being.”

    UPDATE July 6 2010: The New York Times reported today that Manning “has also been charged with downloading more than 150,000 highly classified diplomatic cables that could, if made public, reveal the inner workings of American embassies around the world, the military here announced Tuesday.”

    Clothilde Le Coz has been working for Reporters Without Borders in Paris since 2007. She is now the Washington director for this organization, helping to promote press freedom and free speech around the world. In Paris, she was in charge of the Internet Freedom desk and worked especially on China, Iran, Egypt and Thailand. During the time she spent in Paris, she was also updating the “Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents,” published in 2005. Her role is now to get the message out for readers and politicians to be aware of the constant threat journalists are submitted to in many countries.

    Tagged: freedom of speech gawker gawker media iceland sheild law wikileaks
    • Alyosha Blue

      Probably one of the better articles of the day on Wikileaks and on the real issue at hand – nice, Clothilde.

      I think another contributing aspect of America losing it’s place is due to a Military gone wild. So much money is being drained and spent without real oversight, for illegal wars that ultimately support corporations rather than the liberties and freedom of its people. A huge con job. I know that no war is pretty, but in America’s war against anything policy, if Americans start to see real aspect of meaningless violence carried out by its own, people might start to question the purpose (pretty much like the rest of the world already has).

      Wikileaks threatens the reality presented by the biased MSM networks and therefore, threatens the motives and conduct of the military and ultimately of the corporations and profiteers that control the government.

    • JuanB

      You have the story about Lamo and Manning completely wrong. What you say is misleading. According to Lamo and the logs that have been published of his chats with Manning, Lamo offered Manning confidentiality and Manning didn’t say that he wanted it. Please check your facts before you parrot other “journalists” wrong information.

    • nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir prepares Iceland and EU for mega release.

    • Clerical conversational privilege must be invoked by attestation (i.e., offered and accepted). This is not the case for journalistic privilege. If Manning were to state in court that because Lamo offered journalistic privilege, he believed that the conversation was confidential, it would pass the “reasonable man” test.

    • alex

      I’m afraid I have never understood why Americans consider their country to the be the land of the free. America has never been able to compete with the freedoms and human rights of countries such as Sweden or Iceland. The supposed international reputation of America for being a bastion of civil liberties is non-existent. Not torturing people would be a start, though.

    • in the know.

      This article has NOT been fact-checked. The depiction of Adrian Lamo is wholly incorrect : The Shield law WOULD have protected Manning if Lamo hadn’t misrepresented himself both as a reporter and (allegedly) Clergy, in attempts to pump Manning for information.

      Lamo then took that information, and rather than go privately to the feds – if that was his intent – he shopped it around news outlets and found a cozy spot in WIRED.

      Next, clearly violating Manning’s obvious expectation of privacy, Lamo sent the one-on-one chat logs (sometimes getting quite personal and revealing) to a major (major) syndicated newspaper.
      Lamo claims it was “for security”.

      Another lie from this Felon trumped as a “good hacker”.. (who also apparently leaked an unreleased motion picture to the Internet) ..

      The only law that needs to be looked at is whether or not Lamo is guilty yet again of felonious activities or tort in his misrepresentation of himself.

      It’s too bad that Manning put trust in Lamo. A lot of people did, myself included.

      Glad we now know, Lamo has a price. And, knowing WIRED, it’s pretty cheap, too.

    • Yan Peterson

      I’m not so sure about Assange and his grandstanding. Cryptome has a completely different attitude, which I like and trust far more than wikileaks. There is no tilt on Cryptomes output this cannot be said for wikileaks. I like Cryptomes here it is in your face approach.

      Wikileaks is trying to become part of the media circus, in it for the fame and money only..

    • JB

      Wikileaks is just pushing its agenda with information not bullets

    • W

      Cryptome has published all of Assange’s emails leading up to the founding of Wikileaks. Assange’s personal mails and chats clearly show a man who is keen to legitmize his hacking background and convictions by turning into an activist.

      Wikileaks believes in freedom of data as long as no one queries them about their own organization.

      Cryptome also has published Wikileaks Insider reports on how Assange refuses to do an audit of any of the donations and most of the funds are used for business class travel, hotels and promoting himself.

      Till today, Wikileaks has not refuted a single article published on Cryptome.

      It is only because of Cryptome and Wired have Americans got a better understand on how Wikileaks is a one man organization. If you read the transcripts published by Wired, they clearly show that the Wikileaks founder offered Intel Analyst Manning a job. Despite struggling for funds, the Wikileaks founder was trying to soften a source by promising him a job at Wikileaks.

      Read Cryptome to get a balanced perspective of Wikileaks.

      Cryptome’s latest article is about how a left wing political party is partly funding Wikileaks. Will Wikileaks publish all their correspondence with such political parties?

      The only reason Wikileaks was shut down for so many months in early 2010 was that Americans and Europeans do not want to donate to any cause if the organization is not transparent.

    • Lasse

      “This post originally and incorrectly said the video of the deadly U.S. air strike was filmed in Afghanistan. It was in Iraq”

      ;D

      As “the world” is waiting for Wikileaks to release the video of a U.S Airstrike in Afghanistan that was a clever “mistake” to make for attention.

    • Chastity

      The Americans are delusional as usual and believe everything their own propaganda is telling them :-) The champions of free speech are Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Norway and by now Iceland probably also. The USA is ranked (2009) at number 20 way below countries such like Estonia and Lithuania.

      http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index

      The US propaganda machine is most likely working hard to discredit Wikileaks. With all respect but I find naive from Assange to think he is perfectly safe as the US has had no problem in assassinating world leaders and journalists opposed to its regime in the past.

    • Clothilde Le Coz

      I would like to respond to the comments posted on this article. First of all, thank you for your interest.
      – On the fact checking
      Adrian Lamo and I had a talk over the weekend. According to him “Manning did not believe I was a reporter. I told him I could act as one and then he could benefit from the shield law. He simply did not want any protection, mainly because he was naive to believe that he could cope with it. Manning never asked me if I was going to publish the story. When I turned him in, I was just acting as a human being.”

      – On the interpretation
      This might read as though Adrian Lamo is a journalist for Wired, and wrote a story
      about Manning for it, which is untrue (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/leak/).

      You can of course contact at me at clc [at] rsf.org for further information.

    • katiepea

      the real ignorance in these comments are that people outside of the US constantly have this to say ” if americans were merely exposed to the truth they may start to question their government” i’m sorry but americans are just as able to, and do, access the same informational sources as you. americans are well aware of just as many injustices as you. you’re not privy to information because you’re european, in fact, this aspect clearly marks you as less intelligible as the americans you claim intellectually superior to. grow up. everyone in the united states questions their government, and proudly.

      @Chastity: you may be the most ignorant of all, there is indeed free speech in the united states, this isn’t north korea. everyone here is well aware of what our government is doing. nobody is delusional, well, except you.

    • Tom

      Lamo is making a ridiculous argument:

      Someone just wanted to bare his soul, AND not invoke any sort of protection for it?

      If this soldier just wanted to turn himself in, he would have contacted his C.O., a JAG officer, etc.

      If this soldier just wanted to bare his soul, there are army chaplains that would have fit the bill.

      Lamo still isn’t telling the truth. The fact that he SOLD this info to Wired shows a lot of his intentions in this matter. He doesn’t have “clean hands.”

      -I have a hard time believing that Manning just offered up this info. He is either getting some money, or there were some lies told, or there is more going on within the Army, and Manning is taking the heat because “s#it rolls downhill” -just like it did in Abu Ghraib

    • Less Ismore

      The whole incident has the flavor of a PsyOp.
      The military seems extremely interested in letting the world know all about this story. The objective is probably deter more leakages and give the impression is taking care of business. A big part, if not all the story, is probably made up. I would not be surprised Manning is just a convenient “lamb” to sacrifice. Deception is a very powerful (commonly used) tool in intelligence/propaganda.

    • The royal couple went without power, and was “put into the dark”, by UNIVERSAL AUTHORITIES in Toronto Canada, because they have “left people” in the dark about a “very serious threat to freedom” that they are “most likely well aware of”, that of the “AASROF”, since the British royalty and aristocracy is “heavily involved” in Masonic secrets and “their evil conspiracy” and “seed of evil”, those who say that the “secrets of freemasonry are not evil” but only secret are “pandering to the rich”!

      Sycophants, should “GO HOME” and not “pollute the waters of the gulf coast” with “black ooze” they have conjured up from the “BOTTOMLESS PIT”!

      Clearly the “CROWN CORPORATION” of BP, has a “legal responsibility” to keep that OIL within 10 miles of the spill, but have not done so even though they were “specifically requested” to do so by UNIVERSAL AUTHORITY!

      In addition the “INTERNATIONAL MASON, the world’s foremost problem” a book, that will be published by JOSHUA BETHEL IS TO “THE BRITISH ROYALTY” WHAT THE “SATANIC VERSES” WAS TO THE ISLAMIC FAITH!

      WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND THEY SAY, NOW TWICE THE “BRITISH ARISTOCRACY” AND THE “MASONIC CONSPIRACY” HAVE POINTED OUT THE DANGERS OF “evil conspiracy”!

      One was by the “king of cars”, MR HENRY FORD SENIOR WHO “CLEARLY INFORMED HIS READERS THAT A “CONSPIRACY EXISTS AMONG THE JEWS” THAT SEEKS WORLD CONTROL THROUGH “ACTS OF SABOTAGE”, this very “opinionated work of deception” has been reviewed by “UNIVERSAL CONSENT” and was “found to be a bold faced and evil lie”!

      Yet, no one ever has “held MR HENRY FORD ACCOUNTABLE” for either his “EVIL LIES”, or the “genocide” that he sponsored as a result of these lies!

      THAT IS BECAUSE HE WAS A “KING THAT COULD DO NO WRONG”!

      THOSE WHO MAKE THE LAWS ARE “ABOVE THE LAW” SOME PEOPLE SAY!

      BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THE TIME WHEN “UNIVERSAL JUSTICE” HAS TURNED A BLIND EYE TO “EVIL CONSPIRACY” BY THE kings who have committed fornication with evil harlot Babylon is now over,

      PLEASE INFORM THE “DUKE OF EDINBURGH”, THAT IF THE “SECRET COMBINATION OF KINGS” IS JUST A “PIECE OF CRAP” AS THE TRUSTEES OF HIS CHARITABLE TRUST HAVE STATED, THEN “IT IS TIME TO FLISH THIS CRAP DOWN THE TOILET OF HISTORY”, I AM “REQUESTING HIS PERSONAL ASSISTANCE” AND THAT OF THE QUEEN IN SEEING TO IT, THAT THE “INTERNATIONAL JEW, GETS HIS VOICE HEARD” AND I AM “USING YOUR LEAKING ORGANIZATION” TO GET THEIR ATTENTION!

      Please keep my name, address and phone number a “secret” since they have “threatened me with a pistol” once in my home town, where I am not currently at, I am at the “heaquarters of power” of the “EVIL HARLOT BABYLON”, and I am ready to “fire the witch” and tell her to “go to hell” where she belongs for “bewitching the nations” with her “lies, deception, murder, treason and genocide that she has committed all over the globe, are you “ready to print this”, if so you are “more brave than the average Saint”!

      Sincerely

      John Adams Weaver,

      A.K.A SAINT JOHN, SINCE I AM A PERSON HOW HAS NO FEAR OF EVIL KINGS, YOU MAY “IDENTIFY ME AS SAINT JOHN”, IF YOU DESIRE TO DO SO, BUT MY “FULL NAME” MUST NOT BE USED UNTIL ALL “ALL THOSE MASONS” WHO HAVE SWORN TO KEEP MY MURDER AND TREASON AGAINST THE US CONSTITUTIONAL LAW A SECRET FROM THE WORLD ARE “EITHER BEHIND BARS” OR HAVE “SWORN OFF THEIR OATHS OF EVIL WICKEDNESS”, JUST SO THAT YOU KNOW I KNOW WHAT I AM WRITING ABOUT READ THE “PASSAGE” IN THE LETTERS OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WHO WAS THREATENED BY THE MASONS IN THE 19TH CENTURY AFTER THE WILLIAM MORGAN AFFAIR WITH THE FOLLOWING WORDS:

      “BY NEXT MAY FIRST I WILL CUT YOUR THROAT FROM EAR TO EAR” ,THIS CLEAR AND UN-MISTAKEABLE THREAT TO LIFE WILL BE “PROMINENTLY FEATURED” IN THE “INTERNATIONAL MASON, THE WORLD’S FOREMOST PROBLEM”, to prove beyond all reasonable doubt, that the “MASONS ARE SO WICKED AND ABOMINABLY EVIL”, that they have engaged in “murder”, of one president and have “threatened the life of another president” of the United States of America, therefore to refer to them as a “secret combination of conspiring kings” that seek control over the United States of America “IS NOT A LIE”, but merely

      “TRUTH THAT IS STRANGER THAN FICTION”, see in the book Emergence of the mystical by MR CLAUSEN for that admission by the kings that “CAN DO NO WRONG”, or so they at least “affirm”!

    • You know nothing at all, revealing a “few pictures” or “shooting at journalists” etc, does not a “free country make” it is only when the

      ‘SECRETIVE DISPOSITIONS” OF OUR RULERS ARE EXPOSED AND THEIR DESIRE TO ENSLAVE US ALL UNDER A WICKED CONSPIRACY OF EVIL KINGS, THAT HAVE MURDERED IN OUR HISTORY ONLY THEN

      will freedom triumph, therefore while these “actions are perhaps commendable” and I personally consider a “secretive attitude” concerning these things detrimental to the freedom of the United States and the the “argument of course” could be made by the military that this was an “oversight” and should not be made public for it shows the UNITED STATES in the “wrong light”!

      My take on it, is this:

      “IF THE UNITED STATES HAS DONE THE DEED”, THEN IT SHOULD SUFFER THE PUNISHMENT” , period!

      I see nowhere, where MR MANNING has “incriminated himself” therefore, based on the laws against “self incrimination”, he is “free to go back to his outfit” they may “dishonorably or honorably discharge him”, as far as I am concerned, but to do so may bring upon themselves “UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATION” and I know whereof I speak for those who “kill the whistleblower” are “EVIL KINGS THAT HAVE DONE WRONG”!

    • THANK YOU FOR GIVING OUT MY NAME, NOW THE “TARGET IS PAINTED ON MY BACK”!

      FORTUNATELY FOR ME, THIS IS “NOT MY BIRTHNAME”, and if I have “changed my name once” I can “always do it again”, therefore I merely wish to inform you , that you have “printed a pseudonym” in a manner of speaking, my birthname is a “secret and must remain so” until every last mason, has “bowed their knees”, TO THE UNIVERSE, meaning God of course, and no longer seeks to keep secret, the “SECRETS OF A WORTHY BROTHER”, murder and treason excepted, and those at their own option!

      This I merely stated to inform you, that I know the “DIRTY TRICKS” of the masonic conspiracy and what they did to MANNING, is just the “latest example of perversion of justice”!

    • sylvan

      Adrian Lamo has a sick definition of “human being”.

    • Now for the lighter side,

      here are a few jokes, about Kings that will be featured in the International Mason, the world’s foremost problem:

      King Andrew I,

      he was the king that “slaughtered the Cherokee,
      cut the throat of Naval Purser Timberlake from EAR TO EAR, or commanded at least that it be done, because his secretary of war, required this woman for his wife, and since she was a bar maid, that was “more beautiful than the law allowed” and “upwardly mobile” she did not object to the “MURDER OF HER HUSBAND” on the high seas, this all was a “scandal” in the 19th century, but has “pushed under the rug of history” for “NO ONE DARED” to mess with King Andrew while he was alive, even the “most wicked thug” who would not surrender to a Sheriff surrendered to “KING ANDREW” for he told him:

      “Surrender you evil thug to lawful authority of me the King over the United States”, or I will “PERSONALLY SHOOT YOU”!

      HE SURRENDERED, even though he boasted that no one would get him to surrender but when you “face King Andrew” then there were only two choices, either

      “fire or be fired upon” and Senator Benton fired and then later “whitewashed the king”!

      All this and more will be “exposed” in intimate details about the “KINGS THAT HAVE GONE WRONG” by engaging in “secret piracy”!

      ENJOY THE INTERNATIONAL MASON, THE WORLD”S FOREMOST PROBLEM it has cost the “best blood of the 19th century” to bring that “SECRET” out into the open!

    • john

      Really come on if you do something to endanger peoples life you should be punished(even the journalist, you have a constitutional right to have a gun but you cant use it when your drunk because you will endanger others), its one thing when your revealing things like they video(in america you could release they video, if it happened hear, and it wouldn’t cause violence, but in iraq it seems like it would increase deaths of soldiers and undermine efforts, its a tough situation when you have people who are dressed as regular people attacking you, you want to save yourselves and other while still not killing innocent people.)
      Everyone has right and while I believe in free speech that doesn’t mean insighting violence or disclosing things(like the embassy wires) that put innocent people at risk. Just because you work for the government doesn’t mean you believe every policy they make, maybe you want to use your position to change things does that mean it should be okay for people to endager you well being, no.

    • Freedom of speech/Internet issues sure do make for some strange bedfellows! Alex Jones and Birgitta Jónsdóttir, for instance. Seen/heard here:

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