Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks Must be Protected as the Only Record of Our History

I mentioned in an earlier post, a man by the name of Don Brown. He would be the first non-American to be recognized by the Pulitzer Prize committee, because of his fight for freedom of the press.

He worked during the days of William Aberhart, the Social Credit premier of Alberta. This party was the predecessor to Reform and subsequently, the Conservative Party of Canada.

In 1935, Aberhart had put into place The Accurate News and Information Act, and according to Time Magazine:
Without crudely borrowing the name of Germany's "Ministry of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment," Premier Aberhart announced that Alberta Government news will hereafter be "dished out in platters" by a bureau with exclusive monopoly of statements from the Premier & Cabinet so that ''there will be no more scoops." (1)
Brown ignored this arbitrary law and continued to do what journalists do. He reported the truth. He would be jailed, stalked, and threatened with physical violence, but he stuck to it, and so did many others.

The Supreme Court eventually overturned this measure as being unconstitutional.
Don Brown, the reporter who led the charge and his paper, the Edmonton Journal were awarded a bronze plaque from the Pulitzer Prize committee, the first time it honoured a non-American newspaper. And ninety-five other papers, including the Calgary Albertan, Edmonton Bulletin, Calgary Herald, Lethbridge Herald, and Medicine Hat News, were presented with engraved certificates. (2)
At the same time in Germany, journalists were not so lucky. Much like today in this country, they were told what to write and if they went off script, lost their jobs. Some were even imprisoned.

Recently in Canada, Greg Weston was fired from The Sun for exposing the Fake Lake story, and Rick Salutin from the Globe and Mail for reminding Canadians that Stephen Harper was a Straussian. And at the G-20 weekend from hell, journalists were targeted, beaten and arrested.

Canadian Heather Mallick wrote of her ordeal, after angering Fox News, reminding us of how horrible Fox News North will be. Her story is worth a read, especially if you don't believe that progressive journalists are being victimized.

I wanted to share something else, about our lack of media in Canada (less than 1% now independent) Ruth Andreas-Friedrich was a journalist in Nazi Germany. She would belong to a small group of Germans who worked throughout the regime, harbouring and securing safe passage for Jewish refugees and "enemies of the state".

In her journal, she speaks of what it was like for her, having to measure every word.
It's a queer thing. Every day millions of pounds of printed paper go rolling out of this building, vomiting a torrent of National Socialist propaganda over mankind. And yet there's hardly one person under our roof who agrees with what he writes, sets, prints, edits, or carries from office to office. As long as the walls have no ears, people mutter by two's or in small groups behind every door.

The few hundred-percenters are known; they are toadied to—and shunned. People warn you of them, stop talking or change the subject whenever they come into the room. And no one dares tell them to their faces what he thinks, what is bothering him, and what he trembles at. Those among us with acrobatic consciences hold the view that anyone with eyes cannot help reading between the lines how fiercely our pens rebel at writing down the prescribed lies.

I can't help myself. I don't see anything between the lines. If there's any pulse in them at all, it's certainly no more than the beat of a chicken heart. But after all, where is courage to come from when it will cost you your neck to show any? (3)
I am absolutely appalled by our newspapers today and the stories they miss. I have to read the UK Guardian and the New York Times, among others, to learn what's happening in Canada.

I've often wondered if journalists are embarrassed by their work now. If they see it as a "torrent of propaganda", or if they have just become desensitized.

They write only what the government allows them to write.

Not that we don't have some very good journalists in Canada, but they are becoming a dying breed.

And this is why we need to protect WikiLeaks. Julian Assange is a wanted man because he is documenting history. That used to be the job of the journalist. Don Brown knew that and so did Ruth Andreas-Friedrich.

Why WikiLeaks will not be silenced
Shadowy government agencies around the world are probably scratching their heads this morning, as they try to come up with yet another way of silencing WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website that delights in publishing confidential documents and briefing notes, to the great embarrassment and irritation of those in authority.

The site is showing remarkable resilience. Despite being under constant distributed denial of service attacks that are resulting in intermittent availability, Wikileaks has survived being kicked off Amazon’s servers (after alleged pressure from the US government), and having support for its domain name withdrawn by its provider.

It will take more than that to put Julian Assange off his stride. Wikileaks has simply moved its services to Switzerland, Sweden and France, and remains, for the most part, up and running.
Say YES to WikiLeaks. Say NO to Fox News North.


1. Social Credit Improved, Time Magazine, September 16, 1935

2. The Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of Social Credit in Alberta, By John J. Barr, McClelland and Stewart Limited, ISBN 077101015X, Pg. 112-113

3. Berlin Underground: 1938-1945, By Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, Henry Holt and Company, 1947, Pg. 7

1 comment:

  1. President of Canadian Association of Journalists on PM Harper's Press Restrictions
    RE: Press Restrictions Imposed by PM Harper and Accepted by Journalists
    From: Welch, Mary Agnes (
    Sent: February 9, 2010 4:40:24 PM

    We’ve given Harper our annual award for secrecy twice for exactly the reasons Akin talks about and many more. We’ve hosted panel discussions about Harper’s control over information and workshops at our conferences about how to get around the problem. I’ve done probably two dozen interviews about how brutal it’s become under Harper.