Wikileaks, Media Law, and Rep. King

United States Rep. from Long Island, Peter King, wants Wikileaks designated a terrorist organization, and has contacted AG Eric Holder to request that Wikileaks head Julian Assange be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, for disclosing information relating to the national defense that could be used "to the injury of the United States."

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday: "WikiLeaks and people that disseminate information to people like this are criminals, first and foremost."

Any government, as an arm of its people, and as its defender, has the right to prohibit speech. Furthermore, defining the contours between speech related to the national defense and other speech, or between speech and action, is a fool's errand.

Thus in principle a just State has the right to prohibit any speech at any time, for the good of its people and the efficient administration of justice. But when the apparatus of "the State" becomes so differentiated from the body politic, it loses this natural right to prohibit speech.

Thus, the important question to ask in all of this--- is the United States government acting justly in seeking to prevent the disclosure of this information, or not? To the Rep. Kings of the world, prosecuting Wikileaks is legal and a good idea, because the United States government is just. To the Assuanges of the world, prosecuting Wikileaks is illegal and a bad idea, because the United States government is unjust.

In this regard we can see two truths: (1) that one's conclusion of the matter is a Rorschach test which demonstrates one's moral view of the United States, and (2) that the legality of such prosecutions rests necessarily on the morality or immorality of the government as a whole.

As a textual matter, why is this? Simply, because the identification of the "nation" subject in the phrase "national security" is a moral and political question. Is the State Department an arm of the American people, or is it a self-perpetuating amoral bureaucracy? If the former, then covering up the spying of delegates at the United Nations is legal. But if the latter, the the cover-up is illegal, as not pertaining to "national security."

Based upon these observations I predict a certain schizophrenia within the American Tea Party movement, who both laud the leaks as proving their alienation thesis, and yet hold an idealistic assessment of what the bureaucracy could be if it were baptised by electoral fire.