Date: Mon, 20.12.10 16:14
"The Empire" threatened ...
Traditional lines of communication between the people and the press have
fallen into such disrepair in America that a whole new approach is necessary to
challenge the military-industrial-governmental complex, according to a
former CIA analyst sympathetic to WikiLeaks.
"The Fourth Estate is dead," Ray McGovern, of Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. "The
Fourth Estate in his country has been captured by government and
corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus.
Captive! So, there is no Fourth Estate."
McGovern explained that the term the "Fourth Estate," known today as the
news media in the US, was first coined by 18th century British statesman
Edmund Burke. Burke is said to have pointed to the balcony in Parliament
and lauded the print media of his day for being the safeguards of democracy.
"That was very powerful back then," McGovern said. "And just a century
later you get Tom Paine, James Madison. You know what Thomas Jefferson
said? He said if we have to make a choice between having a government and
having a press, I'll go for the press every time. He understood that any
government without a free press will resort to despotism."
McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing and
briefing the President's Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence
Estimates, said that he preferred to focus on the First Amendment battle of
WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange than on the current "cyber war" in which
WikiLeaks is embroiled.
McGovern said that modern people can now become informed through what
he termed "The Fifth Estate."
"Luckily, there is a Fifth Estate," he said. "The Fifth Estate exists in the
ether. It's not susceptible of government, of corporations, or advertisers or
military control. It's free. That is very dangerous to people who like to make
secrets and to make secret operational things. It's a huge threat. And the
computer and a stone through these emissions thrown into the ether to our own
"It's quite amazing," he added.
"Will the United States and its slavish allies present in Sweden... succeed in
making such an object lesson of what happens to an organization and a
them if they defy the Empire if they break the rules which they have?"
He also questioned Attorney General Eric Holder's handling of the
WikiLeaks founder's case in the wake of habeas corpus being thrown "out
the window" by the previous administration. Specifically, he wondered what
Holder, the highest law enforcement officer in the US government, meant by
the federal government using "other tools" to get Assange and shut down
Assange's attorney said Friday that he expected his client to be indicted by
"The broad hint is the extra-judiciary tools," he said, referring to the news
media. "And yet not one of those stenographer correspondents sitting before
him there has the guts to say, "What do you mean 'other tools?' You going
to assassinate the guy?"
McGovern continued, "They're just letting it hang out there like other
stuffed shirts like Jeff Merrell at the Pentagon [who says to the effect,]
'Everything is on the table. We don't rule anything out.' Well, you know that
reflects the state of the defunct Fourth Estate. That's precisely why you need
people to be able to get out of the framework of the Fourth Estate and to the
McGovern also noted the demise of the Fourth Estate, with an anecdote
about the 30th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers' release in June 2001,
months before the 9/11 attacks.
He said that at the reunion, most of those in attendance did not believe the
press would publish such information were it made available today.
"They went down the line, two guys from the [New York Times], two guys
from the [Washington Post], and they all said, 'I don't know,'" McGovern
said. "I'm looking at that, and I'm thinking, 'Holy shit!'"
He continued, "The amazing thing was that these people still had a lot of
employed by them. And not only did they say this, but there was no hint of
embarrassment or remorse. It was just the way it is today."
Even while the Fourth Estate may be dead, WikiLeaks learned one
important lesson from Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers,
McGovern admitted. That lesson was to tell the news media that the
documents are being given to more than one outlet at the same time.
WikiLeaks addressed that question by making sure that when they gave
documents to the Times, they said The Guardian, Der Spiegal, Le Monde,
and El Pais also had them, McGovern said.
"These guys are very, very clever," he said. "As you can see, I wish them all
the success in the world."
McGovern said that WikiLeaks' benefit is that it gives people the chance to
become informed and place a check on government. He added that
WikiLeaks' information on the wars is the "ground-truth," in that the data
came from the American troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.
McGovern said that WikiLeaks -- or outlets like it -- has the potential to
make the world safer to the degree American people get exposed to this
information, draw adult conclusions from it, and pressure the US
government to change its policies.
"You have no doubt about the authenticity of what these people are
reporting, and it's a new ballgame once these things become accessible to
the American people," he said.
--- D'Bridge 3.58
* Origin: WIKILEAKS (2:292/854)