The Ethics on Obama’s admin and the Twitter subpoena

I will start my post with this paragraph from president’s agenda on Ethics.

President Obama’s vow:

Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

Ethics | Change.gov: The Obama-Biden Transition Team.


Disappointment and shock

I have been a strong supporter for president Obama since the day he decided to run for the presidential seat. He was what we all needed and i praised him countless times for his words, courage and deeds.
His speeches gave me hope, made me smile and made me grateful because I truly believed every word he said.

I am not naive into thinking that he could change every flaw, but I suppose I was naive to think that on international level he would know how to act and do the right thing when the time came.

In the light of Wikileaks, the actions and words against Assange  from the United States officials, banks and some huge companies such as Amazon to name one, have been seen as shocking.

Twitter subpoena shock

Even more shocking is that a Unites States court in Virginia  ordered Twitter to hand over the information of the Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who was a spokesperson for Wikileaks and worked with Assange, and was one of the people involved in the editing of the “Collateral Murder” video.
Along with her, the court subpoenaed other individuals as well and with that, the records of all their followers, including all +650 000 followers of the Wikileaks account on Twitter.

And the questions
Is this intimidation? Is following Wikileaks – or anyone for that matter – a crime? If so, since when?
Are people who express their concerns and defend Wikileaks now considered criminals?

I can’t help but look again at the Ethics paragraph and wonder if this was even meant to ever be true.

Twitter was first ordered to not disclose any information but in a court challenge, they were granted to notify Jónsdóttir and she immediately tweeted about it. Twitter is praised for that, but they will still have to hand over all that data.
Google and Facebook have probably been subpoenaed  too but there are no comments from them about that.
Silence is sometimes the answer of a question. Guess they can’t talk.

Salon.com Glenn Greenwald does a great job to keep the world posted on the news and the legal implications of this subpoena, so if you wish to read about all the details, you should click on that link.
Greg Mitch from thenation.com keeps updating as well on this subject.

Freedom of speech and choice?
I can understand that United States wants to make a case on Wikileaks but this goes way too far and it attacks international users, their freedom of speech and freedom of choice.
Over 2500 users unfollowed Wikileaks in fear but it’s too late anyway, since the asked records from Twitter will be from 2009.  Those users are afraid to exercise their freedom of speech, guaranteed by the United States constitution and by most of civilized countries.

Broken promises
What strikes me and pains me even more is that  president Obama lets some horrible things happen on his watch, the same horrible things he took a vow to correct and that is transparency, politics through intelligence, protection of the whistleblowers, protection of the freedom of speech.

I know that this point in the agenda points to federal employees,  but Assange is a journalist and the protection applies to him as well.

Worth to add is this point made by the  Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:

In accordance with international standards, information regarding human rights violations should not be considered secret or classified.

Some of the things released by Wikileaks point out human rights violation and one can’t simply go ahead and avoid laws [like the former president did with the Geneva convention about the torture] to make the release of these files a criminal offense.

I am so disappointed! United States managed to alienate worldwide – in just a couple of months, millions of people.

Where is the democracy?


8 Responses to “The Ethics on Obama’s admin and the Twitter subpoena

  • As someone who campaigned and voted for Obama – it is incredibly discouraging to look back at campaign promises like the one you posted and compare it to reality. This is from a June article in the NYT “In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions.”
    Sigh…

    Thanks for pointing this out — this is a great addition to the wikileaks debate:
    “In accordance with international standards, information regarding human rights violations should not be considered secret or classified.”

    • The only thing i can tell you, Kelly, is that i am so deeply disappointed about president Obama and the fact that he lets the Homeland Security run wild like that.

      Besides the fact that they are breaking international laws and rights, it shows how little they care when it comes to “getting their way”.

      I truly feel for you, since you campaigned for him and i can’t even try to imagine how you must be feeling right now.

      So sad and disappointing.

      • It’s super disappointing! I was terrified when Bush was trampling all over my values for 8 years but I always held onto the idea that it was just him and his party. What I’m realizing is that while the parties may disagree on social and financial issues – one area that they seem to be totally in agreement on is foreign policy and “protecting US interests.” Which is code for what you said “getting their way.” And the depressing part is that there isn’t that much of an uproar over the total lack of regard toward human life that my govt displays.
        Thanks for writing about it

        • Kelly, the only way that i can show you support, even though i am an outsider, is to speak for you, for people like you who share my feelings and hopes, who cares about human life and human rights. No one should be at liberty of taking them away or abuse them to serve themselves like that.

          You are so right about the parties sharing the same common interest in a time like that, and it’s a shame. You would think that there will be someone there with higher moral standards.

          Do you have a Twitter account where i could follow you?

          • I don’t have a Twitter account – but maybe I should get one. It seems like a good way to stay engaged in political discussion.

          • Oh, that should be really cool. Let me know if you start an account and i will follow you right away.

  • What I find incredibly silly about all this twitter business is the information they are asking for. Twitter does not hold phone records, credit card numbers and addresses of its users. Not only that but if the US authorities wanted the twitter information of followers, tweets etc, all they have to do is look at the accounts and read it all for themselves. Obviously the US authorities do not know what twitter is and as one of my friends said they seem to think twitter is an ISP.

    • Amen to that Becks!

      But, because of this incredibly silly move, one becomes almost sure that the bigger ones have also been subpoenaed and i think they are trying to connect the dots.
      If they knew indeed what Twitter was, they wouldn’t go there….

      I believe they want the direct message, along with all that data.

      Curious enough, Twitter dared to challenge them if not to back off, then to at least let people know.

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