By Andrew Kreig / JIP Director's Blog

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Dec. 21 approved by a 3-2 party line vote a compromise proposal on net neutrality rules. The new provisions impose on telecom and cable broadband operators transparency, anti-blocking and anti-discrimination provisions while giving internet service providers flexibility to exercise “reasonable” network management, including higher costs for some services. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski won a majority with the help of two Democrats who wanted stronger consumer protections. Both FCC Republicans opposed the rules, predicting they would be overturned in court as going beyond the commission’s powers delegated by Congress.

Civil rights and Internet freedom groups complained that the commission’s compromise does not adequately protect users against content restrictions and price-gouging. Providers tended to complain that the rules are over-regulatory. The rules are expected to be a bonanza for relevant DC lobbyists and other advocates as they are hired to impact the interpretation of such terms as “reasonable.”

Click for the statements of Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski and the two senior members of the Commission, Democrat Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell.  The Justice Integrity Project attended the vote, and plans to publish our analysis tomorrow.

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Editor's Note: Below is a selection of significant blogs and news articles on legal reform and related political, security and media dimensions. The articles contain a sample of news, with the full article viewable by clicking the link.

 
Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The Government's one-way mirror, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 20, 2010. In The Washington Post today, Dana Priest and William Arkin continue their "Top Secret America" series by describing how America's vast and growing Surveillance State now encompasses state and local law enforcement agencies, collecting and storing always-growing amounts of information about even the most innocuous activities undertaken by citizens suspected of no wrongdoing.
 
Huffington Post, The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time, Sen. Al Franken (right), Dec. 20, 2010. The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing.

 

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Karl Rove's help for Sweden as it assists the Obama administration's prosecution against WikiLeaks could be the latest example of the adage, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

Rove has advised Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, right, for the past two years after resigning as Bush White House political advisor in mid-2007. Rove's resignation followed the scandalous Bush mid-term political purge of nine of the nation's 93 powerful U.S. attorneys.

These days, Sweden and the United States are apparently undertaking a political prosecution as audacious and important as those by the notorious "loyal Bushies" earlier this decade against U.S. Democrats. The U.S. prosecution of WikiLeaks, if successful, could criminalize many kinds of investigative news reporting about government affairs, not just the WikiLeaks disclosures that are embarrassing Sweden as well as the Bush and Obama administrations. Authorities in both countries are setting the stage with pre-indictment sex and spy smears against WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, plus an Interpol manhunt.

“This all has Karl’s signature,” a reliable political source told me a week and a half ago in encouraging our Justice Integrity Project to investigate Rove’s Swedish connection.  “He must be very happy.  He’s right back in the middle of it.  He’s making himself valuable to his new friends, seeing the U.S. government doing just what he’d like ─ and screwing his opponents big-time.”

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Editor's Note: Below is a selection of significant blogs and news articles on legal reform and related political, security and media dimensions. The articles contain a sample of news, with the full article viewable by clicking the link.

Dec. 18

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Joe Biden v. Joe Biden on WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 18, 2010.

It's really not an overstatement to say that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the new Iraqi WMDs because the government and establishment media are jointly manufacturing and disseminating an endless stream of fear-mongering falsehoods designed to depict them as scary villains threatening the security of The American People and who must therefore be stopped at any cost.

New York Times, Swedish Police Report Details Case Against Assange, John F. Burns and Ravi Somaiya, Dec. 18, 2010.
 
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who was released from a British jail late last week, is facing a new challenge: the leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report that sheds new light on the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to Mr. Assange’s legal troubles.

Dec. 17


OpEd News, WikiLeaks Hearing on the Hill: Issues Raised by Desires to Prosecute Assange & WikiLeaks, Kevin Gosztola, Dec. 17, 2010.

For over three hours on December 16th, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks. The hearing focused on the Espionage Act and whether the government could prosecute Julian Assange and others affiliated with the organization or not. The hearing also focused on the limits of the law and how the U.S. could adjust the classification process to guard itself from future "attacks" from WikiLeaks.

The seven-person panel included: Abbe D. Lowell, a partner with McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Washington, D.C.; Kenneth L. Wainstein, a partner with O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C.; Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor and Former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School; Gabriel Schoenfeld, Ph.D., a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, Thomas S. Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Stephen I. Vladeck, a Professor of Law at American University Washington College Law; and Ralph Nader, a legal advocate and author.

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A Newark federal jury acquitted a former New Jersey assemblyman on all charges of official corruption Dec. 16, thereby underscoring the abusive Justice Department prosecution methods of former U.S. attorney Chris Christie and his successors under the Obama administration.

Democrat L. Harvey Smith put his head on a courtroom table and wept after the judge acquitted him of all six counts of involving claims he took $15,000 in bribes from a federal informant last year. Smith, who turns 62 Sunday, had testified he accepted money only as a campaign donation. 

The 46-defendant prosecution had been initiated by the Republican Christie, who went on to win his state's governorship in part because of his image as a crime fighter. 

Christie's successors failed to call informant Solomon Dwek after his credibility was destroyed in the previous trial in the case, in which Ridgefield's mayor was acquitted.

Dwek committed a $50 million bank fraud and ran a brothel before authorities recruited him and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to help win convictions against New Jersey politicians (nearly all Democrats), rabbis and others. The Justice Integrity Project has attacked the fairness of the prosecution and the vast waste of taxpayer money repeatedly thsi fall in such articles as "Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups," published Dec. 3 by OpEd News.

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Editor's Note: Below is a selection of significant blogs and news articles on legal reform and related political, security and media dimensions. The articles contain a sample of news, with the full article viewable by clicking the link.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Getting to Assange through Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 16, 2010.

In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange…. [T]he Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma:  it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.  Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism.

Huffington Post, The Media Gets It Wrong on WikiLeaks: It's About Broken Trust, Not Broken Condoms, Arianna Huffington. Dec. 15, 2010.

The first important aspect of the revelations is... the revelations.  Too much of the coverage has been meta -- focusing on questions about whether the leaks were justified, while too little has dealt with the details of what has actually been revealed and what those revelations say about the wisdom of our ongoing effort in Afghanistan. There's a reason why the administration is so upset about these leaks.

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