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No 'Leak' links: US National Archives blocks searches containing ‘WikiLeaks’

Published time: November 04, 2012 08:19
Edited time: November 04, 2012 14:06
AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini

AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini

The public search engine for the US National Archives appears to be blocked for the term “WikiLeaks”. The whistleblower website has already lashed out at the move, saying the Archives has turned into “Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.”

An error message pops up every time a search is performed with the word “WikiLeaks”.

It’s not entirely clear when the US National Archives decided to block these searches.

Screenshot from archives.gov
Screenshot from archives.gov

However, WikiLeaks’ has already called the whole thing a “farce”.

“The US National Archives has literally turned into Orwell’s Ministry of Truth,” a message on the site’s Twitter account reads, adding “The US state is literally eating its own brain by censoring its own collective memories about WikiLeaks.”

The block is likely to be in line with the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act,” a form of internet censorship the US adopted back in 2010.

It did not become law, but it prompted various US government agencies such as the White House Office of Management and Budget and the US Air Force to advise their employees not to read or access classified documents being made available by sites like WikiLeaks.

The Library of Congress went further by blocking access to WikiLeaks content from its server in 2010.

The American Library Association suggested this violated the First Amendment rights of internet users to receive information.

“The Library of Congress’s decision is a violation of the First Amendment and a violation of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights. Moreover, it is a violation of the professional ethics of librarians to always provide free access to all information,” their statement said.

WikiLeaks exploded on to the global scene back in 2006, since then releasing hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, including top secret documents from the US Department of Defense, and secret cables from the State Department.

Some of that classified information was seen as damaging the US government’s reputation in a number of incidents.

Recently it was revealed that the US government officially considers WikiLeaks’ and its founder Julian Assange to be enemies of the state.

Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents show that military personnel contacting WikiLeaks could face execution for "communicating with the enemy."

The fact that WikiLeaks was treated as an enemy of state would have serious implications should Assange be extradited to the US, as he could face military detention.

According to diplomatic cables released over the past months the US Justice Department’s investigation targeting of both Assange and WikiLeaks is real.

Assange himself called the investigation "unprecedented." His lawyer Jennifer Robinson told RT there are signs that the US has already lodged a sealed indictment to sue Assange, and that his case might outdo the one of Bradley Manning. The corporal is accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks.

At the moment Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as the UK has forcefully asserted that it will deny him safe passage to Ecuador. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum in August over fears that if extradited to Sweden, Assange could be transferred to the US and once there, face execution.

In Sweden, the whistleblower is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations, which he denies, although no charges have yet been filed against him.

Assange believes these charges are a pretext to hand him over to the US, where many officials have talked in favor of trying Assange in a court martial as a terrorist and spy.

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