Saint Martin’s hosts Constitution Day panel

Saint Martin’s hosts Constitution Day panel


“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

– Peter Marshall

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed annually on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and recognize all who, through coming of age or by naturalization, have become U.S. citizens.

The faculty of Saint Martin’s University, with the help of students, organized an interactive session. A number of speakers from the community who spent their lives working closely with the government shared their views on Freedom of the Press: Assange and Trump. The panel set for this interaction included David Price Ph.D, Bob Partlow, Shawn Newman, and Ernesto Chavez Ph.D.

The event commenced with a short video shot by Dustin Zemel Ph.D., who focused on asking students about the first amendment and who Julian Assange was. We saw the panel interact with each other then later included the audience into the discussion.

“The first amendment referred to the Congress and its restriction to impose any law disrespecting anything stated in the first amendment. Someone says speech, broad speech or press and emphasizes the Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or the press. This means there are very few exceptions and speech can be words, descriptions, images,  advertisements, commercials or anything that is an expression can fall under the umbrella of speech.” 

What is the press?

“Up to the age of the internet, press was defined as primarily newspapers. For hundreds of years going back to the founding until televisions and radio came along. But when the internet came into the picture, the roles of the reporter were changed. And I am not sure if that has changed for the better. The technology of the modern age has outpaced our ability to deal with anything morally or ethically. Anyone in front of the computer can be a reporter which is frightening because the legacy media is falling out as there is no accountability left.”

WikiLeaks was established in 2006 and set up a huge series of encrypted servers in Iceland. They chose Iceland due to a cyberpunk vision to have these data dumps in places where a liberal government would protect them. Initially, they were dealing with financial documents. “To bring important news and information to the public. One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” 

In 2010, many unclassified, rather low classified documents, came up throwing light on petty state department issues. Documentation released by WikiLeaks from the Democratic Party was circulated and damaged  the Clinton campaign. WikiLeaks did not reveal its source. Later, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, stated that the source of the emails was not Russia. On July 13, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence agents, a group known as Fancy Bear, who allegedly were responsible for the attack, and were behind the Guccifer 2.0 pseudonym which claimed responsibility. On Nov. 6, 2016, WikiLeaks released a second batch of DNC emails, adding 8,263 emails to its collection.

What has WikiLeaks done? “Have they violated a code of conduct or is it speech and code of conduct?” There are allegations which involved hacking, violation of  privacy, and involvement in the 2016 elections, but the main question is whether or not WikiLeaks is doing more reporting or distributing. Have they hacked or assisted in hacking intel and releasing data without considering the intensity of the release and its effects on the lives of people? 

The U.K. refuses to confirm or deny whether it has received a U.S. extradition warrant. The U.S. government has pursued a grand jury against Mr. Assange since 2010 — which is what led to his asylum in 2012. Efforts to prosecute Mr. Assange have expanded under the Trump administration to include WikiLeaks groundbreaking series on the CIA published last year. Mr. Assange faces up to life imprisonment for multiple charges including conspiracy, theft, and electronic espionage—a terrorism offense. Additional data by Wikipedia and JusticeforAssange reports.


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