Land of the free

Europeans aren’t all that impressed with the U.S. overreaction to WikiLeaks:

PARIS — The United States considers itself a shining beacon of democracy and openness, but for many Europeans Washington’s fierce reaction to the flood of secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks displays imperial arrogance and hypocrisy, indicating a post-9/11 obsession with secrecy that contradicts American principles.

While the Obama Administration has done nothing in the courts to block the publication of any of the leaked documents, or even, as of yet, tried to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for any crime, American officials and politicians have been widely condemned in the European news media for calling the leaks everything from “terrorism” (Rep. Peter T. King, Rep.-New York) to “an attack against the international community” (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton). Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates called the arrest of Mr. Assange on separate rape charges “good news,” while Sarah Palin called for him to be hunted as an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands” and Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate, said that he should be executed.

For Seumas Milne of The Guardian in London, which has shared the latest WikiLeaks trove with The New York Times, the official American reaction “is tipping over towards derangement.” Most of the leaks are of low-level diplomatic cables, he noted, while concluding: “Not much truck with freedom of information, then, in the land of the free.

John Naughton, writing in the same British paper, decried the attack on the openness of the Internet and the pressure on companies like Amazon and eBay to evict the WikiLeaks site. “The response has been vicious, coordinated and potentially comprehensive,” he said, and presents a “delicious irony” that “it is now the so-called liberal democracies that are clamoring to shut WikiLeaks down.”