Tag Archives: Freedom of the press

The CIA Wants To Make It Easier To Jail Journalists, and Congress Isn’t Stopping It, by Mac Slavo

How do you get rid of civil liberties and freedoms? One micro-incursion at a time. From Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com:

Free speech has been on the chopping block for a long time.  Journalists are already silenced and have to ask the government for permission before running stories while alternative media is censored and blocked by Google’s search algorithms.  But now it’s getting worse, and Congress isn’t stopping it.

The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) wants to make it a whole lot easier to throw journalists in jail if they say or write the wrong things. According to Tech Dirty, the CIA is pushing for an expansion of a 37-year-old law that would deter journalists from covering national security issues or reporting on leaked documents (such as those Julian Assange posted to Wikileaks and is rotting in a jail cell for).

Why EVERYONE Should Be Outraged At Assange’s Arrest

By now, most have heard that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested. The journalist was forcibly taken from the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange is perhaps most known for leaking Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor’s emails during the 2016 election.

Thanks to a disillusioned CIA case officer’s actions in 1975, there are currently a few limits to what can or can’t be reported about covert operatives working overseas.

In 1975, Philip Agee published a memoir about his years with the CIA. Attached to his memoir — which detailed his growing discontentment with the CIA’s clandestine support of overseas dictators — was a list of 250 CIA agents or informants. In response to this disclosure, Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), which criminalized disclosing the identity of covert intelligence agents.

The IIPA did what it could to protect journalists by limiting the definition of “covert agent” to agents serving overseas and then only those who were currently working overseas when the disclosure occurred. It also required the government to show proof the person making the disclosure was “engaged in a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose” covert agents. The law was amended in 1999 to expand the coverage to include covert agents working overseas within five years of the disclosure. –Tech Dirty

The CIA wants all of these protections for journalists removed, including the word “overseas.”  This would allow the CIA (and all other intelligence agencies) to designate whoever they want as “protected” by the IIPA in perpetuity, and jail those who report about things the government wants to keep from the prying eyes of the public.

Under the proposed law, any journalist who, say, revealed the names of “covert” CIA officers that had engaged in torture or ordered drone strikes on civilians would now be subject to prosecution — even if the newsworthy actions occurred years or decades prior or the officer in question has always been located in the United States.

In fact, the CIA explicitly referenced the revelations of the agency’s Bush-era torture program in its argument to Congress for IIPA expansion. The New York Times’s Charlie Savage obtained the CIA’s private memo in which it lobbied members of Congress. Under the memo’s “justification” section, the CIA wrote:

“Particularly with the lengths organizations such as WikiLeaks are willing to go to obtain and release sensitive national security information, as well as incidents related to past Agency programs, such as the RDI [Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation — a euphemism used to describe the CIA’s illegal torture program] investigation, the original congressional reasoning mentioned above for a narrow definition of ‘covert agent’ no longer remains valid.” –Gen Medium

Democrats, such as Adam Schiff, are helping make sure journalists rights are trampled and the public doesn’t get any information the government doesn’t want them to have. When you take a good look at his record, Schiff has always favored the secrecy of intelligence agencies over journalists’ rights.

No administration should have the power to prevent journalists from publishing illegal acts undertaken by the government. Ever. For any reason. 

 

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After Assange’s Espionage Act Indictment, Police Move Against More Journalists for Publishing Classified Material, by Joe Lauria

The Assange indictment may have opened the floodgates for persecution of journalists. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

Less than two months after the arrest of journalist Julian Assange, and two weeks after his indictment under the Espionage Act, emboldened governments have sent the police after journalists who’ve challenged the state.  Joe Lauria reports.

Following the arrest and Espionage Act indictment of Julian Assange a number of police actions against journalists for publishing classified information and other journalistic activity  has heightened fears among mainstream journalists  that they could be next.

Police in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday raided the offices of the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, copying thousands of files related to a 2017 ABC broadcast that revealedallegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

Three Australian Federal Police officers and three police technicians entered ABC’s Sydney headquarters with a search warrant that named two ABC investigative journalists and the network’s news director.  The police demanded to look through the journalists’ emails, ABC reported.

David Anderson, the ABC managing director, said it was “highly unusual for the national broadcaster to be raided in this way”.

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Press Freedom is Under Threat in the Land of its Birth, by Dave Lindorff

The freedom of the press in the colonies, now under assault in the Julian Assange case, predates the establishment of the United States. From Dave Lindorff at counterpunch.org:

The trial, as imagined by an illustrator in the book Wall Street in History – Public Domain

Hong Kong.

Here in this ultra-modern city on the coast of southern China, I read in the morning paper that 11 consulates representing most of the nations of Europe, have lodged protests with the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over a controversial new extradition bill that if passed would allow Hong Kong to extradite suspects to nations with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal. That would include China (a country of which Hong Kong is an integral part while still retaining local control over such things as its legal system which remains based upon British Common Law, not Chinese law).

I was not surprised to see that the US Consulate here in Hong Kong did not join in the protest against the new bill.

After all, the US is itself clearly flouting the extradition treaty it signed in 2003 with the UK, which states that neither nation will extradite to the other anyone who faces politically motivated prosecution. Yet just this past week, the US filed 17 charges of violation of the hoary US Espionage Act, a measure enacted by Congress in 1917 during the First World War that has rarely been used since then and that is widely viewed as designed to target political opponents of the government.

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The Government’s Indictment of Julian Assange Poses a Clear and Present Danger to Journalism, the Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Speech, by David Green and Kurt Opsahl

There is no way to construe Julian Assange’s indictment as anything other than a direct assault of the right to disclose the truth about the government and to hold it accountable. From David Green and Kurt Opsahl at eff.org:

The century-old tradition that the Espionage Act not be used against journalistic activities has now been broken. Seventeen new charges were filedyesterday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. These new charges make clear that he is being prosecuted for basic journalistic tasks, including being openly available to receive leaked information, expressing interest in publishing information regarding certain otherwise secret operations of government, and then disseminating newsworthy information to the public. The government has now dropped the charade that this prosecution is only about hacking or helping in hacking. Regardless of whether Assange himself is labeled a “journalist,” the indictment targets routine journalistic practices.

But the indictment is also a challenge to fundamental principles of freedom of speech. As the Supreme Court has explained, every person has the right to disseminate truthful information pertaining to matters of public interest, even if that information was obtained by someone else illegally. The indictment purports to evade this protection by repeatedly alleging that Assange simply “encouraged” his sources to provide information to him. This places a fundamental free speech right on uncertain and ambiguous footing.

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Assange’s Imprisonment Reveals Even More Corruption Than WikiLeaks Did, by Caitlin Johnstone

Putting a journalist in jail for practicing journalism tells you all you need to know about a government. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Consortium News has launched a new series titled “The Revelations of WikiLeaks”, geared toward helping readers come to a full appreciation of just how much useful information the outlet has made available to the world with its publications. Which is good, because there’s a whole lot of it. Understanding everything that WikiLeaks has done to shine light in areas that powerful people wish to keep dark makes it abundantly clear why powerful people would want to dedicate immense amounts of energy toward sabotaging it.

What’s even more interesting to me right now, though, is that if you think about it, the completely fraudulent arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange arguably exposes more malfeasance by government and media powers than than what has been revealed in all WikiLeaks publications combined since its inception. And we can use that as a weapon in waking the world up to the dystopian manipulations of the powerful, in the same way we can use WikiLeaks publications.

Really, think about it. Thanks to WikiLeaks we know about a military cultural environment in the Iraq war that was toxic enough to give rise to US servicemen merrily gunning down civilians, including two Reuters war correspondents, while whooping and exchanging verbal high-fives. We know that the CIA cultivated a massive cyber-arsenal which enables them to spy through smartphones and smart TVs, remotely hijack vehicles, and forge digital fingerprints on cyber-intrusions to make it look to forensic investigators as though hackers from another nation was responsible, and that they lost control of this arsenal. We know about the DNC’s agenda to undermine Bernie Sanders during the primary in violation of its charter, that Hillary Clinton told a group of Goldman Sachs executives that she understood the need to have “a public position and a private position”, and that Obama’s cabinet was basically selected for him by a Citigroup executive. We know that and a whole lot more, information which mainstream and alternative media reports use to this very day when constructing analyses of what’s going on in the world.

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After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for its First Media Rendition, by Jonathan Cook

From the moment Julian Assange sought asylum, the mainstream media’s coverage has been wall-to-wall lies and half-truths, and they profess no concern about the case’s obvious implications for what remains of freedom of the press. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

For seven years, from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and “experts” telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a “mainstream” voice was raised in his defense in all that time.

From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of WikiLeaks– a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books – to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

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Source: Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database, by Tom Jones, Mari Payton, and Bill Feather

Regardless of how you feel about immigration, this is disturbing. From Tom Jones, Mari Payton, and Bill Feather at nbcsandiego.com:

The documents detail an intelligence-gathering effort by the United States and Mexican authorities, targeting more than 50 people including journalists, an attorney, and immigration advocates

This story has been updated with a new statement from Customs and Border Protection and a response from the ACLU.

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.

At the end of 2018, roughly 5,000 immigrants from Central America made their way north through Mexico to the United States southern border. The story made international headlines.

As the migrant caravan reached the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego County, so did journalists, attorneys, and advocates who were there to work and witness the events unfolding.

But in the months that followed, journalists who covered the caravan, as well as those who offered assistance to caravan members, said they felt they had become targets of intense inspections and scrutiny by border officials.

One photojournalist said she was pulled into secondary inspections three times and asked questions about who she saw and photographed in Tijuana shelters. Another photojournalist said she spent 13 hours detained by Mexican authorities when she tried to cross the border into Mexico City. Eventually, she was denied entry into Mexico and sent back to the U.S.

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