Advertisements

Tag Archive: War on Whistleblowers


The Government’s War On Freedom Of The Press

 

   Ed. Note: The US is so far down the list that we had to shrink the screen down to 25% to get this screen shot and even then we were unable to capture the top seven nations . They are Finland , Norway , Denmark , Netherlands , Sweden , New Zealand and Austria . Click the image for all of the details.

 

Press Freedom

 

 

” The U.S. plummeted to a dismal 49th place on the Reporters Without Borders annual Press Freedom Index, marking the country’s second lowest ranking since the list was created in 2002 and its lowest since 2006. Other countries ranked in the 40s and 50s include Haiti, Mongolia, and Chile.

  The index cited “judicial harassment” of New York Times reporter James Risen, the arbitrary arrest of at least 15 journalists during the Ferguson, Missouri clashes, and the fact that U.S. journalists are still not legally entitled to protect sources who reveal confidential information about their work.

  The U.S.’s slip in press freedom rankings mirrors its seven-place drop in Freedom House’s Global Press Freedom Index from 2013-2014, though the country still ranks among the 14 percent of countries whose press is classified as “free” in the latter scale.

  Reality may be even worse than the rankings suggest. Legal protections for the press have only eroded since the 2006 trough year when the Bush Administration threatened to prosecute Risen for publishing stories chronicling warrantless wiretapping of citizens’ phone calls.

  Since the Obama Administration took power, it has used the Espionage Act to prosecute data leakers a record seven times—more than every other president combined in the law’s nearly 100-year history—a Fox News journalist has been spied on by the Justice Department under the justification that he’s a criminal conspirator, Wikileaks creator Julian Assange has been declared “a hi-tech terrorist,” and the Supreme Court refused to overturn a lower court ruling against Risen stating that the First Amendment doesn’t protect him from refusing to testify about a whistleblower that allegedly leaked classified information about the CIA’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

  Reports from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald even suggest that media outlets routinely vet their articles with government officials before publishing them.”

 

 

 By way of comparison , in 2009 when Obama took office the US was ranked in a tie with the UK for 21st place by Reporters Without Borders (again , click the image for the details) :

 

 

Press Freedom 2009

Reason has more on this “Change” we can believe in …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bloggers, Surveillance And Obama’s Orwellian State

 

 

 

 

 

 After resigning as the press secretary for President Obama on June 20, Carney gave insight into the Obama administration’s handling of classified documents, and responded to criticism that this administration has been the most Orwellian in recent history.

“ I know — because I covered them — that this was said of Clinton and Bush, and it will probably be said of the next White House,” said Carney in a recent New York Times Magazine interview. “I think a little perspective is useful…It is a serious, serious matter to leak classified information. Some of the debate around this kind of forgets how serious that is.”

 

 

Even in retiring Carney can’t help but pull out the old “Bush did it” card …

 

 

” But, it could also be the changing nature of the relationship between the media and the White House. At a recent event at the New America Foundation, journalists and historians challenged Carney, arguing that this White House has been more secret than previous occupants.

“Increasingly, the Obama White House has become so brittle, and so controlling of the message, that people are afraid to respond to me,” said Kimberly Dozier, a former Associated Press reporter. She was one of the journalists whose phone records were obtained by the Department of Justice last spring during its investigation into a leak of classified information about a failed Al-Qaeda plot. The scope of that investigation, some critics said, was unprecedented overreach.

  According to ProPublica, the Obama administration has filed eight cases under the Espionage Act, which criminalizes disclosing information harmful to national security. Before the Obama administration, only three known cases had ever been charged under the act.”

 

    In the end Time reverts to it’s roots and blames bloggers in justifying the administration crack-down on journalistic freedom , comparing bloggers to “pamphleteers” and calling for them to uphold “the same standards as 20th century journalists” … LOL , not exactly setting a very high bar now are they ?  … Read the rest at Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Border Patrol Tells Agent: ‘You Must Cease and Desist’ From Speaking With Media

 

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has served one of its agents with a letter saying “you must immediately cease and desist” from issuing statements and press releases to the media with information that is “Law Enforcement sensitive,” according to the document, obtained by National Review Online.  

  Kathleen Scudder, assistant chief patrol agent of the San Diego Sector, sent the letter to agent Ron Zermeno, health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, notifying him of an investigation into his conduct and to “remind” him that no agent should make statements or issue press releases “without proper authorization.”  

  Zermeno confirmed the validity of the letter to NRO. He says he thinks the order is retaliation for his actions as a whistleblower, which have involved exposing the public-health risks associated with the illegal immigrants transported to the San Diego Sector. “As a union officer, I feel it’s my job to expose when management is putting people at risk,” he says. “They violated their oath as Border Patrol agents.” “

 

 

   The NRO continues to expose the Fed’s efforts to stifle the few truth-tellers willing to come forward and speak out against the policies of this “most open , honest and transparent” administration .

Illustration by Michael Ramirez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Slides 13 Spots On Press Freedom Index

 

 

 

” If it wasn’t enough to see the United States slide in four rankings of economic freedom, Internet liberty, and government transparency last year, the Land of the Brave and Home of the Free (except where prohibited by law) is off to a swell start in 2014 by slipping 13 places on the World Press Freedom Index. Compiled by Reporters Without Borders, the Index keeps a running tally of governments’ respect for journalistic freedoms on matters ranging from legislative restrictions to outright whacking of reporters. The U.S. has taken a hit largely from the post-9/11 insistence on fetishizing claims of “national security” (Rep. Mike Rogers now wants to criminalize the publication of sensitive information like that released by Edward Snowden) and from the Obama administration’s crusade against whistleblowers.

  As the Index puts it:

  Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it. Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.”

 

US 46th In Press Freedom

 

  46Th ? Can you f—ing believe that ? The US ranks behind such bastions of freedom and liberty as , Romania , South Africa , El Salvador , Ghana , Uruguay , Namibia and Estonia . Now that’s “Change You Can Believe In” .

JD Tuccille at Reason reports

 

 

 

 

“Change” Is Officially Dead: Obama Scrubs Web Of 2008 Campaign Promises Including Whistleblower Protection…

 

 

” Amid the Obama administration’s crackdown against whistleblowers, Change.gov, the 2008 website of the Obama transition team laying out the candidate’s promises, has disappeared from the internet.

The Sunlight Foundation notes that it last could be viewed on June 8, which was two days after the first revelations from Edward Snowden (who had then not yet revealed himself) about the NSA’s phone surveillance program. One of the promises Obama made on the website was on “whistleblower protections:” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transparency Troubles: Secrecy concerns mount for Obama in 2nd term

image

” Secret courts. Secret emails. Phone surveillance. Drones. The list of cloak-and-dagger tactics employed by the Obama administration — and those that preceded it — keeps growing, as NSA leaker Ed Snowden feeds classified materials to the media and other reports show the extent of the U.S. government’s more opaque dealings.

  If this were any other administration, perhaps the fallout would be minimal. But President Obama ran on a message of open government. When he was sworn into office in 2009, he declared his presidency would be “the most open and transparent in history.”

  Now in his second term, those claims have been challenged by a host of revelations — from controversies over secret mails to the steady drip of information about NSA surveillance. FoxNews.com takes a look at six controversies that have clouded the transparency message. ”

Read it all

Linchpin For Obama’s Plan To Predict FutureLeakers Unproven, Isn’t Likely To Work, Experts Say

 

” In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.” Managers of special insider threat offices will have “regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access” to employees’ personnel, payroll, disciplinary and “personal contact” files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bradley Manning Trial ‘Dangerous’ For Civil Liberties – Experts

 

 

 

” The trial of Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked a trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks, could set an ominous precedent that will chill freedom of speech and turn the internet into a danger zone, legal experts have warned.

Of the 21 counts faced by the army private on Monday, at his trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, by far the most serious is that he knowingly gave intelligence information to al-Qaida by transmitting hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the open information website WikiLeaks. The leaked disclosures were first published by the Guardian and allied international newspapers.”

 

 

 

 

” Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be the foremost liberal authority on constitutional law in the US and who taught the subject to President Barack Obama, told the Guardian that the charge could set a worrying precedent. He said: “Charging any individual with the extremely grave offense of ‘aiding the enemy’ on the basis of nothing beyond the fact that the individual posted leaked information on the web and thereby ‘knowingly gave intelligence information’ to whoever could gain access to it there, does indeed seem to break dangerous new ground.”

 

 

Official: Holder Approved Warrant For Fox News Reporter’s Emails

 

 

 

” A law enforcement official has told NBC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who signed the search warrant for the private emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The warrant was signed under the guise that Rosen might be a “possible co-conspirator” in violation of the Espionage Act.”