Category: Censorship

Duck (And Cover…)

| January 4, 2014 | Reply
Duck (And Cover…)

By now those who don’t know about Phil Robertson and the debacle at A & E are most likely among those who have no access to any kind of media.  They have no idea what the world is doing, because they have no way of knowing what to pay attention to.  [More ... ]

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Physicians’ gag order regarding fracking to be re-evaluated

| December 22, 2013 | Reply

Amazing that such a law could be passed in the first place. From Alternet.

Challenges by Pennsylvania citizens and townships on provisions in the law that prohibit doctors from telling patients about health impacts related to fracking chemicals were sent back to Commonwealth Court for reevaluation. The “physician gag order” (or “ frack gag“) was recently challenged by a doctor who claimed it infringed on his First Amendment rights and his duties as a doctor, but his challenge was thrown out by a Pennsylvania court in October. The Supreme Court’s decision to send the Commonwealth Court’s decision back down for re-evaluation spells trouble for the gag order. Doctors have expressed concern over this rule in Pennsylvania and what it means for their patients — a report from Pennsylvania documented a range of health problems affecting residents living near natural gas operations, including skin rashes, headaches and chronic pain.

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Epitaph for the tomb of modern journalism

| October 14, 2013 | Reply

Glenn Greenwald takes issue with a recent comment by U.K. “journalist” Chris Blackhurst: “Edwared Snowden’s secrets may be dangerous. I would not have published them.” This leaves Greenwald in a state somewhere between seething and despondent:

What Blackhurst is revealing here is indeed a predominant mindset among many in the media class. Journalists should not disobey the dictates of those in power. Once national security state officials decree that what they are doing should be kept concealed from the public – once they pound their mighty “SECRET” stamp onto their behavior – it is the supreme duty of all citizens, including journalists, to honor that and never utter in public what they have done. Indeed, it is not only morally wrong, but criminal, to defy these dictates. After all, “who am I to disbelieve them?”

That this mentality condemns – and would render outlawed – most of the worthwhile investigative journalism over the last several decades never seems to occur to good journalistic servants like Blackhurst. National security state officials also decreed that it would “not be in the public interest” to report on the Pentagon Papers, or the My Lai massacre, or the network of CIA black sites in which detainees were tortured, or the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, or the documents negating claims of Iraqi WMDs, or a whole litany of waste, corruption and illegality that once bore the “top secret” label.

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Six recent NSA false statements documented

| July 30, 2013 | 2 Replies

Propublica has organized and analyzed six recent government statements regarding the NSA that all appear to be lies.

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Why the trial of Bradley Manning is about democracy

| July 21, 2013 | Reply

At the U.K. Guardian, Yochai Benkler writes that the trial of Bradley Manning is about much more than Manning’s freedom. And it’s about much more than Wikileaks.

[T]his case is about national security journalism, not WikiLeaks. At Monday’s argument in preparation for Thursday’s ruling, the judge asked the prosecution to confirm: does it make any difference if it’s WikiLeaks or any other news organization: New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal? The prosecution answered: “No, it would not. It would not potentially make a difference.”

There are a lot of Americans who immediately write off Manning as a criminal because he leaked “secret” information (many of those people have never bothered to watch “Collateral Murder,” a small but vivid and highly disturbing part of Manning’s leak.

How typical is this of the “fight for freedom” that has been waged in our names? We wouldn’t know, because the information that has come from Iraq over the years is carefully filtered by the American military American press. In woeful ignorance, many Americans fail to see that Manning’s trial is about the right of Americans’s to be informed about what goes on in their name, informed enough to engage in meaningful discussion and informed enough to vote intelligently.

Leak-based journalism is not the be-all-and-end-all of journalism. But ever since the Pentagon Papers, it has been a fraught but critical part of our constitutional checks in national defense. Nothing makes this clearer than the emerging bipartisan coalition of legislators seeking a basic reassessment of NSA surveillance and Fisa oversight following Edward Snowden’s leaks. National defense is special in both the need for, and dangers of, secrecy. As Justice Stewart wrote in the Pentagon Papers case, the press is particularly important in national defense because it is there that the executive is most powerful, and the other branches weakest and most deferential:

In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry – in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government. For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the first amendment. For without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people.

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Our secret court system

| July 6, 2013 | Reply

I’m a lawyer and I’d like to study U.S. surveillance court rulings, but I can’t, and you can’t either, because court rulings are secret. Our massively opaque government (all three branches) has truly become Kafkaesque. So much for the People running this country. The NYT reports:

In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.

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Glenn Greenwald reflects on Edward Snowden’s revelations

| June 29, 2013 | Reply

At Huffpo, Glenn Greenwald comments over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago. This is a detailed statement, in which Greenwald revealed that the NSA has the ability to store one billion phone calls each day.

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Lee Camp unleashes ridicule toward big banks who censor chalk protester

| June 27, 2013 | Reply

Lee Camp says things that I think, but I also filter them. More and more, I’m feeling that being civil to the forces crushing democracy is not getting us anywhere. Therefore, Camp’s bursts of ridicule toward the rich and abusive are feeling cathartic. This episode takes a look at more abuses by big banks, especially a huge penalty levied toward a man who wrote his bank protests in chalk.

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Non-journalist David Gregory attacks the journalism of Glenn Greenwald.

| June 23, 2013 | 3 Replies

This is what modern American journalism is coming down to.

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald blasted NBC host David Gregory on Sunday for publicly entertaining the idea that he should be prosecuted for publishing secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden.

“To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Gregory asked the columnist in a Sunday interview.

“I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” Greenwald shot back. “The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, David — the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way.”

Here’s what journalism is, in the eyes of David Gregory. He eyes are all lit up, as if to say, “Look at me! I’m on a bus with a famous politician!” Check out Gregory’s unwillingness to ask real questions throughout in his interview of Mitt Romney. Start at min 2:50 and see how long you can stand to watch this obeisant poor-excuse for a journalist. He gives up truth-finding in order to maintain a feel-good relationship with Romney. In other words, he is committing journalism malpractice:

I understand Greenwald’s disdain and shortness completely. I am disgusted that Gregory doesn’t understand that a journalist is doing his/her job to confront the government with embarrassing information. I also know that Greenwald, had he been assured of having 20 minutes to answer the question, would have annihilated Gregory with something like this, starting at min 2:30.

Consider also this:

[Greenwald] responds to threats of investigation, etc. by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and others concerning his release of these documents journalism.

The first part of Greenwald’s response: “Let them go ahead and investigate. There’s this document called the Constitution, and one of the things it guarantees is the right of a free press. Which means, as a citizen and as a journalist, I have the absolute Constitutional right to go on and report on what it is my government is doing in the dark and inform my fellow citizens about that action … And I intend to continue to shine light on that and Dianne Feinstein can beat her chest all she wants and call for investigations and none of that’s gonna stop and none of it’s gonna change”…

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