Investigative Journalism In America: Court Rules That Reporters Have No First Amendment Protection That Would Safeguard The Confidentiality Of Their Sources

H/t reader M.G.:

“On a more important issue, the courts have just denied a journalist his rights of confidentiality. Since it is a “criminal” case, no protection. What in the hell is going on here?
Why are Americans sitting on their backsides watching tabloid TV while all our rights are erased?
Found it on the Guardian (of course).”

One of many reasons why Americans are doing nothing about this is that 70% of the public drinking water is fluoridated. America has become just one big Nazi concentration camp (or Russian gulag).

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”
– Aldous Huxley, 1961


Appeals court rules that reporters have no first amendment protection that would safeguard confidentiality of their sources


New York Times reporter James Risen has said in previous comments that he will rather go to prison than reveal the identity of his source. Photograph: AP

Journalist James Risen ordered to testify in CIA leaker trial (Guardian, July 19, 2013):

A federal appeals court has delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no first amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial.

In a two-to-one ruling from the fourth circuit appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, two judges ruled that a New York Times reporter, James Risen, must give evidence at the criminal trial of a former CIA agent who is being prosecuted for unauthorised leaking of state secrets.

The ruling, written by chief judge William Traxler, states in stark terms that even when a reporter has promised confidentiality to a source, “there is no first amendment testimonial privilege, absolute or qualified, that protects a reporter from being compelled to testify … in criminal proceedings”.

The ruling comes at a time of increasing tension between news organisations and the US government in the context of an unparalleled clamp down by the Obama administration on official leakers. Jeffrey Sterling, the former CIA employee in whose trial Risen must now testify or face possible jail time, is the seventh former government employee to face prosecution under the stringent Espionage Act since Obama took office, alongside former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, currently on trial for passing documents to WikiLeaks.

Read moreInvestigative Journalism In America: Court Rules That Reporters Have No First Amendment Protection That Would Safeguard The Confidentiality Of Their Sources

Nobel Peace Prize Winner: Bradley Manning Should Win The Nobel Peace Prize

FYI.


Bradley Manning should win the Nobel Peace Prize (Guardian, June 30, 2013):

As a peace prize winner myself, I am nominating Manning for this honor for his work to help end the Iraq War and other conflicts

Peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the active creation of something better. Alfred Nobel recognized this when he created alongside those for chemistry, literature, medicine and physics, an annual prize for outstanding contributions in peace. Nobel’s foresight is a reminder to us all that peace must be created, maintained, and advanced, and it is indeed possible for one individual to have an extraordinary impact. For this year’s prize, I have chosen to nominate US Army Pfc Bradley Manning, for I can think of no one more deserving. His incredible disclosure of secret documents to Wikileaks helped end the Iraq War, and may have helped prevent further conflicts elsewhere.

Read moreNobel Peace Prize Winner: Bradley Manning Should Win The Nobel Peace Prize

Edward Snowden Flees Hong Kong, Arrives In Moscow – WikiLeaks: Snowden Going To Ecuador To Seek Asylum

He obviously doesn’t want to end up like Bradley Manning.


Update: NSA Leaker Seeks Asylum in Ecuador (ABC News, June 23, 2013):

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who faces espionage charges for disclosing secret U.S. government anti-terrorism programs, has requested asylum in Ecuador, according to the country’s foreign minister.

“The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden,” Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca tweeted today hours after a plane believed to be carrying Snowden landed in Moscow from Hong Kong, where Snowden had been hiding. 

WikiLeaks: Snowden going to Ecuador to seek asylum (The Seattle Times, June 23, 2013):

MOSCOW — Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks says a former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing highly classified surveillance programs is going to Ecuador to seek asylum. The group said in a statement Sunday that Edward Snowden is “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”

Snowden on the run, seeks asylum in Ecuador (CNN, June 23, 2013)

Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, reportedly lands in Moscow (Washington Post, June 23, 2013)

Ecuador Says NSA Leaker Has Asked For Asylum (NPR, June 23, 2013)

Snowden examined by Ecuadorian embassy doctor at Moscow airport upon arrival – RT source (RT, June 23, 2013):

The plane carrying whistleblower Edward Snowden has landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The former CIA contractor, who left Hong Kong in a bid to elude US extradition on espionage charges, is on his way to a ‘third country’ via Russia.

RT’s source reported a doctor from the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow has examined Snowden on his arrival.

Earlier on Sunday, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong government confirmed that Edward Snowden had “legally and voluntarily” left the country.

“Mr. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel,” said the Hong Kong government in a press release. The statement also said the documents for Snowden’s extradition submitted by Washington “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.”

“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for a provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

WikiLeaks legal aidWhistleblowing organization WikiLeaks has rallied behind Snowden and said they are assisting him in his bid for political asylum in a “democratic country.” The group announced on Twitter that they helped obtain “travel documents” and ensured his safe exit from Hong Kong. Diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks legal team were also accompanying the NSA leaker on his flight to Moscow, WikiLeaks said in a statement.

Snowden exit: Hong Kong revels in its rule of law (AFP, June 23, 2013)

UPDATE 1-US lawmakers slam Russia for abetting Snowden flight (Reuters, June 23, 2013):

HONG KONG — Hong Kong has risked the threat of US reprisals in allowing Edward Snowden to leave. But its government insists that the rule of law took primacy for a territory that jealously guards its separateness from mainland China.

President Barack Obama’s Unprecedented Initiative, Known As … The Insider Threat Program

‘Truth is treason in the empire of lies’
‘Let the revolution begin!’
– Ron Paul


Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S. (McClatchy, June 20,  2013):

WASHINGTON — Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.

“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.

Read morePresident Barack Obama’s Unprecedented Initiative, Known As … The Insider Threat Program

Crowdfunded Stenographer Denied Press Pass To Cover Transcriptless Bradley Manning Trial

Crowdfunded Stenographer Denied Press Pass To Cover Transcriptless Bradley Manning Trial (TechDirt, June 3, 2013):

The attempts to limit the press during the Bradley Manning trial have been somewhat ridiculous. The press hasn’t been allowed to record anything, even though someone clearly did so surreptitiously. Furthermore, there’s been no plan for an official court transcript of the proceedings either. About a month ago, the Freedom of the Press Foundation launched a crowdfunding campaign to try to hire their own professional stenographer to attend the trail to make a transcript. They even had some top press publications, including the Guardian, Forbes and the Verge, apply for an extra press pass for the crowdfunded stenographer. The military refused. But, more ridiculously, they claimed it was a space issue, though that’s an issue they could easily fix.

Read moreCrowdfunded Stenographer Denied Press Pass To Cover Transcriptless Bradley Manning Trial

Bradley Manning Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ For Giving WikiLeaks Huge Classified Government Data Trove

Bradley Manning Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ for Giving WikiLeaks Huge Government Data Trove (Wired, Feb 28, 2013):

FORT MEADE, Md. — Wearing his Army dress uniform, a composed, intense and articulate Pfc. Bradley Manning took “full responsibility” Thursday for providing the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks with a trove of classified and sensitive military, diplomatic and intelligence cables, videos and documents.

In the lengthiest statement to a military tribunal Manning has provided since his nearly three-year long ordeal began, Manning, 25, said WikiLeaks did not encourage him to provide the organization with any information. But he also sketched out his emotionally fraught online interactions with his WikiLeaks handler, a man he knew as “Ox” or “Nathaniel” over Internet Relay Chat and Jabber, and whom the government maintains was Julian Assange.

Manning’s motivations in leaking, he said, was to “spark a domestic debate of the role of the military and foreign policy in general,” he said, and “cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.” Manning said he was in sound mind when he leaked, and did so deliberately, regardless of the legal circumstances.

Remarkably, Manning said he first tried to take his information to the Washington Post, the New York Times and Politico, before contacting WikiLeaks.

The statement came as Manning pleaded guilty on Thursday to ten of 22 charges the Army has levied against him. Manning admitted to improperly storing classified information; having unauthorized possession of such information; willfully communicating it to an unauthorized person; and other “lesser-included” offenses. Each of the ten offenses to which Manning pleaded guilty carries a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment, for a total of 20 years in prison.

Read moreBradley Manning Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ For Giving WikiLeaks Huge Classified Government Data Trove

Bradley Manning Denied A Whistleblower Defense

Manning denied a whistleblower defense (Salon, Jan 18, 2013):

The soldier will only be permitted to give limited evidence on his motives for leaking documents

In a potential blow to his defense, Pfc. Bradley Manning has been largely denied the opportunity to present evidence about his motives for leaking documents to WikiLeaks in his upcoming trial.

Read moreBradley Manning Denied A Whistleblower Defense