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The [Friday] Papers

"The indifference of the U.S. media to the case of Bradley Manning hasn't prevented him from exposing the security state or influencing other whistleblowers," Bernard Keane writes for Crikey in "Manning And Whistleblowing In An Age Of Persecution And Indifference."

"The trial was conducted at Fort Meade, in Maryland, not too far from Baltimore-Washington Airport - not exactly difficult to get to for the east coast U.S. media, but mainstream media attendance at a trial at which the media was an unindicted co-conspirator has been scant."

See also: If You Blinked You Missed The Coverage Of The Bradley Manning Verdict.

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"He showed us war crimes, demonstrated by the 'Collateral Murder' video (in relation to which, the only person to be jailed has been Manning), a video Reuters had been trying to obtain through freedom of information for years; he gave us the Iraq war logs, which revealed the horrific official body count of the invasion and occupation of that country and abuse and torture by U.S. forces; the Afghan war logs, which revealed instances such as U.S. contractors engaging in child trafficking and special forces operations inside Pakistan that had been denied by the U.S. government; and, in painfully embarrassing detail, the systematic use of the State Department around the world to engage in espionage, promote the interests of U.S. corporations at any cost and support regimes that even the U.S. acknowledged were corrupt."

[A] video Reuters had been trying to obtain through freedom of information for years . . .

That's right. Manning only leaked after years of the media's inability - or lack of interest - in obtaining the horrible truth about perhaps the worst war crimes in American history.

And he's the one in jail.

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"How many people died as a result of Manning's revelations? The U.S. government initially claimed he had placed large numbers of people in danger around the world. But under oath yesterday at Manning's sentencing hearing, Brigadier General Robert Carr, who headed the task force investigating the impact of the WikiLeaks material, admitted that after exhaustive work the task force could find no one who had been killed or injured. One of his former subordinates, however, claimed that there had been 'some unpleasant comments directed at me and at the U.S.' by allied officials.

"Indeed, as former defense secretary Robert Gates said, the harm alleged to have ensued from the documents' release was 'significantly overwrought.'"

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And now comes Edward Snowden, whose "revelations didn't emerge through WikiLeaks, but through the mainstream media - The Guardian (albeit via Glenn Greenwald, who has been pursuing these issues for years in other media) and The Washington Post. Such is the Stockholm syndrome prevalent in parts of the US media that the Post's role in breaking the story was criticized by its own editorial board, while other journalists appeared to endorse calls for Greenwald to be prosecuted."

That's right - just as the New York Times vetted the material gained through Manning and Wikileaks and applied stringent journalistic standards to what it deemed publishable in that it was both in the public interest and not a national security threat (no doubt conversing with the White House on the latter, as is customary), Snowden didn't recklessly leak the material he had at hand on his own but asked the Guardian and the Post to perform the responsible journalism he wasn't equipped to perform himself.

(In fact, what he says he learned from the Manning case was to not just do a document dump into the public domain.)

If you think Manning and Snowden deserve to be imprisoned, do you also believe the journalism they helped produce should not have been done? That the Times, Guardian and Post were wrong to publish?

Is there anything you've learned so far that you believe ought better be kept secret?

Oh, by the way, I've got some bad news for you: It's Much, Much Worse Than You Think.

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Jeffrey Toobin, by the way, thinks Snowden is a criminal. He did not respond to this query:

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"Now, finally, some questioning voices are being raised," John Cassidy writes for the New Yorker.

"In a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, senators from both parties interrogated the N.S.A.'s leadership about its justification for mining the phone logs of millions of Americans who aren't suspected of having any connection to terrorism, saying the agency's top officials had greatly exaggerated the number of terrorist plots it had thwarted thanks to the program. Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said he had been shown a classified list that didn't indicate 'dozens or even several' plots had been detected. Republican Charles Grassley, of Iowa, criticized James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, for misleading Congress about the phone-log program."

None of this happens without Edward Snowden. You might even suppose his legacy will greater than that of the commander-in-chief.

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"I did want to clear up a question that seems to keep coming up: whether Snowden is a whistleblower," Michael German writes for the ACLU.

"It is actually not a hard question to answer. The Whistleblower Protection Act protects 'any disclosure' that a covered employee reasonably believes evidences 'any violation of any law, rule, or regulation,' or 'gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, and abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.'

"In the two months since Snowden's alleged disclosures, no fewer than five lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of the surveillance programs he exposed. The author of the Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), called the scope of data collection revealed in one of the leaked Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders 'incredibly troubling,' and 'an overbroad interpretation of the Act' that 'raise[s] questions about whether our constitutional rights are secure.'

"It doesn't end there. Over a dozen bills have been introduced in Congress to narrow these now public surveillance authorities and increase transparency regarding continuing programs."

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The cases of Manning and Snowden are inextricably linked with the journalism profession.

"The government is prosecuting leakers at a brisk clip and on novel theories," Adam Liptak reports for the Times.

"It is collecting information from and about journalists, calling one a criminal and threatening another with jail."

A lot has been written about the president's war on leakers and journalists, but it's even more fundamental than the simple self-interest of those in the business.

"These developments are rapidly revising the conventional view of the role of the First Amendment in national security cases," Liptak writes.

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"Obama apparently cannot distinguish between communicating information to the enemy and communicating information to the press," Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale writes in his new book, Fighting for the Press. "The former is espionage, the latter is not."

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Ironically, or sadly, Obama himself was spied upon as a presidential candidate (which Judy Woodruff just lets slide by in this discussion; I mean, isn't that kinda big news? A Supreme Court justice was also a target):

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Like I said . . . America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

Much worse.

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A National Nightmare Of A Different Sort
Jim Belushi Is Just The Worst.

But the Cubs keep foisting him on us.

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These three tweets didn't make the Belushi Is the Worst post because I just discovered them, but they are tres worthy:

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About A Cop
Jim Padar told a really funny story this week. We've got more.

The Week In Chicago Rock
They just killed it at a venue near you. Really.

Beachwood Photo Booth
Hollywood, Chicago.

Chicago's Top Model . . .
. . . And House, Takeout, Turnaround Artist & Fat Man.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Chicago's top tip line.



Permalink

Posted on August 2, 2013


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BOOKS - Inside The Book Of The Dead.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Lakes, Cheese & You.


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