Jeremy Scahill: Obama Admin Has Criminalized Whistelblowers & Independent Reporting

Jeremy Scahill : From the U.S. to Yemen, Obama Admin Has Criminalized Independent Reporting
Yemeni Reporter Who Exposed U.S. Drone Strike Freed from Prison After Jailing at Obama’s Request

Prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye has been released from prison after being held for three years on terrorism-related charges at the request of President Obama. Shaye helped expose the U.S. cruise missile attack on the Yemeni village of al-Majalah that killed 41 people, including 14 women and 21 children in December 2009. In a statement, the White House now says it is "concerned and disappointed" by Shaye's release. Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation whose new book and film is "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield," says that from the U.S. to Yemen, the Obama administration has engaged in the "criminalization" of independent journalism. "This White House seems intent on having the only information that journalists have access to [remain] official leaks, when it is meant to make the White House look noble and saving the world for peace, freedom, and democracy," Scahill says. "Any independent reporting, or talking to sources that are not official, is frowned upon and at times prosecuted. ... The fact they had a Yemeni journalist jailed in a Yemeni court and kept him in prison there and are now deeply concerned and upset that he's been released, speaks volumes about this administration's attitude toward journalists."

Scahill continues: "Look at this White House's position on whistleblowers and on journalists. You had the seizure of the Associated Press phone records. You have record numbers of prosecutions and indictments under the Espionage Act. You have what I think amounts to a criminalization of independent reporting. This White House seems intent on having the only information that journalists have access to official leaks, when it is meant to make the White House look noble and saving the world for peace, freedom and democracy. And any independent reporting or talking to sources that are not official is frowned upon, and at times prosecuted."

"There was a recent court decision that I think is very disturbing. James Risen of The New York Times has been ordered to testify against a source of his who was a whistleblower. You have Bradley Manning's trial coming to conclusion. The charge against him of aiding the enemy boils down to an assertion that anyone who provides information on the Internet, that then can be read by a terrorist, is somehow aiding the enemy. They're actually contending that Bradley Manning, in leaking the diplomatic cables, aided Osama bin Laden directly, because Osama bin Laden was reported to have read some of the WikiLeaks cables. If that charge sticks, it should be chilling not just for journalists, but for the public at large, in the day of social media, when everyone is a journalist of sorts.
So, this administration has been utterly shameful in its approach toward a free press, toward whistleblowers, and it fundamentally undermines the notion that we have a free press in a democratic society."

1 comment:

  1. I really can't wait to see his new film. I live in Turkey and that makes it somewhat harder. luckily I can still read the book though!

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