Support James Risen and Press Freedom

James RisenNormally, I do not go in for pure advocacy, but this really struck me. Even after Attorney General Eric Holder said that no reporters would go to jail for not revealing a source, it looks very much like The New York Times reporter James Risen is set to go to jail for not revealing a source. This is yet another one of those cases where the government is using the Espionage Act of 1917 against pretty much everyone. In this case, it is ex-CIA agent Jeffrey Alexander Sterling. The information that he revealed to Risen was so important that no one seems to know what it was. Was Sterling a pissed off ex-employee? Sure. Was he also a whistleblower? Based upon the content of State of War, he definitely was.

Of course, we live in the country where you go to jail simply because you piss off the wrong people. The government doesn’t need Risen to testify in order to throw Sterling in jail. It is just an act of government intimidation of the media. (Given how accommodating the media are to the government, I don’t see the need.) This is exactly the kind of thing that used to make me so angry about the Bush administration. It’s even worse with our current president. We all thought his being a constitutional law professor would make him uphold the Constitution more. But it’s turned out that he just uses his knowledge to get around it.

Anyway, Roots Action has a petition that I really think you ought to sign, We Support James Risen Because We Support a Free Press. I’ve signed it and I rarely sign petitions. So please, go over there. This is kind of important. Hopeless, I suppose; but important.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Support James Risen and Press Freedom

  1. Done.

    This is one of those areas where conservative indifference to any exposure of illegality by our intelligence services really hurts. If the country were firmly behind this kind of reporting, it wouldn’t be in such jeopardy. No doubt Ellsburg walked free because many people supported what he did.

    Unfortunately, conservatives assume that any cloak-and-dagger shenanigans aren’t going to harm people like themselves. Unfortunately, this is probably correct in the short term. Unless you take seriously their yammering about reducing wasteful government spending, pretty much all the NSA/CIA are good for.

    In the long run, above and beyond the more important moral questions of using our intelligence services to fuck with anyone, anywhere, for largely no reason than the exercise of pure power, this stuff costs a lot of money that won’t be available to pay for your nursing home care. So it does affect conservatives, unless they are insanely rich. But figuring that out requires the logical ability to get from Point A to Point B without a seeing-eye Fox, and that’s not happening soon for these people.

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