U.S. Government Persecuting Journalists

Russia Today

In its battle against government leaks, the administration of President Obama has launched what many say is a campaign against

Both Bush and Obama pro-secrecy policies could not keep some journalists from obtaining information that incriminates them.

press freedom.

One journalist, who reported things the US government wanted to keep secret, has been given an ultimatum: give up your sources or go to jail.

James Risen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning national security correspondent for the New York Times. In his 2006 book, he wrote about the botched US intelligence operations to halt Iran’s nuclear program. As he is still under prosecutors’ scrutiny, Risen is now advised to avoid interviews on the subject.

“The issue has been litigated before, it went through the courts two years ago,” Eric Lichtblau, New York Times Justice Department correspondent, told RT. “And now the Justice Department, under a new administration, ironically seems to be going the same path.”

Eric Lichtblau, together with his colleague James Risen, has made a number of groundbreaking revelations, including the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants.

He says confidentiality is vital to their work, as people often put their lives at risk to tell what is really going on behind the scenes.

“If, in fact, we have a system where journalists cover only what the government says are not secrets, well journalists lose their independence,” Lichtblau said.

There would probably be no discussions on Guantanamo abuses or the CIA’s secret prisons if not for the leaks, but the clampdown is on.

Of course, there is a line between giving up national security secrets and telling the public what they need to know about their governments’ work. But one or two other cases like Risen’s, and free American investigative journalism may face a real drought in sources.

Obama’s leak plugging has been welcomed most among advocates of secrecy in government affairs, but even they are surprised.

“It came to me as a surprise. The Obama administration came into office pledging maximum openness in the government. While they have take certain steps in that direction, they’ve also done some unexpected decisions regarding leaks,” Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of “Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law”, said.

While some journalists have to fight for their sources, others demand transparency at the White House.

“[There is] too much secrecy in the White house and government and I think the people have the right to know almost everything,” Helen Thomas, a White House correspondent with 50 years’ experience, said.

Meanwhile Obama, with a new law tucked under his arm, positions the US as the watchdog for the freedom of press in the world.

“What this Act does is it sends a strong message from the Unites States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments operate when it comes to the press,” President Obama said back in May.

One thing is not clear – will the State Department pay attention to its own backyard as American journalists are being forced to break their word?

21st Century Culture: Free Enterprise vs Government Control

Arthur C. Brooks

This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new

Free Enterprise needs to exist for the gears to move.

struggle between two competing visions of the country’s future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.

It is not at all clear which side will prevail. The forces of big government are entrenched and enjoy the full arsenal of the administration’s money and influence. Our leaders in Washington, aided by the unprecedented economic crisis of recent years and the panic it induced, have seized the moment to introduce breathtaking expansions of state power in huge swaths of the economy, from the health-care takeover to the financial regulatory bill that the Senate approved Thursday. If these forces continue to prevail, America will cease to be a free enterprise nation.

I call this a culture war because free enterprise has been integral to American culture from the beginning, and it still lies at the core of our history and character. “A wise and frugal government,” Thomas Jefferson declared in his first inaugural address in 1801, “which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” He later warned: “To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” In other words, beware government’s economic control, and woe betide the redistributors.

Now, as then, entrepreneurship can flourish only in a culture where individuals are willing to innovate and exert leadership; where people enjoy the rewards and face the consequences of their decisions; and where we can gamble the security of the status quo for a chance of future success.

Yet, in his commencement address at Arizona State University on May 13, 2009, President Obama warned against precisely such impulses: “You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings; you try to be on this “who’s who” list or that Top 100 list; you chase after the big money and you figure out how big your corner office is; you worry about whether you have a fancy enough title or a fancy enough car. That’s the message that’s sent each and every day, or has been in our culture for far too long — that through material possessions, through a ruthless competition pursued only on your own behalf — that’s how you will measure success.” Such ambition, he cautioned, “may lead you to compromise your values and your principles.”

I appreciate the sentiment that money does not buy happiness. But for the president of the United States to actively warn young adults away from economic ambition is remarkable. And he makes clear that he seeks to change our culture.

The irony is that, by wide margins, Americans support free enterprise. A Gallup poll in January found that 86 percent of Americans have a positive image of “free enterprise,” with only 10 percent viewing it negatively. Similarly, in March 2009, the Pew Research Center asked individuals from a broad range of demographic groups: “Generally, do you think people are better off in a free-market economy, even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time, or don’t you think so?” Almost 70 percent of respondents agreed that they are better off in a free-market economy, while only 20 percent disagreed.

In fact, no matter how the issue is posed, not more than 30 percent of Americans say they believe we would fare better without free markets at the core of our system. When it comes to support for free enterprise, we are essentially a 70-30 nation.

So here’s a puzzle: If we love free enterprise so much, why are the 30 percent who want to change that culture in charge?

It’s not simply because of the election of Obama. As much as Republicans may dislike hearing it, statism had effectively taken hold in Washington long before that.

The George W. Bush administration began the huge Wall Street and Detroit bailouts, and for years before the economic crisis, the GOP talked about free enterprise while simultaneously expanding the government with borrowed money and increasing the percentage of citizens with no income tax liability. The 30 percent coalition did not start governing this country with the advent of Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It has been in charge for years.

U.S. Administration Supports Indecent Vatican’s Paedophilia Immunity

AFP

The Obama administration in a brief to the Supreme Court has backed theVatican’s claim of immunity from lawsuits arising from cases of sexual abuse by priests in the United States.

The Supreme Court is considering an appeal by the Vatican of an appellate court ruling that lifted its immunity in the case of an alleged pedophile priest from Oregon.

In a filing on Friday, the solicitor general’s office argued that the Ninth Circuit court of appeals erred in allowing the lawsuit brought by a man who claims he was sexually abused in the 1960s by the Oregon priest.

The unnamed plaintiff, who cited the Holy See and several other parties as defendants, argued the Vatican should be held responsible for transferring the priest to Oregon and letting him serve there despite previous accusations he had abused children in Chicago and in Ireland.

The solicitor general’s office, which defends the position of President Barack Obama’s administration before the Supreme Court, said the Ninth Circuit improperly found the case to be an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a 1976 federal law that sets limits on when other countries can face lawsuits in US courts.

“Although the decision does not conflict with any decision of another court of appeals, the Court may wish to grant the petition, vacate the judgement of the court of appeals and remand to that court for further consideration”.

The case, which was filed in 2002, does not directly address questions raised in a separate lawsuit in Kentucky alleging that US bishops are employees of the Holy See.

But the Vatican plans to argue that Catholic dioceses are run as separate entities from the Holy See, and that the only authority that the pontiff has over bishops around the world is a religious one, according to Jeffrey Lena, theVatican’s US attorney.

In recent months, large-scale pedophilia scandals have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in a number of countries, including Austria, Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany and the United States.

Senior clerics have been accused of protecting the priests involved by moving them to other parishes — where they sometimes offended again — instead of handing them over to civil authorities for prosecution.

The pope, who has himself faced allegations implicating him in the scandal, has repeatedly said priests and religious workers guilty of child abuse should answer for their crimes in courts of law.