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Waltzing Australia


Sunday, December 19, 2010

17. Pentagon Bans Its Journalists From Reading Wikileaks

Is the USA now the USSA - The United Soviet States of America?

Now I'ved heard everything. The Pentagon has banned its journalists from reading Wikileaks - no, I'm not joking, this is fair dinkum. They've banned journalists with the popular defense daily Stars and Stripes from consulting leaked diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks.

The daily wrote "The newspaper editorial independence of Stars and Stripes and its readers' right to news free of censorship are being threatened by an overly broad and misdirected response to the Wikileaks debacle."

"Amazingly, the government wants to bar this newspaper's journalists -- along with most federal workers -- from reading information already plastered all over the public square."

In the article, the daily's ombudsman Mark Prendergast revealed that the Pentagon communications department had advised that "access to any classified information hosted on non-DoD systems from any government-owned system is expressly prohibited" even if it was now in the public arena.

This week, the Air Force blocked all connections from its computers to the Internet sites of 25 media organizations that have published the leaked cables.

This meant computers used by Air Force employees could not access newsites, including the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Speigel, that have posted the cables online, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP. Story here

The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of the Press in the United States
Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as prohibiting the government from interfering with the printing and distribution of information or opinions, although freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions, such as defamation law and copyright law. Source, Wikipedia

" although freedom of the press, like freedom of speech, is subject to some restrictions" - perhaps this also includes people who have embarrassed powerful governments?

With an opprobrious attitude like this, one could be forgiven for thinking the United States has become the new China. Anerica the Land of the Free? Don't make me laugh. On a well-known IQ test originating in the United States, one of the questions is "Why is freedom of speech important in a democracy?"

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