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Freedom of the Press And the Right to Access Information About the Government

Government-persecuted U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning) has written this op-ed in the New York Times. Quite a surprisingly brave publishing decision on the part of the normally war-endorsing Regime-kissing NYT, I think.

Manning details the complicity by the U.S. military in the corruption of Iraqi elections in 2010, and notes that one reason why most Americans weren’t informed of this is because of the way embedded news journalists are chosen by the military. Mainly they choose journalists who had in the past shown a bias in support of the Regime’s current policy or war. Journalists who may have shown evidence of critical reporting were rejected for embedding. Journalists competing against one another tend to end up with reporting that is more flattering to the military officers and ruling bureaucrats than reporting that is accurate or objective.

In my view, the First Amendment really protects any American who wants to take the risk in going overseas to witness what our government and military are doing to people in other countries, and report on it. Contrary to the fascist Feinstein, the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to be a reporter, researcher, and cover news events and write about them. If the U.S. military is invading and occupying foreign territories that are not U.S. territories and thus they have no “right” to be on them and are at their own risk, then ANY American who wants to take that risk can go over there and report on events, with or without a military bureaucrat’s approval. And by “risk” I mean that when anyone goes onto a foreign territory he must abide by the foreigners’ rules and must also understand the dangers of entering foreign territories, and so forth. And further, the American people have a right to know what their government military or diplomats are doing in other countries on their behalf, what deeds (or misdeeds) are being performed by employees of the government who work for the American people.

The right of the people to know what the government is up to as far as coverage of military’s actions overseas also applies to domestic issues such as NSA spying. As Judge Andrew Napolitano pointed out, “In the clash between government secrecy and public transparency, the Framers placed a value judgment in the First Amendment . . . An informed public is more likely to make better decisions than an ignorant one.”

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