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"The Free Flow of Information Act" aims to strip away 1st Amendment rights to non-corporate writers.
Another Victim of State Secrets
I'm sure some reporter somewhere knew what was really going on within our government during the buildup to the Iraq war, receiving leaks from their sources and confidants within government; but how many were brave enough to speak up about it, had the clout to actually get it printed in the national press, or willing to ruin access to their inner circle, jeopardizing their lively hood and career?
Journalists, especially those who work for the major corporate owned media companies, still face these problems, and the systemic problem of having their work monetized, leaving them vulnerable to a serious conflict of interest.
One investigative journalist unafraid to speak up about the cronyism between the transnational corporate control network and many of the world's governments and militaries, especially our government and military, was Barrett Brown.
Barrett Brown, an author and journalist published in numerous publications including, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, and The Guardian, has been held by the government in prison for over one year, and just recently granted a trail, where a gag order has silenced any coverage.
Brown faces decades behind bars for essentially sharing a link (that contained the Stratfor files) in a private chat room. His blog (http://barrettbrown.blogspot.ca/), entails some of the stories he was working on with the assistance of the leaked Stratfor files that can still be found on WikiLeaks website.
As a journalist, one needs to read information if one is to disseminate the news to the public, how else shall they arrive at their conclusions, through imagination? After all, everything government does, uses our collective resources, and done in our names, under our authority. That means if we the people choose transparency over secrecy, government will then be obligated to listen, and if they do not, we the electorate can create state petitions and vote in state-centric representatives until the power of the federal government is reigned back in.
The idea that government should have secrets over the electorate, even using those secrets as a legal excuse to incarcerate innocent citizens conducting business to sustain themselves from, is wrong and lacks any credible defense, especially in a democratic republic.
Without knowledge you can in no way know if the person you vote for is truly representing your needs, if you do not know that the government with the help from "private" corporations are spying on you, how can you vote for representation that pledges to not support domestic spying programs? You cannot, and when journalists are prevented from using sources to review facts to inform the public with, we are on a sinking ship, following paths that point straight down, which will end in human misery.
"The Free Flow of Information Act", sponsored by Senators Chuck Shumer and Lindsey Graham, and with the support of many members of the Senate, aims to strip away 1st Amendment rights to non-corporate writers, journalists, and citizens; leaving those folks vulnerable to being incarcerated if the government deemed what they wrote or examined (leaked documents, classified posts, etc') illegal.
For instance if you blog for fun or to vent, or wrote on your Facebook page that American soldiers were killing innocent civilians and pasted the link of the leaked attack via the internet, you could be prosecuted if the government wanted to silence you.
If you think people, regardless of corporate title, have a right to engage in journalistic endeavors when they see fit, a right covered under our 1st Amendment, then please call your local representatives, let them know you are against the "The Free Flow of Information Act", and incarcerating citizens for non-corporate journalism.
Let them know that non-corporate blogging, citizen journalists, local writers, or website postings that criticize government is not a criminal behavior, nor does it represent any values you share, nor will it garner your vote in the upcoming elections.
Claude Morton, Column Editor: Claude Morton is an independent contributor, who mostly writes articles on politics, Veganism, philosophy, or local events. Claude has contributed to a variety of print and online outlets including Yahoo!, MovieMaker Magazine, and the Ann Arbor News. From Claude; I’m in the 1%, no, not that 1%. I’m a vegan, indie filmmaker, libertarian socialist, and a pacifist. I champion freedom as much as equality, and love discussing solutions about our country’s biggest dilemmas. ... (more...)