News Release

For World Press Freedom Day, U.S. Government Hypocrisy

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com, @kgosztola
    Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola just wrote the piece “U.S. Marks World Press Freedom Day By Ignoring Their Government’s Attacks On Press Freedom,” writing: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken marked World Press Freedom Day [Monday] by calling attention to governments that are ‘becoming less transparent’ and ‘more repressive.’

“In the U.S., ‘In 2020, 416 journalists were assaulted. One hundred and thirty-nine journalists were arrested or detained. One hundred and nine journalists had their equipment damaged. Thirty-one journalists or news organizations were subpoenaed, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker curated by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and several other leading press freedom organizations. …

“Journalist Linda Tirado lost an eye in 2020 while covering the uprising after George Floyd was murdered. …

“Attorney General Merrick Garland has allowed the extradition case to proceed against former WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

“Assange has been detained at the Belmarsh high-security prison in London for more than two years, and every reputable press freedom organization recognizes the case poses a distinct threat to journalism.

“For example, Reporters Without Borders international campaigns director Rebecca Vincent pointed out, ‘If the U.S. government is successful in securing Assange’s extradition and prosecuting him for his contributions to public interest reporting, the same precedent could be applied to any journalist anywhere. The possible implications of this case simply cannot be understated. It is the very future of journalism and press freedom that is at stake.’ …

“Furthermore, instead of abandoning the prosecution launched under Trump, the Biden Justice Department secured a guilty plea from Daniel Hale, a former military contractor and drone whistleblower.

“Hale helped expose the targeted assassination program, including drone warfare. He pled guilty on March 31 to one charge of violating the Espionage Act, when he provided documents to Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill and anonymously wrote a chapter in Scahill’s book, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.

“Astonishingly, prosecutors refused to dismiss additional charges and cancel the trial altogether. Hale is set to be sentenced in July, and if prosecutors are not pleased with the severity of the sentence, they can continue to target an unemployed military veteran already coping with mental health problems.

“The Biden administration has done nothing to rein in policies that allow Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to engage in suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices in violation of both the First and Fourth Amendments.”