Australian Federal Police threaten freedom of the press
from Kevin Moore
After Assange’s Espionage Act Indictment, Police Move Against More Journalists for Publishing Classified Material
Less than two months after the arrest of journalist Julian Assange, and two weeks after his indictment under the Espionage Act, emboldened governments have sent the police after journalists who’ve challenged the state. Joe Lauria reports:
So is the Julian Assange case different? –
ABC vows to protect sources after AFP raid
The national broadcaster says a raid on its Sydney offices over a 2017 story that Australian defence personnel may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan “raises concerns over freedom of the press”.
The ABC vowed to protect its sources even as the federal police raid was continuing at the broadcaster’s offices in Ultimo on Wednesday.
A warrant indicates digital forensic officers will target documents and computers linked to reporters Dan Oakes and Sam Clark as well as news director Gaven Morris, the ABC reports.
The news organisation says the raid is in relation to a July 2017 story that revealed “hundreds of pages of secret Defence Force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children”…………………. The West Australian
Assange illness won’t stop extradition by US
Julian Assange has been arrested and is now locked away in British custody. The U.S. government wants to extradite him, regardless of the official version, for the crime of revealing our government’s crimes. Nearly every government on our third rock from the sun despises the man for bringing transparency to the process of ruling the unwashed masses.
It is politically inconvenient at this time for the screaming corporate news to remind our entire citizenry what exactly WikiLeaks has done for us. So you won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves—in the same way the mainstream media did not begin every report about Chelsea Manning’s trial with a rundown of the war crimes she helped reveal.
And Chelsea Manning’s most famous leak is arguably also WikiLeaks’ most famous leak, so it’ll top this list:…………………….
“……………The raid against Smethurst, however, raises the prospect of prosecutions of journalists and media organisations for publishing leaked material, in a direct attack on freedom of the press.
This was signalled by the phrasing of the warrant, which reportedly stated that the raid was partly in relation to the “alleged publishing of information classified as an official secret, which is an extremely serious matter that has the potential to undermine Australia’s national security.”
The phrasing corresponds to Espionage and Foreign Interference legislation passed last year by the Coalition, with the full support of Labor. The new laws make it a criminal offense to “deal with” information that “harms” “national security.” “Deal with” is defined to cover a long list of activities: “collect,” “possess,” “make a record of,” “copy,” “alter,” “conceal,” “communicate,” “publish” and “make available.”
Journalists have a limited defence, if they “reasonably believe” the information they published was in the public interest. However, this proviso is entirely undefined and subject to interpretation, meaning that journalists and media organisations could still face prosecution.
The AFP raids are part of a deepening assault on the democratic rights of the population, which is aimed at suppressing growing opposition to militarism, war, social inequality and the escalating expansion of police powers. In both cases, journalists who have revealed evidence of crimes by the government and military are raided and implicitly threatened with criminal prosecution.
This is part of a broader drive by governments around the world to abolish freedom of the press and other fundamental civil liberties. The sharpest expression is the attempt by the US administration of President Donald Trump to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his role in exposing US war crimes and diplomatic intrigues.
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