The US government engages in a gross amount of classification of information, significantly limiting what citizens are allowed to know about the operations of government. This secrecy effectively shields routine abuses of power from scrutiny and outrage. Simultaneously, the US government is prosecuting Pfc. Bradley Manning. This could potentially criminalize national security journalism. The accusation that he “aided the enemy” rests upon the contention that he knowingly gave classified information to WikiLeaks, which he knew members of al Qaeda and other terrorists would read. If Manning is convicted of “aiding the enemy,” other journalists could possibly be targeted for reporting on documents containing information on the military or national security, which reflect poorly on the United States.
Additionally, the recent WikiLeaks’ release of Stratfor emails is believed to have revealed the US government has drawn up a “sealed indictment” against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Center for Constitutional Rights’ Michael Ratner said on Democracy Now!, this is perhaps the first time, “if this indictment is true, that the United States has actually indicted a journalist” for revealing material “allegedly given to him—by someone who had access to classified material.”
I have been a writer for Firedoglake for around eight months. In that time, I have sought to defend aggressive journalism—the kind of journalism that puts the focus on abuse, crime and perversions of justice and the law advanced by those in the US government. I have gained notoriety for my coverage of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, transparency, whistleblowing and government secrecy. I have traveled to Fort Meade to cover Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing. I have appeared on Democracy Now!, “The Young Turks” on Current TV and “The Alyona Show” on RT America.
This has all been possible because of the platform that Firedoglake gave me to write as The Dissenter. The fact that coverage I produce on all the issues and topics mentioned above is shared widely by a readership that has grown in the past eight months is a result of the support that the staff at Firedoglake has given to me each and every day. And, it is a result of the people who comment on a daily basis and keep me on my toes by helping me stay on top of a story.
Firedoglake launched its membership programd last year. In the time since the launch, over a thousand people have decided to join and become members of Firedoglake. The media organization has also launched an effort called “Occupy Supply” to uniquely assist the Occupy movement, and it has organized a membership engagement team that regularly thanks members and offers them help with writing posts here at Firedoglake.
I must pause. Other journalistic operations have seemingly exploited WikiLeaks. They have partnered with the organization or regularly covered the organization while at the same time doing very little to highlight the US government’s targeting of it and individuals connected. They have gotten something from WikiLeaks, a publisher, and shown little interest in exploring the complex and troublesome issues surrounding the prosecution of Bradley Manning and the war on whistleblowing by the Obama Administration.
Let me make clear: I do not invoke my coverage of WikiLeaks so Firedoglake can make money off an organization that the US government has in its cross-hairs. I invoke the coverage because I believe accurate and insightful reporting on all issues and stories involving WikiLeaks helps put focus on that which must be addressed to advance reform and justice in America.
Those in positions of power want media outlets to be conciliatory and timid toward those in power. They want journalists and reporters to refrain from muckraking. Firedoglake is not an outlet of writers and reporters, who simply repeat what heads of government and various political leaders have to say and take them at their word when they say there is nothing to see here and we the people must move along.
Firedoglake has earned a unique reputation as a site for citizens of the world, who are deeply passionate about freedom of information and government transparency. It has earned a unique reputation as a site at the forefront of all efforts to advance support for Bradley Manning. And, it has grown into a site that is a foremost resource for the latest news on all things related to WikiLeaks.
By becoming a member, you’ll ensure that Firedoglake continues to be a valuable resource.