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This Cowardly Silence Is An Act Of War

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Source: Salon

The president's refusal to object to David Miranda's U.K. detention speaks volumes in the ongoing war on journalism

This cowardly silence is an act of war
Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda  (Credit: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow this week aired a must-watch analysis of the British government's use of terrorism statutes against Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda.

That Western governments needed such a public reminder that "journalism is not terrorism" is an illustrative commentary on how intense today's assault is on basic press freedom. That some would consequently depict Greenwald's promise to be a "more aggressive" reporter as an unacceptable threat -- rather than a simple pledge to keep doing his job -- is an even more illustrative commentary on the authoritarian mind-set. Indeed, by their own frightening logic, such critics apparently want journalists to react to government thuggery not with defiance and persistence, but instead with apologetic promises to be less aggressive in their reporting and/or pledges to keep quiet in the future.

Keeping quiet, of course, is apparently what the U.S. government did in the last few days, and Maddow expertly documents how that reticence is actually one of the big reveals in this latest chapter of the NSA saga. As she shows, British officials gave the United States a "heads up" about their use of anti-terrorism laws against Greenwald's spouse -- and it was the U.S. reaction, or lack thereof, that is so damning:

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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)
 

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