It is disingenuous to think that the Obama administration was not involved and did not condone Miranda’s harassment. As James C. Goodale, the New York Times’ lawyer during the Pentagon Papers trial, recently noted, “Obama has relentlessly pursued leakers ever since he became president. He is fast becoming the worst national security press president ever, and it may not get any better.”

Just one of many examples: Lawyers for the government have asked the judge presiding over the Bradley Manning trial to consider a 60-year sentence as a preventative measure to discourage other leaks.

Smashing a paper’s computers, harassing a reporter’s partner and calling for severe punishment as a preventative measure lend the appearance that US and UK governments do not want an informed public debating their actions. That we, the governed, should not question governmental actions. That they view investigative journalists like Greenwald as spies and anyone who helps them, like Miranda, guilty of committing an enemy act.

In a dictatorial society, the first right that is lost is free speech. Journalists in Turkey - and Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Russia, North Korea, Azerbaijan and China - know that all too well. In the name of national security, we in the western world are discovering our right to speak out is also being muted in the name of national security.

We should be very worried about this trend.

 

Alison Langley has more than 25 years experience in journalism as a reporter and editor. Her stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The FT and The Independent. She currently lectures in journalism at Fachhochschule Wien and Webster University Vienna.