Since when is telling the truth a crime?
Early this year, journalist Barrett Brown was fined $890,000 in restitution and sentenced to 5 years in prison for simply linking to publicly available hacked material while researching during his job as a journalist. Brown, a former member of Anonymous, says he can't wait to expose more stories while doing time, stating,
“The US government decided that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
Brown is also known for exposing TrapWire, a surveillance program in security cameras all over the world that's more accurate than facial recognition technology, giving authorities a greater ability to spy on people.
What's so troubling about Brown's sentence is the hypocrisy of the U.S. State Department, which previously condemned Morrocco for arresting and charging one of its own respected journalists, Ali Anouzla. Anouzla was charged with aiding in terrorism for simply posting a link to a video posted by Al-Qaeda. The State Department said,
"We are concerned with the government of Morocco’s decision to charge Mr. Anouzla. We support freedom of expression and of the press, as we say all the time, universal rights that are an indispensable part of any society."
But that statement is not the truth. In fact, James Risen, an Investigative Journalist, and long time reporter at the New York Times, has only recently ended his seven year struggle with the law for blowing the whistle. In 2006, he reported on warrantless wiretapping and even though his investigation won him a Pulitzer Prize, he ended up on the government's radar. He leaked another important story and spent seven years in court just to protect his sources.
If journalists are not allowed to tell the truth, who is? Journalists are not terrorists. Just watch our guide below. You won't see any of them listed there.
-By Brigida Santos, The Off the Grid Team
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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