The So-Called Liberal Media, Redux

This is the opening of a four-page New York Times article by James Glanz and John Markoff:

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”

Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet.

The American effort, revealed in dozens of interviews, planning documents and classified diplomatic cables obtained by The New York Times, ranges in scale, cost and sophistication.

Some projects involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe.

Not once in this major (did I say FOUR-PAGE?) article does the word Wikileaks, or the name Bradley Manning, appear. Nowhere is it mentioned, even in passing, that the Department of Justice indicted former NSA employee Thomas Drake under the Espionage Act for passing declassified information about government waste and mismanagement to a reporter, and just a couple of days ago had to drop those charges because their case did not have a leg to stand on. As the above-linked Los Angeles Times article notes, the Obama administration’s decision to go after Drake for ‘endangering national security’ under a federal statute aimed at stopping spies from passing classified information to foreign governments was viewed by many observers “as a warning from the Obama administration,” intended — in Drake’s own words, “to send a chilling message … to other whistleblowers … not to speak up or speak out.”

It’s pretty damn depressing that much of the commentary (the little there is) about this monumental double standard the Obama administration upholds on protecting ‘the freedom to communicate on the Internet’ and the major media’s enabling of said double standard appears to be cheering the Obama administration’s professed concern for protecting the right of people living under repressive governments to have outlets for dissent, while failing to point out, or even notice, how this same Obama administration does everything in its power to squelch that right for its own whistleblowers.

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