In one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has turned down the appeal of a New York Times reporter who faces prison for refusing to reveal a confidential source. James Risen had asked the court to overturn a ruling forcing him to testify in the criminal trial of ex-CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling. Prosecutors believe Sterling gave Risen information on the CIA’s role in disrupting Iran’s nuclear program [in the course of which, the CIA handed the blueprints for a functioning weapon to Iran]. Risen vowed to go to prison rather than testify and was hoping for Supreme Court intervention. But on Monday, the Supreme Court refused to weigh in, effectively siding with the government. The Obama administration must now decide if it will try to force Risen’s testimony and risk sending one of the nation’s most prominent national security journalists to jail.
It’s easy to despise the corporate media, especially the journalists that we see and read, for their cravenness before power and their complicity in the corruption of this nation. Watching Brian Williams question Edward Snowden without once mentioning that Daniel Ellsberg has said that Snowden did the right thing should have opened the eyes of every viewer to just how completely the corporate media serves the interests of the State.
But among the empty shirts, there are a few journalists who put themselves on the line to report the news. Among them is James Risen. That the Obama Administration is likely to prosecute him to coerce testimony about exposing wrongdoing at very high levels makes it clear that the Administration is a better friend to the Security State than it is to the American Constitution. And for the Supreme Court to decline to hear the case is not just a function of the right wingers, but a failure of the so-called “liberals” on the court. As was commented on in DemocracyNow, it’s a blessing that the Roberts Court did not hear the case. Every case they hear, they turn into a perversion and mockery of justice.
This is a most dangerous case.