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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The War on Free Press - by Derrick Z. Jackson

Journalists. Get the rack ready! Our attorney general is coming for us, snarling like a guard dog at Abu Ghraib.
On Sunday, Alberto Gonzales told ABC's ``This Week" that he would consider prosecuting reporters who get their hands on classified information and break news about President Bush's terrorist surveillance program. ``There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility, " Gonzales said, adding at one point, ``We have an obligation to enforce those laws."
Asked more specifically if The New York Times should be prosecuted for its initial story on government surveillance without warrants, Gonzales said, ``We are engaged now in an investigation about what would be the appropriate course of action."
It is almost funny to see Gonzales scour the statutes to harass journalists. This is the same administration that cannot spell the word law if you spot it the ``l" and the ``a." It has already set the presidential record in claiming the authority to circumvent the law in more than 750 cases.
Gonzales has been a prime cowboy in circling the wagons against the law. He issued the infamous ``torture memo" that advised President Bush to throw the Geneva Convention into the trash can for detainees in the war on terror.
Because the war ``is not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war," Gonzales reasoned to Bush, ``in my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, script (i.e. advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms and scientific instruments."


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