In a case that cuts right to the heart of the First Amendment, a US Army prosecutor has indicated he intends to subpoena Truthout Executive Director Marc Ash, a Truthout reporter, and two of the nonprofit news organization's regular contributors, to authenticate news reports they produced and edited earlier this year that quoted an Army officer criticizing President Bush and the White House's rationale for the Iraq War.
The charges filed against Watada marked the first time in 41 years that the military has used the charge of conduct unbecoming an officer to prosecute an officer's public statements. Usually, a conduct-unbecoming case involves more serious crimes, such as rape or sexual harassment, or manslaughter. The last time a military officer was charged with public dissent was in 1965, when Lieutenant Henry Howe criticized US foreign policy during the Vietnam War.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported last week that the number of journalists jailed worldwide has increased for the second year in a row. The committee said the United States had imprisoned two journalists without charge or trial - Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who now has been incarcerated for eight months in Iraq, and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, imprisoned for five years at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Joshua Wolf, a freelance blogger, was jailed for refusing to turn over a video of a 2005 protest to a US federal grand jury.
At least the Bush administration is consistant. It is again turning the Constitution on it's head, using it to do just the opposite of what the Constitution is intended to do. This should be a very sticky case--if media will follow it.