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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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The Military-Industrial Pundits: Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Who Urged Syrian War

Stephen HadleyNew research shows many so-called experts who appeared on television making the case for U.S. strikes on Syria had undisclosed ties to military contractors. A new report by the Public Accountability Initiative identifies 22 commentators with industry ties. W

hile they appeared on television or were quoted as experts 111 times, their links to military firms were disclosed only 13 of those times. The report focuses largely on Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

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AP CEO: Press freedom v. security a 'false choice'

Gary PruittGovernments that try to force citizens to decide between a free press and national security create a "false choice" that weakens democracy, and journalists must fight increasing government overreach that has had a chilling effect on efforts to hold leaders accountable, the president and CEO of The Associated Press said Saturday.

Gary Pruitt told the 69th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association that the U.S. Justice Department's secret seizure of records of thousands of telephone calls to and from AP reporters in 2012 is one of the most blatant violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the 167-year-old news cooperative has ever encountered.

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SecureDrop: Aaron Swartz's whistleblower platform simplified, relaunched

Aaron SwartzTo simplify the process of allowing sources to anonymously leak documents to journalists, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has taken over the late Aaron Swatrz's whistleblower project.

Earlier this year, The New Yorker launched StrongBox, a system based on DeadDrop, which was written by Aaron Swartz, an internet activist who committed suicide while facing a possible prison sentence for downloading academic journals from JSTOR through the computer network at MIT.

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Appeals court turns aside reporter's privilege plea, 13-1

James RisenA federal appeals court turned aside a major showdown over reporter's privilege Tuesday, refusing to have the court's full bench re-hear a case that resulted in a July ruling that a New York Times reporter had no right to decline to testify at the criminal leak trial of his alleged source.

No judge beyond the one who dissented from the July decision called for the case to be reheard en banc, according to an order released by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (and posted here). The vote was 13-1 against the petition filed by attorneys for Times reporter James Risen, whose testimony the government sought in the case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

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PolitiFact to launch PunditFact, checking pundits and media figures

PolitifactPolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times, will soon launch PunditFact, a site dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.

PunditFact is being funded by $625,000 in grants over two years from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. Seed money for the project was provided by craigconnects, a philanthropy group run by Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.

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Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media

Seymour HershSeymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist".

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Google argues for right to continue scanning Gmail

GMailGoogle's attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people's Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice.

In court records filed in advance of a federal hearing scheduled for Thursday in San Jose, Google argues that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

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