Tag Archives | Whistleblowers

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years for Leaking Secrets

210px-Bradley_Manning_US_ArmyThirty-Five years in military prison. Is that really a reasonable sentence for Bradley Manning’s “crimes” against the state? From ABC News:

FT. MEADE, Md. — Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison today.

Manning, 25, a former Army intelligence analyst, was convicted July 30.

He was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges he faced, mostly for espionage, theft and fraud. But a judge found him not guilty of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a life sentence.

The 20 charges originally carried the possibility of 136 years in prison, but Judge Col. Denise Lind later granted a defense motion that reduced the potential maximum sentence to 90 years.

Bradley Manning Guilty on Most Charges, but Not Aiding Enemy

At the end of the sentencing phase of the trial, Army prosecutors said Manning should serve at least 60 years in prison.

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Edward Snowden Granted Asylum In Russia

It must be a relief to finally leave purgatory, but is Edward Snowden entering Heaven or Hell? From Russia Today:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory.

The whistleblower has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, Snowden’s legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said.

“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” he added.

Kucherena showed a photocopy of the document to the press….

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Bradley Manning Trial Verdict: Mostly Guilty, But Did Not Aid Enemy

Bradley Manning’s conviction at his long running trial is breaking news everywhere, this version from CNN:

A military judge has found Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, not guilty of aiding the enemy — a charge that would have carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Manning was also found not guilty of unauthorized possession of information relating to national defense.

He was found guilty of most of the remaining charges against him, with the judge accepting some of the guilty pleas he made previously to lesser charges…

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A Portrait of the Leaker as a Young Man

Painted by Robert Shetterly for his Americans Who Tell The Truth Project.

Painted by Robert Shetterly for his Americans Who Tell The Truth Project.

Why have Edward Snowden’s actions resonated so powerfully for so many people?

The huge political impacts of the leaked NSA documents account for just part of the explanation. Snowden’s choice was ultimately personal. He decided to take big risks on behalf of big truths; he showed how easy and hazardous such a step can be. He blew the whistle not only on the NSA’s Big Brother surveillance but also on the fear, constantly in our midst, that routinely induces conformity.

Like Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers before him, Snowden has massively undermined the standard rationales for obedience to illegitimate authority. Few of us may be in a position to have such enormous impacts by opting for courage over fear and truth over secrecy—but we know that we could be doing more, taking more risks for good reasons—if only we were willing, if only fear of reprisals and other consequences didn’t clear the way for the bandwagon of the military-industrial-surveillance state.… Read the rest

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Snowden & Zakaria: Shaming The Whistleblower

FareedLivesCNN reporter and writer for many major publications, Fareed Zakaria recently spoke about Ed Snowden in TIME stating that Snowden is “No hero”. He says, “But while Snowden is no hero, his revelations have focused attention on a brave new world of total information.”

In the article and on video, Zakaria states:

“One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly and with a willingness to accept the penalty.” That was Martin Luther King Jr.’s definition of civil disobedience. It does not appear to be Edward Snowden’s. He has tried by every method possible to escape any judgment or punishment for his actions.

Snowden has been compared to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. But Ellsberg did not hop on a plane to Hong Kong or Moscow once he had unloaded his cache of documents. He stood trial and faced the possibility of more than 100 years in prison before the court dismissed the case against him because of the prosecution’s mistakes and abuses of justice.

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Why the U.S. Government has such a hard-on for Edward Snowden

via chycho
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It’s not the act of revealing secrets that has gotten Edward Snowden in trouble, after all, members of the Bush Administration did exactly that in the Plame affair as did members of the Obama Administration by leaking the drone memo. Leaking classified documents doesn’t always lead to prosecution, on the contrary, sometimes it leads to advancement of personal agendas:

“Does the rule of law demand that leaks of highly classified information be prosecuted? If so, John Brennan and many other current and former national-security officials had better be given orange jumpsuits. They weren’t even leaking to alert Americans to behavior that they found immoral. Often times, the U.S. national security establishment leaks to exploit a political advantage.”

The reason that the United States government is so adamant about getting their hands on Snowden is because, as Chris Hedges pointed out in “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” while discussing popular uprisings when referencing Victor Sebestyen’s book “Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire” in which he was chronicling the events leading up to the collapse of East Germany, the dissolution of the Stasi, and the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“This was the turning point, when the people knew that the regime lacked the will or the strength to maintain power.”

The U.S.… Read the rest

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So let me get this straight, we fast track renditions but hunt down whistleblowers on presidential planes!

via chycho

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The CIA was granted permission to use rendition (to the USA of indicted terrorists) in a presidential directive signed by US President Bill Clinton in 1995, following a procedure established by US President George H. W. Bush in January 1993”. This program kicked into high-gear under Bush junior after 911 and continues to this day under the Obama administration.

According to a US Congress report [2008], up to 14,000 people may have been victims of rendition and secret detention since 2001. Some reports estimate there have been twice as many. The US admits to have captured more than 80,000 prisoners in its ‘war on terror’.”

The map below shows the countries involved in fast tracking rendition flights, helping to transport U.S. captives to secret prisons – black sites – across the globe, condemning innocent men, women, and children to confinement, torture, and death. To the best of my knowledge, not a single rendition flight was ever grounded or searched.… Read the rest

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The Pursuit of Edward Snowden: Washington in a Rage, Striving to Run the World

Protesters rally in Hong Kong to support Edward Snowden 01Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washington’s high places. So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber — and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable.

Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. More of the NSA’s massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day — which is exactly what it can’t stand.

The central issue is our dire shortage of democracy. How can we have real consent of the governed when the government is entrenched with extreme secrecy, surveillance and contempt for privacy?

The same government that continues to expand its invasive dragnet of surveillance, all over the United States and the rest of the world, is now asserting its prerogative to drag Snowden back to the USA from anywhere on the planet. It’s not only about punishing him and discouraging other potential whistleblowers.… Read the rest

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