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...
Tag Archives | Whistleblowers
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
CNN 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:
… Read the rest
“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.
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
“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 , 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
Rarely 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
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin breaks down the latest surveillance scandal by the National Security Agency, in which the servers of firms such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are subject to constant government surveillance.
OK, there are other whistleblowers who might claim the crown, perhaps Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers), Jeffrey Wigand (tobacco industry), Karen Silkwood (power plant health and safety procedures), or Mark Felt (Watergate), but Edward Snowden is going to be right up there, having revealed the NSA’s mammoth cybersnooping. He asked the newspaper that broke the story, The Guardian, to make his identity public, perhaps to prevent his being “disappeared”:
… Read the rest
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity.
A blogger at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, raised a pair of big questions that now loom over the courtroom at Fort Meade and over the entire country:
* “Would it aid the enemy, for example, to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government?”
* “In that case, who is aiding the enemy — the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”
When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant hazard. And culpability must stay turned on its head.
That’s why accountability was upside-down when the U.S. Army prosecutor laid out the government’s case against Bradley Manning in an opening statement: “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy — material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk.”
If so, those fellow soldiers have all been notably lucky; the Pentagon has admitted that none died as a result of Manning’s leaks in 2010.… Read the rest