“Truth is Coming. It Can’t Be Stopped.”

Daniel Ellsberg and other whistleblowers have delivered an invitation to civil servants to take action:

“Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies…

You can be part of the solution; provide trustworthy journalists – either from old media (like this newspaper) or from new media (such as WikiLeaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activities are going on where you work.

There IS strength in numbers. You won’t be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what’s being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can’t be stopped.”

Read their inspiring call to action, and an equally inspiring manifesto, “Courage is Contagious: Let’s All Break the Law” by the editor of RSN, Steve Wiesmann, below.

Noted Whistleblowers Speak Up for Edward Snowden

By Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Katharine Gun, Peter Kofod, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Radack and Coleen Rowley, Guardian UK

14 December 13

Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but it is the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and democracy

t least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.

What’s really remarkable is that we’ve been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of “national security”, which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren’t held to account – that they can’t be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.

By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what’s going on.

It’s one of the bitter ironies of our time that while John Kiriakou (ex-CIA) is in prison for blowing the whistle on US torture, the torturers and their enablers walk free.

Likewise WikiLeaks-source Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning was charged with – amongst other serious crimes – aiding the enemy (read: the public). Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison while the people who planned the illegal and disastrous war on Iraq in 2003 are still treated as dignitaries.

Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government. Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but despite the poor track record of western media, whistleblowing remains the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and upholding democracy – that fragile construct which Winston Churchill is quoted as calling “the worst form of government, except all the others”.

Since the summer of 2013, the public has witnessed a shift in debate over these matters. The reason is that one courageous person: Edward Snowden. He not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists. The echoes of his actions are still heard around the world – and there are still many revelations to come.

For every Daniel Ellsberg, Drake, Binney, Katharine Gun, Manning or Snowden, there are thousands of civil servants who go by their daily job of spying on everybody and feeding cooked or even made-up information to the public and parliament, destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about.

Some of them may feel favourable towards what they’re doing, but many of them are able to hear their inner Jiminy Cricket over the voices of their leaders and crooked politicians – and of the people whose intimate communication they’re tapping.

Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies.

One of them is you.

You’re thinking:

  • Undermining democracy and eroding civil liberties isn’t put explicitly in your job contract.
  • You grew up in a democratic society and want to keep it that way.
  • You were taught to respect ordinary people’s right to live a life in privacy.
  • You don’t really want a system of institutionalized strategic surveillance that would make the dreaded Stasi green with envy – do you?

Still, why bother? What can one person do? Well, Edward Snowden just showed you what one person can do. He stands out as a whistleblower both because of the severity of the crimes and misconduct that he is divulging to the public – and the sheer amount of evidence he has presented us with so far – more is coming. But Snowden shouldn’t have to stand alone, and his revelations shouldn’t be the only ones.

You can be part of the solution; provide trustworthy journalists – either from old media (like this newspaper) or from new media (such as WikiLeaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activites are going on where you work.

There IS strength in numbers. You won’t be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what’s being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can’t be stopped. Crooked politicians will be held accountable. It’s in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.

Courage is contagious.

Signed by:

Peter Kofod, ex-Human Shield in Iraq (Denmark)
Thomas Drake, whistleblower, former senior executive of the NSA (US)
Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower, former US military analyst (US)
Katharine Gun, whistleblower, former GCHQ (UK)
Jesselyn Radack, whistleblower, former Department of Justice (US)
Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst (US)
Coleen Rowley, whistleblower, former FBI agent (US)

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/421-national-security/20957-noted-whistleblowers-speak-up-for-edward-snowden

 

Courage Is Contagious: Let Us All Break the Law

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

16 December 13

Last week, The Guardian ran an open letter from Daniel Ellsberg, who helped write and then leaked the Pentagon Papers, along with other whistleblowers and activists. RSN republished it under the headline, “Noted Whistleblowers Speak Up for Edward Snowden.” But those who signed the letter went far beyond endorsing Snowden, the former NSA contractor who “not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses, but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists.” Ellsberg and his courageous comrades consciously committed a daring act of civil disobedience that could help Snowden bring down the surveillance state.

Their defiance was classic, calling on civil servants “hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces” to break the law in the same way that Snowden did. “You can be part of the solution,” they wrote. “Provide trustworthy journalists – either from the old media (like this newspaper) or from new media (such as Wikileaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activities are going on where you work.”

In short, the open letter invites others to break their contracts, their oaths, and the law, an invitation that could all too easily bring prosecution under the infamous “Espionage Act of 1917.” Dan Ellsberg knows the law first hand. The government used it to prosecute him for the Pentagon Papers. Chelsea Manning knows it as one of the laws the government threw at him. Ed Snowden faces prosecution under it, as have seven other whistleblowers since 2009, and the law stands ready for use against journalists like Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.

Significantly, the law has been a historic target for successful civil disobedience, notably by the Vietnam generation that encouraged fellow students to burn their draft cards and evade the draft. In the autumn of 1965, we even leafleted early contingents of combat troops, urging them to question the war. I love that leaflet, which we called “Attention All Military Personnel.” I fondly remember meeting with the late Jerry Rubin, the still inspiring Robert Scheer, and a handful of others in a crowded attic room in Berkeley to plan it. Through at least one Berkeley police informer, the authorities knew exactly what we were doing, but evidently decided that prosecuting us would only spread our message.

It would be better, of course, if Congress repealed the blunderbuss Espionage Act, along with the Sedition Act of 1918. But the present Congress will never do that. Nor, in all probability, will the Supreme Court. And now, under a Constitutional law professor whom many of us helped elect president, the Espionage Act has increasingly become a mainstay of the surveillance state. The Ellsberg letter directly challenges both the law and the surveillance, as well as other “illegal, immoral, wasteful activities” that conscientious civil servants know too well.

This is only the beginning. Just as Ellsberg and the other signers strengthen Snowden’s efforts, the rest of us can massively strengthen theirs. It is time to go viral. Republish their letter in local papers with a long list of people who join them in their civil disobedience. Turn the letter into a leaflet to pass out publicly at government offices and at the gateways to intelligence agencies, police stations, and military posts. Pass it out to members of Congress as well. Let Obama and his Justice Department know that Snowden, Ellsberg, and the others have the numbers to make any prosecution self-defeating.

“Truth is coming,” says the letter. “It can’t be stopped.” And we now have it in our hands “to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.”

 


A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, “Big Money: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How To Break Their Hold.”

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/20996-courage-is-contagious-let-us-all-break-the-law

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