Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The U.S. War on its Whistleblowers (video)

Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, James Risen, Julian Assange, Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake (democracynow.org); FPF
National Security Journalism: Funded cutting-edge investigative journalism projects: Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Center for Public Integrity, Truthout, and Wikileaks to report on secret U.S. drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, and Pentagon spending (freedom.press). More

James Risen on NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: He Sparked a new national debate on government surveillance on citizens
Heroic whistleblower Ed Snowden (FPF)
New York Times investigative reporter James Risen -- being persecuted by the Obama administration/U.S. government -- faces jail time if he refuses to name a whistleblowing source.

But he insists the actual whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, are “much more courageous that we reporters are." 
Risen won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). "We revealed the framework for…how the Bush administration turned the NSA on the American people," Risen says.
He argues Snowden revealed that "under Obama and in the years since we had first written about it, the American people had become much more of an online citizenry…as a result, the NSA had grown dramatically in their ability to watch the online presence of Americans."

Pay Any Price

James Risen is the journalist at the center of one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades. In 2006, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the NSA. He has since been pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations in a six-year leak investigation into that book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.
From mainstream media to whistleblower
Risen now faces years in prison if he refuses to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of giving him classified information about the CIA’s role in clandestinely disrupting Iran’s nuclear program, which he argues effectively gave Iran a blueprint for designing a bomb.

The Obama administration [and its handlers, the real movers and shakers who nothing to do with who gets elected] must now decide if it will try to force Risen’s testimony, despite new guidelines issued earlier this year that make it harder to subpoena journalists for their records.

Read excerpts of the new book (DN!)
Risen’s answer to this saga has been to write another book, released today, titled Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. "You cannot have aggressive investigative reporting in America without confidential sources — and without aggressive investigative reporting, we can’t really have a democracy," Risen says. "I think that is what the government really fears more than anything else." Risen also details revelations he makes in his new book about what he calls the "homeland security-industrial complex."
Cracking down on whistleblowers
DemocracyNow.org ("Part 2: Former NSA Employee Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack on Obama Admin. Whistleblower Crackdown," March 26, 2012)

We Meant Well in Iraq (Peter Van Buren)
Thomas Drake was prosecuted by the Obama administration after challenging mismanagement, waste, and possible constitutional violations at the NSA.

"I’m the first to acknowledge that there are secrets that must be protected. But not when it comes to government wrongdoing and illegalities and when in fact they’re endangering the safety of our own country," Drake says.

Former U.S. Justice Department spokesperson Matthew Miller now says the case may have been an "ill-considered choice for prosecution." Drake faced 35 years in jail, and his case ended last year in a misdemeanor plea deal.

TRAITOR: The Whistleblower
Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake’s lawyer and a whistleblower herself, was interviewed by Democracy Now! She is currently the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower organization.

Radack has written a new book called TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban." Democracy Now! also discusses the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who also has been charged under the Espionage Act, allegedly for providing details about the CIA’s covert spy war with Iran that formed a chapter in James Risen’s book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. More 
Assange on Snowden, Intercept, embassy

Now I'm "The Man," CIA says so!
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits down with Democracy Now! inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living in political asylum for over two years. Assange explains his critique of First Look Media and The Intercept for agreeing not to name a country targeted by bulk National Security Agency spying, following U.S. government concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.

Assange and WikiLeaks went on to reveal the targeted country, Afghanistan, which along with the Bahamas had all of its cellphone calls recorded.
"That is as great an assault to sovereignty as you can imagine, other than completely militarily occupying a country, to record the intimate phone calls of every single Afghan citizen," Assange says. 

Assange: fair trial for Snowden "not possible"
"My perspective is, [this is] up to the Afghan people." Assange also gives an overview of the close to eight million documents WikiLeaks has released since 2007 about nearly every country in the world; details how WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden evade U.S. arrest and find political asylum in Russia; and addresses his prospects for ever being able to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without fear of arrest. More
Arresting journalists in Ferguson? (Freedom of the Press Foundation/freedom.press)

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