Julian Assange of Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden point to a very disturbing trend. The people are losing control of their government. The government is getting bigger and more intrusive. An opinion piece by Jesselyn Radack in The Washington Post (Aug 2nd) says, “Bradley Manning’s conviction sends a chilling message.” Here’s an excerpt, for the record.
Prosecuting someone for espionage is one of the most serious charges you can level against an American. The term is so incendiary that it alienates a whistleblower’s natural allies among open-government, transparency and civil liberties advocates. To add insult to injury, reporters who bravely cover these cases and the lawyers who zealously represent those who speak truth to power now find themselves criminalized . . .
Opponents of whistleblowers can irresponsibly shout menacing words about lawyers and journalists facing criminal charges of aiding and abetting or being an accessory to a crime, but their ignorance is on full display. The most recent example is former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden calling the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald a “co-conspirator” for writing a series of stories that exposed massive NSA surveillance programs based on Edward Snowden’s disclosures . . .
In this case, the people being prosecuted are those who disclosed fraud, waste, abuse and illegality of the highest order for the purpose of benefitting the public. It sends the most chilling of messages to jail truth-tellers and dissenters, essential actors in maintaining an informed citizenry, which lies at the heart of a free and open democratic society. After all, in our grand experiment with democracy, the people are supposed to control the government, not the other way around. The work of the government is supposed to be public and people’s personal lives private, not the other way around. There are a number of brave souls trying to correct the trajectory of decline that our country is on. Public servants should not have to choose their conscience over their careers, and especially their very freedom.
Go read it all.
Dec 5, 2010: Wikileaks is good for you and for me.
Dec 17, 2010: Wikileaks will make the world a safer place.