Someday the three in the title will be recognized as the heroes they are. From Nozomi Hayase at antiwar.com:
Last week, Oliver Stone’s biopic “Snowden” hit the theaters. The film illuminates the life of Edward Snowden between 2004 and 2013, aiming to humanize one of the most wanted men in the world. Just before its release, a public campaign was launched urging President Obama to pardon this renowned NSA whistleblower.
The massive US government persecution of truthtellers over the past years has exiled conscience from civil society, locking it behind bars and driving it into asylum. Yet, despite these attacks, it refuses to die.
From prison where she is serving 35 years, Chelsea Manning is standing up for her dignity. Recently, she protested her dehumanizing treatment by engaging in a hunger strike. All the while, WikiLeaks editor in chief Julian Assange keeps publishing, giving asylum to the most persecuted documents, while being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy for the last 4 years. As this struggle continues, the torch for transparency and courage that kindled hearts and has sparked public debate keeps shedding light on the state of the world we live in.
In a debate with executive director of Freedom Press, Trevor Timm, which addressed the question of pardoning Snowden, National security attorney Bradley Moss expressed his disdain over the former NSA contractor providing information to the Press. He criticized Snowden’s act, noting how journalists are unauthorized to possess government information:
“There’s approximately 4 million people who also hold clearances. It is a sacred trust and Snowden broke it by giving these documents to people who were not authorized to have it.”
Moss’s statement revealed the culture of the Intelligence community that permeates the life of not only U.S. citizens, but of people around the globe. What is this “sacred trust” that Moss referred to that would give exclusive privilege to a certain population? Implied in Moss’s comment is that honoring this trust would take precedence over the right to free speech, requiring journalists to ask for permission to engage in activities that are supposedly protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This signals the existence of an invisible governance that claims superiority over the highest law of the land.
There are some who have come to see the internal working of a patronage network that is bound within this exclusive trust. In his 2006 seminal writing Conspiracy as Governance, Assange noted how secrecy was used by political elites “as the primary planning methodology behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power”. He then assessed how “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial”.
In his latest book, The WikiLeaks Files, Assange described how through seeing “a level of hysteria and non-corporeality” displayed by the intelligence community in reaction to WikiLeaks’ disclosures, he observed something “that is not easily captured by traditional theories of power”. He recognized how classified documents function as a tangible object that symbolizes a bond among those who are inside this secret network, in a similar way that “many religions and cults imbue their priestly class with additional scarcity value by keeping their religious texts secret from the public or the lower orders of the devoted”. He pointed out how US government employees who have been cleared to read classified documents are forbidden to read the same documents when published by journalistic organizations like WikiLeaks:
“If cleared employees ever come across them, they are expected to self-report their contact with the newly profaned object, and destroy all traces of it … The implication is that there is a non-physical property that inhabits documents once they receive their classification markings, and that this marginal property is extinguished, not by copying the document, but by making the copy public. The now public document has, to devotees of the national security state, not merely become devoid of this marginal property and reverted to a mundane object, it has been inhabited by another nonphysical property; an evil one.”
To continue reading: Assange, Manning, and Snowden, Standing With the Conscience of Truthtellers