Your honor and your courage has truly inspired me. I became interested in the truth when I was younger; I became semi-serious about the truth when I became a writer; and–now–I am completely serious about the truth today, thanks to you.
You have inspired me to be a journalist. I believe the public has a right to know what’s going on behind closed doors. Journalists are needed to keep a check on government. If we lose journalism, we lose our government. I want to be a real journalist: the kind that tells the truth.
Even if the truth is uncomfortable, we have a right to know. Children deserve a better world then we are leaving them. I hope that someday every man, woman, and child will recognize this. War is always criminal–especially when it involves innocents. We must strive to uphold our values, or we will fall as a species.
I believe that some day you will hold the same kind of renown that will be likened to Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and others who fought against injustice. I believe Barack Obama will be remembered as the person who did nothing as he willfully allowed the government to take away our rights.
I want to wish you all the love in the world. You deserve better then this.
One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
What is the United States government other than a gigantic conglomeration of bitter old men who don’t mind sending intelligent, creative young men to jail on trumped up charges?
Bradley Manning is a famous example of this, but there is also Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, and others. There is an obvious disconnect between the older and younger generation; it is this abrasion which is causing the most problems. All around the world, tech savvy professionals are changing the way we do journalism and activism. Obama, Graham, Feinstein, Clapper, Holder, and others are really just glorified dinosaurs trying to hold out against the meteorite that is the internet. Nothing can stop it now, but yet they don’t mind ruining a few lives before they meet their end.
It is not worth quoting any of the aforementioned endangered species called politicians. The government represented either individually or collectively, has no opinion that is worth repeating or worse yet giving credence to. Why? Because it is the Barrett Browns, the Jeremy Hammonds, the Edward Snowdens, and the Bradley Mannings who will inherit the earth … if the United States survives to see that day.
The United States Government’s interests do not match up to the disconnected. The government’s lies are not going to make them change their ways. They know this and, because they know, it is harder to stop them. A Bob Dylan illustrates this perfectly: ‘Come mothers and fathers throughout the land/don’t criticize what you can’t understand/your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.’The times certainly are changing … eternally. It’s time for the older generation to step aside and let the young folks take charge. Their way is not working.
Barrett Brown is an investigative reporter and ex-operative of Anonymous, the world-wide hacking collective. He has been indicted three times and is facing over a hundred years in prison.
On the surface, we are supposed to believe that Barrett Brown is a danger to federal agents and society as a whole. In reality, the only danger he posed was to those whom he was investigating.
It seemed as if Brown was on the verge of a breakthrough in his research of private security firms. He concluded that the United States was conducting a humungous surveillance and data-mining of Arab countries, which becomes exceedingly more interesting with revelations released by the Guardian via whistle blower Edward Snowden.
I am not going to delve into the details of what he was researching or the charges brought against him, however phony and ridiculous they are. Instead, I am going to plead with you to support this man who does not deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail. It is obvious to any one with even a passing interest in this case that Brown was targeted because of what he was researching. This is a terrible miscarriage of justice, and deserves the same scrutiny as the cases of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Jeremey Hammond, and others.
For more on this story, read the Nation article here.
When I was in high school, I had an obsession with George Orwell. 1984, in particular, radicalized me. At that time I was not in Honors English, so I couldn’t read it in school so I took it out from my library and finished it in a day. It was a frightening book, filled with dreary and depressing ideas about the destruction of written language, political apathy, and Big Brother, who is there to remind us we are always being watched.
Everything in that book has come true except we are not quite frightened enough to stop speaking out about our governments wrongdoing–at least not yet. Give it some time. Everybody has their limits. When they start arresting journalists and executing them in a public fashion, that’s when I shut up.
The only we hope are leaks like the ones that just came out about Prism and the NSA. Knowledge lends toward our ultimate liberation. Julian Assange and Bradley Manning know this, and that’s why Assange is holed up in an Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and Bradley Manning is in jail facing charges of aiding the enemy and ‘wantonly publishing’ among other things.
It’s undeniable that there is a risk in revealing truth now. It is clear that we are being watched. Even as I type this, my keystrokes are being logged. But that should not halt our efforts. They are few, we are many. We will always be more than them.
Courage is contagious. Credit is due for all the journalists who are risking jail to reveal the truth to us, and all the whistle blowers as well.
As long as these leaks keep happening, we have nothing to fear.
Yesterday, I attended a mass rally for Bradley Manning two days before his court martial. Not knowing what I can write that hasn’t been written before, I decided to do something a little more creative:
Tomorrow is here,
but truth is nowhere near,
Where there should be tears,
There is only fear,
Along that solid road I steer,
Hoping that we will sit and have a beer,
Instead you are in prison; outside I’ve appeared
Praying the powers that be will no longer leer.
Can you see what we’ve become?
Can the truths set in motion be undone?
Can lies and entanglements no longer run?
Can democracy be given by the barrel of a gun?
Can you ever enjoy yourself and have fun?
Can you get respect deserved or be forever shunned?
Can you be who you are and soak up the sun?
Can you criticize and preach truth without being hung?
Is it love of country or love of truth?
I don’t think it matters when the cannons are loose
Because your name will forever shape my hope’s resolute
And ignorance of this will be our country’s noose
If humanity’s face is stomped on by a boot
Then its yours that will turn it away from those roots
And give way to the courage that is of the same
Bradley Manning may your bravery never be in vain.
I know many people will disagree with me about this, being the awesome radicals that they are, but I feel like its important people understand where I am coming from.
I don’t hate America. I would even say I don’t entirely hate my government either. But it cannot be denied that there are terrible forces at work within our country that will, if left unchecked, ultimately destroy it. Despite this, I still call myself a patriot and a proud American. Why?
a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
In this case, I tend to think the 2nd definition fits me more, but there is something to be said about country. Country is where you live and, despite people who say they are citizens of the world, most people are connected with a certain small part of this place called Earth in certain ways more than other ones.
You cannot expect people to stop self-identifying with pieces of land no matter who it belonged to at one point because history is–well–history. It is less about geography and more about culture. For me it’s Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and American folk music. For others, it might be guns and the military but I don’t feel like I should have to apologize for being American because I didn’t ask for this government. And no–I didn’t vote for Obama.
That said we all have a right and responsibility to empathize and take care of all people of the world which is only left difficult by hatreds and politics that has nothing to do with 99% of us.
Our countries people are just as important as Afghanistan’s people, Iraq’s people, Russia’s people, China’s people, and all of the people of the world. The people who realize this are true patriots, because it protects our interests as well as theirs when we stand up to the government for everything from drone attacks and dumb laws.
Woody Guthrie wrote ‘This Land is your Land’ because he thought that ‘America the Beautiful’ completely missed the point. The lyrics show what kind of American and patriot he was and what kind I am.