I just came across a very interesting report on whistleblower activity in the past and today. But first I like to share some general information on this topic.
The First Amendment of the USA was adopted on December 15, 1791. The Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In the past publicizing internal reports from governments and huge companies has been done by the big news organizations over the world. This was done by investigative journalism. The most famous act of investigative journalism was probably the publication of the Watergate scandal which ended Richard Nixon‘s presidency of the USA in 1974.
Investigative journalism is known to be very expensive and often inefficient that’s why most news organizations can’t afford it anymore. They mainly rely on people handing interesting material over to them. These people are called whistleblowers. Whistleblowers usually face major risks either legally, to their personal health or sometimes to both.
In the last years even news organizations receiving such information have been put under pressure by big organizations and governments. This increasing pressure is a huge threat to independent journalism and therefore to the freedom of information all over the world. As a reaction to this ongoing process, in 2006 Wikileaks was founded.
Wikileaks publicizes classified documents of major relevance all over the world. They also verify the correctness of the information through a network of experts all over the world before putting it online. By doing so, they have become a safe harbor for whistleblowers and an important source for journalists all over the world.
I wrote about Wikileaks in greater length here: http://thinking-aloud.eu/130/
- On April 5th Wikileaks released the collateral murder video that shows the shows an US helicopter murder 12 people and injured two children. Among them was a reporter and his driver.
- Instead of finding out who the involved soldiers were and setting out a trail for them, US authorities started investigating against Wikileaks.
- In May Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst was arrested and is held in prison ever since without charge. Apparently he leaked the collateral murder video together with a video of Granai massacre and 260,000 diplomatic cables.
- The US government even started a manhunt on the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He didn’t attend to several conferences in the US and his location is not known.
Those who commit this war crimes and those who prevent the truth about it from becoming public should be brought to court and not the one who make it public. If Bradley Manning actually leaked that video he should be awarded the Medal of Honor as a war hero and not held in prison.
This world needs more truth. Stand up for what you do, and if you can’t, it was most likely wrong to do it in the first place.
Here is the video from “democracy NOW“. It is around 40 minutes, so take your time because it is worth watching.