Ellsberg, Drake, Radack, McGovern among others who publish open letter to those whose jobs are affront to democracy
- Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams.org staff writer
In a plea made directly to the thousands of civil servants whose daily occupation feeds the ever-growing spy state, a group of former whistleblowers published an open letterWednesday in the Guardian urging those individuals to join Edward Snowden and the other brave truth-tellers "to follow your conscience and let us know what's being done in our names."
Daniel Ellsberg was one of a number of former whistleblowers who pubished an open letter Wednesday.(Painting by Robert Shetterly/ Americans Who Tell the Truth)
"Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but despite the poor track record of western media, whistleblowing remains the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and upholding democracy," writes the group, which includes Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former NSA executive Thomas Drake, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern among others.
"Edward Snowden just showed you what one person can do," they continue. "But Snowden shouldn't have to stand alone, and his revelations shouldn't be the only ones."
In an open call to those whose days are spent "hidden away" in government offices and intelligence agencies spying, lying to the public and "destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about," the group declares: "You can be part of the solution."
The letter comes at the end of a year when whistleblowers in the United States made great waves and great sacrifice. Edward Snowden remains trapped in Russia facing charges under the Espionage Act after his disclosures revealed the full extent of the American and British surveillance mechanisms. In August, Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being charged with aiding the enemy for exposing the brutality and illegality of the American military. And at the beginning of the year, former CIA official John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months for exposing the practice of waterboarding to journalists.
Despite promises of protection, the Obama administration has overseen more prosecutions of whistleblowers than all other presidents combined and, along with the 'Insider Threat'peer spying program, has established a culture of threats and intimidation that extends throughout government agencies.
In the face of these threats, the former whistleblowers promise "strength in numbers." They write, "You won't be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what's being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can't be stopped. [...] It's in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process."
The complete text of the letter is below:
At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.