FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
An article by Edward Snowden published in the New York Times and excerpted in the Amnesty International Blog
Two years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong.
Within days, the United States government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the United States. Politicians raced to condemn our efforts as un-American, even treasonous.
Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.
Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.
Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the NSA’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.
This is the power of an informed public.
Read the full opinion piece at the New York Times.
Learn more about global surveillance and take action at http://amnestyusa.org/NSA/a>.
Whistle-blowers may be considered as very important actors for a culture of peace. As described on the CPNN page for values, attitudes and actions for a culture of peace, the culture of war is characterized by propaganda, secrecy, government control of media, militaristic language and censorship while the culture of peace is characterized by the free flow and sharing of information. Whistle-blowers break the back of secrecy directly and dramatically.
Mordecai Vanunu’s courage continues the tradition of Daniel Ellsberg, who made known the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War and Karen Silkwood, who exposed nuclear pollution in the United States. Ellsberg was persecuted by President Nixon and Karen Silkwood was murdered, as described some years ago in a very fine film starring Meryl Streep.
As the amount of government secrecy continues to increase, we may expect that the number of whistle-blowers will also tend to increase in the years to come.