Democracy Now!

Whistleblowers

166 results
  • Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has denied the allegations, which he calls a pretext for his ultimate extradition to the U.S. to face prosecution under the Espionage Act. Since 2012, Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. It’s not clear whether Assange will emerge any time soon. "This is a small victory, but in this long road to free Julian Assange and all the people working for WikiLeaks," says our guest Renata Avila, a Courage Foundation trustee and human rights lawyer. "But it will finally help us lawyers to focus on the main issue, which is the persecution, the political persecution, and imminent prosecution of Julian Assange in the United States."

  • By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan
    On Tuesday President Obama commuted Chelsea Manning, the longest-held whistleblower in U.S. history.

  • In one of his final acts in office, President Obama shortened the sentences of 209 prisoners and pardoned 64 individuals on Tuesday. The list included Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is now set to be freed on May 17, after Obama reduced her sentence from 35 years to seven. According to her attorneys, she is already the longest-held whistleblower in U.S. history. Manning leaked more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. She has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. We speak with Nancy Hollander, Manning’s appellate attorney, and Chase Strangio of the ACLU, who represents Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon for denial of medical care related to her gender dysphoria.

  • In our extended conversation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald responds to claims NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations helped Russia, and examines what actions the Trump administration may take against him and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. "Exactly the same playbook was used against [Daniel] Ellsberg that is now being used against Snowden, which is to say, ’Don’t listen to these disclosures. Don’t regard this person as a hero for exposing our corruption and lawbreaking. Focus instead on the fact that these are traitors working with our enemies,’" says Greenwald. "And just as it was completely false in the case of Ellsberg, so too is it completely false in the case of Snowden."

  • As President Obama’s term nears to a close, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition urging Obama to commute the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. Manning has been held since 2010 and been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. In a letter to President Obama, Chelsea Manning wrote, "The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members. I am merely asking for a first chance to live my life outside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks as the person I was born to be." For more, we speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, who is representing Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon.

  • Two Chicago police officers say they have faced retaliation and suffered from PTSD since they blew the whistle on a gang of their fellow cops who were demanding bribes from drug dealers in the housing projects of Chicago. We speak with one of the whistleblowers, Shannon Spalding, and with reporter Jamie Kalven, who documented their ordeal in a major investigation for The Intercept called "Code of Silence."

  • As the much-anticipated movie "Snowden," about one of the most wanted men in the world, hits theaters, we spend the hour with its director, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, and the actor who played Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and feature clips from the film that tells the story of how NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed massive surveillance programs by U.S. and British intelligence agencies. "Our goal was to humanize the man, to bring you … the feeling of his life," Stone says of Snowden, who he notes was originally politically conservative and tried to enlist in the military to serve in Iraq but joined the CIA instead.

  • The release of Oliver Stone’s film "Snowden" comes amid a stepped-up campaign by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden before he leaves office in January. Snowden is charged with theft of state secrets and is accused of violating the Espionage Act. He faces at least 30 years in prison, but argues his disclosure of mass surveillance by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right, but left citizens better off. "I think it would be a great choice for our country to turn back on the road it’s on," says Stone. Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds, "The truth [is] that Snowden’s disclosures did not do any harm … There was … a responsible process to make sure that no harm would be done."

  • On the release of Oliver Stone’s new film, "Snowden," we speak with WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, who accompanied NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on his flight from Hong Kong to Moscow and spent four months with him in the airport in Russia. She describes how Snowden reached out to the Courage Foundation, which she directs and which raises defense funds for Snowden and other whistleblowers. "We really wanted to try and show the world that there are people who will stand up" and help whistleblowers, says Harrison.

  • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said Edward Snowden "stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands." We get reaction from WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison and filmmaker Oliver Stone. "She misses the point that no spy gives his story to the newspapers for free, which is what he did," Stone says. "He handed over all the information." Harrison adds, "To me, this is all just rhetorical spin trying to deflect from the real situation."

  • In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were "based in part, or entirely," on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, "Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden," and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. "To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?" asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.

  • Mark Hertsgaard broke the story of Pentagon whistleblower John Crane in his new book, "Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden." The book details how senior Pentagon officials may have broken the law to punish National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. "I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning," Hertsgaard said.

  • Pentagon whistleblower John Crane talks about how the actions of his grandfather nearly a century ago helped give him courage to expose misdeeds at the Pentagon. "In the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler tried to seize the whole Bavarian government. Hitler walked into the beer hall and fired a gun into the ceiling, saying that he was taking control. My grandfather stepped in front of him, saying, 'Mr. Hitler, this way he will never control Germany.' And then Hitler simply put his gun down, went to the front, captured the whole senior leadership. My grandfather then helped to have the actual countercoup established, put down Hitler’s uprising, and then he was a witness at the trial for the government that, of course, put him in jail."

Back to Top ↑