Why Democracies Need Transparency and Accountability

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Why Democracies Need Transparency and Accountability
The Global Consequences of the Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers in a Trump Administration
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This panel will discuss the global consequences of empowering the Executive with unprecedented ability to spy and kill while prosecuting whistleblowers and granting immunity to officers acting on the Executive orders.
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still hello Republic that nice to be here I think it's a rather fitting now the talk that we're gonna say on being then this edition of a public out once reflect and produce speech and journalist community leaders and those who have been silence and the couple of people here on the state to know a great deal about those who have been yes they tried to silence so this talk is going the informal talk this for a general audience were not doing intelligence as far as we can help fats and from our own why democracies need transparency accountability and the global consequences of the bomb administrations warm whistleblowers NH from administration I'd like to present my guests special very very special warm welcome the 1st time in Germany here's saddam carrier through a kind of error what about how he is a former CIA officer and a former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on John blew the whistle on the CIA torture program in 2007 telling ABC News that initiate work that the CIA was uh torture prisoners and that torture was officially US government policy and that the policy had been approved by the then President George W. Bush and he became . 6 was whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the espionage act a lot of the times from spies he served 23 months in prison as a result of this revelation His latest book doing
time like this by is going to be released Wednesday and Wednesday I'm right side and a she will be doing a keynote on at that winners along this Friday for pressures of descent in case you want to attend Mass and as far as I know there will be a stream anyone in the audience will there be extremely no but please attendance at yes so we'll be talking about his books and has a very interesting I'm in 2012 to react was honored with a eight-hour workforce of occurred courage and were given to individuals to advance truth and justice despite the personal risk it creates he 10 centers US prestigious 1st Amendment Award in 2015 and 1st blueprint international whistle-blowing prize for bravery and integrity in the public interest in 2016 as well as the Sam Adams word for integrity and intelligence also in 20 16 here was the author of the reluctance by my secret lies in the CIA is 1 terror and the convenient terrorist Abu the to be that and the we're wonderland of America's seek wars I welcome Jaan it's really we of and following your Odyssey for a long time have written reports about it and I'm really honored to be also with my fractal powerless here expose facts
director Norman Solomon he's a journalist and you create an author and activist who coordinates the perspective program at the Institute for Public Accuracy where he is executive director he co-founded the International activist group group action . work which has 1 . 5
million current supporters online and Norman is also the author doesn't books including the war made easy how presidents and prime this keeps the nested tasks his longtime associate he is a longtime is as if the US-based media watch groups FAIR fair Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting forms of alignment Kathleen here and is
deputy director of the whisper our program at expose facts and that is the Mr. Lawrence was protection program and it serves as an she serves national kid in human rights that you director at this program and she's supports National Security Intelligence Committee whistleblowers such as John and have very distinguished list of others that you tell us about our own journalists media sources and hacktivists with a focus on the issues of mass surveillance excessive secrecy torture and drove on fair drone warfare she is represented with abortion NSA the
CIA the FBI the Department of Defense Department of Homeland Security and and yeah she's working with that instituting human rights activism right and as the represented for example was a Bush from a straight Arendt yourself and others of our audience caffeine and John will also be an important event on tomorrow evening which I would recommend that he cannot be there person because I hear it's pretty much at full you can follow it by a stream here in Berlin at the ECC age are E H R . work are
and where we will be discussing present strategies a soft launch of his report never before published data on the drone program with um outspoken critic of the John programs selling and jump to react to and canteen and other panelists peaceful that's very very
interesting will be held in English alright so this panel button is kind of interesting time register unusual when I woke up this morning at home he was fired but that has something to do with our power but anyway I'm interesting of all the appeal going on in Washington DC sound when when I have my guess here when I see what Obama said in 2009 to look for not back into the 1 who is Shiite torture program for example and extension program and the NSA wiretapping program and many of the
users are of power at the George W. Bush administration of architects of Obama's look forward even unity to the CIA officers be the architects of this program and psychologists for example right so I'm really keen to hear your experience and your views on this and on the announced acts and doing time like this by and and coming out and and you survive facts citing and is an open up directors him and then is as much as possible so we have more time toward the end of the panels you can ask the questions so is not easy
when the entire weight of the US Government falls on your head which is what it felt like a lot of preface my comments by saying that I believed in Baroque Obama I'm not only worked on the Obama campaign but a voted for him I took my children to the inauguration to see this this incredible historic event on most issues in the environment and climate change gay marriage women in the economy he was fantastic on issues related to national security to whistle-blowing and transparency he was a disaster that will take us generations to get past people as we frequently about the Obama foreign policy I'm not really sure that there was an Obama foreign policy I think it was just an extension of the George W. Bush on policy except it was blood you In that Obama killed far more people with the use of drones then George W. Bush so I I turned any torture abroad and they yeah they tortured some folks so it's not an easy decision um when you blow the whistle on wrongdoing especially in national security in the United States we have a lot of the whistleblower protection that that Kathleen can tell you everything about but unfortunately national Security whistleblowers are not covered by the protections afforded in that long so if you worked at the CIA and NSA and FBI Department Defense any of the other intelligence services you're on your own if you decide to report on waste fraud abuse your illegality I was aware of the CIA to which a program of at its inception in May of 2000 to I had been the chief of CIA counterterrorism operations in Pakistan after the September 11 attacks and government I let a series of raids in which we captured observator with the CIA believed at the time was the number 3 in al-Qaida that was not true when I got home from path from Pakistan would that the CIA headquarters and a senior officer asked me if I wanted to be certified in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques I had never heard that term before and when he explained it me it was
clear that this was a torture program and we have a very specific very clear laws in the United States banning torture we have the Federal Torture Act were signatories to the International Convention against Torture and indeed after the 2nd world war executed Japanese soldiers who waterboard American prisoners of war the logic of
change we change I declined to be trained in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques but I kept my mouth shut for 5 and a half years and then finally I have to say something and I said something in an interview on BBC news in the United States within 24 hours of my interview the FBI began investigating and they investigated me for a year and then in December 2008 the FBI determined that I had not committed a crime and they closed the case what I didn't know was that 3 weeks later when President Obama was inaugurated the CIA asked him to secretly reopen the case against me I had no idea I was under investigation they investigated me for 3 more years and then charged with 5 felonies including 3 counts of espionage espionage is 1 of the gravest crimes with which American can be charged and sometimes it carries with it the death penalty this was for talking to ABC News and The New York Times so I was facing 45 years in prison I sort out the help of Kathleen McClelland and just rate at the end of the government Accounting Accountability Project now of whisper and we thought as long as we could but it becomes an economic decision if you're facing 45 years in prison and the government offers you 2 and a half years and you have 5 children at home what do you do knowing that the government with this 98 . 2 per cent of its cases you take a plea and that's what happens to most of the 2 most whistle-blowers you end up taking a plea whether you believe your answer not makes no difference you try to cut your losses so I served 2 years in prison I I got out a little more than 2 years ago the and I'm more determined now to fight that I was even back then I think the reason for that is I know in my heart that that I'm right and that they're wrong and that histories on my side I and also because I have been introduced to this wonderful community of people but I never really even knew existed I mean when you're working
at the CIA you don't come into contact with exposed that's were with could pay you know or Amnesty International and then you realize what wonderful people these are and that you're like minded they really are redundant so the weights just
begun from very proud to be here in Germany very proud to be on the stage with these wonderful people thanks for coming so the dividends of the dialog that have you you can pick it up and 2 counts of about 1 count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act so what does that mean for you you've not
been rehabilitated what does that mean you're relying on fewer spell and yes and the Committee detail and criminal I cannot vote I cannot vote I lost my federal pension so I'll have to work until the day I die I'm not allowed to travel without the permission of the court as for well technically for another year but I've asked them for release but I can never work in government again I'm not even allowed to work for a company that has contracts with the government because I'm apparently too dangerous I'm also banned from the UK Canada Australia and New Zealand because the US shares criminal data with those countries and so I'm banned from the UK for life of which is funny because I'm actually decorated by M I 6 out of 1 of those things now I'm too dangerous to be exposed to the British people I have to wait until 2028 to be able to go to to these other countries but yet there there's a lot of fall out you know at the idea when I was arrested before I was even convicted I lost my job of course because the case national security crime and so I had to go on welfare on government assistance and done I couldn't find a job anywhere it literally anywhere up even Starbucks told me I was too controversial to make coffee for them so I wasn't even allowed I want to Target and Starbucks I finally got a job at an arts and crafts supply store making 7 dollars and 25 cents an hour which is as much money as I've been able to make sense I since I started this whole process is the official blackness it's not official but is there but something when you fill out a government or when you of application it's it's have you ever been convicted of a crime and you say you have to say yes and then they are asked was that a felony and you say yes and they say OK thanks for coming in we'll keep your application on file and of course it goes straight into the trash and and that's the Justice Department's called that the goal is not just a convict you of a crime and to send you to present the goal is to ruin you personally professionally and socially and financially and to seperate you from the people who otherwise would be your natural sources of support the 2nd thing that they try to do is to use you as an example so they say to other CIA
officers and they actually did this in the mail on the day of my conviction the director of the CIA on who since has been convicted of his own prime uh sent around an e-mail to all the i employs saying this is what we did geriatric today with the message really the underlying message being if you see something you don't like keep your big mouth shut because we ruined again and will ruin you to and the New York Times actually even did an article about it say that the national security sources completely dried up when i was arrested everybody was afraid that it would happen to them and also the case in a different time Jeffrey Sterling is a great example Jeffrey Sterling on was a colleague of mine at the CIA is an African-American case officer he was discriminated against because he's black he was finally forced out of CIA and he filed a racial discrimination suit against the CIA had merits but the CIA went to court and said we ask you dismiss this case because if we were to defend ourselves we would have to expose classified information the judge said done dismissed she threw it out right they never said all we didn't discriminate against them they just said well you know national security so they throw it out and then they went on the attack against him somebody had leaked information to the New York Times they decided it was him with nothing more than metadata no evidence no e-mails no phone calls no recordings no testimony no nothing they just said we think it's him and there's a
uh of a belief in the court where we were both tried the Eastern District of Virginia that a jury there would convict uh salami sandwich of a crime if the prosecutors asked them to because who's the jury in northern Virginia CIA FBI Homeland Security Department of Defense Intelligence contractors you don't stand a chance in the Eastern District of Virginia but Jeffrey was adamant that he had not done anything wrong and they kept offering him to please do you say your guilty do this much time do this much thought he said I didn't do anything wrong so he went to trial he was convicted on 7 counts of espionage for allegedly talking to the FBI arbitrary for linear time it was only because the director of the CIA was sentenced the day before Jeffrey was sentenced and got a sweetheart deal 18 months of unsupervised probation with no jail time it was only because of that's we are deal that Jeffrey got out relatively light sentence his attorney told him with the government asked for 24 years in prison but a Jeffrey has a heart condition he wouldn't survive 24 years his attorney told him to expect as much as 40 years and then the judge gave him 3 and a half so he'll be released by the end of the year but it's taken a severe toll on his health both physically and mentally and he's not going to be the same by the time it gets out but again that's the Justice Department's goal and the goal is to ruin you and if that includes killing you in prison tough luck that's what we're up against so that is a very very disheartening often I have in my thoughts
and his family as well all the time and think you also to and action and express facts for supporting a family and and your family losses supporters understand my family literally could not have gotten through this without roots section and Norman Solomon literally we could and could take it's like angels who introduced themselves to lights so i'm just to bring this about to so many topics on the table here as the enormous act Chelsea Manning was the longest someone has served the longest and whistleblower but also with under the espionage act and most of the each case will get into all that our little but 1 after the other so Kathleen and he tells them but more about your program and what it's like to defend always extraordinary people on speaking truth to practice speaking to DOS the power knows the truth but and yet was like so it's an absolute honor to represent national scary whistleblowers obviously especially people like John there I'm almost universally brilliant and courageous and they make tremendous sacrifices for everybody and for all of us for us to know the
truth about what's going on in that there was a term protection program and we represent whistleblowers sources hacktivists and so support investigative journalism I and you we take the truth from the shadows into the light we work with was a loss at every stage of the process and advise them as they go public or it as they don't go public and then suffer the consequences on and what this consequences are varies greatly from the very very severe like criminal prosecution to the less severe yet still devastating and complete sacrifice your career ostracization blacklisting being bankrupted on being fired and and publicly smeared by the government and we confront all of that come regularly and with express facts which is a journalism organization we are the 1st ever legal protection for sources built into a journalism organization other journalism organizations have legal protection for the reporters but whisper actually protects the sources and the suppliers and as an integral part of investigative journalism because without the sources we would not know we would not know about torture we would not know about the mass surveillance we would not know about Uncle Merkel's stone being tapped we reduction and we would not know about rendition and we would not know about the program and so on this at work that I think is very important not just for the incredibly courageous individuals that we represent but for journalism as a whole and for the public some things you have to search for the
rest of the i'm because most of them are bankrupt before even in goes to trial and we're talking in like 6 Figure so I still my attorneys 880 thousand dollars
which build never see financing in eject prosecution cost at least a million dollar yeah I any fled before trial and in every hours from up but the before trial I might my bill was a million 50 thousand dollars a given everything I had but I still owe them 880 that the thousand dollars and they told me if I wanted to go to trial it would be an extra 2 to 3 million so I kind would you do it for having to take a lead again right so you can't really seek redress or as have like take the and time and no hope for the best and the the survivor and cut your losses best your losses in that year it's still have a house and a roof over their heads so I Be that as it may that said i power these cases like this is supported by deletions or people by donations we have no credible privilege of being 501 c 3 nonprofit so I'm were supported
by Foundation individual donors and therefore we don't usually charge our clients and there are a some occasions where we can take a litigation case on contingency which means that we get to recover money from the government if we went unfortunately this case is a very hard to bring because as John mentioned in most national security and intelligence employees are exempted from the typical WOz where protection lost so there is no losses to bring but we represented as a and as it was a loss Thomas straight build any Kirk median Edward luminous and so on their stories is similar to John in that they be exposed mass surveillance by the NSA and have their houses raided by the FBI and Thomas Street was prosecuted under the espionage act and eventually led to but I think it was a misdemeanor of misuse for government computer the government's case against and completely collapsed so it turned out that none of the information he was accused of revealing was properly classified but I think you so he 1 and he now works at an Apple store and has lost his attention and and his career in intelligence is over and that's winning and Bill and Kirk building currently the also in that they were not prosecuted for espionage however I they but still had their careers intelligence ruined all of their attempts at government contracts were a blackballed by the National Security Agency and so on that's what happened to them and there is no loss so that they can really bring there's no and remedy in law for that kind of some that kind of abuse from the US government from and that's quite unfortunate but it also makes it a very difficult because how do you work recoup all of the costs of the personal and the professional cost of that kind of attack and the point is not really so much about them although it does doesn't personal sometimes on the part of some officials but the point is to send a message to everybody else who's working there and they did the same thing that they had done in John's case the NSA sent an e-mail when Thomas Drake was convicted saying that he was convicted of misuse of a government computer this is the equivalent of going on facebook or something at your job and this is not some sort of high crime and misdemeanor is not espionage yet it still sends a very chilling message which is if you talk to the press if you go public about any of this and then we're going to hammer you until you no longer have any sort of ability to work in the intelligence yeah and you don't
have public interest so I the espionage act this is yeah the 1st person in the astronaut objects of very very broad law was passed in 1917 it was meant to offer spots it actually say classified information because there was no such thing in 1970 talks about national defense information and it's been traditionally used to to prosecute spies now is it's intact but it was 1st used against somebody for disclosure of information in the Pentagon Papers case against Daniel Ellsberg and and the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg was accused of of leaking them and
they try to bring it has been checked case against him that was ultimately unsuccessful because the government got caught breaking into his therapist's office and then case ended up falling apart since then there were 2 other cases and then when Obama took office he brought I believe a total of 9 by Thomas straight was the flagship case that collapsed under the weight of the truth and then I Juncker arguing Jeffrey Sterling Chelsea Manning Edward Snowden's then I charged I believe I already and so so this idea of using the espionage act to punish disclosure or retention or misuse of classified information is for highly potentially handling right and is a is a a precedent that the Obama
administration has that and it's very damaging and even though in his later years he seemed to back off from it he commuted Chelsea Manning sentence which was a commendable thing to do he did not bring additional prosecutions in the last years of his presidency however the president is there and now the president of the United States is Donald Trump so of what he's holding is all of this groundwork to prosecute people and there's no public interest defense to the espionage act when it comes to government employees courts have held in John's case and thanks to Obama who brought chance case that motive is irrelevant and more significantly and for all of you in this room the espionage acts does not distinguish between government employees and you or me on activists like Norman Audi on or journalists like the New York Times for WikiLeaks and present from has already
moved to you I bring criminal charges against WikiLeaks for disclosing information and that's incredibly dangerous attack on press freedom and the A-bomb administrations now that responsibility for that either because they kept that grand jury investigation open for years and they could have close so what 2010 and they could have closed it before they left office and they did not and now I and I believe the attorney general has said it's now priority to prosecute WikiLeaks in has goes WikiLeaks so those The New York Times scale just the handling it
of the new year you know by and made it big molecules metadata you can be connected by various circumstantially so it is very very very very tricky sent every anybody dichotomous track that and being that they are also not only doing on this mass surveillance wiretapping controlling and our story of Information and about collection and all these horrible things aren't you could be caught up in that tracking and you know and it's very hard not when you see some of these films that are made about whistle-blowers it's literally impossible not to be some sort of metadata and so your source you will always leave and metadata about resources you can never protect them no matter encryption will save you from that so that's not always think encryption is that your solution is an is a key you will always potentially jeopardize someone who wants to be a source for bringing shed light on the uh malfeasance and corruption and so forth so in terms of classic whistle-blowing the she's not just leaking to the practice that there is a difference between whistle-blowing and just speaking and that we should understand motives behind that although they're not recognized in in prosecutions unfortunately so this also about when I got to Norman what is and how do we determine with the public interest the public's right now as a journalist how would you so I think it's important to
say about whether you live in the United States Germany or anywhere else on this planet virtually there's been a profound conversion of what should be basic Democratic realities of what has happened is that our governments are corporate government power structures have normalized turning upside down what is the basic democratic principle which is that the citizens the individual powers privacy rights and the government is subjected to be informed not the uninformed but the informed consent of the governed and what has happened is that the normalized now is that it is the government that is able to maintain secrecy and prosecutors we've heard any breach of its own secrecy even though I work as people are supposed to democratically determine the policies of our government and the individuals were supposed to have individual privacy rights the right of free so students dissociation so forth as Edward Snowden has documented very clearly with release of material from the NSA we got the transparency government officials get the privacy we get the transparency so that's I think a very crucial point so last year I spent so for weeks around 5 o'clock in and of the Ramstein base and 1 of the things I learned there was the intersection between surveillance and the warfare state the intersection between the gathering of data such as a cell phone numbers and contacts and metadata and conversations and real-time communications via cell phones and the use of drops because really people or not being targeted by drones cell phones are being targeted mobile phones are being targeted by drops and so what has been obscured in the mass media and usually by politicians you there's a surveillance issues that perhaps systematic drowned in fact those are part of a larger war state policy which brings me to the relationship between the US and German governments no and Merkel was said that she doesn't know very much about what's going on at the Ramstein base and that is a willing or lack of knowledge whatever credibility you can give to that statement of the reality years that this signals for US drone war where you have pilots in the father and now in upstate New York were firing missiles in Afghanistan and in Pakistan the end of the Middle East in Africa from drops that signal goes through Germany through rounds and so the crimes of the US government are also the crimes now of the German government but that R is the years insinuations well and so the reality is that that is very rarely spoken aloud because to speak aloud is to shatter the silence and the silence is essential to the warfare state to the violation of rights it is essential to the destruction of democracy wherever we live and if you look at historically those who have warned us and understood this it's valuable for instance to consider what Aldus Huxley wrote in the introduction to the book brave new world he said the lines are a powerful but even more powerful silence about truth and during the 19 eighties when some very visionary and brave activists with act up and so forth insisted on shattering the silence about a they developed the motto silence equals death and so the silence among the US public equals the death of perpetual war and were 1st the silence of the German public equals the same perpetual war and the warfare state expertise and we are taking the courage not only through the draw more but other ways in which these governments which ostensively represent us function in secrecy hard to define much of the world as a free fire zone for on battlefield is our silence that is essential so really doesn't matter what you think it doesn't really matter what you say to people you know it matters that you stay silent if you break the silence then you are beginning to challenge the warfare state which relies on mass surveillance which relies on the inversion that I mentioned and insists that all of us are subject to the arbitrary actions of those who extensively represented few
hand this person is so great because the intelligence agencies are not the arbiters of what we should know a non know and what is proper journalism what's not journalism and this is really getting out of hand again let us be very very clear that these are all mechanisms is an architecture that was well put in place by a bomb administration to just not happen overnight is a carryover from George W. Bush
administration into the ministrations and was literally delivered on a silver platter this corporate surveillance of status this and all of the ways that it's made palatable or ostensively palatable is well I'm Barack Obama you know me I have to judge right so you
can trust me with the power but the whole idea of of course is that under the rule of law that you're not dependent on the judgment of 1 individual concept is this role of alright and so we we encountered this all the time and now we have somebody who doesn't speak in complete sentences is president of the United States this woman is absolutely I decide to add to that let me talk about this this
precedent that has been said a lot of it has been said in secret and when the Obama administration said let's look forward after torture now all of these horrible things that President Trump has said he will do any is doing he can proceed with the comfort of knowing that he will not be prosecuted for them because the precedent
has been set is that we don't prosecute for torture we don't prosecute for war crimes we don't do that to our own citizens anymore and that is a precedent that Obama said by not holding the Bush administration officials to torture prisoners accountable then he hands the next president that precedent also the out about administration's Justice Department wrote a memo that gave the president exclusive executive authority to kill target and kill terror suspects anywhere outside of wars its that is a and a tremendous power in a country that is supposed to have due process so that the tremendous power to target and kill someone without charge without trial because they're terror suspect Obama it's Justice Department said that that was legal and the president did it repeatedly even to American citizens that present that power is now in the hands of President from and the president is just sitting there and now the attorney general is just in sessions and the drum that the president is president Trump and they can do what they want without executive power and the only we probably trusted President Obama not to start using that power in places that a Western I suppose not to start using it arbitrarily I don't have that same trust in the current president and I don't think we should actually have that trust in any president and for example if this very scary but if he which bring back
waterboarding this is all positively like during during campaign Don Trump said that that he would bring back waterboarding if elected president it is exact words work and a hell of a lot worse I I've been a political animal all my life this was the
1st time in my life that I ever heard a presidential candidate promise that he would commit an impeachable offense the illegal act if you were to be elected president now I think that there are a couple of adults in the room a general Matisse who's the Secretary of Defense now we we have like a military junta that it leads our country general matters is Secretary of defense in general and Kelly is the Secretary of Homeland Security and they both had a conversation with companies that torture doesn't work and so he backed off but then his CIA Director said well no I like torture maybe will will do it after all I wanna add and and a point to this important discussion about looking forward and not backward it's worse than you think President Obama said we're gonna look forward not backward that means no prosecutions for the tortures but it goes be on just the torches if you're a CIA officer who is not an attorney and if you were told that the Justice Department ruled that this torture program was legal and it's your patriotic duty to torture these prisoners and you torture them I disagree with it but I can understand why the president doesn't want a prosecutor you but what about the CIA officers who murdered prisoners during interrogations which we know happened between 5 and T times why are they being prosecuted because nobody said that a CIA officer could murder somebody could beat them to death or freeze them to death during an interrogation and it happened the they got off scot-free so not only did the tortures not go to prison but the CIA leaders who came up with a torture program got off scot-free the attorneys to justify the torture program were not prosecuted uh the people who went overboard until the prisoners were not prosecuted nobody was prosecuted well actually 1 person was prosecuted and they're sitting on the stage
the only person who's going to jail having anything to do with the Georgia program is John active for talk about it the headlines is ridiculous says that science gas about Obama's of the method we stand stand this silence that you were discussing before and it wasn't it is because a lot of people around the world spoke at and exerted great amount of pressure the last days of the bomb administration and to get her sentence commuted knowledge of the man yes the cells in which that's why it's important if accountability is difficult staying silent and is is really something we should not do it nor can we afford this town was intending to having % media and also her appeal of the Sentinels act is very
very important and I invite you to support her defense Fund and in this case a very very important I I think you know crucial take away of course is that as bleak as the picture as you would be more bleak if people had not been organizing and absolutely insisting that these crimes against humanity the human rights violations of and systematize are unacceptable and we're not going to be passive of there's nothing so to overly celebrate because we have a huge task ahead and so often I'm as well what is the 1 thing we should all be doing and my answer is there is no 1 thing we should all be doing we have different talents interest capacities vantage points all walks of life but we all need to be active and more active and I fear that fears of such a corporate military set of messages to a lawless into passivity and become consumers rather than active people of citizens or not of a particular country the activism and it is absolutely crucial everything you have to be proud of in your country or I have to be proud of in my country is because people were active they did not accept what was handed down and they wanted to create the future is to have it be imposed on them and more than ever think that's crucial now because the the way of of authoritarianism that has swept over the United States and that threatens Europe and elsewhere is in tandem with corporate power with domination of the Internet by corporations is in tandem with in some ways globally unprecedented militarism and where you live in Germany or the United States or anywhere else but to simply believe that those in power are to be trusted with that power is to sign the death warrant of the planet in terms of climate change and assignment into perpetual war and obviously we must not accept any of them so i'm with
constant and that means working with the Westerners and what is accountability look like it under these conditions and circumstances well that's you know it's a long road but and we've already seen some
accountability on after Edward stands disclosures everybody in this room cares more about their privacy than they did beforehand including myself on were seen journalist starting to use encryption we're seeing on the company's starting to challenge the government's request from information when the government 1st started mass surveillance the companies just fall right over and handed over customer information now we're seeing that as as bad business for those companies and they are required to buy their customers to be better at privacy and I think that people in terms of the torture program the there is there was a huge objection to that but it's been roundly recognizes a failure it did not work out and it was just an ongoing political liability further President Obama as he tried to cope with that and I think that's why the adults in the room in the Trump administration are saying we don't go back to that however I think there's also and the new outgrowth of that program which is the drone program and that program is highly secretive and it's being used and it was used increasingly throughout the Obama administration and in later years after realizing that it was ineffective and facing lots of public criticism about administration started putting controls on it I but they were all internal to the executive branch and present trumpets already said that he's going to loosen the standards for civilian casualties allowing more civilians to be killed he's already said he's going to give the user a given strike authority back to the CIA which is even more secretive then add the Defense Department and so what he inherited was this program that had been restricted but internal to the Presidency and he can remove those restrictions and I think we I hope that we will see a lot of resistance to that so those kinds of actions and that we will see if we can find more information about the drone program and we represent several whistleblowers from within the program and we can't rely on whistleblowers it's not fair to say everybody working there needs to have abandoned their careers and risk espionage to tell us the truth we all have to and support the blowers support real independent investigative journalism and make a lot of noise so that they are not allowed because it's not fair to rely on people to sacrifice their livelihoods or their freedom in order for us to know the truth we should be entitled to it as citizens of democratic states
if thank i just a 15 minutes left I just like to draw attention to a film that is some premiering on Monday here in Germany gentry opposite on free speech free there will be at the folks being and I believe they talk in a career and please follow that's and this is also an I mean it's very interesting but all series of films about these whistleblowers is is in the public domain strategy was a very interesting way of of would convey these narratives sometimes very dense topics and and how they're all really related if you will you know so I from James rise in land and press freedoms and selected sources of metadata and it's it's it's quite an interesting and larger fabric of things I can't let you have any other comments like to open up the I just want a very briefly say that the Council on Foreign Relations I had a staffer who did a study released a few weeks ago the Trump administration has had a fivefold increase in drone attacks compared to the evolving illustration so this is the wave of the future and not to or beat the drum overly of what that is a German program the factor because the Ramstein what's involved there and African farmers stood guard and so this is what is happening and it will continue to escalate unless we can organize effectively at the grass-roots stuff here in Germany as well yeah and they're of course this anything wiry report will be published in June where it was so extensively treated this topic and the coalition government re much that we don't know too much about it and waiting for a is not but they acknowledged last December that yes indeed signals to go through and that is it is playing a vital role in it but nothing happens so it is up to us to say is unacceptable and others elected officials that have pretty much has signed off on on these programs so you that were cannot out free of arms I'll take some questions from the audience yeah please be brief
so we can have a short class on the line the higher than idea of filmmaker and the with the news this morning courses of what happened calling them now trump controls all branches of government and the FBI and a lot of people are thinking this is now the time to whistle-blowers and I'm wondering you know your opinion is is there really any hope you from coming on the inside knowing how difficult it is of us seeing some of this information being leaked particularly about trumps potential connections in Russia or anything else that the FBI was investigating which might not be shut down
and that's a great question I think there is hope it probably not for that not for the reason that most people in the room soon before I realized I was in any trouble before I realized I was under
investigation by journalists repeatedly invited me to lunch I was working on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time and I wasn't supposed to have unauthorized contact with journalists so my boss said go ahead and have lunch with and see what he wants and he told me that FBI agent told him that I was under investigation it was a warning in the course of this conversation why should say I'd I told me was crazy dismissed I wish I had lists I would never gonna prison but during the course the conversation he told me that he had at least 3 FBI sources these were active FBI agents who were reporting back to him on the issues that were coming up in the course of investigations and so it's made me optimistic that there still are people not yet ready to come out publicly at least not to expose their own identities but who were still willing to talk to the media and to alert them to instances of waste fraud abuse and illegality we've also seen unprecedented leaks coming from the from the White House it's not necessarily whistleblowing but you have things like they hit a conversation with the Australian Prime Minister and hung up on it right it's embarrassing it's on professional it's undiplomatic it's pretty funny it's not whistleblowing but that makes me think that people at least have the guts to pick up the telephone in this administration and call reporter so I think that there are whistleblowers out there I think that we will get to the truth on a lot of these issues I would like to know
what a context the German government are concerning all uh we were talking about the branched is that and what is the response if you talk to them if you talk to them and what's a quantity to German media because of the whole thing everything you talked about people in the room might know something about it but the general public's not very aware of all implications to what's so what can you do that's part of why I was writing an article that was published by the Nation
magazine in the United States and that politics here but translated in German it's on online I did talk at length in quote in the article constant Don not the German uh part Green Party representative on the committee of inquiry of when to start and I know that there are there are a number of MPs who are being very outspoken and very perceptive I think but clearly a minority of start so as always it's about political pressure that needs to be exerted much more strongly and the news media have a very short half-life of attention it might be very big and then it might just disappear that I'm also very happy that we could bring people like that up and and John 3 apples to discuss
these topics and look at some of this data and explain it to the journal so they might reporting on it so this is the we need the whistleblowers to bring us that data we investigators analysts and journalists report on it I mean it's a it's a whole circle that we have to complete and the activists and public pressure in order to get something done all taken last question perhaps of that you can much more questions I and the only means any they get I work as a corporate manager uh for a company like may come that find here in Germany is the Ministry of Defence and just as a general comment and I think that the German public or historically we are not as outspoken and transparency about how Germany is actually implied in a lot of wars and that's not the world we select and obviously and standing on that you know that it's not a topic that is very popular in Germany so just that being said I have a question that drone strikes and as far as I can remember Obama and when he was elected wanted to close Guantanamo he wants to get that Afghanistan obviously when he was brave he changed his mind things have gone up on you as insider what is actually a solution how can the really and the conflict the drone strike there is just getting worse it's not you know but the fact is that the states is not winning still not the western community is not winning over there so if Jones facts and the answer was how can we have this huge of 1 of well there's no easy answer all give you an example of something that I saw on states that would never have occurred to me that has been successful there is a small group
in the US state of North Carolina made up of retirees people who work in the sixties seventies eighties and they became aware of that that a small local airport in their town was being used as a staging area for CIA rendition flights kidnappings and so they're very politely went to the owner of the airport and said please stop cooperating with the CIA and stop allowing the CIA to use the you're airport to do these rendition flights he told him to go jump in the lake so they began marching with signs and protesting out in front and he called the police the police told them their on private property they have to move out then they began laying down in the middle of the road to block traffic and then they began with bolt cutters cutting holes in the fence to make it an unsecure field they became so much of a pain in the ass for this guy but he gave up his contract and the CIA is not allowed to use their airport anymore yeah it's just 1 little example of of social resistance that is not easy and it's not fast but when you stick with it it actually works we need to force our elected officials to listen to us is another thing look at the averages that but
yet Clean vertices that 1st John yet understudied better very important of approach which I totally agree with remember models the King Junior talked about the madness of militarism he wasn't just talk about a dream he said we've got to through non-violent action challenge
what he called that madness of militarism if you wanna go to the macro in terms of how do you solve the problems in afghanistan is John said there are no easy answers but let's be as clear as we can about what has occurred when the United States has led military interventions air attacks long-term military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq Libya elsewhere what has been the result things have gotten worse and worse so this whole nostrum that you have to do something and that something must be to go in and kill a lot of people it's been disproved by history and we need to recognize that and implement policies that respond to that reality thank
how just add that you know I don't think anyone on the stage and certainly not any of my clients who worked in these programs I think that the majority of people working at these agencies are evil warmongers that's
not the case there patriotic people trying to help the country I also there's no easy answer I mean it there's no this is what you can do to achieve peace sir to get out of Afghanistan however like Norman said what we're doing is not working and I think part of that is the motivation there were a lot of millionaires made after 9 11 by implementing mass surveillance and solutions that were cheap and effective and protected privacy were rejected in favor of a multibillion-dollar cash house there's a constant revolving door between contractors in the drone program intelligence community all over between them and the government employees so there's a lot of money being made off of this war machine and I when a company's goal is to make money but it seems that that's a very ineffective way at achieving some sort of peace in some sort of lasting solution because if there is a lasting solution then the money will dry up thank you anything that question of here that's it that's it
I'm my name is Gary Brent I've forgotten at the beginning of my work of with explicit facts and the 3rd foundation I will be glad to take your questions are even that which is outside thank you very much for your time and they for coming here but the whole world will
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