The story of Edward Snowden’s effective banishment and the imprisonment of Bradley Manning are just the two most recent examples of what happens to “whistle blowers” in our so-called age of information and freedom of speech.
I was pleased to find this summary Edward Snowden & The League Of Modern-Day Whistleblowers.
The most famous whistleblowers were the Washington Post journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, who cracked open the Watergate scandal that eventually led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon. He stepped down on this day in 1974 to avoid inevitable impeachment.
I remember listening to his speech on a crackly transistor radio… we were sitting around an ebbing campfire with our friends. The beauty of that perfect August night contrasted with the tawdry ugliness and danger of the “real” world.
The film All the President’s Men follows the unravelling of the mystery… two dauntless young reporters up against the whole political establishment… what a story!
But the film leaves important questions unanswered about the expectation of privacy, about the electoral and justice systems, and about presidential privilege. How much “covert activity” can be justified? The aftermath of 911, the “war on terrorism” and the current scandals have brought the issue to the forefront once again. American embassies abroad were closed this week because of “chatter”. Does “the end justify the means?” Is it acceptable to spy on the enemy but not on each other? And how can one tell the good guys from the villains unless everyone is spied upon, all the time?
This Day in History, a blog worth visiting frequently, provides an excellent summary of Watergate… be sure to look for August 8.
And here is another significant film about whistleblowers.
Food for thought indeed.