Today Americans honor our veterans. It is a well-deserved day of recognition for all of our military who have bravely fought and often given their lives for the American people. In contrast to President’s Day which honors all of our elected leaders, including those who were the cause for many of our veteran’s injuries and deaths, and those who used their influence for personal gain, this day has meaning. Our patriotism should be to the men and women who truly believe in what that means, not to those who talk about it but don’t mean what they say. Daily battles exist between governments and the people they are supposed to serve. We must also thank those who have the courage to expose illegal and immoral actions by our leaders. That is also patriotism.
Wearing a flag pin on your lapel does not prove that you have the best interests of the nation and its people as your priority. Actions represent beliefs, words are hollow and float away in the breeze.
In our country’s history the men and women who had the courage to stand up against tyrannical action by their nation’s leaders are rightfully credited with initiating change to keep our country free in a literal sense.
In the 21st Century we recognize those who place their own personal freedom in jeopardy by exposing illegal and un-Constitutional actions by our government; we call them whistleblowers.
Julian Assange founded ‘Wikileaks,’ an organization dedicated to exposing corrupt government actions and war crimes. Assange lives in self-imposed quarantine to avoid prosecution from countries around the world including the United States.
Wikileaks recently revealed that the CIA is working with the governments of Germany and France to convince the citizens of their country to support continued efforts in Afghanistan. The people of both countries have rallied to have their military removed from the lost campaign. This propaganda campaign has the support of President Obama, and has now been exposed.
Just recently the Courage Foundation, which was created for several worthy causes; the right to know, freedom of the press, human rights, and raising money for the release of whistleblowers and securing amnesty for others, released a statement signed by people all over the world including 50 top name celebrities. They support several whistleblowers, some who are imprisoned and others who are in hiding, particularly Edward Snowden.
The Foundation uses the examples of present and past men who have exposed their government’s deplorable actions.
Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the falsehoods regarding the Vietnam War, is now 83-years-old. He revealed to the public that the government had secret papers containing information they did not want released to the American people. They became known as the ‘Pentagon Papers.’
Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning exposed war crimes and atrocities in the Iraq war, by releasing classified information to Wikileaks. She is now serving over 30 years in a federal prison.
Jeremy Hammond is in prison for hacking into a private security firm. He had also released his information to the anti-secrecy group.
Although Snowden lives in relatively free conditions in Russia, he is accused of espionage after revealing policies practiced by the agency he worked for, the NSA. The agency’s procurement of information from private citizens by hacking i-Phones and other electronic devices was exposed to the dismay of the majority of our federal government. The Courage Foundation is seeking amnesty for Mr. Snowden.
Admittedly there is enormous controversy in our nation about Manning, Hammond, and Snowden; and few remain in the gray area. They are heroes or traitors depending on your political convictions, and whether or not you believe in such un-Constitutional laws as the Patriot Act, or the Constitution and its guarantee of privacy by disallowing illegal search and seizure.
Our news agencies fail to cover protests such as the one organized by the Courage Foundation or last week’s Million Mask March. Our government exercises censorship to urge the huge news organizations and media to suppress information which would incite the nation’s people. Knowledge is power, and our leaders want to keep that power for themselves.
Thank you social media for revealing the truth; not just in our country, but around the world.
By James Turnage