Whistleblowers

wikileaks.jpgCODEPINK calls for JUSTICE for incarcerated and exiled whistleblowers who have exposed the truth. Whether it's releasing the Iraq war logs or secret documents on NSA domestic spying, the whistle-blowers seeking corporate and government transparency have endured severe consequences. CODEPINK celebrates the courage of imprisoned transwoman Chelsea Manning and whistleblowers Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou and Jeremy Hammond.

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Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, born Bradley Edward Manning, was a U.S soldier convicted in July 2013 for a series of offenses including violations of the Espionage Act, after leaking more than 700,000 classified files of diplomatic cables and other documents to Wikileaks widely known as “Cablegate”. Included in these were videos of the massacre of civilians in both Afghan and Iraq wars. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, Manning had already served 1,294 days in prison when she was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years confinement with the possibility of parole in 8 years. Manning is a transgender woman and had suffered excessively harsh treatment during her detention in Quantico. After sentencing she said in a statement, "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female...”

Edward Joseph Snowden, is a former CIA employee and National Security Administration contractor and computer specialist who leaked classified NSA documents in mid- 2013 to several media outlets including the Guardian, thus initiating the NSA Leaks. Snowden’s release of classified material has been referred to as the most significant leak in US history. According to Snowden, his “sole motive” for leaking NSA documents was “to inform the public to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” U.S. authorities have charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. He currently resides in an undisclosed location in Russia where he has temporary asylum.

John Kiriakou, is a former CIA officer who was sentenced to a 2.5 year term in prison for exposing aspects of the CIA’s use of torture against detained terrorists. Kiriakou was the first U.S government official to identify the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique, in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive. This practice can cause the sensation of drowning, as well as damage to the lungs and to the brain from deprivation of oxygen. Through a plea deal Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Intelligence Identity Protection Act (IIPA) and received 2.5 years in prison. He is petitioning for earlier release to a halfway house in order to be nearer his 5 children.

Jeremy Hammond, is a political activist and computer “hacktivist” with the group Anonymous. A believer in “electronic civil disobedience” as a means of fighting for social justice…” On November 15th, 2013 Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison for computer crimes, most notably the break-in of the systems of the U.S government intelligence contractor, Strategic Forecasting, better known as Stratfor, for leaking millions of its internal e-mails to WikiLeaks. This leak revealed, among other things, surveillance of political groups in the U.S and abroad, from Occupy Wall Street, to activists in Bhopal, India.