51% Show #1253

Jul 19, 2013

While the world watched, former national security contractor Edward Snowden raced around the world in an effort to find sanctuary after revealing what the US government says were state secrets. He leaked details of mass surveillance by the US and UK – revelations that proved deeply embarrassing, and only became more so as the US demanded his return, only to be rebuffed by China and Russia.

Amnesty International sided with Snowden, saying no one should be prosecuted for disclosing human rights violations.  Meanwhile, veteran lawmakers Dianne Feinstein and Robert Menendez argued Snowden isn't a whistleblower – they call him a fugitive and a criminal. Feinstein argues Snowden should have stayed to face the consequences.

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning, who provided classified documents on US torture of terrorist suspects to WikiLeaks, could face the death penalty and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London – trying to evade extradition on sex crimes charges.

In 2002, whistleblower Coleen Rowley was named a Time Magazine person of the year – she was an FBI agent whose memo regarding fatal mistakes in the month leading up to the 9-11 attacks was leaked to the press. Rowley told me that the growing secrecy around US actions is a threat to national security – leaving the US open as a target of hatred around the world.

Up next, trying to turn out the lights on abuses against animals.  

This year saw a healthy crop of anti-whistleblower bills – known as ag-gag bills – aimed at keeping animal rights activists from documenting conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses. The Humane Society of the US has come out strongly against these bills and, not surprising, big ag corporations are strongly in favor. EcoReport focuses on one such bill – in Indiana and why ag-gag laws may end up hurting you.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme  music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.

If you'd like to connect with us on Facebook, you can find 51% there and you can also email me at sbarnett@wamc.org