Breakfast seminar on whistle blowers; their importance and the need for protection

Mass surveillance, corruption and human rights violations are all issues that have been brought into light by whistle blowers. Protecting and supporting these individuals is important for any democratic state, but as history tragically has shown, this is not always the case. Today, a state’s treatment of whistle blowers can be considered a democratic litmus test – a way to measure how well functioning its democracy is.

The price whistle blowers are forced to pay for speaking up can sometimes be extremely high. Edward Snowden’s forced exile in Moscow is but one example.

The protection and support of whistle blowers need to be improved. States must, to a much higher extent, show – in both thought and deed – that whistle blowers are healthy components of a democracy.

Civil Rights Defenders and Svenska PEN invites you to a seminar where Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, and Jesselyn Radack will talk about the importance of whistle blowers, how they are treated and what states and the international community need to do to improve their protection.

The seminar will be moderated by Ola Larsmo, chair Svenska PEN.

Time: 5th of June at 9.00 – 10.00 am (breakfast served from 8.30)
Place: Civil Rights Defenders, Stora Nygatan 26, Stockholm

The seminar will be conducted in English, and broadcasted live at Civil Rights Defenders’ Bambuser Channel.

Sign up here, the number of places is limited.

For questions or more information, please contact Miriam Nordfors: miriam.nordfors@civilrightsdefenders.org

More about the participants:

Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the National Security Agency where he blew the whistle on massive multi-billion dollar fraud, waste and the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11. As retaliation and reprisal, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010 as the first whistle blower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage, and Drake faced 35 years in prison, turning him into an Enemy of the State for his oath to defend the Constitution. In 2011, the government’s case against him collapsed and he went free in a plea deal.

Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. military analyst who served in Vietnam, worked at the RAND Corporation, and then risked decades in prison to release the top-secret Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and other newspapers in 1971 — thereby adding impetus to the movement to end the Vietnam War. Although Ellsberg faced espionage and other felony charges, the case against him was dismissed because of egregious misconduct by the Nixon administration. Ellsberg has been a strong supporter of modern-day NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden and convicted Army whistle blower Chelsea Manning. Daniel Ellsberg was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2006.

Jesselyn Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the leading U.S. whistle blower organization. Her program focuses specifically on secrecy, surveillance, torture and discrimination. She has been at the forefront of defending against the government’s unprecedented “war on whistle blowers”. She represents national security and intelligence community employees who have been investigated, charged or prosecuted under the Espionage Act for allegedly mishandling classified information, including Edward Snowden. Radack is author of TRAITOR: The Whistleblower & the “American Taliban”.

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