Awards They Couldn’t Accept: The Tragic Irony of Greenwald, Poitras and Snowden

Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras (Credit: AP/Eraldo Peres/Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

When I was honored as a top global thinker last week, 3 of my co-recipients didn’t come. The reason why is chilling.

By Jesselyn Radack

I was humbled to have dinner in Washington, D.C., last week with an incredible group of my co-recipients recognized in Foreign Policy magazine’s 2013 list of leading global thinkers. Conspicuously absent in the category of “The Surveillance State and Its Discontents” were the discontents: Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden — not because they did not want to attend but because these three American global thinkers are unwelcome in the United States.

Greenwald has been accused of being a co-conspirator to break the law. The U.S. government has regularly harassed, searched and intimidated documentary filmmaker Poitras at the border. And the U.S. government revoked Edward Snowden’s passport.

Greenwald, Poitras and Snowden are on a growing list of journalists, activists and whistle-blowers who are unable to travel freely because of their First Amendment-protected activities. Their fears of persecution are sadly not exaggerated. The United Kingdom detained Greenwald’s husband, Brazilian David Miranda, for nine hours and charged him with violating an anti-terrorism law because he had met with Poitras and carried information (not some illegal substance or terrorist plans) for Greenwald. WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, who literally rescued whistle-blower Snowden from Hong Kong, has been advised by her attorneys not to return home to the U.K. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has long been the target of a U.S. criminal investigation, and was forced to seek asylum from Ecuador, but cannot get there.

The U.S. has promised not to torture Snowden, but such a “promise” only raises the question: Is that how low a democracy should set the bar — at not torturing someone — rather than providing due process and abiding by international humanitarian standards? The Obama administration’s aggressive prosecution of whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act and willingness to embroil journalists in “leak” investigations and prosecutions casts doubt on the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.

Full article at Salon.com

Related: Edward Snowden: Not TIME’s Person of the Year, but FP’s Global Thinker 2013

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This entry was posted in Espionage & Secret Agencies, Human Rights & Justice, Media & Journalism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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