Whistle-blowing is generally considered from the viewpoint of professional morality. Morality rejects the idea of choice and the interests of the professional as immoral. Yet the dreadful retaliations against the messengers of the truth make it necessary for morality to leave a way out of whistle-blowing.
This is why it forges rights (sometimes called duties) to trump the duty to the public prescribed by professional codes. This serves to hide the obvious fact that whether to blow the whistle is indeed a choice, not a matter of objective duty.
One should also notice that if it fails to achieve anything then blowing the whistle was the wrong decision (or maybe the right decision that nobody would want to make). There is nevertheless a tendency to judge it based on the motivation of the whistle blower.
In a way, whistle blowers should strive to act like saints. Yet, it is logically impossible to hold both whistleblowing as mandatory and whistleblowers as heroes or saints. Moreover, this tends to value the great deeds of a few over the lives of the many, which is incompatible with the basic assumptions of morality. But consistency is not a main feature of professional morality.
With the latest developments in the case of Julian Assange it shows us that we need whistle blowers. We need people brave enough to stand up and show the world the truth.
And they’ve got to be held accountable; our broadcasting system has to be made accountable; and unless it is, it’s going to be very hard to change anything else for the better in this country.
The reaction to Wikileaks and the recent cases of Brandon Raub and Bradley Manning highlight how the government does not want the average Joe (you and I) to know what they have planned, what they have been up to and what they really think of us.
Freedom of speech is an essential part of any true democracy if it is taken away then so is the democracy that the society was founded upon. If we do not have democracy then what right do we have sending troops to the other numerous countries in the name of the very thing we no longer have?
In recent months we have seen an intensification of activity from agencies monitoring and taking action against those that post opinions counter to those held by the government.
Binney—one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history—worked for the Defense Department‘s foreign signals intelligence agency for 32 years before resigning in late 2001 because he “could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.”
In a short video called “The Program,” Binney explains how the agency took part of one of the programs he built and started using it to spy on virtually every U.S. citizen without warrants under the code-name Stellar Wind.
Binney details how the top-secret surveillance program, the scope of which has never been made public, can track electronic activities—phone calls, emails, banking and travel records, social media—and map them to collect “all the attributes that any individual has” in every type of activity and build a profile based on that data.
“So that now I can pull your entire life together from all those domains and map it out and show your entire life over time,” Binney says.
The 8-minute video, adapted from an ongoing project by Poitras that is to be released in 2013, has footage of the construction of the NSA’s $2 billion data storage facility in Bluffdale, Utah, which Binney says “has the capacity to store 100 years worth of the world’s electronic communications.”
The purpose of the program, according to Binney, is “to be able to monitor what people are doing” and who they are doing it with.
“The danger here is that we fall into a totalitarian state,” Binney says. “This is something the KGB, the Stasi or the Gestapo would have loved to have had.”
Our existing media system today is the direct result of government laws and subsidies that created it.
This is scary, this should be a red flag to all those people out there that value their right to hold an opinion and to have the ability to voice said opinion.
When we have seen this behavior through history and it is always a prelude to something unpleasant.
- So what can we do?
- How can we fight back?
Thankfully that is easy; we must become what we wish to defend. We must exercise our right to say what we feel. If more people post comments, more people read and support the numerous sites out there broadcasting the truth we may be able to turn the tide.
They cannot stop us all. We have the advantage of numbers let’s make it count!