In case you (understandably) don’t want to click on Wikileaks. Analysis to follow.
Tidbits, misstatements, and lies to follow:
- Do we know she’s really in Germany? There are no photos of this, only a statement posted to Wikileaks’ website.
- Was this meant to distract from the German parliament declining to interrogate Snowden earlier today?
- Harrison, though on staff with Wikileaks as a “legal adviser,” only refers to herself here as a journalist — part of this whole crew’s attempt to avoid legal consequences for their actions by claiming the mantle of journalism.
- She does not mention visiting the Russian consulate in Hong Kong, and insists it was the revocation of Snowden’s passport, and not a collective reluctance to grant him asylum, that stymied his supposed trip to Latin America.
- Wikileaks has previous said Harrison had to stay in Russia because of legal or physical threats to her as a person. Now, Harrison is saying she stayed to ensure “he had established himself and was free from the interference of any government.”
- (She writes this while not a single person has ever communicated with him in person after he left Hong Kong without the presence of Russian security guards, blacked out vans, and metal detectors.)
- Her ire over spying is focused solely on the United States and no other country.
- She describes Chelsea Manning as having “serving a 35-year sentence for exposing the true nature of war.” That isn’t why she was put on court martial.
- The defense of Jeremy Hammond is fascinating: rather than noting that he broke a ton of laws in breaking into STRATFOR to steal their email archive (a crime in almost every country on earth), she describes him as a whistleblower being persecuted for “allegedly providing journalists with documents that exposed corporate surveillance.” Orwell is alive and well.
- “I hope I have shown a counter example: with the right assistance whistleblowers can speak the truth and keep their liberty.” Except for your protégé currently unable to cross the street without his FSB lawyer and armed guards at his side.
- “Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum are all in effective exile.” Since none have ever been charged with crimes, this is a really weird assertion to make. Especially because Greenwald was “in effective exile” for many years before he began publishing state secrets.
- Again, the insistence that Barrett Brown is a journalist and not a crazed extremist who helped Anonymous break dozens of federal laws.
- This one is precious: “My editor Julian Assange has asylum over US threats, but the United Kingdom refuses to allow him to fully exercise this right, violating the law.” No mention of Sweden or sexual assault charges.
- This, too: “The UK government also detained David Miranda under the UK Terrorism Act for collaborating with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.” That isn’t why he was detained.
- After claiming she is being prosecuted for “speaking truth to power” as a journalist, Harrison neglects to mention any power she’s spoken truth to. She does not mention participating in theft, helping felons flee justice, or endangering people against their permission. Nor does she mention genuinely abusive governments who engage in rampant spying on their own people — including the one she just left.
- “In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution – transparency.” This is pedantry actual journalists reject as simplistic and dangerous.
- “If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it.” What does this even mean?
- “Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back.” This is all boilerplate Assangeist nonsense. And it has not proven true despite several massive dumps of said documents. Mere exposure is just that; absent organization and advocacy it will forever remain an empty gesture.
- “This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it”.” Actually, from a legal standpoint — remember the lawyers you keep invoking, Sarah? — that is patently false. It is NOT your data, which is why you commit a crime by stealing it.
So yeah. No real surprises in the posturing here, though the alternate universe nature of some of her “points” stand out for rather brazen spin.
Now, a more interesting question to me is: is Berlin turning into the new nexus for this stuff? People working on it seem to be concentrating there. Stay tuned on that front.
Statement by Sarah Harrison
Wednesday 6 November 2013, 18:30 CET
As a journalist I have spent the last four months with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and arrived in Germany over the weekend. I worked in Hong Kong as part of the WikiLeaks team that brokered a number of asylum offers for Snowden and negotiated his safe exit from Hong Kong to take up his legal right to seek asylum. I was travelling with him on our way to Latin America when the United States revoked his passport, stranding him in Russia. For the next 39 days I remained with him in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where I assisted in his legal application to 21 countries for asylum, including Germany, successfully securing his asylum in Russia despite substantial pressure by the United States. I then remained with him until our team was confident that he had established himself and was free from the interference of any government.
Whilst Edward Snowden is safe and protected until his asylum visa is due to be renewed in nine months’ time, there is still much work to be done. The battle Snowden joined against state surveillance and for government transparency is one that WikiLeaks – and many others – have been fighting, and will continue to fight.
WikiLeaks’ battles are many: we fight against unaccountable power and government secrecy, publishing analysis and documents for all affected and to forever provide the public with the history that is theirs. For this, we are fighting legal cases in many jurisdictions and face an unprecedented Grand Jury investigation in the United States. WikiLeaks continues to fight for the protection of sources. We have won the battle for Snowden’s immediate future, but the broader war continues.
Already, in the few days I have spent in Germany, it is heartening to see the people joining together and calling for their government to do what must be done – to investigate NSA spying revelations, and to offer Edward Snowden asylum. The United States should no longer be able to continue spying on every person around the globe, or persecuting those that speak the truth.
Snowden is currently safe in Russia, but there are whistleblowers and sources to whom this does not apply. Chelsea Manning has been subject to abusive treatment by the United States government and is currently serving a 35-year sentence for exposing the true nature of war. Jeremy Hammond is facing a decade in a New York jail for allegedly providing journalists with documents that exposed corporate surveillance. I hope I have shown a counter example: with the right assistance whistleblowers can speak the truth and keep their liberty.
Aggressive tactics are being used against journalists, publishers and experts who work so courageously to bring truth to the world. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum are all in effective exile. Barrett Brown is indicted for reporting on unethical surveillance practices. My editor Julian Assange has asylum over US threats, but the United Kingdom refuses to allow him to fully exercise this right, violating the law. The UK government also detained David Miranda under the UK Terrorism Act for collaborating with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.
The UK Terrorism Act defines terrorism as the action or threat of action “designed to influence” any government “for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause”. It prescribes actions that interfere with the functioning of an “electronic system” (i.e. the NSA’s bulk spying program) or which the government alleges create a “risk” to a section of the public. It should be fanciful to suggest that national security journalism which has the purpose of producing honest government or enforcing basic privacy rights should be called “terrorism”, but that is how the UK is choosing to interpret this law. Almost every story published on the GCHQ and NSA bulk spying programs falls under the UK government’s interpretation of the word “terrorism”. In response, our lawyers have advised me that it is not safe to return home.
The job of the press is to speak truth to power. And yet for doing our job we are persecuted. I say that these aggressive and illegal tactics to silence us – inventing arbitrary legal interpretations, over-zealous charges and disproportionate sentences – must not be permitted to succeed. I stand in solidarity with all those intimidated and persecuted for bringing the truth to the public.
In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution – transparency. If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.
When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged. When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it.
Courage is contagious.
Sarah Harrison, Wednesday 6 November 2013, Berlin