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Friday, February 21, 2014

Edward Snowden | Chelsea Manning receives Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence


           

Dear Reader,  
   
Edward Snowden addresses the Oxford Union as part of the Sam Adams awards ceremony on February 19th, 2014. 

The Sam Adams Award is given annually by the Sam Adams Associates 
for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers, to intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. 

It is named after Samuel A. Adams, a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War, and takes the physical form of a "corner-brightener candlestick". 


This address was poorly-filmed and-lit by the Oxford Union, which often hosts the Sam Adams Awards ceremonies. 

Unfortunately, Snowden was not even mic'ed, with only the distant camera's "shotgun mic" recording his statements.

In his address, Snowden is basically lauding Chelsea Manning for her 
statements about the growing trend of "over-classification" of information and documents. Indeed, many of the diplomatic cables released by Manning had "Secret" clearances (the lowest level of classification), which were largely unwarranted. 

Snowden points out that over-classification leads to a breakdown in the ability of the public to appropriately respond to suppressed war crimes, such as those also revealed by Manning and for engaged citizens to make their views known about the actions being done in their names and with their Tax Dollars; at the ballot box, etc.

Snowden also points out that this trend of over-classification in not simply endemic to the US - but that other governments, such 
as that of Australia - have absurdly classified things like the price of shrimp and other commodities from Indonesia, as a matter of 
"National Security." 

Snowden's concluding statements here, in his comments about Chelsea Manning's humanitarian contributions, meriting her receipt of the Sam Adams Award are: 

"The distinguishing strength of a democracy is self-correction; that no matter bad things get, the public, in partnership with a free press, can detect and correct mistakes of policy...by well-intentioned but misguided officials. It is this self-correcting, self-determining part of an unapologetically American form of government, in which Chelsea Manning so valuably participated. 

And it is for this extraordinary act of public service, at an unbelievable personal cost, for which we grant this award and our moral sanction to Chelsea Manning. Thank you."

Snowden, who received this same award last year is considered a fugitive by American authorities, who in June 2013 charged him 
with Espionage and Theft of Government Property. 

In early 2014, numerous media outlets and politicians issued calls for leniency in the form of clemency, amnesty or pardon, while others called for him to be imprisoned or killed. 

He lives in an undisclosed location in Russia and, according to German politician, Hans-Christian Stroebele, continues to seek 
permanent asylum "in a 'democratic' country" such as Germany or France. 


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At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

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