Jesselyn Radack  National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project

US Continues to "Attempt" to “Get” Edward Snowden/Greenberg  - Part 1

Download audio file  14 January, 07:12

Recently information was being spread that Edward Snowden had 1.7 million files detailing current and ongoing US military operations around the world. After a little digging and some phone calls it became clear that the 1.7 million claim is false as is the military operations claim. After investigating the claim and going right to the source, a legal advisor in close contact with Mr. Snowden and the journalists releasing the Snowden revelations, it became apparent the false information leaked by the US Government was an attempt to damage Mr. Snowden and his relationship with Russia. Snowden’s legal advisor Jesselyn Radack told the Voice of Russia’s John Robles that the actual number of files was 55,000 and that it was the first time she had heard that they pertain to military and JSOC operations. Ms. Radack said it was a campaign against Mr. Snowden as were recent claims of an asylum request sent to Brazil. Edward Snowden is acclimating to his new home in Russia and is grateful to have asylum from Russia and is not attempting to go to another country.

This is John Robles. You are listening to part 1 of an interview with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project. She is also a legal advisor for Edward Snowden. You can find the next part of this interview on our website at Voice of Russia dot com.

Robles: Hello, Jesselyn, it is a pleasure to be speaking with you.

Radack: Thank you for having me.

Robles: Listen, I'd like to get your information, what can you tell us about a reported 1.7 million files that Edward Snowden is said to have that relate to current and ongoing US military operations.

Radack: Well, in terms of 1.7 million number, I've seen that a couple of times and it is coming from the government. And as far as I know Mr. Snowden, according to the journalists who received the documents, the number is really 55,000. I'm not sure if that refers to 55,000 pages or files, but the number is far less than 1.7 million. And this is a first time I have heard that 1.7 million pertain to military documents, ongoing military operations, JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) and things of that nature.

Robles: I see. Are you aware of the contents of the remaining files and can you give us some sort of an assessment maybe on possible damage if everything was released?

Radack: I'm not aware of the content of the remaining files and I'm not worried about any damage resulting because the documents were all given to respectable journalists here in the US who have been carefully writing these articles and running them by the government for approval before they are released.

One of the journalists Barton Gellman said he ran every story by the government and pretty much took out whatever the government wanted removed.

So, it doesn't seem to me that there is a real harm to national security.

Whenever they talk about it, they talk about there could be or might be or would be in the future tense “maybe” a harm but so far there has been no harm and disclosures have been coming out for 6 months now.

Robles: Right. They've been embarrassing I think but affecting national security..I myself haven't seen anything that would cause anyone to lose lives or anything like that but embarrassment, I would say – yeah..I didn't know that they were all being vetted by the government themselves?

Radack: Most of the journalists, as far as I know, call up the government before they write the stories and tell the government what they are writing about and ask the government to respond and if the government sees something that it absolutely thinks would cause harm they will negotiate with the reporter and Barton Gellman, who has been one of the major journalists publishing these things, says he has never left in anything that the government objected to.

Robles: How do you feel about that regarding the fourth estate? Do you think it is proper that the government is vetting everything?

Radack: For me I think in the past journalists have given too much deference to government claims of national security harm, but the US government has lost a lot of credibility on “crying wolf when really there have been plenty of articles, for example the warrantless wiretapping article from 2005 which the government asked the New York Times to hold which it did for more than a year and then published. And there was no difference, it wasn't like anything got harmed other than the NSA's reputation. And evidence said they were engaging in illegal surveillance.

Robles: Have you seen any harm done by Mr. Snowden's revelations at all?

Radack: I've seen no harm done by his revelations. The government has said: “Oh well, these techniques are now known to terrorists, they know we are spying on them”.

But I can assure everybody that the terrorists already knew that the US was spying on them. I haven't seen any information (concrete evidentiary information) that evidences any harm caused by Mr. Snowden.

Robles: You were dealing with..

Radack: I was with the Justice Department and I was a legal ethics advisor. Before Guantanamo became a fixture, I was involved in a case of the first person captured in the war with Afghanistan and that person happened to be an American. And because of his case that in part inspired the US government to create the black hole otherwise known as Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo, to avoid having to try accused alleged terrorists in an actual real court.

Robles: I'd like to ask your opinion on Guantanamo since it was the 12th anniversary yesterday in a minute, but you as an insider in the US government, I don't know if you are willing to give a statement or say anything about reported collusion between Al Qaeda, which was of course begun to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, what about current collusion between Al Qaeda and the US government and terrorist groups? Can you comment on that at all?

Radack: I'm no longer with the government, I can't comment on that.

I know over the years there have been different agreements for example whereby the US, up until 9-11 (4 months before 9-11) had been supporting the Taliban. And then about 4 months prior to 9-11 stopped supporting the Taliban. But other than that I don't know about collusion, I can't comment on that.

Robles: Do you find it interesting, that the Taliban are going to come back in a power in Afghanistan. And the biggest result of almost a 13-year-occupation is a 40 fold increase in the opium production in Afghanistan?

Radack: Yes, I find that ironic and tragic and something that could have been avoided if the US had not been such a warmonger after 9-11 and that means totally pointless and useless wars, that they have only made the predicate for going to war, namely terrorism, more of a threat rather than less.

Robles: What would you say… for example to Iraq veterans, for example, Fallujah just fell to Al Qaeda, I mean a lot of US veterans are really upset because they were giving their lives, they were risking their lives, they saw their comrades die for Fallujah and now it all seems kind of pointless. Would you like to comment on that?

Radack: I think they are right to be upset because they were lied into a war in which they served dutifully and got certain results but the Iraq war was a war that was based on lies. And now we are seeing the fruit of those lies come to bear. I sympathize with the men and women in uniform, whenever they risked their lives and in some cases gave their lives based on a lie…

Just a reminder you are listening to an interview with Jesselyn Radack.

Robles: And nobody will ever be prosecuted or held accountable for those lies, will they?

Radack: No, no one has been, or will be, prosecuted for lying to the country to get us into the invasion and occupation of Iraq. No one will be punished for all of the mass illegal unconstitutional surveillance that has been going on of the US by the NSA, which has been spying on the US and the entire world. No one will be held accountable, in fact the only person in whom the US has expressed interest in punishing is Mr. Snowden.

Robles: Right, and every whistleblower who has tried to expose the illegality. Back to Mr. Snowden if we could. Since you are his advisor and I understand you were here in Moscow not long ago you were a part of the group that awarded him an award for his work. Can you tell us about that a little bit?

Radack: Sure. I went over as part of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence to present that very award to him.

He was fine, that was in October. He seemed to be doing well and acclimating to his new home in Russia and was grateful to have asylum from Russia and he was learning Russian and reading Russian history, trying to fit in to his new home.

He seemed fine and well and I communicate with him regularly and he continues to be doing fine. And it was a very nice trip to be able to make and see him in person and meet him in person. He is lovely, smart, grounded, visionary individual and I think we are all thankful that he has safe asylum right now in Russia where he is protected from a lot of people who would like to harm him.

Robles: Regarding that, I don't know if you could comment, my view is that only a couple of countries in the world would be able to protect him, right? I think one is Russia, the other is China. Why was he trying to get to Brazil? Can you explain that? Because that had a lot of people wondering what was going on.

Radack: I think he wasn't trying to get to Brazil, he wrote letters to both Germany and to Brazil, open letters for the public to read.

And I think the US intentionally misconstrued those letters as being petitions for asylum in exchange for information which they absolutely were not.

Anyone with their own two eyes can read the letters, they are public and nowhere no letter does he say “I want asylum and in exchange I will give you information”. Nothing of the sort. I think the American government painted it that way in order to try to upset Russia basically and make them upset with him.

Robles: They did a very good job actually because that's the reports we had, that was what was going on everywhere that he was actually ready to exchange this information with the German Parliament (the Bundestag) and the Brazilian government in order for them to give him asylum.

Radack: That is not accurate. And the letters… I'm not familiar enough with your Internet access but the letters at least here in America and around Europe are public and anybody can read them.

Most people have not bothered to read them because they just have heard the exchange. And I think that the reason they were painted that way by the American government was number one: Russia would get upset and number two; so that American politicians could call him a traitor. Because he is offering to sell or trade information in exchange for asylum. And therefore they can accuse him of being a traitor and of committing treason.

That was purely for the government's own convenience to try to pigeonhole him into the Espionage Act law under which he is being prosecuted, a law that is meant to go after spies, not whistleblowers which is a completely inappropriate for Mr. Snowden.

Robles: But that is wonderful for you to say, I'm going to repeat that, I'm going get it out there and to be honest with you, I'm on the Internet a lot, I think I'm pretty “with the curve” on most things and those letters were not available here, I can tell you that. I know a lot of stuff especially since his revelations came out, our Internet here seems to be working very strangely, e-mail and all kinds of stuff. It is not what it was even a year ago.

Radack: I apologize to the Russian people for any misinformation that US propaganda has caused, because again, they’re just out to try to do anything they can to paint Mr. Snowden as a traitor and someone who committed treason and who should be prosecuted for espionage. And at the same time they do anything they can to interfere in his relationship with the Russian government and so I apologize to the Russian people for that.

Robles: Unbelievable, I don't think you should do that. It is not your responsibility, but thank you. And I'm sure the Russian people love you for saying that.

That was the end part 1 of an interview with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project. She is also a legal advisor for Edward Snowden. Thank you very much for listening and I wish you the best wherever in the world you may be.

Important Direct Warning: "Regarding Snowden: US Lies and Lies and Lies" Part Two

Download audio file  18 January, 2014 09:25

According to dozens of independent sources and principals close to the Edward Snowden affair the US Government and its proxies and agents are continuing their campaign against Edward Snowden and have on multiple occasions either released or distorted information which has appeared in the media and has been designed to damage his relationship with the Russian Federation. Recent reports that Mr. Snowden had one point seven million files that detailed current military operations were a complete fabrication and an attempt to continue to persecute Mr. Snowden and portray him as a super spy, traitor rather than a planted fake whistleblower. Jessylyn Raddack, former US Justice Department whistleblower and Edward Snowden’s legal advisor spoke to the Voice of Russia’s John Robles and discussed these issues and more.

This is John Robles. You are listening to part 2 of an interview with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project in the United States. She is also a legal advisor for Edward Snowden.

Robles: If we can, back to the revelations now. So, it would appear that this 1.7 million files story is also not really legitimate and the fact that there is ongoing JSOC operations and stuff that maybe compromised by some of the information, you would say that is unfounded, right?

Radack: I would say the 1.7 million number materialized out of nowhere. In fact, I don't know how the government, the US government, came up with that considering they have admitted they don't know how much information he took – number one. Number two – even if in that information there happened to be something about military activities, no journalist is going to publish anything about troop movements or military plans or anything like that. That is why Mr. Snowden gave those documents to journalists, so that they could carefully go through them and only print what is in the public interest to know.

Robles: What about our agent names, names of agents and sources? That was another concern.

Radack: Again, I don't think those are among those documents. But even if they were, journalists are never going to compromise an undercover agents' identity. We have a law against that in the US called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. And even though the US has exposed names of undercover agents to Hollywood so that they can make films, glamorizing certain things: the capture of bin Laden. The only person to be convicted of that is another whistleblower John Kiriakou, who confirmed to a journalist the name of a torturer.

Robles: Ok. I'm sure that was not Mr. Snowden's intention in the first place and it seems to me that that would be another way to get him on some sort of treason charge, right? I mean, if he was exposing agents.

Radack: If he exposed agents, they would add an Intelligence Identities Protection Act charge against him. Again, only two people in the US have been convicted under that law ever. And I seriously doubt given the organization with which journalist Glenn Greenwald described in Rolling Stone magazine about how Mr. Snowden had organized these files, it sounds like he was out to reveal US surveillance, not to unmask undercover agents of an agency he used to work for.

Robles: Right, sure. Well, as I understood, I mean what he said, he saw a world where everything was being scooped up and pried into, and he didn't want to be a part of it, if I remember that. And that sounds completely legitimate and above board and noble to expose something like that, in my opinion.

Radack: I agree. And also if you look at this whole scandal, over and over and over again the US has lied and lied and lied even before Congress on camera, under oath. And Mr. Snowden has not. Mr. Snowden has told the truth, the US government has lied over and over and over again and every week we have a new rumor, we have to try to quash that the US puts out.

Robles: Now, listen, you just said a very interesting phrase a minute ago. I was wondering if you could expand on it. You said ‘the capture of Osama bin Laden'.

Radack: I probably misspoke, as far as I know they just killed him.

Robles: Ok, you misspoke there, ok. Because there is a lot of people wondering if he is actually dead, I mean why was there never ever any evidence produced that he was actually killed. This goes back to a lot of people who knew about his CIA codename of Osman, that he was just brought in from the Cold or something, and I don't know, ok, anyway.

There is a war going on, I think you would agree and I think you've said that in the last few months, on journalists and whistleblowers. I don't know if you watched the hearings that the Guardian had to face before the UK Parliament, did you see those?

Radack: Yes, a travesty.

Robles: Can you comment on those and this war on journalists and whistleblowers, please if you would?

Radack: I think it is completely frightening in any kind of democracy to have a war on whistleblowers, which is also a backdoor way of being a war on journalists and having people from the Guardian have to answer for committing journalism was a spectacle. It was ridiculous and it was scary that Rusbridger had to describe how the Police came and made him smash hard drives, as if that would really work knowing that the information was housed in a number of other locations and just the whole over … just the heavy handiness of making him comment and answer questions about doing exactly what investigative journalists are supposed to be doing.

Robles: Right, I like that phrase you just said – 'committing journalism'. I thought I was outrageous when, I forgot the MP’s name, and he says: 'Do you love your country’, he asks him. What is that about?

Radack: Exactly. Yeah, I mean by whistleblowers, whistleblowers' attorneys, journalists get that ‘are you patriotic’? I think he was asked if he was patriotic, and if he loved his country. And of course he does, just as Mr Snowden does. Mr Snowden loves the US, he is a patriotic individual. Ultimately, sure he would like to come back to the US if the conditions were right. He did what he did to help the US and save it from becoming a complete surveillance state and to try to rein in a lot of this unconstitutional spying that NSA has been doing on its own people, in the US and on the entire world.

Robles: Now Jesselyn, do you think, is this going to reel them in at all? They opened up that new data center in Utah and it seems like they are just expanding. Have you seen any movement?

Radack: Well, I don't know. That maybe put on hold, the President will give his views on January 17. But it doesn't stop there, because Congress also has 24 bills, yeah,some two dozen bills in front of it to rein in these programs and judges are finally after being blocked for 12 years are finally hearing these cases and also calling the programs likely unconstitutional.

The government is trying to strike a deal on data storage by having the telephone companies do it. But I don't think they want to be the repository of this information. And I don't think the courts are going to allow and I don't think Congress is going to allow the metadata collection and storage program to continue. So, I think there will be an empty building hopefully in the middle of Utah.

Robles: Hopefully.

Radack: Unfortunately, I have to run.

Robles: Can I ask you one last question really quick about Mr Snowden? As his legal advisor, what have you been advising him? I mean, as far as staying Russia. What is going on with him currently? How is he feeling?

Radack: I think he understands, he is staying in Russia and that his temporary asylum expires in 7 months and he hopes that will be renewed for another year or into a permanent asylum because he is safe there and he knows that.

Robles: Well I'm sure, as long as the danger exists it will be renewed. And I'm sure the threat to his safety from the US government will not change unless there is a complete and total revolution in the United States and the entire government is changed. So I think he will be here for a while. I'm almost 100% certain the Russian government would never revoke his asylum unless, of course, he crosses a border.

Radack: Right, of course. And I'm glad to hear you say that. And the Russian Attorney Anatoly Kucherena said the same thing that they were glad to have him and in the end I'm so glad to hear that that is something that can be continued, it really heartens me. And I'm sure Mr Snowden is quite grateful for it too.

That was the end of an interview with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project.

From probable cause to a hunch: illegal American surveillance - Part One

July 14 2013

As the United States Government and its leader Obama bring out the sledgehammer and go after Edward Snowden for exposing even more illegal activities and crimes being committed by the government, shedding light on illegality which has raged like a wildfire destroying and infecting every institution of the American Government like a caner since 9-11, Jesselyn Radack, one of the first truth-seekers who was a victim of the criminal cabal that has taken over Washington, spoke to John Robles about the Snowden case, whistleblowers and the entire illegal surveillance state, one that would make George Orwell weep.

Hello, this is John Robles. I’m speaking to Jesselyn Radack, she is the National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project.

Robles: Hello, Jesselyn. How are you?

Radack: I’m fine and thank you for having me.

Robles: Thanks for agreeing to speak with us on such short notice. Can you tell us a little bit about what is going on right now in the U.S. with whistleblowers? Why the extreme crackdown on people who are fighting for justice and accountability?

Radack: Whistleblowers are government employees, usually, who expose fraud, waste, abuse and illegality. And President Obama entered office pledging to protect whistleblowers and, unfortunately, he has led the most vicious crackdown in history on whistleblowers using the espionage act (one of the most serious charges that can be leveled against an American) to go after people who have revealed information that is of interest to the public, but that has, unfortunately, embarrassed the government, or worse yet, exposed its illegality.

Robles: Bradley Manning, those revelations, they exposed huge crimes by the government. Why has the U.S. government not gone after those responsible for these crimes, and has gone after the whistleblowers?

Radack: In terms of why they haven’t gone after the people who perpetrated torture and secret surveillance and war crimes, Obama takes a posture of “We’re gonna look forward, not backwards”. But with whistleblowers, they have gone after them in most heavy-handed of ways.

I think the reason for this is that once you’re in power, as opposed to being a candidate, once you are in power: power has a corrupting influence. I think when Obama came into office people saw him as weak on National Security and Intelligence. So he very much was trying to please those communities. And those communities for years have wanted to go after people they perceive as leakers.

I think it was a backdoor way for Obama to criminalize journalism and to go after journalists, because journalists appear in every one of these criminal indictments and it has been a way to create a bad legal precedent for going after journalists. And I think in reality it has functioned as a backdoor way to an Official Secrets Act which we have lived without for 200 years in this country and which is antithetical to a free and open democratic society.

It has a lot of people perplexed, and a lot of people worried. Yet to the extent that people are worried the government plays on their fears and continues to engage in fear-mongering by saying: “We are doing this to protect you and to help you.”

So there are a number of civil liberties infringements that have occurred since 9-11, that have been cleverly disguised as things that will protect us and keep us safe. When the point of fact: they only serve to invade our privacy and curtail our civil liberties.

Robles: Can you give us some examples for some of our international listeners?

Radack: Sure. In the examples are: Airport Security Theatre, where people have to take off their shoes and can’t carry anything more than 3 ounces and have to have their bodies x-rayed. It’s a bit extreme and hasn’t been shown to have prevented a single terrorist attack, in fact it does not do anything but harass American travelers.

You know, all Americans, I think, are willing to give up a certain degree of privacy, but they certainly haven’t consented to have all of their personal electronic information, all of their electronic data: phone calls, e-mails, text messages, monitored by the government.

Again, it’s a complete anathema to a democracy. They are infringements, I mean for example: every time a car enters Washington D.C. a photo is taken of its license plate, which sounds harmless, but it’s creepy after a while.

Some of this stuff is just not what you do in a democracy. The monitoring that goes of people in terms of geo-locating them through their I-Phones and a lot of this has been done in secret.

Some of it is overt and you can see how silly it is, like the airport security measures, that come and go and every time there is a terrorist attacker like: “Well, the shoe bomber! Okay! Now we’re going to make everybody take off their shoes!”

What do you when you have the underwear bomber? Are going to make everyone take off their underwear? I mean there’s a sort of a knee-jerk reaction but also the harvesting of information and trying to lessen people’s privacy in a number of different spheres has been a result of this.

I myself was on the no-fly list for a number of years, because I had spoken out in favor, I mean I was a lawyer, I was an ethics advisor, who had revealed that our first capture in the war on terrorism, the so-called “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, should have a lawyer and because of that, because I made that publicly known, I ended up being punished severely, by being made the subject of federal criminal investigation, referred to the agencies that licensed me to be an attorney and put on the no-fly list.

Well, that does nothing to keep America safe. It does everything to try make an example of me to other people to not say anything against the government. And, unfortunately, the farther away we move from 9-11 the less things like that would happen, but when it comes to people who dissent, and who speak out, or God help you, if reveal information that embarrasses the U.S. or expose crimes it’s committing.

They are now prosecuting people and doing so under the Espionage Act and these people face the rest of their lives in jail. So one of them Mr. Snowden who was ordered to go into another country, in the land of free speech, a citizen feels he has to go to another country to make revelations about the government wrongdoing.

And then the president launches a worldwide manhunt that maybe would have been appropriate for Osama Bin Laden, but against a whistleblower. You know, that is behaving in an authoritarian, imperialist kind of way, not like a democracy.

Robles: They have just completely gone over the top with Snowden. What is so damning about his revelations? Why is the U.S. government so ready to… for example: threatening countries all over the world? They diverted the aircraft of a sovereign leader. Why the reaction? Basically, what I’ve read, what I’ve heard about Mr. Snowden’s revelations; it’ something we all thought was going on anyway, of course, it’s worse than most people thought…

Radack: Well, most of the people in the U.S. don’t think that the U.S. is monitoring hundreds of millions of its own citizens who are suspected of no wrongdoing.

What should have happened and what happened initially, for the first couple of days, is people were up-in-arms, they were like: “What is going on? This is totally inappropriate!” Because again, that’s another thing, they’ve lowered the standard they do need to monitor someone from probable cause, to probable suspicion, to reasonable suspicion, to maybe you have a hunch. They might be doing something bad, to practically nothing. And people have issues with that.

He’s coming down so hard on Snowden and on Manning because they have revealed major illegality, and war crimes being committed by the government of the United States and obviously the president wanted to make examples of people like my client Thomas Drake, the first of the Espionage Act prosecutions. Manning cam, I think he was like the 4th and then now with Snowden.

Really it’s embarrassing and it’s deplorable that the U.S. is engaged in this overkill. They go after someone who basically revealed what are actually big illegalities in America. We have numerous laws that say you cannot spy domestically between two people, within the nation, you can spy on foreigners, but not for domestic communication.

Robles: They’ve legalized extrajudicial executions so I mean this shouldn’t be surprising.

Radack: It shouldn’t be I mean there is a lot of stuff… There are also a lot Americans who are also apoplectic about drones and about the United States, and the president, one person advocating to himself the power to play prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner of anyone on the planet. That’s a huge problem coming from a country that purports to believe in due process.

And I think because of the government being the ones who have the microphone, we don’t realize, people in other countries may not realize that when Venezuela granted asylum the first day a number of people in a bar broke out cheering, and that 55% of Americans believe that Snowden is a whistleblower. And this is total overkill and it’s desperate on the part of the United States and we look at best extremely inept and foolish and at worst we look like the bully that we are behaving like.

You were listening to an interview with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, you can find part 2 on our website at Thanks for listening and I wish you the best!

Pre-fascist America: We’re losing the Republic - Part Two

Published by VOR on July 17 2013

When Obama came in to office he said he was not going to look at all the crime that had been committed during the past four years. It was like a “Pact with the Devil”. Yet Obama did look back, at the people who exposed the crimes, not at the lawbreakers themselves. In part two of an interview with the VoR Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, spoke about those matters and discussed the case of Edward Snowden. She said it’s of no import that the U.S. government has said he is not a whistleblower. The criminals cannot classify the person who has uncovered them.

Regarding the unprecedented way the U.S. has gone after Snowden Jesselyn said: “Under international law it’s definitely illegal, for the persecuting country, in this case the U.S., to be pressuring the countries of refuge to deny or expel the person to whom asylum has been granted. The world sees how silly and ridiculous it is that President Obama continues to launch a worldwide manhunt for someone who has already been granted asylum by five countries!”

You are listening to an interview in progress with Jesselyn Radack, the National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project. You can find the previous parts to this interview on our website at

Robles: What about the leadership in the U.S., isn’t there anyone in the government, senators or anybody, who wants to bring back some sort of concept of legality or accountability?

Radack: Yes, there have been a group… There was a group of 26 members of Congress who said that they wanted to engage in debate and have a hearing about this and found this behavior ridiculous, but unfortunately since 9-11 Congress has been pretty much going along with everything that the presidents, both Bush and Obama, want and most of Congress is actually not informed.

So with the people who… For example, like with the latest, with the NSA programs, there were only about eight members of Congress read into these programs, and a couple of Congressmen, like Congressman Udall and Senators Udall and Wyden, said over and over that: “If Americans knew what was being done under these secret legal interpretations, they would be outraged!”

But no one knew what that was until Mr. Snowden came along, and “Hell Hath No Fury” like the kind of militarized, corporatized, industrial surveillance complex we’ve turned into. We are not behaving like a democracy at all. It’s, like I said, it’s embarrassing. It’s horribly embarrassing at best and it’s completely frightening and illegal at worst.

Robles: What would you characterize the U.S. system right now as being? I have asked this to several Constitutional Lawyers, experts and stuff. Would you call it a Fascist State, or a Corporate Fascist State, or something different?

Radack: I think we’re on the road to Fascism.

Someone from East Germany said: “You know, we are a post-fascist state and you guys are pre-fascist state and you don’t even realize it is happening.”

Unfortunately, that is the way we have been behaving and certainly the checks and balances that have worked for better or worse, I mean, they have worked, not perfectly but, for 200 years, the better part of 200 years, they have worked reasonably well; now they are completely thrown of whack.

The courts have been prevented from hearing cases challenging the worst abuses, like torture and drones and secrete monitoring, because the Government comes in and asserts a State Secrets Privilege.

The Congress has basically been kowtowing to whatever the president wants, or they’re being lied too also, I mean I should say “also”, they’re being lied to for example by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who got caught in a blatant lie, and all he did was write a letter saying “I said the least untrue thing possible”.

Robles: The “least untrue thing”?!

Radack: The “least untrue thing I could”! He ended up writing a letter of apology for not being clear when he completely lied.

We just… In the wake of Snowden revelations, have one person after another, we’ve had three major top people in the FBI and the Director of Intelligence and the Attorney General. All, basically, lie to Congress with impunity. There is no kind of “Contempt of Congress” or real kind of accountability there.

I feel like unfortunately, that lack of accountability has been going on since the Bush Administration.

When Obama came in to office he said he was going to look forward, not backwards, at all the crime that had been committed during the past four years. And that was like a pact with the devil, because if you just ignore past crimes, we’re going to continue to commit crimes and he actually has shown that he is willing to look back, at the people who exposed the crimes, not at lawbreakers themselves.

Robles: Now, Mr. Snowden made… He had a press conference there in the airport, at Sheremetyevo, it’s not too far from me, and I found it interesting that U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul called one of the human rights workers from Human Rights Watch to tell her – and I’m sure it was… It “seemed” like some sort of warning – that Mr Snowden was not a whistleblower, but a criminal.

Radack: Well… You know what? The government doesn’t get to decide who is a whistleblower. Why would it be up to the lawbreaker to determine whether the person revealing their crimes… Whether it’s legal?

The government always says so-and-so is not a whistleblower. They said that about Tom Drake who they now have also conceded is a whistleblower.

You become a whistleblower; you don’t need the government face to “Bless it”. You become a whistleblower by operation of law, by disclosing fraud, waste, abuse or illegality, which is exactly what Mr. Snowden did. And it’s of no import that the government has said he is not a whistleblower.

Robles: Isn’t this kind of interference illegal? I mean the way they’ve been trying to interfere with Mr. Snowden’s requests for asylum, etc.?

Radack: Yes. Under international law it’s definitely illegal, for the persecuting country, in this case the U.S., to be pressuring the countries of refuge to deny or expel the person to whom asylum has been granted.

It’s completely inappropriate. That’s exactly what is happening here and again it’s really over the top. It’s really… it’s kind of this culmination of this war on information, that has been going on in America over the past 13 years since 9-11. And we have behaving in this abominable, embarrassing, deplorable way.

The President is literally driven to distraction by leaks, so-called “leaks”, which I consider most often are disclosures about wrongdoing by his government. And I think right now the world sees how transparent this is, and how silly and ridiculous it is that President Obama continues to go with… To launch a worldwide manhunt for someone who has already been granted asylum by five countries.

Robles: The lunacy of it! I mean, you would think… “The leader of a democratic country, he discovers somebody is committing war crimes, he would say: .’Whoa! We’ve got to go after those people!’“ Or someone is defrauding the government, for example, or, the NSA is spying on everybody. What happened to rule-of-law and morals in the U.S.?

Radack: Well, we got lied to. In terms of our current elected leader, we thought he was going to be “Hope and Change”, from the quite lawless Bush Administration and instead he has been more of the same and even worse.

Robles: Even worse!

Radack: Even worse. Instead of torturing people they’re just going to “Drone” them from the face of the Earth.

Instead of intimidating whistleblowers, we’re going to actually try to put them in jail for espionage. So, it’s a very scary place and I think a lot of people feel we’re losing the Republic. And we may be “too far gone”, I hope that’s not true, but it’s certainly something that people are worried about.

The Fourth Estate in the US is not working – Jesselyn Radack Part 3

Published by VOR on July 17 2013  Download audio file

The United States is in a delicate perilous place right now after Obama’s reelection, but the people reelected him because the options were worse. What can Americans do? The only way to bring about change in the US is to convene a new “Church Committee” and keep talking, writing and dissenting, on international media because in the U.S. the Fourth Estate is broken and the media only repeats government talking points. This and more was underlined in an interview for the VoR with Jessylyn Radack, probably the very first whistleblower to suffer at the hands of the US Government in the post 9-11 world.

Robles: The lunacy of it! I mean, you would think… “The leader of a democratic country, he discovers somebody is committing war crimes, he would say: .’Whoa! We’ve got to go after those people!’“ Or someone is defrauding the government, for example, or, the NSA is spying on everybody. What happened to rule-of-law and morals in the U.S.?

Radack: Well, we got lied to. In terms of our current elected leader, we thought he was going to be “Hope and Change”, from the quite lawless Bush Administration and instead he has been more of the same and even worse.

Robles: Even worse!

Radack: Even worse. Instead of torturing people they’re just going to “Drone” them from the face of the Earth.

Instead of intimidating whistleblowers, we’re going to actually try to put them in jail for espionage. So, it’s a very scary place and I think a lot of people feel we’re losing the Republic. And we may be “too far gone”, I hope that’s not true, but it’s certainly something that people are worried about.

Robles: What would you say is the root of the problem?

Radack: I think the root of the problem is: during national security crisis the United States has always tended to give up some liberties to keep people safe but often it’s very wrong-headed. For example, interning Japanese people, we look back historically and realize that was a terrible mistake. We look back at the Alien and Sedition Acts that existed early during the last century.

But I think after 9-11 the pendulum swung in the direction of greater constraints on people and infringing civil liberties, but it never swung back, to some place of equipoise, instead it just swung even further, further away from American ideals.

And we elected a president who had promised to rein it back in - all of these excesses and all of these out-of-control practices that were occurring in our country. But that hasn't happened. We were sold a “Bill of Goods” and then, unfortunately, reelected that person, because the alternative could have been even worse.

Robles: Right.

Radack: So we really need to take a path of correction and the only way I see that happening would be if Congress convened something akin to the Church Committee, it’s called the Church Committee that they had after the abuses of President Nixon, to really examine this closely, but I don't think the political will is there.

Congress seems unable or unwilling to do actual oversight. So unless things turn around, we are going to lose this country, at least as a democracy. And it makes it all the more absurd that we keep going to other countries, and preaching democracy when we’ve had the worst crackdown on Free Expression in this country that we've seen a long time.

Robles: It seems to me and to a lot of people that the U.S. government was taken over by some faction. Some people would say, "Ah, that’s a conspiracy theory!" What would you say to that charge?

Radack: I would say, yeah, I mean, it's definitely turned into a military congressional surveillance corporate industrial complex. I mean those are the interests that have taken over.

Corporate America has huge amount of power and the military has a huge amount of power. And these factions have entrenched to themselves. We have an entire secret city in Virginia. The defense budget has been about 1/5 of the entire U.S. budget, which is enormous.

And I feel like those corporate and militarized, with congressional help, that those industries control everything from elections to policies. And that this was supposed to be a country governed by the people, “By the People for the People”. And instead it's being governed by corporate interests and banks and people who control a lot of the money, and a lot of the corporate interests and a lot of military interests, not by the people at all.

In fact, the people are being shut out. It used to be that the work of the government was open and your personal life was private. And now it's totally inverted. Our private lives are public fodder and the work of the government is secret.

Robles: What would your advice be to Mr. Snowden? Do you think he made the right decision to leave the United States? What do you think would happen if he went back? And what kind of future, if you see any, for Mr. Snowden at this point?

Radack: I think he made the right decision to do exactly what he did, because I represented NSA whistleblowers who went through all the proper channels. And it accomplished nothing, but more than that, it backfired and they ended up getting prosecuted for it.

I think Mr. Snowden made the right decision. I think the best advice would be to go ahead and move forward, he accepted the asylum offers, to find himself a safe place in a safe country to live in.

If he had come back here, the President already said, they've already charged him with espionage so he would be spending the rest of his life in jail, I can say with certainty.

Robles: Do you think he’d get the death penalty?

Radack: If they added a treason charge, that would make it death-eligible. He could, depending on where the case got tried, but yes that is a definite possibility.

Robles: Anything else you would like to finish up with? Maybe I forgot something or… ?

Radack: No I think you got it all, it’s a very ugly, ugly story. And now we just keep making it worse. Our President can't help himself. Like I said, he's just obsessed.

Robles: Everybody thought he was going to change something. Nobody can criticize him, because of the color of his skin or they are branded "racist". He pretty much neutralized the entire left and the liberal side of the spectrum. Do you think that was by design?

Radack: It’s hard for me to know what is going on for him I really have no idea why he's behaved… if his campaign was a lie or if he changed his mind or … I really don't know actually how he lives with himself. I can’t answer that question because it doesn’t make any sense, I don’t know why.

Robles: It just seems like he had no real political capital himself, he had no real political base. And then all of the sudden he's the president. He shut up a very large part of the population that was getting upset with Bush and he's done things even worse.

Radack: I agree! I agree completely. But, unfortunately, now he's backed us into a corner because the opposition candidates, the fear was that they could be even worse than Obama. So people voted for him again. We are really… Our country is really in a delicate perilous place right now because of all of this.

Robles: Any advice for people who want to bring about change?

Radack: Yes, keep writing, keep talking, keep dissenting. Keep talking using international outlets more.

I, instead of trying to even get stuff published here anymore, I will just write something and try to get it put in the Guardian, or giving interviews like this, because Al-Jazeera, the international community: Al-Jazeera, Russian TV, NT, TNT-24 the Spanish language TV they've all been far more receptive to hearing a different side to the story than the U.S. press which is mainly taking presidential and governmental talking points and reiterating them verbatim. Another check on democracy is not working, the so-called fourth estate, journalism.

I have to go!

Robles: Thank you very much! I really appreciate you speaking with me.

Radack: Thank you. Bye-bye!


Last Update: 08/06/2023 03:23 +0300



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