The above video is of our 2019 Sam Adams award presentation on January 15, 2020 to former CIA agent and hero whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling. The evening began with a song dedicated to Jeffrey and the integrity he (and his wife Holly) displayed throughout Jeffrey’s truth telling ordeal. (While viewers must “bear with us” as the singing was unrehearsed so a bit offkey), the (partial) lyrics below by songwriter Ann Reed DO “tell the story.”
What can I learn from you In your lifetime, in what you’ve been through How’d you keep your head up and hold your pride In an insane world how’d you keep on tryin’ One life can tell the tale That if you make the effort, you can not fail By your life you tell me it can be done By your life’s the courage to carry on
(chorus:) Heroes Appear like a friend To clear a path or light the flame As time goes by you find you depend On your heroes to show you the way
What can I learn from you That I must do the thing I think I can not do That you do what’s right by your heart and soul It’s the imperfections that make us whole One life can tell the tale And if you make the effort you can not fail By your life you tell me it can be done By your life’s the courage to carry on…
The presentation to Sterling was preceded by a showing of the poignant docudrama “Official Secrets,” the true story of the second (2003) Sam Adams award recipient Katherine Gun. SAAII members Ray McGovern, Tom Drake, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, Larry Wilkerson, Ann Wright, and Coleen Rowley spoke at the event while Todd Pierce and Elizabeth Murray made the actual presentation. Among the other members in attendance were William Binney, Clement “Lu” Laniewsky, Robert Wing, Karen Kwiatkowsky and Gareth Porter. Stellar defense attorneys Edward MacMahon and Barry Pollack were also on hand to publicly congratulate Jeffrey as well as a standing-room-only full of admirers of the integrity Jeffrey displayed in telling the truth during these troubled times when, as CIA analyst Sam Adams learned the hard way during Vietnam, truth tends to be the first casualty during a time of war.
Former CIA operations officer Jeffrey Sterling will receive the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence this Wednesday, joining 17 earlier winners who, like Sterling, demonstrated extraordinary devotion to the truth and the rule of law by having the courage to blow the whistle on government wrongdoing.
Tuesday will mark the fifth anniversary of the eerie beginning of Sterling’s trial for espionage — the kind of trial that might have left even Franz Kafka, author of the classic novel The Trial, stunned in disbelief.
There can be a heavy price exacted for exposing abuse by secretive governments — especially ones that have neutered the press to the point where they are immune to exposure when they take serious liberties with the law. Making this reality plainly obvious, of course, is one of the U.S. government’s primary aims in putting whistleblowers like Sterling in prison — lest others get the idea they can blow the whistle and get away with it.
With his Sam Adams award, Sterling brings to five the number of award recipients imprisoned for exposing government abuse (not counting 2013 Sam Adams laureate, Ed Snowden, who was made stateless and has been marooned in Russia for over six years). Worst still, Julian Assange (2010) and Chelsea Manning (2014) remain in prison, where UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer says they are being tortured… (Read remainder of article at Consortiumnews.)
“On Tuesday, Brazilian federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and founding editor at the Intercept Brazil, for his explosive reporting on corruption at the very highest levels of Brazil’s government.
The public importance of these stories was staggering. For example, one of the revelations exposed how a well-known judge named Sergio Moro had rigged a trial to jail the country’s most popular political figure in the run-up to the presidential election, clearing a path to victory for Jair Bolsonaro, who then promptly rewarded Moro with control of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
Given this context, it’s understandable why a significant portion of Brazilian politicians — including even some aligned with the disgraced Bolsonaro regime — have chosen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with press freedom organizations in denouncing these preposterous “cybercrime” charges as an act of political repression.
Yet as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous — and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere.
The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors — that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal “conspiracy” with the sources who provide those documents — is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act….” (read more in Washington Post here)
Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence is a movement of former CIA colleagues of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, together with others who hold up his example as a model for those in intelligence who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. SAAII confers an award each year to a member of the intelligence community or related professions who exemplifies Sam Adam’s courage, persistence, and devotion to truth – no matter the consequences. Read more about the history here.
The annual Sam Adams Award has been given in previous years to truth tellers Coleen Rowley of the FBI; Katharine Gun of British Intelligence; Sibel Edmonds of the FBI; Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan; Sam Provance, former US Army Sgt; Maj. Frank Grevil of Danish Army Intelligence; Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Colin Powell at State; Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks: Thomas Drake, of NSA; Jesselyn Radack, formerly of Dept. of Justice and now National Security Director of Government Accountability Project; Thomas Fingar, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Director, National Intelligence Council, and Edward Snowden, former contractor for the National Security Agency; Chelsea Manning, US Army Private who exposed (via WikiLeaks) key information on Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as State Department activities; and to retired National Security Agency official William Binney, who challenged decisions to ignore the Fourth Amendment in the government’s massive — and wasteful — collection of electronic data.