It seems altogether fitting and proper that this year’s award be presented in London, where Edmund Burke coined the expression “Fourth Estate.” Comparing the function of the press to that of the three Houses then in Parliament, Burke said:
“…but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sits a Fourth Estate more important far then they all.”
The year was 1787—the year the U.S. Constitution was adopted. The First Amendment, approved four years later, aimed at ensuring that the press would be free of government interference. That was then.
With the Fourth Estate now on life support, there is a high premium on the fledgling Fifth Estate, which uses the ether and is not susceptible of government or corporation control. Small wonder that governments with lots to hide feel very threatened.
It has been said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” WikiLeaks is helping make that possible by publishing documents that do not lie.
Last spring, when we chose WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for this award, Julian said he would accept only “on behalf or our sources, without which WikiLeaks’ contributions are of no significance.”
We do not know if Pvt. Bradley Manning gave WikiLeaks the gun-barrel video of July 12, 2007 called “Collateral Murder.” Whoever did provide that graphic footage, showing the brutality of the celebrated “surge” in Iraq, was certainly far more a patriot than the “mainstream” journalist embedded in that same Army unit. He suppressed what happened in Baghdad that day, dismissed it as simply “one bad day in a surge that was filled with such days,” and then had the temerity to lavish praise on the unit in a book he called “The Good Soldiers.”
Julian is right to emphasize that the world is deeply indebted to patriotic truth-tellers like the sources who provided the gun-barrel footage and the many documents on Afghanistan and Iraq to WikiLeaks. We hope to have a chance to honor them in person in the future.
Today we honor WikiLeaks, and one of its leaders, Julian Assange, for their ingenuity in creating a new highway by which important documentary evidence can make its way, quickly and confidentially, through the ether and into our in-boxes. Long live the Fifth Estate!
Presented this 23rd day of October 2010 in London, England by admirers of the example set by former CIA analyst, Sam Adams.
“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.” ~ Lord Acton
Bogdan Dzakovic and I co-wrote an op-ed “WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if?” for the Los Angeles Times that was published one week ago and that got a number of people thinking about the issue of governmental secrecy. We had originally written a much longer, more complete version in connection with the 9/11 anniversary. There’s hardly room in newsprint, however, for the number of words it takes to clearly explain a situation or argument sufficiently, especially when the idea seems counterintuitive. Our longer version would have answered many of the questions and criticisms that got posted about our op-ed so I thought it would be good to publish the original version.
You are not likely to learn this from “mainstream media,” but WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange have received the 2010 Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award for their resourcefulness in making available secret U.S. military documents on the Iraq and Afghan wars.
If the WikiLeaks documents get the attention they deserve, and if lessons can be learned from the courageous work of former CIA analyst Sam Adams-and from Daniel Ellsberg’s timely leak of Adams’ work in early 1968-even the amateurs in the White House may be able to recognize the folly of widening the war from Afghanistan to adjacent countries. That leak played a key role in dissuading President Lyndon Johnson from approving Gen. William Westmoreland’s request to send 206,000 more troops-not only into the Big Muddy, but also into countries neighboring Vietnam (further detail below in the description of SAAII). Read more here.
WASHINGTON – December 7 – The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments….
So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies. Read more here.
The 2010 awardee of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity, speeks live-streamed into the 2012 award presentation in Debating Chamber, Oxford Union, Jan. 23, 2013. Original, as delivered, with “Collateral Murder” video running on screen behind Assange; (21 minutes)