Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Annie Machon

Know all ye by these presents that Annie Machon is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.

“If you see something, say something.” Long before that saying came into vogue, Annie Machon took its essence to heart.

MI5, the British domestic intelligence agency, recognized how bright, enterprising, and unflappable Annie was and recruited her as soon as she completed her studies at Cambridge.

The good old boys in MI5 apparently thought she would have a malleable conscience, as well — such that she would have no qualms about secret monitoring of the very government officials overseeing MI5 itself, for example.

Annie would not be quiet about this secret abuse. Her partner, David Shayler, an MI5 colleague and — like Annie — a person of integrity and respect for law, became aware of an MI6 plan to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

They decided to blow the whistle and fled to France. (Many years later, a woman of high station but more flexible integrity openly gloated over Gaddafi’s brutal assassination.)

After three years on the lam, hiding mostly in France, they returned to the UK, where Annie was arrested (but never charged with a crime). The powers-that-be, however, chose to make an example of Shayler (not unlike what they are now doing to Julian Assange).

Shayler’s whistleblowing case dragged on for seven years, during which he did a brief stint in the infamous high-security prison where Julian Assange still rots (having been denied bail, yet again). A strong mitigation plea by Annie helped reduce Shayler’s remaining prison time. All in all, though, what he was forced to endure took a hard toll on him.

More broadly, the issues that surfaced around whistleblowing at the time remain largely the same two decades later. Annie Machon has been a very prominent and strong supporter of Julian. She has also been a much admired mentor to less experienced women and men as they seek to become better informed on issues of integrity and courage, and take Annie up on her offer to “help them meet interesting people”, as she puts it.

We would be remiss today were we not to call to mind the courageous example of our first two awardees, Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Katharine Gun (GCHQ), who took great risks in exposing malfeasance and in trying to head off the attack on Iraq. And, as Julian Assange did when he won this award, we again honor his treasured source, Chelsea Manning, for her continuing courage and scarcely believable integrity.

Ed Snowden, our Sam Adams awardee in 2013, noted that we tend to ignore some degree of evil in our daily life, but, as Ed put it, “We also have a breaking point and when people find that, they act.”

Annie is still acting, as one can see as this World Ethical Data Forum unfolds.

Presented this 17th day of March at the World Ethical Data Forum by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.

Related Articles

Rep. Ilhan Omar writes to Biden in pardon effort

Minnesota Democrat writes letter to Biden on Daniel Hale’s behalf.

Star Tribune,August 26, 2021 — 5:47pm

WASHINGTON – Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is publicly pushing President Joe Biden to pardon a former Air Force intelligence analyst after the man pleaded guilty earlier this year to leaking classified information to a journalist.

In a letter this week, Omar wrote to Biden in an effort “to strongly encourage” the Democratic president’s help in the situation facing Daniel Hale, whom Omar described as “one of the most outspoken critics of the drone program in which he had participated.”

Hale served for a time as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan before later going to work for a defense contractor from December 2013 to August 2014, according to a statement of facts in his legal case. The indictment in Hale’s case alleged that he provided classified documents to a reporter of an unnamed online news publication after Hale obtained them during the period of time he was working for the defense contractor.

In May 2019, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Hale had been “charged with obtaining national defense information, retention and transmission of national defense information, causing the communication of national defense information, disclosure of classified communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.”

After pleading guilty in March to one count against him that involved violating the Espionage Act, Hale was sentenced last month by a judge to 45 months in prison. The other four counts against him were dismissed.

“As an analyst for the Intelligence Community, Daniel Hale knowingly took highly classified documents and disclosed them without authorization, thereby violating his solemn obligations to our country. We are firmly committed to seeking equal justice under the law and holding accountable those who betray their oath to safeguard national security information,” Raj Parekh, who serves as the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a March statement.

In her letter, Omar wrote that she takes “extremely seriously the prohibition on leaking classified information.” But she also stated that “the investigation of Mr. Hale’s leaks began under the Obama Administration,” before pointing to Hale not being indicted until former President Donald Trump was in office. Omar said she believes “that the decision to prosecute Mr. Hale was motivated, at least in part, as a threat to other would-be whistleblowers.”

She added that in Hale’s case, “the information, while politically embarrassing to some, has shone a vital light on the legal and moral problems of the drone program and informed the public debate on an issue that has for too many years remained in the shadows.” In her letter to Biden, Omar also referred to Hale’s guilty plea and his letter to a judge about the violence and impact of drone strikes, his life and decisions.

“The legal question of Mr. Hale’s guilt is settled, but the moral question remains open,” Omar wrote in the letter. “I strongly believe that a full pardon, or at least a commutation of his sentence, is warranted.”

A spokesperson for the White House referred a request for comment to the Department of Justice, which did not immediately respond Thursday.

Omar’s letter comes as Biden faces controversy and pushback for how the United States is dealing with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan after years of war.

Hunter Woodall • 612-673-4559

Twitter: @huntermw

Lawmaker wants pardon for Daniel Hale, who leaked drone secrets

(Article written by Rachel Weiner and published in Washington Post on August 26, 2021)

In July, Daniel Hale pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced in July to 45 months in prison for leaking classified documents to the Intercept.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is asking President Biden to pardon a former Air Force intelligence analyst who exposed secrets about drone warfare in Afghanistan.

In court, Hale said he felt compelled to speak out about the immorality of the drone program after realizing he had helped kill Afghan civilians, including a small child.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t question the justification for my actions,” he wrote to the judge. “I am grief-stricken and ashamed of myself.”

One document he leaked showed that during a five-month operation in Afghanistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets.

“I take extremely seriously the prohibition on leaking classified information, but I believe there are several aspects of Mr. Hale’s case that merit a full pardon,” Omar wrote in the letter sent to Biden on Thursday morning. “The information, while politically embarrassing to some, has shone a vital light on the legal and moral problems of the drone program and informed the public debate on an issue that has for too many years remained in the shadows.”

Omar has also demanded more information from the Biden administration about a recent airstrike in Somalia, where she was born.

She called Hale’s letter to the court “profoundly moral” and urged Biden to consider either a full pardon or commutation of his sentence.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Thursday morning. The U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, which handled Hale’s prosecution, declined to comment.

Prosecutors said Hale could have endangered Americans with his leaks, noting that some of the details were reproduced in Islamic State publications. Hale, they said, recklessly shared reams of sensitive information when he could have simply spoken out in opposition to drone warfare. But no U.S. agency reported any harm caused by the revelations.

This week, Hale was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, given by a group of whistleblowers from the national security community. Edward Snowden received the same award in 2013.

Biden has pulled U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, calling the war “a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States.” But his administration has planned to continue drone operations from nearby countries.

DRONE WARFARE WHISTLEBLOWER DANIEL HALE HONORED WITH SAM ADAMS AWARD FOR INTEGRITY IN INTELLIGENCE

PRESS STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2021

DRONE WARFARE WHISTLEBLOWER DANIEL HALE HONORED WITH SAM ADAMS AWARD FOR INTEGRITY IN INTELLIGENCE

The Sam Adams Associates are pleased to announce drone warfare whistleblower Daniel Hale as the recipient of the 2021 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.  Hale — a former Air Force intelligence analyst in the drone program — was a defense contractor in 2013 when conscience compelled him to release classified documents to the press exposing the criminality of the US targeted assassination program [“We kill people based on metadata” — Michael Hayden, former Director of CIA & NSA].

The leaked documents — published in The Intercept on October 15, 2015 — revealed that from January 2012 to February 2013, US special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of the dead, only 35 were the intended targets. For one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The innocent civilians — who were often bystanders — were routinely categorized as “enemies killed in action.”

On March 31, 2021 Hale pled guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.  In July 2021, he was sentenced to 45 months in prison for revealing evidence of US war crimes.  In a hand-written letter to Judge Liam O’Grady Hale explained that the drone attacks and the war in Afghanistan had “little to do with preventing terror from coming into the United States and a lot more to do with protecting the profits of weapons manufacturers and so-called defense contractors.”

Hale also cited a 1995 statement byformer US Navy Admiral Gene LaRocque: “We now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away … since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse … and then we come home in triumph.”

During his military service from 2009 to 2013, Daniel Hale participated in the US drone program, working with the NSA and JSOC (Joint Special Operations Task Force) at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. After leaving the Air Force, Hale became an outspoken opponent of the US targeted killing program, US foreign policy in general, and a supporter of whistleblowers. He spoke out at conferences, forums, and public panels. He was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary National Bird, a film about whistleblowers in the US drone program who suffer from moral injury and PTSD.

The Sam Adams Associates wish to salute the courage of Daniel Hale in performing a vital public service at great personal cost — imprisonment for truth-telling.  We urge an end to the War on Whistleblowers and remind government leaders that secrecy classification systems were never intended to cover up government crimes. To that end, the public’s right to know about their government’s wrongful actions — including the adverse consequences of policies carried out in their name — must be respected and preserved.

Mr. Hale is the 20th awardee of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. His distinguished colleagues include Julian Assange and Craig Murray, both of whom are also unjustly incarcerated for truth-telling.  Other fellow Sam Adams Award alumnae include NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake; FBI 9-11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun, whose story was recounted in the film “Official Secrets.”  The full roster of Sam Adams awardees is available at samadamsaward.ch.

Details about the upcoming Sam Adams Award ceremony will be announced soon.

###

WATCH: Presentation of Adams Award & Stephen Cohen Tribute

The 2021 Sam Adams Award was presented in London to MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon. At the ceremony, Russian scholar Stephen Cohen was honored. Watch the ceremony and read the citations here. Posted March 21, 2021 on Consortiumnews.com.

The award was presented to Annie Machon and the following citations were read out (texts below) in London at the World Ethical Data Forum on Wednesday night. 

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Annie Machon

Know all ye by these presents that Annie Machon is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.

“If you see something, say something.” Long before that saying came into vogue, Annie Machon took its essence to heart.

MI5, the British domestic intelligence agency, recognized how bright, enterprising, and unflappable Annie was and recruited her as soon as she completed her studies at Cambridge.

The good old boys in MI5 apparently thought she would have a malleable conscience, as well — such that she would have no qualms about secret monitoring of the very government officials overseeing MI5 itself, for example.

Annie would not be quiet about this secret abuse. Her partner, David Shayler, an MI5 colleague and — like Annie — a person of integrity and respect for law, became aware of an MI6 plan to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

They decided to blow the whistle and fled to France. (Many years later, a woman of high station but more flexible integrity openly gloated over Gaddafi’s brutal assassination.)

After three years on the lam, hiding mostly in France, they returned to the UK, where Annie was arrested (but never charged with a crime). The powers-that-be, however, chose to make an example of Shayler (not unlike what they are now doing to Julian Assange).

Shayler’s whistleblowing case dragged on for seven years, during which he did a brief stint in the infamous high-security prison where Julian Assange still rots (having been denied bail, yet again). A strong mitigation plea by Annie helped reduce Shayler’s remaining prison time. All in all, though, what he was forced to endure took a hard toll on him.

More broadly, the issues that surfaced around whistleblowing at the time remain largely the same two decades later. Annie Machon has been a very prominent and strong supporter of Julian. She has also been a much admired mentor to less experienced women and men as they seek to become better informed on issues of integrity and courage, and take Annie up on her offer to “help them meet interesting people”, as she puts it.

We would be remiss today were we not to call to mind the courageous example of our first two awardees, Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Katharine Gun (GCHQ), who took great risks in exposing malfeasance and in trying to head off the attack on Iraq. And, as Julian Assange did when he won this award, we again honor his treasured source, Chelsea Manning, for her continuing courage and scarcely believable integrity.

Ed Snowden, our Sam Adams awardee in 2013, noted that we tend to ignore some degree of evil in our daily life, but, as Ed put it, “We also have a breaking point and when people find that, they act.”

Annie is still acting, as one can see as this World Ethical Data Forum unfolds.

Presented this 17th day of March at the World Ethical Data Forum by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity

Stephen F. Cohen

Know all ye by these presents that Sam Adams Associates honors Professor Stephen F. Cohen with a posthumous tribute for his exemplary scholarship, integrity, and courage.

Stephen Cohen is still with us — in the hearts of those who knew him and try to emulate his courage. The word comes from cor – Latin for heart. It means “to speak one’s mind AND heart”. Aristotle saw courage as the sine qua non for all other virtue. In plain-speak, it doesn’t matter how much you know, if you lack courage.

Steve knew a lot about Russia. But at his courageous core, he was also a Mensch — influencing hearts as well as minds — whether the hearts of kids playing schoolyard basketball on the Upper West Side, or the hearts of presidents in Washington and Moscow. And it was Steve’s courageous commitment to historical truth that set him apart from self-styled specialists on Russia bowing to prevailing Russophobic winds.

Though Steve often was an outlier, his scholarship and advice were valued by top U.S. and Russian leaders alike. Three weeks after the Berlin Wall fell, Steve and his wife Katrina vanden Heuvel were with President George H. W. Bush at the summit in Malta at which Bush reassured Mikhail Gorbachev that the U.S. would not take advantage of the ferment in Eastern Europe. Under Bush’s successors NATO crept east — right up to Russia’s border, despite George Kennan’s warning that this “would restore the atmosphere of the cold war”.

Ever the historian, Steve put both Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin in context, showing that Putin assumed power in a country on the verge of collapse, Yeltsin having allowed the plundering of Russia’s wealth. After the February 2014 coup on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine, Steve quickly explained — with a candor unwelcome in Washington — why Russiareacted the way it did. Steve was “controversialized” and put in “Putin’s pocket”.

We veteran Russia-watchers took encouragement in knowing that Steve’s analysis was congruent with our own. Particularly welcome was the seal of approval given by Steve and Katrina to a newly coined acronym enumerating the main forces behind the campaign to portray Russia as enemy: MICIMATT — the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex.

Fortunately, Steve did not have to resort to samizdat. He had a close friend at a highly respected periodical — one known for its hospitality to serious scholarship and to views shunned elsewhere. The Nation. Our deepest thanks go out to its publisher, who faced into the prevailing winds and gave Steve a platform for his uniquely astute views on Russia, the country he and Katrina had come to know so well.

Presented this 17th day of March 2021 at the World Ethical Data Forum by admirers of the courageous example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.694

Tags: Annie Machon Chelsea Manning Coleen Rowley Julian Assange Katharine Gun Katrina vanden Heuvel Mikhail Gorbachev Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Stephen Cohen

MI-5 Whistleblower Annie Machon Wins 2021 Sam Adams Award; Prof. Stephen Cohen to be Honored

March 16, 2021 on Consortium News 

The winner of the 2021 Sam Adams Award will be announced at the World Ethical Data Forum, which runs from Wednesday through Friday. 

Whistleblower Annie Machon has won this year’s Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award, which is being presented to her on Wednesday on the first day of the three-day World Ethical Data Forum. The late Prof. Stephen Cohen of Princeton and New York University will also be honored for his service as a leading Russia specialist.

[To watch the awards ceremony and the rest of the World Ethical Data Forum, which has a host of well-known speakers (including Sam Adams associates) on data security, artificial intelligence and independent journalism in the cyber era, go to this websiteConsortium News readers can register for the March 17-19 event with this 50 percent discount code: WEDFTeamAnnie50]

Annie Machon

Britain’s domestic intelligence service MI5 recruited Machon as soon as she completed her studies at Cambridge University and she worked at MI-5 for six years during the early 1990s. When Machon learned the agency was secretly surveilling left-wing politicians and government officials with oversight responsibility for MI5 itself, she found herself not “ethically flexible” enough to ignore such abuses.

Meanwhile, her partner and MI5 colleague, David Shayler, learned that more “ethically flexible” agents in MI6 (Britain’s CIA) were planning to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (a fate he was to meet many years later).

Machon and Shayler ended up blowing the whistle on these and other abuses. They resigned in 1996 and went on the run the following year aiming to create, in Machon’s words, “a bit of a scandal”, hoping to draw attention to the substance of the abuses and prompt an inquiry. She describes Shayler’s fearlessness and integrity as “astonishing.”

After three years on the run — hiding mostly in France — they returned to the UK, where Machon was arrested (but never charged). The powers-that-be, however, chose to make an example of Shayler (not unlike what they are now doing to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange). They threw the book at him.

His whistleblowing case dragged on for seven years, during which he did a brief stint in Belmarsh, the infamous high-security prison where Assange still rots (having been denied bail, yet again). A strong mitigation plea by Machon helped reduce Shayler’s remaining prison time. All in all, though, what he was forced to endure took a hard toll on him. More broadly, the issues that surfaced around whistleblowing then, remain largely the same two decades later.

Russia scholar Stephen Cohen.

In her Sam Adams award acceptance speech, Machon is expected to allude to this background, since it goes a long way toward explaining why Annie herself has been such an intrepid supporter of whistleblowers — like Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. Machon is also a go-to mentor and networker for young people interested in (true) stories of officials for whom the word “ethical” proved to be more than just a nice sounding adjective.

The first part of the Sam Adams awards ceremony will be devoted to honoring Professor Cohen with a posthumous award for scholarship, courage, and integrity. His widow, Katrina vanden Heuvel, will read the citation and add her own remarks.

Machon, one of the leaders of the World Ethical Data Foundation, is the 19th Sam Adams laureate. Her award calls to mind the courageous example of the first two winners: FBI special agent and counselor Coleen Rowley (2002); and GCHQ Mandarin translator Katharine Gun (2003). [See Katharine played by Keira Knightly in the 2019 film Official Secrets.”] Other winners were Assange (2010) and Manning (2014).

(See: Sam Adams Associates website samadamsaward.ch for full listing and citations.)

—Ray McGovern
Sam Adams Associates