War on Whistleblowers
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War on Whistleblowers

2013, Society  -   46 Comments
Ratings: 8.60/10 from 308 users.

In the face of potentially life-threatening dangers, they dare to speak truth to power. They're the whistleblowers; the crusaders for truth who often stand as the lone link between corrupted corporate and governmental interests and the public's right to know. The stirring film War on Whistleblowers, directed by acclaimed documentarian Robert Greenwald, outlines the challenges and sacrifices faced by these tireless activists, and calls attention to their increasing importance in a society where the powerful are more omniscient and unregulated than ever before.

Thanks to the efforts of Edward Snowden, the role of the whistleblower has gained a level of prominence in our culture unlike anything we've witnessed since the Watergate era. The formation of sweeping national security structures in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks begat a new wave of permissiveness in how intelligence was collected. As illustrated in the top-secret materials released by Snowden, this intelligence gathering included unprecedented invasions of privacy and instances of highly questionable electronic surveillance practices.

The film spotlights the frightening storm which followed as a result of Snowden's actions in the form of a widespread government-sanctioned smear campaign. In the process, the public was urged to question whether Snowden was a patriot or a traitor.

"It's extremely dangerous in America right now to be right as a whistleblower when the government is so wrong," concedes Thomas Drake, a former senior executive of the United States National Security Agency and one of the film's chief interview subjects. Drake is joined in the film by a panel of additional distinguished subjects who know the perils of whistleblowing all too well, including Daniel Ellsberg, a military advisor who leaked highly sensitive government documents related to the Vietnam War in 1971, and David Carr, the late New York Times journalist who built a career embodying the virtues of truth and transparency.

Whether working to silence the flow of information from a lone wolf or an entire news media, the increasingly inhospitable environment which works to subvert the efforts of our modern-day whistleblowers leaves us all vulnerable. With impassioned clarity, War on Whistleblowers shows us that our freedoms, our rights, and our very way of life may be at risk without the benefit of their brave acts of public advocacy.

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John McElroy
3 years ago

Whistle blowers face job loss and harm it is risky to reveal company or government secrets. I believe ratting on somebody or entity should be dealt with on a case by case review. In Trumps case the information was quickly proven and he has now been impeached. Perhaps presidents in the future will be more cautious as a result of this Ukrainian thing and not abuse their powers.

6 years ago

Notice how propaganda sways people info making the word Whistle-blower into a bad and shameful word. Big Network news organizations seem to do this.

6 years ago

I have a friend, that, like Donald Trump, believes Edward Snowden should be executed. He actually told me that he didn't care if they intercepted all of his communications because he has nothing to hide!! Snowden responded when a reporter mentioned the same stupidity. He said (paraphrasing), saying you have nothing to hide is like saying you don't value your right to free speech because you have nothing to say. I guess when so many can't see the fact that these whistleblowers are true heroes, and look at them as major criminals, we really don't stand much of a chance. Of course, we're too stupid to be trusted with the truth, and it is just to keep us safe. We could have 6 - 8 terrorists rowing up on the shore of New Jersey in a canoe at any moment. It's for our own good. We just need to trust the government, since they've always done such a great job. We need to quit picking on the Lockheed-Martins, Raytheons, Halliburtons, and the many corrupt politicians, financiers of war, and other proponents of murder that are just trying to scratch out a modest living. It's sickening, and it seems that most of the decent people have finally had enough.

Fabien L'Amour
8 years ago

For those interested in the current rules of the NSA digital data gathering programs, I highly recommend to google the following to find the February 9th 2015 PBS article.

How the NSA Spying Programs Have Changed Since Snowden

8 years ago

A decent documentary that confirms what most of us should already know. (they shoot the messenger, and protect the criminals) After reading some of the comments below, I feel sorry for those who believe something that contradicts what they think they stand for.
In reality, humanity is childlike; scared, and unsure of how to proceed. As social beings, we tend to abdicate our own responsibility to others for a sense of security. we have all become so wired in, we tend to ignore the fact that all our personal information, our desires, our concerns, and our weaknesses are a keystroke away. (all tracked by the NSA, and corporations alike)
What is most important is when you can live a life where your actions are no threat to others, accepting your idiosyncrasies without fear of repercussions.
I truly believe that anyone who isn't brainwashed understands the true difference between right and wrong, and the last place you will discover this is in the political, or judicial systems. If you question the powers that be, they can throw the weight of the entire system at you, making you feel guilty even when you haven't done anything wrong, and easily destroy you in the process, financially, and mentally.
That is the real threat, and individuals like Edward Snowden are the courageous ones who remind us of the true nature of the world around us, (information) to think critically, and ask yourself if society is heading in the correct direction for the social beings that we are, and what we want to become. The awful truth is nothing is what it appears to be, and the next time you pass judgment based on innuendo, just remember; without people like him, we would not know the true nature of those we fund against our own well being! (taxes) take care, and best wishes everyone.
P.S: For a far better more informative documentary, check out what others below have recommended. (United States of secrets)

8 years ago

It occurs to me that cyberspace is the last sanctuary of freedom in this world, and that the likelihood that it too will come under attack in a very serious way is almost foregone. However I believe that methods of underground networking, even without a network of computers, have never been limited and I also believe that within the digital information frame we will always have a place to go, persecuted or not.

8 years ago

misinformation... things everybody already knows (snowden)
deflecting attention from more sinister issues,

8 years ago

I'm with the NSA and CIA on this one. Snowden should stay in Russia, where he belongs.

8 years ago

...why on earth has this documentary been given the highest score I've seen...? – ...I gave it five....it was scattered in every way...poor sound design...partially, at least, morally corrupt en "ethically challenged"....why do you folks believe it deserves the highest possible....?
...but you do and that forces me to realize that viewers and posters here don't deserve the respect I thought they did...
I haven't seen CitizenFour yet, but I sure hope it's better...

8 years ago

If you liked this, check-out Frontline, United States of Secrets. on PBS.

8 years ago

snowden hasn't leaked 'jack' up to date that hasn't been known for years before. it was obvious how far reaching nsa's tapping was prior (since inslaw/promis scandal) to 'don quich-nowdens' incredible media stunt that seems like the sequel to wiki-leaks....& we all know the fruition of that amazing story which should've turned the tides of political reality ,don't we?