Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard suggested that President Donald Trump should consider pardons for Edward Snowden and Julian Assange following Trump formally pardoning General Michael Flynn on Wednesday.
“.@realDonaldTrump Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state,” Gabbard tweeted.
In the tweet Gabbard included a video she posted several weeks ago, calling for support of her proposed legislation which would protect whistleblowers and drop charges for Snowden and Assange.
“Brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government must be protected,” Gabbard’s video, dated October 6, was titled. “Join me and urge Congress: Pass my bipartisan legislation (HRes1162, HRes1175, HR8452) calling for charges against @snowden & Assange to be dropped & to reform the Espionage Act.”
Speaking to former Intercept co-founder and independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, former NSA agent Edward Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia since 2013, warned that the “war on whistleblowers” would not relent under a Biden-Harris administration.
“This is not a partisan issue; these people are backers of Obama, and we all know about the things that have happened under the Trump administration. But when you look at this as a trend, as a dynamic, what you see is the criminalization of journalism,” Snowden explained.
“Trying to silence the publication of facts—which are valuable and important to the public, to the continuation of democracy, but uncomfortable to government—when they understand that that is something that must be accepted, that is what defines a democracy, rather than going, ‘No, we need to shut these people up; we’re going to throw them in a hole, we’re going to ruin their life, whatever. We’re going to de-platform them,’ or whatever the new tactic is, this is going to continue to be a problem, and the freedom of our press is going to continue to decline,” Snowden concluded.
Explaining Snowden’s role as a whistleblower, Greenwald wrote, “In one of the earliest interviews we conducted with Snowden in Hong Kong, he explained that he was driven in large part by the central, vital role which the early version of the internet played in his life: one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.”
“It was that Wild West vision of the internet that led so many to herald it at its inception as one of the greatest and most potent innovations in modern history for fostering individual freedom, human liberation, empowerment of ordinary citizens, and the ability of people to organize and communicate without having to depend on corporate giants and the governments they fund and control,” he continued.
“In many ways, that vision is a faint memory — submersed in the mass surveillance Snowden exposed but which still persists, the corporatization of the most influential online venues and, increasingly, the control over the flow of speech and information by unseen oligarchical overlords whose decrees require no identifiable rationale and afford no appeal. The power of these unseen discourse-regulators is final, arbitrary and absolute,” he wrote