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Whistleblower Conference to Occupy the Truth

The Fresh Juice Party, a group that describes itself as “a politically progressive media group” that writes, records and performs music, designs visuals and creates happenings, is holding a conference in support of whistleblowers and whistleblowing at UC Berkeley this weekend. The conference called, “Occupy the Truth: Whistleblowers Conference,” will intentionally bring together information activists that support transparency and members of the Occupy movement from Occupy Oakland and other parts of California. It will happen February 17-19.

I recorded an audio interview with members of the Fresh Juice Party. Pratibha Gautam, a lawyer, writer and editor, Craig Casey, a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer from Oklahoma City, USA, and Naomi Pitcairn, a painter, graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, and writer for multi-media and film, joined me to discuss the upcoming conference.

*Listen to the interview by clicking on the player below.

Organizers wanted to see occupiers talk to information activists. They thought it would be good for the Occupy movement to meet individuals that had put their futures on the line and blown the whistle on the government.

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, member of Icelandic Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, former FBI special agent Mike German, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, DoJ whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, retired Army colonel and activist Ann Wright and others will be participating in the conference. There will be an organized panel on Friday on Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks. Following the panel, Reverend Billy Talen is going to deliver a sermon.

The conference on Saturday and Sunday will be creative and innovative. Attendees will “self-create their agenda.” They will decide who they want to speak to and what they want to talk about. They will form an agenda at the beginning of the day. People will get to each other and they will then act like a think tank and get into issues of whistleblowing and transparency.

Fresh Juice Party organizers say they are not experts. They just want to create the open space for discussion and hopefully make it possible for citizens to begin to create ways to better support whistleblowers.

They’ve organized the conference in such a way that members of the hacktivist group Anonymous can participate. People will be following along, who are not at UC Berkeley, by tracking the #TruthCon hashtag. Also, individuals who want to Skype in to the conference and speak to attendees can participate in the conference. [*Note: At 4 pm PST on Saturday, I will be talking about media messages around WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning and whistleblowing that have been promoted to marginalize and suppress the impact or effect of information or truth exposed.]

The group promotes creativity and wants to connect with citizens on this serious issue of whistleblowing. They talked with Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, who said not everyone is comfortable with getting all this information at once. They understand the incredible amount of information, when talked about in total, can be overwhelming to citizens. Assange suggested, if FJP wants to be successful, take one cable or maybe one document and talk about that one piece of information and its significance. Don’t overwhelm people or be aggressive but talk about something revealed through whistleblowing or transparency that is significant.

Fresh Juice Party shared how the group got its start and recounted what they did at President Barack Obama’s fundraiser almost a year ago. Pitcairn says she was volunteering on behalf of Manning and stuffing envelopes. Someone said it is too bad we cannot get the Yes Men to do one of their pranks on behalf of Manning. Invitation to join Obama at the fundraiser came. Pitcairn says she had supported but had lost a lot of hope. He said he wanted to go meet the president and got more seats for others that wanted to meet him.

The group prepared a website that press could visit right after the action took place and Casey wrote a song for the fundraiser. A First Amendment lawyer advised the group on how not to break the law.

The Fresh Juice Party attended and sang a song. They interrupted Obama’s speech at the breakfast. Pitcairn said, “Mr. President, we wrote you a song,” Obama was not addressing the issue of Manning so they did their song. Their singing was captured and the video was widely shared. (Additionally, someone named Logan Price was there and during the handshaking session he got Obama to say Manning “broke the law,” which is why Manning’s defense has been trying to get Obama to come testify on Manning in court.

For more details on the conference, visit here.

CommunityFDL Main BlogThe Dissenter

Whistleblower Conference to Occupy the Truth


The Fresh Juice Party, a group that describes itself as “a politically progressive media group” that writes, records and performs music, designs visuals and creates happenings, is holding a conference in support of whistleblowers and whistleblowing at UC Berkeley this weekend. The conference called, “Occupy the Truth: Whistleblowers Conference,” will intentionally bring together information activists that support transparency and members of the Occupy movement from Occupy Oakland and other parts of California. It will happen February 17-19.

I recorded an audio interview with members of the Fresh Juice Party. Pratibha Gautam, a lawyer, writer and editor, Craig Casey, a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer from Oklahoma City, USA, and Naomi Pitcairn, a painter, graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, and writer for multi-media and film, joined me to discuss the upcoming conference.

*Listen to the interview by clicking on the player below.

Organizers wanted to see occupiers talk to information activists. They thought it would be good for the Occupy movement to meet individuals that had put their futures on the line and blown the whistle on the government.

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, member of Icelandic Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, former FBI special agent Mike German, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, DoJ whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, retired Army colonel and activist Ann Wright and others will be participating in the conference. There will be an organized panel on Friday on Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks. Following the panel, Reverend Billy Talen is going to deliver a sermon.

The conference on Saturday and Sunday will be creative and innovative. Attendees will “self-create their agenda.” They will decide who they want to speak to and what they want to talk about. They will form an agenda at the beginning of the day. People will get to each other and they will then act like a think tank and get into issues of whistleblowing and transparency.

Fresh Juice Party organizers say they are not experts. They just want to create the open space for discussion and hopefully make it possible for citizens to begin to create ways to better support whistleblowers. [cont’d.] (more…)

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."

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