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Top 10 Firedoglake Posts of 2013

According to our unique pageview statistics,* this year’s most popular posts were about whistleblowing, civil liberties and marijuana prohibition, and I was delighted to see a very strong interest in posts about important individuals like Aaron Swartz, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden as well. From Jon Walker’s premier coverage of the rapidly-changing trends in marijuana legalization to Kevin Gosztola’s dissections of government propaganda and the war on whistleblowers, this list is also a testament to the popularity of our writers’ impeccable reporting and analysis around many of this years’ major news stories.

Check out the top 10 most-read posts at Firedoglake below, let us know your favorites and tell us which topics you’d like to see make next year’s list.

*NOTE: For those who are wondering, ‘Unique Pageviews’ count the number of unique visitors to access any given post on Firedoglake’s partner blogs. For example, if I load this post 3 times, that counts as 3 pageviews but is only 1 unique pageview. Also, this list excludes MyFDL posts, which will have it’s own top 10 list.

#10 Aaron Swartz’s FBI File by Daniel Wright

Aaron Swartz

Image by Mataparda under Creative Commons license

We were all deeply saddened to learn that hacktivist prodigy Aaron Swartz committed suicide this year after US District Attorney Carmen Ortiz threatened him with 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine under the draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Swartz’ unforgivable crime? Downloading academic journals from the JSTOR database without permission.

Upon his death, FDL news desk writer Daniel Wright requested a copy of his declassified FBI file, which was returned in near-entirety with the exception of some curious redactions. For example, an entire page was excluded because it “[put] someone’s life in danger (U.S.C Section 552 (b)(7)(F)).” Be sure to check out Aaron Swartz’s FBI file alongside Daniel’s interesting analysis of his investigation and over-prosecution at the hands of the State.

#9 CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou’s Open Letter to Edward Snowden by Kevin Gosztola

John Kiriakou is the only CIA official to go jail over the agency’s torture program despite never having tortured anybody. His courageous stand against waterboarding earned him the government’s ire and, as is the case for most government whistleblowers these days, his life was systematically destroyed under the weight of his prosecution. He is now in the midst of serving a 30 month prison sentence at Loretto Federal Prison in Pennsylvania.

So when Edward Snowden’s disclosures began making their way into the headlines this summer, Kiriakou penned an open letter from prison with some friendly advice, including the memorable admonishment to never, under any circumstances, trust the FBI. We posted this and John’s other incredible “Letters from Loretto” (including another at #3 on this list) here at Firedoglake, and you definitely don’t want to miss them.

#8 Queen Elizabeth to Sign Commonwealth Charter Promoting Gay Rights And Gender Equality by Laurel Ramseyer

Back in March, Queen Elizabeth signed a Commonwealth Charter “designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexual people and promote the ‘empowerment’ of women – a key part of a new drive to boost human rights and living standards across the Commonwealth.”

This was important and welcome news given that many UK member-states are home to some of the most brutal and repressive anti-homosexual laws in the world. At Pam’s House Blend, Laurel Ramseyer broke down the various meanings behind the Queen’s support for ending LGBTQ discrimination and what it could mean for the equality movement the world-over. [cont’d.]

CommunityMy FDL

Top 10 Firedoglake Posts of 2013

According to our unique pageview statistics,* this year’s most popular posts were about whistleblowing, civil liberties and marijuana prohibition, and I was delighted to see a very strong interest in posts about important individuals like Aaron Swartz, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden as well. From Jon Walker’s premier coverage of the rapidly-changing trends in marijuana legalization to Kevin Gosztola’s dissections of government propaganda and the war on whistleblowers, this list is also a testament to the popularity of our writers’ impeccable reporting and analysis around many of this years’ major news stories.

Check out the top 10 most-read posts at Firedoglake below, let us know your favorites and tell us which topics you’d like to see make next year’s list.

*NOTE: For those who are wondering, ‘Unique Pageviews’ count the number of unique visitors to access any given post on Firedoglake’s partner blogs. For example, if I load this post 3 times, that counts as 3 pageviews but is only 1 unique pageview. Also, this list excludes MyFDL posts, which will have it’s own top 10 list.

#10 Aaron Swartz’s FBI File by Daniel Wright

Aaron Swartz

Image by Mataparda under Creative Commons license

We were all deeply saddened to learn that hacktivist prodigy Aaron Swartz committed suicide this year after US District Attorney Carmen Ortiz threatened him with 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine under the draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Swartz’ unforgivable crime? Downloading academic journals from the JSTOR database without permission.

Upon his death, FDL news desk writer Daniel Wright requested a copy of his declassified FBI file, which was returned in near-entirety with the exception of some curious redactions. For example, an entire page was excluded because it “[put] someone’s life in danger (U.S.C Section 552 (b)(7)(F)).” Be sure to check out Aaron Swartz’s FBI file alongside Daniel’s interesting analysis of his investigation and over-prosecution at the hands of the State.

#9 CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou’s Open Letter to Edward Snowden by Kevin Gosztola

John Kiriakou is the only CIA official to go jail over the agency’s torture program despite never having tortured anybody. His courageous stand against waterboarding earned him the government’s ire and, as is the case for most government whistleblowers these days, his life was systematically destroyed under the weight of his prosecution. He is now in the midst of serving a 30 month prison sentence at Loretto Federal Prison in Pennsylvania.

So when Edward Snowden’s disclosures began making their way into the headlines this summer, Kiriakou penned an open letter from prison with some friendly advice, including the memorable admonishment to never, under any circumstances, trust the FBI. We posted this and John’s other incredible “Letters from Loretto” (including another at #3 on this list) here at Firedoglake, and you definitely don’t want to miss them.

#8 Queen Elizabeth to Sign Commonwealth Charter Promoting Gay Rights And Gender Equality by Laurel Ramseyer

Back in March, Queen Elizabeth signed a Commonwealth Charter “designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexual people and promote the ‘empowerment’ of women – a key part of a new drive to boost human rights and living standards across the Commonwealth.”

This was important and welcome news given that many UK member-states are home to some of the most brutal and repressive anti-homosexual laws in the world. At Pam’s House Blend, Laurel Ramseyer broke down the various meanings behind the Queen’s support for ending LGBTQ discrimination and what it could mean for the equality movement the world-over.

#7 The Only CIA Officer Scheduled to Go to Jail Over Torture Never Tortured Anybody by Kevin Gosztola

In January, FDL investigative reporter Kevin Gosztola put together an incredibly comprehensive review of the story of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Whether you’ve read John’s “Letters from Loretto,” are loosely familiar with his story or have never heard of the man, this post is definitely worth a read. Kevin digs deep to present a vivid portrait of John, his courageous acts and his absurdly aggressive punishment at the hands of the government.

#6 NSA Sent Home Talking Points for Employees to Use in Conversations with Family & Friends During Holidays by Kevin Gosztola

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Brian Sonenstein

Brian Sonenstein

Publishing Editor at Shadowproof and columnist at Prison Protest.