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Celebrating 2013—A Year of Critical Work Made Possible By You

Alexa O’Brien (left), Birgitta Jonsdottir (middle left), Kevin Gosztola (middle right) and Peter Hart (right) at Judson Memorial during panel on Chelsea Manning

There will soon be another year, and, for a moment, I find it worthwhile to celebrate what was accomplished this year—critical work which would not have been possible without people like you.

Going into 2013, there was only one focus: continue regular coverage of Chelsea Manning’s court martial. The trial did not begin until June, however, there were pretrial hearings in which I attended as I had done the previous year.

I met many who had come to recognize my name from the Manning coverage I had done for Firedoglake. It made me aware of the number of people, who were being informed, because of the regular reports on Manning being posted here each day.

As the trial took place, there were very few media outlets that covered all days of one of the biggest and most critical military justice cases in history. I was there just about every day and that was noticed by others in United States media, as often I would find various blogs citing FDL in their updates on Manning’s trial. I also talked to journalists not based in the US, who wanted insights on what was happening in the courtroom at Fort Meade.

Coverage of Manning brought speaking opportunities that had not been offered to me before. I was asked by KPFA to open for Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in Berkeley, California. A few months later, in April, I was on a panel at Judson Memorial Church in New York City with Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, journalist Alexa O’Brien and FAIR activism director Peter Hart.

CommunityThe Dissenter

Celebrating 2013—A Year of Critical Work Made Possible By You

Alexa O’Brien (left), Birgitta Jonsdottir (middle left), Kevin Gosztola (middle right) and Peter Hart (right) at Judson Memorial during panel on Chelsea Manning

There will soon be another year, and, for a moment, I find it worthwhile to celebrate what was accomplished this year—critical work which would not have been possible without people like you.

Going into 2013, there was only one focus: continue regular coverage of Chelsea Manning’s court martial. The trial did not begin until June, however, there were pretrial hearings in which I attended as I had done the previous year.

I met many who had come to recognize my name from the Manning coverage I had done for Firedoglake. It made me aware of the number of people, who were being informed, because of the regular reports on Manning being posted here each day.

As the trial took place, there were very few media outlets that covered all days of one of the biggest and most critical military justice cases in history. I was there just about every day and that was noticed by others in United States media, as often I would find various blogs citing FDL in their updates on Manning’s trial. I also talked to journalists not based in the US, who wanted insights on what was happening in the courtroom at Fort Meade.

Coverage of Manning brought speaking opportunities that had not been offered to me before. I was asked by KPFA to open for Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in Berkeley, California. A few months later, in April, I was on a panel at Judson Memorial Church in New York City with Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, journalist Alexa O’Brien and FAIR activism director Peter Hart.

On June 9, former Justice Department whistleblower Jesselyn Radack (now an attorney who represents whistleblowers for the Government Accountability Project), National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake and I did a panel at the Left Forum in New York City that was made possible by Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait. We discussed treatment of whistleblowers. Drake recounted some of his experiences as he was prosecuted by the US government. I addressed the historical importance of the Manning trial.

There was something else happening during the Forum. Stories revealing details on NSA’s massive surveillance capabilities kept being published at The Guardian with journalist Glenn Greenwald as the author. (The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman was authoring stories as well.)

All three of us were on the same train to Washington, DC, after the panel. That afternoon, the person responsible for these disclosures, who would go on to become one of the most important people of the year, Edward Snowden, went public and took responsibility for the disclosures.

I watched as call after call after call came into the phones of Drake and Radack from media in the US and around the world, who wanted them for television interviews. And, as I put up my post, I recognized I was in the best place a journalist could be at this point, as I had the privilege of witnessing a previous NSA whistleblower as he reacted to the news that a 29-year-old systems administrator was behind recent news stories. (more…)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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