Courage has a growing Advisory Board, meet some of our first members:
- Maria Alyokhina
- William Binney
- Thomas Drake
- Daniel Ellsberg
- Sarah Harrison
- Chris Hedges
- John Kiriakou
- Annie Machon
- Mwalimu Mati
- Ray McGovern
- Mairead Maguire
- Eben Moglen
- Andy Müller-Maguhn
- Angela Richter
- Sana Saleem
- Vaughan Smith
- Norman Solomon
- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
- Petya Verzilov
- Kevin Zeese
William Binney is a former Technical Director of the NSA. After more than 30 years with the agency, Binney resigned on 31 October 2001, and he blew the whistle on the NSA’s wasteful, abusive surveillance programme Trailblazer. The NSA chose to use Trailblazer instead of ThinThread, which Binney helped produce and which protected citizens’ privacy. Since blowing the whistle, Binney has been an outspoken expert on and critic of NSA surveillance. On 3 July 2014, Binney testified to the German Bundestag’s NSA commission, describing the NSA’s indiscriminate surveillance as an effort to control populations at large. In 2015, he was given the Sam Adams Award for “shining light into the darkest of corners of secret government and corporate power.” At the award ceremony, Edward Snowden said, “Without Bill Binney, there would be no Edward Snowden.” Binney is featured in the documentary A Good American.
Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the National Security Agency where he blew the whistle on massive multimillion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, the failure of 9/11, as well as the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11. As a material witness he provided extensive documented evidence for two 9/11 Congressional investigations and the US DoD Inspector General before going to the press with what he knew. In 2010, he was charged under the Espionage Act by the Obama Administration, facing 35 years in prison. In 2011, the government’s case against him collapsed and he went free in a plea deal with no jail time or fine. He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize, and a joint recipient with Ms. Jesselyn Radack of the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award and the 2012 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Since his case closed, Drake has been an outspoken defender of whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He is now dedicated to the defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A former US military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg disclosed the Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page top secret study of US decision-making, to the US Senate in 1969 and to various press outlets in 1971, revealing how the American public had been misled about the Vietnam War. He was tried on 12 felony counts, but his case was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him. In December 2006 he was awarded the Right to Livelihood Award, “for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.” The author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg is a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and sits on the advisory board for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
Sarah Harrison is a renowned British journalist, human rights defender, and a former researcher with the London-based Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Harrison joined WikiLeaks during the height of its groundbreaking 2010 publication of US military and State Department documents, working as Investigations Editor at the publishing site for several years before leaving to work full time on Courage which she had cofounded in 2014. In 2013, Harrison helped Edward Snowden escape from Hong Kong to Moscow, and in 2015 she was awarded the Willy Brandt Prize for political courage. In 2018, Harrison moved on to the Courage Advisory Board from its management team.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. A New York Times foreign correspondent for fifteen years, he has reported from more than fifty countries, focusing largely on war and global terrorism. Hedges received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. He has written several books, including War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, and Death of the Liberal Class. Hedges now writes a column for Truthdig, where he has covered Chelsea Manning’s trial, Edward Snowden’s courage, and various civil liberties and political issues.
John Kiriakou is a former CIA analyst who was the first US government official to confirm that the US used waterboarding to interrogate terrorism suspects. In 2007, Kiriakou disclosed to ABC News the CIA’s waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah. In 2012, Kiriakou was charged and prosecuted for revealing classified information to the media and in 2013 was sentenced to 30 months in jail. Kiriakou has received the 2012 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, the 2013 award for “Peacemaker of the Year” by the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, and a 2013 Giraffe Hero Commendation. In prison, and even more so since his 3 February 2015 release, Kirkiakou has spoken out in support of fellow whistleblowers.
Annie Machon is a former MI5 British intelligence officer who in the 1990s helped blow the whistle on a range of illegal spy activities, including files on government ministers, illegal phone taps on journalists, IRA bombs that should have been prevented, innocent poeple being thrown in prison, and an illegal assassination attempt against Colonel Gaddafi of Libya in 1996. As a result she had to pre-emptively go on the run around Europe, live in hiding for a year, and face arrest. Her partner was imprisoned twice for exposing the crimes of the spies. She is the author of Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair. She is now a writer, media commentator, political campaigner, and international public speaker on a variety of related issues: the war on terrorism, the war on whistleblowers, the war on drugs, and the war on the internet. She is also the European director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. She blogs at anniemachon.ch.
Mwalimu Mati is co-founder of Mars Group Kenya, an internet web portal dedicated to exposing, documenting, and indexing information on corruption in Kenya. The project combines official public reports and original research, fact-checking government claims and encouraging leaks about injustice and corruption in pursuit of government accountability. Mati is a lawyer and has published widely on corporate and governmental corruption.
Ray McGovern is a retired CIA analyst of 27 years, who in January 2003 helped create VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) to expose the falsification of intelligence used to ‘justify’ war on Iraq. In 2002, McGovern founded the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, which recognises intelligence professionals who demonstrate “courage, persistence and devotion to truth — no matter the consequences”. Recipients include Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. McGovern is on the advisory board for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has spent the majority of her adult life in peaceful activism. In the 1970s, Maguire joined the Northern Ireland peace movement, bringing together tens of thousands of people marching against war between the Provisional IRA and Ulster loyalists. She co-founded Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and nonviolent society in Northern Ireland, and continues to serve as its honorary president. Maguire has spent the last few decades fighting on behalf of political prisoners around the world. A graduate from Irish School of Ecumenics, Mairead, a pacifist, works with interchurch and interfaith organizations and is a councillor with the International Peace Council. She is a Patron of the Methodist Theological College and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education.
Eben Moglen is a lawyer, historian and computer programmer. After clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the US Supreme Court, he joined Columbia Law School, where he has taught law and legal history for twenty-seven years. He helped to prevent Philip Zimmerman from being prosecuted for making PGP in the early 1990s and has represented Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation since 1993. In 2005, Moglen formed the Software Freedom Law Center, which now has offices or affiliates in New York City, New Delhi, and Seoul. In autumn 2013, he gave a series of lectures at Columbia, entitled “Snowden and the Future”. Moglen earned his law degree and a PhD in History at Yale, and in 2003 was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award.
Andy Müller-Maguhn has been a member of the Chaos Computer Club since 1986 and a member of its board since about 1995. In 1998, he founded the Data Travel Agency, a research and conceptual thinktank in the area of network architecture. From 2000 till 2003 he was european user elected director of the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for global policies and administration aspects of IP-numbers and Domain-Names. For a better enforcement of human rights in the digital age, Müller-Maguhn helped create the European Digital Rights (EDRi) in 2002. In 2011, he created buggedplanet.info as a wiki tracking the surveillance industry and allowing a country-specific view on telecommunication interception issues. Since 2012 Müller-Maguhn been a member of the board of the Wau Holland Foundation which supports projects for freedom of information, informational self-determination and civil courage in various forms.
Angela Richter is a Croatian-German theater director, activist and author. She founded the Fleet Street Theatre in Hamburg in 2001, and was director in residency at the Cologne National Theatre Schauspiel Köln from 2013 to 2016. Her interest in WikiLeaks led to the 2012 theater piece “Assassinate Assange.” that premiered in Hamburg and was shown in Berlin, Vienna and Cologne from 2012 to 2014. In 2015, Richter staged the large scale interactive transmedia-project “Supernerds” in co-production with German national TV WDR, dealing with mass surveillance and being aired at primetime at WDR. The text was based on conversations with digital dissidents and whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange. “Supernerds” received the Eyes & Ears Media Award, was nominated for the SXSW Innovation Award in Texas, and for the BANFF Award in Canada.
Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova and Maria (Masha) Alekhina are Russian conceptual artists and political activists. They are founding members of the art collective Pussy Riot. In August 2012, they were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In March 2014 Tolokonnikova and Alekhina announced the opening of Mordovia office of Zona Prava, their newly created prisoners’ rights NGO. Early September 2014 they launched their independent news service, Mediazona which focuses on courts, law enforcement, and the prison system in Russia. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are Lennon Ono Grant for Peace recipients.
Photo: Chris Williamson/Getty Images
Sana Saleem co-founded Bolo Bhi, a rights group focusing on gender, privacy and censorship in Pakistan. Foreign Policy listed her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2012. She won the Best Activist Blogger award by CIO and Google at the Pakistan Blogger Awards in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award in 2011. Saleem also co-founded Stories Beyond Borders, a crowd-sourced storytelling platform for policy advocacy. She blogs at Global Voices, Asian Correspondent, the Guardian, Dawn and her personal blog, Mystified Justice. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo: courtesy of Onnik Krikorian
Vaughan Smith is an freelance video journalist, known for his war reporting, who founded the Frontline Club in London in 2003 as an institution to champion independent journalism. Since 1988 Vaughan has filmed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo and elsewhere, acquiring the only uncontrolled footage of the Gulf War in 1991 while disguised for two months as a British Army officer. During the 1990s, Vaughan ran Frontline News TV, a pioneering news agency that represented the interests of freelance video journalists. In 2010, his home became Julian Assange’s refuge for 13 months.
Norman Solomon is a journalist, antiwar activist and media critic. Solomon has written twelve books, dissecting media bias, pro-war spin and corporate culture. An activist since high school, Solomon has engaged in civil disobedience that included organizing a sit-in at the U.S. Embassy in Russia to protest the nuclear arms race. In 1997, he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, “a national consortium of independent public-policy researchers, analysts and activists,” where he is the executive director. In 1999, he won the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, for his book The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media. In 2010, Solomon co-founded RootsAction.org, which has organized major campaigns to bring attention and support to Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. In 2014, IPA launched ExposeFacts.org, where Solomon is the project coordinator and sits on the editorial board.
Kevin Zeese has been an attorney in Washington DC since 1980. He is an organizer of Popular Resistance which is an outgrowth of his work with Occupy Washington DC at Freedom Plaza. He codirects It’s Our Economy which is working to create economic democracy in the United States. He co-hosts Clearing The FOG on We Act Radio in Washington DC. Zeese serves as the Attorney General for the Green Shadow Cabinet, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy and on the steering committee of the Chelsea Manning Support Network.