After a screening of the film Silenced, a panel discussing How Far Would You Go to Tell the Truth? consisting of Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, Senator Scott Ludlam and hosted by Dr Suelette Dreyfus.
Only 11 Americans have ever been charged under the US Espionage Act of 1917, eight of them in the past six years. By resurrecting this law and utilising it with unprecedented frequency, the US government seems to make no distinction between those who would sell secrets to a foreign nation and those who release information to the media about issues of great public concern. It would appear that whistleblowing is now equivalent to spying.
Silenced, an Oscar-nominated documentarian James Spione recounts the personal journeys of two of those accused, former NSA officer Thomas Drake and ex-CIA operative John Kiriakou, who was the first US government official to reveal the practice of ‘waterboarding’ as torture on al Qaeda prisoners and is now in prison himself, along with Jesselyn Radack, the accountability advocate who helped bring their cases to light. With particular resonance in the post-Snowden era, Silenced is a David-and-Goliath political thriller about the individuals of conscience who have dared to challenge unethical behaviour such as torture from within the American national security establishment.
Executive-produced by Susan Sarandon, Silenced makes an impassioned and thought-provoking defence of whistleblowers as an essential part of a functioning democracy.