Before Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, there lived the godfather of whistleblowers, Phillip Agee, ex-CIA. Phil named names, exposed CIA agents and brought down whole agency operations back when he published his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary in 1975.
The difference with back then and today’s whistleblowers is that Phil Agee actually exposed CIA undercover agents, some of whom, being involved in covert wars, were killed as a result, something Snowden and Assange differ with Agee over.
From a Third World perspective, Phil Agee did us a lot of good by helping us kick the criminals working for the CIA out of our countries. The undercover agents who may have been killed were not the good guys Hollywood would have you believe. Kidnapping, torture, dissapearences and assasinations is what the CIA does or oversees.
If you are a political activist in the Third World, you want to know your enemy so you can protect yourself from these criminals secretly draped in the red, white and blue of Yanqui Imperialism.
Here in Africa we have learned from bitter experience that the CIA’s prefered fronts are aid workers, journalists and clergy. Now if Snowden or Assange would publish the names of the clergy, journalists and aid workers working for the CIA, then maybe we could prevent them from committing their malicious crimes of espionage, you know, save lives and protect our loved ones and fellow country men and women?
If people living in the western countries were shocked by Snowden’s exposé, then they were pretty naive. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI never respected anyone’s privacy, least of all the President of the USA. And if you were deemed a threat, like over 200 Black Panthers and American Indian activists, the FBI had no compunctions about gunning you down..
Exposure of US government spying doesn’t really help us here in the Third World because we are being kidnapped, tortured, dissapeared and assasinated. Spying on our mobile phones is quite a way’s down on the list of our worries.
Hopefully the next generation of whistleblowers will remember Phillip Agee and not just expose crimes, but actively prevent any future damage by naming names, exposing agents and destroying the operations of the international criminal cartel known as the CIA.