|Cree singer Buffy Sainte Marie|
By Brenda Norrell
The Guardian brought two famous whistleblowers together to talk about the impacts of exposing truth on their lives and the world.
They are Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the Pentagon Papers and the lies about the Vietnam War, and Edward Snowden.
Ellsberg says we now have a President "that lies as he breathes" He also points out that Obama prosecuted three times as many whistleblowers as all his predecessors put together.
The story does not mention how the U.S. Presidents Johnson and Reagan put Buffy Sainte Marie out of the music business because of her stance against the Vietnam War and her hit song "Universal Soldier."
Buffy said entire shipments of her records were disappearing. She later discovered the directive from President Johnson to radio stations to stop playing her music.
Buffy told her story backstage at Dineh College on the Navajo Nation in 1999, during an open air concert in the Tsaile Mountains.
As a staff writer for Indian Country Today, I wrote Buffy's story. Those words were censored by the newspaper for seven years. Then, when published, Buffy's words about uranium mining on Lakota land at Pine Ridge remained censored.
Shortly after the article was published, which was one of many censored by the newspaper, I was terminated as a reporter with no cause given in 2006.
I had been a journalist in Indian country for 24 years, working for Navajo Times, The Associated Press, USA Today, and many others. I never worked in a paying job again as a reporter.
I did, however, create Censored News, now in its 12th year, with 17 million page views, without any ads or revenues.
It has been a platform for Indigenous Peoples and those struggling for human rights to tell their stories, and to expose the lying presidents, bogus wars and the spin of politicians and the media, and what their deceit means for people who live close to the earth.
Twitter has blocked the links of Censored News since September of 2016, when we exposed the dogs attacking peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock, and exposed the Morton County Sheriff and militarized police.
The Intercept recently exposed a law enforcement hit list, which includes my name and the name of Censored News. We of course were not leaders of the movement, as falsely shown in a diagram by law enforcement. We reported the breaking news of water protectors defending the Missouri River from Dakota Access Pipeline -- as it happened.
Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Buffy Sainte Marie have paid a heavy price for truth.
Others have killed themselves, or remain in prison, because the United States has this power to silence and abuse the truth tellers, the leakers and the whistleblowers who sacrifice their normal lives.
War means billions of dollars in profits for the war profiteers, those corporations that pad the bank accounts with contributions to presidents and Congressmen.
Spying on all the citizens of the world by way of the Internet and cellphones, as Edward Snowden exposed, makes the corroded and crumbling U.S. system continue to function -- much like a broken and clamoring wind-up clock that is running out of time, making a sharp scraping sound with each passing minute.
Buffy was one of many Natives censored by Indian Country Today.
Another was Louise Benally, who has spent her life fighting forced relocation for the benefit of Peabody Coal on Black Mesa. The coal lights up southern Arizona by poisoning Navajos at a dirty coal burning power plant, which makes Sen. John McCain and his fellow exploiters very happy.
When the U.S. first attacked Iraq, Louise Benally spoke out, and compared the War in Iraq to the forced removal of her ancestors by the U.S. Calvary from their homeland. Many Dineh died on the Longest Walk, and starved during the imprisonment at Bosque Redondo.
Indian Country Today censored Louise's words.
Censorship of words, however, has only emboldened the truth tellers, and given the facts increased intensity.
The truth about these wars, and the spying and covert activities that enable U.S. wars, continues to be told.
On Big Mountain, Louise Benally told me 30 years ago about Peabody Coal and its media spin masters: "These big corporations lie."
During my years living in the Chuska Mountains as a news reporter on the Navajo Nation, I realized there is always someone out there who knows the truth. They are willing to tell the truth for the greater good.
Ellsberg says this truth telling is important enough to die for.
In the Guardian:
Interview with Buffy 1998
The Blacklisting of Buffy Sainte Marie
Louise Benally censored:
Censored News targeted by law enforcement for coverage of Standing Rock water protectors, diagram leaked by The Intercept:
Daniel Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act for the release of The Pentagon Papers, and faced charges totaling 115 years in prison. The charges were ultimately dismissed.
Julian Assange of Wikileaks remains in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange was recently granted citizenship in Ecuador.
Edward Snowden remains in Russia. Snowden said that since his U.S. passport was revoked, he remains there because he is unable to travel beyond Russia.
Chelsea Manning, charged with the release of the U.S. State Department files to Wikileaks -- revealing widespread spying on Indigenous Peoples by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton -- has been released from prison.
Buffy Sainte Marie continues to sing and is an icon for Indigenous rights.
Louise Benally, Dineh, continues to fight forced relocation, the energy barons, water rights thieves and lying politicians in her homeland.
Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News