People Who Have Made a Difference

These are a few of the courageous souls who have stood up for peace, freedom and fairness, invariably at great risk to their careers and even their lives. They are the real heros of today, leading lights in an insane world that has temporarily forgotten integrity and responsibility.

Aaron Swartz

Ladar Levision
Levison is a man of real integrity who respects the American people and the US constitution. He is the owner and operator of Lavabit, an encrypted webmail service founded in 2004, which allowed for private email communication. Lavabit was used by Edward Snowden to organize his Moscow airport press conference. But when in July 2013 the federal government obtained a search warrant demanding the private SSL keys that would allow them to read all Lavabit emails, Levison chose to shut down the service rather than betray the privacy of his customers. All other webmail services that are aware of have quietly acquiesced to the government's Orwellian demands, but Levison went was made of sterner stuff and went for the ethics rather than the money. As such, he is a true inspiration to all of us who are fighting for the right to privacy, a right the people are afforded by the constitution, but a right that the US government will not uphold because it facilitates whistle-blowers who divulge government abuse. Today he is working on a new project with encryption legend Phil Zimmermann and others called Dark Mail at www.darkmail.info.

Aaron SwartzEdward Snowden
Snowden is a former CIA employee and NSA contractor who blew the whistle on mass surveillance programs being secretly, illegally and undemocratically perpetrated by the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western governments around the world, programs which are replacing modern democracy with the nightmare scenario of Orwell's 1984 where everybody is constantly being watched. Snowden, therefore, is in reality one of the greatest defenders of democracy and the US constitution. The governments' response has been mostly cosmetic and dismissive, with blanket spy programs continuing unabated and justified in the name of "safety". But as people wake up to this government smokescreen of "terrorism", momentum to take back power from our abusive governments grows, and these leaks could eventually be the catalyst that halts the neo-fascist march of Western governments towards surveillance-state dystopia.

Aaron SwartzHugo Chavez (1954-2013)
Chavez was one of the few presidents to actually champion the interests poor people, not only in his home country of Venezuela, but also across the world where he would offer free or low-cost oil to the poorest. As a consequence of his stubborn resistance to US corporate control and social inequality, and the fact that Venezuela sits on top of the biggest oil reserves in the world, he became the greatest threat to US world dominance. Chavez had faults — some accused him of becoming increasingly autocratic — but his legacy will be the extraordinary example he has set to political leaders worldwide for putting the interests of ordinary people above those of the elite and the corporate sector. Almost all other politicians around the world have prostituted themselves to big business and other powerful organisations.

Eating Animals by Jonathan FoerGwenyth Todd / Feb 2013
Not many can say that they averted a war single-handedly, but that is a claim that Gwenyth Todd can maike. Todd was a White House Middle East policy adviser — a job that took her to many Arab-speaking countries and which opened her eyes to American foreign policy. Although originally asked by Clinton to open communication with Iran, subsequent Presidents, especially George Bush, have been under pressure from pro-war lobbyists such as AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to start a war with Iran. This came to a head in 2007 towards the end of Bush's presidency when a false flag operation to spark conflict was defused by a report Todd sent back to Washington, a report her administrators and handlers tried to block her from sending by revoking all her security passes. Because of her report, war was averted that time, but Todd lost her job as a consequence and has been struggling to get work ever since. This is how Washington repays those who display integrity, the sort of integrity that is in the interest of ordinary people around the world, including the American public. (This is the same sort of response to those who expose US war crimes.) War only serves to enrich and empower the elite, and further extreme and immoral political agendas that have no other way to be realized. You can watch an interview with Todd here.