Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein promises to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - whom many describe as a true American hero - not just a full pardon, but a promotion to the upper echelons of government should she win the White House.
“[Snowden] has done an incredible service to our country at great cost to himself for having to live away from his family, his friends, his job, his network, to basically live as an expatriate,” Stein asserted during a town hall live-streamed to supporters on her Facebook page, US Uncut reported.
“I would say not only bring Snowden back, but bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet,” she continued, “because we need people who are part of our national security administration who are really, very patriotic. If we’re really going to protect our American security, we also have to protect our Constitutional rights, and that includes our right to privacy.”
Stein said her pardons wouldn’t stop with Snowden, but would extend to others, including CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who first revealed proof of U.S. government employment of waterboarding and other torture tactics, as well as Chelsea Manning.
Perhaps Stein’s pledge will come as a glimmer of hope to Manning, who has been forced to languish in prison for the duration of a 35-year sentence after leaking what came to be called the Afghan War Diary and Iraq War Logs—which included now-notorious footage of U.S. helicopter airmen deliberately gunning down journalists—to Wikileaks. Stating she was “glad to be alive” now, Manning’s continued struggle behind bars led to her attempted suicide last week.
Reddit co-founder and MIT student, Aaron Swartz, however, succeeded in killing himself in 2013, after being harassed and threatened with a 35-year sentence and $1 million in fines for leaking academic research to the public. Stein lamented Swartz would also have received a pardon under her presidency, explaining:
“[Swartz] was a proponent of free and liberated Internet and for sharing our resources on that internet, who was basically hounded into suicide by a very oppressive Department of Justice. So, he — in my mind — is another one of these heroes that we need to remember and be very thankful for.”
Remarking whistleblowers “have done a great service,” Stein described those who expose governmental—and other—wrongs as “people who’ve paid an incredible price for our rights of not only the freedom to communicate on the Internet, but also the freedom to guard our privacy.”
Stein—whose cutting-edge campaign platform includes the call to end wars, cut the U.S. military budget in half, stop police brutality, end mass incarceration, forego corporate trade agreements in favor of fair trade, label genetically-modified food, and much more—quickly became the favorite of Bernie Sanders supporters who felt betrayed by his endorsement of war hawk, Hillary Clinton.
“There’s been an explosion of Berners coming through in every portal of the campaign, and it’s really exciting,” Stein told US Uncut, employing the popular term for the Vermont senator’s supporters, in an interview. “There is so much courage out there to stand up to the marching orders handed down by the usual suspects.”
Last week, Stein invited Sanders to collaborate—going so far as to offer the Green Party ticket for the continuance of his campaign.
“I’ve invited Bernie to sit down and explore collaboration — everything is on the table,” she announced last week, prior to his endorsement of the Democratic establishment darling, Clinton. “If he saw that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, he’d be welcomed to the Green Party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement.”
With her gracious offer ultimately rebuffed, Stein expressed disappointment and instead invited disillusioned Berners to consider voting for her. During the live-stream, Stein stated:
“I call on the tens of millions inspired by Bernie Sanders’ call for political revolution, the 60 percent of Americans who want a new major party, and the independents who outnumber both Democrats and Republicans who reject the self-defeating strategy of voting for the lesser evil and join our fight for the greater good.”