Posted October 24, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Campus Life

Whistleblowing and the Fifth Estate

Ex-CIA analyst turned activist Ray McGovern spoke about government accountability and whistleblowing as an act of patriotism.

“Do you know why the sun never sets on the British Empire?” Ray McGovern  rhetorically asked his audience, re-enacting what he said was the first thing he ever learned about empires. “Because the good Lord would never trust the British in the dark.”

McGovern came to The Evergreen State College on October 18 to discuss what he called the American Empire and the constitutional violations of the people by the current government. The event was sponsored by the program Alternatives to Capitalist Globalization and the group Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace [OMJP].

McGovern brought to the discussion his knowledge as a former army soldier and as a CIA analyst from President Kennedy’s administration to President George H. W. Bush. Most recently, McGovern has been active in speaking out against the NSA in wake of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing. McGovern called Snowden a patriot in an interview on Democracy Now, after traveling to Russia to help present Snowden with the Sam Adams award for whistleblowing on October 10.

“In April, I celebrated the 50th year of being in Washington D.C.,” McGovern commented. “I’ve seen a lot of change. But there’s one change that dwarfs all other changes in significance, and that is that we no longer have, in any real sense, a free media. The Fourth Estate is dead. It is controlled by the corporations that control things in the world and profit from wars.”

Instead, McGovern puts his faith into what he calls the Fifth Estate. “It’s the internet, the web. It cannot be so easily controlled. That doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to control it, but I don’t really think this web can be completely shut down, and that is our hope. The only hope that we can keep being informed is through the internet, and through people who are pledged to openness.”

McGovern has also been interviewed by Evergreen’s KAOS Director John Ford and spoke at the Olympia Community Center later that night.

“Ray had an interesting point when he was talking about the CIA in communication with the president and plausible deniability,” said Jordan Strayer, a sophomore at Evergreen and a co-organizer of the student group Evergreen Political Information Center [EPIC]. In his talk, McGovern discussed how the CIA may withhold information from the President. “Theres an equal chance, rather than being a straight out liar, that this President has been deceived,” McGovern said. “Why do I say that? Why else would he get up and say things that are going to be proven wrong by Edward Snowden? But that’s the beauty of bringing the documents out. Nobody can quarrel with the documents.”

Agreeing with McGoverns points, Strayer concluded, “If the government is doing something, and it is supposed to be in the name of the people, the people should be fully aware of what the government is doing.”

 by Ray Still