Edward Snowden / Wikileaks / Should we leak? / whistleblowing good or bad?


This lesson is designed to introduce the students to the concept of whistle-blowing and to reflect on whether and when it is a good or bad thing.

Skills targeted:

Critical thinking

Knowledge of contemporary politics and developments

English language argumentation skills


Students were asked to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

prior to the lesson.

It was noted that should students find the material disturbing they could cease to watch and instead reflect / report on why they ceased to watch and how the short movie made them feel.


Intro (5′):

Q: How did the movie make you feel?

Note responses on whiteboard.

angry – sad – shocked – indifferent – jaded – bored – …

: leave responses uncommented.

Background 7′

Explain the background to the movie:

leaked by Bradley/ Chelsea Manning to Wikileaks leaked 2010 / 2007 engagement.

Reuters demanded an investigation / USA said was according to “the rules of engagement”.

“And you can see that they also deliberately target Saaed, a wounded man there on the ground, despite their earlier belief that they didn’t have the rules of engagement—that the rules of engagement did not permit them to kill Saeed when he was wounded. When he is rescued, suddenly that belief changed. You can see in this particular image he is lying on the ground and the people in the van have been separated, but they still deliberately target him. This is why we called it Collateral Murder. In the first example maybe it’s collateral exaggeration or incompetence when they strafe the initial gathering, this is recklessness bordering on murder, but you couldn’t say for sure that was murder. But this particular event—this is clearly murder.”

– Assange

Media Storm

Rebuttals by US military.

Arrest, convictions and sentencing of Manning

Chelsea Manning in 2012

In May 2010, a 22-year-old American Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning), was arrested after telling hacker Adrian Lamo she had leaked the airstrike video, along with a video of another airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[85][86] The Internet chats between Manning and Lamo were revealed to the public by Wired.[87]

Q: why do you think that Bradley Manning leaked the footage?


What is whistleblowing?

A whistleblower (also written as whistle-blower or whistle blower)[1] is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.[2] The information of alleged wrongdoing can be classified in many ways: violation of company policy/rules, law, regulation, or threat to public interest/national security, as well as fraud, and corruption.[3] Those who become whistleblowers can choose to bring information or allegations to surface either internally or externally. Internally, a whistleblower can bring his/her accusations to the attention of other people within the accused organization such as an immediate supervisor. Externally, a whistleblower can bring allegations to light by contacting a third party outside of an accused organization such as the media, government, law enforcement, or those who are concerned. Whistleblowers, however, take the risk of facing stiff reprisal and retaliation from those who are accused or alleged of wrongdoing.

Because of this, a number of laws exist to protect whistleblowers. Some third party groups even offer protection to whistleblowers, but that protection can only go so far. Whistleblowers face legal action, criminal charges, social stigma, and termination from any position, office, or job. Two other classifications of whistleblowing are private and public. The classifications relate to the type of organizations someone chooses to whistle-blow on: private sector, or public sector. Depending on many factors, both can have varying results. However, whistleblowing in the public sector organization is more likely to result in criminal charges and possible custodial sentences. A whistleblower who chooses to accuse a private sector organization or agency is more likely to face termination and legal and civil charges.


Instances of Whistleblowing

Edward Snowden

Whistleblowing in the NHS.


Chelsea Manning.

Edward Snowden.



Whistleblowers are necessary to safeguard democracy

Edward Snowden / Bradley Manning is a traitor.

Whistleblowers must be protected




So far, the uniform regulation regarding the problem of “whistleblowing” has not been adopted in Poland. “Whistleblowing” is a phenomenon which has been defined in the countries of Anglo-Saxon law. It means the disclosure by a member of the organization (former or current) of illegal, immoral or unlawful practices carried out with the knowledge of the employer, by informing people or organizations that are able to take effective action to stop these practices. As the result of measures taken, the public interest is protected, but often also the interests of the employers themselves. According to the source material, anonymous informants and internal whistleblowing systems is one of the three most effective tools for detecting fraud.





Please watch in preparation for next lesson:

If you find the material disturbing you may switch it off, and reflect why you find it disturbing.

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