Courage our network

Advisory Board

Courage has a growing Advisory Board, meet some of our first members:

Renata Avila

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 6.55.14 PMRenata Avila is a human rights lawyer from Guatemala. She worked as one of the lawyers representing the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum in Guatemala in the genocide case before Spanish Courts. She joined Sir Tim Berners-Lee as lead of the Web We Want campaign at the Web Foundation, dedicated to preserving and upholding digital rights and to responding to threats to the future of the Web and is one of the Citizen Lab Cybestewards researchers uncovering surveillance in the global south. She currently serves as a Board Member of Creative Commons Board of Directors.

John Perry Barlow


Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.18.11 PMA former Grateful Dead lyricist, poet, and rancher, John Perry Barlow has spent the last few decades of his life devoted to digital activism. He co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, committed to ‘Defending Your Rights in the Digital World.’ Barlow serves on EFF’s board of directors, and he co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation, dedicated to opposing government crackdowns on journalism and to raising funds for independent media projects, including WikiLeaks.

Thomas Drake

drakeThomas Drake is a former senior executive at the National Security Agency where he blew the whistle on massive multimillion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, the failure of 9/11, as well as the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11. As a material witness he provided extensive documented evidence for two 9/11 Congressional investigations and the US DoD Inspector General before going to the press with what he knew. In 2010, he was charged under the Espionage Act by the Obama Administration, facing 35 years in prison. In 2011, the government’s case against him collapsed and he went free in a plea deal with no jail time or fine. He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize, and a joint recipient with Ms. Jesselyn Radack of the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award and the 2012 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Since his case closed, Drake has been an outspoken defender of whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He is now dedicated to the defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Daniel Ellsberg

5506852723_58e0983d8d_oA former US military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg disclosed the Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page top secret study of US decision-making, to the US Senate in 1969 and to various press outlets in 1971, revealing how the American public had been misled about the Vietnam War. He was tried on 12 felony counts, but his case was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him. In December 2006 he was awarded the Right to Livelihood Award, “for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.” The author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg is a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and sits on the advisory board for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Chris Hedges

220px-Chris_hedges_blurChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. A New York Times foreign correspondent for fifteen years, he has reported from more than fifty countries, focusing largely on war and global terrorism. Hedges received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. He has written several books, including War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, and Death of the Liberal Class. Hedges now writes a column for Truthdig, where he has covered Chelsea Manning’s trial, Edward Snowden’s courage, and various civil liberties and political issues.

Annie Machon

Annie MachonAnnie Machon is a former MI5 British intelligence officer who in the 1990s helped blow the whistle on a range of illegal spy activities, including files on government ministers, illegal phone taps on journalists, IRA bombs that should have been prevented, innocent poeple being thrown in prison, and an illegal assassination attempt against Colonel Gaddafi of Libya in 1996. As a result she had to pre-emptively go on the run around Europe, live in hiding for a year, and face arrest. Her partner was imprisoned twice for exposing the crimes of the spies. She is the author of Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair. She is now a writer, media commentator, political campaigner, and international public speaker on a variety of related issues: the war on terrorism, the war on whistleblowers, the war on drugs, and the war on the internet. She is also the European director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. She blogs at anniemachon.ch.

Mwalimu Mati

Mwalimu Mati in T-shirtMwalimu Mati is co-founder of Mars Group Kenya, an internet web portal dedicated to exposing, documenting, and indexing information on corruption in Kenya. The project combines official public reports and original research, fact-checking government claims and encouraging leaks about injustice and corruption in pursuit of government accountability. Mati is a lawyer and has published widely on corporate and governmental corruption.

Ray McGovern

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 1.05.03 PMRay McGovern is a retired CIA analyst of 27 years, who in January 2003 helped create VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) to expose the falsification of intelligence used to ‘justify’ war on Iraq. In 2002, McGovern founded the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, which recognises intelligence professionals who demonstrate “courage, persistence and devotion to truth — no matter the consequences”. Recipients include Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. McGovern is on the advisory board for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Mairead Maguire

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.24.32 PMMairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has spent the majority of her adult life in peaceful activism. In the 1970s, Maguire joined the Northern Ireland peace movement, bringing together tens of thousands of people marching against war between the Provisional IRA and Ulster loyalists. She co-founded Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and nonviolent society in Northern Ireland, and continues to serve as its honorary president. Maguire has spent the last few decades fighting on behalf of political prisoners around the world. A graduate from Irish School of Ecumenics, Mairead, a pacifist, works with interchurch and interfaith organizations and is a councillor with the International Peace Council. She is a Patron of the Methodist Theological College and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education.

Eben Moglen

Eben_Moglen,_2010-08-05Eben Moglen is a lawyer, historian and computer programmer. After clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the US Supreme Court, he joined Columbia Law School, where he has taught law and legal history for twenty-seven years. He helped to prevent Philip Zimmerman from being prosecuted for making PGP in the early 1990s and has represented Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation since 1993. In 2005, Moglen formed the Software Freedom Law Center, which now has offices or affiliates in New York City, New Delhi, and Seoul. In autumn 2013, he gave a series of lectures at Columbia, entitled “Snowden and the Future”. Moglen earned his law degree and a PhD in History at Yale, and in 2003 was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award.

Andy Müller-Maguhn


Andy Müller-Maguhn 2Andy Müller-Maguhn has been a member of the Chaos Computer Club since 1986 and a member of its board since about 1995. In 1998, he founded the Data Travel Agency, a research and conceptual thinktank in the area of network architecture. From 2000 till 2003 he was european user elected director of the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for global policies and administration aspects of IP-numbers and Domain-Names. For a better enforcement of human rights in the digital age, Müller-Maguhn helped create the European Digital Rights (EDRi) in 2002. In 2011, he created buggedplanet.info as a wiki tracking the surveillance industry and allowing a country-specific view on telecommunication interception issues. Since 2012 Müller-Maguhn been a member of the board of the Wau Holland Foundation which supports projects for freedom of information, informational self-determination and civil courage in various forms.

Pussy Riot


Pussy Riot in CambridgeNadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova and Maria (Masha) Alekhina are Russian conceptual artists and political activists. They are founding members of the art collective Pussy Riot. In August 2012, they were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In March 2014 Tolokonnikova and Alekhina announced the opening of Mordovia office of Zona Prava, their newly created prisoners’ rights NGO. Early September 2014 they launched their independent news service, Mediazona which focuses on courts, law enforcement, and the prison system in Russia. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are Lennon Ono Grant for Peace recipients.

Photo: Chris Williamson/Getty Images

Sana Saleem

sana 2Sana Saleem co-founded Bolo Bhi, a rights group focusing on gender, privacy and censorship in Pakistan. Foreign Policy listed her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2012. She won the Best Activist Blogger award by CIO and Google at the Pakistan Blogger Awards in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award in 2011. Saleem also co-founded Stories Beyond Borders, a crowd-sourced storytelling platform for policy advocacy. She blogs at Global Voices, Asian Correspondent, the Guardian, Dawn and her personal blog, Mystified Justice. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: courtesy of Onnik Krikorian

Vaughan Smith


Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.20.46 PMVaughan Smith is an freelance video journalist, known for his war reporting, who founded the Frontline Club in London in 2003 as an institution to champion independent journalism. Since 1988 Vaughan has filmed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo and elsewhere, acquiring the only uncontrolled footage of the Gulf War in 1991 while disguised for two months as a British Army officer. During the 1990s, Vaughan ran Frontline News TV, a pioneering news agency that represented the interests of freelance video journalists. In 2010, his home became Julian Assange’s refuge for 13 months.

Kevin Zeese

Zeese biopic for siteKevin Zeese has been an attorney in Washington DC since 1980. He is an organizer of Popular Resistance which is an outgrowth of his work with Occupy Washington DC at Freedom Plaza. He codirects It’s Our Economy which is working to create economic democracy in the United States. He co-hosts Clearing The FOG on We Act Radio in Washington DC. Zeese serves as the Attorney General for the Green Shadow Cabinet, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy and on the steering committee of the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj_Zizek_in_Liverpool_croppedSlavoj Žižek is an internationally renowned philosopher, author and cultural critic. He is a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, in Slovenia, and the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, in England. Žižek has written more than eighty books, and he’s written and starred in several documentaries about his own philosophy. In 2013, he wrote an op-ed declaring Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange “our new heroes” and whistleblowing “an essential art.”