Tag Archives | Whistleblowers

Chelsea Manning: The Conscience of America

"Chelsea Manning is the conscience of America; a great light cast into a darkness that has been veiling the soul of this nation," writes Hayase. (Photo: Verigogen/flickr/cc)

“Chelsea Manning is the conscience of America; a great light cast into a darkness that has been veiling the soul of this nation,” writes Hayase. (Photo: Verigogen/flickr/cc)

Nozomi Hayase writes at Common Dreams:

April 5th marks the five year anniversary of WikiLeaks publication of the Collateral Murder Video. The footage of a secret US military video depicted an Apache helicopter killing Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. It provided an uncensored view of modern war for the world to see. The light that shone in the darkness was the conscience of a young woman. Chelsea Manning (formally Bradley Manning) is now serving 35 years behind bars for her great public service.

After witnessing Manning confess to her role as WikiLeaks whistleblower at the court-martial proceeding in Fort Meade, Maryland, attorney and President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner said that locking her up “for even a day is to lock up the conscience of our nation”.

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Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

Via John Hanrahan at Consortium News:

A disturbing trend in mainstream U.S. media is how many “star” journalists side with the government in its persecution of whistleblowers – and even disdain fellow reporters who expose secret wrongdoing, an attitude that is destroying what’s left of American democracy, as John Hanrahan explains.

By John Hanrahan

Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

One would think that a business that has relied on confidential informants for some of the major investigative stories of this and the previous century would applaud whistleblowers who risk everything on behalf of the people’s right to know what their government is doing in the shadows.

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Jailed Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Wins Battle to Receive Hormone Therapy

Pfc. Chelsea Manning in this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army. Defense Department officials say hormone treatment for gender reassignment has been approved for Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst convicted of espionage for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. (Photo: U.S. Army/File)

Pfc. Chelsea Manning in this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army. Defense Department officials say hormone treatment for gender reassignment has been approved for Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst convicted of espionage for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. (Photo: U.S. Army/File)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower who leaked thousands of internal military and State Department documents to help expose wrongdoing by the U.S. government, will receive the hormone treatment she has been fighting to receive since she was first sent to Ft. Leavenworth prison in 2013.

Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for releasing, among other materials, video footage of U.S. soldiers gunning down civilians from a helicopter in Iraq in 2007. Following her conviction, Manning came out publicly as transgender and soon upon her arrival at Ft. Leavenworth requested that she been given the hormone therapy which the medical community officially agrees is essential to her health and well-being.

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Are You Living with a Terrorist?

The cover of an internal National Counterterrorism Center report which includes a rating system designed to analyze the proclivity of individuals to become radical extremists. (Image: screenshot)

The cover of an internal National Counterterrorism Center report which includes a rating system designed to analyze the proclivity of individuals to become radical extremists. (Image: screenshot)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

A government document obtained by journalists at The Intercept reveals the National Counterterrorism Center developed a complex set of criteria to help determine if individuals in the U.S. may be more vulnerable than others to the allure of violent extremism and created a “rating system” that would help law enforcement agents rank such prospects.

Posting the complete NCTC document (link/pdf)—which was marked “Unclassified” but also “For Official Use Only” (FOUO)—to their website on Monday, The Intercept reports:

The rating system, part of a 36-page document dated May 2014 and titled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts,” suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as: “Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,” “Talk of Harming Self or Others,” and “Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity).” The ranking system is supposed to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.

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Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

Jeffrey Sterling

Jeffrey Sterling

Midway through the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, one comment stands out. “A criminal case,” defense attorney Edward MacMahon told the jury at the outset, “is not a place where the CIA goes to get its reputation back.” But that’s where the CIA went with this trial in its first week — sending to the witness stand a procession of officials who attested to the agency’s virtues and fervently decried anyone who might provide a journalist with classified information.

The CIA’s reputation certainly needs a lift. It has rolled downhill at an accelerating pace in the dozen years since telling President George W. Bush what he wanted the nation to hear about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. That huge bloody blot on the agency’s record has not healed since then, inflamed by such matters as drone strikes, rendition of prisoners to torture-happy regimes and resolute protection of its own torturers.… Read the rest

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Race, Leaks and Prosecution at the CIA

Condoleezza Rice made headlines when she testified Thursday at the leak trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling — underscoring that powerful people in the Bush administration went to great lengths a dozen years ago to prevent disclosure of a classified operation. But as The Associated Press noted, “While Rice’s testimony helped establish the importance of the classified program in question, her testimony did not implicate Sterling in any way as the leaker.”

Rice Transformational Diplomacy Speech.jpg

Few pixels and little ink went to the witness just before Rice — former CIA spokesman William Harlow — whose testimony stumbled into indicating why he thought of Sterling early on in connection with the leak, which ultimately resulted in a ten-count indictment.

Harlow, who ran the CIA press office, testified that Sterling came to mind soon after New York Times reporter James Risen first called him, on April 3, 2003, about the highly secret Operation Merlin, a CIA program that provided faulty nuclear weapon design information to Iran.… Read the rest

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The Revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

This week, in a federal courtroom, I’ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong.

Those CIA employees and consultants are more than mere loyalists for an agency that soaks up $15 billion a year and continues to loosen the bonds of accountability. The docket says “United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling,” but a more discerning title would be “National Security State v. The Public’s Right to Know.”

For the first time in 30 years, a case has gone to trial in a civilian court under the Espionage Act with charges that the defendant gave classified information to news media. Not far from the CIA headquarters in Northern Virginia, legal jargon is flying around the courtroom, but the law has very little to do with this case.

Aerial view of CIA headquarters, langley, virginia 14760a

Aerial view of the CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia.

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Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower

Jeffrey Sterling

Jeffrey Sterling

The trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in mid-January, is shaping up as a major battle in the U.S. government’s siege against whistleblowing. With its use of the Espionage Act to intimidate and prosecute people for leaks in “national security” realms, the Obama administration is determined to keep hiding important facts that the public has a vital right to know.

After fleeting coverage of Sterling’s indictment four years ago, news media have done little to illuminate his case — while occasionally reporting on the refusal of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about whether Sterling was a source for his 2006 book “State of War.”

Risen’s unwavering stand for the confidentiality of sources is admirable. At the same time, Sterling — who faces 10 felony counts that include seven under the Espionage Act — is no less deserving of support.

Revelations from brave whistleblowers are essential for the informed consent of the governed.… Read the rest

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What Really Happens To Whistleblowers

Thomas drake 1792

Thomas Drake reading at the Beyond Orwell panel, Georgetown University. Photo: Slowking (licensed via GFDL v1.2)

It’s no secret that people who go public with damaging information about the misdeeds of government or corporations become untouchable (see Robert Greenwald’s documentary War on Whistleblowers for examples). But just how tough is it to get a job after you’ve blown the whistle? Almost impossible, finds The Guardian in this investigation:

This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission made history by promising an anonymous overseas whistleblower a reward of $30m.

It doesn’t usually work out that way for whistleblowers. Ringing the bell on abuse in a company or government usually means losing jobs and status. The norm is pariah treatment and low-wage jobs, as well as trips to the welfare office and the lingering threat of prosecution or intimidation.

Consider: it’s not every day that you get to buy an iPhone from an ex-NSA officer.

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