Tag Archives | Whistleblowers

What Really Happens To Whistleblowers

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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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Memo to Potential Whistleblowers: If You See Something, Say Something

Metal whistle Long WhistlingBlowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.

I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week.… Read the rest

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Edward Snowden’s Television Interview with German Public Broadcaster ARD

snowden ardvia chycho

From what I understand western mainstream media is not providing very much coverage of Edward Snowden’s latest television interview (transcript). Understandable of course since much of what he talks about would contradict the script.

Figured we’d do our part and give this as much exposure as possible. Below you will find the Vimeo copy (Dailymotion, YouTube copy has been taken down due to copyright claim by ARD). It is worth the watch.

Edward Snowden Interview, English (1/27/2014)

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Revealed: The Burglars Who Beat J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI

Hoover-JEdgar-LOCIt must have been incredibly difficult to pull off this raid on the FBI and never have your secret leak, least of all to the FBI and it’s then omnipotent boss J. Edgar Hoover. The New York Times profiles the gang who pulled it off:

The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.

So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.

They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I.

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What’s the Difference Between a Whistleblower and a Mad Conspiracy Theorist?

Annie McMahon. Photo: Jakob Steinschaden (CC)

Annie McMahon. Photo: Jakob Steinschaden (CC)

Satirist Brendan O’Neill continues the theme of the day – whistleblowers – in this essay for the Telegraph:

What’s the difference between a whistleblower and a conspiracy theorist? Sometimes it can be very hard to tell.

This week, Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence official, won praise for announcing that she is setting up a fund called Courage to help whistleblowers. According to Wired, the aim of the Courage Fund to Protect Journalistic Sources, to give it its full title, is to “encourage [more] whistleblowers to come forward” and spill the beans on the dastardly doings in the government or security department they work in. Ms Machon, who together with her then partner David Shayler left MI5 in 1996 and subsequently told the world about some of the dodgier things it was getting up to, was earlier this year included in a list of “brave whistleblowers” in the Guardian.

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The New York Times Editorial Board Backs ‘Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower’

snowden-378233-edward-snowdenThe New York Times Editorial Board evidently thinks it’s safe to be openly liberal in New York now that we have an unabashed left-wing Mayor, Bill de Blasio. In this opinion piece in today’s “paper of record,” the Times calls for leniency with respect to Edward Snowden, who they notably dub a whistleblower, not a traitor or other epithet bandied about by the likes of Matt Drudge and Fox News Channel:

… Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.

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Edward Snowden’s Alternative Christmas Message

First, a little bit of context for those of you not in a part of the British Commonwealth: on Christmas Day at 3 PM GMT the BBC broadcasts the Queen’s annual Christmas message. The UK’s underdog broadcast television network, Channel 4, has its own alternative message and this year its programmers chose Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower, to deliver it. Channel 4 has been hard at work taking down the message from YouTube as fast as it can, so this version is via CNN with some commentary.

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Government Whistleblowers to Edward Snowden: Don’t Come Home

war-on-whistleblowers-300x425Who’d be a whistleblower? As Robert Greenwald’s documentary War On Whistleblowers all too easily showed, there is little upside other than the moral victory of doing the right thing. The men and women who have learned the hard way are telling Edward Snowden to stay away from the United States, reports Al-Jazeera:

Every day at 5:45 a.m., John Kiriakou wakes up. He pulls on green pants and a green button-down shirt with his name and number on the front. Breakfast is at 6. He watches the news from 6:30 to 7:30, then goes back to sleep. He wakes up again at 11 a.m. for lunch, after which he exercises until around 2:30 in the afternoon. Mail call is at 3:30. Dinner is at 5 p.m.

Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, is serving 30 months in prison. He emailed a freelance reporter the name of a covert CIA officer, violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

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