Tag Archives | Whistleblowers

Not Letting The Facts Get In The Way of Attacks on Candidates and Whistleblowers

ObamaIncreasingly, politics is a game driven by often-invented beliefs and myths that are firmly detached from facts and their interpretation.

The parties and their factions live not only in parallel universes but worlds of information that are driven mostly but what they think will work in pandering to their bases and the public.

Even as progressives complain that Barack Obama has moved right even if he occasionally talks left, the hard-core right-wing see him a black revolutionary shaped by Reverend Wright’s black liberation theology with allusions to Malcolm X and Kenyan communists thrown into the mix to “prove” their case.

Never mind that Obama threw his one time mentor Wright under the bus in 2008, or that his policies rarely speak of the needs of a black community suffering under the burden of high joblessness, foreclosures and growing poverty.

In fact, real black revolutionaries like Cornel West and so many others find the president a sell-out and embarrassment even if their community embraces him more as an identity issue or on the basis of shared pigmentation,

The recent plan by Wall Street trader Ed Ricketts to recycle the alleged Obama-Wright conspiracy into an defamatory political ad campaign spoke more to his ignorance and fears than any truth-based assessment.… Read the rest

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America Is Making Its Own Pilots Sick (Video)

F-22 RaptorDraw your own conclusions, but where active members of the military speak out, we all should be listening. As reported by 60 Minutes:
Military officers rarely speak out against their services, but in our lead story you'll hear from two elite pilots who question the safety of Air Force's most sophisticated, stealthy, and expensive fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor. Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson have chosen to stop flying the F-22 because they say during some flights they and other pilots have experienced oxygen deprivation, disorientation, and worse. They are concerned about their safety in the air, as well as the long-term health consequences. The Air Force says it is doing all it can to investigate and solve the problem, and are keeping the jets in the air with careful supervision of the pilots.
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Scientology’s Heretic

Mark "Marty" Rathbun

Mark "Marty" Rathbun

This Easter enjoy the strange case of “Church” of Scientology’s very own Judas Iscariot, as told by Guy Adams in the Independent:

The men who came for Marty Rathbun wore a kind of uniform: dark glasses, clipped facial hair, and light blue T-shirts. Each carried either a microphone, or a video camera. On their chests were pictures of a squirrel, upon which a photograph of Marty’s head had been crudely superimposed. Topping off the ensemble were black baseball caps with an embroidered slogan stitched in white above the peak. It proclaimed: ‘SQUIRREL BUSTERS’.

There were four of them, and they appeared around lunchtime on 18 April last year. Marty was making a sandwich in the kitchen of his home in Ingleside on the Bay, on the Gulf Coast of Texas. When he heard them knock, he grabbed a video camera kept on his sideboard for such an occasion.

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Whistleblower Who Predicted Retaliation Gets Axe from State Deptartment

We Meant WellAre we entering a “post-legal” era? Via Common Dreams:

In September of last year, Peter Van Buren, a 24 year veteran at the State Department and author of the book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, wrote a piece for the online journal TomDispatch entitled, “The Only Employee at State Who May Be Fired Because of WikiLeaks: Me”. Last week, that piece took on prophetic qualities when the State Department initiated official proceedings to fire Van Buren. The move was leaked by Van Buren himself to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, the charges against him are based on a 25-page investigation of Van Buren that the State Department concluded last December. He said he was not aware of the probe until the report was provided to him with his termination notice. From the Post:

Now the State Department is moving to fire [Van Buren] based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information.

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WikiLeaks: Stratfor Confidential Emails Published

StratforReports Reuters via the Huffington Post:

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday more than five million emails from a U.S.-based global security analysis company that has been likened to a shadow CIA.

The emails, snatched by hackers, could unmask sensitive sources and throw light on the murky world of intelligence-gathering by the company known as Stratfor, which counts Fortune 500 companies among its subscribers. Stratfor in a statement shortly after midnight EST (0500 GMT) said the release of its stolen emails was an attempt to silence and intimidate it.

It said it would not be cowed under the leadership of George Friedman, Stratfor’s founder and chief executive officer. It said Friedman had not resigned as CEO, contrary to a bogus email circulating on the Internet. Some of the emails being published “may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic,” the company statement said.

“We will not validate either.

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Obama’s Crackdown On Military Whistleblowers

Free Bradley billboardWhen it comes to abuses, the government is using severe punishment of high-profile whistleblowers as a method of encouraging silence, TomDispatch writes:

On January 23rd, the Obama administration charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to journalists about the waterboarding of al-Qaeda suspects. His is just the latest prosecution in an unprecedented assault on government whistleblowers and leakers of every sort.

The Obama administration has already charged more people—six—under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in American history.)

By now, there can be little doubt that government retaliation against whistleblowers is not an isolated event, nor even an agency-by-agency practice. The number of cases in play suggests an organized strategy to deprive Americans of knowledge of the more disreputable things that their government does. How it plays out in court and elsewhere will significantly affect our democracy.

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The Leak That Made America

Well, no surprises in the Iowa caucus. Gingrich, Bachman and Perry beat themselves into irrelevance and the voters remain undecided whether their priority is to be impoverished by Wall Street wh*res like Mitt Romney or burned at the stake by puritanical simpletons like Rich Santorum. If the Democratic Party's Achilles heel is a lack of conviction and willingness to fight for its stated beliefs, the Republican Party's fatal flaw is its love of stupidity. But that's just us, the electorate. Supposedly the great education and ethical commitment of professional functionaries should mitigate against the creeping culture of mediocrity that's overtaken American culture in the last 50 years. Does it really, though? For example, do the judges deciding the fate of Bradley Manning have clue # 1 that their nation's very founding legal principle owes its existence to a state department leak in 1773? Do any of them remember the Hutchinson Letters Affair?
Benjamin Franklin
Bradley Manning
Complacency
On the face of it, the late 18th century should, by all rights, have represented a gratifying period of peace and contentment within the British Empire.  The vicious civil wars that marked the 17th century had finally been resolved with the decisive defeat of the Jacobite rebellion in 1745.  A remarkably stable political settlement had been achieved which conclusively destroyed the arbitrary power of absolute monarchy...
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EPA Puts Former Senior Administrator Who Supported Whistleblower in Prison

EPAVia Corporate Crime Reporter:

Where are the criminal prosecutions of the major corporations responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Still nowhere to be found. Where are the prosecutors? Where is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Not prosecuting major polluters.

Instead, what are they doing? Cracking down on whistleblowers. And those who support whistleblowers. While the corporate crooks are running free.

Next time you think of this disparity of justice, remember these two words: Jon Grand.

For more than twenty years, Grand was a senior administrator at the EPA in Chicago. Never had a run in with the law. Then, he made the mistake of supporting an EPA whistleblower.

In 2000, Grand was talking on the phone with colleagues in Washington. And the EPA people in Washington were making disparaging remarks about Marsha Coleman-Adebayo – a young African-American EPA staffer who was suing the EPA and its administrator – Carol Browner – for race and sex discrimination.

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Media Roots Interview with Black Ops/Secrecy Researcher Trevor Paglen

Via Media Roots: Trevor Paglen's work deliberately blurs the lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us. He is also the author of several books: Torture Taxi, the first book to comprehensively cover the CIA's extraordinary rendition program; I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me, a book looking at the world of black projects through unit patches and memorabilia created for top-secret programs; and Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World, a book that gives a broader look at secrecy in the United States.
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