Tag Archives | Whistleblowers

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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Court Rules Citizens Allowed to Sue Rumsfeld for Torture

RumsfeldTwo U.S. citizens were arrested, detained, held in captivity for months and tortured by the military after blowing the whistle on the now defunct private contractor they worked for. An Illinois court has upheld a motion to allow the pair to sue Donald Rumsfeld and other unnamed officials, but expect fierce resistance from the Obama administration. Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Monday two men can move forward with a civil lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The Tribune reports the Court upheld a decision from a federal judge allowing a lawsuit which holds Rumsfeld personally responsible for the torture of Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, two former defense contractors in Iraq.

In 2006, while Vance and Ertel were working in Iraq for Shield Group Security, a private contractor, they began to suspect their employer of involvement in illegal arms trading, bribery, and other activities.

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‘Kill The Messenger’ A Documentary About Sibel Edmonds

Via Just A Citizen:

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Sibel Edmonds is approached by the FBI. As an American of Iranian and Turkish origin, Edmonds’ linguistic skill-set makes her a valuable asset to the Language Services Unit, where she spends months translating high-security clearance documents. One day shortly after reporting the possible infiltration of her unit by Turkish spies to her supervisors and their supervisors, Edmonds’ world is turned upside-down.

Instead of seeing her colleague become the target of an investigation, she is interrogated, then unceremoniously fired and warned not to pursue her claims any further as she would be watched and listened to. In the years that follow, Edmonds is transformed into the country’s first public National Security whistle-blower and a prominent First Amendment advocate (the ACLU calls her the “most gagged woman in America”).

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‘News of the World’ Phone-Hacking Whistleblower Found Dead

Sean HoareNot thought to be suspicious but is unexplained. Hell of a dark omen with Rupert Murdoch due to appear before Parliament tomorrow. Amelia Hill, James Robinson, Caroline Davies report in the Guardian:

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found.

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Officials in ‘Panic Mode’ Over Failed Government Anti-Gun Trafficking Program

ATF“The hearing is billed as ‘Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes’”. William La Jeunesse writes on Fox News:

Officials at the Department of Justice are in “panic mode,” according to multiple sources, as word spreads that congressional testimony next week will paint a bleak and humiliating picture of Operation Fast and Furious, the botched undercover operation that left a trail of blood from Mexico to Washington, D.C.

The operation was supposed to stem the flow of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico by allowing so-called straw buyers to purchase guns legally in the U.S. and later sell them in Mexico, usually to drug cartels.

Instead, ATF documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms knowingly and deliberately flooded Mexico with assault rifles. Their intent was to expose the entire smuggling organization, from top to bottom, but the operation spun out of control and supervisors refused pleas from field agents to stop it.

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