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.
Tag Archives | Whistleblowers
This Easter enjoy the strange case of “Church” of Scientology’s very own Judas Iscariot, as told by Guy Adams in the Independent:
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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.
Are we entering a “post-legal” era? Via Common Dreams:
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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.
Reports Reuters via the Huffington Post:
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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.
When it comes to abuses, the government is using severe punishment of high-profile whistleblowers as a method of encouraging silence, TomDispatch writes:
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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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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.
Two 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:
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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.
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”).