Friday, March 28, 2014

(In)Justice for Whistleblowers under the "Transparent & Accountable" President

From a 2011 interview with Sibel Edmonds, famed FBI whistleblower and the Editor of

...much the state of the State as it pertains to whistleblowers involved in  "national security" and "law enforcement."

In 2008, Candidate Barack Obama promised to protect whistleblowers; in 2009 Now President Obama's transition team, promised transparency, accountability and the protection of whistleblowers...

Tom Drake, a former NSA senior executive, was indicted in 2010 for "espionage" after leaking, to the media, allegations that the nation's largest intelligence organization had committed fraud, waste and abuse. His first television interview since that indictment was with "60 Minutes" interview:

Chelsea Manning has been tortured, abused, tried and convicted of espionage for downloading and releasing video and information about war crimes committed by and hidden by the US military.

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

  • the Collateral Murder video that exposed the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq

  • the Afghan War Diary that revealed uninvestigated civilian casualties and contractor abuse

  • the Iraq War Logs that revealed civilian casualties, and uninvestigated reports of torture

  • the US diplomatic cables that revealed the role that corporate interests and spying play in international diplomacy

  • Since his incarceration (prior to trial, 8 months was spent in solitary confinement at Quantico,  forced to dress and undress, standing naked for extended periods of time until "passing inspection" and allowed only 1 hr to walk around his cell in shackles - all in order to degrade and humiliate him), he has been awarded....
    Sam Adams Award (2014) – Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence
    Sean Macbride Peace Prize (2013)– International Peace Bureau
    In His Footsteps Award (2013) - Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
    Nobel Peace Prize nominee (2014, 2013 & 2012) – Movement of the Icelandic Parliament, Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research, and former Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
    Person of the Year (2012) - UK Guardian
    2013 Peace Prize  – US Peace Memorial Foundation
    Peacemaker of the Year (2013) – The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
    Hero of Peace Award (2013) – Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace
    SF Trans March Award (2013) – San Francisco Trans March
    SF Pride Grand Marshal Runner-Up (2013) – SF LGBT Pride former Grand Marshals
    People’s Choice Human Rights Award (2012) - Global Exchange
    ...for his revelations.

    As for his "trial," his former lawyer wrote this statement - a scathing review of the hypocrisy of the process and the administration:

    Then there is Aaron Swartz, founder of Demand Progress - which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and won;  idealist; genius (as well as the once  part owner of Reddit - the irony not lost on me that Reddit has become the antithesis of  the Swartz' ideal).

    Aaron Swartz courtesy of The New Yorker

    Swartz had a history of depression and, at times, had discussed his suicidal ideation, but, with the US DOJ actively harassing him, threatening and prosecuting him for gaining access to and releasing documents from MIT's JSTOR (4.8 million documents that were usually sold on-line through membership), he committed suicide on January 21, 2013.

    It should be noted that JSTOR did not want to pursue prosecution...The DOJ insisted on pursuing prosecution going for a sentence of 35 years.

    The life of Swartz as a coder and an Internet thinker is well known. A believer in free access to knowledge, in 2010 Swartz installed a computer in an M.I.T. supply closet and downloaded a large number of old academic articles. He was detected, caught, and charged by a federal prosecutor with thirteen felonies; in January of 2013, before his trial, Swartz killed himself. 
    And from Democracy Now!:

    Next, Barrett Brown, activist, journalist and friend of transparency was to be tried for publishing links...LINKS! Links pointing to a chatroom in which information about and from the Stratfor hack was posted... along with 16 other counts ranging from obstruction of justice to threatening a federal officer to identity fraud.  If convicted, he could have been looking at over 100 years in prison.

    From Rolling Stone

    The more ridiculous charge, steaming from those pesky links....(or as prosecutors claimed, trafficking in data, including credit card numbers, that was stolen from private intelligence firm Stratfor by reporting and posting those links), along with 11 other charges, were dismissed, in early March this year,  after prosecutors, finally were thunderstruck (godsmacked) with a modicum of sanity (but I can't make that statement with any assurance), requested that the judge dismiss them.

     Rolling Stone describes Barrett:
    Encountering Barrett Brown's story in passing, it is tempting to group him with other Anonymous associates who have popped up in the news for cutting pleas and changing sides. Brown's case, however, is a thing apart. Although he knew some of those involved in high-profile "hacktivism," he is no hacker. His situation is closer to the runaway prosecution that destroyed Aaron Swartz, the programmer-activist who committed suicide in the face of criminal charges similar to those now being leveled at Brown. But unlike Swartz, who illegally downloaded a large cache of academic articles, Brown never broke into a server; he never even leaked a document. 

    Then we have Jeremy Hammond .....

    .... convicted and in prison for his part in hacking, downloading and actually releasing millions of emails proving Stratfor's spying on activists and citizens, collecting and selling data and information to client corporations (as well as the US government and others).

    Selling data and information...just what private contractors aren't doing, so says the transparent and accountable president.

    Hammond, 28, has pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) relating to a 2011 cyber attack on Strategic Forecasting, Inc, known as Stratfor – an information analysis company based in Austin, Texas. Working alongside a fellow hacker operating under the internet handle Sabu – who was later revealed to be an FBI informant – Hammond downloaded an email spool from Stratfor containing millions of files and sent the data to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks which released them as the “Global Intelligence Files”.
    Entrapment and overkill - two of the DOJ's favorite activities.....

    Jeremy is now serving 10 years in prison.

    I won't get into Edward Snowden - hero to truthseekers and truthsayers around the globe.

    I don't want to set off apoplexy in those who jumped to silly conclusions before they bothered to actually hear anything from this whistleblower, now sitting in Russia until its time to move again.

    Even the name sets off irrational self-righteous indignation in those "standing strong for transparency"... that's when many fall lock step with the gaggle of geese calling "Off with his head."

    A simple invocation of the in newly coined "obscenities" - "Edward Snowden" or "Glenn Greenwald" - sets off irrational petulance in many, on both the Right (some claiming he is a Russian spy out to destroy America) and the somewhat Left (some claiming he is a RW egomaniac out to make a name for himself, or just a patsy of Glenn Greenwald, and out to destroy Obama)...

    Never understanding it never has been a "right" or "left" thing....Only a Truth thing.

    As for the paradigm shaking information, Snowden gathered and released?  Much is met with more denial, deflection and logical fallacies (and phalli),  unsheathed.

    I have yet to hear a logical critique of Edward Snowden as a person or as it relates to his revelations from or by a single detractor- especially as it relates to his actions.  Lots of fear-mongering, character assassinations and spun talking points but no logical critique...

    Leading us back to the transparent and accountable president - The president now sitting in the Oval Office for 5 years; The president that has continued the war on truth and transparency as he escalated the war on whistleblowers - seems to have done it all.......

    ..... in order to remain unaccountable.


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