Tag Archives: whistleblowers

From the Pentagon Papers to Trump: How the government gained the upper hand against leakers

 

Margot Susca, American University School of Communication

In October 1969, a national security official named Daniel Ellsberg began secretly photocopying 7,000 classified Vietnam War documents. He had become increasingly frustrated with the systematic deception of top U.S. leaders who sought to publicly escalate a war that, privately, they knew was unwinnable.

In March 1971 he leaked the documents – what would became known as the Pentagon Papers – to a New York Times reporter. The newspaper ended up publishing a series of articles that exposed tactical and policy missteps by three administrations on a range of subjects, from covert operations to confusion over troop deployments. Continue reading

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‘Today Is a Great Day’: After 7 Years, Chelsea Manning Takes First Steps of Freedom

Army whistleblower’s release celebrated as “a victory for human rights and the future of freedom of expression”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2017

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, released from a federal military prison on Wednesday, tweeted this image with the message: “First steps of freedom!!” (Photo: Twitpic/@xychelsea)

“Today is a great day!”

That’s the message from supporters of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who on Wednesday, after seven years in military prison, is a free woman.

“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived,” Manning said in a statement upon her release: “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now—which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me,” she said.  Continue reading

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Why whistleblowers are essential to democracy

In a functioning democracy, it is absolutely crucial for power to be held to account. For this we need whistleblowers.

By Rebecca Sentance. Published 2-3-2017 by openDemocracy

Free Chelsea Manning.Grafitti in Vienna, Austria, 2014. Wikicommons/smuconlaw.

On January 17, 2017, whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence was commuted to seven years from her date of arrest, in one of President Obama’s last acts before leaving office. At the time of her commutation, Private Manning had spent more time behind bars than any other person in US history who had disclosed information considered to be in the public interest.

The information leaked by Chelsea Manning – videos, diplomatic cables and reports relating to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan – exposed corruption and human rights abuses, and is widely regarded to have been a catalyst for the Arab Spring that began in December 2010. Continue reading

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Starting Today, Feds Can Hack Millions of Devices with One Warrant

By Shaun Bradley. Published 11-30-2016 by The Anti-Media

On Thursday, December 1, a vital Supreme Court order is set to go into effect that dramatically expands the surveillance power of federal agents. The impending alteration to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure softens the legal requirements for obtaining search and seizure warrants that grant the government remote access to individual’s computers and phones.

In the past, law enforcement was required to obtain a warrant from a judge within the jurisdiction where the proposed search was going take place. Under this new system, however, if an individual is using technology to conceal their location, the warrant is considered valid regardless of jurisdiction. A single authorization will have the potential to validate millions of searches on private devices. Any journalist, activist, or whistleblower who values privacy and uses tools like Freenet or the Tor network will fall directly into the crosshairs. Continue reading

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UN Expert Decries Global Assault on Freedom of Expression

The findings reveal ‘how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-21-2016

"Censorship in all its forms reflects official fear of ideas and information," said U.N. Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. (Photo: Rachel Hinman/flickr/cc)

“Censorship in all its forms reflects official fear of ideas and information,” said U.N. Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. (Photo: Rachel Hinman/flickr/cc)

“Governments are treating words as weapons,” a United Nations expert has warned, previewing a report on the global attack on the freedom of expression.

The report, based on communications with governments stemming from allegations of human rights law violations—reveal “sobering” trends of threats worldwide and “how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists.” Continue reading

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15 News Stories from 2015 You Should Have Heard About But Probably Didn’t

Written by Carey Wedler. Published 12-30-2015 by Anti Media.

Activists rally for a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on Friday, January 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Brendan Hoffman)

Activists rally for a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on Friday, January 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Brendan Hoffman)

In 2015, the iron fist of power clamped down on humanity, from warfare to terrorism (I repeat myself) to surveillance, police brutality, and corporate hegemony. The environment was repeatedly decimated, the health of citizens was constantly put at risk, and the justice system and media alike were perverted to serve the interests of the powers that be.

However, while 2015 was discouraging for more reasons than most of us can count, many of the year’s most underreported stories evidence not only a widespread pattern that explicitly reveals the nature of power, but pushback from human beings worldwide on a path toward a better world. Continue reading

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Exxon Targets Journalists Who Exposed Massive Climate Cover Up

‘We’ve often wondered if Exxon actually hates our children because they so consistently stand in the way of safeguarding their future,’ campaigner said, ‘it turns out they apparently hate good journalism as well.’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-1-2015

U.S. Senator and White House hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday slammed Exxon on social media, writing: "It's absurd that massive corporations can legally intimidate journalists who dare question them." (Photo: Minale Tattersfield/cc/flickr)

U.S. Senator and White House hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday slammed Exxon on social media, writing: “It’s absurd that massive corporations can legally intimidate journalists who dare question them.” (Photo: Minale Tattersfield/cc/flickr)

ExxonMobil has launched a full-throttled “bully” campaign against the graduate students who recently unmasked its scandalous climate change cover-up threatening to pull funds from the university that helped bring to light its dangerous and “most consequential” lies.

In a letter (pdf) addressed to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and obtained by Politico, the oil giant’s vice president of Public and Government Affairs accuses a team of investigative journalism students of violating the school’s research policy by “suppressing” or “manipulating” information to produce “deliberately misleading reports” about ExxonMobil’s climate change research. Continue reading

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Whistleblower Accuses USDA of Censorship Over Anti-Pesticide Reports

‘Bureaucracies under political pressure from corporate stakeholders routinely shoot the messenger, even if they are wearing a lab coat.’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-29-2015

A USDA researcher says he was censored and punished for reporting on the harmful effects of pesticides like clothianidin. (Photo: jetsandzeppelins/flickr/cc)

A USDA researcher says he was censored and punished for reporting on the harmful effects of pesticides like clothianidin. (Photo: jetsandzeppelins/flickr/cc)

A top scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday that accuses the agency of harassment and retaliation for his work showing harmful effects on monarch butterflies from a class of widely used insecticides know as neonicotinoids, or neonics.

The department reportedly imposed a 14-day suspension (pdf) on Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, a senior research entomologist at the USDA, for publishing an unapproved report manuscript in a science journal on the “non-target effects” of a widely used neonic strain and for travel violations ahead of a presentation on the results to a scientific panel. Continue reading

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Will Norway allow Snowden safe passage to receive prize?

The Norwegians must not let their relationship with the US stand in the way of this chance to defend the fundamental principles of democracy.

Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Written by THOMAS HYLLAND ERIKSEN. Published 6-8-2015 in OpenDemocracy.

A few months ago, it was as if everybody wanted to be Charlie (Hebdo). This gesture was laudable enough (if not always credible), but who wants to be Edward Snowden? After two years, the world’s most important whistleblower is still in Moscow. His chances of returning to a normal life remain slim, in spite of the recent ruling in the US Court of Appeals that the NSA’s storage of telephone metadata is indeed illegal.

Western politicians confronted with the Snowden affair typically respond in a vague and equivocal way. If pressed, they might say that their country does not condone mass surveillance, perhaps adding that it is not in their mandate to engage directly with Snowden’s situation. However, they are wrong on both counts. Just as they criticise rights violations in other countries, they can and should support Snowden, especially now that a high legal authority in the US has indirectly confirmed that he was right to blow the whistle. Moreover, objectionable forms of surveillance do take place, if not on the same scale as in the US, in European countries as well. Continue reading

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Chevron Whistleblower Leaks ‘Smoking Gun’ in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill

Videos sent to Amazon Watch described as ‘a true treasure trove of Chevron misdeeds and corporate malfeasance’

'The videos are a true treasure trove of Chevron misdeeds and corporate malfeasance,' said Kevin Koenig of Amazon Watch. 'And, ironically, Chevron itself proved their authenticity.' (Screenshot from The Chevron Tapes)

‘The videos are a true treasure trove of Chevron misdeeds and corporate malfeasance,’ said Kevin Koenig of Amazon Watch. ‘And, ironically, Chevron itself proved their authenticity.’ (Screenshot from The Chevron Tapes)

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published April 8, 2015.

In what is being described as “smoking gun evidence” of Chevron’s complete guilt and corruption in the case of an oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, internal videos leaked to an environmental watchdog show company technicians finding and then mocking the extensive oil contamination in areas that the oil giant told courts had been restored.

A Chevron whistleblower reportedly sent “dozens of DVDs” to U.S.-based Amazon Watch with a handwritten note stating: “I hope this is useful for you in your trial against Texaco/Chevron. [signed] A Friend from Chevron.” Continue reading

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