The way those who tell the truth about the government are treated by the government, you’re not going to have a long line of people signing up for whistleblower positions. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The sentence was much harsher than Hale’s defense requested but not nearly as harsh as US prosecutors pushed for, arguing that longer prison sentences are necessary for deterring whistleblowing in the US intelligence cartel.
Despite the fact that Hale pled guilty on March 31 to one of the five Espionage Act offenses he faced, prosecutors remained spiteful and unwilling to support anything less than a “significant sentence” to “deter” government employees or contractors from “using positions in the intelligence community for self-aggrandizement.”
In other words, if you tell the public the truth about your government’s crimes, you will be made an example of so nobody else tries to do that. And then for that brave and selfless act, you’ll be smeared as doing it for “self-aggrandizement”.
Biden discontinues Trump’s good policies, like on immigration and taxation, and continues his terrible policies, like on Espionage Act prosecutions of whistleblowers who disclose government misdeeds. From Brett Wilkins at commondreams.org:
“Using the Espionage Act in this way to prosecute journalists’ sources as spies chills newsgathering and discourages sources from coming forward with information in the public interest.”
Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale (R) stands next to CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin outside the White House in Washintgon, D.C. in this undated photo. (Photo:Democracy Now!)
Press freedom, peace, and human rights advocates are rallying behind Daniel Hale, the former intelligence analyst who blew the whistle on the U.S. government’s drone assassination program, and who pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to violating the Espionage Act.
Hale was charged in 2019 during the Trump administration after he leaked classified information on the U.S. government’s targeted assassination program to a reporter, who according to court documents, matches the description of The Intercept founding editor Jeremy Scahill. He is the first person to face sentencing for an Espionage Act offense during the admnistration of President Joe Biden.
If this legislation was passed (it won’t be), it would be the highlight of Tulsi Gabbard’s career. From Kevin Gosztola at consoriumnews.com:
Defendants would be able to testify about their reason for engaging in the prohibited conduct, Kevin Gosztola reports.
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard in 2019. (Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
Legislation proposed in Congress would amend the United States Espionage Act and create a public interest defense for those prosecuted under the law.
“A defendant charged with an offense under section 793 or 798 [in the U.S. legal code] shall be permitted to testify about their purpose for engaging in the prohibited conduct,” according to a draft of the bill Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced.
Such a reform would make it possible for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, Terry Albury and Daniel Hale to inform the public why they disclosed information without authorization to the press.
The legislation called the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act is supported by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
“If this long-overdue revision of the 1917 Espionage Act had been law half a century ago, I myself could have had a fair trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971: justice under law unavailable to me and to every other national security whistleblower indicted and prosecuted since then,” Ellsberg declared.
This may stand as the definitive article on the OPCW-Douma scandal. From Aaron Maté at thegrayzone.com:
Facing accusations that it issued a doctored report alleging a chemical attack in Syria, the OPCW has released an inquiry attacking two whistleblowers as rogue actors. Leaked documents obtained by The Grayzone reveal serious distortions in the OPCW inquiry as well as a campaign of intimidation against internal dissenters.
For the past year, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been roiled by allegations that it manipulated an investigation to falsely accuse the Syrian government of a chemical weapons attack. An OPCW report released in March 2019 lent credence to claims by Islamist militants and Western governments that the Syrian military killed around 40 civilians with toxic gas in the city of Douma in April 2018. The accusation against Damascus led to US-led military strikes on Syrian government sites that same month.
But leaked internal documents published by Wikileaks show that OPCW inspectors who deployed to Douma rejected the official story, and complained that higher-level officials excluded them from the post-mission process, distorted key evidence, and ignored their findings.
Aside from the Vietnam War, since WWII Americans have for the most part embraced US wars and the military-industrial-intelligence complex. From Donald Jeffries at lewrockwell.com:
Donald Trump’s recent assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani was not an exceptional act of madness by a deranged president. It was instead the continuation of a long, unfortunate American tradition. Military aggressiveness has been a feature of U.S. foreign policy for a very long time.
As I detail in my book Crimes and Cover-Ups in American Politics: 1776-1963, Americans love to portray themselves as the “greatest,” the “good guys” in each of their nearly continuous foreign skirmishes. While it certainly appears to any disinterested observer that we are the initiator in most, if not all, of these conflicts, the official mantra is that we are never at fault. We are only defending ourselves, even if the opponent is smaller and weaker to a laughable degree, as it usually is.
Abraham Lincoln set so many horrific precedents, and his manipulation of events that resulted in the South technically firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, paved the way for false flags like “Remember the Maine” in 1898, the sinking of the Lusitania which “forced” us to enter World War I, the “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which is now universally acknowledged to have never happened, the “weapons of mass destruction” lie under Dubya Bush, and many other less obvious ones.
Western mainstream media ignore the OPCW scandal because it is controlled by the military-industrial-intelligence complex and its puppet government. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:
The credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on the line after a series of devastating leaks from whistleblowers has shown that the UN body distorted an alleged CW incident in Syria in 2018. The distortion by the OPCW of the incident suggests that senior directors at the organization were pressured into doing so by Western governments.
This has grave implications because the United States, Britain and France launched over 100 air strikes against Syria following the CW incident near Damascus in April 2018. The Western powers rushed to blame the Syrian government forces, alleging the use of banned weapons against civilians. This was in spite of objections by Russia at the time and in spite of evidence from independent investigators that the CW incident was a provocation staged by anti-government militants.
Subsequent reports by the OPCW later in 2018 and 2019 distort the incident in such a way as to indict the Syrian government and retrospectively exculpate the Western powers over their “retaliatory” strikes.
From the get-go Tucker Carlson was suspicious of the official Douma story. It turns out he was right to be so. From Alan Macleod at mintpressnews.com:
That Tucker Carlson is one of the few pundits willing to report on a bombshell revelation about a chemical attack in Syria, may say more about the state of the corporate press than it does about Carlson’s character.
Dozens of people were found dead in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018 in what appeared to be a chemical weapons attack. The United States and its NATO allies immediately pointed the finger at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accusing him of crimes against humanity. Almost immediately, NATO forces began a retaliatory bombing campaign, with many others calling for an invasion to protect civilians from a massacre.
Mainstream media, often presenting themselves as the home of the resistance to the dangerous madman Donald Trump, were fully behind the bombings. A survey by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that not one of the top 100 U.S. newspapers by circulation opposed the airstrikes.
A report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) gave some credence to Washington’s assertions. While far from conclusive, OPCW’s report on the incidentdid suggest that it was “likely” that there was indeed some form of chemical weapons used, possibly an air attack that involved dropping chlorine canisters on the city. Although the OPCW refused to speculate on who was responsible, the suggestion of an aerial strike indicated Syrian government forces, the most equipped for such an attack, were to blame.
The differences between real whistleblowers and pseudo-whistleblowers, from Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:
Ed Snowden’s new book “Permanent Record” is out. A friend of mine sent me this non-review review by Paul Davis. As with so many things, the Washington Times is wrong about Ed Snowden too.
The Times is in a strange competition with its similarly flawed near-peer, the Post, to be the DC voice for more war, more government, more surveillance, and more prisons. These elite mouthpieces surely sense that most people don’t actually like war, government, surveillance and prisons. They also sense that those folks are not buying their papers, and thus the editors remain heavily focused on the elites crowded inside the beltway. This convergence allows us a great deal of insight into the minds of our would-be rulers, and I thank both papers for their contribution to our study.
Julian Assange may be dying. If he should die before his extradition hearing, that would be fine with the British and US governments. From Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:
Julian Assange is reported to very thin, very sick and being treated at this point, as little more than a “lab rat” by his state doctors and interrogators at Belmarsh. Word is that his encryption key ring (with his private keys that unlock his various public keys) has already been extracted, under physical duress, cold, light and noise torture, food deprivation, BZ variants, some experimental, and now that he is very physically weak, PCP. The arrests have started and they won’t stop until the injured parties –mainly the US government – have satisfied their bloodlust.
If the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of donors of information to Wilikeaks around the world haven’t begun to already, they need to rapidly take cover – legal, physical, operational and otherwise.
The US, its allies and understudies, its lackeys and satraps, both of the state and corporate type, want to know where the leaks are. And they will find them.
An official intelligence community approved whistleblower is not a whistleblower, he or she is an operative. To remind everyone, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning are whistleblowers, and have paid the price for their courage. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:
The word “whistleblower” has been trending in news headlines lately, but not for the reasons that any sane person might hope for.
So who is this “savvy official”? Who is this courageous whistleblower who boldly shone the light of truth upon the mechanisms of power in the interests of the common man? Who is this brave, selfless individual who set off an impeachment inquiry by taking a stand and revealing the fact that the US president made a phone call in July urging Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to help investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son?
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