OBAMA = WORST CRACKDOWN ON WHISTLEBLOWERS AND FREE PRESS IN HISTORY
“Obama’s War on Whistleblowers and the Free Press” = Film reveals 4 cases of extraordinary crackdown on whistleblowers.
Americans love the idea of the brave whistleblower willing to stick their neck out for the greater good, even in the face of severe blowback = Like “On Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau’s (1850s) showing Americans taking a stand against government’s ills.
SAD FACT: Americans Disclosing Misconduct risk losing their jobs, homes, imprisoned. = GOV uses 1917 Espionage Act intended for foreign spies.
USA = National-Security and Military State = Whistleblowers under attack
New Documentary titled “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.” by Brave New Foundation focuses on USA atracks on 4 whistleblowers that exposed grave misconduct and face severe reprisals:
#1 Michael DeKort, former project manager for Lockheed Martin
#2 Thomas Drake, former senior executive at NSA
#3 Franz Gayl, adviser for the Marine Corps
#4 Thomas Tamm, former attorney to the Department of Justice
Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam War analyist for USA military released the “Pentagon Papers” = Detailing USA atrocities in Vietnam = The most famous whistleblowers of all time does commentary in the film.
“It’s extremely dangerous in America right now to be right as a whistleblower when the government is so wrong.” — Thomas Drake, who disclosed secret warrantless surveillance of Americans by NSA
“Speaking truth to power is now a criminal act.” — Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker won George Polk Award for her coverage in Drake case
“It does not feel like America, land of the free press.” — Jane Mayer
Michael DeKort — lead systems engineer at Lockheed Martin — Exposed Lockheeds failures and was dismissed by Lockheed = Led to a congressional hearing = US government “has no apparent intention to compensate me for bringing the problem to attention.”
DEFINE Whistleblowers = Employees that disclose information they “reasonably believe evidences fraud, waste, abuse or a danger to public health or safety.” — take extreme care not to divulge classified information.
DEFINE Leakers = Make secret information public.
Obama mounted an aggressive campaign against both Drake and Thomas Tamm.
Thomas Tamm — Went to NYT with information about GW Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.
Obama (Nov 2012) signed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), = Law improves protections and ease at federal level for the government to discipline employees who retaliate against whistleblowers — helps whistleblowers keep their jobs.
NDAA (2013) = A section strengthens protections for government contractors who whistle-blow = Would have greatly helped DeKort’s case.
FACT: Obama supports federal workers who blow the whistle—unless it IMPACTS national security — Angela Canterbury at the Project On Government Oversight. = National security and intelligence employees were left out of the WPEA = Protects only whistleblowers who report wrongdoing internally against your often Corporate employer.
Obama = Seeking rules to allow the government to fire Thousands of employees without appeal in the national-security arena = VIOLATING the exercise of free speech rights.
DeKort = Blew the whistle on Lockheed says, “if people did the right thing, whistleblowers wouldn’t exist. Whistleblower tell THE TRUTH in 99.9+% of cases. = Insane to go through all this crap if you were wrong.
James Risen and Phil Donahue on Obama’s War on Press Freedoms on The Real News Network Oct 3, 2014
Risen = Award winning journalists and Donahue discuss grassroots movements in preserving the basic tenants of democracy as Obama’s unprecedented attacks on whistle-blowers and journalists continues.
FACT: 1OO,OOO Signatures delivered to the Justice Department urging Obama to stop forcing NYT reporterJames Risen to reveal his 2006 source on the botched attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Donahue: I’m here to help make sure James Risen wins his most important battles for press freedom in our generation.
Noor: What significance is Risen being compelled to testify or be put in prison? What does that mean for the future of press freedoms?
Donahue: Journalists are going lose their enthusiasm for digging out news and finding sources that have the courage to tell you information that might cost them their job, if not their life, and their livelihood.
Donahue: We’ve already got a very tepid media with every major metropolitan newspaper in USA supporting the invasion of Iraq. Risen is one of those media people who rose above this usless journalism and had the courage to blow the whistle on the intelligence establishment — he embarrassed them. He is a HERO, but Obama wants him put in prison.
Donahue: We know power corrupts and doesn’t want you looking under the tent. Power wants to make all decisions for you and you have to agree. We’re very disappointed in Obama so aggressively and enthusiastically fighting against revealing the clear violations of USA intelligence agencies — listening in on phone calls and put people in jail without due process.
Donahue: We’re a nation of law unless we’re scared. We need more James Risen’s standing up in the real tradition of the first amendment and speaking truth to power.
Noor: Risen has been fighting the subpoena since 2008 = Most important case for press freedom in a generation.
June 2014 US Supreme Court refused to hear Risen’s appeal of the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision, ordering Risen to testify and reveal his source in a case against former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, who the government believes leaked the classified information to Risen.
James Risen said he’d “rather go to jail than reveal his source.”
Risen: There’s nothing more fundamental to our democracy than freedom of the press. We can’t have a democracy without it, and you can’t have freedom of the press without aggressive, investigative reporting. And you can’t have aggressive investigative reporting without the ability to have confidential sources.
Noor: How has Obama treated whistle blowers and journalists, who provide information?
Risen: Obama has gone after more whistle blowers than any other administration in American history. I don’t understand why they’ve done this when it is so antithetical to press freedom in America.
Noor: You’re case is going to have implications throughout the rest of the world as well.
Risen: If USA is not a model for the world on this issue, then other nations will take their cues from the United States and crack down on the press.So I think that’s dangerous.
Noor: How importance are mass movements and public pressure in making sure these freedoms are upheld.
Risen: People are key support for Freedom, and more people are getting involved sending a message to the government to change their approach on these issues.