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Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:17 PM

 

Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers

Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers

From Manning to Kiriakou, critics are aggressively targeted as the White House turns a blind eye to abuses

BY PETER VAN BUREN

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-Qaida suspects. His is just the latest prosecution in an unprecedented assault on government whistleblowers and leakers of every sort.

Kiriakou’s plight will clearly be but one more battle in a broader war to ensure that government actions and sunshine policies don’t go together. 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.

Punish the Whistleblowers

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.)

Kiriakou, in particular, is accused of giving information about the CIA’s torture programs to reporters two years ago. Like the other five whistleblowers, he has been charged under the draconian World War I-era Espionage Act.

<snip>

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/09/obamas_unprecedented_war_on_whistleblowers/singleton/

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers (Original post)
villager Feb 2012 OP
patrice Feb 2012 #1
villager Feb 2012 #3
patrice Feb 2012 #5
patrice Feb 2012 #9
JDPriestly Feb 2012 #14
patrice Feb 2012 #19
JDPriestly Feb 2012 #20
patrice Feb 2012 #21
CJCRANE Feb 2012 #2
villager Feb 2012 #4
CJCRANE Feb 2012 #8
Nah7anyule Feb 2012 #11
Angry Dragon Feb 2012 #6
patrice Feb 2012 #7
Nah7anyule Feb 2012 #10
JDPriestly Feb 2012 #15
The Doctor. Feb 2012 #17
fasttense Feb 2012 #12
Nah7anyule Feb 2012 #13
JDPriestly Feb 2012 #16
The Doctor. Feb 2012 #18
Nah7anyule Feb 2012 #22
Nah7anyule Feb 2012 #23
Fumesucker Feb 2012 #24

Response to villager (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:35 PM

1. If I had presidential powers, there might be all sorts of reasons that I would consider

some courses of action, not the least of which would be to facilitate what is useful in authentic reform efforts BEFORE they, intentionally or not, de-ball themselves in the scorching light of corporate media that tips off the leaders of the Kochroaches et al before the "reformers" or I get to them, after-all . . .

There is "sunshine" and then there is sunshine.

And what do you do when there're too many cooks spoiling the soup; too many people trying to build resumes, no matter what because of extremely transitional times.

The assumption that ALL whistleblowers are of the noble variety is based upon a severe paucity of possibly significant detail that whistleblowing itself can handicap.

Are all of the things that we don't know about all of this really of no significance at all? 0?

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:41 PM

3. It's possible to excuse anything in a President, I guess.

 

not sure how healthy that is for a thriving democracy, however...

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Response to villager (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:53 PM

5. Yes and, ergo, it is also possible to ACCUSE anything in a President, or anyone/thing else, about

which one may be ignorant in essence -tially significant matters.

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Response to villager (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:59 PM

9. Tell me that what you don't know has valence = 0.

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 09:51 AM

14. It is wrong to hide the truth from the American people.

Hiding the truth about torture and about violations of international law are worse than exposing the US government's wrongs to its own people.

The German people were kept in the dark. Those who criticized Hitler and the SS were jailed. I will say no more.

Further, "The assumption that ALL whistleblowers are of the noble variety is based upon a severe paucity of possibly significant detail that whistleblowing itself can handicap."

My response to your assertion is that if and when whistleblowers are tried, their trials should be open to the public and the defense of exposing war crimes should be heard and seriously weighed. Juries should be instructed that the defense of exposing war crimes may be found to be exonerating.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 02:33 PM

19. If you're talking about figuring out exactly who is doing the hiding, rather than ASUMING that

rhetorical labels identify empirically which, what and how much hiding (or sunshine) is going on, I agree.

Courts of the people's laws is where to do this and, thus, to inform the people about exactly what is going on.

To the extent that (CORPORATE) media is used by either side as a player on the board itself, to create feints, to block other moves, or to create pressure on certain sets of strategic possibilities, that is grounds for skepticism as to motive.

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Response to patrice (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 03:16 PM

20. I'm hoping that those who are accused of revealing secrets that they

should have maintained will be given fair trials with the opportunity to confront the witnesses against them, with public access not only to the trials but to all the evidence and with the opportunity to explore their defenses to the greatest extent possible.

The American people need to know what is going on. I need to know, and at this point, I really don't feel that I have been told the truth about a lot of things. In fact, I don't know what to believe and what not to believe. But based on my understanding of history, I am very suspicious of a government that is overly secretive about what it does, and I think that ours is.

I live near downtown Los Angeles. We just had about a dozen very noisy, very annoying military helicopters flying over our heads. We are used to helicopters -- police helicopters -- and even though we don't like them buzzing above our bedroom at all hours of the night, we live with the idea that maybe they are necessary.

Unless we are not being told something, there is utterly not reason for a dozen booming, military helicopters flying over our area of L.A. at this hour of the day. I can't imagine how anyone could have such a disregard for the peace-loving, law-abiding citizens of L.A. as to fly those monsters over the city. It is that sort of thing that makes Americans welcome the information we get from the likes of Manning and other whistleblowers. We see a great lack of judgment in the use of our military equipment even here at home. Can you imagine what it must be like in other parts of the world?

The reason that Manning and the whistleblowers get sympathy from a surprising number of Americans today whereas during WWII, they would not have received anything other than approbation is the sort of pointless exercise in pomp and noise that I just witnessed. We have to ask ourselves what in the world is going on? Are we really in danger or do we have insane paranoids in charge of our military and our government? Don't they at least trust us with information? If they do, they why don't we know why they are disrupting our lives in the way that they increasingly do? So that is why I want to see fair trials for all whistleblowers. And I would expect that not all of them have done wrong. If they are all found guilty, then I would not trust the fairness of the trials.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 04:17 PM

21. I hear you. Have been to soooooo many public hearings (most recently on the XL Pipeline) where I'm

thinking, "This is a done deed. All we're doing here is putting lipstick on this pig."

I recognize the problem that, from the Constitution on down, no one can write perfect laws/regulations/codes. The differences between the actual world and our abstractions about it are unavoidable and too great. We will ALWAYS, therefore, be dependent upon INDIVIDUAL initiative (both in and out of office) and, especially, that of those amongst us that we charge with our trust to do so by electing them (and their cohort of appointees) to public office.

That doesn't mean that we throw the laws away, but it does mean that we unfortunately MUST depend, in significant part, upon the possibility of idiosyncratic functional interpretations of those laws and the only thing we have to respond appropriately to dysfunctional personal interpretations isn't even really limited to just the courts, but has to be an almost "rabidly" informed, diligently responsible and absolutely continuously active people, whose FIRST responsibility is to insure their own votes that place their own functionaries in these power positions.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:41 PM

2. Kiriakou lied

though didn't he?

Isn't he the one that said KSM was only waterboarded for 30 seconds once or twice then spilled the beans about everything?
(And not the 100s of times it turned out to be).

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:44 PM

4. Well, even if there was "less waterboarding," here's a history of the act the Obama administration

 

...is so willingly using:

"That Act has a sordid history, having once been used against the government’s political opponents. Targets included labor leaders and radicals like Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman and Emma Goldman. Debs, a union leader and socialist candidate for the presidency, was, in fact, sentenced to 10 years in jail for a speech attacking the Espionage Act itself. The Nixon administration infamously (and unsuccessfully) invoked the Act to bar the New York Times from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers..."

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Response to villager (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:58 PM

8. There was more waterboarding, not less. nt

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Response to villager (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 04:40 AM

11. The best baker retired last year.

 

but while he baked he was the best. I know men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting citizens and some will do anything including give their own life that we may live. what they are up against is a mindset in a group of people that will do anything they can to kill us including taking their own life. For our soldiers that is a terrorizing thing. But they dont have time to be terrorized while they are gaurding the wall. They are the best at what they do and what we can do for them is make sure our politics and society appreciate the sacrifice they make on our behalf.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:55 PM

6. I hear a great sucking sound

and it is getting louder

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Response to villager (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 05:56 PM

7. Funny how some people who have the most trouble with too much government also have the most

trouble with not enough government.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 04:22 AM

10. "loose lips sink ships"

 

The unauthorized disclosure of information to the media is a law that was broken. Going up the chain of command or following protocal would not have resulted in the charges. I sympathize with your understanding of waterboarding and torture. Were the lives, or one life of a person worth saving in jeopardy against a terrorists Im sorry for their pain and suffering but they would reveal as much as soon as possible as they could. The only thing that Evil needs to succeed is for good men to stand by and do nothing. If it were you I were going to rescue rather than let you die at the hands of a terrorist i know you would feel different. But killing terrorists is ok? Its just a question. See recently two people were rescued and the idea was not to kill their captors unless they opposed with fire. Never the less the two were rescued.

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Response to Nah7anyule (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 10:01 AM

15. That is why we have trials, and that is why we instruct our troops

to report war crimes.

If we do not respect the responsibility of our soldiers to report the war crimes that they witness or learn of, then we end up with Hitler's army.

The verdict is not yet in on these whistleblowers.

Freedom is meaningless if it is based on ignorance of the crimes of our government. If we are to claim to have a representative government, we have to have the freedom to know precisely what our government is doing.

Loose Lips Sink Ships means that you do not publish secrets about military information that is of current importance. It does not justify lying about historical information, such as criminal offenses by members of the military or the intelligence that happened several years ago. When you lie about historical information, it is called a cover-up.

What is not to be revealed is information that is vital to our defense. Only a jury can decide whether information is vital enough to our defense to justify keeping it secret. Unfortunately, members of the military face military tribunals. I don't know how much justice will be guaranteed in that jurisdiction.

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Response to Nah7anyule (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 10:46 AM

17. You are not correct about torture.

 

Waterboarding has not been shown to produce reliable results. In fact, we were getting results before the started torturing prisoners, then the information dried up.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 07:14 AM

12. Some people posting here need to read the full article at the link.

 

This is not a RW smear job of Obama. This is a carful piece that examines numerous cases that the Obama administration has actively moved to shut up.

Every intelligent argument put up on this post supporting the Obmama administration's heavy handed suppression of whistle blowers is refuted by the article itself.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 07:31 AM

13. freerooted

 

You are not privy to the cause and effect of the pieces you use to put together a very ugly puzzle. Try to get in contact with your feelings a little more and what you really care about. They do what is needed. and they werent blowing whistles they were violating their oaths of secrecy.

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Response to Nah7anyule (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 10:04 AM

16. I care about democracy and human rights.

So, I know very well what I care about.

A military man has two duties. One is to avoid violating his oath of secrecy to the military. The second is a higher moral duty to mankind to do what he can to reveal crimes against humanity. I do not have enough information to determine whether these whistleblowers were violating the oath of secrecy or were serving their higher moral duty. Time will tell.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 10:49 AM

18. It's not Obama, it's the DoJ.

 


Remember all the concern we had about the DoJ being directed by the Bush Administration? Remember how we argued that the DoJ is independent of the White House?

Well, it still is.

The DoJ is supposed to prosecute any crimes that are on the books. The President cannot direct the DoJ to NOT prosecute a crime. I've seen no evidence that Obama himself directed the DoJ to prosecute these people either.

That said, I'm also against whistleblower prosecutions. Given that "The Buck Stops Here", I expect Obama to replace Holder next term.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 06:24 PM

22. climbing the hellfire chain....

 

Reporting abuses is becoming of an officer when the reporting is done to a senior officer. If results are not forthcoming reporting to the next senior officer in line with documentation of the first report and so on until a result is realized is the method of reporting. Not reporting to a news agency for money.. That is not the type of reporting that is meant or tolerated. Loose lips sink ships.

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Response to villager (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 06:30 PM

23. The effect shows the cause.

 

to refer to reports that waterboarding does not achieve results while having no first hand experience is without logic. if it didnt work they wouldnt do it. The united states postal service didnt just one day deliver a letter to the white house from Osama saying "Here I am! Come and get me infidels!!" Something is working! Maybe it was a blind man.

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Response to Nah7anyule (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 07:45 PM

24. Give me a waterboard and an hour and I'll have you confessing to the Lindbergh kidnapping..

And never leave a mark on you.

That would be some reliable information, no?

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