Whistleblowers: Protect, Not Prosecute

In 2007 Presidential Candidate Barack Obama made many statements on his way to the White House. He was seen as a transformer, a leader to end wars, the key to closing Gitmo, and someone who wanted to have a transparent administration that would be open to scrutiny by the American people. He also vowed to protect whistle blowers as he saw them necessary to hold the government in check. All would later prove to be lies and the typical campaign speeches we have all grown to expect from the vote pandering political candidates.

 “The American people want to trust in our government again – we just need a government that will trust in us. And making government accountable to the people isn’t just a cause of this campaign – it’s been a cause of my life for two decades.” – Presidential Candidate Barack Obama 2007 speech

Heralded as someone who would change the political winds in Washington, his rallies were standing room only. His speeches were held as political masterpieces and his very presence would have many in tears as they believed this was the “hope and change” the country has been looking for.

The country was divided with wars being fought on several battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan and the people were growing weary of the cost and lost of lives in the wars. Gitmo, the terrorist prison based in Cuba, was under heavy fire because of the torture that was brought to light in the use of acquiring information through waterboarding. And Obama was the one who promised change to all of these worries and many others

One thing has been said about Obama’s involvement in regards to whistleblowers and that is he has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the past Presidents. Well, that isn’t exactly true. The true statement would be that he has prosecuted twice as many whistleblowers than all the past presidents combined. That puts him in a category all by himself when it comes to whistleblowers. When George W. Bush was prosecuting whistleblowers the left came out of the woodwork to protest and speak out against the policies. Where is the left at now? Did their rage go away because now it is their guy doing it?

We have seen the prosecution and conviction of Bradley Manning and the attempt to go after Edward Snowden, a former N.S.A. employee who had first hand insight into the damaging effects of the programs policies. While Bradley Manning was convicted in a court of law, Ed Snowden had to seek asylum in Russia to avoid charges of espionage. Charges that I and many others find perplexing when espionage is correctly defined.

Espionage is when you give the enemy information for political or military gain. In Ed Snowden’s case he told the American people that their government was spying on them, even and especially the innocent, without warrant or suspicion. Is the government now defining the American people as the enemy? It appears to be the case. 

During this election cycle we are seeing the candidates call out for Ed Snowden to come back to America and have his day in court. Some of the candidates that are calling for his arrest while at the same time using his information he has made known to fight against the overreach of the N.S.A.. That is contradictory in the fact that they can say it to drum up votes, but Snowden can’t say it to bring awareness to Constitutional violations. If he deserves a day in court, then the candidates do as well. 

Prosecuting whistleblowers is also dangerous as far as it will bleed over into journalist and their sources. This will hamper any free press and the effort to limit or expose corruption. We need an honest pipeline of information in America because of the checks and balance we have in place. How can those committing fraud, waste, and abuse or even outright corruption be held accountable if it is not exposed? I believe that is the purpose of the prosecutions. 

In the case of Bradley Manning is it a little more complicated in the fact that he was in the military and governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice which acts differently than civilian law. At least that was the argument made. Should there really be different guidelines to exposing corruption just because of the group you belong to? Actually the military should be held to a higher standard and calling out corruption should be taken serious, not suppressed.

Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but what did he really do? A batch of documents provided by PFC Manning which became known as the “war logs.” Those logs made the fact known that many more civilian deaths were happening than officially reported by the government. The Iraq war logs were released and WikiLeaks didn’t redact the names of people mentioned in the incident reports, prompting U.S. officials to charge the organization had put the lives of people who had supported the American military in jeopardy.

Another piece of evidence that the government used against Manning was a video that showed an Apache helicopter firing on a crowd of people who turned out to be journalist from Reuters. The case the prosecution made was it gave the enemy intelligence in how we conduct warfare. I am confident by now that the enemy knows an Apache helicopter can hover and fire upon people by now. That’s not a new revelation to our enemy or even the most unaware citizen. What they were trying to cover up by charging him was the death of journalist on the battlefield. The video has been dubbed “collateral murder” shedding a bad light on our foreign policy. It should have been used to bring awareness to this ever growing issue of concern not as evidence in a prosecution.

Prosecuting whistleblowers isn’t the only tactic being used. There is another tactic that is being used and it is the ole familiar “dead men can’t talk” strategy. From Pat Tillman to Michael Hastings this has been useful to the elite and hushed by the media. This is not acceptable under any standards.

The Pat Tillman story sounds like a good Americana story straight from a patriots story book. A former professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals who felt compelled to fight for his country after the attacks of 9/11. While the range of emotions were high and varied for many, Pat left a professional football career to fight for his country in an ever growing war on terrorism. He proudly and without reservation walked away from millions in salary to take on the paltry salary the military offers our service men and women.

After joining the military he passed all test and became a member of the special forces and would immediately answer the call to fight in the war in Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004 Pat Tillman was silenced under very odd and suspicious circumstances due to friendly fire. He identified himself as Pat Tillman during the firefight and even discharged a canister of purple smoke to signal he was an American. While the fire fight briefly stopped it quickly picked back up and Pat was killed in the fight. There has been many oddities written about the circumstance surrounding his death and the reasons for it, but the most compelling evidence is how the official story has been changed multiple times with no real conclusion being stated. Pat was also coming out against the corruption and lies of the war(s).

The story of Michael Hastings is also shrouded in mystery and suspicion. Michael was an American journalist and a contributing editor for Rolling Stones magazine. He received the George Polk Award for his work on “The Runaway General” a Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the Afghanistan war. 

Hastings was a critic of the growing surveillance state during the Department of Justice’s investigation of reporters in 2013. 

On June 18, 2013 Michael’s Mercedes Benz C250 Coupe was involed in a very suspensious single car accident. It was said that his car exploded after hitting a palm tree and immediately burst into flames. The evidence was quickly covered up and the investigation was seen as fraud from the start. Michael was in contact and even sent an email to a friend just before the wreck and was known to be working on a big story that would expose corruption in the C.I.A..

The crash site raised many questions into what really happened. Based on evidence it clearly looked as if the car, first exploded, then came to rest at the tree. With everything Michael was working on it would have been in the interest of the elite to silence him. From the looks of the crash site, they did just that. I could write, and probably will, an entire article on the death of Michael Hastings.

I could easily stray away from the purpose of this article by breaking down each case, but I want the focus to be on, at least for this article, the whistleblowers that are out there trying to expose the corruption and tyranny facing all of us. We can all sense that something isn’t right, but few really grasp what is going on. Fewer grasp the dire consequences of what is going on will lead to. It is imperative to a free society that we listen, take heed, and act correctly to the information that the whistleblowers are warning us with. When someone leaves, for example the N.S.A., in which they were directly involved in collecting our information, we need to listen. We need to make our own conclusions as to the information and also evaluate why those calling them traitors would make such a claim.  

We are being herded, guided, and shut up in order to go along with a narrative that is dangerous. The wars are now global with many players entering in the conflicts. Our liberties are shrinking at a rapid rate. Our debt is climbing to insurmountable heights, and there are those screaming at us to understand the problems. Will we listen or will we be led to prosecute those screaming?

 

Written By: Michael Howell

 

 

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