The War on Journalism, Journalists and Whistleblowers

562 Writers Appeal for End to Surveillance - By John Robles

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day 562 authors from around the world, including 5 Nobel Prize laureates, have signed an open letter calling for the defense of civil liberties against surveillance by corporations and governments. The 5 Nobel Prize Winners who signed the appeal are: Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Günter Grass and Tomas Tranströmer.

The appeal is another in a long series of calls by journalists, writers, whistleblowers, truth seekers, activists, hacktivists, human rights defenders, those calling for a return to the rule of law and hundreds of millions of other citizens of the world calling for the rule of law and for governments to respect the rights of the individual.

Such a noble effort only further makes it clear we are no longer living in a world where true democracy and the rights of the individual matter in the least. We are living in a world controlled by elites, corporations, big money, the military industrial complex and intelligence agencies. For these entities the rights of the individual are abstractions and nonsensical concepts that have no bearing on mass control and the bottom line.

The lie of the “War on Terror” and the claim by intelligence agencies in bed with corporations that the massive surveillance is for guaranteeing our safety can no longer justify the extent of the massive spying nor the stripping of our rights as individuals to be free from surveillance.

What is perhaps stunning and further underlines just how far we have come down the road towards global fascism is the fact that the letter is addressed not only to governments and states but to corporations. Such a letter also underlines the growing desperation that citizens of the world have toward governments, corporations and intelligence agencies who operate with impunity, without oversight and completely ignore the wises and the needs of their citizenry.

The text of the letter is as follows:

In recent months, the extent of mass surveillance has become common knowledge. With a few clicks of the mouse the state can access your mobile device, your e-mail, your social networking and Internet searches.

It can follow your political leanings and activities and, in partnership with Internet corporations, it collects and stores your data, and thus can predict your consumption and behaviour.

The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual. Human integrity extends beyond the physical body. In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications, all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested.

This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes.

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy.

To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.

* Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion.

* Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs, the presumption of innocence.

* Surveillance makes the individual transparent, while the state and the corporation operate in secret. As we have seen, this power is being systemically abused.

* Surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behaviour, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty.

WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom; to obtain information on where their data is stored and how it is being used; to obtain the deletion of their data if it has been illegally collected and stored.


WE CALL ON ALL CITIZENS to stand up and defend these rights.

WE CALL ON THE UNITED NATIONS to acknowledge the central importance of protecting civil rights in the digital age, and to create an International Bill of Digital Rights.

WE CALL ON GOVERNMENTS to sign and adhere to such a convention.


One of the key phrases of the letter is the following: “The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual.” This phrase is one that must be repeated over and over and one which must be taken to heart by those in power, by government bodies and by intelligence agencies who purport to be part of “democratic” governments, for it is the violation of this simple and inalienable human right that lies at the core of everything that has gone wrong with the world.

We saw the principle violator of human rights and this basic human right, the United States, trample on civil liberties, freedoms and even the right to be free from extra-judicial execution after 9-11 and they have continued to this day having successfully built a worldwide electronic spy network unparalleled to anything that has existed in all of human history. They have enlisted governments all over the world to join their efforts under the guise of a “War on Terror”, and many of the world’s states have willingly followed down that road.

As journalists and whistleblowers and truth seekers we have attempted to expose and stop this onslaught but largely to no avail. Someone speaks out, they are shut up. An organization publishes, they are shut down. Someone connects the dots or exposes evidence of illegality, they are marginalized and gotten rid of. There is currently a war being waged on all of us, it is not a war on terror, it is a war on you and me and you and I have no rights.

The "War on Journalism" is a War on Truth - By John Robles

7 December, 2013 18:06 

There is a very dangerous and historically heretofore unheard of precedent about to take place which could fundamentally change the world in more dark and sinister ways than even Machiavelli could have ever dreamed of and one which should have all of us, as citizens of this “modern” world very, very afraid. The event is a very dangerous and crucial turning point in the war on journalism that began with the cover up of the events of 9-11 and took place on December 3rd 2013 in front of the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee when the editor of the UK’s Guardian Alan Rusbridger was questioned with regard to the publication of files and information given to the Guardian by Edward Snowden and the world was informed that the Guardian would be investigated for terrorism.

Think about that for a minute, here you have a media outlet informing the public and the world at large whilst responsibly performing its proper function as a member of the Fourth Estate and which has, in carrying out that function exposed some of the most massive violations of law and internationally accepted norms being committed by western security agencies against the world and their own civilian populations, and these very security agencies and structures are now going to seek revenge by first questioning the patriotism of the organization (implying that such leaks as those by Edward Snowden are treason or espionage) and then finally accusing them of terrorism.

If this farce and twisting of the law and the very fabric of elementary human logic is actually allowed to stand, the damage that it will cause to all of us will be unquantifiable.

If the Guardian is actually charged with any crime closely associated with terrorism or treason then effects will be felt all around the world. Anyone involved in any kind of expression of free speech that the security services doesn’t like or who is attempting to expose the truth will be effectively muzzled by fear, which is exactly what the intimidation tactics being used against the Guardian are designed to do.

If a newspaper like the Guardian is prosecuted under the pretext of fighting terrorism for releasing information on illegal activities being carried out by the security services, and with the labeling of journalists and sources as terrorists, something that is sure to follow, media outlets and journalists worldwide will be in effect owned. Why worldwide? Quite simply because of the nature of the war on terror and its global reach and the millions of “anti-terrorism mechanisms that have been put in place all over the planet.

The US and all of its proxies (allies) who goose step in line following every move the US makes, and as we have now seen in the witch hunt surrounding the Guardian by the UK Parliament, may have been disappointed by their attempts to persecute, prosecute and sentence individuals under the espionage act of 1917. Hence the terrorism label.

The “light” sentence received by Manning from a US Government viewpoint, the standoff with Assange, the fact that such efforts have not stopped leaks and that some media outlets still maintain at least a pretense of independence may also be the reason that this latest odious tactic has been unveiled in the UK with regard to the Guardian and the almost unbelievable possibility that they may be charged under Draconian terrorist legislation.

It is ridiculous, if not ludicrous, for the US/UK and FVEY countries to attempt to prosecute individuals and organizations such as WikiLeaks and Julian Assange under the US Espionage Act of 1917 which applies to the United States and nothing more and which has been used, quite frankly illegally, to justify the extra-judicial and even more importantly perhaps, extra-territorial persecution of journalists and media outlets such as WikiLeaks, but it is sheer insanity to accuse a media organization of terrorism when carrying out is normal function.

It is currently not illegal anywhere in the world, as far as I know and please correct me if I am wrong, to expose illegality being carried out by (in this case the US/UK) governments and neither is it illegal to violate the US Espionage Act of 1917 unless you are in the US. But, and this is where it gets dangerous, to classify organizations such as the Guardian, journalists, sources and anyone else they want as “terrorists” leaves them with almost complete impunity to do what they wish to these individuals and bodies.

We have seen, and much of the world’s media has documented, the illegality that has been carried by the United States with impunity since the events of 9-11-2001.

With each revelation, from torture, to war crimes, to Guantanamo, to collusion and negligence with regard to the events of 9-11 themselves, to extra-judicial executions, illegal invasions of sovereign nations, ties and collusion with Al-Qaeda and the list goes on and on, we may have at first expected prosecutions and those responsible to be held accountable but in fact the opposite has occurred and rather than these revelations becoming fewer and perhaps at least a pretense to a return of rule of law having taken place, we have seen the US and its allies lash out in irrational and unpredictable ways at anyone who has attempted to expose the illegality.

This new war, the “War on Journalism”, is embodied by the likes of brave truth seekers like Julian Assange, information activists like Jeremy Hammond and others who have been persecuted and have suffered for the higher ideals of rule of law and transparency. It is being carried out by a corrupt criminal cabal of politicians and heads of intelligence and military bodies and corporations who hypocritically preach to other countries about transparency, democracy and rule of law, while going after anyone who exposes heinous crimes and malfeasance.

The war on journalism and truth has existed since 9-11-2001. It began with a crackdown on US mass media, first with anti-patriotic rhetoric and the activities of insidious groups like Fox Security, then there was the marginalization of anyone who dared to question the official version of the story, the intimidation and even outright assassination of witnesses and those who refused to “take the money” and even innocent bloggers and site owners who were merely trying to document the events and get to the bottom of who murdered almost 3,000 of their fellow human beings.

It is becoming clearer that it was forces in and behind the US Military/Industrial/Intelligence Complex who were the architects of 9-11 and who continue to be the only profiteers from the events. Yet they continue to engage in aggressive invasions and illegal wars, back terrorists, further the stripping of rights, violating the sovereignty of nations and subjugating and manipulating the gullible, the uninformed and the innocent. Their desperation is becoming more evident and even more dangerous as they irrationally lash out at anyone who dares expose them.

Like a mafia boss who orders the killing of all witnesses to a murder the US/UK/AUS intelligence agencies and governments are going after those who expose their crimes, and these crimes are historic in breadth, depth and quantity. In that context then it make sense to consider charging a newspaper with terrorism, or a site owner with treason, or a leaker with espionage. The criminals control the organs of justice, the bodies of power, the military and the intelligence services and their greatest enemy is the truth and anyone who might reveal it so any label that works to shut down decent is acceptable.

Just like Gareth Williams, the MI6 Agent who was stuffed and locked in a duffel bag in an MI6 “safe house” just as he was about to reveal NSA/MI6/ GCHQ secrets to journalists, and Edward Snowden whose truth is so “dangerous” multiple incidents with presidential aircraft were incurred by the desperate US Government acting irrationally as it tried to get its claws back in him, Alan Rusbridger is just another voice to be silenced and an individual of whom an example must be made and a another case where it is clear “they” will say and do anything to protect their own criminal self-interests while hypocritically parading themselves as patriots and everyone else as traitors.

The world must not be afraid of the truth, journalists must not be afraid to seek the truth, bloggers and site owners must not be afraid to publish the truth, hactivists and information activists must not be afraid to find and locate the truth, truth seekers and proponents of transparency must not be afraid to question and as the nefarious activities of those behind the “War on Terror and now the War on Journalism” must not be allowed to continue without scrutiny or light being shined on them, and they must be stopped for all of mankind.

The fact that journalists, leakers, sources, whistleblowers and anyone else who dares to seek the truth are now facing the prospect of being falsely classified as terrorists is a truly odious development and if it allowed to stand the ramifications for all of us cannot be overstated.

Any prosecution of anyone connected with the Guardian, Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange or any journalist anywhere in the world under the guise of terrorism will only temporarily muzzle and delay the truth from coming out, but the violent reaction and backlash that such a tactic may bring about is something that those attempting such a folly are clearly not thinking about.

They can kill, marginalize, imprison, persecute, threaten, surveil, beat, drone and attempt to brainwash and terrorize the world into submission but the human spirit, the goodness and the love that is in most of us will prevail, and no matter what they do, they will fail.

Obama Continues the Secret US War on Whistleblowers - By John Robles

1 May, 09:52 

US President Obama has continued not only Bush wars and policies, but has continued and expanded the Bush war on whistleblowers, the last hope for many that the truth may prevail. In a sane world if one were to witness a crime or some other clearly egregious or amoral conduct, one would think that one could report it and the guilty would be dealt with, however we do not live in a sane world. For whistleblowers this is the initial dilemma, but due to their consciences or their belief in a higher morality they decide to blow the whistle, almost always knowing that they will suffer for it. Whistleblowers are heroes who risk everything to get the truth out, something which should be rewarded, in a sane world that is.

“Assange,” it is the first word that most people think about when they hear the word “whistleblower” but this association is in fact a slightly disingenuous one. Although the making of the surname of the co-founder of the WikiLeaks organization a household name worldwide by the global media has done a lot to focus on the case of WikiLeaks and has helped to keep Julian Assange alive, it has done little to help the plight of whistleblowers worldwide.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are technically not really whistleblowers themselves, they are something much worse and I will tell you why in a minute. What the WikiLeaks organization did was far more insidious than what any whistleblower could do; they provided an anonymous platform for whistleblowers who had nowhere else to turn. They gave whistleblowers a place to at least try to get the truth out, something that is usually the domain of the Fourth Estate, which has proven since the Bush years to be incapable or unwilling to go against the government line and to expose malfeasance and crimes by officials, no matter how egregious.

Why is WikiLeaks insidious and evil? They of course are not! I say that from the point of view of the U.S. Government and the Obama Administration. If you doubt for one instant that the criminals in Washington are afraid of the truth all you have to do is look at the reaction to WikiLeaks and the persecution of Mr. Assange and everyone else connected to WikiLeaks.

The way they have used almost every method known to man to try to shut down WikiLeaks is a true real and damning testament not to the “evil” of WikiLeaks but to the evil of the criminals in Washington hiding in the dark, behind cloaks of secrecy and the all encompassing mien of “national security.”

The “case” against Julian Assange (I used the term case which is for lack of a better word as there is no “case” against him, there are trumped up “allegations” of a sexual nature involving a ruptured condom but no official complaint or criminal charges) and WikiLeaks has done perhaps what it was designed to do and has detracted from the mission of WikiLeaks by taking the focus away from the actual leaks and putting it on the leakers. This has been voiced by WikiLeaks principals, by the Anonymous collective, whistleblower advocates and proponents of transparency regarding the fabricated Swedish claims and the U.S. persecution of Julian.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are very fortunate as they have been able to weather the storm, a fact that must be repeated and respected, as they have survived an all out sustained and prolonged assault by the full force of the U.S. Government and all its mechanisms, and have managed to survive. Albeit for Julian, being forced to seek refuge in an embassy and be deprived of his freedom may be wanting, he has managed to stay alive and out of the claws of the U.S. police state.

Their survival is due in a large part to the media coverage the charismatic Assange has managed to maintain but for whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and others, fate has not been so kind. Whistleblowers are usually marginalized, their reputations are destroyed, many are imprisoned, lose their jobs or have outright “accidents” leading to their deaths. This is not an exaggeration but a documented fact.

The motivations of whistleblowers may be different but the attempt to correct wrongs, for whatever reason is a noble act and should be rewarded and applauded, in a sane world this would be the case. What we see now, and I am writing about the U.S. but this applies to other countries as well, in particular U.S. lapdogs like the U.K., Australia, Canada, and others, is that these brave and upstanding individuals are demonized and the very criminals they are attempting to expose are protected and rewarded. The hypocrisy and reversal of logic is mind boggling and leaves one gasping in disbelief.

Currently the Obama Administration is carrying out a shameful and, according to Bill Moyers dot com, “… unprecedented campaign against whistleblowers, particularly on those who have divulged information that relates to national security.” Of course one cannot say shameful or disgraceful or criminally negligent on U.S. media when referring to the “imperial Executive,” but I think all of these words apply, and others as well.

Whistleblowers are individuals who may see criminal activity, waste, violations of regulations or unethical, immoral or other egregious behavior and attempt to correct these wrongs but are then demonized by the very system they are trying to bring in line with what is acceptable, moral and legal. A system that goes after these individuals, by doing so proves itself to be either criminally corrupt, morally bankrupt, guilty as sin or all of the three. In the case of the U.S. this goes all the way to the Oval office as it has since the Bush coup and the creation of the all powerful imperial executive.

Moyers and Company and two of their weriters, John Light and Laureen Sweeney, have done what most in the U.S. toe-the-line-mass-media have feared to do and have been negligent in doing, and have reported on six individual whistleblowers and their plights and theie stories deserve attention and they must all be applauded and rewarded. These are individuals who followed their conscience, like Bradley Manning, and have had to pay a high price for their morality.

The Obama Administration, following in the footsteps of the first imperial U.S. president George Bush, has gone after these persons using the Espionage Act, an archaic law which had only been used three times in U.S. history until Obama was placed in office. Obama has used it six times against six individuals.

Citing Moyers and Company, these six are: Thomas Drake a former senior executive at the U.S. National Security Agency who was charged under the Espionage Act. He attempted to report government waste on an NSA program called Trailblazer, which cost $1.2 billion and one called ThinThread which cost $3 million. He decided to blow the whistle on waste when the Bush administration began the illegal warrantless surveillance of American citizens, something he could not do anything about but which he disagreed with. According to Moyers he initially faced up to 35 years in prison but eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

2: Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a specialist in nuclear proliferation who worked as a contractor for the U.S. State Department. He made a statement about a North Korean nuclear test to the U.S. media, in a usual conversation between expert and press, and was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, but the case has not yet been brought to trial.

3: John Kiriakou, was a CIA agent who followed his conscience when it came to the illegal interrogation methods and torture that was being carried out by the U.S. and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for giving journalists the names of two former colleagues who tortured detainees.

4: Shamai K. Leibowitz, who was an FBI Hebrew translator and was worried that Israel would take the disastrous step of bombing nuclear facilities Iran. His leak of a wire tap to a blogger cost him 20 months in prison.

5: Bradley Manning who believe the American public had the right to know of the crimes being committed by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. He leaked documents and videos to Wikileaks. Myers wrote: “A military judge ruled earlier this month that for Manning to be convicted under the Espionage Act, the prosecution would have to prove that Manning had ‘reason to believe’ that the files could be used to harm the U.S. or to aid a foreign power.”

6: Jeffrey Sterling was a CIA officer who was privy to the details of a plan to derail plans Iran may have had in building a nuclear bomb. He is cited as a source who believed that a U.S. plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear operations may have in fact brought Iran closer to developing a nuclear weapon. Sterling has maintained his innocence and the U.S. Justice Department says it has effectively terminated the case.

These are unfortunately just some cases which are being prosecuted under the Espionage Act. The U.S. has myriad ways to deal with whistleblowers, including outright assassination. There are many different areas where whistleblowers have attempted to get the truth out and the people behind the cases are as varied as the information. Sadly the result for most is violent opposition by the authorities and unjust persecution.

Cases of whistleblowers and truth proponents being persecuted are too many to go into here and the sad part is that there are many people who we will never know about, and who paid the ultimate price.

Of the loud cases the Valerie Plame affair comes to mind, where CIA Agent Controller Plame was burned by the New York Times and Karl Rove, leading to the deaths of possibly hundreds of her previous agents worldwide. Her husband was a diplomat who was against one of the false pretexts for invading Iraq.

Then there are thousands of others including: Daniel Ellsburg and Anthony Russo (Pentagon Papers), W. Mark Felt (Deepthroat/Nixon), A. Ernest Fitzgerald (Cost overruns/Nixon), Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh (nuclear power plant flaws), Mordechai Vanunu (Israeli Nuclear Program, 17 years in prison 11 in solitary confinement), Frederic Whitehurst (FBI whistleblower), Gary Webb (CIA, Iran Contra, Drug funding) shot twice in the head, Jesselyn Radack (John Walker Lindh), Katharine Gun (GCHQ Iraq invasion crimes), Joseph Wilson (Plame Affair, Iraq invasion lies), Richard Convertino (lack of Bush Administration support in prosecuting terrorists), Joe Darby (Abu Ghraib), Sibel Edmonds (FBI post 9-11 issues), Bunnatine "Bunny" H. Greenhouse (Halliburton war profiteering), Mark Klein (NSA illegal surveillance), Karen Kwiatkowski (USAF Iraq lies), William Sanjour (EPA), Russ Tice (NSA, CIA, DIA), and Linda Tripp (Clinton).

Then there are those who had knowledge of 9-11 who have been killed: Barry Jennings, Beverly Eckert, Kenneth Johanneman, Michael H. Doran, Christopher Landis, Paul Smith, Deborah Palfrey, Major General David Wherley, Salvatore Princiotta, David Graham, Prasanna Kalahasthi, Wendy Burlingame, Katherine Smith, Daniel Pearl, Benazir Bhutto, William Cooper, Michael Zebuhr, Hunter S Thompson, Dan Wallace, Michael Connell (Bush vote fraud, dead), and then you can add the thousands killed over the Kennedy assassination and the list goes on and on.

When writing this I remembered a strange event that happened to me in Mexico. I met an American woman there who had been living there since after the Kennedy assassination and she told me a story how a woman ran up to her house one night and was pounding on the door saying killers were after her. The woman and her husband let her in and proceeded to listen to the woman telling a story about how she had witnessed where the shooting came from during the Kennedy assassination. The couple thought she was insane but humored her and drove her as far from the town as they could. The next morning it was reported by the local press that an unknown woman had been found shot to death in a ditch. The woman’s husband soon after died mysteriously and she ran to Mexico. I thought it sounded like a stretch but today I doubt it was.

That is the problem with government secrecy and the way they marginalize whistleblowers, people don’t believe you if you talk against those in power, they either think you are crazy or making things up, then when you are suicide or killed, it is a coincidence. My own whistleblowing case in the US which involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal money being stolen by local officials and the murder of a man in prison ended with the same office I complained to a grand jury against destroying my life. Unfortunately for me, like many of the people listed above, no one wanted to listen.

Will the criminals in power use every instrument they can to get truth seekers? Sure they will, and do. Will they kill to keep their crimes secret? You bet. Just ask Julian Assange, credited with being the most prolific whistleblower in history with a reported 1.2 million individual leaks to his credit.

May all of these heroes be remembered and honored, for that is what whistleblowers are, true heroes and of a higher morality than those around them who would extinguish the light of truth to continue their nefarious activities in the dark.


Last Update: 11/19/2023 20:01 -0000


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