by Stephen Lendman
When governments criminalize truth-telling, on the phony pretext of protecting national security, tyranny replaces freedom.
That’s the state of things in the US and other Western societies, fantasy democracies, not the real thing.
Revealing vital information in the public interest by whistleblowers and independent investigative journalists deserves high praise, not prosecution.
The 1989 US Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report misconduct — crimes of war and against humanity the highest of high wrongdoing.
By law, federal agencies (including the executive branch and Congress) are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblowers.
They’re obligated to report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse, as well as actions endangering public health or safety.
The Office of Special Council is empowered to investigate whistleblower complaints. The Merit Systems Protection Board adjudicates them.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the only judicial body authorized to hear whistleblower case appeals.
Since the Whistleblower Protection Act’s 1994 revisions, it ruled on over 200 cases — only three times in favor of whistleblowers, the deck stacked against them, US law failing to protect them.
The 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) failed to protect government employees from reprisal for disclosing official misconduct, revealing it to co-workers or supervisors, or disclosing policy decision consequences — any or all of the above in relation to their jobs or duties.
The Obama regime prosecuted more whistleblowers and leakers involved in exposing US wrongdoing than all his predecessors combined, reportedly nine targeted individuals.
His Justice Department and the FBI illegally spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records and by other means, subpoenaing them and other reporters to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.
Trump is heading toward matching or exceeding his war on truth-telling — notably by his actions against Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.
Former US air force/National Security intelligence officer Daniel Everett Hale is his regime’s latest target.
On Thursday, he was wrongfully arrested, detained, and indicted on five counts, four under the long-ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act — for revealing secret information “to a reporter” about illegal (Pentagon/CIA) drone wars US authorities want suppressed, part of the US war OF terror, not on it.
Reportedly, he passed on classified documents to Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill. In 2015, he published a series of articles called “The Drone Papers.”
Based on material obtained from an anonymous source he hasn’t publicly identified, he said around 90% of deaths by drones were not individuals targeted.
Hale was arraigned in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, located in Nashville. He faces up to 10 years imprisonment on each of five counts against him, potentially a maximum 50-year sentence.
He’s scheduled to appear in US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division on May 17 — the same court involved in persecuting Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. He’s the sixth whistleblower targeted by Trump regime.
Enacted shortly after US entry into WW I, the Espionage Act was all about prosecuting individuals involved in inciting insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny in the military, or obstructing recruitment.
A year after enactment, provisions were added, criminalizing government criticism or opposition to military conscription.
Offenses included publishing “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States.”
Despite congressional repeal of these provisions post-war, related to revealing information US authorities want suppressed, they’re used at the government’s discretion against targeted individuals — on the phony pretext of protecting national security.
Since 1945, the Espionage Act has been used 12 times to prosecute individuals for revealing information the US wants suppressed, Daniel Everett Hale the latest indictee, Julian Assange likely next once in US hands.
Used in all US wars of aggression, drones largely kill civilians, few so-called “high-value targets.” Operations are conducted secretly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and other US war theaters, transparency and accountability absent.
By executive order in March, Trump banned disclosure of civilian deaths by drones — rescinding a DNI rule to produce annual reports of civilian deaths by drones outside of official war theaters.
At the time, a White House National Security Council statement dismissively said the order removes “superfluous reporting requirements” that “distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission.”
The order was and remains all about suppressing US crimes of war and against humanity.
According to UK-based Reprieve, reporting on the US “secret assassinations program,” drone strikes greatly increased under Trump in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, adding:
“…America’s illegal drone war has expanded (greatly) across the globe, (Trump) increas(ing) and widen(ing) drone strikes…systematically weaken(ing) safeguards.”
“(E)ven individuals not considered to pose a ‘continuing and imminent threat’ can be targeted for death without trial” under a secret assassination program – murder by drones, conventional warplanes, and/or special forces operations.
“The CIA’s own leaked documents concede that the US often does not know who it is killing, and that militant leaders’ account for just 2% of drone-related deaths.”
US wars in multiple theaters are flagrantly illegal. So are its other hostile actions — in all cases against nations threatening no one.
It’s what naked aggression is all about, the favored strategy by US ruling authorities to advance the nation’s imperium.
Their rage for global dominance risks eventual nuclear war against Russia or other nations — able to kill us all if launched.
VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
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13 July 2019
Hunt joins calls for press freedom after Met Police tell journalists not to publish government leaks
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