Fair Trial Under Attack In Reality Winner Whistleblower Trial

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By Trevor Timm for The Intercept – THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT is seeking to impose extreme secrecy rules in the trial of alleged Intercept source and whistleblower Reality Winner that could prevent her defense team from citing countless publicly available news articles in appearances before the court — and even prevent Winner herself from seeing evidence relevant to her defense. On July 20, Winner’s defense lawyers moved to challenge those arguments, accusing the government in a court filing of attempting to use the pre-trial discovery process to unfairly gag them from discussing issues both vital to the case and the public at large. Winner was accused last month of leaking a classified National Security Agency document to The Intercept that describes attempts by alleged Russian hackers to gain access to election infrastructure in the United States. She faces charges under the Espionage Act, a 100-year-old law meant for spies and saboteurs, which the government has warped into an anti-leaking statute used to go after sources of journalists attempting to inform the American public. Winner’s trial is set for the end of October. Under the rules established under the Classified Information Procedures Act, the defense has the right to access certain classified documents from the government that may be relevant to Winner’s case.

Former CIA Intelligence Analyst Says Whistleblowers Are Vital To A Transparent Democracy

Without whistleblowers, investigative journalism is not possible, says ex-CIA analyst and author Melvin Goodman. (Image: wildpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Mark Karlin for Truthout – Melvin A. Goodman: I spent 24 years at the CIA as a Soviet analyst in the directorate of intelligence. I was not drawn to the agency by idealism, but by a fascination with the incredible repository of intelligence that is held within the entire community. I received an early introduction to this collection as a US Army cryptographer in the 1950s. There have been many intelligence failures over the past 70 years since the creation of the CIA, but virtually all of them have been due to analytical failures, either politicization of intelligence from above (e.g., missing the decline of the Soviet Union; Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) or simply poor analytic tradecraft (e.g., October War of 1973; 9/11 attacks; Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968). These failures were not due to inadequate collection. In fact, the collection of intelligence was sufficient to prevent every one of these failures, including 9/11. If I had been more idealistic then, perhaps I would have paid more attention to the CIA’s role in the conduct of covert action, particularly the illegal and immoral activities prior to my entry into the CIA, including the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, the attempt to assassinate Lumumba in the Congo, and the efforts to overthrow Castro in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Whistleblower Case Shows How Trump Tries To Silence Science

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of senators sent letters reminding Trump administration officials of whistleblowers' rights. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – For the first time since the Trump administration came to office and began dismantling the key science underpinnings of federal climate policy, a senior agency official has invoked the protections of the whistleblower law to publicly object to what he calls an illegal attempt to intimidate him. The official, Joel Clement, had been the director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the Interior Department before he says he was arbitrarily reassigned to an obscure accounting post to punish him for speaking up about protections for native Americans in Alaska. He says that was ordered by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to force him to be quiet or quit—and to send a message. Clement, who publicized his formal complaint in a commentary published Wednesday in the Washington Post, said his case is not an isolated example but part of a pattern. “It’s been a difficult few months for those of us on the inside,” he told InsideClimate News in an interview. “This administration has abused a long list of rules and procedures to purge scientists and experts that don’t agree with their political views. We need to work together strategically to end these abuses or the health and safety of more Americans will be at risk.”

Hey Intercept, Something Is Very Wrong With Reality Winner And NSA Leak

Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA contractor, has been arrested by the FBI and charged under the 'Espionage Act' for allegedly leaking to the press a classified document about Russia meddling in last year's elections. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Staff of We Meant Well – Now let’s look at what we know so far about how this happened. A 25-year-old improbably-named Reality Winner leaves behind a trail long and wide on social media of anti-Trump stuff, including proclaiming herself a member of The Resistance. Never mind, she takes her Top Secret clearance with her out of the Air Force (she had been stationed with the military’s 94th Intelligence Squadron out of Fort Meade, Maryland, co-located with the NSA’s headquarters) and scores a job with an NSA contractor. Despite the lessons of too-much-access the Snowden episode should have taught the NSA, Winner apparently enjoys all sorts of classified documents — her Air Force expertise was in Afghan matters, so it is unclear why she would have access to info on Russia hacking of U.S. domestic companies. Within only about 90 days of starting her new job, she prints out the one (and only one apparently, why not more?) document in question and mails it to The Intercept. She also uses her work computer inside an NSA facility to write to the Intercept twice about this same time.

Edward Snowden Comes To Defense Of Jailed NSA Contractor Reality Winner

Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA contractor, has been arrested by the FBI and charged under the 'Espionage Act' for allegedly leaking to the press a classified document about Russia meddling in last year's elections. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Staff of Common Dreams – A day after her arrest was announced publicly by the U.S. Justice Department, Reality Winner, the 25-year-old alleged source of a leaked National Security Agency document detailing Russian hacking efforts, has found a vocal ally in the world’s best known whistleblower of the contemporary era: Edward Snowden. Snowden, who first made headlines around the world in 2013 when he went public as the source of a massive trove of NSA documents detailing the agency’s global “collect-it-all” surveillance dragnet, released a statement Tuesday evening saying that while much remains unknown about the details of the case, the Justice Department’s decision to file charges under the ‘Espionage Act’ is deeply troubling. “This often-condemned law,” he explained, “provides no space to distinguish the extraordinary disclosure of inappropriately classified information in the public interest—whistleblowing—from the malicious disclosure of secrets to foreign governments by those motivated by a specific intent to harm to their countrymen.

FBI Arrests NSA Contractor Who Leaked Top Secret “Russian Hacking” Document To The Intercept

Austin Texas protest Resist Disrupt Organize Photo from Steve Rainwater-flickr-cc

By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge – Earlier this afternoon, the Intercept reported that according to a “top secret NSA document”, Russian Military Intelligence “executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before election.” The NSA document, reportedly dated May 5, analyzes recently acquired intelligence about “a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure.” The document notes that investigation only began in the last few months. The document claims the investigation was spurred by “information that became available in April 2017.” According to the Intercept, the report is “the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. It is said to reveal that that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood” and “states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document.”

The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack On Whistlblowers

Jake Waage; Edited: LW / TO

By Melvin Goodman for Counter Punch – The Washington Post’s schizoid approach toward whistleblowers continues unabated. On the one hand, its news staff has effectively used authoritative leaks to expose the bizarre and possibly illegal contacts between senior members of the Trump administration and high-level Russian officials. On the other hand, its editorial writers maintain an ugly campaign against U.S. officials who have kept the Post and the New York Times aware of the dangerous antics of Donald Trump and his senior staff. Post oped writer Michael Gerson has provided the latest example of the paper’s criticism of those whistleblowers who allow investigative reporters to do their constitutionally-sanctioned job. First of all, some background on Gerson. In January 2002, President George W. Bush told Gerson, his chief speechwriter, that the U.S. public had to be prepared for war. Gerson immediately instructed David Frum to “provide a justification for war” by linking the 9/11 attacks to Saddam Hussein. Gerson and Frum drafted the most memorable speech of the Bush presidency, the 2002 State of the Union address, which falsely linked North Korea, Iran, and Iraq in an “axis of evil” that threatened world peace.

Chelsea Manning Is Free–But Whistleblowers Still Face Prison

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By Janine Jackson for FAIR – Human Rights Watch is glad that Chelsea Manning is free. A statement from the group’s General Counsel’s office notes that Manning’s “absurdly disproportionate” 35-year sentence for passing classified documents to Wikileaks in 2010, commuted by Barack Obama on his last day in office, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917, which they warn still stands ready for use against the next potential whistleblower. The Act was intended to punish those who leak secrets to foreign governments, but the US government is increasingly keen to turn it against those who give information to journalists. Critically, those prosecuted under the Act can’t argue they intended to serve the public interest, and prosecutors don’t have to prove that national security was harmed at all, much less that it outweighed the public’s right to know. So as Manning walks free after seven years and 120 days (or “just seven years,” as USA Today had it—5/17/17), some of it in solitary confinement, it’s worth remembering that corporate media did virtually nothing in support of her clemency, even though her revelations were the basis for countless media reports—including revelations about a 2007 US military attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists.

Sweden Drops Charges Against Julian Assange

Julian Assange speaking about the UN report from Ecuadorian Embassy

By Lizzie Dearden for the Independent. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. In a court document seen by Reuters, she said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward. Mr Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been living for almost five years. https://t.co/dDvB1Vekhg — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017 The European arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange is being revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the London embassy. But the Metropolitan Police swiftly confirmed it would still arrest the Australian over skipping bail when he sought asylum. “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012,” a statement said. “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.” A spokesperson for WikiLeaks claimed the British government “refuses to confirm or deny” whether it has received a US extradition request, adding: “Focus now moves to UK.”

Why I Fought For Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is pictured in this 2010 photograph obtained on August 14, 2013. Courtesy U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

By Evan Greer for Open Canada – Chelsea Manning is my friend, but I’ve never seen her face to face, or given her a hug. That’s because Chelsea has been in prison for the last seven years, sometimes held in conditions that the United Nations considers to be torture. She has been serving what was meant to be a 35-year sentence — all for helping to expose some of the U.S. government’sworst abuses by making public thousands of military documents. This week, Chelsea will be released. I have to type those words again to believe them. This week, Chelsea Manning will walk out of an all-male, maximum-security military facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, and begin the rest of her life. This moment may never have come. Chelsea attempted to take her own life twice over the last year of her incarceration, after years of abuse and harassment at the hands of the U.S. government. She was first locked up as a whistleblower, but as a transgender woman behind bars she was systematically denied medically recommended health care, and routinely subjected to degrading treatment even as the Obama administration trumpeted its support for LGBTQ rights.

Chelsea Manning Set To Be Released On May 17, 2017

‘When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up.’ Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters/Reuters

By Chelsea Manning for the Guardian. When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up. We looked out for each other. When they tried to divide us, and systematically discriminated against us, we embraced our diversity and pushed back. But, I also learned from all of you when to pick my battles. I grew up and grew connected because of the community you provided. For many of you, you are already free and living outside of the prison walls. Many of you will come home soon. Some of you still have many years to go. The most important thing that you taught me was how to write and how to speak in my own voice. I used to only know how to write memos. Now, I write like a human being, with dreams, desires and connections. I could not have done it without you. From where I am now, I still think of all of you. When I leave this place in May, I will still think of all of you. And to anyone who finds themselves feeling alone behind bars, know that there is a network of us who are thinking of you. You will never be forgotten.

Remembering The Insider Who Blew The Whistle On Corporate Greed

(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

By Sam Pizzigati for Other Words – If you work in a corrupt system, you have two basic options. First, you could rationalize away your role in the corruption. If you ever left, you tell yourself, they’d just get someone else to do your job. Might as well shut your mouth and collect your paycheck. But you could also go in an entirely different direction. Graef Crystal certainly did. Crystal once ranked as one of America’s top enablers of a deeply corrupt — and corrupting — corporate CEO pay system. He could have continued down that path. But he chose to push for change instead. And he kept pushing for years after most people step back. Crystal just passed away at age 82. We can learn plenty from his remarkable life. The first lesson: We all have it in us to walk away from corruption. Crystal had it made back in the 1980s. He had won national renown as an astute and reliable expert on CEO pay. America’s top corporations — outfits like American Express and General Electric — regularly hired him to consult on their executive pay packages.

WeCopwatch Gets Its Due: Doc About Nationwide Police Watchdog Featured At Major Film Festival

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By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – From Staten Island to Standing Rock, “copwatchers” are everywhere in America. “Copwatching is an idea, it’s an act. WeCopwatch is a group,” explains WeCopwatch founder and Oakland-based guerrilla filmmaker Jacob Crawford at the documentary’s start. Crawford has been copwatching since the early 2000s, having been inspired by George Holliday, a Los Angeles plumber who used his Sony Handycam to tape the beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department in March 1991. “Seeing that there’s a real issue of police brutality in East Bay, I thought I’d take my camera out to the streets and really try to document what was going on,” Crawford says. But copwatching is often risky, and in extreme cases, creates a downward spiral of retaliation. Ramsey Orta, who filmed Eric Garner’s chokehold death at the hands of police, was sentenced to prison in April 2015. And he’s not alone. “I started to see a trend of arrests happening,” Copwatch director Camilla Hall told AlterNet. For the documentary, Hall went to great lengths to tell Orta’s story, both in and out of jail.

10 Ways Movements Can Encourage And Support Whistleblowers

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By Anthony Kelly for Waging Nonviolence – Whistleblowers from within institutions, corporations, government departments, police or military can be critical to movement success, and their testimony is often the key to exposing and resisting injustice and creating change. Institutions clamp down on and deter whistleblowing for good reason. Whistleblowers can shake major institutions. They can feed vital information to movements, can warn activists about impending threats, can expose corruption, public health dangers and reduce the power of governments and deep state agencies. Disclosing secrets and releasing information poses high risks and personal costs and always takes a fair degree of courage.

Former NSA Whistleblower: ‘Trump Absolutely Right He Was Wiretapped’

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By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge – Former NSA executive and whistleblower William Binney confirmed that President Donald J. Trump is “absolutely right” to claim he was wiretapped and monitored. Binney, a 36 year NSA veteran also considered a ‘legend’ within the agency, created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information and served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees. After the events of September 11th, 2001, Binney resigned from the NSA and “became a whistleblower when discovering that the data-monitoring program he had helped develop — nicknamed ThinThread…