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Whistleblowers

Experts Warn Julian Assange Plea Deal Could Set Dangerous Precedent

The next UK government must push the US for reassurance it will not pursue journalists for publishing classified information, human rights organisations and experts have argued after the release of Julian Assange. Experts have warned that the plea deal struck between the WikiLeaks founder and the US authorities – which will see him plead guilty to one charge under the Espionage Act, but avoid serving any additional time in custody – could set a dangerous precedent. Assange, who has battled his extradition to the US since WikiLeaks published more than 250,000 leaked classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, was facing up to 175 years in prison on 18 counts.

Red Hill Whistleblower Details How Her Warnings Were Ignored

As the new director for the U.S. military’s largest fuel depot in May 2020, she realized almost immediately that something was wrong. The fire suppression system for the massive Honolulu storage system, which was holding 100 million gallons of fuel, was essentially turned off. Firefighting foam necessary to put out a potential fuel fire had been removed by officials who feared a leak could contaminate the drinking water aquifer below, she said. As a result, those working in the facility’s underground tunnels, and those residing in surrounding neighborhoods, were at risk of facing an out-of-control blaze, she said. So Bencs did what the Navy itself had trained her to do: She said something.

Whistleblower: EPA Didn’t Follow Normal Procedures In East Palestine

An EPA whistleblower has stepped forward, saying the Environmental Protection Agency deviated from normal procedures when testing for chemical contamination after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. On Feb. 6, 2023, officials in East Palestine, Ohio, vented and burned five tank cars full of vinyl chloride after a Norfolk Southern train derailed near the town. Three days later, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the all-clear for evacuated residents to return to the area. Immediately, people in the area began complaining of sickness and rashes. “I undressed to get into the shower, and I had a rash all over the side of my face on both sides and all over my chest,” said resident Katlyn Schwarzwaelder.

USAID Whistleblowers Accuse Biden Of ‘Direct Complicity’ In Gaza Famine

Current and former officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department say the White House has ignored months of internal warnings about the spread of famine in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to an in-depth investigation by the Independent. “I believe the US to be complicit in creating the conditions for famine. Not only has our response been woefully inadequate, but we’re actively responsible in large part for it,” a USAID employee told the British daily. Internal documents reviewed by the Independent show that staffers have repeatedly warned USAID administrator Samantha Power and other senior leaders about the intensifying crisis in Gaza “often to no avail.”

The Heroism Of David McBride

Sometimes a whistleblower does everything right.  He or she makes a revelation that is clearly in the public interest.  The revelation is clearly a violation of the law.  And then he or she is even more clearly abused by the government. It would be great if these stories always had happy endings.  Unfortunately, they don’t. In this case, the whistleblower, the hero, Australian David McBride has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for telling the truth.  He will not be eligible for parole for 27 months. David McBride is former British Army officer and a lawyer with the Australian Special Forces who blew the whistle on war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, specifically the killing of 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners, farmers, and civilians in 2012.

Whistleblower McBride Sentenced To Five Years, Eight Months

A federal judge in Canberra, the Australian capital, has sentenced military whistleblower David McBride to nearly six years in prison for leaking classified material to the media that revealed Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. Supreme Court Justice David Massop ruled on Tuesday morning local time that “only a prison sentence is appropriate,” and handed down 68 months —  5 years and 8 months. Consortium News‘ Cathy Vogan, who is inside the courtroom, reported that McBride “will go to jail until 2030. He is led out of the court by three policemen. A woman takes his dog.”

Whistleblower David McBride To Be Sentenced

A sentencing hearing has concluded in the case of Australian whistleblower David McBride who was forced to plead guilty to leaking classified documents to the media after he was essentially denied a defense at his trial in November. The documents ultimately revealed evidence of war crimes committed by the Australian Defence Force. Justice David Mossop will pronounce the sentence next Tuesday. The government has demanded more than two years in prison, while the judge could impose as little as house arrest, monitoring , and counseling outside prison for up to four years. McBride, a former military lawyer, was charged with stealing government documents and giving them to journalists at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Whistleblower Says US Endangers Troops By Refusing To Leave Niger

The Biden administration’s refusal to withdraw from Niger despite an order from the post-coup government to leave has put US troops in the country in danger, a senior Air Force leader said in a letter to Congress that was obtained by The Washington Post. The whistleblower said that senior officials at the US Embassy in Niger have “intentionally suppressed intelligence” to maintain the “facade of a great country-to-country relationship” as the US is trying to figure out a way to maintain its military presence. The Nigerien government, known as the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), said in March that it was severing military relations with the US and that the US presence was no longer legally justified.

How Britain Would Be Obliged To Free Julian Assange

President Joe Biden’s remark on Wednesday that his administration is considering ending the prosecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange appears based on a calculation that the U.S. could lose in court on Assange’s appeal against Britain’s order to extradite him. The High Court of England and Wales in its ruling last month has given the United States until Tuesday to assure Assange will not face the death penalty or the court would have no choice but to follow the law and free Assange. The two-judge panel also ruled the U.S. must provide a First Amendment guarantee equivalent to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Navy Whistleblower Pursued Fraud Case Against Red Hill Contractors

Newly unsealed court documents show that federal authorities spent the past two years investigating but ultimately declined to pursue a Navy whistleblower’s claim that private contractors helped cause the dire fuel leaks at the military’s Red Hill fuel storage facility by fraudulently cutting corners on their work there.

How The CIA Destroys Its Own

In light of recent developments in the Julian Assange extradition case, former CIA officer John Kiriakou joins host Robert Scheer on this episode of the Scheer Intelligence podcast, to delve deeper into the contradictions within the United States government and intelligence agencies regarding the disclosure of classified information and the veil of secrecy they maintain. As highlighted in earlier episodes, John Kiriakou’s role as the whistleblower who exposed the U.S. torture program vividly illustrates the consequences of airing the government’s dirty laundry—it unleashes its full might upon you.

Feds Recently Hit Maersk In Baltimore Disaster For Silencing Whistleblowers

The company that chartered the cargo ship that destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was recently sanctioned by regulators for blocking its employees from directly reporting safety concerns to the U.S. Coast Guard — in violation of a seaman whistleblower protection law, according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Lever. Eight months before a Maersk Line Limited-chartered cargo ship crashed into the Baltimore bridge, likely killing six people and injuring others, the Labor Department sanctioned the shipping conglomerate for retaliating against an employee who reported unsafe working conditions aboard a Maersk-operated boat.

Assange’s Draconian Prosecution

In the final moments of the hearing on Feb. 21, Ben Watson KC representing the U.K. home secretary, admitted additional charges could be laid against Julian Assange in the U.S. that carry the death penalty, such as aiding and abetting treason. Asked by the judge whether there is anything that can be done to prevent a death penalty being imposed, he replied: “It would be very difficult to offer assurances to prevent the death penalty from being imposed.” (Since Assange is charged with a federal and not a state crime he could get a death sentence no matter if the state he is tried in, in this case Virginia, has a death penalty or not.)

US Government Treats Use Of Privacy Tools As Criminal Activity

In Espionage Act prosecutions involving leaks, attorneys at the United States (DOJ) consistently treat the use of privacy tools as evidence of criminality. This tendency should alarm journalists and news media organizations that rely on such tools for newsgathering. A jury convicted former CIA programmer Joshua Schulte of disclosing CIA cyber warfare materials to WikiLeaks in July 2022. Schulte is scheduled to be sentenced in the U.S. Southern District Court of New York on February 1. The U.S. government’s sentencing memo [PDF] asserted that “between April 18 and May 5, 2016, Schulte took a number of steps to transmit the stolen CIA files to WikiLeaks.

Assange Appeal Hearing Set For February

Imprisoned publisher Julian Assange will face two High Court judges over two days on Feb. 20-21, 2024 in London in what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited to the United States to face charges of violating the Espionage Act. Assange’s wife Stella Assange confirmed that the hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice. Assange had had an earlier request to appeal rejected by High Court Judge Jonathan Swift on June 6. Assange then filed an application to appeal that decision and the dates have now been set.  Assange is seeking to challenge both the home secretary’s decision to extradite him as well as to cross appeal the decision by the lower court judge, Vanessa Baraitser.
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