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Whistleblowers

Chelsea Manning On Her New Memoir

Chelsea Manning was imprisoned in 2010 after leaking 750,000 military documents to the website WikiLeaks. Chelsea’s revelations exposed heinous war crimes by the US military. While the perpetrators of the atrocities she exposed have never faced justice, Chelsea herself spent seven years behind bars, including several months in solitary confinement before her trial. README.txt is Chelsea’s first full-length memoir detailing what led her to speak out, and her experiences in prison. In an event organized by Baltimore worker cooperative bookstore Red Emma’s, Chelsea Manning joins Baltimore-based activist and independent journalist Ryan Harvey for a special discussion on her memoir.

Doctors Renew Call For Assange’s Release After COVID Infection

Doctors For Assange sent a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland and the United Kingdom Home Secretary Suella Braverman yet again expressing their concern about the deteriorating health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The coalition of over 300 doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other medical professionals have repeatedly called for Assange’s release from Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh in London and protested “health injustices” that have occurred as a result of the extradition case against him. Worsening matters, as Doctors for Assange notes, is the fact that Assange tested positive for COVID-19 on October 8. “Given his chronic lung ailment, Mr. Assange may be at increased risk of serious illness resulting from COVID infection,” the doctors write.

Assange Supporters Call For ‘Truth Not War’ On UN Peace Day

Calls of ‘Truth not War’ can be heard around the globe this week as supporters of the world’s most famous political prisoner, Australian journalist Julian Assange, rally for his immediate release by the 21st anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Peace (21 Sept 2022). Julian’s growing army of millions of supporters – from ordinary people to governments, politicians, professional and non-government organisations, charities, activists, lawyers, journalists, authors, academics, doctors, artists, unions and grass-roots community groups – are all calling on the USA and UK Governments to stop the US extradition and drop the charges against the award-winning Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder. On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks published ‘Collateral Murder’, a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen civilians in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.

Julian Assange Files His Perfected Grounds Of Appeal

Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel. The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021, and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling. The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) include arguments that Home Secretary Priti Patel erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty and because the request itself violates Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.

The Biden-Trump Persecution Of Julian Assange

For a good while one could blame Trump for the prosecutorial monstrosity perpetrated on journalist Julian Assange. But now it’s time for Trump to move over. The single worst assault on the first amendment and a free press in recent centuries is no longer solely his. Biden owns it. Biden could end this state persecution of a journalist today, if he felt like it. A persecution that a U.N. expert has called torture. A persecution that could easily lead to Assange’s death. But maybe that’s the point. Indeed, if killing Assange isn’t the point, Biden should prove it, by pardoning him now. Biden doesn’t feel like it. Unlike Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder he deplored before he didn’t, Biden never censured the years of abuse heaped on Assange by the U.S. government. He enabled it.

Pompeo Sued Over Surveillance Of Assange Visitors

Four U.S. citizens who were surveilled by the C.I.A. during visits to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London have sued the C.I.A, former C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, the Spanish security firm UC Global and its director David Morales Guillen for allegedly violating their constitutional rights protecting them from illegal searches and seizure. The lawsuit was filed at 8 a.m. Monday in the Southern District of New York federal court. Assange spent seven years in the embassy as a political asylee. He is being held on remand in London’s Belmarsh prison after the U.S. indicted him in 2019 under the Espionage Act for alleged possession and dissemination of defense information. Assange is awaiting a decision by the High Court of England and Wales on whether it will hear his appeal of the ruling by the High Court, signed by the home secretary in June, to extradite him to the United States.

The Growing Movement To Liberate Julian Assange, With John Shipton

On this week’s edition of The Watchdog podcast, Lowkey explores the growing movement to free Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and is joined by his father John Shipton, to do so. Imprisoned in Belmarsh high security prison in London since 2019, and before that confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange has spent a decade locked up. If extradited to the United States, he faces up to 175 years in prison. Yet there are signs that his future might be brighter than his past. The global movement to free him, Shipton explains, is growing. In Australia, dozens of members of parliament have come together to lobby for Assange’s release. In the United Kingdom, 23 MPs from across the political spectrum have done the same.

When The Just Go To Prison

Marion, Illinois — Daniel Hale, dressed in a khaki uniform, his hair cut short and sporting a long, neatly groomed brown beard, is seated behind a plexiglass screen, speaking into a telephone receiver at the federal prison in Marion, Illinois. I hold a receiver on the other side of the plexiglass and listen as he describes his journey from working for the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to becoming federal prisoner 26069-07. Hale, a 34-year-old former Air Force signals intelligence analyst, is serving a 45 month prison sentence, following his conviction under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified documents about the U.S. military’s drone assassination program and its high civilian death toll. The documents are believed to be the source material for “The Drone Papers” published by The Intercept, **on October 15, 2015.

Biden Should Grant Clemency to Drone Warfare Whistleblower Daniel Hale

One year ago this July, drone whistleblower Daniel Hale stood in front of Judge Liam O’Grady at his sentencing and explained himself. After a lengthy investigation and prosecution, it was finally the day when Hale would find out if he would spend years in prison for doing something he felt morally obligated to do: Tell the truth about the United States’ drone program. While working as a drone analyst in the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan, he witnessed attacks waged against innocent civilians that, to this day, still haunt him. Those experiences eventually led him to blow the whistle on the drone program. Judge O’Grady said Hale wasn’t being punished for telling the truth, but for stealing government documents that disclose that truth.

Whistleblower Testimony Shows BOP Director Ignored Rampant Abuse

The hearing on July 26 was part of an investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into USP Atlanta, which is a facility for pretrial detainees. So far, the investigation has focused on civil rights violations, prison staff misconduct, the flow of contraband and narcotics, and the high rate of suicides. According to Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, who is the chair of the subcommitee, “The investigation has revealed that gross misconduct persisted at this facility for at least nine years, and that much of the damning information revealing misconduct, abuse, and corruption was known to BOP and accessible to BOP leadership during that period.” The subcommittee invited outgoing BOP Director Michael Carvajal to testify, but the Justice Department initially declined to make Carvajal available.

The Whistleblower Crackdown

This is National Whistleblower Week, with Saturday marking National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The National Whistleblower Center in Washington has its annual lunch, seminar and associated events scheduled.  Whistleblowers from around the U.S. attend, a couple members of Congress usually show up and we talk about how important it is to speak truth to power. I’ve been attending these events for much of the past decade.  But I’m not sanguine about where our efforts stand, especially on behalf of national security whistleblowers.  Since I blew the whistle on the C.I.A.’s torture program in 2007 and was prosecuted for it in 2012, I think the situation for whistleblowers has grown far worse. In 2012, when I took a plea to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 for confirming the name of a former C.I.A. colleague to a reporter who never made the name public, I was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison.

Force The Government To Prove Espionage, Not Whistleblowing

If you’ve been following the case of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whose revelations about US wars and war crimes outlets like the New York Times published to great acclaim, you know that you haven’t been following it in, for example, The New York Times. Major US outlets’ interest in Assange’s prosecution is hard to detect, as if they had no stake in a case which is not, at bottom, only about whether individuals can leak classified information, but whether journalists can publish that information at all. And it’s as if their readers had no stake in that decision either. Joining us now with the latest is researcher and journalist Chip Gibbons. He’s policy director of the group Defending Rights and Dissent. He joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Chip Gibbons.

US Supreme Court May Take Aim At Whistleblower Protection Law

The False Claims Act in the United States allows individuals with evidence of fraud against government agencies to bring lawsuits as qui tam whistleblowers. They can bring a case even if the US Justice Department has no interest in fighting the alleged corruption. But on June 21, Courthouse News Reported that the US Supreme Court will determine whether the government has the authority to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act when the government has declined to intervene in the case. In other words, the Supreme Court could help corporations shut down independent whistleblower lawsuits that the Justice Department does not want to pursue.

A Whistleblower’s Agony

A C.I.A. whistleblower languishes awaiting trial in a federal prison under inhumane conditions and almost nobody is paying attention. Joshua Schulte is a former C.I.A. hacker, one of those computer geniuses whose job it is to work his way into the computer systems of our country’s enemies in support of some of the most highly-classified operations the C.I.A. carries out. The government believes that Schulte was a malcontent who released to WikiLeaks in 2017 the equivalent of 2 billion pages of top secret C.I.A. data with code names like Brutal Kangaroo, AngerQuake and McNugget. These programs, collectively known as Vault 7, were custom-made techniques used to compromise Wifi networks, hack into Skype, defeat anti-virus software and even hack into smart TVs and the guidance systems in cars. 

Harvard: Students, Activists Protest Garland’s Commencement Speech

On Sunday, May 29, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave the commencement speech at the Harvard University graduation ceremony for the class of 2020-21. Harvard students teamed up with Boston Area Assange Defense and other local activists to protest Garland’s speech over the continued prosecution of Julian Assange. Mike Miccioli, class of ’22, explained why he and other Harvard students decided to use the commencement speech to draw attention to Assange’s plight: “The prosecution of Julian Assange violates the First Amendment right to a free press. If Assange’s work with Manning is criminalized, this would open the door for any investigative journalist to be prosecuted for their standard work.
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