Once Upon A Time US Government Whistleblowers…

Steve Kohn of National Whistleblowers Center offers an alternative to ignoring and intimidating whistle-blowers

HopkinsLast week the New York Times published a very well-written editorial piece written by Steve Kohn on the need to protectgovernment whistleblowers:

Today, the Obama administration is aggressively pursuing leakers. Bradley E. Manning, an Army private, has been imprisoned since May 2010 on suspicion of having passed classified data to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks. Thomas A. Drake, a former official at the National Security Agency, pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system by providing information to a newspaper reporter.

The tension between protecting true national security secrets and ensuring the public’s “right to know” about abuses of authority is not new. Indeed, the nation’s founders faced this very issue.

In the winter of 1777, months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American warship Warren was anchored outside of Providence, R.I. On board, 10 revolutionary sailors and marines met in secret — not to plot against the king’s armies, but to discuss their concerns about the commander of the Continental Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins. They knew the risks: Hopkins came from a powerful family; his brother was a former governor of Rhode Island and a signer of the declaration.

Hopkins had participated in the torture of captured British sailors; he “treated prisoners in the most inhuman and barbarous manner,” his subordinates wrote in a petition.

One whistle-blower, a Marine captain named John Grannis, was selected to present the petition to the Continental Congress, which voted on March 26, 1777, to suspend Hopkins from his post.

I think the historical example, the story, is enough to entice you to read the entire piece. It is a brief and very effective article, and I encourage you to read it here. And here is the action alert put out by Mr. Kohn’s National Whistleblowers Center: Protect Whistleblowers Like They Did in 1777

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  1. Whistleblowing is the privilege of free speech while it lasts. I suggest below a method that is much more difficult to control. It does not require an insider, but rather any engaged citizen that wants to know who lives in their neighborhood. See the following true account. I had to do some fast thinking when I actually got a live person, but I did not lie, and I did not use violence. I also learned in retelling the story that another person’s in-law had worked for the CIA, and that a 25,000 acre enclosed facility for military weapons technology exists near Huntsville, AL. The plan is to let the rest of us fight it out, while these enclaves have the latest weapons technology to survive.

    It entered our town like a small innocuous irritant, poison ivy. It grew without restraint in the summer heat like skunk vine. I drove up to 2010 Raymond Diehl Rd. Unit 2/ Tallahassee, FL 32308. A small sign said Chemring Ordinance. It looked shut down. No lights were on in the lobby on Friday. I returned on Monday, and peered in the window. All dark. I walked around and noticed the AC was working, and the power meter was running. A shadowy figure was watching me peering in the darkened rooms. I returned to my truck, and a gentleman emerged, in shirt and slacks, balding. His arms were strong. He asked, “Can I help you?”
    I responded, “I like to come in, do you have a product list?”
    “I’m sorry we don’t allow anyone in here unless they have an appointment.”
    I looked at him steadily the way I would an unruly student in the back of the classroom. He said, “Am I supposed to know you?”
    I said, “No, but I have a cousin-in-law that fought in the South China Sea against pirates. He was part of four man teams that would go ashore with grenades to take out pirates. In this case, the pirate was coming out as he threw his grenade (white phosphorous grenade). It bounced off the chest of the pirate and struck my relative. My relative was so gung ho that he signed up again to train others how to do his job.”
    The gentlemen relaxed a bit, and said, “Glad you are interested in national defense.”
    As I was leaving, I said, “you are a huge company.”
    He acknowledged that this was so and that locating in Tallahassee saved the long trip up from Perry where the hand-grenades were manufactured.

    Did I meet Rick Gardner, Darren Whiddon, or Ivan Bruno? James E. Hailer had recently moved to Tallahassee, where he was employed by Chemring Ordinance, Director of Strategic Development until his illness. Deceased 2/18/11 It wasn’t Jim. Chemring had recently purchased Martin Electronics in Perry whose income was listed as dollar amount of defense contracts awarded to this contractor from 2000 to 2010, $207,020,474. The new company was bigger and better.
    One of their new products was The HUNTIR (High-altitude Unit Navigated Tactical Imaging Round) consisting of a cartridge-case assembly and an aluminum projectile body containing a first fire charge, a pyrotechnic delay column, an ejection charge, an Infra-Red (IR) CMOS camera and a parachute assembly. Upon firing the projectile assembly is propelled to an average altitude of around 200 m, the first fire charge ignites the pyrotechnic delay element, which ignites an ejection charge to eject the IR CMOS camera, which is attached to the parachute. The OV7930 IR CMOS camera uses the NTSC Composite video format and has an RF output of +20 dBm. It provides up to five minutes of real-time streaming video, using the 2,400-2,500 MHz frequency range, to any handheld device with a corresponding receiver up to a range of one mile line-of-sight. The projectile was originally colored white with a black nose cap, but latest production has a green/blue body with a white nose cap.
    Why would they locate to Tallahassee? Had enough churches been infiltrated and programmed to do or die, unquestioning patriotism? Was it the National High Field Magnetics Lab, or the Navy funded Center for Advanced Power Systems? Tallahassee did have a lot of brain power to develop war technology – if this little poison ivy vine could get past the gatekeepers.

    The Allied Defense Group, Inc. (“Allied” or the “Company”) previously conducted a multinational defense business focused on the manufacture and sale of ammunition and ammunition related products for use by the U.S. and foreign governments. Allied’s business was conducted by two wholly-owned subsidiaries:
    MECAR sprl, formerly MECAR S.A. (“Mecar”), and ADG Sub USA, Inc., formerly MECAR USA, Inc. (“Mecar USA”).
    On June 24, 2010, the Company signed a definitive purchase and sale agreement (the “Agreement”) with Chemring Group PLC (“Chemring”) pursuant to which Chemring agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of the Company for $59.6 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. On September 1, 2010, the Company completed the asset sale to Chemring contemplated by the Agreement. Chemring acquired all of the capital stock of Mecar for $45.8 million in cash, and separately Chemring acquired substantially all of the assets of Mecar USA for $13.8 million in cash and the assumption by Chemring of certain specified liabilities of Mecar USA.

    Whilst the world gave $104 billion in development aid in 2006, world military expenditure … Serves as principal banker to two arms companies: Babcock and Chemring. …. and long afterwards, since unexploded ordnance turns fields, …. versus 40), but their net value was lower (£27.1 billion versus £33.3 billion). .

    Annual net income declined to 66.7 million pounds down from 70.1 million pounds.

    Chemring joins other U.K. aerospace and defense companies, including BAE Systems Plc and Babcock International Plc, seeking out acquisitions. Meggit Plc, the U.K. maker of ammunition- handling systems and flares, today agreed to buy Pacific Scientific Aerospace from Danaher Corp. for $685 million to expand its range of aircraft firefighting products.

    135.6 million pounds = $218.6 million annual profit.

  2. jschoneboom says:

    Right, so anyway, I was really glad to see Mr. Kohn’s piece in the Times. I hadn’t heard of him until I discovered him on the podcast here and I thought he was such a clear, passionate, and compelling speaker on behalf of first amendment and whistleblower rights. I happened across his Times op-ed the day it came out and I was like hey, that’s Steve Kohn, they’re printing one of the good guys! Every once in a while they do something right, eh?

  3. What?? Government actively acknowledging – then prosecuting crimes against humanity by oligarchal son, guilty of torturing prisoners……then actually paying its bills to the lawyers who did the good job???? Where in godsname ….. where is this universe unDicked with that so great a precedent could be set? somewhere far off the sweaty well licked shelves stocking Judges Hellerstein and Jolly John Walkers’ cooked books?

  4. All true, Sibel.
    Moreover, network mass communication policy is becoming badly unbalanced in favor of government power to squash individuals civil rights, and freedom of expression.

    The FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUION need not be further eroded by our 111th Congress. The tension between protecting true national security secrets and ensuring the public’s “right to know” about abuses of authority is OLD NEWS. Indeed, the nation’s founders faced this very issue as you well describe, SIBEL. Please note in this regard:

    The LIEBERMAN BILL, PROTECTING CYBERSPACE as a National Asset Act of 2010 (S. 3480), is a bill introduced in the United States Senate by Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat, Connecticut), Susan Collins (Republican Party, Maine), and Tom Carper (Democratic Party, Delaware) on June 10, 2010. This bill hastens the arrival, and strengthens the power of the THOUGHT POLICE as represented by the Department of Homeland Security. (Popularly known as the American Gestapo). See:


    This Wikipedia, “Internet kill-switch” article supplies a few facts, a foundation-entry level discussion of the relevant issues at stake in the current US SENATE DEBATE. As always the ACLU and heroes like Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange are at the forefront; fighting for freedom of all citizens to access factual information as opposed to the rights of the National Security State to classify almost everything TOP SECRET. Recent estimates disclose that about 16 million documents PER YEAR are being classified secret by the US government.

    Congress’ NEWLY PROPOSED LEGISLATION, like S. 3480 wishes to install big brother OBAMA as protector of the internet. Similar powers that apply today in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), severely compromises that nations citizens, exercise over their nation’s “free” application of the internet. PRC is not a shining example of the future of AMERICAN individual freedom. Enough is enough.

    When the Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas wrote, praising the founders’ commitment to freedom of speech: “The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.” , In the infotainment-reality programming driven world we inhabit today; this statement was less important then and more important now

    Additionally, “Real News”, facts about daily government activity taken in our name as voters; news all citizens need to maintain our democratic freedoms is absent in the major circa 2011 media outlets. Real news is suppressed by licensing requirements and other forms of direct and indirect government pressure. The “fourth estate” now useless as a force for democracy’s maintenance; and one reason we continue to descend into a police state: wherein only the fortune 500 corporations and other moneyed special interests have Constitutionsal Rights.

    Good Idea,SIBEL: re-establish citizens’ right-to-know by PROTECTING WHISLEBLOWERS BETTER.

  5. https://www.eff.org/torchallenge

    PROTECT YOUR ANONYMITY ONLINE- First Amendment Freedom update:

    Operate a Tor relay to help Tor users all over the world!

    Activists worldwide use Tor to protect their anonymity online and to circumvent Internet censorship. But they all rely on a limited number of user-provided “relays” to protect themselves and communicate with others. Internet users worldwide need your help to make the Tor network stronger and faster, so take the Tor Challenge today!

    Taking the Tor Challenge is easy, Says the Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco:

    “Decide which kind of Tor relay you want to run. Read What is a Tor Relay and the Legal FAQ.”

    “Watch the Setting Up Tor video, which will guide you through the set up process.”

    “Tell us about your new Tor relay, and we will tell the world that you’ve taken the Tor Challenge!”

    NEW internet discussion proposes that Lieberman’s S. 3480 Internet Kill-switch bill will be renamed to include the words “Internet Freedom”.

    The analogy here is that the Patriot Acts, both I and II would have been more accurately named if they were called: the Traitor Act, or the UnConstitutional, flush your civil Liberties down the Toilet bill instead.

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