Whistleblowing Ain’t No ‘Fair Game’

Pinpointing “Fairytale Whistleblowers”

fairytaleFor the last ten years, in over a hundred interviews, I’ve been asked to talk about whistleblowing and whistleblowers. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked to define the term whistleblower. I have recounted dozens of government whistleblower cases and stories during many interviews and speeches. What I have not done, at least until now, is to provide people with ways to tell real government whistleblowers from phony ones, or warn them about the existence of those who use the ‘whistleblower’ title for nefarious purposes. I haven’t talked about heavily promoted ‘fairytale whistleblowers’, set as a trap by the exact same establishment the supposed fairytale whistleblowers supposedly blew the whistle on - the government

And why haven’t I done this before? As the saying goes ‘choose your enemies carefully’. How about ‘there’s so little time and so much to fight against’? Well, I’m sure you have heard various versions of those sayings and others, and you get my meaning, thus the reason I chose to remain fairly quiet on this important aspect of whistleblowing and whistleblowers.

It will take far more than one brief article/commentary to discuss and analyze the cases of ‘fairytale whistleblowers’ and the purpose of popping up and propping up those select whistleblowers with tremendous help and participation from the media-publishers-Hollywood, corporate-owned and government-managed NGOs. That’s right: it takes the entire village of establishment participants to create these fairytale whistleblowers, promote and market them, and succeed in selling them to the public as genuine. Thus, for the purpose of this warm-up, introduction, I am going to limit myself to a few macro points and examples.

The real whistleblower armed with information really dangerous to the establishment-government ends up with one or more of the following outcomes and consequences: mysterious death, prison, prosecution, persecution, gag order-blackmail- threats (including their family members), financial destruction, scandalization, censure, marginalization by the media-publishers… 

The fairytale whistleblower trap meets the exact opposite end: no ‘real’ threat of prosecution or imprisonment, no ‘real’ censorship-gag order, fame, enormous financial gain-reward, wide media coverage, hero-status granted by the media, mega dollars book and movie deal, position with big-name corporate-foundation owned and government-ruled NGOs, future high-dollar government contracts and positions, clear and present partisan status…

Okay, now I am going to move from the above general ground rules to a bit more specific distinction between real whistleblowers versus fairytale whistleblower traps.

ellsbergI am going to start with a man who is considered ‘the father of all government whistleblowers.’ I am talking about Dan Ellsberg: “the Most Dangerous Man in America.” It doesn’t matter whether you agree with Ellsberg’s views, politics or style, you know, and so does everyone, that he put it all at risk; that is, enormous risk. They persecuted him, scandalized him, prosecuted him, and were about to imprison him for life. Wouldn’t you agree he is the most famous government whistleblower in our history? Right. Now let me tell you something as someone who knows Ellsberg, has spent personal time with him, and considers him a friend: Ellsberg lives and has been living an extremely modest and frugal life (Dan, I know you read everything I write, and I hope you’ll forgive me for sharing a few personal examples here):

This man traveled (and still does) from one part of the country to the other via the cheapest airfare available, obtained under financial strains and difficulties, and while he suffered from excruciating back/knee pain, to be there for whistleblowers who needed his support. He wears years old pants lovingly patched were needed. He and his family live a modest frugal life.

Ellsberg, the most famous whistleblower of all time, was never offered a million-dollar movie deal. He was never given million-dollar book deals. He never took million-dollar positions in multi-million dollar establishment-front NGOs or the like. He has not held any position with government agencies since his case, and has never joined the government tentacle contractors or think-tanks offering mega bucks. You see, Ellsberg is still a very ‘dangerous man.’ And ‘they’ know that. He’d expose fraud and criminality today as fiercely as he did four decades ago. ‘They’ can’t afford having a ‘dangerous man’ like him inside the corrupt circle and extension of the establishment machine.

TimemagThen there was, and is, the FBI whistleblower, one of Time Magazine’s persons of the year, Coleen Rowley. She and I may not agree on everything, but a certain dynamic in our relationship remains a constant: I trust this lady, and I respect her integrity. What you see with Rowley is what you get, and what you get is this fierce and unrelenting adherence to integrity.

I remember one of our government whistleblowers’ congressional rallies in 2006 with Coleen Rowley as one of the participants. We had a short coffee recess in a café near one of the congressional buildings. An individual from one of the NGO circles bought a round of coffee for our group of 10-12 people. We offered to reimburse him but he waved us off. At the end of our coffee recess Rowley stopped by his table, placed 5 quarters on the table, and said something like until her official retirement she could not accept anything that could be considered as gift or contribution…

This may seem like an insignificant example to some, but it isn’t. It is a small representation of a much bigger picture of principle and integrity when it comes to Rowley. When she was offered generous speaking fees she’d ask to be compensated for her travel expenses (frugally arranged travel) and donate the fee to various charities. When she dared to challenge the political establishment by running for office at tremendous personal expense (time-energy-emotion), she refrained from being pocketed by anyone - whether those from the Israeli lobby groups who approached her or those from the big corporate fronts. Those of you who’ve known me and my writings know that I rarely compliment or list positives. The top adjectives I use to describe Rowley start with genuine, highly ethical, principled …

Coleen Rowley did not get millions of dollars for books and or Hollywood movie rights either. Her integrity has acted as a very strong repellent against corporate and corporate-foundations. And I have not detected any partisan marketing signal from this lady, and you know how sensitive my detectors for partisanship can be.

I could name and write about many other well-known and genuine whistleblower cases. Whether it is Richard Barlow, the CIA whistleblower who exposed AQ Khan’s nuclear network and paid an incredible price for doing so, or NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, these real heroes, genuine and well-known government whistleblowers, never received million-dollar book deals, multi-million-dollar movie deals, or became members of the mega-dollar contracting-consulting industry. It is as if they have these built-in and coded repellents that keep the establishment and their parasites at bay.

Then you have what I refer to as phony fairytale whistleblowers. Let me give you an example:

scissorA former government insider who has set up a shop, his own firm, and becomes a lobbyist and a consultant, gets highly agitated when the new administration constantly leaves him out of mega-million dollar contract deals. Interestingly, his operations and activities, including his revenge plans against the new administration, were being recorded by the FBI due to nefarious foreign operations he was involved in. He cuts a deal with certain insiders, makes a pact with the ‘other’ political party, all together they get one of the top establishment mainstream media channels on board, and then he writes a true and semi-damaging commentary. Immediately after that, by design he is made out to be a heroic whistleblower.  And right after that, the involved establishment operators on his side concoct a partially-true scenario, and then they sell that as his scripted heroic whistleblowing. Now fast forward only a couple of years:

The man and his spouse collectively get a nearly $2 million book deal, regardless of tanking sale numbers in the end. Right after that they get another $2 million for a Hollywood deal; again, regardless of sinking outcome. Their collaborators pay for their entire legal costs for show only lawsuits. They buy a mansion and start living like their Hollywood impostors. Fast forward again:

hillaryThen comes 2008 and the fairytale whistleblower couple have to partially payback their collaborating masters. They sign up to actively campaign for one of the Democratic Party Presidential candidates, and they campaign for that dirty candidate big time. That Democratic Party candidate ends up not getting the presidency, but a lower position: Secretary of State. After a few months in office as Secretary of State, she starts forwarding lucrative government contract to the fairytale whistleblower couple.

It took an entire establishment village to concoct this fairytale whistleblower case. The entire establishment village participated: from the mainstream media providing the script-coverage, to Huffington Post spreading wings to go under, to publisher deal, to Hollywood deal, to Democratic Party position deals, to future lucrative government contract deals. The public was left with this grand and conning illusion. The concocted phony fairytale whistleblowers got a very fair deal and considered it a fair game to be engaged in. Those in the know did recognize the game, and they knew right from the start this was not a whistleblowing case, because real whistleblowing has never been a fair game. And it can never be- unless it is part of a fairytale-one concocted by the masters above.

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  1. Indeed: the genuine whistle-blower has a strongly developed conscience. That makes them so dangerous: they expose the hypocrisy around them by keeping their integrity, while the rest does not.

    Only autonomous individuals can have a conscience: they are the only ones who have the independence of mind not to participate in and actively oppose activities that harm others. Without an independent mind one can only follow the lead of others. Without an independent mind one might have decent norms, but one cannot have a conscience.

    For this reason alone true whistleblowers deserve our utmost respect. They deserve it al all the more so because they pay such a high price for their integrity.

  2. Excellent article Sibel. I knew this “whistleblower” case had another side to it, but hadn’t been able to piece together the contradictions in a coherent manner to where I understood the bigger picture. This answers my questions & makes perfect sense now. Thanks.

  3. jschoneboom says:

    So, erm, like, come on, who is it??

  4. @jschoneboom,

    Picture in your mind a certain distinguished looking Santa Barbara, Ca.-born surfer boy/former charge’ d’affairs in Iraq for Bush 41 who, with his towheaded spouse, an outed former director of CIA’s Nuclear Counterproliferation Division and current head of the GlobalZero nuclear weapons disarmament campaign, currently reside about an hour and a half up I-25 from me in Santa Fe, NM. The SAME former CIA NCD Director who was personally compromised as a covert operative by the Bush 43 admin two years after Brewster/Jennings, her Flagship covert op investigating nuclear smuggling, was overheard being compromised BY Edmonds on FBI wiretaps TO elements of the AQ Khan nuclear smuggling network by Marc Grossman, Bush’s #3 at the State Dept. The Same couple who never thought to even CONTACT Edmonds about her possible testimony in their lawsuit that could, quite possibly, PROVE THIER CASE.

    Hmmm. SOMETHING’S happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

  5. @Ishmael: Also, picture in your mind Grossman and the surfer dude roommates for years during Santa Barbara days (university), and then Grossman maintaining very intimate relationship with the couple until now;-) And while you are at it, picture this, the CIA title was known by every single friend, neighbor, since the surfer dude loved to talk and babble….what a ‘dude’ ey;-)

  6. jschoneboom says:

    “Fair Game,” got it. And I’m picturing Sean Penn in the title role somehow now…

    I still don’t quite get it though. Let’s blame it on me being thick, BUT: in this piece, the aspersions you cast on these two people who shall not apparently be named (but let’s call them “Joe Wilson” and “Valerie Plame” just for fun) are of two basic types: 1) they’re partisan; and 2) they’ve cashed in on their status as darlings of the Huffington Post Universe.

    Both those things might make them fail as candidates for sainthood, but is it enough to throw them out of the Real Whistleblowers Club? (If Colleen Rowley campaigned for Obama and cut a movie deal, I’d still thank her for what she’s done.) There was also a third charge, i.e., that one of them (let’s call him “Joe Wilson”) was involved in “nefarious foreign operations.” The link goes to a Cryptome piece. But the Cryptome piece does not implicate this “Joe Wilson” in any nefarious operations. All it really accuses him of is attending Turkish parties and being in “proximity” to Dickerson. That’s probably enough to warrant further inquiry, I’ll happily grant you. But it falls rather short of indictable offense, no?

    Perhaps there is much more to the story. Perhaps you know more about it. Perhaps you’ll share?

    If you’re just saying they smell of partisan opportunism, OK. Or that they’re a couple of self-aggrandizing assholes, fine. But given that you acknowledge that the whistle they blew was at least partly true and at least partly compromising to sensitive people in power, I mean, I’d be interested to know more about what you want from these people. From what you’ve given us here, there isn’t much basis to conclude that their whole opera was “concocted” by “masters” above. It is one possible explanation, yes. Another one would be that Hillary and a lot of other people jumped on their bandwagon, and they were very willing to exploit their sudden position for personal gain. How to tell the difference? Seems to me without evidence the former conclusion is impossible to differentiate from paranoia. (Believe me, I do that kind of thing all the time — I’m very very paranoid!) 😉

  7. @Sibel,

    Cowabunga! I didn’t know about the Grossman/Wilson Santa Barbara connection. Weird, Wild Stuff. The Foggy Bottom Protective Society in action.


    Consider the following items.

    1. The US government has given tacit approval to the Pak nuclear weapons program since the Nixon admin.

    2. The aforementioned couple met at a reception hosted by the American Turkish Council, one of the groups suspected of involvement with the Khan network.

    3. The flagship covert op, B/J is compromised TO those people by hubby’s old college chum who suffers NO consequences for it.

    4. Two years later, Wifey herself is outed since her brief with CIA is now largely superfluous. Again, the people who do this largely escape consequences.

    5. The power couple turn up in New Mexico near noted nuclear insider/negotiator NM Gov. Bill Richardson.

    6. As a partial result of their “revelations”, Dems take over, the candidate surfer boy supports becomes Sec of State while Wifey becomes head of a Global Nuclear Weapons disaramament campaign aimed, at least partially, at the same weapons program. Hubby gets lots of new, lucrative foreign service contracts. Wifey gets the money to produce a new documentary about her organization with lots of air time on US Media.

    So what really WAS the purpose of the CIA’s Nuclear Counterproliferation Division and Brewster/Jennings after all?

  8. @Ishmael: you know far more than the 99%. Did you watch our CIA-Nuke Black Market report with Corbett? That explains it pretty well: there is no counter prolifration operation; we are at the top of the chain when it comes to Nuke BM operations…

    Grossman is also the dude’s tennis partner, and his children uncle Mark. As you know the first name of the supposed leak was Marc Grossman. hmmm, right? He is their buddy, partner in crime (ATC), their kiddos uncle Mark, and then he happens to be the first guy leaking the supposed position? Then, after that, they remain pals;-)

    I’ll also add this: the couple been very anti gov whistleblowers; have refused to support Manning, Drake, …and actually they are now pro retaliation against ‘leaks & leakers’ with their bosses-Clinton-Obama.

    Anyway. They are not on top of my list. They are the parasitic bottom feeders, the low-level oily conmen…

  9. @Sibel,

    Well, I DO try to pay attention. But I bought the rap when it was originally presented. I even met the Wilson’s at Valerie’s book signing in ABQ in late 2007, right before I got mixed up with you and your merry band of Rogues, Reprobates and Rascally Rabble-Rousers. That’s how I got an autographed, first-edition copy of her book and found out Joe was from Santa Barbara as I was born 30 miles south in Ventura. I WAS familiar enough with your case then and with their lawsuit to actually suggest TO the Wilsons that they or their attorney contact you. They told me they would check it out. I even went so far as to go to their lawsuit website and send an e-mail to their attorney, Melanie Sloan, who is also director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and heard nothing in return. Apparently another organization in need of a name change.

    But one other thing always puzzled me about the book in particular. Fair Game was submitted to the CIA for pre-publication censorship per agency/employee agreements. Many portions of the book were redacted but no effort was made to appeal any of the redactions. I contrast that strategy with Marks and Marchetti’s “The CIA and the Cult Of Intelligence”, the FIRST book ever subjected to such censorship. The publishers of THAT book went to court and fought every one of the almost 300 redactions and actually succeeded in restoring all but about 85 to the book. Those redaction/reinclusions were printed in boldfaced type in the published copies and virtually ALL were blatant attempts to hide the names of individuals who made crappy or suspect decisions. Even though they listed the positions of the individuals censored in such a way as you knew that Nixon’s National Security Adviser during the Allende overthrow was Henry Kissinger.

    So, wanna buy a book? Cheap?

  10. jschoneboom says:

    The friendship with Grossman strikes me as by far the most suspicious factor. Most of the other stuff Ishmael lists are very very tenuous connections to say the least. They supported Hillary and now she’s Secretary of State? That’s proof of what exactly? Are all Hillary supporters now suspect? (Sure, but of what? 😉 ) The connections to ATC would have been part of the job if the counter-proliferation deal were real, so that doesn’t count as suspicious. Historical US government tacit support for Pakistan’s nuclear program is 100% irrelevant. The issue here is not whether the US is effectively non-proliferation; that case is clearly settled to all of our satisfactions I think. The avoidance of consequences for the “outing” of both Brewster Jennings and Valerie Plame is strong evidence of higher level complicity on behalf of Grossman et al, but says virtually nothing about the power couple themselves.

    And so forth. I mean, this type of stuff is always tricky and slippery, and for that reason I think people should make their arguments carefully and not rely on a bunch of loose insinuation and shaky connections. I enjoy speculation and gossip as much (or more) than the next man, but I think in making actual arguments a bit more rigor is required.

    But the Grossman connections, the tennis, the Uncle Mark stuff — that, I agree, is damning as hell and succeeds in convincing me all by itself! And it does cast the ATC connection in a new light.

  11. Hello everyone! I am a new subscriber here but have followed Ms.Edmonds story for quite some time. Thanks for the insight on “fairytale whistle blowers”. Can someone explain what “Cointellpro” is?

  12. I’ve seen this on other subscription sites… They pay to troll… Consider it a tax refund Sibel…

  13. Ribbit-Mark says:

    I think this is a good point in time to re-visit the above article that Sibel wrote almost three years ago.

    In the article Sibel stated that ‘real’ whistleblowers never receive mega bucks as a result of their outing; in contrast ‘phony’ whistleblowers often do receive mega bucks directly or indirectly as a result of their outing.

    Sibel described Dan Ellsberg as ‘the father of all government whistleblowers’ and at the time (Oct. 2011), the most famous government whistleblower in our history.

    It would be very instructive to hear whether Sibel considers Ed Snowden to be a ‘real’ whistleblower or a ‘phony’ whistleblower as she has clearly shown her disdain for him and especially for Greenwald, over the past year.

    Why have I re-visited this article at this point in time?

    Because one of her idols, ‘the father of all government whistleblowers’ Dan Ellsberg, came out today with an article that fiercely defends Snowden and aggressively attacks Kerry.

    According to Ellsberg:

    “Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice”


    “Either way, nothing excuses Kerry’s slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


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