We Need Whistleblowers - And Always Have
If you keep up on news that covers government transparency and free press, the past few weeks have been a mixed bag of sorts in terms of the ongoing crackdown on whistleblowers by the Obama Administration. And unfortunately, this mixed bag isn’t improving the lives of whistleblowers on a whole.
For instance, on Monday, January 26th Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer was convicted of leaking details of a covert mission to journalists and the media. But 5 days earlier the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a fired air marshal declaring that he was covered by the federal law which protects whistleblowing. If you want more information about these cases you should read these articles here, here, and here.
These cases are important as whistleblowing remains one of the core principles to a citizen's ability to provide checks and balances and expose wrongdoing or illegal activity when it is encountered. These courageous individuals who speak out often disclose serious information which range from consumer safety, environmental damage, professional misconduct, even corruption and child abuse. Whistleblowers even protect consumers from fraudulent behavior of hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and even doctors. Most importantly, whistleblowers blow the whistle when our government is breaking the law or sidestepping its own policies. We should be grateful that whistleblowers are so moved that they speak out and alert us to these egregious activities.
The Obama administration has charged more people under the espionage act than all presidents combined, so it is now more important than ever that we protect whistleblowers and the value they serve. Far too often, whistleblowers face significant backlash - be it in their personal lives, professional lives, or in the media. There is significant personal strife that takes place after they’ve exposed information.
The information whistleblowers provide to the public is hugely important - as are the discussions that take place afterward. If it wasn’t for Edward Snowden we may never have a complete picture of what kinds of information the NSA keeps on citizens and foreign nationals and for how long. If it wasn’t for Chelsea Manning we may not have had a national discussion about our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, February 17th, Brave New Films along with Government Accountability Project will premiere War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State at American University in Washington DC. The film has been updated from its original version and includes never before seen footage from an interview Robert Greenwald had with whistleblower Edward Snowden. Click here for more information on the event.
Whistleblowers effect great change in our country - we cannot lose the powerful impact they have on our course of history. Please donate $10 today to help us finish the film!