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May 24, 2017

Archives:

14 Year Old Child Bride Facing Death Penalty for Murdering Husband -

Saturday, November 29, 2014

BREAKING: New Coal Disaster In West Virginia -

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

U.S. Hostage Freed by Colombia’s FARC Rebels (Video) -

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BREAKING! UK Government Spied On Allies At TWO G20 Summits (Video) -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When The Whistle Blows: Whistleblowers Face Scourge

What do Mark Klein, Frank Serpico, Joseph Wilson, Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Wigand, W. Mark Felt, Julian Assange etc. have in common? They are what we subsume under the term whistleblower. While whistleblowers often become quite famous for the stories they help uncover, seeking fame is not generally their motive for speaking up. But to any general rule there are always exceptions.

How do we treat the so-called whistleblowers once they are identified? Are they heroes for speaking up and opening them selves up to public scrutiny and/or praise? No doubt, the public’s opinion about whistleblowers is marked by the motives behind the whistleblowing. If there’s one thing we like as a people, it’s a whistleblower with an honest and humble motive to speak up against an organization’s misconduct or against the government’s dishonest or illegal activities.

Whistleblowers are not always right but many are. Today, however, there is no affection for whistleblowers from the government or even the media. Those who dare to speak the truth tend to be vilified. The trend seems to be, that it is far more of a crime to speak out against any wrongdoing than the actual wrongdoing itself.

When we recollect the Watergate scandal and consider the important part W. Mark Felt played in uncovering the truth, which ultimately led to President Richard Nixon resigning from office. It is safe to say that few whistleblowers have, to this day, had as much impact as Felt.

Frank Serpico, who helped uncover widespread corruption among cops of the NYPD, was one of the unlucky whistleblowers. He was shot during a “questionable shooting” incident. For him, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 came too late.

The Whistleblower Protection Act is meant to protect employers of the government who report agency misconduct, from retaliatory personnel action by agency authorities.

This brings us to some of today’s famous whistleblowers Bradley Manning, who was arrested on suspicion of having passed on classified information and material to the website Wikileaks and John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, who helped expose the Bush administration’s torture program. It is important to note, that Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison, while those who committed the acts of torture have not been charged until today. As for Manning, the U.S has labeled him a traitor for revealing some of the American military’s shadier practices and held him for three years, before giving him his day in court.

The Whistleblower Protection Act has not served these two men very well. The Obama administration has prosecuted more government officials under the Espionage Act of 1917 for sharing classified information with the media than all previous administrations combined, despite the fact that President Obama vowed to fight for more protection for whistleblowers.

To protect against corruption, the government of the United States was created with checks and balances. Looking at the situation today, the government no longer tolerates any questioning from its citizens. Corruption often goes unchallenged when people don’t speak out about it. Ultimately, institutions, societies and citizens lose out when no one is willing to cry foul in the face of corruption. But the truth is, most whistleblowers go through hell. They pay a great price personally for telling the truth, especially since the government is hell-bent on prosecuting whistleblowers. This should be alarming to us, because these are not the actions of a truly transparent government that has nothing to hide.

Every whistleblowing story is different. But we owe every one of them a big junk of gratitude for making a moral decision to try and expose wrongdoings. Freedom is merely an illusion without the truth.

Clarissa Frankfurt (20 Posts)

Clarissa Frankfurt is a law student at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. While her country of origin is Switzerland, she has also lived in America for 4 years and in Germany for 3 years. Her Master studies are concentrated on International law and Human Rights, as well as Diplomacy. When she’s not studying, you can find Clarissa online blogging about politics, mainly American politics, social issues such as Women’s Rights and equality for the LGBT community, Democracy and Human Rights (http://tocareornottocare2012.wordpress.com/). Offline, you can find Clarissa playing the violine in the university orchestra, teaching English, taking part in Model UNs (...MUN) or fanatically shooting hoops.