by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and King Downing
Whistle-blowing can consist of more than simply telling a newspaper about wrongdoing by the State. Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange join the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, in opposing the rule of the unjust. “Some whistleblowers survive, others are murdered or imprisoned, but all are eventually destroyed.”
RUN SNOWDEN RUN! Dirty Lies, Dirty Wars, Dirty Secrets
by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and King Downing
“The latest attack on Snowden has made it apparent that the US has declared war on whistleblowers.”
With Edward Snowden on the move from nation to nation, and with countries refusing to turn him over to the US, the Obama administration has charged him with espionage and leaking classified national security information. Snowden is the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower that revealed that the NSA was collecting phone data on millions of people without individual constitutionally required suspicion.
The U.S. is the last nation on earth to be indignant about releasing information. This latest controversy involves another whistleblower that exposed the contradiction between the national security state and the Constitution in the area of privacy versus security. The latest attack on Snowden has made it apparent to the non-clinical eye that the US has declared war on whistleblowers. Conversely, what is equally as apparent is that whistleblowers are not safe in the confines of the U.S. Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and all others who have rebelled against US policies by blowing the whistle on corruption or racism have experienced the full weight of the state. Some whistleblowers survive, others are murdered or imprisoned, but all are eventually destroyed. Snowden is simply the latest victim of a predatory system that devours its own when they dare to question illegal authority, deviate from the playbook or agitate for justice.
“Whistleblowers are not safe in the confines of the U.S.”
U.S. Wars of aggression place it outside the scope of justice when it comes to whistleblowers. Drone atrocities, (as in the killing of civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan); invasions based on lies by top officials before international bodies (Colin Powell lying about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction before the United Nations) are only the latest examples from a long, brutal history in which whistleblowers have attempted to warn the country.
Stories of illegal U.S. “regime change” are well-known. Less known is the attempt by whistleblowers to raise a red flag and focus the attention of the public on illegal espionage that precluded the ousting and even killing of democratically elected leaders. With US intelligence complicity, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo was overthrown and killed, Nelson Mandela was handed over to the South African government and Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega was overthrown by the CIA–backed Contras (using money raised from drugs in the black and brown neighborhoods.) These crimes all began with U.S. illegal access to other countries’ national security information (no doubt leaked by opportunist insiders.) The US then shared this information with unauthorized nations and persons with intent to harm a foreign government. Prosecution score - U.S.: 0%, Whistleblowers: 100%
We must support whistleblowers and government transparency. We call upon progressive forces to pressure the Obama Administration to drop the charges and to end the manhunt against Snowden and Assange. We need to share and benefit from their sacrifice and knowledge regarding the national security state. It is only when we unite through protest and sharing of information that we can develop the tools to confront a system that has no moral, humanitarian or ethical compass.
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA is available through amazon.com and the National Whistleblower Center. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo worked at the EPA for 18 years and blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered vanadium mine workers. Marsha's successful lawsuit lead to the introduction and passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). She is Director of Transparency and Accountability for the Green Shadow Cabinet.
King Downing is an attorney and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center, which advocates and organizes around criminal and economic injustice including mass incarceration, police abuse and racial profiling. Downing is a contributor to the following books: Twelve Angry Men and Torture in the US. He is the Chair of the Commission on Corrections Reform for the Green Shadow Cabinet.