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Why Whistleblowers Can't Get a Fair Trial

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the I-fought-the-law dept.

United States 441

phantomfive writes "'Seven whistleblowers have been prosecuted under the Obama administration,' writes Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who advised two of them. She explains why they can't get a fair trial. In the Thomas Drake case, the administration retroactively marked documents as classified, saying, 'he knew they should have been classified.' In the Bradley Manning case, the jury wasn't allowed to see what information was leaked. The defendants, all who have been charged with espionage, have limited access to court documents. Most of these problems happen because the law was written to deal with traitorous spies, not whistleblowers."

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One and the same (5, Insightful)

Akratist (1080775) | about 9 months ago | (#46044961)

When a government is corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent, then a whistleblower and a spy are essentially the same thing, as they threaten the positions and livelihoods of the corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians and bureaucrats who comprise it.

Re:One and the same (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 9 months ago | (#46045001)

I don't quite agree. I get what you mean, but a whistleblower releases information to those who it isn't supposed to go in order to improve the security their country and the lives of their fellow countrymen, whereas spies release information to those who it isn't supposed to go in order to undermine the security of said country. While the methods and results may even be the same the intent is different.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045049)

whooooosh

Re:One and the same (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045071)

In the Thomas Drake case, the administration retroactively marked documents as classified, ...

Going back retroactively to MAKE someone a criminal is an act of corruption and injustice.

Son of bitch. I hated Bush and now Obama. Will there ever be a President that I can respect?

Re:One and the same (5, Insightful)

cyborg_zx (893396) | about 9 months ago | (#46045109)

Will there ever be a President that I can respect?

The system does not seem designed to allow that.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045225)

So the system needs changing so that the president does what his title sugegsts and just presides over (ie chairs) the meetings of the (political) department heads and only has a casting vote.

Re:One and the same (3, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 9 months ago | (#46045165)

Will there ever be a President that I can respect?

I hope not, that would lull you into a false sense of security.

Re: One and the same (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045179)

Vote third party. That's the only way it will ever happen.

Re: One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045283)

Becuase the third party candidate is magically better.

Re: One and the same (5, Insightful)

hummassa (157160) | about 9 months ago | (#46045477)

No, because politicians and diapers ought to be changed frequently, and for the same reasons.

Re:One and the same (0)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#46045185)

Will there ever be a President that I can respect?

I figure that once the ultra-rich and corporations finally strip this country of all viable resources and have left its people in abject poverty, they'll probably leave the country for private island fortresses somewhere. Then maybe we'll be able to elect a President again who actually acts in the interests of the people. Of course, there won't be much of a country to lead by then.

Re:One and the same (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 9 months ago | (#46045341)

Yes, Dwight D Eisenhower.

would ex post facto apply here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045231)

my understanding (& no, IANAL but had some basic law classes in undergrad) is you can't pass a law that makes an act retroactively illegal but it seems like (at least in the "spirit" of the law) that would also apply to retroactively changing designations of persons/objects to make previous acts criminal under existing laws as well. as an example: if I kill a non-endangered species on my property & EPA subsequently declares it endangered by administration's "logic" I could be charged w/killing an endangered specie (maybe I shouldn't be giving them ideas).

I know this is something of an exercise in mental masturbation since the administration, courts & congress ignore the constitution anyway but can any lawyers cite any precedent for this sort of thing outside the magical constitution-free zone of "national security"?

Re:would ex post facto apply here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045361)

They aren't passing a law they changed the status of a document, basically saying that the intent of the law was broken and that he *should* have known that these were incorrectly marked because of his experience. But this logic doesn't apply to bankers, only whistleblowers.

Re:would ex post facto apply here? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#46045549)

No.

Re:One and the same (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#46045239)

Going back retroactively to MAKE someone a criminal is an act of corruption and injustice.

It's also explicitly against the US Constitution: Article I, Section 9 [heritage.org] . The folks who wrote that document knew all the tricks in the tyrant's book -- from personal experience.

Of course, classified information is not a law, it's classified by executive order. I would point out that executive orders did not exist when the Constitution was written, and should not give the President a free pass to do what Congress is expressly forbidden from doing. By waving his hands and chanting "national security," the President places himself above the law and the Constitution. Again.

Re:One and the same (3, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about 9 months ago | (#46045369)

The sad part is where you seem think the president has anything to do with this, or, for that matter, anything to say about this.

Re:One and the same (3, Insightful)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about 9 months ago | (#46045523)

Because the people involved in the prosecutions and classifications don't report up to him as the head of the executive branch? Because he doesn't have an absolute pardon power to pardon anyone he likes? You'd blame the CEO of a company for what his company does. In this case the President has way more legal power to intervene than a CEO would in a similar situation. Heck, after President Obama's recent stint of just changing laws with only a fig leaf of legal basis beyond he said so, presumably his administration thinks he can just unilaterally declare they weren't enforcing the law in these particular types of cases.

Re:One and the same (2)

geogob (569250) | about 9 months ago | (#46045591)

That's exactly the point. They report to him what they want him to here... he bases his decision on these information. Without omniscience, he is just a pawn of the permanent government. He has the power to do a lot of thing, most of them he cannot do for different reasons. Furthermre, he can only exercise his power based on the information he has at hand.

The only thing a president might be able to do about this, is place the right people at the right jobs to be sure he gets the correct (and sufficient) information to execute his power. And I wouldn't place to much hope in this working, while these key persons too are just pawn of the established administration sitting under them.

Re:One and the same (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#46045535)

Don't get your dudgeon up so high. The government eventually dropped all charges against Drake except for one misdemeanor charge.

Also, you don't understand US law regarding classified information. It is a crime to intentionally misclassify documents, including information you are producing that by definition cannot have been previously classified. By alleging that he knew the information in the documents should have been classified, they were saying that it fell under a classification order he was aware of and he was aware that there were security concerns with the information in the documents.

Re:One and the same (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 9 months ago | (#46045563)

How about Richard Nixon? When deep throat blew the whistle on him, he resigned.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045571)

Going back retroactively to MAKE someone a criminal is an act of corruption and injustice.

Son of bitch. I hated Bush and now Obama. Will there ever be a President that I can respect?

Not as long as people vote for the lesser evil and thinks that a vote for someone that doesn't win is "a lost vote".
The first step should be to punch people like that in the face.
The next step is to vote for someone that you feel represents you, regardless of how few votes he/she will get.

Re:One and the same (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045145)

I don't quite agree. I get what you mean, but a whistleblower releases information to those who it isn't supposed to go in order to improve the security their country and the lives of their fellow countrymen, whereas spies release information to those who it isn't supposed to go in order to undermine the security of said country. While the methods and results may even be the same the intent is different.

The Rosenbergs were executed as spies (and I have no particular beef with their classification as such) because they released information to the Russians about the atomic program in order to restore a balance of power, thus aiding the security of the United States. Just by means that the government did not agree to.

As long as it is the government stance that "security" is tantamount to "being able to squash everybody else like a bug" (and yes, that's basically the NSA approach as well), it is hard to distinguish enemies from whistleblowers, like it is hard to distinguish average citizens from enemies.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045189)

What if the country is evil?

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045191)

So you mean Obama is a traitorous spy? Let's Impeach him then!

Re:One and the same (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#46045217)

True, but that doesn't matter much. In a court, "noble cause" isn't really a defense (some exceptions apply).

By the time a trial court sees a case, the law is effectively fixed. At that point, the only questions are whether the defendant intentionally committed a crime. For whistleblowers, the fact of the matter usually is that yes, they intentionally broke the law. Snowden and Manning knowingly released classified materials with a reasonable expectation that foreign agencies would get access to them. Plain and simple, they're guilty of felonies.

The noble intent really first comes into play during sentencing, but minimum sentences included in the laws are indeed assuming that no goal could be so good as to forgive the whole crime. There is also, of course, government pressure to use the case to discourage future leaks, and the justice system itself could be undermined by weak sentences, if it becomes common practice to claim whistleblowing as a reason every time someone spills secrets.

Upon appeal, as well, the intent matters. The convicted can argue that the law itself (including any minimum sentences) isn't just, using his own case as proof: the people don't feel that justice was served in his case, even though the legal process was carried out properly, so the law should be clarified to address the different circumstances. Of course, that's a long legal battle, and the same government and judicial pressures still apply. I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Re:One and the same (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045467)

That wasn't his point. His point is that the corrupt elite who make their fortunes in the business of government don't care WHY the whistleblower does what he does. They care about their positions of power (and the leverage that power affords them in the financial markets), and the whistleblower represents a threat to that.

The point is that all they really care about is their own positions of power -- quite the exact opposite of what a representative republic claims to provide us with.

Re:One and the same (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 9 months ago | (#46045481)

So take Snowden for example. Did he increase or decrease security by pointing out the massive amount of individual tracking the government is doing? More data means 3rd party hackers that get in can get the info too but stopping (even abusive) spying on civilians looking for terrorists and other criminals doesn't increase security just privacy.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045573)

Parent is taking the view of the oppressor. We, you and I, don't quite see it that way. There is a difference, legally, logically, ethically, and morally.

But does our view really matter. Especially when it comes to this type of particular proceeding? In the ethers of voice, liberty, and history, it might make a difference. In reality, our opinion doesn't hold much water. Especially when the oppressor is making up the rules of law as they go along. We could spar all day about where to draw the line between whistleblower and spy. That doesn't change the fact that these defendants, in my opinion, aren't getting their constitutional right to due process.

What will change with any of this? Probably nothing. Not this year, or next, under this administration. Probably not in the next decade under the next administration. It's logical to assume, with the historical trend that we're seeing with regard to such behavior, we won't hear about whistleblowers at all. You'll be arrested just before you plan on releasing your information. And it won't be publically announced that you were.

There was a time when I would have never wrote a line that dark, but history, and the nature of man, don't lie. Things ARE getting worse. It's just at a slow enough pace that people don't want to accept it. Not all of life mind you, is getting worse... just these particular topics. I'm not that pessimistic!

Re:One and the same (0)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#46045007)

"Because a government is by definition corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent, then a whistleblower and a spy are essentially the same thing, as they threaten the positions and livelihoods of the corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians and bureaucrats who comprise it."

Fixed that for you.

Re:One and the same (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045025)

"Because a government is by definition corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent,

What a sad world you live in.

Re: One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045157)

What a sad world WE live in.

Fixed that for you.

Re:One and the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045221)

What a sad world you live in.

Look around. It's the real world. Politicians aren't distinguished by corruption and lack of corruption, only by how well they hide it.

Re:One and the same (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46045265)

Can you find me a government which does not meet at least two of these criteria? Reasonably-sized: At least a couple of million citizens.

Re:One and the same (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#46045119)

When a government is corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent, then a whistleblower and a spy are essentially the same thing

That's why I get such a kick out of it when these idiots get on TV and call Snowden a traitor because he didn't "go through the proper channels," as if the very agency he was ratting on was going to give him a fair hearing and not throw his ass in prison as a spy/hacker/traitor immediately.

Re:One and the same (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46045205)

Why do we say when someone who turns their back on a company, or even most government agencies, they're a whistleblower; but when they do the same to the military, or the intelligence apparatus, they are said to have betrayed the country itself?

Re:One and the same (1)

davecb (6526) | about 9 months ago | (#46045459)

That also applies to police and courts who threaten the positions and livelihoods of the corrupt.

name that actor/film contest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46044973)

'you got the wrong guy i'm just here on vacation' --- other's troves in droves t. blair http://rt.com/news/blair-citizen-arrest-bounty-070/ pocket drones http://rt.com/usa/flying-pocket-drone-surveillance-995/ works both ways again http://rt.com/usa/paper-reveal-online-commenters-identities-057/

Bieber busted for being gay in Miami? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46044995)

That's like being busted for being black in North Carolina. Oh, drunk and racing, too.

Re: Bieber busted for being gay in Miami? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045213)

Send him to prison so he can enjoy bubba ramming in his rear end, and record those sound for his next CD (will sound better than anything he's recorded so far!)

This Is Nothing New. (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 9 months ago | (#46044997)

Labels such as traitor or revolutionary hero are interchangeable, depending on how things work out.

Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hancock, et al would've been hung as traitors if the Brits had quashed the American rebellion.

Bucking the system is courageous for a reason.

Re:This Is Nothing New. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045155)

Osama, dont forget how that dude helped against the commies.

Re:This Is Nothing New. (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 9 months ago | (#46045445)

That would make Osama a turncoat. He did turn on the US. Every turncoat in every situation is considered a traitor.

Re:This Is Nothing New. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#46045331)

Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hancock, et al would've been hung as traitors if the Brits had quashed the American rebellion.

History is written by the victors.

-- Winston Churchill

Re:This Is Nothing New. (4, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | about 9 months ago | (#46045381)

That's why there are supposed to be legal protections for whistleblowers. These cases are not supposed to even get past the court hearing. However, they made a stupid exception for anything dealing with national security, which is where the most egregious corruption can occure.

Traitorous spies? (4, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | about 9 months ago | (#46045015)

Traitorous spies? No, that is false. The law was written to deal with socialists advocating isolationism in WWI [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Traitorous spies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045193)

It's the US. Socialists are automatically traitors.

hello real world (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 9 months ago | (#46045017)

its laughable for people to think anyone who challenges deep political and financial power structures are going to 1. somehow be rewarded or applauded for their efforts or 2. get some sort of "fair trial" (whatever that really means in our current legal system) where a positive outcome for the WB would encourage others to follow suit. ...and for those who think otherwise...sorry to tell you...it was your parents putting the money under the pillow, not the tooth fairy :((

Re:hello real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045121)

its laughable for people to think anyone who challenges deep political and financial power structures are going to 1. somehow be rewarded or applauded for their efforts or 2. get some sort of "fair trial" ... where a positive outcome for the WB would encourage others to follow suit.

You might have missed these:

Former U.S. Officials Give NSA Whistleblower Snowden Award in Russia [haaretz.com]
In first meeting with Americans since finding asylum in Russia, NSA leaker Edward Snowden gets Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence [wikipedia.org] .

Snowden Among Nominees for a European Human Rights Prize [nytimes.com]
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought [wikipedia.org] , considered Europe’s top human rights award, has been bestowed on luminaries like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. This year, in a slap against Washington, the award could go to Edward J. Snowden, known as either the N.S.A. whistle-blower or a traitor, depending on one’s perspective.

No Contest: Edward Snowden is Person of the Year [newyorker.com]
In an effort to gin up a bit of publicity for its annual choice for “Person of the Year,” Time has released its list of ten finalists. They include Pope Francis, President Obama, Jeff Bezos, Miley Cyrus, Ted Cruz, and two Middle Eastern leaders: Bashar al-Assad, the embattled President of Syria, and Hassan Rouhani, the new President of Iran. Of these, Pope Francis is by far the strongest candidate, but even the radical new Pontiff can’t compete with another troublemaker on the list: Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who is currently residing somewhere in Russia as the guest of Vladimir Putin, Time’s 2007 honoree.

Re:hello real world (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#46045271)

You might have missed these:
Former U.S. Officials Give NSA Whistleblower Snowden Award in Russia

Maybe YOU missed the "in Russia" part. Pretty such any medal pales in comparison to the punishment of having to spend the rest of his life in exile from the country he grew up in and tried to help.

Re:hello real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045575)

You might have missed these:
Former U.S. Officials Give NSA Whistleblower Snowden Award in Russia

Maybe YOU missed the "in Russia" part. Pretty such any medal pales in comparison to the punishment of having to spend the rest of his life in exile from the country he grew up in and tried to help.

It seems like Mr. Snowden may disagree with you.

Snowden Says He Has No Regrets [wsj.com]
Fugitive former intelligence operative Edward Snowden told supporters at a secret dinner this week that he doesn't regret leaking details of classified U.S. surveillance programs, despite having to live his life on the run because he is satisfied his actions have had an impact, a person present at the dinner said.

Mr. Snowden told four former U.S. government agents-turned-whistleblowers, who traveled to Moscow to give him an...
[complete article behind login]

Edward Snowden Statement: 'It was the right thing to do and I have no regrets' [theguardian.com]

Friday July 12, 15:00 UTC

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone's communications at any time. That is the power to change people's fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president's plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela's President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

Good vs Evil (0)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 9 months ago | (#46045019)

God is good, atheist are evil. Atheists rebel against the authority of God. I made God's temple. Surrender. God says, "shadowed directed hopes commanding replies damnable accuser Essence concludeth relationship strained anger clouds charioteer drops Could "

now we get news about us from elsewhere first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045021)

role reversal? are we still daft? living in the cloud? is it the 'weather'?!@#$ http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561

Land of the free..... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045051)

As an outsider (not a US Citizen) I laugh everytime I read an account of how persecuted US citizens are.

Even in Soviet Russia at the height of the cold war russians had rights. (It's interesting reading the real account of life in russian from people who lived it not the propaganda)

Chinese citizens have more rights than you do (as long as they stay within the political party rules) and the law is mostly clear with clearly defined rules and laws.

The US system of laws and bylaws is so convluded that the Avg person commits 3 felonys a day ("http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/three-felonies-a-day-how-the-feds-target-the-innocent#axzz2rEA3eW6J)

USA's Tax law along is almost 4 million pages long.
                                                                                Implied
Welcome to the Land of the ^ free

Re:Land of the free..... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#46045309)

Even in Soviet Russia at the height of the cold war russians had rights.

Yeah, but they didn't have blue-jeans--which, Ronald Reagan assured me, made them very oppressed! They also couldn't travel around without papers, unlike in the U.S. where you're free to travel around anywhere--as long as you have a driver's license, proof of citizenship, Social Security Number, proof of insurance, and car registration.

Only Fat Americans ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045371)

Only fat Americans assume that traveling requires driving your own car.

Re:Land of the free..... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045453)

Wow, I grew up in south america as well and I have lots of colleagues from Russia. I am living in the UK now.

How many lies in few sentences. It is so easy to find the truth. Just compare the number of people that immigrated to the USA with the number that emigrated from the USA and you will see how much it is a fallacy.

They aren't whistleblowing. (0, Troll)

arekin (2605525) | about 9 months ago | (#46045053)

Whistleblowing would be reporting to a higher authority wrongdoing within the government. That means that they are reporting to someone within the government that is higher up. These people are reporting outside the government channels, and as such are leaking information. When they leak information it is possible that people get hurt. God knows what undercover agents names, or information that could lead to that agents identity, Snowden has been passing around China and Russia under the guise of freedom of information.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (5, Insightful)

artg (24127) | about 9 months ago | (#46045107)

In a democracy, the public IS a higher authority than the government. Sometimes, the officials forget this.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (2)

grahamm (8844) | about 9 months ago | (#46045259)

Yes, most governments forget that they are the servants of the people, not the other way round.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (2)

superwiz (655733) | about 9 months ago | (#46045351)

In the US, every public official's oath of office is to the Constitution (ie, to the rule of law). God helps us if we ever truly become a nation where the rule of men overshadows the rule of law.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045365)

Oh no, they don't forget this. They just really enjoy fucking their bosses over.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#46045393)

Except that we do not live in a democracy, we live in a republic. A democracy fails to function beyond a certain number, so a republic is formed to increase efficiency. That is not to say that we are discovering the limits of functioning of a republic, too. Humans may simply not be justly organizable above a certain multiplier of their monkeysphere.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (1)

slapout (93640) | about 9 months ago | (#46045457)

The public often forgets this

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about 9 months ago | (#46045111)

Whistleblowing is reporting malpractice to a higher authority.

In a democracy, the highest authority is the people. Manning knew that she'd have no success going to her commanding officer, or his CO, or his CO, or even the President or Congress. So he reported the malpractice to the President's boss: the people.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (0)

superwiz (655733) | about 9 months ago | (#46045439)

The supreme authority in The United States is The Constitution (ie, the rule of law). The people decide who occupies the positions power, but what powers those positions have is delineated by law. That said, Manning would only be a whistle blower if he released information showing that the government exceeded its constitutional authority. He didn't. He released classified information which he, as an intelligence officer, was charged with protecting. By doing so he put his (military) authority above the civilian authority. He blatantly violated the constitutional restrictions on military power. And he did provide aid to our enemies in the process. If his military position was anything but intelligence officer, he'd be guilty of attempting a coup. As an intelligence officer, he is guilty of treason.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#46045451)

No, s/he reported it to the entire world which, in the "corporate boss" analogy would be the equivalent of spilling the corporate secrets not to the boss, but to the boss, the employees, and every competitor's R&D department.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045557)

Manning knew that she'd have no success going to her commanding officer ... So he reported the malpractice ...

I see what you did there ...

ps: caption is pedantic

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045125)

Wow, yeah. You know you're totally right. I can't believe no one ever thought of that. You know what they should do is censor such information before putting it out live, possibly even cooperate with the government in finding and censoring the severe parts of the leaks. Boy. You sure have a point my friend. It's too bad no one thought of it! We could have saved the hundreds of agents who were tracked down and murdered because of these leaks!

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (1)

AGMW (594303) | about 9 months ago | (#46045147)

Of course, when the highest authority is complicit there is no one within the system to report to, and the only alternative is to blow the whistle loud and clear where EVERYONE can hear because it is pretty clear that anything else will simply be swept under the carpet.
Remember, Manning released _proof_ that the US armed forces were guilty of gunning down a Reuters reporter, then was further complicit in denying it happened and covering up, let alone not offering help to those wounded during the strike.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045167)

Whistleblowing would be reporting to a higher authority wrongdoing within the government. That means that they are reporting to someone within the government that is higher up.

Newsflash: the supervisor and employer of the government in a democracy is the people.

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#46045441)

Whistleblowing would be reporting to a higher authority wrongdoing within the government.

Except when those who are the 'higher authority' say "nothing to see here, move along", then doing it through government channels is pointless.

When your government is knowingly breaking the law and doing stuff like this, you pretty much can't gain anything by telling them it's happening, because they don't care.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Re:They aren't whistleblowing. (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about 9 months ago | (#46045537)

First of all, I think you're using a nonstandard definition of whistleblower here. Here is a typical dictionary definition:

S: (n) whistle blower, whistle-blower, whistleblower (an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it)

Secondly, isn't the highest authority in a democracy supposed to be the people? So even with your definition, people who alert the people to wrongdoing in the government are whistleblowers.

Thirdly, sure, when they leak information people get hurt. But have you considered that the government's wrongdoings also hurt people? Not just the few who have chosen a dangerous line of work as spies, but potentially everybody. I don't think it's obvious that the harm to the spies outweighs the harm to the rest of the people.

The last refuge of a scoundrel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045581)

...is character assasination.

"God knows what undercover agents names, or information that could lead to that agents identity, Snowden has been passing around China and Russia under the guise of freedom of information."

Nice smear.

If you or anyone else could cite one shred of evidence that this was Snowden's intent, or that he even has such information, or that he's done anything approaching this, you MIGHT have an argument.

According to every statement he's made, and every action he's taken, Snowden's intent was to take and expose documents that prove that massive systematic government surveillance by the US of innocent people exists, and what it's scope is. He's not talking about spies or secret agents (which, by the way, would more likely be run by the CIA, not the NSA). The NSA doesn't do deep undercover moles passing secret notes. They do their business in telecom offices and secret courts. They don't enter countries under false names, they're not disavowed if they're caught. The NSA isn't a cold war spy novel.

You're parroting Fox News here. Once you accept Snowden leaked "secrets," he's a dirty traitor who wants to leak ALL our secrets! Let's wrap ourselves in the flag and talk sanctimoniously about all our poor secret agents that Snowden is clearly out murdering. Evidence? Who needs it! Throw dirt until it sticks.

Whistleblowers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045057)

When you call Bradley Manning a whistle blower, you lose all credibility. And I know its not popular on this site, but I would say the same about Edward Snowden. In both cases there is way too much indiscriminate collateral damage to hide behind the whistle blower defense. If either one had identified illegal activity and released information about that, it would be one thing. What they did was narcissism, pure and simple.

As for the other examples sited, I don't know enough to have an opinion.

Let the flames begin.

Re:Whistleblowers (1)

artg (24127) | about 9 months ago | (#46045123)

But you have no credibilty, because you are an anonymous coward. Snowdon specifically renounced his anonymity, because he is not a coward.

Re:Whistleblowers (1)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#46045135)

If it is against your interest or your self-image, you will always find a reason why someone is not a whistle-blower. He still may be the hero of all the people you bully around.

Re:Whistleblowers (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about 9 months ago | (#46045411)

In both cases there is way too much alleged indiscriminate collateral damage to hide behind the whistle blower defense.

Fixed it for you.

Without disclosure then their is no proof of collateral damage, instead you have to believe the word of the agencies who were suppressing the information leaked in the first place.

What was proven by Manning's leaks was that the US Military were covering up war crimes. Nothing new there, its standard practice, the last thing the US wants its their soldiers being held to account for their actions.

The Snowden leaks have proven that the NSA is, in all probability, in breach of the US Constitution. Which I think is illegal.

Snowden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045063)

There is the answer to all the people who say, "He should have just been a whistleblower". He would have been silenced, and we would never have found out about how we are being spied upon by the NSA.

Re:Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045403)

Any evidence to support your allegation? I'm pretty damn sure that he got the traction he claims to have wanted before he started his attempt to systematically destroy our international espionage capability. Try him and hang him. He's proud of his treason.

mirror mirror on the wall whois the most dutiful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045081)

..of us all?... now the mirror answers back?!... your eyelids are getting heavy... repeat after me..... technology as a curse course reopening...

MMA Brooklyn (-1, Offtopic)

Renzogracieacademy (3474433) | about 9 months ago | (#46045105)

In MMA Brooklyn, there are different gym centres and coaching classes for men and women to extend their boxing, and other abilities like striking arts ,hard hitting provided by most famous academy of USA through their enlarged experience.

Re: MMA Brooklyn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045143)

Man that is some lame ass shit to come here spamming like that.

Yes but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045159)

Snowden is in Russia and In Mother Russia whistles blow you.

Paywalled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045199)

Thanks, but no thanks.

I too would like to know why whistleblowers can't get a fair trial. Could someone put up the full text?

beacon of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045215)

and cradle of democracy and human rights.

I thought changing law retroactively does have an effect on people that did 'wrong' in the mean time. That seemed like a good principle to have. Well I guess nothing is as it seemed to be.

Paywalled articles on slashdot (5, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | about 9 months ago | (#46045219)

The link is to a news story behind the Wall Street Journal's paywall; I think such stories should be reconsidered. Such situations are acceptable with posts on science, which often link both to a popular-science write-up and to the original journal article: probably those readers with the expertise to read the original literature are subscribers. Links to ordinary news stories should follow the same policy: if there must be a link to a paywalled story, a link to a generally accessible version should be expected as well.

2 free re-submissions for new trovists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045317)

reward to even try to arrest t. blair http://rt.com/news/blair-citizen-arrest-bounty-070/ & some really good news http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stem%20cells&sm=3

Re:Paywalled articles on slashdot (4, Informative)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about 9 months ago | (#46045565)

Use this link instead, click on the top result:
https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

A pain, I know.

You must be new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045607)

Trying to start a rational discussion on editorial policies on Slashdot?
And under the expectation that anyone at Dice has given a rat's ass about the quality of the editing since they bought the place?
Heck, expecting editors to so much as read the submission, let alone click the links, before posting them?

Written to deal with spies? (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 9 months ago | (#46045223)

Pretty sure that those things are not problems to do with how these specific laws are written, they're fundamental flaws in the trial process and thus the judiciary itself. If such basic rules are being ignored then by definition you wouldn't know if an accused person was actually a traitorous spy or not, would you, because the system would be unable to come to any trustworthy conclusion.

It's not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045327)

Slashdot should not consider anything news if the original article is behind a paywall.

Hope and Change (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 9 months ago | (#46045345)

"As Americans, we can take enormous pride in the fact that courage has been inspired by our own struggle for freedom, by the tradition of democratic law secured by our forefathers and enshrined in our Constitution. It is a tradition that says all men are created equal under the law and that no one is above it."

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones weâ(TM)ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

"Iâ(TM)m in this race not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation."

"Change doesnâ(TM)t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington."

Now watch me get modded down for using Obama's own words against him. Remember, citizens, report suspicious subversive activity immediately!

"Traitorous spies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045375)

Pretty well sums up the NSA.

Seven out of how many? (1)

fygment (444210) | about 9 months ago | (#46045417)

7 out of 100 ... would tell me that the those 7 _did_ do something odd

7 out of 7 ... okay let's get paranoid.

7 out of 5 ... NSA at work?

7 out of how many? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#46045433)

There is a continuum from objection to whistleblowing to traitor, not a stark line. How many whistleblowers have there been in the last decade who have indicated waste, fraud, and abuse that exists in the 2 million people who form the federal government? In terms of dangerous or classified documents leaked to the public, where do these 7 stand wrt quantity, sensitivity, and content related to those who were not prosecuted?

Without this data, the fine article is merely clickbait.

So Don't Convict (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#46045505)

In the Bradley Manning case, the jury wasn't allowed to see what information was leaked.

When you're on a jury, you have a duty to both the accused and your nation to consider evidence fairly, within Constitutional constraints. Being prevented from seeing evidence would, to me, be all the reason necessary to give a verdict of 'not guilty.'

All accused American citizens have a right to confront their accusers and the evidence presented against them, in a fair and speedy trial conducted within due process. Period, end of story; don't like it? Amend the Constitution or GTFO.

LAW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045513)

In every one of those cases, the nation security statutes, are in direct conflict with higher law, and it's the higher law which prevails. Especially since a jury with classified security clearance could have been selected.

If the court does not stand behind the law, then the court does not have the weight of law. Anybody cn break any of these individuals out of prison and it is fully legal to do so, in both letter and spirit of the law.

Argghhh, the public is dumb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46045545)

I work for a large defense contractor. The unenforced, known by few, rule is that anything not marked is considered Top Secret. This is more enforced in locked rooms.

Because a document is not marked, does not automatically make it unclassified. Marking it unclassified makes it unclassified. At one time, this led to a film buff's $2000 collection of DVDs that he stored at work being destroyed because it had no markings on the discs and security noticed it.

Obama is another word for trash (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 9 months ago | (#46045559)

As a life-time Democrat it pains me to say it, but it is true.

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