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What do a retired Catholic Bishop, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and a United Arab Emirates' newspaper commentator have in common? They are all critical of the government's unprecedented use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers.

Yesterday, I wrote about a significant piece in the United Emirates' newspaper The National, which criticized the U.S. government's hypocrisy in declining to criminally prosecute government officials who authorized, orchestrated and committed torture during the G.W. Bush-era while prosecuting John Kiriakou -- a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower who helped expose torture -- under the heavy-handed Espionage Act.

Yesterday, retired Catholic Bishop John McCarthy similarly criticized Kiriakou's prosecution:

Dear Lord, something is really out of balance here. Interrogators who tortured prisoners or the officials who gave the orders, the attorneys who authored the torture memos, CIA agents who destroyed the interrogation tapes have not been held professionally accountable, much less charged with crimes, but John Kiriakou is facing decades in prison for helping to expose torture.
The hypocrisy of Kiriakou's case is enough to find common ground between a retired Catholic Bishop and commentator for the UAE's newspaper, yet the U.S. is still doggedly pursuing Kiriakou using the archaic Espionage Act, a law meant to go after spies, not whistleblowers.

Bishop McCarthy also recognized the invaluable role of whistleblowers in governmental and private institutions, including within the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, because of that weakness, sin and corruption abounds all around us in the corporate world, the government and sadly even the Church. Because of this, there is a need for people with integrity within these massive organizations and movements to have the courage to stand up, criticize and, if necessary, publically condemn evil, dishonesty, mismanagement, theft, etc. This is very hard to do because large organizations dont like any criticism, much less public criticism and they will often move against the complainer with a very heavy hand.
If Bishop McCarthy and The National's Paul Muir aren't unlikely enough bedfellows, add Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who spoke out against Kiriakou's prosecution in August:
The U.S. administration's war on whistleblowers must end. Thomas Drake, William Binney, John Kiriakou, and other heroic whistleblowers must be pardoned or compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.
It is always nefarious to use the criminal justice system as a whistleblower retaliation tool, but the Espionage Act is a particularly blunt instrument. Add one more unlikely bedfellow to the group criticizing the Espionage Act. Open Society Institute's Mort Halperin, who told The New Yorker that if government successfully used the Espionage Act to convict National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake:
It poses a grave threat to the mechanism by which we learn most of what the government does, Halperin says.
The case against Drake collapsed in spectacular fashion before trial, and Drake himself has pointed to similarities between his case and Kiriakou's. Kiriakou's trial is set for November 26th.

To support Kiriakou go here or "like" the Defend John Kiriakou Facebook page.

Originally posted to Jesselyn Radack on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Manifesto Initiative and Whistleblowers Round Table.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 06:43:24 AM PDT

  •  what will it take to stop war on whistle blowers? (8+ / 0-)

    failure in courts does not slow them down

    almost totally ignoring the issue in the corporate media means that most don't even know that it is going on

    legislators don't want to support whistle blowers because they are complicit in the transfer of the rule of the country to the corporations and the banks

    looks like the citizens need to rise up

    I am waiting....

    •  . (8+ / 0-)
      looks like the citizens need to rise up

      I am waiting....

      This seems the appropriate place to add: We must be the change we seek.

      "When the powerless are shut out of the media, we will make the media irrelevant" ~♥~ Anonymous ~♥~

      by Lisa Lockwood on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:13:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Failure in courts (6+ / 0-)

      does not matter when your main purpose is to scare the hell out of anyone who is considering blowing the whistle in the future.

      The only way that there is even a chance of people rising up against this is to keep shining a light on it, cutting through the propaganda, etc., in whatever ways we can.  Thanks to all the people who do (and take a lot of crap for it here on dkos.)

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:22:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what will it take to stop ignoring things like a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      President having the authority only Kings and Despots have had, like indefinitely detaining anyone he chooses, or to have anyone he selects killed without any charges filed against them or with any explanation that can be challenged in any Court?
      I think the answer to those things and the prosecution of whistle blowers will be when "citizens rise up" and not a moment before.

      We now have the prosecution of a whistle blower that spoke up about torture facing a long prison sentence while people like Jose Rodriguez that bragged about torture and burned evidence of torture (the torture tapes) do book tours (like Bush, Rice, Cheney, Runsfeld, etc.)

       Here's an article on his interview with '60 Minutes' .

      Rodriguez did not forthrightly argue that torture—the contained drowning of waterboarding, slapping and stress positions, keeping detainees in a “cramped confinement box with an insect,” keeping them naked and awake for days on end by any means necessary, holding electric drills to their heads and telling them that their female family members would be raped in Middle Eastern prisonswas an awful necessity when there was no other option. Instead, he underplayed what he and his operatives had done (making suspects “uncomfortable”) and bragged about its use in proving the manhood of the torturer (“We needed to get everybody in government to put their big boy pants on and provide the authorities that we needed”; “The objective is to let him know there’s a new sheriff in town.”). He talked as if torture were an expression of strength, rather than momentary domination masking the most abject moral and practical weakness.
      That sour mix of false pride and real shame runs through Rodriguez’s story. One of the acts he is best known for is the destruction of ninety-two video tapes documenting the multiple waterboardings of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the September 11th attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, an alleged Al Qaeda operative, in secret prisons—tapes that he had been explicitly told to preserve as part of an official investigation. (As Dana Priest notes, a minor, mechanical disclosure in his book is that the means of destruction was an industrial-strength shredder that “can chew through hundreds of pounds of material in a single hour,” with “five spinning and two stationary blades.”) Rodriguez loudly repeats that he had authorization for everything he did—that he was a good soldier—and then smashed up the best evidence, saying that they were “ugly visuals” and would endanger his men. Whether the danger was legal or from “terrorists” is ambiguous; the ugliness, though, is clear.
      (emphasis mine)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 10:28:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jesselyn (3+ / 0-)

    The description on Kiriakou's facebook page should have a little bit more information about what he was doing with respect to pushing back against torture.  I "liked" the page but if anyone who sees this on my fb feed reads only that description, I think if they are unfamiiiar with the situation they will be unlikely to read further and very unlikely to also "like" the page if all they see is that he is being charged under the Espionage Act.  It would be much more effective if there was just a little bit of information about what he was doing, etc. and why he should be supported or why it is an abuse of power to use the Espionage Act against him.

    Provides support in the case against former CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, charged by Obama under the Espionage Act. For more information on John's case, and how you can help, check out

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:30:48 AM PDT

  •  But Obama legalized torture (i mean intense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, fuzzyguy

    intense interrogation. So it's all good right. And he's a peace prize winner so I trust him.

    That all happened in the past. We need to be looking forward now -- the Teevee tells me so.

    (snark for those too indoctrinated to figure it out)

    "It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." - Morpheus

    by CitizenOfEarth on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:35:59 AM PDT

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