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New UK laws could criminalise journalism

New UK laws could criminalise journalism

 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II travels to the Opening of Parliament last year. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Facundo Arrizabalaga)  

The British government is pushing ahead with “espionage legislation” that could criminalise the release of public information and impose even stricter controls on the UK media as part of an “epidemic of secrecy”.

British journalists and their sources are facing an unprecedented assault on freedom of speech, including the prospect of criminal prosecution. Threats aimed at whistleblowers and journalists were evident before the coronavirus crisis struck, but went largely unnoticed.

The government’s Queen’s Speech in December included plans for new “espionage legislation”. It stressed the need to combat “hostile state activity” and make the UK “a harder environment for adversaries to operate in” – an indirect reference to the poisoning in Salisbury of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. 

But it also insisted that the Official Secrets Act, drawn up in 1989, must be “updated” and confirmed that the Law Commission, the body that reviews the law in England and Wales, has been commissioned by the government to do this.

Yet proposals drawn up by the Law Commission to review the Official Secrets Act pose major dangers. Whistleblowers and journalists could be convicted for revealing information about defence, international relations or law enforcement, even if it was unlikely to cause harm. They would make it easier to secure convictions by weakening the existing tests for proving an offence.

Neither would someone revealing danger to the public, abuse of power or serious misconduct be able to argue that they acted in the public interest. In addition, maximum prison sentences on conviction, currently two years under the Official Secrets Act, would be increased.

Moreover, it would not be a defence to show that the information had already lawfully been made public – unless the information had also been “widely disseminated”. How would that be determined?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now hemorrhaging evidence that the US and its allies deceived the world once again about yet another military intervention, which should be a front-page story all over the world. Yet if you looked at American news media headlines you’d think the only thing that matters right now is indulging the childish fantasy that Donald Trump might somehow magically be removed from office via supermajority consensus in a majority-Republican Senate.

CounterPunch has published an actual bombshell of a report by journalist Jonathan Steele containing many revelations about the OPCW scandal which were previously unknown to the public. Steele is an award-winning reporter who worked as a senior foreign correspondent for The Guardian back before that outlet was purged of all critical thinkers on western imperialism; he first waded into the OPCW controversy last month with a statement made on the BBC revealing the existence of a second whistleblower on the organisation’s investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

If you haven’t been following this story you can click here for a timeline of events to fully appreciate the significance of these new revelations about the Douma incident, but just to quickly recap, in April of last year reports surfaced that dozens of civilians had been killed in that city by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad. This immediately drew skepticism from people who’ve been paying attention to the narrative manipulation campaign against Syria, since Assad had already won the battle for Douma and had no strategic reason to employ banned weapons there knowing that there would be a military strike in retaliation from western powers. True to form, a few days later the US, France and the UK launched airstrikes on the Syrian government.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t

It’s an insult to real whistleblowers to use the term with the Ukrainegate protagonist

Real American whistleblower, Chelsea Manning

Start with the initial headline, in the story the Washington Post “broke” on September 18th:

TRUMP’S COMMUNICATIONS WITH FOREIGN LEADER ARE PART OF WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT THAT SPURRED STANDOFF BETWEEN SPY CHIEF AND CONGRESS, FORMER OFFICIALS SAY

The unnamed person at the center of this story sure didn’t sound like a whistleblower. Our intelligence community wouldn’t wipe its ass with a real whistleblower.

Americans who’ve blown the whistle over serious offenses by the federal government either spend the rest of their lives overseas, like Edward Snowden, end up in jail, like Chelsea Manning, get arrested and ruined financially, like former NSA official Thomas Drake, have their homes raided by FBI like disabled NSA vet William Binney, or get charged with espionage like ex-CIA exposer-of-torture John Kiriakou. It’s an insult to all of these people, and the suffering they’ve weathered, to frame the ballcarrier in the Beltway’s latest partisan power contest as a whistleblower.

With that in mind, let’s look at what we know about the first “whistleblower” in Ukrainegate:

  • He or she is a “CIA officer detailed to the White House”;
  • The account is at best partially based upon the CIA officer’s own experience, made up substantially by information from “more than a half dozen U.S. officials” and the “private accounts” of “my colleagues”;
  • “He or she” was instantly celebrated as a whistleblower by news networks and major newspapers.

That last detail caught the eye of Kiriakou, a former CIA Counterterrorism official who blew the whistle on the agency’s torture program.

“It took me and my lawyers a full year to get [the media] to stop calling me ‘CIA Leaker John Kirakou,” he says. “That’s how long it took for me to be called a whistleblower.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Continues Obama’s War On Whistleblowers, Arrests Another Alleged Intercept Source

Trump Continues Obama’s War On Whistleblowers, Arrests Another Alleged Intercept Source

“New drone whistleblower at The Intercept,” tweeted the outspoken CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou in October 2015. “For God’s sake don’t let @MatthewACole learn his identity.”

Intercept investigative reporter Matthew Cole has been tied both to Kiriakou’s discovery and prosecution and to that of Reality Winner, who leaked classified documents to The Intercept in 2017. Kiriakou’s comment came after the first in a series of articles was published in The Intercept titled “The Drone Papers” by Jeremy Scahill on October 15, 2015. Today, the alleged source of this report has been arrested, the third alleged Intercept source to have been prosecuted by the Trump administration.

Former US Air Force language analyst Daniel Hale has been arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act and other offenses related to leaking classified documents to the press. Court documents didn’t reveal the identity of the journalist who received the documents, but AP reports that “details in the indictment make clear that Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor of The Intercept, is the reporter who received the leaks.”

“The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government,” Scahill’s 2015 article reads, quoting his source as saying, “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong.”

“The person who leaked these documents to The Intercept revealed that the government classified anybody killed by U.S. drone strikes—even if they weren’t the target—as militants, and that’s how they were able to insist that civilians weren’t being killed in significant numbers,” reports Reason‘s Scott Shackford.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.


The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.

Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.

Remember, the United States has a Whistleblower Protection Act.  Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fed Inspector Turned Whistleblower Reveals System Rigged For Goldman Sachs

Five years after we first reported on the “Goldman whistleblower” at the NY Fed, Carmen Segarra, the former bank examiner is out with a new book based on more than 46 hours of secret recordings.

Noncompliant: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes the Giants of Wall Street” is a 340-page exposé which vastly expands on the breadcrumbs Segarra has been dropping since word of her recordings first came to light, according to the New York Post.

Segarra was a former bank examiner who looked into Goldman Sachs for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and claims she got fired in 2012 after making too much noise about Goldman’s alleged conflicts.

The New York Fed has often been blasted for its lackadaisical approach to overseeing banks leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. Its last president, William Dudley, was named in 2009 after spending 21 years at Goldman. But Segarra’s book claims that the problem persisted for years after the crisis, with regulators happy to act on the banks’ behalf.

We want [Goldman] to feel pain, but not too much,” her boss — who goes by the pseudonym Connor O’Sullivan in the book — told her, Segarra claims. –NY Post

The recordings were made over a seven month period while Segarra worked at the New York Fed. Neither Goldman nor the NY Fed have disputed the authenticity of the tapes.

Central to allegations of shady reglulation was a 2012 deal in which energy giant Kinder Morgan would acquire rival El Paso Corp. for $21.1 billion – a deal which Goldman advised both sides of, while “its lead banker advising El Paso, Steve Daniel, owned $340,000 in Kinder Morgan stock” according to the Post.

That didn’t matter to newly minted CEO David Solomon, who took over for Lloyd Blankfein last week.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

During my time in Iraq working for the State Department, a time that I initially was a red, white and blue government official, I frequently lied to the media. I lied to them about how things were going, I lied to them about how successful we were. My colleagues and I were contemptuous of them, most of the people we talked to in the media didn’t know enough to ask important questions, most of them didn’t care enough to ask questions and simply jotted down whatever we told them, and it was just remarkably easy to fool them. It’s almost as if they wanted to play along with us.

At one point I described it as they weren’t looking for “the story,” just “a story.” I made some remarks about how many of them were more concerned about looking good in their stand-ups, getting their makeup on straight than looking for details or questioning the lies that the government put forward. 

– Peter Van Buren, Iraq War Whistleblower, banned from Twitter a few days ago

The above quote is from an extraordinary discussion between Daniel McAdams, Scott Horton and Peter Van Buren that occurred yesterday.

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch this, it’s that important.

Let’s now get right into why this is so incredibly problematic. Mr. Van Buren claims that he was deleted from Twitter after making a mainstream journalist named Jonathan Katz uncomfortable with what was an obvious joke that no honest person would ever take as a real threat of violence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Great Britain has become an Orwellian, globalist police state. Once the land of the Magna Carta, it’s now the land of tyranny.

Great Britain has become an Orwellian, globalist police state. Once the land of the Magna Carta, it’s now the land of tyranny.

Free speech is gone–the imprisonment of Tommy Robinson proves that. There was no legitimate charge, no trial, no due process. Instead, he was disappeared into jail where death threatens him. Remember, an anti-Muslim Englander was imprisoned for a year for leaving a bacon sandwich near a mosque. He was murdered while locked up. The same threat looms for Robinson. The media are not allowed to talk about it. It’s the ‘law.’

Robinson is a whistleblower who cast light on a huge problem in his country: Muslim pedophile rape gangs. Apparently Muslims are a protected caste and so Robinson was arrested and locked up. He was on parole and the British authorities were determined to lock him up again on any pretense. They said he was a ‘threat to the peace,’ which is ridiculous.

What’s next, England—people getting ‘disappeared’ into gulags or the being shot in the back of the head, Stalin-style? It’s good to see many patriotic citizens in England protesting Robinson’s arrest. Unfortunately, they’ve all been disarmed. Let that reinforce a lesson for us Americans: Never, ever give up your guns. If our government ignores our Constitutional rights and tries to ‘disappear’ us into prison camps, we’ll know what to do. Remember the words of Solzhenitsyn:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Whistleblower Exposes “Rampant Manipulation Of VIX”

We first exposed the “conspiracy fact” that VIX manipulation runs the entire market back in 2015 as the ubiquitous VIX-crushing algo-runs coincided with a non-stop shorting of VIX futures by a seemingly bottomless-pocketed player in the market… which happened to coincide with the arrival of Simon Potter as the head of The New York Fed’s trading desk…

Probably just a coincidence, right?

Then, in May of last year we academic confirmation of the rigged nature the US equity market’s volatility complex, when a scientific study found “systemic VIX auction settlement manipulation.”

Two University of Texas at Austin finance professors found “large transient deviations in VIX prices” around the morning auction,“consistent with market manipulation.”

​Griffin and Shams calculate that “the size of VIX futures with open interest at settlement is on average 5.7 times the size SPX options traded at settlement, and it is 7.3 times for VIX options that are in-the-money at settlement.”

So if you are a trader who owns a lot of the market in VIX futures, you could push around a large dollar value of futures by trading a small dollar value in options. This is particularly true because the S&P option volume is divided among many strikes, and the illiquid deep out-of-the-money S&P 500 options have a big influence on the VIX: You can move the price of those options a lot with relatively small trades, and those price changes have a disproportionate effect on the VIX.

While this was immediately played down by CBOE, and the subject quickly disappeared from the headlines – because VIX was dropping incessantly and stocks were going up, up, up – until VIX flash-crashed rather awkwardly into the morning auction settlement in mid-December, bring the chatter of manipulation back to life

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bailed-Out RBS Systemically Forged Customer Signatures: Whistle-Blowers

Bailed-Out RBS Systemically Forged Customer Signatures: Whistle-Blowers

Small-business customers suffered most at the bank’s hands.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK mega-lender that has already cost British taxpayers over £90 billion in bailouts, losses, fines and legal fees, could be about to face its biggest scandal yet following allegations staff were routinely “trained” to forge customer signatures.

First, managers were taught how to fake the names on key customer documents, according to whistle-blowers at the bank, cited by the Scottish Mail on Sunday. Staff were then allegedly shown how to download authentic signatures from the bank’s online system, trace them on to new documents by holding them against a window and to photocopy the paperwork a number of times, to “obscure the image somewhat” and thus avoid detection — a blatantly criminal practice that allegedly became commonplace throughout the bank to speed up processing.

The latest allegations are further confirmation of just how poisoned a legacy the pre-crisis management team left behind at the bank. Obsessed with achieving rapid growth at just about any cost, executives “bred a culture of impunity that affected most aspects of [RBS’] business,” says British financial journalist Ian Fraser.

Fraser was one of the first journalists to expose how some of the bank’s employees edited minutes of telephone conversations with customers to avoid the bank having to shell out compensation for misselling insurance products. At one point as many as 1,000 employees at RBS’s investment banking division (nearly a tenth of its back-office staff) were solely engaged in data-clean up and reconciliation — i.e., doctoring or recreating documents, such as loan and derivatives contracts, in ways that suited the bank and often undermined the position of counterparties.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brad Birkenfeld: Lucifer’s Banker

Brad Birkenfeld: Lucifer’s Banker

A whistle-blower’s account of exposing massive fraud at UBS

Lucifers Banker book coverJust how bad is the ongoing fraud in the banking system? Get ready for a mind-bowing expose by a former insider at UBS.

Brad Birkenfield, author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, recounts the efforts he uncovered by his employer to help its clients cheat the US government out of tens of $billions in taxes.

But despite his working with the government closely to expose the gigantic conspiracy between US-based tax cheats and the giant Swiss bank, UBS, the so-called Justice Department went after Mr. Birkenfeld for abetting tax evasion by one of his clients. After spending thirty months in Federal prison, he was released and three weeks later, received a whistle-blower check for $104 million, the largest such check ever from the IRS Whistle-blower Office.

Once again, 300,000,000 Americans-plus got screwed by the corrupt Department of Justice. They’re not about justice, they’re about protecting themselves, trying to take credit, and making everyone else listen to what they say the story is.

We remember the financial crisis of 2008. It was devastating and so many people lost their jobs, lost their homes and so forth. In the entire financial crisis, there was not one banker to go to jail. The only banker to go to jail was the UBS whistleblower who exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud in the world.

Here’s the problem with the system. When you fine UBS you must realize UBS is a Swiss bank, so that means they write off the fine on their taxes. So then, that means the Swiss taxpayers carry the burden. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is go look at the millions and millions of dollars in legal fees spent to defend their conduct. The UBS shareholders pick up that tab.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Whistleblowers Tell the Truth They’re Traitors. When Government Lies It’s Policitcs.

When Whistleblowers Tell the Truth They’re Traitors. When Government Lies It’s Policitcs. 

(ANTIMEDIA) Immediately after Wikileaks released thousands of documents revealing the extent of CIA surveillance and hacking practices, the government was calling for an investigation — not into why the CIA has amassed so much power, but rather, into who exposed their invasive policies.

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A federal criminal investigation is being opened into WikiLeaks’ publication of documentsdetailing alleged CIA hacking operations, several US officials,” reportedly told CNN.

According to USA Today:

The inquiry, the official said, will seek to determine whether the disclosure represented a breach from the outside or a leak from inside the organization. A separate review will attempt to assess the damage caused by such a disclosure, the official said.”

Even Democratic representative Ted Lieu, who has been urging whistleblowers to come forward to expose wrongdoing within the Trump administration, has turned his focus away from what the documents exposed and toward determining how it could have possibly happened.

I am deeply disturbed by the allegation that the CIA lost its arsenal of hacking tools,” he said while calling for an investigation. “The ramifications could be devastating. I am calling for an immediate congressional investigation. We need to know if the CIA lost control of its hacking tools, who may have those tools, and how do we now protect the privacy of Americans.”

According to Lieu’s statements, the problem isn’t necessarily that the CIA is spying on Americans and invading innocent people’s technology without consent. It’s that the CIA mishandled their spying tools, and in doing so, endangered Americans’ privacy by exposing the tools to presumably ‘bad actors.’ The problem isn’t the corrupt agency violating basic privacy rights, but that they weren’t skillful enough to keep their corruption under wraps.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Upcoming British Legislation Could Jail Journos for 14 Years

debtorprison

Upcoming British Legislation Could Jail Journos for 14 Years

Business  Arrow Policy Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies …  Proposals in the UK for a swingeing new Espionage Act that could jail journalists as spies have been developed in haste by legal advisors, The Register has learned.  The proposed law update is an attempt to ban reporting of future big data leaks.  The British government has received recommendations for a “future-proofed” new Espionage Act that would put leaking and whistleblowing in the same category as spying for foreign powers.  That threatens leakers and journalists with the same extended jail sentences as foreign agents. Sentences would apply even if – like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning – the leaker was not British, or in Britain, or was intent on acting in the public interest. – The Register

Britain is doing what one of the things it does best, which is thinking of how to punish people. Now it’s figuring out ways to throw more people in jail for longer periods of time for exposing various kinds of government crimes.

That’s right. It’s not thinking about lessening those crimes, only covering them up.

The British government has received an updated Espionage Act that is a good deal stronger than the act on the books. It puts journalitsts in the same boat as foreign agents when it comes to spying and also does not differentiate between those who are citizens of other countries and those who come from Britain.

More:

The proposals have been slammed by journalists who faced down British and US government threats after publishing Edward Snowden’s sensational revelations in 2013.  The UK Law Commission’s recommendations are contained in a 326-page consultation paper titled Protection of Official Data [PDF].

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

This is How the U.S. Government Destroys the Lives of Patriotic Whistleblowers

This is How the U.S. Government Destroys the Lives of Patriotic Whistleblowers

We live in a time and within a culture where the best amongst us are thrown in jail, demonized or destroyed, while the worst are celebrated, promoted and enriched. Nothing more clearly crystalizes this sad state of affairs than the U.S. government’s ruthless war on whistleblowers who expose severe constitutional violations by those in power. This war knows no political affiliation, and has been waged with equal vigor by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.

Earlier this morning, I read one of the most enlightening articles on the subject to-date. It was published back in May, and should be read by every single American citizen. We need to admit to ourselves what we have become before we can make changes.

What follows are excerpts from the Guardian piece, How the Pentagon Punished NSA Whistleblowers, but you should really take the time to read the entire thing.

If you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you have to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.

Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance program were largely ignored.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Government Is Building A Database To Predict Who Will Be The Next Edward Snowden

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., in 2013. Manning was convicted in military court and sentenced to 35 years for violating the Espionage Act when she leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks.

While police departments flock to use technology that predicts crime, the U.S. military is building a database that goes a step further — predicting who is most likely to reveal state secrets.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is developing a data system that collects information on government employees and contractors with security clearances in hopes of being able to pinpoint those with the potential to become whistleblowers, Defense One reported.

The “DOD Component Insider Threat Records System” is part of the military’s response to classified documents leaked by former PFC Chelsea Manning in 2010, which revealed U.S. military practices including civilian deaths and physical abuse of detainees during the Iraq War.

As a junior Army intelligence analyst with a top-secret security clearance, Manning had access to a classified computer system and downloaded more than 700,000 documents in what has been considered the largest breach in military history.

Following Manning’s 2013 conviction and the shooting attacks at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., the Defense Department took steps to prevent the next leak by creating a “centralized hub” for detecting potential internal threats, Defense One reported. DOD assembled experts in psychology, cybersecurity, and intelligence to lead an “insider threat” task force and oversee the security clearance database.

The database is continually updated with information on security-clearance holders’ criminal and mental health history, financial information, drug and alcohol use, citizenship status, fingerprints, and other available biometric data.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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