THE DOUBLE STANDARDS
America must be humoring us. Otherwise how is it possible for the world’s human rights watch dog, crusader of peace, champion of democracy and the beacon of truth and reconciliation simply to jail and lock up all those who we are now told are “whistleblowers” because they divulged the dirty tricks America had been up to and is upto? Interesting indeed.
So our latest whistleblower – the entire world now knows who he is because for letting the world know that the nation committed to “privacy” and “confidentiality” has been taping and snooping on the entire world, Edward Snowden has become the world’s hero. Edward Snowden was not garlanded for letting us know that the American Government is eavesdropping on not only Americans but the entire world and Snowden has become such a fugitive that planes are forced landed because there’s a bounty out for him and if caught he’s likely to spend 30 years in prison. Hopefully he won’t land up in Guanatanomo Bay or other rendition points since the US Government and its media cohorts are now experts at creating stories and versions to suit them.
If we recall John Kiriakou, who now remains in prison – his crime was to publicly acknowledge that torture was an official US policy. For divulging this bit of saucy news, Kiriakou was slapped with the accusation for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) and packed off to prison. From prison he now writes and his handwritten letter of advice to Snowden was “DO NOT, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI. FBI agents will lie, trick, and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you. They will pretend to be people they are not – supporters, well-wishers, and friends – all the while wearing wires to record your out-of-context statements to use against you. The FBI is the enemy; it’s a part of the problem, not the solution”. And what does US Ambassadors preach to us locals?
Then there is Bradley Manning – as a result of his case the Director of National intelligence and the Office of Personnel Management has been asked to establish standards to allow federal agencies the power to fire employees without appeal and ineligible to hold “noncritical sensitive” jobs. This would make federal agencies bypass civil service law and to classify jobs as “sensitive” depending on their wishes. How is that for freedom and rights?
In 2010, Franz Gayl who had been deployed in Iraq in 2006 claimed he was being punished for publicly disclosing that Pentagon bureaucrats had ignored battlefield requests for mine-resistant armoured vehicles since roadside bombs were killing and maiming soldiers. Gayl’s fate would be no better than other whistleblowers.
What is most amusing is that while the number of whistleblowers are increasing so too are the convictions against them. So many acts are now in place for the punishments – Espionage Act was thrown at John Kiriakou for disclosing “classified information” on waterboarding. Obama administration has already charged 6 people under the Espionage Act (pre-Obama in the history of the US only 3 such cases existed). Thomas Drake’s crime was that he veiled that the National Security Agency spent $1.2billion for a data collection program called Trailblazer – Drake lost his job. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis went public that senior leaders of the Department of Defense intentionally and consistently misled the American public and Congress on the conduct of the Afghan War.
What is more intriguing is that there are Acts in place to protect employees and whistleblowers. There is the Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation(NO FEAR) Act effective since 2003, there is also the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 signed by Obama himself so the question is why are these people being hounded and put in jail? If the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for the “advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” should it not be telling the US where it is going wrong?
With the type of real-time sensationalism that the US Government is capable of doing one may never know if these whistleblower showdowns are part of a larger drive to introduce stringent draconian laws that would ensure not just one or two whistleblowers but all Americans are kept in check. Voila – we now have the National Defense Authorization Act.
Here’s the time we cant wait to hear what the peace doves and human rights activists global and local have to say when anyone, anywhere even if they are US citizens can be held WITHOUT charge or trial, based solely on SUSPICION or none at all. How’s that for human rights? Now’s the time countries need to tell America to stop wasting time printing Annual HR reports on other nations!
US President will have virtual dictatorial powers to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens, if they pose a threat – but we are not told what “pose” is of what the “threat” is even! Its for them to know and for us to find out – once in prison!
Constitutional, statute and international laws wont apply and martial law can even be applied. Is America moving towards becoming a “police state” in the light of intense domestic surveillance, restrictions on the movement of citizens and a standing political police? The signs are all there.
Verizon phone records are now being scrutinized, NSA agents are going through a British database of US telecommunications and email, Federal Governments say they can examine the contents of laptops of US citizens when they enter the US and over 60million Americans travel overseas annually. (this violates the 4th amendment to the Constitution though). We must also add that the US is proud to have the world’s highest incarceration rate with over 2.2million inmates, 6million convicted felons cannot vote and have been disenfranchised! Police can take DNA samples of all arrestees and some 13million are arrested annually – 1.6million on drug charges. There are US SWAT teams everywhere, they use drones, GPS tracking devices and military equipment. US Government is also visibly seen to criminalize public protests and a current bill will strive to make it a “crime” to “trespass” security zones – so authorities are planning to restrict public protesters to “protest zones” which will enable them to photo all those protesting! America’s version of freedom!
If anyone reads the US Patriot Act they will realize that persons and companies are forbidden from revealing that the Government has secretly asked for surveillance records but Government agencies are allowed to issue “National Security Letters” without any warrant demanding records from anyone on anything.
None of this is coming out into the open because the media is keeping tight lipped with only a handful of people writing to show America’s hypocrisy. Moreover, the peace doves local and international all gearing to champion human rights in weaker and smaller nations are totally mum themselves so too are all the authors especially the local ones who are conspicuously silent about the human rights abuses the US or its allies does but love to ridicule their nations though compared to what the US has been doing and is doing these crimes pale into insignificance.
People need to wake up to the lies that prevail.
Shenali D Waduge