New Report: Are Whistleblower Laws Working?

March 2, 2021 – Government Accountability Project – International Bar Association (pdf)

A new report, Are Whistleblowing Laws Working? A Global Study of Whistleblower Protection Litigation, tracks the records of whistleblower laws in 38 countries and provides an unprecedented effort to understand the successes and shortcomings of whistleblower protection legislation worldwide, following a proliferation of laws in recent decades. Co-published by Government Accountability Project and the International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Policy & Research Unit (LPRU), the report aims to support legislators, policy-makers and regulators in designing and developing normative, institutional and judicial frameworks that effectively protect whistleblowers in law – and in reality.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights Groups Tell DOJ: Assange Indictment Poses Grave Threat to Press Freedom

February 8, 2021

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson:

We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write today to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Enough with the Goddamned Secrets! Open Up the Government Joe!

January 18, 2021 by Dave Lindorff: This Can’t Be Happening

The incoming Biden administration is considering breaking with a long-standing tradition of new presidents sharing national secrets with prior presidents. Instead, in the case of his future predecessor Trump, Biden says he wants to hear the advice of key national security figures in the new government regarding whether or not to brief the impeached ex-chief executive once he’s out the White House door.

Ruling Assange Can’t Be Extradited Is an Indictment of US Prisons

Charles Glass | The Nation | 6th January 2021

But the British court judgment, which is likely to be appealed, also delivers a body blow to freedom of speech.

My junior year high school English teacher liked to tell a story about Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson to illustrate the differences between America’s two great transcendentalist writers. Thoreau was jailed in 1846 for withholding taxes that paid for the invasion of Mexico and protected slave owners. Emerson came to speak to Thoreau through the bars of his cell. My teacher, with theatrical flair and stentorian voice, recounted the conversation:

If Assange’s Fate Were Up To a Jury, He, Too, Might Have Walked Free

Charles Glass | The Nation | 21st December 2020

Like William Penn and John Peter Zenger, the Wikileaks founder is fighting for our freedom.

When the magistrate presiding last September at Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, Vanessa Baraitser, confined the defendant to a bullet-proof glass cage at the back of the court, she had precedent on her side. All who entered her courtroom at London’s Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, had to pass a plaque memorializing a case against another defender of free speech and thought. The finely wrought marble plaque reads:

Biden’s Choice on Julian Assange and the First Amendment

Charles Glass, The Intercept

Assange’s liberty represents that of all journalists and publishers whose job is to expose government and corporate criminality without fear of prosecution.

When Joe Biden becomes president of the United States on January 20, a historic opportunity awaits him to demonstrate America’s commitment to the First Amendment. He can, in a stroke, reverse four years of White House persecution of journalism by withdrawing the application to extradite Julian Assange from Britain to the U.S. This would be in line with the departures from Trump policies Biden is proposing on health care, environmental protection, and tax fairness. Assange’s liberty represents the liberty of all journalists and publishers whose job is to expose government and corporate criminality without fear of prosecution. We need and deserve to be protected against government control of the press.

Whistleblowing, Injustice and the Espionage Act

By Jeffrey Sterling

I was astonished to read recently that President Donald Trump acknowledged that many believe Edward Snowden has been treated unfairly and he is looking into the matter, mulling over pardoning him. After the shock of that revelation wore off, reality set in. Mr. Trump’s administration has to date taken the reprehensible position of continuing, if not increasingly empowering the Obama administration’s unprecedented vendetta against whistleblowers by using the Espionage Act, and now we are to believe Mr. Trump’s assertion that how Snowden has been treated is something he “could” look into. What is incredible about what Mr. Trump said are his previous comments about Snowden, whom he called a “terrible traitor” and suggested that he should be executed. Now we are to believe that Mr. Trump is actually considering pardoning Snowden?

Workplace Whistleblower Protections Inch Forward Amid Pandemic

Chris Marr –

Workplace safety concerns sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic have inspired a handful of state and local laws that nudged forward protections for whistleblowing employees, but not as far forward as advocates say is needed.

It’s an area of law that management-side attorneys say poses a significant litigation risk and already represents a major source of coronavirus-related lawsuits. Whistleblower advocates, on the other hand, say stronger federal protections are needed to prevent retaliation better than a patchwork of state laws can.

Whistleblowing, the Pandemic and a ‘Law and Order’ System of Injustice

By Jeffrey Sterling

It is hard to find many positives as the death toll from the novel coronavirus continues to climb, but as we have seen before with situations of crisis, truth does find a way to make itself known. In the sense of whistleblowing, we saw it with the crisis involving the president, which demonstrated the worth and power of whistleblowers to bring accountability to power (though of course, the end result had more to do with denial than truth). Now we see the revealing nature of whistleblowing once again as so many have been coming forward to reveal how we have had no preparedness nor plan with regard to combatting the coronavirus. Whistleblowers have testified before Congress about how woefully unprepared we have been and how the response from those charged with protecting us and this nation has been, at best, deemed inadequate, and at worse, negligent. Imagine where we would be in this pandemic without the courage of those who have dared to come forward to reveal the realities of our government’s response to and our preparedness in a global crisis.

Kaiser is at it again — retaliating against mental health whistleblowers

Request for Action from the National Union of Healthcare Workers

Kaiser Permanente is retaliating against more than 4,200 NUHW healthcare professionals for refusing to sign a gag order that would leave people in the dark about Kaiser’s denial of timely mental health care.