UK Whistleblowers and Truth-Telling Journalists Risk Imprisonment
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Courageous whistleblowing exposure of government wrongdoing is a higher form of patriotism — deserving praise, not prosecution.
In the US, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls them anyone "who discloses information that (he or she) reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety."
Like the US, Britain intends punishing whistleblowers for doing the right thing, journalists as well for publishing what their regimes want kept secret.
Yet the US 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act was enacted to protect federal employees who report misconduct.
Federal agencies are prohibited from retaliating against exposure of wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers are obligated to report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and abuse, or acts endangering public health or safety.
The Office of Special Council is empowered to investigate whistleblower complaints.
The Merit Systems Protection Board adjudicates them.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is authorized to hear whistleblower case appeals.
Since the Whistleblower Protection Act's 1994 revision, it ruled on hundreds of cases.
Yet only a few times for whistleblowers, most often their legal protection denied.
Numerous federal statutes are supposed to protect private sector whistleblowers.
Laws only matter if enforced, time and again not the case in the US, UK and West overall when conflict with policies of ruling regimes.
The US 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was enacted to protect government employees from reprisal for:
revealing it to co-workers or supervisors;
disclosing policy decision consequences; or
doing any or all of the above in relation to their position or duties.
Notably since the Obama/Biden regime, US ruling authorities ignored the above laws — on the phony pretext of protecting national security.
Earlier asked why he turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden said the following:
"The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything."
"With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting."
"If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts."
"I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things."
"I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded."
"That is not something I am willing to support or live under."
US and UK intelligence operate this way at home and worldwide.
Snowden earlier called NSA capabilities "horrifying." With improved technology, it's much worse today
The same is true for the CIA, FBI, other US intelligence and their UK counterparts.
They can hack everyone everywhere to know virtually everything about anyone targeted.
US and UK regimes want whistleblowers eliminated, including investigative journalists like Julian Assange for revealing imperial criminality.
UK-based Protect.org said Britain breaches the law to target whistleblowers.
"This undermines the public policy objective of whistleblowing protection as a form of promoting wider accountability and specifically for workers who raise concerns with the media."
Misconduct in Public Office (MIPO) is "being used against public officials to penalize unauthorized disclosures of what could be considered public interest information."
It's having "a potentially chilling effect on whistleblowers."
Britain's 1989 Official Secrets Act covers security, intelligence, defense, international relations, crime, unauthorized disclosures and information entrusted in confidence to states or international bodies.
The law makes civil servants and others in government fearful of being unfairly treated for disclosing wrongdoing they know about — even knowing they're supposed to be legally protected.
Proposed changes in Britain's Official Secrets Act call for imprisonment of up to 14 years for disclosing information its government wants kept secret — even about wrongdoing.
Reporting information gotten from whistleblowers or other sources would subject journalists to prosecution and imprisonment — on the phony pretext of undermin(ing) (government) efforts to prevent damaging unauthorized disclosures…not be in the public interest (sic)."
According to Britain's Home Office:
"Since passage of the (Official Secrets) Act in 1989, there have been unprecedented developments in communications technology (including data storage and rapid data transfer tools) which in our view, means that unauthorized disclosures are now capable of causing far more serious damage than would have been possible previously," adding:
"(W)e do not consider that there is necessarily a distinction in severity between espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures, in the same way that there was in 1989."
A National Union of Journalists (NUJ) spokeswoman said the following:
"Existing legislation distinguishes provisions and penalties between those who leak or whistleblow, those who receive leaked information, and foreign spies," adding:
"The government proposes to eliminate or blur these distinctions."
"The government also wants to increase the maximum penalties that journalists might suffer for receiving leaked material from two to 14 years."
NUJ "has long argued that where whistleblowers believe that they have acted in the public interest, they should be able to make this case in court, and if a jury agrees with them, be protected."
UK-based Index on Censorship and Open Rights Group also criticized unacceptable changes in the Official Secrets Act.
Open Web Application Security Project's Daniel Cuthbert said the following:
"What is being proposed is incredibly dangerous and is a direct attack against the free press."
"The official secrets act has a place, (not by) classifying journalists as spies to stem whistleblowing."
The News Media Association's legal policy and regulatory affairs director Sayra Tekin said changes in the Official Secrets Act "will deter whistleblowers from coming forward with vital information which the public have a right to know and place a chill on investigative journalism which holds power to account."
The revised measure is on the cusp of becoming the law of the land — making Britain more of a totalitarian police state than already.
VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"