Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media


I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO_om3iK9kE

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course Democrats.com responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tgvWxC_6A

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/06/van-jones-resigns/

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/95963/what_will_the_green_economy_look_like/

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/28/van_jones_on_the_green_collar

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061650758/The_Green_Collar_Economy/index.aspx

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/a-petition-against-fox-conservative-host-glenn-beck.aspx

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

http://aan.org/alternative/Aan/index

and alternative monitoring websites.

http://americas.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64380

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

http://www.tacomapjh.org/progressive_news.htm

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MEN FROM MARS CHASING ME!!!!


                   Helpfulness, Safety, Honesty, Generousity, & Friendliness in Oman

                                                                        by Kevin Stoda

         Typical stories of how helpful, friendly, and safe Oman and residents in Oman are many….

This morning I pulled into a parking space at the college where I work here in Salalah, Oman.  Immediately, some of the students whom I had taught the semester before shouted out to me, “Houwa! your back tire needs Houwa!

That meant that a car tire was low on air.

I walked to where the students were pointing and saw immediately that, indeed,  my left rear tire was fairly low. One student added from afar, “In two hours that tire will be completely flat.  Give me your key and I will get it fixed and bring it back.”

I pondered whether to accept his offer. (Yes, I thought, I  trust this Omani student to take my car and get it fixed while I’m working.) I looked at my watch, though, and realized that I still had a full hour before I needed to officially sign in for work at the college, and the tire repair location was less-than a two kilometer drive.

I thanked the young Omani men and drove slowly off–with my emergency lights blinking.

Oman is a relatively safe country and people here are known to be helpful and friendly.   For example, upon her arrival here a few years ago in Salalah , my wife was astounded to observe Omani women out walking for exercise late at night by themselves here. (In Kuwait, where we had been married some years back, my wife had never witnessed that by the indigenous females out walking by themselves–they would likely have been harassed or worse.) In short, Kuwaiti women do not walk along  the sea, in the parks or on promenades alone after dark.

Likewise, my wife was also surprised to see groups of Omani women around Salalah who go picnicking in the evenings.   That is often during the cooler parts of the day or even late at night, women-only groups can be observed along the highway roads, in the mountains, or on the seaside enjoying a private picnic without fear of being harassed here in their homeland.

Similarly, I know ex-pats here in Salalah who almost never lock their house nor car  doors.  This naturally, depends on which neighborhood they live in. (This sort of sense-of-safety is definitely not the case for all!   For example, there were several break-ins during this  last year in certain neighborhoods just a few miles north of where I live; however)  Neighbors generally watch out for one another in all the other neighborhoods here in Salalah.

MARS ?

At this juncture, I have been aching to share a true story about a cultural  and language misunderstanding that I experiences here only a month back. I am sharing this,  in order to illustrate, too, that honesty and helpfulness is also interwoven throughout much of the Omani landscape and how even ex-pats take on such qualities here.

Here was the setting.  One Thursday morning early, I had popped into a comparatively small  Mars Hypermarket, located in my old neighborhood in New Salalah .  I hadn’t been to that supermarket before but had been planning to check it out for some time.

I liked what I saw that morning in terms of prices and products.  I determined to return that very evening with my wife and daughter to buy a pair of large suitcases for our coming trip to the Philippines.

As I got back into my car, though, after leaving the store that a.m.,  I observed a large truck  pulling up behind me.  The men in the truck, who obviously worked for Mars Hypermarket, were bringing back shopping carts from across the neighborhood. (Parking spaces around the hypermarket was simply not adequate,  so some neighboring residents  evidently  didn’t bother to drive to Mars.  Instead, they simply walked instead–taking the carts back home with them.) After taking note of this phenomena–of inadequate parking space–, I drove onto work  that morning.

Around 8pm that evening, I was back at that Mars Hypermarket.  In the wake of my morning observations, I decided to parking just over  1/2 a block down the street from the department store, i.e. so that I could depart later from the store without having any truck or car blocking my way.

About an hour later, my wife and I found ourselves with two large suitcases in the checkout lane of that same Mars Hypermarket. When I came to the abaya-clad Omani clerk, I handed her my credit card. She looked around and then indicated a moment later that I should follow her to a distant cash register in order to use the only credit card apparatus available in that particular corner of  in the store.

I followed her over to the distant counter. As I was waiting to sign for my receipt at that register, my daughter and wife came over and asked me to add another item to the purchase.

I indicated that it was too late.  The bill had already rung up on the credit card processing devise. Therefore, I  took out my wallet again and handed the woman an Omani rial to cover the cost of the inexpensive last minute purchase.  Finally, I then bent over and signed the receipt for the bulky suitcases.

My family  and myself  soon found ourselves outside in the night-air — with each of us pushing a different shopping cart with large brown and blue suitcases down the street to my distant car.  Soon, one Mars employee had voluntarily taken my wife’s cart from her. I observed him just behind me as I made my way across the street.

Suddenly, I heard a shout in the distance behind us (which for me clearly sounded like):  “Cart!”

Then the man who had already grabbed my wife’s cart from her moments before began to shout as well:  “Cart!”

“Cart?”, I thought to myself, “Oh, no!!! Someone is telling me and my wife to bring back the cart and not to walk the cart up-the-block  from the store.  This is just not right.”

I continued in my thinking,  “Perhaps Mars was trying to discourage shoppers like me from stealing their carts and taking them home, i.e. down the streets and blocks away, like I had observed had happened earlier that day.”

In response to the shouting, I ignored the word, “Cart!” I simply quickened my steps to almost a run as I pushed my cart 1/2 a block further up the street, where my tiny Kia Rio was parked.

All the time, I could hear someone behind me and running after me shouting, “Cart! Cart!  Cart!”

By this time, I was pretty angry because my wife, daughter and the other shopping trolley were being detained so close to my car parked just 1/2 a block down the street.

I was thinking a how rude the people at Mars were–chasing me down the street to my car–ALL for a stupid shopping cart.

Actually, I was already cussing out-loud at the men who were apparently chasing me from Mars.

Then, as I arrived at the trunk of my car, I finally turned around.  Quickly, a second man–a manager from Mars Supermarket–had come up behind me in the dark.

This manager reached out his hand and said,“Cart! Cart!”–as he struggled to catch his breath, i.e.  after running so quickly after me.

My jaw dropped as I saw what was in the Indian manager’s hand:  It was my credit card, which I had left back at the check-out line in the store 1 or 2 minutes earlier.

In short, it had suddenly become for me a a horrible misunderstanding.

I had been expecting the worst–i.e. to be scolded for pushing a shopping cart so far down the street from the store and  trying to leave it, while, in fact, the workers at Mars were just trying to get me  my own credit card back to me–before I left the vicinity.

It wasn’t a shopping cart but a credit card they had been shouting and running after me for.  In short, the people here are very polite and honest.

They are also good hosts…. but  I will tell those stories another time.

 

 

 

 

 

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What gave you the courage to speak out? Talk about your family.


John Crane’s Grandfather put Hitler in Jail in the 1920s.  America needs more men of his ilk in government and the DOJ and DOD.  Read his story and share.  He is one of America’s most important Whistleblowers. –KAS

“Civil society is very important. And in any large society, that there is a compact between the governed and those who govern them, and there needs to be transparency, and that there needs to be accountability.” —JOHN CRANE

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was summoned into Ms. Halbrooks’ office, and I was simply walked out of the building.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon inspector general at the time.

JOHN CRANE: Pentagon inspector general building. It was not a surprising occurrence.

AMY GOODMAN: When was this?

JOHN CRANE: This was in February 2013, that since I was responsible for the overall whistleblowing program, that within the Inspector General’s Office we had various whistleblowers stepping forward. And they had concerns regarding the audit function. They had concerns the way that we investigated reprisal investigations. And they had contacted Congress. And as the agency head, she asked me to actually identify to her IG employees who were whistleblowers, so that she could have the congressional oversight shut down, because she did not want to have her Senate nomination endangered by them, that she was the acting inspector general, that she wanted to be the permanent inspector general, and she could not afford to have whistleblowers contacting Congress, because that would create questions regarding whether she was qualified for the job that she wanted to have.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were walked out.

JOHN CRANE: I was walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: You were fired.

JOHN CRANE: Physically walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: What gave you the courage to speak out? Talk about your family.

JOHN CRANE: Civil society is very important. And in any large society, that there is a compact between the governed and those who govern them, and there needs to be transparency, and that there needs to be accountability. And should you have the wrong balance, should you have an executive out of control, that can simply compromise everyone’s rights. And in the Germany after World War I, when you have lots of unemployed soldiers with a grievance following very talented sociopaths, you can have a really explosive combination, and that was Nazi Germany. My father [sic] served under the Weimar Republic, and that was the liberal German republic after—

MARK HERTSGAARD: Your grandfather.

JOHN CRANE: Grandfather, after the First World War, that he was actually based down in Munich. He was in charge to—charged to monitor radical elements. And when Hitler tried to seize power for the first time, Hitler tried to use force. And then, in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler tried to seize the whole Bavarian government. Hitler walked into the beer hall and fired a gun into the ceiling, saying that he was taking control. My grandfather stepped in front of him, saying, “Mr. Hitler, this way he will never control Germany.” And then Hitler simply put his gun down, went to the front, captured the whole senior leadership. My grandfather then helped to have the actual countercoup established, put down Hitler’s uprising, and then he was to trial—then he was a witness at the trial for the government that, of course, put him in jail.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened to your grandfather?

JOHN CRANE: My grandfather, of course, wasn’t a fascist, that in 1933, when Mr. Hitler seized power, that he resigned, but he wasn’t allowed to resign. He was very active with the antifascist resistance, that my uncle was killed in Poland in 1939. And one of his friends was a young officer called Graf Claus Schenk von [Stauffenberg]. He was the man who actually put the suitcase beside Hitler in 1944 to have Hitler killed. And so, he was a family friend. And the issue is: Within any society, how does a person channel simply principled civil dissent within a Nazi dictatorship that accords violence? Within the system we have here, because it is a constitutional democracy, principled dissent needs to be channeled through the whistleblower system, because that will help senior management also seeing levels down.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you want your old job back within the Pentagon’s Inspector General Office, being in charge of protection of whistleblowers?

JOHN CRANE: When I was in charge, outside civil society organizations said that my programs were the federal gold standard. That is not the case anymore. That should the new acting inspector general want to return his office to the gold standard, I am willing to help.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard, as we begin to wrap up, how you came to investigate this story, and what the government’s response has been? You have interviewed Michael Hayden several times.

MARK HERTSGAARD: I did. The reason I got this story is because of the work of the Government Accountability Project, and they deserve a shout-out here. For 37 years, they have been defending whistleblowers, advocating for whistleblowers, both in individual cases like this and helping to write things like the whistleblower protection law and push it through Congress. They represented legally Edward Snowden, John Crane, Tom Drake and a whole range of other whistleblowers. And one of the things I say in the book is that while this is a very dramatic story, we need to understand as citizens—and this is what John Crane is saying here—we absolutely depend, as a democracy, on whistleblowers. We’ve got to know that they can come forward, because when whistleblowers come forward, whether it’s Daniel Ellsberg or John Crane or Edward Snowden or, you know, Jeffrey Wigand, who blew the whistle on how Big Tobacco was lying about nicotine in our cigarettes, you know, whistleblowers can make wars end, they can take deadly products off the market, and a whole range of other things. And I think whistleblowers do not get the respect that they deserve. And so that was what I was trying to do in this book. And the Government Accountability Project let me do that.

AMY GOODMAN: And the institutions you decided to release this with, this information—

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —where you went, and where you didn’t go?

MARK HERTSGAARD: I went to—I went in February to Europe to meet face to face with the editors especially at The Guardian, because they broke the Snowden story originally. And very proud to say that they saw the value of this story right away, the same with Der Spiegel in Germany. And I chose them precisely because they’re outside of the United States. Too often the mainstream media in this country, as you well know, Amy, tend to, by default almost, reflect and channel the government’s views of this. You asked, did I go to the government? Of course I went to the government. I asked them about this. I asked Henry Shelley, I asked Lynne Halbrooks—the people who offed John Crane. They said they wouldn’t comment. And I think that they are assuming that this is going to blow over, because, in general, the American media has not held their feet to the fire.

Michael Hayden, the NSA director, he basically says that he wanted to put Edward Snowden on a government kill list. He said that was a joke. But he’s not quite as bloodthirsty as James Woolsey, the former CIA director, who said last November, after the Paris terrorist attacks, that Mr. Snowden, quote, “should suffer death by hanging. Electrocution is too good for him.” So, when you’ve got a government like that, who has that kind of antipathy to whistleblowers, it’s all the more important that, as Snowden said yesterday reacting to John’s story in The Guardian, Snowden said we need to recognize whistleblowers and basically lift them up in the public debate, because without that, without the press doing that, the government will—by either active or de facto hostility, they will take people like John Crane down. And our democracy will be lessened. We would not know that the NSA is spying on all of us, had not Edward Snowden decided to go outside of this broken whistleblower system and become an act of conscience.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who was speaking on CNN last year. He called NSAwhistleblower Edward Snowden a traitor.

DONALD TRUMP: I think he’s a total traitor. And I would deal with him harshly. And if I were president, Putin would give him over. I would get along with Putin. I’ve dealt with Russia. Putin hates—

ANDERSON COOPER: You think you’d get along with Putin?

DONALD TRUMP: I think I’d get along with him fine. I think he’d be absolutely fine. He would never keep somebody like Snowden in Russia. He hates Obama. He doesn’t respect Obama. Obama doesn’t not like him, either. But he has no respect for Obama, has a hatred for Obama. And Snowden is living the life. Look, if that—if I’m president, Putin says, “Hey, boom, you’re gone.” I guarantee you that.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Donald Trump talking about Edward Snowden. John Crane, in these last 30 seconds, your final comment?

JOHN CRANE: Regarding whistleblowing, that civil society, the Office of the Special Counsel and the Congress, in the most recent defense authorization bill under Chairman McCain, independently have all reached the same conclusion regarding the whistleblowing system within the IG. And their message to Secretary Ashton Carter is: Houston, we have a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you, John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon in charge of protecting whistleblowers at the Pentagon and the NSA, speaking out here in this broadcast exclusive on Democracy Now! And Mark Hertsgaard, congratulations on your new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.

Note:  John Crane is a former US congressional staffer and assistant inspector general of the Department of Defense (DOD IG), known for advocacy of government whistleblowers and now working at the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Edward Snowden went to the press with revelations about the NSA due to the experience of previous whistleblowers, such as Thomas Andrews Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe, Ed Loomis, and Diane Roark, who initially reported their concerns within the system and faced intense retaliation.[2] Crane is a major subject of Mark Hertsgaard‘s book, Bravehearts: Whistle-blowing in the Age of Snowden.[3]


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In the news
How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

The Guardian2 days ago

Long before Edward Snowden went public, John Crane was a top Pentagon official fighting …

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How the DOD and Federal Government Responds to Whistleblowers Will Lead to More Edward Snowdens


   THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN!  What happens to Brave Whistle Blowers is that they are being charged with questionable crimes by DOD, DOJ, and other offices that should be supporting them?  It is the Law of the Land, but the Federal Government under Bush and Obama has been making war on whistle blowers–not protecting them.  THIS IS A HORRIBLE 16 YEAR LEGACY.  IT MUST BE ENDED.  Protect all federal whistle blowers period, Mr. Obama–kas

                “My first day on the job was 9/11. And it was shortly after 9/11 that I was exposed to the Pandora’s box of illegality and government wrongdoing on a very significant scale. So, you had the twin fraud, waste—you know, the twin specters of fraud, waste and abuse being committed on a vast scale through a program called Trailblazer, a multibillion-dollar program, when in fact there was alternatives that already existed and fulfilled most all the requirements of Trailblazer, even prior to 9/11.”THOMAS DRAKE

 

“I was in the shower. I was taking a shower, so my son answered the door. And they of course pushed him out of the way at gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower, and came in and pointed the gun at me while I was, you know….those who were raided that day, all of us signed the DOD IG complaint. We were the ones who filed that complaint.”–WILLIAM BINNEY

“I was very concerned, because when there was a 10-count indictment returned, that three of the counts involved him housing information at his home. I was concerned that—well, first, he was a confidential whistleblower. And under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, that their confidentialities are not revealed, and they can only be revealed under two separate circumstances, that, one, you have to ask the whistleblower whether they can have their identities revealed, and, two, only if there is no other alternative. This is a case where this was not a threat to health, safety—immediate threat. And my concern was—and this was actually raised through the Government Accountability Project, because they represented him—was that three of the charges could have related to whether or not he was following advice from the inspector general DOD. And I was concerned that should he have had housed material at his home, based upon IG DOD advice, he was then being on trial—put on trial under the Espionage Act because he was a confidential informant working with the IG, inspector general.”–JOHN CRANE

“Well … everybody knows what Snowden did at this point, but to really understand it, what Snowden did and why he did it the way he did it—he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men. And one is Thomas Drake, as you said, and the other is the third man. And that third man is Mr. John Crane. And I called him that partly because I needed to keep his identity confidential myself, until we broke the story here today in New York on Democracy Now!, but also in The Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers. And I chose to work with The Guardian and Der Spiegel because they broke the original Snowden stories, and they understood just how significant Crane’s revelations are, because when you see everything that John Crane tells us about how the whistleblower protection system inside the Pentagon is broken, only results in a whistleblower having his life ruined, as we saw with Tom Drake, you see that really Edward Snowden had no other choice but to go public.”–MARK HERTSGAARD

 

 

In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were “based in part, or entirely,” on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden,” and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. “To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?” asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive: A former senior Pentagon official speaks out for the first time about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower. By now, everyone knows how Edward Snowden revealed the government spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you need to know the story of John Crane, who worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system.

Crane is coming forward to speak about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Drake’s house was raided by the FBI in 2007. He was charged in 2010 under the Espionage Act. In 2011, he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor of unauthorized use of a government computer. He did not serve jail time.

John Crane and Edward Snowden’s stories are told in the new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. In dozens of hours of interviews with reporter Mark Hertsgaard, Crane described how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake had been charged with were, quote, “based in part, or entirely,” unquote, on information that Drake provided to the Pentagon inspector general during its investigation of the NSAwhistleblowers. In other words, the indictment had unmistakable similarities to the confidential testimony Drake had given to Crane’s staff at the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office. This suggests investigators had not simply given Drake’s name to the FBI, but shared his entire testimony.

Mark Hertsgaard recounts this and much more of Crane’s story publicly in his book,Bravehearts. In it, Hertsgaard tells how Drake’s arrest, indictment and persecution sent an unmistakable message to Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of the U.S. whistleblower protections. Snowden told The Guardian, quote, “We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy—recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change,” Snowden said. He continued, “The sad reality of today’s policies is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake. Going to the press involves serious risks, but at least you’ve got a chance,” he says.

Well, for more, we’re joined here for the first time by John Crane, formerly with the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who is the correspondent at Nation magazine, author of the newly published book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

JOHN CRANE: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: So, John Crane, talk about why you are coming out publicly for the first time.

JOHN CRANE: I’m coming out publicly for the first time because what Edward Snowden did is it was the largest, most massive classified leak in this country’s history. And so we have two separate issues here, that one is we, I think, need to make sure that there won’t be any more massive disclosures like that, but we can only assure that, should we have a whistleblower protection system in place that will make sure, one, whistleblowers have the confidence to step forward without having their own individual identities compromised, and when they step forward, that they’re not subject to multiyear retaliation.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about where you worked—people may not even realize the Pentagon has an Inspector General’s Office—and what you were in charge of.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was with the Inspector General’s Office. I worked there for 25 years. I was a senior executive there. I was one of the founding generations there. I had an office that was largely responsible for transparency and for accountability. Transparency meant that I dealt with the media, Congress. Accountability meant that I was responsible for the overall whistleblowing process. DOD is a huge agency. We have 1.2 million military. We have almost 700,000 civilians. We have half of the federal workforce. I was charged to make sure that within the Pentagon, that there could be principled dissent that would help to inform senior management regarding the way senior management made their own decisions, and—and that that system guaranteed that those people stepping forward would not be destroyed.

AMY GOODMAN: And that included, you oversaw the NSA, as well.

JOHN CRANE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: So when did you start to get nervous? When did you start to get alarmed?

JOHN CRANE: I got alarmed fairly early on, because since I was responsible for working with the Hill, when we received the first whistleblowing complaints, the so-called four plus one—Drake was called “plus one” because he wanted to have confidentiality maintained—that I then went up to the House and Senate Intel Committees, and they were making complaints about a large multibillion-dollar program that was responsible to gather huge amounts of information from U.S. citizens also. And it was simply behind schedule, over cost. It wasn’t meeting acquisition milestones. So we, of course, met with the Congress, and then we started a 18-month audit effort to see whether or not the various allegations brought to us were actually valid, that we found that most of their concerns were valid, and then we had the audit report issued in December of 2004.

One of the very important points of that audit report was—was that this is our audit report, IG DOD audit report, talked about a climate within the NSA regarding management reprisal. As the inspector general DOD, by statute, it is our responsibility making sure management reprisal does not take place. When I saw that, I said, “Look, we now have a civilian reprisal investigator on staff, Daniel Meyer, and he is now the whistleblower ombudsman for the larger intelligence community.” And I wanted him to have the matter investigated, because we had made a finding. And I was subsequently told that we could not have the matter investigated, and that was the first warning flag to me that there was a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go to National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in his own words. He was initially charged under the Espionage Act for leaking information about waste management at the agency, but the case against him later collapsed. We talked to Thomas Drake in 2012 about his case.

THOMAS DRAKE: I was charged under the Espionage Act as part of an indictment that was handed down on me in April of 2010. There was five counts under the Espionage Act for retaining—not leaking, retaining—national defense information, although the government alleged that I was doing so for the purpose of disclosure to those unauthorized to receive it. I was also charged with obstruction of justice, as well as making false statements to FBI agents. …

My first day on the job was 9/11. And it was shortly after 9/11 that I was exposed to the Pandora’s box of illegality and government wrongdoing on a very significant scale. So, you had the twin fraud, waste—you know, the twin specters of fraud, waste and abuse being committed on a vast scale through a program called Trailblazer, a multibillion-dollar program, when in fact there was alternatives that already existed and fulfilled most all the requirements of Trailblazer, even prior to 9/11.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to both Thomas Drake and Bill Binney and otherNSA officials was frightening. We had a chance in April of 2012 to interview NSAwhistleblower William Binney. He was appearing on Democracy Now! in his first-ever television interview, and he described what happened when FBI agents raided his home after he became a whistleblower. This was right before they raided Tom Drake’s house, but this was Bill Binney’s description of what happened to him.

WILLIAM BINNEY: I live in Maryland, actually four miles from NSA.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened?

WILLIAM BINNEY: They came busting in.

AMY GOODMAN: Who’s “they”?

WILLIAM BINNEY: The FBI. About 12 of them, I think, 10 to 12. They came in with the guns drawn, on my house.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you?

WILLIAM BINNEY: I was in the shower. I was taking a shower, so my son answered the door. And they of course pushed him out of the way at gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower, and came in and pointed the gun at me while I was, you know—

AMY GOODMAN: Pointed a gun at your head?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Oh, yeah. Yes. Wanted to make sure I saw it and that I was duly intimidated, I guess.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what did they—what did they do at that point? Did they begin questioning you? Or they just took you to headquarters? Or—

WILLIAM BINNEY: No, no. Yeah, they basically separated us from—I was separated from my family. Took me on the back porch, and they started asking me questions about it. They were basically wanting me to tell them something that would implicate someone in a crime. And so, I told them that I didn’t really know—they wanted to know about certain people, that was—they were the ones that were being raided at the same time, people who—we all signed—those who were raided that day, all of us signed the DOD IG complaint. We were the ones who filed that complaint.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon—

WILLIAM BINNEY: The Pentagon DOD IG, against—

AMY GOODMAN: —inspector general complaint.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Against NSA, yes, talking about fraud—basically corruption, fraud, waste and abuse. And then—

AMY GOODMAN: Tom Drake was raided at the same time?

WILLIAM BINNEY: No, he was raided in November of that year. We were just the ones who signed it, were raided.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, and who were the other people that were raided that same day?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Diane Roark, Kirk Wiebe and Ed Loomis.

AMY GOODMAN: Diane Roark worked for the Senate committee?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Diane was the senior staffer. She had the NSAaccount on the HPSCI side, on the House side.

AMY GOODMAN: So, they were the four, and plus one was Drake. His house would be raided soon after. John Crane, if you could explain—Bill Binney ultimately would not be charged. Bill Binney, by the way, is a double amputee.

JOHN CRANE: Correct.

AMY GOODMAN: But Tom Drake was charged, and you noticed something very similar about the charges against him and what he revealed to your office.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was very concerned, because when there was a 10-count indictment returned, that three of the counts involved him housing information at his home. I was concerned that—well, first, he was a confidential whistleblower. And under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, that their confidentialities are not revealed, and they can only be revealed under two separate circumstances, that, one, you have to ask the whistleblower whether they can have their identities revealed, and, two, only if there is no other alternative. This is a case where this was not a threat to health, safety—immediate threat. And my concern was—and this was actually raised through the Government Accountability Project, because they represented him—was that three of the charges could have related to whether or not he was following advice from the inspector general DOD. And I was concerned that should he have had housed material at his home, based upon IG DOD advice, he was then being on trial—put on trial under the Espionage Act because he was a confidential informant working with the IG, inspector general.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, but I have to ask: What happened to you when you started raising these concerns? You’re there supposed to be protecting whistleblowers—

JOHN CRANE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: —in the Pentagon and the NSA.

JOHN CRANE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: And you are now becoming a whistleblower.

JOHN CRANE: Right. I was shut down, that I was the IG DOD FOIA appellate authority also. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Meaning when people asked you, under the Freedom of Information Act, for information.

JOHN CRANE: Absolutely. So, when his attorneys came to us, they wanted to see whether—in the 2004 audit, that whether in those work papers that there was exculpatory information regarding why Drake acted the way he did. As the FOIAappellate authority, I was in charge of simply gathering all of the information in the agency, that—those are documents that should have been retained, that they should have been permanent record. Some of them were also secret documents, top-secret documents, sensitive intelligence documents. There’s a very strict protocol regarding how those are handled, where they are, and if and when they are destroyed, and, of course, by whom. Those were answers I could not receive, and that was highly unusual.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to continue this discussion in a moment. John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, has revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. For a quarter of a century, he worked with the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which is supposed to help federal employees expose abuse and corruption. This is a secret chapter that even Edward Snowden did not know about but is now coming to understand, what was happening within the government. And we’re going to speak with Mark Hertsgaard, as well, when we come back, to get a full picture of how this all fits together. His new book is out; it’s called Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. Stay with us.

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AMY GOODMAN: “Watching Me” by Jill Scott, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re in New York with this Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive with John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, who has revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. For 25 years, he worked for the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helped federal employees, both in the Pentagon, at the NSA, expose abuse and corruption. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who is the author of the new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden, which recounts for the first time John Crane’s story. You call him the third man, Mark. Why?

MARK HERTSGAARD: Well, because, as you said at the top of the show, everybody knows what Snowden did at this point, but to really understand it, what Snowden did and why he did it the way he did it—he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men. And one is Thomas Drake, as you said, and the other is the third man. And that third man is Mr. John Crane. And I called him that partly because I needed to keep his identity confidential myself, until we broke the story here today in New York on Democracy Now!, but also in The Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers. And I chose to work with The Guardian and Der Spiegel because they broke the original Snowden stories, and they understood just how significant Crane’s revelations are, because when you see everything that John Crane tells us about how the whistleblower protection system inside the Pentagon is broken, only results in a whistleblower having his life ruined, as we saw with Tom Drake, you see that really Edward Snowden had no other choice but to go public.

I guess he had two choices. He could have remained silent about the NSAsurveillance and then continued to leave the public in the dark about the fact that the United States government was conducting mass, warrantless surveillance, illegal surveillance. He could have done that, but Snowden decided, for reasons of conscience, he could not remain silent. He could have gone Tom Drake’s direction and ended up destroyed like Tom Drake. So, instead, Snowden went out and went public. And he did kind of what Daniel Ellsberg did 40 years ago with the Pentagon Papers, which is to say, “I’m going to take these documents. I’m going to give them to the press.” And as you said in that quote at the top of the hour, from The Guardianreport yesterday, Snowden says, “Look, going to the press is not without its risks”—you know, Snowden is now living in exile—”but at least you have a chance—at least you have a chance to get the news out.”

And so I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning. “He broke the law, bring him home. He should face the music,” is what Hillary Clinton said. “Face the music. He could have been a whistleblower,” Hillary Clinton added, “and he would have gotten a very good reception, I think.” Well, I would just like to invite Secretary Clinton, tell that to Thomas Drake, tell that to John Crane, that you would have gotten a good reception by following the whistleblower law inside of the Pentagon.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go to part of what Edward Snowden responded to Crane’s revelations in The Guardian. He said, “We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy—recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change.” I also want to go to President Obama and Hillary Clinton. In a 2014—during a press conference in 2013, President Obama was asked about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is what he said.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The fact is, is that Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If, in fact, he believes that what he did was right, then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case. If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order, well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information, that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community, for the first time. So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, the president says he signed an executive order that would protect whistleblowers. John Crane, you were a top official in the Pentagon in the Inspector General’s Office. You were there within the whistleblowers protection unit.

JOHN CRANE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: Is what President Obama’s saying true?

JOHN CRANE: There are fact patterns that he was of course not aware of. The General Accountability Office, which is the investigative arm of the Congress, that they have issued two separate reports on the IG DOD whistleblower program. In one of the reports, they say that one-quarter of all IG employees fear reprisal. In a federal employee climate survey, one-third of all reprisal investigators fear reprisal. So, we have a situation here, based—based upon Capitol Hill taking in trust, showing that those investigators trying to actually prove reprisal are themselves retaliated against when they try to make findings substantiating reprisal. So, that’s a dynamic that no one within the White House would have understood.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go from the president to the person who wants to be president, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state. This is a 2014 interview she did with The Guardian, where she said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should return to the U.S. if he’s serious in engaging in debate about privacy and security.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I would say, first of all, that Edward Snowden broke our laws, and that cannot be ignored or brushed aside. Secondly, I believe that if his primary concern was stirring a debate in our country over the tension between privacy and security, there were other ways of doing it, instead of stealing an enormous amount of information that had nothing to do with the U.S. or American citizens. I would say, thirdly, that there are many people in our history who have raised serious questions about government behavior. They’ve done it either with or without whistleblower protection, and they have stood and faced whatever the reaction was to make their case in public. …

I don’t know what he’s been charged with. Those are sealed indictments. I have no idea what he’s been charged with. I’m not sure he knows what he’s been charged with. But even in any case that I’m aware of, as a former lawyer, he has the right to mount a defense. And he certainly has a right to mount both a legal defense and a public defense, which of course can affect the legal defense.

AMY GOODMAN: I remember this interview very well that Hillary Clinton did with The Guardian in 2014, because I learned about it just as I was walking up the steps of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to interview Julian Assange, who is holed up there, and June 19th will be his fourth year in captivity. He’s gotten asylum in Ecuador, but he fears if he steps outside, he will be arrested and ultimately extradited to the United States, fears he could be charged with treason. But what Hillary Clinton said, John Crane, about him coming back to this country, and he could launch a vigorous legal and public defense, John Snowden—I mean, Edward Snowden?

JOHN CRANE: Yes, yes. I think that in terms of when you think whether or not you should be a whistleblower, that you’re concerned about whether or not the system works. And there are various statistics out there, from the IG DOD semi-annual report, for instance, that in regard to the way the IG even investigates senior officials, over a two-and-a-half-year period, regarding senior officials in the Army, that the IG DOD received 482 allegations, accepted 10 allegations, substantiated one allegation.

AMY GOODMAN: Of 404, the Inspector General’s Office in the Pentagon, in the Department of Defense—

JOHN CRANE: Substantiated one, which is 0.2 percent. The Army, however, also investigating senior officials, under IG DOD oversight, they had 372 allegations. They investigated all 372 allegations. They had 102 substantiated. They had a 27 percent substantiation rate. So, this is a very major statistical anomaly. Why does the Army, looking at the same group of senior officials, have a 27 percent substantiation rate versus the IG with a 0.2 percent?

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to the case of Tom Drake.

JOHN CRANE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: You allege documents were destroyed.

JOHN CRANE: I don’t allege that. Documents were destroyed. Because when the IG DOD—

AMY GOODMAN: You said you don’t allege that, that in fact you know that documents were destroyed.

JOHN CRANE: Because that is what the IG DOD said. Documents were destroyed according to a standard document destruction policy. And that was a statement that they made to the Department of Justice in regard to the Drake trial, because Drake’s attorneys wanted to find exculpatory information. The IG DOD response was, it just doesn’t exist.

AMY GOODMAN: It had existed.

JOHN CRANE: It had existed, and it should have existed.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah, they made sure it didn’t exist.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard?

MARK HERTSGAARD: They made sure it didn’t exist. I think John is being, perhaps, very diplomatic about his former colleagues. You know, he asked for those documents, and they said, “Oh, we can’t give them to you.” “Why not?” “Well, because they don’t exist anymore.” “Well, why not?” Because somebody”—expletived—”somebody screwed up, and they were destroyed,” in a supposedly routine purge of documents. And, you know, they were, obviously, lying about that. And then, to make it worse, these two individuals, who were then the acting inspector general of the Pentagon and the general counsel, the top lawyer there, they lied—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain who they are.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah. Well, their names are Lynne Halbrooks—she was the acting inspector general—and Henry Shelley, who was the general counsel. And he was the one who said, “We screwed up”—since this is a family program. And he said that they had been destroyed in a routine purge. Of course, governments, they do have to purge a lot of information, but you don’t purge top-secret documents lightly. And then, to make it worse, they then lied to the federal judge in this case about that, assuring the judge that it was—that the documents had been lost in a routine purge. Well, that, of course, is a felony. You cannot lie to a judge in a federal case. You cannot destroy documents. That is called obstruction of justice. And that is really why these two individuals now are in legal jeopardy.

And the Office of Special Counsel, which is an agency inside the United States government that investigates all of the whistleblower issues throughout the government, they looked into the allegations of John Crane. And in March, they issued their report, and they said that there is a, quote, “substantial likelihood” that Mr. Crane’s allegations are correct. What that means—that’s the highest threshold of proof that they could have asserted. And that means that now Henry Shelley, the general counsel, still at the Pentagon’s IG Office, and Lynne Halbrooks, the former assistant inspector general, they are now facing a new investigation. As the OSCfinding required, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has now had to authorize a new investigation into all this. And these are the kinds of crimes—lying to a judge, destroying documents, obstructing justice—if you or I did them, we would be going to jail. We’ll see if these high-ranking Pentagon officials end up going to jail.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, and when we come back, I want to ask you, John Crane, what gave you the courage to speak out. You have quite a remarkable family history. We are talking with John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, and we’re talking with Mark Hertsgaard, who has written the story of John Crane and Thomas Drake in a new book called Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. Stay with us.

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AMY GOODMAN: “Obama,” Anohni, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,The War and Peace Report. Today, a former Pentagon official is speaking out for the first time in this broadcast exclusive—John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, who’s revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. He worked for a quarter of a century at the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps expose—which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption, both at the Pentagon and the NSA. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who tells Crane’s story in Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden, a new book. What happened to you, John Crane? So you worked there for 25 years; you’re not working there anymore.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was summoned into Ms. Halbrooks’ office, and I was simply walked out of the building.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon inspector general at the time.

JOHN CRANE: Pentagon inspector general building. It was not a surprising occurrence.

AMY GOODMAN: When was this?

JOHN CRANE: This was in February 2013, that since I was responsible for the overall whistleblowing program, that within the Inspector General’s Office we had various whistleblowers stepping forward. And they had concerns regarding the audit function. They had concerns the way that we investigated reprisal investigations. And they had contacted Congress. And as the agency head, she asked me to actually identify to her IG employees who were whistleblowers, so that she could have the congressional oversight shut down, because she did not want to have her Senate nomination endangered by them, that she was the acting inspector general, that she wanted to be the permanent inspector general, and she could not afford to have whistleblowers contacting Congress, because that would create questions regarding whether she was qualified for the job that she wanted to have.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were walked out.

JOHN CRANE: I was walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: You were fired.

JOHN CRANE: Physically walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: What gave you the courage to speak out? Talk about your family.

JOHN CRANE: Civil society is very important. And in any large society, that there is a compact between the governed and those who govern them, and there needs to be transparency, and that there needs to be accountability. And should you have the wrong balance, should you have an executive out of control, that can simply compromise everyone’s rights. And in the Germany after World War I, when you have lots of unemployed soldiers with a grievance following very talented sociopaths, you can have a really explosive combination, and that was Nazi Germany. My father [sic] served under the Weimar Republic, and that was the liberal German republic after—

MARK HERTSGAARD: Your grandfather.

JOHN CRANE: Grandfather, after the First World War, that he was actually based down in Munich. He was in charge to—charged to monitor radical elements. And when Hitler tried to seize power for the first time, Hitler tried to use force. And then, in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler tried to seize the whole Bavarian government. Hitler walked into the beer hall and fired a gun into the ceiling, saying that he was taking control. My grandfather stepped in front of him, saying, “Mr. Hitler, this way he will never control Germany.” And then Hitler simply put his gun down, went to the front, captured the whole senior leadership. My grandfather then helped to have the actual countercoup established, put down Hitler’s uprising, and then he was to trial—then he was a witness at the trial for the government that, of course, put him in jail.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened to your grandfather?

JOHN CRANE: My grandfather, of course, wasn’t a fascist, that in 1933, when Mr. Hitler seized power, that he resigned, but he wasn’t allowed to resign. He was very active with the antifascist resistance, that my uncle was killed in Poland in 1939. And one of his friends was a young officer called Graf Claus Schenk von [Stauffenberg]. He was the man who actually put the suitcase beside Hitler in 1944 to have Hitler killed. And so, he was a family friend. And the issue is: Within any society, how does a person channel simply principled civil dissent within a Nazi dictatorship that accords violence? Within the system we have here, because it is a constitutional democracy, principled dissent needs to be channeled through the whistleblower system, because that will help senior management also seeing levels down.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you want your old job back within the Pentagon’s Inspector General Office, being in charge of protection of whistleblowers?

JOHN CRANE: When I was in charge, outside civil society organizations said that my programs were the federal gold standard. That is not the case anymore. That should the new acting inspector general want to return his office to the gold standard, I am willing to help.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard, as we begin to wrap up, how you came to investigate this story, and what the government’s response has been? You have interviewed Michael Hayden several times.

MARK HERTSGAARD: I did. The reason I got this story is because of the work of the Government Accountability Project, and they deserve a shout-out here. For 37 years, they have been defending whistleblowers, advocating for whistleblowers, both in individual cases like this and helping to write things like the whistleblower protection law and push it through Congress. They represented legally Edward Snowden, John Crane, Tom Drake and a whole range of other whistleblowers. And one of the things I say in the book is that while this is a very dramatic story, we need to understand as citizens—and this is what John Crane is saying here—we absolutely depend, as a democracy, on whistleblowers. We’ve got to know that they can come forward, because when whistleblowers come forward, whether it’s Daniel Ellsberg or John Crane or Edward Snowden or, you know, Jeffrey Wigand, who blew the whistle on how Big Tobacco was lying about nicotine in our cigarettes, you know, whistleblowers can make wars end, they can take deadly products off the market, and a whole range of other things. And I think whistleblowers do not get the respect that they deserve. And so that was what I was trying to do in this book. And the Government Accountability Project let me do that.

AMY GOODMAN: And the institutions you decided to release this with, this information—

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —where you went, and where you didn’t go?

MARK HERTSGAARD: I went to—I went in February to Europe to meet face to face with the editors especially at The Guardian, because they broke the Snowden story originally. And very proud to say that they saw the value of this story right away, the same with Der Spiegel in Germany. And I chose them precisely because they’re outside of the United States. Too often the mainstream media in this country, as you well know, Amy, tend to, by default almost, reflect and channel the government’s views of this. You asked, did I go to the government? Of course I went to the government. I asked them about this. I asked Henry Shelley, I asked Lynne Halbrooks—the people who offed John Crane. They said they wouldn’t comment. And I think that they are assuming that this is going to blow over, because, in general, the American media has not held their feet to the fire.

Michael Hayden, the NSA director, he basically says that he wanted to put Edward Snowden on a government kill list. He said that was a joke. But he’s not quite as bloodthirsty as James Woolsey, the former CIA director, who said last November, after the Paris terrorist attacks, that Mr. Snowden, quote, “should suffer death by hanging. Electrocution is too good for him.” So, when you’ve got a government like that, who has that kind of antipathy to whistleblowers, it’s all the more important that, as Snowden said yesterday reacting to John’s story in The Guardian, Snowden said we need to recognize whistleblowers and basically lift them up in the public debate, because without that, without the press doing that, the government will—by either active or de facto hostility, they will take people like John Crane down. And our democracy will be lessened. We would not know that the NSA is spying on all of us, had not Edward Snowden decided to go outside of this broken whistleblower system and become an act of conscience.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who was speaking on CNN last year. He called NSAwhistleblower Edward Snowden a traitor.

DONALD TRUMP: I think he’s a total traitor. And I would deal with him harshly. And if I were president, Putin would give him over. I would get along with Putin. I’ve dealt with Russia. Putin hates—

ANDERSON COOPER: You think you’d get along with Putin?

DONALD TRUMP: I think I’d get along with him fine. I think he’d be absolutely fine. He would never keep somebody like Snowden in Russia. He hates Obama. He doesn’t respect Obama. Obama doesn’t not like him, either. But he has no respect for Obama, has a hatred for Obama. And Snowden is living the life. Look, if that—if I’m president, Putin says, “Hey, boom, you’re gone.” I guarantee you that.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Donald Trump talking about Edward Snowden. John Crane, in these last 30 seconds, your final comment?

JOHN CRANE: Regarding whistleblowing, that civil society, the Office of the Special Counsel and the Congress, in the most recent defense authorization bill under Chairman McCain, independently have all reached the same conclusion regarding the whistleblowing system within the IG. And their message to Secretary Ashton Carter is: Houston, we have a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you, John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon in charge of protecting whistleblowers at the Pentagon and the NSA, speaking out here in this broadcast exclusive on Democracy Now! And Mark Hertsgaard, congratulations on your new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.

That does it for today’s show. I’ll be at the Philadelphia Free Library today at 1901 Vine Street at noon speaking, and tomorrow evening, Tuesday, at the BrooklynHistorical Society on Pierrepont. Happy birthday to Mike DiFilippo.


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

 

 

 

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MORE ON WHY AUSTERITY IS BAD FOR COUNTRIES LIKE OMAN, UAE, UK, & USA


https://eslkevin.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/good-trend-with-imf-besides-questioning-austerity-as-solution-for-greece-and-spain-it-is-questioning-austerity-for-other-countries-like-the-uae-oman/

The Austerity Delusion

Why a Bad Idea Won Over the West & other lands

Unable to take constructive action toward any common end, the U.S. Congress has recently been reduced to playing an ongoing game of chicken with the American economy. The debt-ceiling debacle gave way to the “fiscal cliff,” which morphed into the across-the-board cuts in military and discretionary spending known as “sequestration.” Whatever happens next on the tax front, further cuts in spending seem likely. And so a modified form of the austerity that has characterized policymaking in Europe since 2010 is coming to the United States as well; the only questions are how big the hit will end up being and who will bear the brunt. What makes all this so absurd is that the European experience has shown yet again why joining the austerity club is exactly the wrong thing for a struggling economy to do.

The eurozone countries, the United Kingdom, and the Baltic states have volunteered as subjects in a grand experiment that aims to find out if it is possible for an economically stagnant country to cut its way to prosperity. Austerity — the deliberate deflation of domestic wages and prices through cuts to public spending — is designed to reduce a state’s debts and deficits, increase its economic competitiveness, and restore what is vaguely referred to as “business confidence.” The last point is key: advocates of austerity believe that slashing spending spurs private investment, since it signals that the government will neither be crowding out the market for investment with its own stimulus efforts …

Read entire article herehttps://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2013-04-03/austerity-delusion

The austerity delusion | Paul Krugman | Business | The Guardian

in May 2010, as Britain headed into its last general election, elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well.

People holding these beliefs came to be widely known in economic circles as“austerians” – a term coined by the economist Rob Parenteau – and for a while the austerian ideology swept all before it.

But that was five years ago, and the fever has long since broken. Greece is now seen as it should have been seen from the beginning – as a unique case, with few lessons for the rest of us. It is impossible for countries such as the US and the UK, which borrow in their own currencies, to experience Greek-style crises, because they cannot run out of money – they can always print more. Even within the eurozone, borrowing costs plunged once the European Central Bank began to do its job and protect its clients against self-fulfilling panics by standing ready to buy government bonds if necessary. As I write this, Italy and Spain have no trouble raising cash – they can borrow at the lowest rates in their history, indeed considerably below those in Britain – and even Portugal’s interest rates are within a whisker of those paid by HM Treasury.

All of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited

On the other side of the ledger, the benefits of improved confidence failed to make their promised appearance. Since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity. In late 2012, the IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, went so far as to issue what amounted to a mea culpa: although his organisation never bought into the notion that austerity would actually boost economic growth, the IMF now believes that it massively understated the damage that spending cuts inflict on a weak economy.

Meanwhile, all of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited. Widely touted statistical results were, it turned out, based on highly dubious assumptions and procedures – plus a few outright mistakes – and evaporated under closer scrutiny.

Read entire article herehttp://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion

 

CONTRACTIONS

Why austerity budgets won’t save your economy

by Miles Kimballan, economics professor at the University of Michigan.

Austerity is in vogue. For some time now, countries in Europe have been raising taxes and cutting government spending because they are worried about their national debt. They have hit on the word austerity to describe these tax increases and government spending cuts. The US is now following suit.

But the trouble with austerity is that it is contractionary—that is, austerity tends to slow down the economy. In bad economic times, people can’t get jobs because businesses aren’t hiring, and businesses are not hiring because people aren’t spending. So in bad economic times, it adds insult to injury when the government does less spending, less hiring, and taxes more money out of the pockets of those who would otherwise spend.

The contractionary effect of austerity creates a dilemma, not only because a slower economy is painful for the people involved—that is, just about everyone—but also because tax revenue falls when the economy slows down, making it harder to rein in government debt. This dilemma has fueled a big debate. There are four basic positions:

1. Arguing that austerity can actually stimulate the economy, as long as it is implemented gradually. That is the position John Cogan and John Taylor take in their Wall Street Journal op-ed, “How the House Budget Would Boost the Economy,” which I questioned in my column, “The Stanford economists are so wrong: A tighter budget won’t be accompanied by tighter monetary policy.”

2. Arguing that debt is so terrible that austerity is necessary even if it tanks the economy. This is seldom argued in so many words, but is the implicit position of many government officials, both in Europe and the US.

3. Arguing that the economy is in such terrible shape that we have to be willing to increase spending (and perhaps cut taxes) even if it increases the debt. This is the position taken by economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Indeed, Krugman is so intent on arguing that the government should spend more, despite the effect on the debt, that in many individual columns he appears to be denying that debt is a serious problem. A case in point is his reply, “Another Attack of the 90% Zombie,” to my column emphasizing the dangers of Italy’s national debt, “What Paul Krugman got wrong about Italy’s economy.” (In addition to this column, I responded on my blog.)

4. Arguing that there are ways to stimulate the economy without running up the national debt. This is what I also argue in my column on Krugman. For the US, the most important point is that using monetary policy to stimulate the economy does not add to the national debt andthat even when interest rates are near zero, the full effectiveness of monetary policy can be restored if we are willing to make a legal distinction between paper currency and electronic money in bank accounts—treating electronic money as the real thing, and putting paper currency in a subordinate role. (See my columns, “How paper currency is holding the US recovery back” and “What the heck is happening to the US economy? How to get the recovery back on track.”) As things are now, Ben Bernanke is all too familiar with the limitation on monetary policy that comes from treating paper currency as equivalent to electronic money in bank accounts. He said in his Sept. 13, 2012 press conference:

If the fiscal cliff isn’t addressed, as I’ve said, I don’t think our tools are strong enough to offset the effects of a major fiscal shock, so we’d have to think about what to do in that contingency.

Without the limitations on monetary policy that come from our current paper currency policy, the Fed could lower interest rates enough (even into negative territory for a few quarters if necessary) to offset the effects of even major tax increases and government spending cuts.

The price of debt

Since I see a way to stimulate the economy without adding to the national debt—and even in the face of measures to rein in the national debt—I face no temptation to downplay the costs of high levels of national debt. What are those costs? The most obvious cost of high levels of national debt is that at some point, lenders start worrying about whether a country can ever pay back its debts and raise the interest rates they charge. (This all works through the bond market, giving rise to James Carville’s famous quip: “I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”) One can disagree with their judgment, but lenders are showing no signs of doubting the ability of the US government to pay its debts. But there can be costs to debt even if no one ever doubts that the US government can pay it back.

To understand the other costs of debt, think of an individual going into debt. There are many appropriate reasons to take on debt, despite the burden of paying off the debt:

  • To deal with an emergency—such as unexpected medical expenses—when it was impossible to be prepared by saving in advance.
  • To invest in an education or tools needed for a better job.
  • To buy an affordable house or car that will provide benefits for many years.

There is one more logically coherent reason to take on debt—logically coherent but seldom seen in the real world:

  • To be able to say with contentment and satisfaction in one’s impoverished old age, “What fun I had when I was young!”

In theory, this could happen if when young, one had a unique opportunity for a wonderful experience—an opportunity that is very rare, worth sacrificing for later on. Another way it could happen is if one simply cared more in general about what happened in one’s youth than about what happened in one’s old age.

Tax increases and government spending cuts are painful. Running up the national debt concentrates and intensifies that pain in the future. Since our budget deficits are not giving us a uniquely wonderful experience now, to justify running up debt, that debt should be either (i) necessary to avoid great pain now, or (ii) necessary to make the future better in a big enough way to make up for the extra debt burden. The idea that running up debt is the only way to stimulate an economic recovery when interest rates are near zero is exactly what I question in my previous column about Italy’s economy. If reforming the way we handle paper currency made it clear that running up the debt is not necessary to stimulate the economy, what else could justify increasing our national debt? In that case, only true investments in the future would justify more debt: things like roads, bridges, and scientific knowledge that would still be there in the future yielding benefits—benefits for which our children and we ourselves in the future will be glad to shoulder the burden of debt.

Follow Miles on Twitter at@mileskimball. His blog issupplysideliberal.com. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

Austerity For Dummies: A 3-Minute Guide To A Very Bad (And Very …

http://www.ufpj-dvn.org/Austerity-defining-issue.pdf

Obama Administration. Here’s an explanation as to what austerity is all about, from … “I consider myself well-informed, but I have no idea what the term ‘austerity …

Missing: oman

Fiscal austerity: A deficit of common sense – The Economist

Oct 27, 2012 – Yet it is wrong to caricature austerity as good or bad. Austerity has hurt growth more than its proponents expected. But for many countries it has …

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Austerity Measures Are a Bad Idea …

May 14, 2014 – Austerity measures aren’t just a bad idea for our economy… it turns out that … prenatal health services are no longer available to many woman.

The History of a Dangerous Idea: Mark Blyth Talks Austerity, Greece …

Nov 22, 2014 – The History of a Dangerous Idea: Mark Blyth Talks Austerity, Greece and the …. Soausterity is not just a bad economic policy, but [is present] in …

5 Reasons Why a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment Is a Bad Idea …

Jul 28, 2014 – “Congress has never sent [a balanced budget amendment] on to the states for ratification [and] Congress should not do so now, despite the …

Slaves of Defunct Economists by Henry Farrell | The Washington …

Apr 11, 2013 – Mark Blyth’s new book, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, gives us some … First, it asks why bad economic ideas, like austerity, have such powerful consequences. ….. Playing the Woman Card on Foreign Policy.

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea: Mark Blyth … – Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com › … › Politics & Government

Amazon.com, Inc.

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. … Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea Hardcover – April 25, 2013. … The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea

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Good Trend with IMF, besides questioning Austerity as Solution for Greece and Spain, it is questioning Austerity for Other Countries, like the UAE, Oman


Oman, for example, should continue with big projects, like improving education, improving transportation by building train lines, etc. –kas

The Austerity Delusion | Foreign Affairs

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2013-04-03/austerity-delusion

Foreign Affairs

The results of Europe’s experiment with austerity are in and they’re clear: it doesn’t work. Here’s how such a … Why a Bad Idea Won Over the West. By Mark Blyth …

Missing: oman

The austerity delusion | Paul Krugman | Business | The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com › Business › Austerity

The Guardian

Apr 28, 2015 – “The idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is … could point to Reinhart and Rogoff and declare that high debt is very, very bad.

Missing: oman

The Wrong Medicine: Why Fiscal Austerity Is a Bad Idea for a …

Aug 4, 2011 – The Wrong Medicine: Why Fiscal Austerity Is a Bad Idea for a Slumping Economy …Austerity proponents argue that balancing government budgets and …. of our culture to today’s assault of a trans woman at a D.C. store.

Why austerity budgets won’t save your economy — Quartz

qz.com/69302/austerity-is-bad-economic-policy/

Apr 1, 2013 – A woman sings a protest song against austerity policies in Portugal. … In bad economic times, people can’t get jobs because businesses aren’t hiring, …. The idea that running up debt is the only way to stimulate an economic …

[PDF]Austerity For Dummies: A 3-Minute Guide To A Very Bad (And Very …

http://www.ufpj-dvn.org/Austerity-defining-issue.pdf

Obama Administration. Here’s an explanation as to what austerity is all about, from … “I consider myself well-informed, but I have no idea what the term ‘austerity …

Missing: oman

Abu Dhabi Spending Cuts May Have Exacerbated Oil-Led Slowdown

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Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education


Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, Will the Millennial Movement Rebuild the Ivory Tower or Be Crushed by It?

Much of our future is reliably unpredictable, and what more so than the moments when mass movements suddenly break out and sweep across our world? Who expected, for example, that for perhaps the first time in history hundreds of thousands of people would hit the streets of U.S. cities and towns — and millions the global streets from London and Barcelona to Sydney and Jakarta — in early 2003 to protest the coming invasion of Iraq, a war, that is, that hadn’t even begun? Or that such a movement would essentially vanish not long after that war was predictably launched?

Who imagined that, in September 2011, a small group of youthful protesters, settling into Zuccotti Park, an obscure square near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, would “occupy” it and so the American imagination in such a way that “the 1%” and “the 99%” became part of our everyday language; Wall Street (as it hadn’t beenfor decades) a reviled site; and “inequality” part of the national conversation rather than just the national reality? Who imagined in the moment before it happened that such a movement, such a moment, would then sweep the country and the world, that streets and squares in American cities and those around the world would be “occupied” and that global inequality would become, and remain, an issue of import?

Who imagined that a small number of environmentalists running an obscure organization called 350.org would help spark a climate-change movement that would spread globally in a startling fashion, mount a large demonstration in Washington and others across the planet, venture into the Arctic and by kayak into the waters of the American West, and actually stop the building of a pipeline slated to carry the carbon-dirtiest of energy sources from now-ravagedAlberta, Canada, to the American Gulf Coast, and — with a growingdivestment movement and other activities — put the fear of god into the most profitable and influential corporations on the planet?

And who imagined that the shooting of a young black man in a place no one (outside of Missouri) had ever heard of and the death-by-choking of another black man on the streets of New York City, events that were, in the annals of American policing, hardly out of the ordinary, would propel a protest movement whose name couldn’t sum up its goals better — Black Lives Matter — to national prominence or that this would, in turn, help spark a movement of millennials, discussed today by TomDispatch regular Avi Chomsky, that would sweep college campuses nationwide?

Is there anything stranger than what in the world, on occasion, gets into us human beings, what suddenly makes us so ornery that we sometimes stand up to overwhelming power in defense of convictions that, until moments before, we didn’t even know would occupy us in such a way? And perhaps nothing is more useful than the unpredictability of such moments, such movements. Otherwise how would they ever catch power off guard? Tom

The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education
Student Protest, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Rise of the Corporate University
By Aviva Chomsky

During the past academic year, an upsurge of student activism, a movement of millennials, has swept campuses across the country and attracted the attention of the media. From coast to coast, from the Ivy League to state universities to small liberal arts colleges, a wave of student activism has focused on stopping climate change, promoting a living wage, fighting mass incarceration practices, supporting immigrant rights, and of course campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

Both the media and the schools that have been the targets of some of these protests have seized upon certain aspects of the upsurge for criticism or praise, while ignoring others. Commentators, pundits, and reporters have frequently trivialized and mocked the passion of the students and the ways in which it has been directed, even as universities have tried to appropriate it by promoting what some have called “neoliberal multiculturalism.” Think of this as a way, in particular, of taming the power of the present demands for racial justice and absorbing them into an increasingly market-oriented system of higher education.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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Have American White Males Moved On?


Many Americans grew up in towns that until the 1960s or 1970s had  Sun Down Laws–written and unwritted–which kept other races out.  I believe I grew up till the age of 9 in such a town.  Thank goodness my family moved shortly thereafter. –kasSundown Towns in the United States


Search the Sundown Towns Database

 

AMERICA’S MOVED ON—BUT MANY STILL LIVE IN A WHITE FANTASY LAND

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Some of the intellectual theft Dissernet has identified is comic in its brazenness and absurdity. Duma member Igor Igoshin allegedly earned his economics degree by turning someone else’s paper on the Russian chocolate industry into a thesis on meat; the dissertation replaced every mention of “chocolate” with “beef,” “dark chocolate” with “home-grown beef,” and “white chocolate” with “imported beef.”


The Craziest Black Market in Russia

It’s not for oil or guns. It’s for plagiarized dissertations. And every self-respecting doctor, lawyer, and politician in the country wants one.

160520_CRIME_Dissernet-Diploma-Lede

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker

Late last year, Russian newspapers reported what would have qualified as a stunning piece of news almost anywhere else: The chairman of the country’s largest parliamentary body had been exposed as a plagiarist. Sergei Naryshkin, the former chief of staff in Vladimir Putin’s administration and a prominent member of his United Russia party, stood accused of receiving the Russian equivalent of a doctoral degree on the strength of a dissertation in which more than half of the pages contained material lifted from other sources.

Leon NeyfakhLEON NEYFAKH

Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

In a satisfying twist, one of the uncredited guests in Naryshkin’s thesis—a 196-page paper titled “Foreign Investment in Russia as a Factor in Economic Development”—was an unabashedly liberal economist named Vladislav Inozemtsev. “It’s quite amusing that a prominent member of United Russia decided to turn to my article,” Inozemtsev said at the time. “It seems he found it to be of good quality.”

Of course, no one really believed that Naryshkin had read Inozemtsev’s article or that he was guilty of copying it himself. Rather, he was suspected of paying a ghostwriter to produce a thesis in his name, then bribing academic officials to secure its certification. Naryshkin probably never even read the dissertation that had earned him his degree.

In the United States, the exposure of a government official of Naryshkin’s stature as a plagiarist would likely set off a major scandal. (Imagine if Paul Ryan was found to have written an economics paper in which he had borrowed liberally from Paul Krugman.) Naryshkin’s fate hasn’t been so dire. After giving a half-hearted statement in his own defense—“I was told that some website published some information. But I trust the judgment of real scientists”—he continued doing his job as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

To be fair, nothing much had. As Naryshkin himself surely knew when the accusations against him were leveled, he is just one of more than 1,000 high-achieving, well-heeled Russians who have recently been caught plagiarizing large parts of their dissertations.

Sergei Naryshkin
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin speaks during the European Social Charter Conference on March 17 in Turin, Italy.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Many of the alleged fraudsters are politicians. Some are judges. Others are prosecutors, police officials, and heads of universities; one was a bureaucrat in charge of overseeing Russia’s circus industry. In the past few years alone, there have been credible allegations of dissertation plagiarism made against Russia’s minister of culture, the governor of St. Petersburg, and the head of the country’s top federal investigating authority. Just in the past month, copy-and-pasting has been discovered in the dissertations of the deputy finance minister of the Russian republic of Mordovia and a government adviser on justice who is the putative author of a thesis comparing legal principles in Russia and the West.

Read the rest here at source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/05/the_thriving_russian_black_market_in_dissertations_and_the_crusaders_fighting.html

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Several tribal villages in central India face annihilation as they are being forced to leave their ancestral land in Achanakmar tiger reserve, close to the area which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.


India: Forest tribe “will die out” if evicted from ancestral land

Many Baiga have already been evicted from their forest homes, and now face lives of poverty in resettlement camps

Many Baiga have already been evicted from their forest homes, and now face lives of poverty in resettlement camps
© Survival

Several tribal villages in central India face annihilation as they are being forced to leave their ancestral land in Achanakmar tiger reserve, close to the area which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

The Baiga tribespeople have been repeatedly harassed and told that they will have to move from their villages to a muddy clearing outside the reserve, even though there is no evidence their presence in the reserve is harming tigers. Such evidence is required if the tribe’s eviction is to be lawful, but in fact the number of tigers in the reserve reportedly rose from 12 to 28 between 2011 and 2015.

One Baiga man from Rajak village said: “We don’t want to go, we can’t go. What should we do?”

A local witness told Survival: “There is nothing around the new site for them, nothing will grow in the land, there is no water and they won’t be able to take anything from the forest. That’s why they are so adamant that they won’t leave, because if they go they will just die out.”

Some have been told that if they don’t leave their ancestral land, guards will release bears and snakes into their villages. Others have been arrested and harassed – in 2009 one man was jailed for three months for eating a squirrel he had found dead on the forest floor.

Those who have already been evicted from Achanakmar now live in inadequate government camps and face lives of poverty on the fringes of mainstream Indian society.

One Baiga person from Chirahatta village, which is facing eviction, said: “They’ve been placing restrictions on us for two or three years. They don’t let us live. They take us to jail and threaten us. They are harsh and strict. They put us in jail for nothing. If we say anything they threaten to put us in jail. They are making it difficult for us to live.”

Elsewhere, Baiga people do back-breaking manual labour in bauxite mines in terrible working conditions.

Across India, tribespeople are being illegally evicted from tiger reserves, despite there being no evidence that their presence harms tigers. They face arrest and, in some places, beatings, torture and even summary execution for trying to re-enter their ancestral land, while large-scale tiger-spotting tourism is encouraged.

Baiga work in terrible conditions in the Bodai-Daldali bauxite mine, Chhattisgarh. Having once lived sustainable lives in the forests, they now endure exploitation and poverty after eviction from their land.

Baiga work in terrible conditions in the Bodai-Daldali bauxite mine, Chhattisgarh. Having once lived sustainable lives in the forests, they now endure exploitation and poverty after eviction from their land.
© Sayantan Bera/Survival

Last year, Survival learned that tiger numbers had increased at well above the Indian national average in BRT, the one reserve in India where tribes have been formally allowed to stay on their land, demonstrating that tribal villages within wildlife reserves do not pose a substantial threat to tigers or their habitat.

Survival has written to WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, which equips and trains the forest guards in the region.

Evidence proves that tribal peoples are better at looking after their environment than anyone else. Despite this, they are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of conservation. The big conservation organizations are guilty of supporting this. They never speak out against evictions.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said: “It’s illegal and immoral to target tribes, who have coexisted with the tiger for centuries, when industrialization and mass-scale colonial-era hunting are the real reason the tiger became endangered. It’s also ineffective, because targeting tribespeople diverts action away from tackling the true poachers – criminal gangs. Big conservation organisations should be partnering with tribal peoples, not propping up the Forest Departments that are guilty of brutalizing them. Targeting tribal people harms conservation.”

Read this online: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11254

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WAR BRINGS OUT THE WORST


CONFESSIONS OF AN ISIS DESERTER

This article first appeared on the Syria Deeply site.

In most ways, Abu Khadija, a 39-year-old Syrian, is not remarkable.

He used to make a living as a salesman in a men’s clothing shop in Damascus. He has four children, two boys and two girls, and a wife he loves dearly.

The unremarkable man of medium build with a light beard and kind, unassuming eyes looks like many of the shopkeepers in the capital’s renowned Hamidiyah marketplace.

RTR3WKMTAn ISIS fighter in a military parade on the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The authors write that ISIS gave Syrian rebel fighters a choice: join them or die. Two brothers pledged their allegiance to ISIS and took up arms.REUTERS

But in one way, Khadija is very remarkable indeed. He is among the few former Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters who managed to leave the group alive. The radical extremist group is famous for executing fighters who try to desert or leave as a warning to others.

This is his story.

Like many Syrians, Khadija, who asked us not to use his real name for security reasons, was enthralled by the protests that erupted in the country on the tail end of the Arab Spring and decided to return to his hometown of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria to join the demonstrators calling for an end to the autocratic rule of Bashar al-Assad.

When the government cracked down brutally on the demonstrators, Khadija said he came to the conclusion that peaceful protests were no match for the regime.

Along with two of his brothers, Abu Abdullah and Abu Abdul Malik, Khadija joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group consisting mostly of defected Syrian Armed Forces officers and soldiers intent on bringing down the Assad regime, as soon as it was formed in 2011.

“When the security forces fired on the demonstrators, we had no other choice but to defend ourselves,” he said. “At that point, the revolutionary work turned from chanting against the regime to defending ourselves.

“The only response we had was to fight back. It might have been the wrong answer, but it was the only one that helped us survive their bullets and keep the revolution alive.”

In battles with the government, his brother Malik was killed. He said he continued to fight for the FSA to seek revenge for the death of his older brother.

Khadija fought with the FSA, he said, until ISIS took over most of Deir Ezzor province in the summer of 2013. The group gave the local fighters a choice—join us or die. He and his surviving brother, Abdullah, pledged their allegiance to ISIS and took up arms for the group.

“All we wanted was to bring the regime down,” he said. “When ISIS took control of the area, my remaining brother and I decided to pledge allegiance and fight with them because we did not want to leave the area, so that we could take revenge for our brother. We had heard that the fighters of ISIS were very fierce, and we believed that they would be able to defeat the Syrian regime.”

Khadija and his younger brother were put through a “repentance” program. They had to declare their nonrecognition of all of Syria’s other armed factions, admit to apostasy and embrace Islam all over again.

When their repentance was accepted, they went through a “rehabilitation” program centered on ISIS’s “principles of Islam” and Islamic Sharia law and on the necessity of fighting and jihad. Those who passed the repentance program but did not join the rehabilitation program were called “the public.

“My brother and I met the [ISIS’s] general ruler of Deir Ezzor, Abu Dhar the Iraqi, and pledged our allegiance,” Khadija said. “We then attended a 21-­day repentance program in a closed camp in the city of Al­-Mayadeen, followed by a one-month Sharia program.”

He said the rehabilitation program consisted of the study of Islamic scholars from the religion’s Salafi branch, a highly conservative, fundamentalist strain of Islam, such as the 14th-century thinker Ibn Taymiyyah, who once issued a fatwa declaring jihad, or holy war, against Mongols who had claimed to have converted to Islam but did not follow strict Sharia law.

After completing the Sharia program, the men were given the choice to either return to their normal lives and be part of “the public” or enroll in military training. “The military training prepares the participants to fight—to undertake jihad—in any territory in the world. In addition to fitness training, fighters learn how to use weapons and choose a particular specialization,” Khadija said.

Still believing they would help topple the Assad regime, the brothers chose to fight. They went through 60 days of military training in a camp next to Al­-Shadadi city, about halfway along the road between Deir Ezzor and Hassakeh to the north. The pair quickly became group leaders, training heavily with Kalashnikov rifles and other light weapons.

Khadija said life improved for his family after he joined ISIS.

“Those who pledged allegiance to ISIS were granted discounts on food and other goods,” said Um Khadija, Khadija’s wife, saying they paid only 60 Syrian pounds [$0.25] for a loaf of bread, while others paid 105 pounds [$0.48]. “We also got free electricity service, while the ‘the public’ had to pay around 8,000 Syrian pounds [$36] per month to get generator service.”

However, as ISIS tightened its grip on Deir Ezzor, it began executing people it accused of apostasy or communicating with the FSA. It also executed military leaders deemed to be a potential future threat, although most of them had already pledged allegiance to ISIS.

A short time later, ISIS accused Abdullah of still being connected with the FSA and executed him. Khadija also said ISIS may have viewed his brother, whom he said was a fierce fighter, as a threat to their leadership.

When I heard over the walkie-­talkie that my brother had been killed, I ran to the field hospital. At the beginning, the nurses prevented me from seeing him, but I didn’t listen. I stormed my way in to see his body.

I realized then that ISIS had killed him. He was shot in the back of his head—the way many other former Free Syrian Army fighters have been killed. My brother was killed because he was courageous and strong. When they killed my brother, I couldn’t take it anymore.

Khadija soon began to fear for his own life, worried he would face the same fate as Abdullah.

He told ISIS that he could not return to his post at the military airport because he was still in mourning for his brother and spent some time in the nearby cities of Abu Kamal and Al­-Mayadeen, where he witnessed daily executions and the cutting off of hands.

Khadija decided secretly to leave as soon as possible.

I saw what happened in Al-­Mayadeen and Abu Kamal. Not one of their punishments was just. One guy was executed simply because someone said that he had fought against ISIS, even though his relatives swore he had never held a weapon. The guy who accused him belonged to a family that was fighting with the other guy’s family.

Fifteen days after his brother’s death, Khadija, his wife and children packed up and left. The family took a car to Raqqa, in northern Syria, and from there headed west toward the city of Al­-Bab in Aleppo.

As soon as they passed the last ISIS checkpoint, Khadija shaved off his beard.

Now he is wracked with guilt.

He believes his decision to stay in Deir Ezzor and pledge allegiance to ISIS to take revenge on the Assad regime for his older brother’s death cost his younger brother his life.

The death of his younger brother was even harder to take. He said he had trusted the men who killed him. He believed they were on his side, fighting to do away with Assad.

“I still don’t know why they killed him, but I know they did, and I am sure that they would have killed me if I’d stayed,” Khadija said. “These people are so far away from Islam.”

Yasser Allawi and Jalal Zein al-Deen are independent Syrian journalists.

This article originally appeared on Syria Deeply, and you can find the original here. For weekly updates about the war in Syria, you can sign up to the Syria Deeply email list.

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