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Whistle-Blower Defense League Fights Government Oppression To Protect 1st Amendment

April 3, 2013 by  

Whistle-Blower Defense League Fights Government Oppression To Protect 1st Amendment
PHOTOS.COM

When the media, big business and big government are working in collusion to further their respective agendas, the general populace — putting faith in the information, policy and business practices of the aforementioned entities — usually gets shafted. But in a free society, whistle-blowers serve as a great equalizer in the battle between everyman and elitist; unfortunately, the U.S. legal system as it currently stands dissuades or, worse, destroys those who bring to light abuse, incompetence and corruption.

Over the course of the past year, the plight of the American whistle-blower has been highly publicized with the military trial of military leaker Bradley Manning under way, Stratfor hacker Jeremy Hammond in jail awaiting a trial, Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer’s imprisonment for pointing out an AT&T security flaw and the late Aaron Swartz’s Federal harassment and subsequent suicide after he downloaded academic journals and made them free to the public.

The Internet has made hackers and activists more able not only to access information that could affect public perception but also to disseminate the information to a wide audience, often bypassing traditional “legitimate” media organizations. This has led prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute so-called hacktivists and whistle-blowers with what some would describe as gratuitous severity.

To counteract a legal structure that is, by design, an encumbrance to the act of exposing wrongdoing for the public good, a group of expert criminal defense attorneys interspersed throughout the Nation have joined forces to create the Whistleblower Defense League. Among those more notable legal minds involved in the endeavor are Constitutional lawyer Dennis Roberts, a veteran of the civil rights movement; Jay Leiderman, a renowned Internet rights attorney; and writer and attorney Jason Flores-Williams.

In a press release, the legal experts explain the newly-formed group’s mission: “The government has amended the constitution with fear. In response, a nation-wide group of expert criminal defense attorneys have formed the Whistleblower Defense League to defend and encourage those willing to investigate and speak out against the corporate and political forces threatening our democracy.”

The WBDL says that it will provide, at limited cost, defense to Americans who are willing to put their freedom on the line in order to expose political and corporate malfeasance whether they are acting in the role of journalist, activist, freedom fighter or some combination of all three.

Flores-Williams, in an interview with Personal Liberty Digest™, explained that the government’s assault against whistle-blowers comes from a desire to protect the status quo by controlling information.

“It’s absolutely oppressive, the government’s goal is to kill dissent and to kill First Amendment rights,” he said. “The reason that the prosecution is so harsh is this: If you, as a journalist, decided to investigate the relationship between government and defense contractors, for instance, and you discover corruption or some wrongdoing, you’ll think twice before making the information public.”

According to the attorney, the government’s bid to silence whistle-blowers doesn’t end at prosecuting and intimidating the individuals seeking and disseminating damning information. The system also allows for the state to bully legal professionals who come to the aid of activists.

“Often, lawyers are afraid of the idea of taking on such a massive power,” Flores-Williams said. “When I used to hear people talk about surveillance and the need to talk on a secure line or use a secure connection, I used to laugh and think they were paranoid. But we’re dealing with a government that goes to great lengths to monitor whistle-blowers and dissenters. It’s not paranoia anymore; it’s going on.”

By extension, the attorney said, the government could also decide to monitor legal professionals who agree to defend individuals being prosecuted for publicizing sensitive information. This makes many lawyers unwilling to take on the cases of those who run afoul of the government apparatus.

Flores-Williams recently got involved in the case of writer, hacktivist and Anonymous ally Barret Brown who currently faces up to 100 years imprisonment for the simple act of pasting a hyperlink in an Internet chat room and allegedly making threats in a Youtube video against FBI agents who were investigating (and by many accounts, harassing) him.

In working to enter a motion to crush a subpoena in the case, Flores-Williams needed to find an attorney in Texas, where the legal proceedings are under way, to file the motion on his behalf. But the attorney found that legal professionals in the area were reluctant to get involved.

“That’s one of the hardest things to deal with in these kinds of cases,” he said. “Simply getting an attorney to say ‘yes’.”

Flores-Williams and his colleagues involved with the WBDL, however, are on a mission to change that.

“We’re here to protect these people, to encourage them to continue providing information that the public deserves access to,” he said. “And it isn’t just about going to court and going through the motions. They need to know that we’re for them and we believe in what they’re doing.”

The ability of individuals to gain access to and uncover more information than ever before has created a number of complex legal questions related to how freedom of the press relates to the individual who investigates and publicizes information without being affiliated with a traditional media organization.

Flores-Williams believes that government prosecutors are on a mission to ensure that grassroots media is hindered  in its efforts to provide the information that mainstream news outlets (which have a much cozier relationship with government officials) are unwilling to report.

“Nobody really expects CNN or other mainstream news outlets to tell the truth about things,” he said. “But there are, as we have seen, individuals out there who are willing to uncover the truth.”

As for mainstream media’s lackluster coverage of cases like those involving the government’s bullying of Auernheimer, Brown, Swartz, Manning Hammond and Sibel Edmonds, the attorney contends that the media silence speaks volumes.

“It should be a humiliation to mainstream journalists because it reveals that they don’t do their job,” Flores-Williams said. “Mainstream media basically serves as a press release system for the government.”

According to Flores-Williams, WBDL has received nonstop inquiries from whistle-blowers and activists who fear retaliation and prosecution by the state; but the private group of lawyers will continues to take on new cases in order to support people willing to risk it all to expose the truth.

WBDL Face Page

For more information about the WBDL, visit its website here.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Hedgehog

    It’s way past time for this to happen! I’m a Canadian and before I retired, I blew the whistle a few times. Those responsible never failed to attempt to retaliate. This usually brought more wrath down on their heads which they naturally blamed on me. One thing to remember, win, lose or draw, when you blow the whistle, don’t expect to be thanked or promoted.

    • podunk1

      Every organization of any size has CYA (cover-your-butt) specialists in high positions & they eventually bring everything to it’s knees. Businesses go broke or hire someone to 1) clean house & survive or 2) sell the business to a CYA organization that needs to CYA by shuffling product lines as they sell steroid stock to brain dead investors. Government has the answer – raise taxes and hire more CYA facillitators.

      Truth sets one free. A good organization has open communications and information flow. If one can’t handle the job, someone else does & incompetence will find its appropriate level of significance – & CYA disappears.

      Our problem is criminal corruption & treason. When our protectors are corrupted It takes a patriot to destroy a destroyer.
      Bengazi is a prime example. Give every survivor immunity & protection. Give them a medal if they come forward on their own! Everyone who intimidated them must be charged with treason, by more severe penalty each step higher in command! It couldn’t be worse!

  • Peter Barney

    I’m a whistle blower to protect my rights!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.frank28 Sean Frank

    I’m a whistle blower to protect my rights!

  • Vigilant

    Citing the case of Bradley Manning as an example of
    mistreatment of whistleblowers is as disingenuous as it comes, Mr, Rolley.

    Manning is a traitor who gratuitously leaked
    classified military documents by the thousands.
    His court martial will reveal the extent of his actions, and were a
    clear violation of the UCMJ. He deserves
    no pity, and to call him a legitimate whistle blower is to paint lipstick on a
    pig.

    • anthony

      You are wrong. If the government droned your mother’s house and called it confidential would you keep it a secret if you knew about it? He released proof of abuses commited by our government. That is the definition of a whistleblower. Nothing that he released was a danger to our troops because they were all records of previous occurences. He did his duty as am American to the American people, and to the world. He deserves his freedom, and a medal for his bravery.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.vance1 Adrian Vance

    The quickest way to have a lot of trouble on any job is to be a whistle blower. The best way to go about it is under cover: Send law enforcement tips to where they can pick up a string and pull the lid off.

    See The Two Minute Conservative at: http://tinyurl.com/7jgh7wv and when you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  • Bill Henry

    What is needed in this country is spine. It is time to show our strength as citizens under the protection of the Constitution of the United States of America. We have a right to peacefully assemble and air our grievances with government, and to show up at the polls and oust those who are leaching off our tax dollars. That is not only a right but a duty of a citizen of this country. Wake up America!! Non sibi sed partriae

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