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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | Police State and Prisons
Britain Harasses Human Rights Lawyer
Britain Harasses Human Rights Lawyer
by Stephen Lendman
Britain, America and Israel are likeminded. They're rogue states. They're axis of evil partners.
They operate ruthlessly. They mock democratic values. They trash rule of law principles. They tolerate no one challenging their lawlessness.
They vilify them. They imprison some. They do so to threaten others. Most often they harass. They do it no-holds-barred.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls itself "the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization."
Jesselyn Radack is a prominent human rights lawyer/whistleblower. She's GAP's National Security & Human Rights director.
She's involved mainly with national security and intelligence community whistleblowers. She focuses on torture, lawless surveillance, secrecy and political discrimination.
She represented former senior NSA official Thomas Drake. He won awards for truth-telling and intelligence integrity.
On April 15, 2010, he was wrongfully indicted. Obama prosecutors did so under the 1917 Espionage Act.
He faced multiple charges. They included willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements.
He leaked information on lawless NSA spying. He exposed agency waste, fraud and abuse.
He performed a vital public service. He deserved praise, not prosecution. In May 2011, 60 Minutes featured his case. He was lucky.
In early June, Obama's Justice Department dropped all charges. They did so in return for his pleading guilty to a misdemeanor too minor to matter.
He got one year probation. He agreed to perform community service. Federal Judge Richard D. Bennett presided at his sentencing hearing.
He chastised government prosecutors. He called it "unconscionable" charging Drake with crimes potentially calling for 35 years in prison only to drop them on the eve of trial.
He refused to impose a fine. Drake's defense devastated him financially. He lost his six-figure NSA job and pension.
Perhaps he inspired Edward Snowden's revelations. He's an activist against lawless surveillance state practices.
Last September, he called NSA spying too systemically out-of-control to fix. The only solution is shutting it down and starting over.
He should have included everything ongoing politically. It's unprincipled. It's lawless. It's corrupted. It's too broken to fix.
The only solution is turning a page. It's making a clean sweep. It's cleaning house. It's starting over. Nothing else can work.
Radack is on the frontline for justice. She's a Yale Law School grad. She's a former Justice Department ethics advisor. She practiced constitutional tort law.
She gained prominence from John Walker Lindh's case. He was captured in Afghanistan. He was persecuted unjustly. He was outrageously called the "American Taliban."
He was brutally tortured and abused. He was falsely accused of treason. He was victimized by post-9/11 hysteria. His case was the first prominent terrorism-related one. He was Bush "Detainee 001."
His trial was a travesty of justice. He was guilty by accusation. In 2002, he got 20 years without the possibility of parole.
With good behavior, it could be three less. It depends entirely on the political climate at the time.
America's fast track toward full-blown tyranny isn't encouraging. Lindh and many other political prisoners may stay buried in prison hell interminably.
Obama can detain anyone on his say alone. He can hold them indefinitely with or without charges.
Innocence is no defense. Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst.
Lindh, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and many others like them bear testimony to US ruthlessness. It's worse than ever now. It shows no signs of improving.
Radack chronicled her whistleblowing connection to Lindh in her memoir titled "TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the 'American Taliban.' "
She exposed Bush administration wrongdoing in his case. He was horrendously treated. He was brutally interrogated without legal counsel.
Justice Department officials suppressed important information. Attorney General John Ashcroft made false and misleading public statements.
Whistleblowing got Radack targeted. She was harassed. She experienced it at DOJ and subsequent private employment.
She was put on a No-Fly "Selectee" list. She remained on from 2003 through 2009. She endured unjustifiable/harassing security scrutiny.
She uses lessons drawn from her ordeal to help others. Lindh's mistreatment was a "harbinger" for what followed, she explained.
It included institutionalizing torture as official policy. Radack was the first post-9/11 whistleblower raising alarms. She exposed outrageous Bush administration wrongdoing.
"I am the Department of Justice attorney who blew the whistle on the government misconduct in the case of John Walker Lindh, the 'American Taliban."
She said so in Chapter 1 of her book. She's a leading whistleblower champion. "I don't wear the label 'whistleblower' comfortably," she said.
"Why should I get some special moniker for doing what I would have done anyway," she asked? Others like her call it "doing their jobs."
It's as simple as knowing right from wrong. It's how civil servants should behave. Just societies demand no less.
Whistleblowers should be honored. They deserve praise, not retaliatory targeting. Happy outcomes aren't typical, said Radack.
"(F)or every success story" like Daniel Ellsberg, "there are a hundred stories of professional martyrdom," she explained.
"Mine is one of them," she added. She represents Edward Snowden. She's in the line of fire.
She was detained at London's Heathrow Airport. She was interrogated about trips to Russia, Julian Assange, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Snowden.
She was asked why she went to Russia twice in three months. She spoke to Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola.
A Border Force agent harassed her. She faced "very hostile questioning." She was asked why she was there. "To see friends," she said.
She was asked to identify them. They're members of a group called Sam Adams Associates. They're former CIA officers.
They're intelligence professionals for integrity. Annually they present the Sam Adams Award. It's named after Samuel A. Adams. He was a Vietnam War era CIA whistleblower.
Past recipients include Coleen Rowley, Katherine Gun, Sibel Edmonds, Craig Murray, Samuel Provance, Andrew Wilkie, Frank Grevil, Larry Wilkerson, Julian Assange, Thomas Drake, Thomas Fingar, Edward Snowden, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Radack.
She was asked where she planned to meet friends she came to see. "At the Ecuadorian Embassy," she said.
It's where Julian Assange remains a political refugee. Ecuador granted him asylum. He faces lawless extradition to America.
Obama wants him prosecuted. He wants him imprisoned longterm like Manning. He wants another message sent potential whistleblowers.
He wants them warned about being declared enemies of the state. He wants them told they receive harsh treatment.
Throughout his tenure, he waged war on freedom. Truth-telling and dissent increasingly aren't tolerated.
Whistleblowers are called threats to national security. Obama targeted more of them than all his predecessors combined.
Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability and "change (to) believe in." President Obama delivered business as usual and then some.
Police state lawlessness defines his administration. So does waging war on humanity worldwide. He's gone all-out to defend the indefensible.
Americans have never been less safe. Doing the right thing is risky. Anyone trying becomes vulnerable.
Radack knows what whistleblowers face. She was "stone face cold" during Heathrow Airport interrogation.
She was asked if she represents Snowden. "Yes, "I'm a human rights lawyer," she said.
Her interrogator "barked" questions. His demeanor was "threatening." Radack was told she's on an "inhibited persons list." It's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminology.
A DHS document states:
" ‘Inhibited status’, as defined in this rule, means the status of a passenger or non-traveling individual to whom TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has instructed a covered aircraft operator or a covered airport operator not to issue a boarding pass or to provide access to the sterile area."
Radack later responded to her mistreatment, saying "(t)he government, whether in the US, UK, or elsewhere does not have the authority to monitor, harass or intimidate lawyers for representing unpopular clients."
It's standard American practice. It warns attorneys about steering clear of defendants Washington wants convicted. Otherwise they're vulnerable.
Pastor Martin Niemoller recounted how Nazis came for communists, socialists, trade unionists, and Jews.
Each time, he didn't speak out. He wasn't among those targeted. "Then they came for me," he said. "(T)here was no one left to speak" on his behalf.
Now they're coming after lawyers. They're doing it in America. Representing unpopular clients leaves them vulnerable.
Imagine targeting anyone for doing the right thing. Imagine spying on them lawlessly. Imagine ruthlessly harassing them.
Imagine violating attorney/client confidentiality. Imagine rule of law principles no longer applying. Imagine defending the indefensible.
Radack quoted former White House speechwriter Jerome Doolittle on Bush administration DOJ officials targeting her, saying:
"There is something primordial about Team Bush's reaction to dissent, something reptilian."
"They're like the gila monster, its jaws holding their poisonous grip even after its head is severed."
Radack added: "If the Bush administration was primordial, the Obama administration is downright pathological..."
She felt obligated to tell her story. She felt a "moral imperative" to do so. She had many "pent-up things to say."
If white, well-educated, "comfortably middle-class" US lawyers can lose freedom, what chance have people of color, Muslims, immigrants, or others most disadvantaged.
Howard Zinn said "you can't be neutral on a moving train...You cannot be neutral on the crucial issues of our time."
Doing so means accepting the unacceptable. Late in life he said:
"Wherever any kind of injustice has been overturned, it's been because people acted as citizens, and not as politicians. They didn't just moan."
"They worked, they acted, they organized, they rioted if necessary to bring their situation to the attention of people in power. And that's what we have to do today."
"(T)he emperor has no clothes," said Radack. "(E)xpos(ing) the nakedness of government policies should be applauded, not annihilated."
On 9/11, her "life-altering" journey began. "The years immediately following" what happened "were the most difficult of (her) lifeâ€¦"
At the same time, she deepened her commitment for human and civil rights. She promised to use her "voice to try to prevent" anyone with something important to say from being silenced.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it radiate where most needed.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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