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The Whistleblowers

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It is Due Time For Voters To "Clean House"

By James Donahue

In all of my years of reporting news . . . much of it concerning political and court happenings . . . I was only threatened once with judicial prosecution because of a story I wrote. That story involved the misbehavior of a district judge who was attempting to blackmail the Board of County Commissioners into giving him a generous pay raise. The legal counsel for the Gannett Newspaper I worked for got behind me. The lawyers answered his court order for me to reveal my information source and in legal jargon told him to "go to hell." Of course I reported every detail of that confrontation. Voters got the message and threw the bum out of office when the next election rolled around.

The freedom of the press has always been an important issue to me. I always dared to stick my nose into things that put me in some kind of trouble with people in power. I saw it as my duty to keep people informed.

Thomas Jefferson once warned: "Experience hath shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Jefferson also said: "The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by a despotic government."

And there was Jefferson’s most familiar quote: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Jefferson, one of the great founders of this nation and a man who helped frame the Constitution, was warning about the kind of tyranny that we are witnessing today among the elected "leaders" of our nation. With the American media now controlled by a few big corporations, and the foreign press left as the only real source of revelations by investigative reporters, it should be no surprise that papers like the Guardian in the British Isles, Germany’s Spiegel and Al Jazeera in Qatar have become among the best sources of straight and honest news reports about the goings on in not only the world, but in the United States.

Thus when New York Congressman Peter King told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he believed news reporters should be prosecuted for publishing stories that leaked classified government information, it made the few bristles left on my head raise in anger.

The conflicts occurring between the so-called whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, who exposed the internal spying on Americans by the CIA, Bradley Manning who is now on trial for allegedly leaking military documents to Wikileaks, and Julian Assange, the editor of Wikileaks for publishing those military documents but other leaked government documents, all involve the release of information that officials in high places have labeled "classified" and important for "government security."

The problem we have with claiming these kinds of classifications is that we are discovering, after reading these so-called secret documents, that the information once made public, appears to have been no real threat to government or national security at all. Much of the information seems to be things that were being held from the media to avoid embarrassment to certain elected officials.

So by whose authority were these documents classified as "top secret?" And how dare these elected leaders threaten reporters with prosecution and possible imprisonment for doing their job?

Sure, the corporate-owned American media is making a big stink over the alleged damage the released information has caused to national security. But how can we believe this propaganda if we haven’t read the published documents and discerned for ourselves just how serious the breach of information really has been?

Americans should be very concerned about this dramatic power play. It is time for the voters to recognize how the nation has converted from good intentions into corruption and tyranny from within. The only way to fix it is to clean house in future elections. Lets toss out the bums and put some fresh blood in those hallowed seats of the House and Senate.

It might be a good idea to think about a third party candidate for the presidency while we are at it.