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Letters to the Editor

Whistleblowers will be topic of Thursday event

The Rock River Open Forum will show and discuss the 90-minute DVD “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Rock Falls Public Library. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Leakers simply make secret information public, while whistleblowers are employees who disclose information they reasonably believe demonstrates fraud, waste, abuse, or danger to public health or safety.

Whistleblowers try to express their concerns internally before going public. They run the risk of losing their jobs and reputations, paying expensive legal fees, upsetting their families and friends, and being intimidated, secretly spied upon, and often arrested.

The documentary focuses on four case studies:

n Franz Gayl, adviser for the Marine Corps, the fatal use of humvees in Iraq.

n Thomas Drake, former senior executive at the National Security Agency, surveillance of American citizens without legal warrants. 

n Thomas Tamm, former attorney to the Department of Justice, a secret special program to track down terrorists.

n Michael DeKort, lead systems engineer for Lockheed Martin and in charge of the Coast Guard Deepwater Program, awareness of serious problems with Lockheed’s execution of the contract.

Mention is made of Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam War analyst for the military who exposed the Pentagon Papers, and Bradley Manning, regarding the use of questionable and vicious torture techniques.

Those case studies are very much influenced by the World Trade Center destruction, the war on terror, the military-industrial complex, and heightened fear felt by the American people.

A democracy can function only when the citizenry is aware of the behavior and actions of the government. It is very unfortunate that whistleblowers are needed to set our country straight.

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