The right of the people to know, and the ability to hold government accountable, rests on an open and transparent government and a free press.
Congress has largely abdicated its oversight responsibility. Instead, journalists, advocates and muckrakers must dig for the truth, using the Freedom of Information Act and state and local Public Records laws to liberate government documents. Whistleblowers play a vital role exposing government wrong-doing and ineptitude, but are often prosecuted. In recent years, the war on transparency has escalated as more government workers are prohibited from speaking with the media, and retaliation against whistleblowers gets ever more vicious.
The rule of law has been turned on its head, when crimes are made public (such as the war crimes exposed by Chelsea Manning, the CIA torture program exposed by John Kiriakou, or the NSA/FBI mass surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden), it is the whistleblower, not the war criminals and torturers who are prosecuted.
BREAKING: Prison Disciplinary Board Punish Chelsea Manning With Solitary Confinement for Charges Related to Suicide Attempt
A prison disciplinary board has decided to punish imprisoned transparency advocate Chelsea Manning with 14 days of solitary confinement (with 7 days suspended) for charges directly related to her suicide attempt in July, and possession of an unmarked book in her cell. The decision is the latest example of the U.S. government’s campaign of harassment and mistreatment of Chelsea, who has been incarcerated in all-male military facilities for 6 years.
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation today called for the immediate release to the public of dash cam videos showing the killing of Keith Lamont Scott that are currently in the possession of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
The White House wants transparency advocates to applaud the few steps it has taken to improve transparency, but we are not impressed.