Upcoming Forum “Chilling Democracy: The US Government's War on Whistleblowers and Critics” announced
In recent years, the American government has launched what observers describe as an unprecedented war on whistleblowers and critics. “This is a dangerous development that threatens the very foundations of democracy,”
“We have seen a number of high-profile cases of harassment, bullying, and persecution of journalists and critics,” Stirling said, “There have been vindictive prosecutions of whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, such as Daniel Hale, Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning, and obviously Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. The FBI raided the home of Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe, after his organisation released a number of undercover videos that allegedly exposed government corruption. Agencies under the Department of Homeland Security have been using sensitive government databases to investigate journalists, a practice which has been described as ‘routine.’ It is profoundly troubling, and even more so because it appears to have become absolutely common practice.”
These troubling instances are just the tip of the iceberg, revealing the orchestrated effort to silence dissent and intimidate critics of the administration. Stirling noted that the government's reach extends beyond its own departments, with collaborations between the administration and tech giants aimed at censoring, canceling, and deplatforming critics on its behalf. To her dismay, mainstream media, once a champion of truth through whistleblowers and insider testimonies, has joined forces with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify and expose those who bravely uncover government misconduct. Stirling drew attention to Tara Reade, who faced enormous persecution and a coordinated smear campaign in the press after accusing President Biden of sexual assault, resulting in her seeking asylum abroad due to relentless investigations, intimidation, and bullying by the Department of Justice.
“There is a growing sense that there is tremendous overreach by the government,” said Stirling, “A diverse set of powerful actors are being mobilised to silence opposition, dissenting opinion, and independent investigative reporting. From the political weaponisation of government departments, to recruiting social media companies; the administration is establishing an iron grip on official truth and lowering an iron fist against any version of reality that does not conform to the White House narrative.”
In February 2023, the Biden administration met with top executives from Meta, Twitter, and Google to discuss ways to "combat misinformation". This meeting came shortly after the Biden administration un-self-consciously announced that it would be creating a new "Disinformation Governance Board" to oversee the government's efforts to censor speech online.
“Whistleblowers play a vital role in holding the government accountable, and journalists and activists have a right to report on the government without fear of retaliation,” Stirling said, “Government-mandated narratives cannot be treated as sacrosanct, but rather, in a democracy, they should always be questioned. Testimony of victims of abuse should not be silenced just because their abuser was someone with power. Witnesses of crimes have an obligation to come forward, even if those crimes are being committed by elected officials or state institutions; in fact, especially in such cases.”
The issue extends beyond government institutions, manifesting a dangerous war on transparency and accountability. Whistleblowers who bravely expose allegations of wrongdoing have faced harsh consequences, from job loss to blacklisting and legal action, creating what Stirling calls “a palpable chilling effect on free speech and the ability to unveil government misconduct.” Even the leak of classified information, if deemed to be in the public interest, has been met with threats of prosecution.
The government's efforts to censor, cancel, deplatform, and rigidly control news and information are seen as a dangerous development that threatens healthy democracy and genuine freedom of speech.
Amidst this growing climate of intimidation, Due Process International has taken the initiative to organize a critical forum. The forum will provide a platform for whistleblowers and critics who have faced targeting by the Biden administration to share their experiences and courageously speak out against the government's orchestrated harassment and persecution. Stirling emphasised the urgent need to amplify their voices, recognizing them as true champions of democracy and freedom, unjustly demonized as enemies of the state. The forum will serve as an opportunity for these brave individuals to shed light on governmental misconduct while also exposing the injustices they have endured for daring to speak their truth publicly.
“Their voices must be heard,” Stirling said, “These are people who are risking their own safety and security for the sake of democratic values in order to keep those in power accountable. It is crucial to provide them a platform to present their testimony, not only about what they have witnessed or experienced in terms of governmental wrongdoing, but also about what they have suffered as a result of coming forward.”
Stirling and Due Process International are calling on all whistleblowers and critics who have been targeted by the Biden administration to come forward and share their stories. “Their testimonies,” Stirling said, “Resonate as a potent reminder of the resilience of truth and the unyielding spirit of those who dare to challenge authority in the pursuit of justice and democracy.”
Contact Due Process International for queries, to share stories or participate.
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