Obama Shoots the Messengers, Attacks Whistleblowers

[During his 2008 election campaign, Obama promised to protect whistleblowers, saying their "acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled."  By comparing such promises with the reality that followed, we are educated.  "Caveat emptor" is the Latin phrase which means, "let the buyer beware." -- Frontlines ed.]
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By Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Black Agenda Report, 02/22/2012

Barack Obama campaigned under a banner of transparency in government, but has proven to be the most secrecy-fixated president of all time. Across the breadth of the bureaucracy, there is a mania to hide the facts from the people. Senior leaders of the Department of Defense intentionally and consistently misled the American people and Congress about success in the Afghan War.” Public employees labor in fear. “These agencies are corrupt and we are still on the bus fighting like Rosa.”

by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Under this administration there is a concerted attack against those who dare to expose corruption in government or corporations.

Barack Obama’s administration has launched attacks unparalleled since the McCarthy years on those who blow the whistle against corruption inside the federal government.

Obama has already charged more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined (as reflected in the list below.) Peter van Buren, a career foreign affairs officer at the Department of Department of State claims his job was threathened after writing, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People [6]. Van Buren, who became disillusioned by waste and hypocrisy while serving in Iraq, says “The number of cases in play [against whistleblowers] suggests an organized strategy to deprive Americans of knowledge of the more disreputable things that their government does. How it plays out in court and elsewhere will significantly affect our democracy.”

Van Buren points out that the pre-World War 1 Espionage Act has been used against “labor leaders and radicals like Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman. Debs, a union leader and socialist candidate for the presidency, was sentenced [7] to 10 years in jail for a speech attacking the Espionage Act itself. The Nixon administration infamously (and unsuccessfully) invoked the Act [8] to bar the New York Times from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers.” But no other administration has used this legislation as liberally as President Obama who has authorized more drone attacks than any other American president. Continue reading

US Army suicides up 80% since start of Iraq War

Suicide among young Army personnel rose 80% between 2004 and 2008, with 255 soldiers taking their lives in 2007 and 2008 alone.

, Global Post, March 8, 2012

US Military suicide rates over the years of the Iraq war

Suicide among young Army personnel rose 80% between 2004 and 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the last two years that had data available for the study — 2007 and 2008 — 255 soldiers took their lives. The authors of the study, the Army Public Health Command (APHC), estimated that 25% to 50% of the suicides were directly related to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Suicide rates among active US Army personnel were decreasing between 1977 and 2003.

The number of suicides is “unprecedented in over 30 years of US Army records,” according to the APHC, and the increase in deaths parallels the increasing rates of depression and other mental health conditions among soldiers, reported The Daily Mail.

The study’s authors called the high presence of mental health disorders among enlisted personnel “sentinels for suicide risk,” according to The Baltimore Sun. From 2000 to 2008, adjustment disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and substance-abuse disorders have soared among Army personnel. During the same time, the number of visits for mental health disorders in the Army nearly doubled.

“This study does not show that US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan cause suicide,” said Dr. Michelle Chervak, one of the study’s authors, a senior epidemiologist at the APHC, to ABC News. “This study does suggest that an Army engaged in prolonged combat operations is a population under stress, and that mental health conditions and suicide can be expected to increase under these circumstances.”