Whistleblowers place their own careers and lives on the line for the common good. After exhausting internal channels for reporting irregularities, government whistleblowers feel compelled to break their oaths and corporate whistleblowers defy their non-disclosure agreements and reach out to outside channels to make their concerns known.
To some they are heroes, to gatekeepers of the National Security State and corporatocracy, they are traitors.
Major General Smedley Butler
The Business Plot
US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testifies to the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Congressional Committee of the existence of a plot by wealthy Americans to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and install a fascist dictatorship.
Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Edward Snowden releases classified information on massive surveillance programs involving intelligence agencies from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and other European countries.
US War Crime
C.I.A. and the Crack Epidemic
Cigarettes Cause Cancer and are Addictive
Public Risk Cover-Up at Nuclear Plant
Karen Silkwood was a plutonium lab technician at nuclear energy giant Kerr-McGee who revealed blatant security and health violations, frequent worker contamination due to faulty equipment and fraud to conceal defective plutonium rods.
Watergate’s Deep Throat
Mark Felt was the anonymous source known as Deep Throat that led Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post to establish direct links between the Watergate break-ins and the Nixon White House.
Secret Wars in Laos and Cambodia
Pentagon analyst leaks the Pentagon Papers, a secret report revealing that the US Government had no intentions of pulling out of Vietnam despite public statements. It also documented secret wars in neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are quite a number of whistleblowers which have taken great risk and revealed information which they judged to be in the public’s interest. Generally, government whistleblowers are severely punish as the government uses the full force of the law in prosecuting whistleblowers, a trend continued with the current President.
Corporate whistleblowers have also been prosecuted but usually fare much better. Cheryl Eckard received $96 million after GlaxoSmithKline was found guilty of knowingly selling contaminated products. American banker Brad Birkenfeld received $104 million from the IRS after Swiss bank UBS AG was found guilty of enabling tax evasion for its clients. However, Birkenfeld has been the only one to serve any jail time in connection to the massive fraud.