GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – Blunt Message of 2021

These are dangerous times.

2021 should be remembered as the year the warning was made loud and clear, that machinations of
the world’s powerful are not to be exposed.

The message, for journalists, for potential whistleblowers, and for human rights lawyers, is be very afraid.

Australian journalist, publisher of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, as of this writing is still in Belmarsh Prison, under very harsh conditions described as torture by the UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer.

It’s well known that Assange is not well. It’s well known that the CIA has threatened to kill him. The US wants him to be extradited to the US. John Pilger and others have been following his situation.

What has been done, is being done, to Assange is seen by many, to be a warning to journalists around the world.

Do not write about American war crimes. Don’t you dare.

Daniel Hale joined the US military. He was posted to the American base in Kabul, Afghanistan, as an intelligence specialist with the NSA. His assignment was to locate targets identified by the White House, for drone assassination.

He was shocked to discover that a drone attack on a target he was ordered to locate, killed civilians, including children.

Hale told an independent journalist what happened. He was arrested by the American forces , put on trial and imprisoned.

What was done to Daniel Hale, is seen by many to be a warning to anyone in the US military, motivated by their conscience to be a whistleblower.

Don’t you dare.

Steven Donziger is an American human rights lawyer. He visited Ecuador to see for himself, what he had heard was happening to an indigenous people near the border with Colombia. For years, the giant multinational oil corporation Texaco, now called Chevron, deliberately dumped carcinogenic waste into a local river.

The result led and continues to lead, to cancer and birth defects. Donziger helped the local people to successfully sue Chevron in an Ecuadorean court. Chevron never paid a penny.
Instead, working with a corporate-friendly, Trump-appointed judge, Chevron, determined to destroy Donziger, successfully sued him in a US court.

What has happened to Steven Donziger is a warning to young American law students who might consider following Donziger’s example and expose humanitarian abuses by powerful corporations.
The message is : Don’t challenge corporate power.

Don’t you dare.

Julian Assange, Daniel Hale, Steven Donziger..and others of course, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

These people should be regarded as heroes, by anyone who wants to live in a world where the public has the right to be told what is happening, and where abused power is held to account.

Lois Griffiths is a Human Rights Activist.

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