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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Get up, stand up

With Deep Throat finally revealed, former Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg says that democracy needs more people like Mark Felt:

"Virtually every whistleblower - we're talking about insiders who have made unauthorized disclosures of things that their bosses, their agency, their president doesn't want known, because those things are embarrassing - these are all people who signed oaths that they would not reveal information. They signed them, of course, not knowing exactly what crimes they would be called on to conceal as a result of that."

"So all of them - myself included - feel at some point a conflict of loyalty: a loyalty to their boss, to their team, to their promise, and on the other hand, a loyalty to the Constitution, which is actually what we civilians were sworn to uphold. We didn't swear an oath to uphold the F├╝hrer, in effect, or the secretary general, or the president. We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. And when the president is clearly violating the Constitution, by deceiving congress on reasons for going to war, or he's clearly violating his oath to uphold the law, as Nixon was doing, what is your highest loyalty?"

Australia is no different. With the exception of former Australian intelligence officer Rod Barton and former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, the Howard government's lies and deceptions mean that whistleblowers become even more essential. Of course, if our media doesn't provide ample protection for these brave individuals, knowing the likely personal attacks such a stand virtually guarantees, why should another Wilkie or Barton put their career on the line?

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