This is another in the ongoing series on Enforced Transparency by Raymond Johansen and Kitty Hundal, featured here on the Cryptosphere as well as their own site, HacktivistCulture, with related articles on the Fifth Column News, and HackRead. This article focuses on an interview with the parents of accused hacker, former Anon, and former US soldier Matt DeHart.
WHISTLEBLOWING IS TRANSPARENCY
This article, the fourth in the series, is one of the pillars of the concept of Enforced Transparency. Currently the news is filled with reports about the Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, from the UK. We will talk about that – and focus on the sheer braveryof whistleblowers and the hardships these heroes endure. We will talk to the parents of accused hacktivist Matt DeHart to try to understand how this issue affects not only the one enforcing transparency, but also those around him.
THE TOOLS OF Enforced Transparency Are:
- Independent Journalism
- FOIA request (coincidentally “invented” in Sweden)
On May 18 the Royal Navy submariner who criticized Trident nuclear submarine safety procedures handed himself in to the police. According to the BBC, “William McNeilly, the 25 year old from Belfast, went on the run after alleging the Trident missile programme, based on the Clyde, was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’, he is quoted as saying.” Both WikiLeaks and The Courage Foundation, founded by Sarah Harrison, have offered support to McNeilly. Here you can find his report detailing why he finds the security “a disaster waiting to happen“.
Link to the report >>>>> WikiLeaks Named Trident Safety
Courage Foundation Acting Director Sara Harrison, also known for aiding Edward Snowden (who maybe the most famous whistleblower of our time) issued a statement in support of the McNeilly on May 18th. May 20, they began a fundraising campaign for him.
Link to the campaign >>>> click here
AS WE KNOW, THE COURAGE FOUNDATION ALSO SUPPORTS MATT DEHART
A few weeks back Matt DeHart, after a three-year interlude of exile in Canada, was named the third beneficiary of the foundation. In this he joined well-known transparency enforcers Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden. Here is the statement to that effect.
MATT DEHARTS STORY
In April 2014, the National Post broke the story of the alleged Anonymous- and WikiLeaks-connected whistleblower in a series of truly fascinating articles.
A quote from his father Paul DeHart from the National Post: “We’re here on a claim of torture,” Paul said, his voice straining as he stated Matt has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “To visit your son in a maximum-security prison in a suicide smock … more heavily medicated than he’s ever been … For anyone with PTSD to be treated that way, much less your own child … is very disturbing.”
Here is how The Courage Foundation sums up Matt DeHart’s situation: “For the past five years, Matt DeHart has been at the centre of a US national security investigation and has experienced extraordinary hardship as a result. In 2010, Matt was detained at the US–Canadian border by FBI agents, who administered an IV (intravenous line) to Matt against his will. They questioned him over several days regarding his military unit, his involvement with Anonymous and WikiLeaks. They denied him access to his lawyer, deprived him of sleep, food and water, and tortured him during this time. Although an FBI report confirms Matt was detained for an “espionage matter” and agents asked him nothing about pornography, Matt was presented with a hastily drafted criminal complaint alleging he solicited nude photos from a teenager in 2008.”
WE REACHED OUT TO MATT’S PARENTS TODAY
How would you describe your current situation as a result of the US government’s treatment of your son?
We are essentially homeless living off the graciousness of dear friends who have allowed us to stay with them until we get on our feet.
We are jobless since we left our careers to make an asylum claim against the US for the torture of our son. Thankfully we were able to find work to sustain ourselves in Canada after a mandatory waiting period of six months of not being allowed to apply for work in Canada because we were from a DCO – designated country of origin (like an EU safe country under Schengen).
We are in the process of job hunting – but have not found anything yet after almost two months. Any employer doing a google search for our names will come up with at least one of the stories about our family online. Unlike in Canada where many citizens were sympathetic towards us the vast majority of US citizens are openly hostile towards
anyone who stands up against the government/power. This is a significant change in US culture since when I was in high school during the Vietnam War. Dissent has essentially been crushed and most people are towing the line. So, any hope of decent paying professional jobs is colored by concern over an employer finding out about our
story and not hiring us or letting us go because we are “traitors” to the country in a time of war – from the mainstream American public perspective in my opinion.
We both live with the constant threat of arrest for helping Matt go to Canada to make an asylum claim against the US. We do not sleep well and have frequent nightmares.
Are you still able to feel proud of your sons’ actions with all that is going on?
Even more so. His resilience and faith in the face of incredible pressure is inspiring to both Leann and I. Thankfully we are able to spend some time on the phone talking to him each day. He tries to lift our spirits and those around him in his basement cell in
Kentucky. We are proud that he is not willing to bow to pressure to plea to false charges.
Pretrial detention in the US is designed to break down a citizen’s will so that he/she will accept whatever the government offers as a plea bargain. It is coercive and dehumanizing by design. The US Constitution specifically forbids cruel and unusual punishment. The current system in the US unfortunately is not unusual since it is country-wide, but it is still cruel. And, compared to all but a few countries like N. Korea, the US prison industrial system is indeed unusually cruel. Europeans would be outraged at any similar system within their own countries – Thank God.
Your son just got a court date. Does that make you feel relief, or just add to the pressure you must be enduring?
A little of both. It is extremely intimidating to enter a US federal court room. The federal building in Nashville looks Soviet-era. Armed guards greet you steely as you enter through metal detectors. The court room itself has very high ceilings and conveys a sense of absolute power over a citizen’s life. I cannot adequately describe the feeling one has.
We are thankful to have a Judge who upholds the US Constitution and is very familiar with all the details of Matt’s case. We are extremely thankful to have a lawyer of the caliber of Tor Ekeland fighting for Matt.
And, we are thankful to have a date to work towards. However, the US government has unlimited resources and has shown itself capable of destroying lives. It’s more than just David vs. Goliath, it’s ants vs.T-rex.
Do you think that the fact that more and more whistleblowers are coming forward will help your sons’ case?
One would think that US citizens would be stirred by the revelations of so many whistleblowers and rise to demand change and reform from the government. However, we have seen what has happened instead. Whistleblowers in previous generations were often hailed as heroes and society was changed for the better – for example revelations about the Mai Lai massacre and other atrocities during the Vietnam War helped bring an end to that conflict. However, today, anyone who opposes the government is labelled a traitor and the populace is cowed by fear of government retribution into not demonstrating. If anything, the more who blow the whistle on government misconduct the more harsh the reprisals become. That being said, there is some hope, for example, the Snowden revelations have triggered at least debates and more public awareness. The jury is still out on what positive changes, if any will come.
How is Matt doing at the moment?
He is resolved to fight for his life, come what may.
As for whistleblowing in general, we am quite sure that WikiLeaks will continue to be an important entity in the years to come. Just like they are a part of the Trident incident As you all know they recently revamped their submission system after four years offline. This is their Tor onion: wlupld3ptjvsgwqw.onion
THE PREVIOUS ARTICLES ON ENFORCED TRANSPARENCY
Enforced Transparency 1 – when hacking becomes necessary
Enforced Transparency 2 – when hacking becomes imperative
Hackers and journalists partner for Enforced Transparency 3