Category Archives: Whistle blowers

SAS Soldier McBride Leak is a Stand for Democracy

In the public interest.

A key quote:

Martin Luther King said “sometimes silence is the greatest betrayal of all’, or as General David Morrison put it “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

A man after my own heart… there are many great men in the military.  I respect truth, honour and justice.  If you know of a crime stand for truth. End of story, literally.

Note: the process David took is a process many take as they are not answered, ignored and accountability absent. Then attempts are made to intimidate the press rather than the hard work of looking within.  Denial is not a river in Egypt.

The issue of disrespect is mentioned in the article, I note this attitude is across the board as values are not modelled as ‘who we are’ as a culture.  Democracy in my view is not just a word, it is who we are yet there are some in high places that consider accountability, transparency and freedom of speech an impediment rather than a value that drives to the heart of why we do what we do.

‘My duty was to stand and be counted’: Why I leaked to the ABC

Fifty-nine years ago today, my father, Dr William McBride, “discovered” that the drug thalidomide was causing birth defects. A relatively junior gynaecologist in his thirties with a young family, the long weekend gave him an opportunity to do the necessary thinking and draw the fateful conclusions.

As a former army officer who released classified documents to journalists, today I face a very different set of circumstances on a June long weekend. I will soon be facing trial in the ACT Supreme Court for charges relating to this act.

Dr William McBride with David, far left, and the rest of the McBride family in their Blakehurst home in 1972.

Dr William McBride with David, far left, and the rest of the McBride family in their Blakehurst home in 1972.CREDIT:ROBERT RICE/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Much as I would have liked it, my life has none of the fame and fortune of my father. He started at the bottom and reached the top, and I started at the top and may yet reach the very bottom. Yet despite outward appearances, I’m happy with where I’ve been, and where I’m going. My passion for using my brain to defend democracy and our hard won democratic freedoms is undiminished.

Having been sent to boarding school at a young age, I grew up on stories of WWII. My imagination was constantly filled with the deeds of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we now take for granted. Subsequently, all I ever wanted to be was a soldier.

Even now I don’t consider myself an ex-soldier. My uniforms hang pristine waiting for the day they might be used again. But the essence of being an officer is not in the uniforms, or the medals. It’s in the funerals. The moment when you face a young man or woman who will face the rest of their life without their loved one. People accept death. It’s part of the job. What they can’t accept is waste. The question they want answered is consistent and valid: “Can you reassure me my beloved did not die for nothing.”

I take this responsibility seriously. It matters. A society that takes the lives of its most dedicated and idealistic youth recklessly or cynically is a society doomed to fail.

My time in the British Army taught me what leadership is, and what it isn’t. Its not about looking tougher than your soldiers, or giving them orders. They largely know what to do before you tell them, having spent their whole lives “in uniform”. There is one thing they rely on you to do: stand up and be counted when it matters. One job. But it’s a job that needs to be done, and only you can do.

I did two tours of Afghanistan for Australia. Each was hard in its own way, but equally they were also the best things I have done in my life. As an officer your responsibility remains the same, whether you are protecting soldiers from the Taliban or their own political masters. In 2013 my career reached a crisis point. It was my second deployment, this time as legal officer with the Special Forces, those who sacrifice most for our country. The point came where there was no doubt in my mind that a line had been crossed, and lives were being cynically wasted. My duty was to “stand and be counted” and I did. Whatever happens from now on is in many ways irrelevant. I did what I believe had to be done. My main enemy was not the chain of command, or even the police, rather myself.

The process of standing up took many years, and many forms. It started with a politely worded internal complaint. When that failed, I went first to the police, and then the minister. Finally I went to the press. Which brings us to my trial. The details probably matters less than the principle, namely, that I believed the Australian Defence Force had failed. Failed in its duty to its soldiers, failed in its duty to Australia. It’s a claim I stand by to this day.

Whistleblower David William McBride has been charged for leaking defence documents to journalists.

Whistleblower David William McBride has been charged for leaking defence documents to journalists.CREDIT:ALEXANDRA BACK

Whatever glossy ads we make, the life of those who defend our shores is a hard one. It is performed by hard people, and it needs to be. Death will always be part of the job. They accept that. What they can never accept is that those who they entrusted with their lives and the futures of their families, did not do “everything possible” to keep them alive or bring them home. Everything.

Soldiers need to die but the way we treat them says everything about who we are as a nation. A nation that treats its soldiers with disrespect is a nation in decline, but one that deserves to decline. I have no regrets about what I did, and I am ready to face the consequences as the justice system sees fit.

I am lucky in this regard in that Australia has possibly the most enviable legal “pedigree” in the world. Born of the ancient tradition of parliamentary democracy and “rule of law” whose beautiful, but painful evolution can be traced back through 800 years of the Magna Carta.

The rights and freedoms we enjoy are the product of idealism combined with suffering. In addition to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, we have undoubtedly inherited the almost timeless, wondrous spirit of the Indigenous people of this continent. While we are protected by these laws they also come with responsibilities. To the earth, and to each other. To ourselves.

A judge will decide my fate, and as a “true believer” in the rule of law, I willingly submit myself to that fate. How could I not, as it is the very same rule of law from which I claim my unenviable but inevitable duty. Whatever they decide, I believe that I did my duty.

David McBride is a former military lawyer and captain in Britain’s elite Special Air Service and the whistleblower at the centre of Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters on WednesdayHe was charged in September last year with theft of Commonwealth property, namely war crimes investigation files, and three counts of breaching the Defence Act. He was also charged under old secrecy provisions in the Commonwealth Crimes Act. He is due to face court on June 13.

Ex-CIA Susan Lindauer Whistle-blower on 9/11 and Iraq War

In the public interest.

Is the crime opposing terrorism (or other crimes)?

This video is of Susan Lindauer a former CIA whistle-blower.  This is her story.

Ex-CIA Lindauer Blows Whistle: 9/11, Iraq War

(note when I edit this post the video is visible.  When I save it, it returns to a link.  I cannot activate the link.  I suggest people place the link in the browser).

Was Kurt Sonnenfeld FEMA worker a 911 Whistleblower or Murderer of his Wife?

In the public interest.
‘They knew 9/11 was coming’

Twin Towers cameraman claims he’s got proof the George W Bush administration was behind terror attacks

Man says the most suspicious thing is what happened to building seven at the World Trade Center

A man who was accused of shooting his wife believes he has proof the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on September 11 is linked to the George Bush administration.

Kurt Sonnenfeld was working for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, an organisation tied to the US Department of Homeland Security, when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took place.

 Kurt was arrested for Nancy's murder in 2002

Kurt was arrested for Nancy’s murder in 2002Credit: Getty Images

After the planes crashed into the building, Kurt was given unrestricted access to ground zero – the site where the buildings once stood.

Armed with camera gear, the 39-year-old was asked to film everything he saw.

His documented evidence was supposed to form part of a report about what happened – but he never handed back the footage.

His life began to unravel in the following months and years, leading to the death of his wife.

She was found dead on a couch in the home the pair shared with a bullet wound to the back of the head.

Fifteen years later, the now-54-year-old is on the run in Argentina.

 Kurt was employed to film the Twin Towers scene to collect evidence

Kurt was employed to film the Twin Towers scene to collect evidenceCredit: PA:Press Association

The US government wants him back in the country.

Officially, they say he’s wanted over the murder of his wife, but he believes it’s something far more sinister.

He says they want to silence him over what he saw beneath World Trade Center 6, evidence he is convinced paints the Bush Administration as big players in the deadliest attack on American soil.
As police arrived at Kurt’s home, they heard him utter the words “I can’t believe she shot herself”.

When they gained access to the couple’s home on New Year’s Eve in 2002, it was obvious that Kurt had been drinking.
He had blood on his hands and alcohol on his breath, police told GQ.

They said in an upstairs room they found Nancy in red underwear, still breathing, but barely.
They rushed her to hospital with part of the bullet still protruding from the back of her skull.

She died, aged 36, the following morning.

 Kurt has queried why the seventh tower collapsed because it wasn't hit by a plane

Kurt has queried why the seventh tower collapsed because it wasn’t hit by a planeCredit: Getty Images

A cryptic note was discovered in the couple’s bedroom.

It appeared to be a suicide note.

On it, Nancy had written: “What indeed is finally beautiful except death and love. Kurt, please get help.”

The word love had been crossed out.
Nancy’s fingerprints were on the gun but Kurt was taken in for questioning.

He was charged with murder and was due to appear in court in June 2002, but the charges were dropped.
He fled because of a feeling it wouldn’t be the last time police came asking questions.

His instincts were spot on.

In 2003, a year and a half after his charges were dropped, a judge signed a new warrant for his arrest.

When police went looking, they realised he was gone.
Kurt met and married a woman in Argentina shortly after arriving and the pair now have two girls.
The US Government has tried to extradite the former FEMA staffer unsuccessfully.

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 Kurt was accused of killing his wife Nancy and the case has been opened and closed four times - in favour of Kurt

Kurt was accused of killing his wife Nancy and the case has been opened and closed four times – in favour of Kurt

Part of the reason for that is Argentina’s strict opposition to the death penalty.

Kurt could face execution in the state of Colorado if found guilty of Nancy’s murder.

What did Kurt see?

Sporting bleached blond hair, Kurt wove his way through the rubble of Manhattan’s downtown financial district.

He shot hours of footage but never handed it in.

Of particular interest was what he found beneath World Trade Center 6.

He says inside the building he came across a vault that had been cleared of its contents before the planes struck.

In a documentary filmed in Argentina, Kurt said the discovery is proof that America knew the attacks were coming, at the very least.

 Nancy was found with a bullet in the back of her head

Nancy was found with a bullet in the back of her head

“One thing I’m certain of is that agencies of intelligence of the United States of America knew what was going to happen and at least let it happen,” he said.

“Not only did they know it was going to happen, but they in fact collaborated.”

It is given weight by a similar discovery on a basement door below World Trade Center 4.

According to a New York Times article, the door to a vault was still intact but it appeared as if somebody had tried to gain entry.

Behind the vault door were nearly a thousand tonnes of silver and gold.

Kurt is a conspiracy theorist and not only because of what he saw.

He says he has the most trouble understanding how World Trade Center 7 collapsed despite suffering no damage.

“To me, the most suspicious thing of all is what happened to building seven at the World Trade Center,” he said.

“This building was not hit by a plane.

“It didn’t have any structural damage … but, amazingly enough, building seven fell in a perfect textbook type implosion, taking only 6.5 seconds for a 47-storey building to fall completely into its own footprint.

“This to me indicates there was absolutely no resistance between the floors when the building collapsed.”

‘He admitted killing his wife’

Robert Dreyer and Damian Whitehead shared a jail cell with Kurt Sonnenfeld in the days after Nancy’s death.

They said that Kurt, from Denver, US, initially denied the charges against him but later admitted to killing his wife.

In his only interview with US media since moving to Argentina, Kurt told GQ he could not be certain if he ever met the pair in jail.

“Could’ve met ‘em. I certainly didn’t make any friends,” he said.

Their testimony doesn’t help Kurt’s case.

Other evidence collected at the scene also works against him.

 Paula, Kurt's current wife, is from Argentina

Paula, Kurt’s current wife, is from ArgentinaCredit: CBS

Police say when they attended to a 911 call, they found Kurt with blood on his hands and blood spatter on his face.

His defence team argued an official line that he embraced his wife after hearing the gun go off and she “coughed and sneezed” in his face.

The problem with that is Kurt told GQ it didn’t happen that way.

He said he put his hands on his face moments after tending to his wife and the “spatter” was simply dried blood.

The questions will continue to come but, as long as he is in Argentina, he will never have to answer them officially.

In the documentary, he says he is ready for the harassment to stop.

 Kurt says the vaults in the building looked as though someone entered and cleared them - suggesting the George Bush Administration knew about the attack in advance

Kurt says the vaults in the building looked as though someone entered and cleared them – suggesting the George Bush Administration knew about the attack in advanceCredit: Getty Images

“At least four times has my case been looked at by a judge and been decided in my favour yet the US government continues and continues,” Kurt added.

“What we want now is for the US government to cease what they’re doing.

“My wife and I now have two beautiful daughters born here in Argentina.

“I now consider myself Argentinian.

“Of course I miss my (family) very much.

“I miss the mountains of Colorado.

“But to me, if I had a chance to go back to the United States, I don’t believe I would.

“I prefer it here.”


Should Whistle-blowers be Protected or Criminalised?

In the Public interest.

Richard Boyle is a former ATO staff member who is currently facing 161 years in jail for blowing the whistle on the ATO for its use of heavy handed tactics and revenue targets as motivation in its collection of debts.

Before going public with this information he disclosed his concerns under the Public Interest Disclosure Act to the ATO where they were investigated and dismissed. He subsequently went public with this information which resulted in a investigation by Four Corners for ABC titled “Mongrel bunch of bastards”.

The issues he raised have since been reviewed by Treasury and the Inspector General of Taxation and resulted in changes to laws yet he is now on trial, having been charged with 66 offenses, though his actions were clearly performed for the public good.

We call on Attorney-General Christian Porter to intervene in this matter and end the prosecution of Richard Boyle. Prosecuting this individual will greatly discourage any other potential whistle-blowers from coming forward and further erode public faith in our institutions.