Truth-telling in War: What it Means to be a Military Whistleblower

Date: March 21, 2012

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The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost the United States the lives of nearly 8000 soldiers, cost over four trillion dollars, caused countless cases of severe Post Traumantic Stress Disorder in military personnel, and killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and hundreds of thousands of citizens in Iraq. The rationale for going to war with Iraq was misleading at best, and false and highly manipulative at worst. The path this nation took in the war on terror after 9/11 is one that has fundamentally reshaped this nation - leaving citizens with a government that is increasingly secretive, unaccountable to the people, and prone to trading long-cherished liberties for a questionable sense of national security.

In the midst of two wars that have cost us so much, there are occasionally people who step forward to bring the public hard truths. Military whistle-blowers brave condemnation from all corners; servicemen and women who openly challenge the state-framed narrative of war face a harsh reality - the deep and widespread unwillingness to truly question what is happening, and the subsequent costs of telling the truth.

Join two military whistle-blowers who have demonstrated a profound willingness to maintain the oaths they took to defend the nation and the United States Constitution, when doing so meant turning against the US military, and the government's framing of these wars.

Places for whistleblowers to go to for protection or to report.

All of these links provide detailing on laws for whistleblowers, legal guidance in whistle blowing, articles, podcasts and radio shows. The people that run these sites, write the articles and do the radio shows and podcasts are either attorneys for whistleblowers or whistleblowers themselves.

About the Panelists:

Ethan McCord

Activist/Speaker

Ethan McCord is an eight year veteran of both The United States Navy and Army. While serving in the U.S. Navy in 2005, He felt the desire to "be closer to the action." He received a conditional release from the Navy to switch branches to the Army. He enlisted as an 11B Infantryman, and was sent to Ft. Benning, Georgia for his training. After his training, Ethan McCord was then assigned to the 2nd Battalion 16th Infantry "Rangers" in Ft. Riley, Kansas. Mr. McCord Deployed in early 2007 with the 2nd Battalion 16th Infantry, to Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah in New Baghdad, Iraq as part of George W. Bush's SURGE. While in Iraq Mr. McCord bore witness to many terrible incidents against the people of Iraq. He quickly began to question the US involvement in Iraq, and even more so his own involvement.

On July 12th 2007 his unit was on the ground, and can be seen in a video released by Wikileaks in what has now become one of the most infamous archives from the Iraq war. The video titled "Collateral Murder" has been viewed by millions across the globe and has become what he calls "a glimpse of life for every citizen of Iraq and Afghanistan." McCord can be seen in the video pulling children from a van that was devastated by the crew of US Army APACHE helicopters. McCord was then berated by his leaders and fellow soldiers for his actions that day. He has since become a outspoken activist against the American lead wars in the middle east, and elsewhere. Recently he was the subject for the short documentary "Incident In New Baghdad" which has won many awards at various film festivals, as well as receiving an Academy award nomination. Mr. McCord travels the country speaking at various events, as well as to high school students about his experiences, and the realities faced while in the military. He is also currently working on a book about his experiences in Iraq.

 

Mike Prysner

Co-Founder, March Forward!

Mike Prysner is a former U.S. Army corporal who served 12 months in Iraq. He began speaking out about the war while still in the military, and upon leaving the Army in 2005, Prysner became a leader in the anti-war movement. In 2009 he co-founded March Forward!, a radical anti-war organization of veterans and active-duty troops. Prysner has been featured as the keynote speaker at dozens of events nationwide and internationally, and is a regular contributor on Press TV, Russia Today and MichaelMoore.com

 

Jeff Paterson (Host)

Project Director of Courage to Resist

In August 1990, Marine artilleryman Corporal Jeff Paterson became the first of many US military personnel to refuse to fight in Iraq. Today, Jeff is the Project Director of Courage to Resist, an organization dedicated to supporting GI war resisters and conscientious objectors, and helps lead the campaign to support accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning.