Whistle-blowers Unite! Don’t shoot the messengers!
We are new support network: ‘WISE Whistle-blowers in Solidarity’ (WISE = Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English). Our aim is to raise awareness of and build solidarity for whistle-blowing actions at all levels, from the smallest act of speaking out against a wrongdoing to the big stories which hit the headlines. Those who make disclosures need our solidarity. All too often, they find themselves alone and unsupported.
We would like you to come forward to share your experiences of speaking out against wrongdoing in your own workplaces and communities, however small or large, however long ago.
WISE Whistle-blowers aims to build support for Bradley Manning, the US soldier with Welsh roots who has been held by the US authorities since May 2010 without trial, for some of that time under conditions of torture, accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents about US-led military intervention worldwide including the ongoing 10-year war in Afghanistan. These documents have revealed many shocking truths that the military tried to cover up, including war crimes. Yet it is Bradley Manning who is treated as the criminal, facing life imprisonment or the death penalty, while the perpetrators of the real crimes walk free.
Whistle-blowers in Wales, as elsewhere, know from their own experiences what happens when someone speaks out against a wrong. All too often, attempts are made to silence them; they may be ignored, ridiculed or find themselves accused of wrongdoing; many lose their jobs; the truth is covered up; the responsible authorities fail to take action. Those who persist in speaking out often do so at great personal cost. WISE Whistle-blowers in Solidarity calls for an end to the persecution of whistle-blowers everywhere.
Have you ever spoken out against wrongdoing?
Do you have family members, friends and work colleagues who have spoken out?
What happened? Did things change as a result?
Contact us with your stories or write to: WISE Whistleblowers in Solidarity, c/o 49 Westminster Rd, Moss, Wrexham LL11 6DH.
Some whistle-blowing stories
Bradley lived in Wales as a teenager and his mother still lives here. His is probably the biggest whistle-blowing story ever. The pre-trial hearing is expected to take place this year. Donations towards his defence costs can be made via this website. You can also call on the Welsh Government to make a statement in support of Bradley Manning and get involved in the campaign to free him. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben lived in Wales as a child and still has family in South Wales. He served in the SAS but in 2005 he refused to go back to Iraq and was discharged from the Army. When Ben released a statement in 2008 revealing the British Army’s complicity in Extraordinary Rendition and the mistreatment of detainees, he was taken to court and is now subject to a life-long injunction preventing him from telling anyone about anything he knows as a result of his service with the SAS. Ben says: “I have never regretted blowing the whistle. I had hoped at the time that it would encourage others to take similar action.” He has since set up Veterans for Peace UK.
Alison, a Gwynedd social worker, reported abuse in North Wales children’s homes internally but was ignored. Many workers had raised concerns before her with the same lack of results. Alison blew the whistle outside Social Services in 1986 and was suspended. She refused the offer of a pay-off with a gagging clause. Although Alison repeatedly informed the authorities including central government of the abuse, all failed to take action even after she had collected many first hand accounts from young people. In 1991, Alison took a dossier of allegations to the police. It was only because she refused to be silenced that the North Wales child abuse scandal was eventually uncovered, leading to the Waterhouse Inquiry and Report. Even so, very few of the workers implicated were ever brought to justice.
After Genny reported the misconduct of *AVOW’s Chief Officer John Gallanders under the Wrexham organisation’s whistle-blowing policy in 2008, he withdrew the policy and the Trustees ignored all requests to investigate. In 2011 an Employment Tribunal condemned John Gallanders for his ‘reprehensible’ behaviour, ‘abuse of his position’, fraud, discrimination and victimisation, yet he remains in post. The tribunal also found that the Trustees had seriously failed in their duties but most are still there and the organisation is still in receipt of public funds. Genny’s whistle-blowing work is ongoing. She says: “My small act of whistle-blowing and the acts of world-wide importance for which Bradley Manning is in prison are two ends of the same spectrum. It’s up to all of us who believe in speaking the truth to stand in solidarity with Bradley and with whistle-blowers everywhere.” More information: notavow.wordpress.com and wiseupforbradleymanning.wordpress.com.
*AVOW = Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham