• SILENCED – A new documentary from Oscar nominee Jim Spione

    February 14, 2013

    Posted in: Iraq

    I am very proud to announce that the first trailer for SILENCED, a new documentary on Washington’s war on whistleblowers, is now available online as part of a Kickstarter campaign. See it here.

    The film features whistleblowers Tom Drake, John Kiriakou, Jesslyn Radack and, well, an angry me.

    While all of us in this important film have given interviews before, none of us has opened up, in depth, the way we did with Jim. It is also important to note that none of us are profiting from this film or the Kickstarter campaign, unless you consider the telling of truth on a large and public scale to be our reward. (HINT: It freaking is our reward.)

    The director, Oscar-nominated Jim Spione, says this:

    SILENCED follows a group of high-profile truthtellers who dared to question official national security policy in post 9-11 America, and have endured harsh consequences. I became increasingly interested in the issue of government transparency and accountability, and the ongoing efforts to punish those who reveal information about official wrongdoing, when working on Incident in New Baghdad. That film featured incendiary footage of a controversial U.S. helicopter attack purportedly released by a young U.S. Army Specialist named Bradley Manning, who is currently facing a court martial on charges that could result in a life prison sentence.

    But Manning is not alone. Over the past several years, an arcane WWI era law called The Espionage Act has been used six times to bring charges against whistleblowers, not for revealing information to a foreign government, but for talking to the press. In fact, the current administration invoked this law more times than all previous administrations combined.

    What does it take for an individual of conscience to speak out in this environment? What kind of courage and character does it take to challenge the national security policies of the most powerful nation on Earth? Though Incident was not directly about Manning, the experience of making it got me to thinking about the power of information: who controls and classifies it, who is allowed to release it, who is rewarded for its use and who is punished.

    The targeting of whistleblowers raises profound questions that have implications far beyond the fates of the individuals profiled in this film. In an age where the spectre of terrorism is deemed an appropriate reason for the Executive branch to claim greater and greater powers, can the United States government maintain a commitment to the rule of law? How can a democracy that purports to champion human rights simultaneously attempt to quash criticism from within its ranks? What is the effect on our First Amendment right to dissent–and on the whole idea of a free press–when those in power single out whistleblowers for prosecution?

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • mspbwatch said...


      I think films like these are good and needed, but I hope it doesn’t present an atomized view of the legal landscape, portraying national security whistleblowers as having no where to turn to disclose classified information. They do, notwithstanding Ms. Radack’s public stances (see her NDAA litigation amicus brief in Obama v. Hedges and contrast with 5 USC 1213(j)).

      There is also a benefit here that inures on the Government Accountability Project, which has represented all three of you. Ms. Radack works there. GAP’s business model is more about corporate foundation funding than attorney fees. Much more. This kind of publicity results in foundational support.

      02/14/13 5:58 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      I can only speak of my own experience with GAP. My former agency, the Department of State, turned on me using a number of extralegal tools, all well-documented on this blog. GAP was part of a team who represented me, along with the ACLU and the American Foreign Service Association. GAP worked pro bono, tirelessly, on my behalf and helped me achieve the best possible outcome for my case. Jess Radack did a fine job and I cannot say a negative word about her, or any of her colleagues. Rather, rarely a day goes by when I am not grateful for their help and their advice. FYI, all of the Kickstarter money connected with the film SILENCED goes to the filmmakers for production costs. None of the money goes to GAP, me or anyone else.

      02/14/13 9:44 PM | Comment Link

    • mspbwatch said...


      GAP is a largely fine organization that does much good for many people in need who seek its assistance. I do not challenge a single word about your experience with them as it pertains to your case. But there is a reality about retaliation and lawlessness in government that benefits its business model, and attempts by the grassroots to target the root of the issue encounter resistance and subterfuge by GAP. You can see this when GAP tries to control the agenda; silence and smear dissenters; sell whistleblowers’ rights behind closed doors in Congress; allow government watchdogs to continue lawbreaking and refuse to call for additional funding for them. In short, had GAP engaged in good faith efforts to cure the disease rather than treat the symptoms, there is a good chance that neither you, Radack, Drake, Kiriakou, or countless others would find themselves in these predicaments, and many others would be able to speak out.

      02/14/13 11:14 PM | Comment Link

    • mspbwatch said...


      And lest you think I overstate GAP’s influence in speaking on behalf of federal whistleblowers in Congress (which also includes POGO alongside it as a co-exploitator), I submit this post: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2012/12/20121219-celebrating-a-new-day-for-whistleblowers.html

      02/14/13 11:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe Carson said...


      I say Radack betrays her duty to Drake, Kiriakou, and Peter Van Buren. I say she lacks the moral courage to face an objective review of her actions. I say this publicly, consistent with my positive legal duties as a professional engineer (PE) licensed in State of Tennessee to make public statements in a truthful and objecive fashion. I openly challenge Radack to display the moral courage to file a professional misconduct complaint against me with the Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners if she wishes to make me prove my contentions about her.

      See http://whsknox.blogs.com/covenant/zero-dark-thirty.pdf Radack now equals Devine, in my opinion.

      02/15/13 1:53 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “How can a democracy that purports to champion human rights simultaneously attempt to quash criticism from within its ranks?”

      That’s what the Soviet Union did. Unknown to most Americans, the USSR regarded itself as the world’s main defender of human rights. Many of the Soviet Communists actually believed it.

      02/15/13 1:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      I am now an “Essential Supporter” of the film. Not only will donors get to see their names on the Big Screen but consideration for the No Fly List and “random” audits by the IRS.

      02/15/13 4:06 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      PVB’s latest post notwithstanding, the previous comments are exactly why I come here. As an outsider, plain old concerned citizen, and seeker of truth in relationship to everything post 9/11, I have to say. I’m totally astounded. Having just spent 2 hours viewing Silenced, and reading Mr. Carson’s and mspbwatch’s links and extended links, I’m finally seeing the extent to which our governance is radically and exponentially becoming illegitimate.
      However, since PVB’s comment section seems to serve as a connection point to things relevant to the current path our contemptible USG is on, let me remind you that other things are happening outside the scope of this site, that you should be aware of as well, as in the long run, may very well make moot those things this site is designed to cover.
      I am referring to the current attempt by the USG to initiate an environment whereby USG seeks to do exactly the same kind of conditioning of America to the “new dynamic” of the “war on terror”. To be exact, the USG is now on an EXTREME propaganda and legislative path to prepare the public to accept the USG’s attack on the 2nd Amendment as a prerequisite to the public’s “safety”, while in reality, allows itself to hold a monopoly on violence. To wit..the slow but sure “infringement” on the citizens right to bear arms.

      To this end, expediency notwithstanding, there now appears a broad swath of government officials who are laying the propaganda if not regulatory groundwork and foundations for the eventual confiscation of citizen weaponry. This area of Constitutional rights, should they attempt to completely abridge, is setting up, by purpose, a confrontation between gun rights absolutists, and the Federal government the likes of what hasn’t been seen since the Civil War, Waco notwithstanding. And make no mistake. THEY ARE PREPARING.

      Given the proof of actual preparatory actions taken by various alphabet soup agency’s within the last month, let alone the last 10 years, it’s a no brainer why Brennen, during his preposterous
      and laughable confirmation hearing, refused to reply to Congressional questions in regards to the Governments alleged “legal underpinnings” ..to use of Military domestic drones to murder American citizens… and IF the USG intends to use said authority.

      DUH! Admit to their intent?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ummm, as if 1.67 BILLION FUCKING ROUNDS OF AMMO isn’t the PLUMB BOB of INTENT..I don’t know what the fuck is.

      In that regard, let me give you a little “preview” of this “intent”..


      “sovereign citizens” ..you know..like me and you.
      Now that old pond scum senator GRHAMM has declared via the NDAA that “america is a battlefield”..and me and you are “possible terrorists”..well then, that settles it.

      Well, here’s another view…amongst a thousand other “sovereign citizens” sites

      I’ll leave it at that for now. Gentleman..carry on. I’m all ears.

      02/15/13 5:42 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”Not only will donors get to see their names on the Big Screen but consideration for the No Fly List and “random” audits by the IRS.” unquote..

      Yes, and given Obama’s cyber-security executive order for interagency/state/corporate infrastructure data sharing mandate..your shopping/utility/travel/sex life/medical/online/walking talking tv watching peeing and every other goddamned thing will be monitored 24/7.. hint hint.. GOT SMART TV? Youbetcha. Get em while their hot!! You know you want one..right? right.


      02/15/13 5:52 PM | Comment Link

    • War on United States whistleblowers, film | Dear Kitty. Some blog said...


      […] SILENCED – A new documentary from Oscar nominee Jim Spione (wemeantwell.com) […]

      02/16/13 2:40 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch- to call the current and recent administrations illegitimate seems fair. Can this republic truly self correct without a violent revolution? Unlikely-we aren’t THAT! exceptional so make sure your grip on the pitchfork is always secure.

      02/16/13 7:15 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      John..look at this then you tell me. Just when you thought things were at WEIRD Level 10, they up the ante.

      This is why I don’t own a smartphone, go anywhere hardly, and live in an isolated geographic location. Frankly, this Orwellian environment they describe in 5yrs, is not one I want to live in. And will not. That is not America. If anything..it is the USSR on steroids. The world as we knew it is gone. Zilch. Zero.

      02/17/13 3:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Andrew Winters said...


      I was blackmailed under extreme duress to take retirement from USAID after I won a grievance against them for an illegal dismissal. I tried to get help from GAP and they wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole. If you have piles of money you can get justice from the USG, if not too damn bad. They can wreck your life and, worse, your children’s lives without even blinking and none of the mechanisms that are supposed to protect federal employees – EEO, OSC, unions, MSPB – are worth a damn. Laws get passed and the bureaucrats find ever more clever ways to retaliate against employees. The same agency that preaches peace and justice in zillions of dollars worth of projects overseas is the most oppressive employer I have ever had. From what I hear most of the federal agencies are just as bad.

      03/23/13 4:56 AM | Comment Link

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