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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/20/16

Say a Prayer for Jeffrey Sterling

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Reprinted from Reader Supported News

Jeffrey and Holly Sterling honeymooning on the beach in Jamica, June 2007.
Jeffrey and Holly Sterling honeymooning on the beach in Jamica, June 2007.
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Jeffrey Sterling is a former CIA intelligence officer, a U.S. political prisoner, and a black man in an American jail.

Jeffrey Sterling has also suffered a heart attack in the federal prison in which he is detained at Englewood, Colorado, and may be dead by the time you read this.

Can you help? Good question. Thanks for asking that question. Jeffrey and his wife Holly are reaching out for all the help they can get, ASAP.

Per John Kiriakou's post on RSN this morning, "Holly has enlisted the support of Norman Solomon's Roots Action, which has asked supporters to call Warden Deborah Denham at 303-763-4300. In addition to the warden, Solomon recommends contacting the Bureau of Prisons' North Central Regional Office by calling Sara M. Revell at 913-621-3939 or writing to her at NCRO/"

Jeffrey Sterling is incarcerated ostensibly on an espionage conviction for revealing to New York Times reporter James Risen a secret U.S. project titled Operation Merlin.

For the record, Risen, having received the full benefit of top notch legal council, remains free. Jeffrey rots in prison.

Risen reported on the pages of The New York Times that Operation Merlin was a failure and that it, in all likelihood, had accelerated Iran's nuclear program rather than undermining it as the CIA had intended.

But Sterling had a different problem, his blackness. In the practically all-white CIA, Sterling stood out like a "big black guy speaking Farsi." Which was what his supervisor at the "company" cited as justification for rejecting his application for overseas deployment, specifically citing race as a contributing factor.

Then Sterling made his real mistake. He sued the CIA for discrimination. Before sentencing Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison, Judge Leonie Brinkema, the same judge coincidentally who sentenced former CIA agent John Kiriakou to 30 months in prison on similar charges, said that she was sending a message: "If you do knowingly reveal these secrets, there's going to be a price to be paid."

The real message was that the U.S. federal prison system can absolutely function as a gulag. If you challenge or embarrass the American empire, this is what happens to you.

Bear in mind two things. The administration of Barack Obama has prosecuted more cases traditionally viewed as whistleblowing than that of any other president in U.S. history, by far. It is by all indications a brutal campaign of repression against the very people who speak out against American government abuse.

Further, there was no real evidence presented at trial that Sterling revealed anything of a classified nature to Risen or anyone else. The jury was a typical "terrorized by government terrorism propaganda" lynch mob that would have convicted anyone of anything the government instructed them to. Founders spinning in their graves be damned.

Nothing is more sacred or essential to a democracy than transparency. It is not enough to protect society, if that society must sacrifice its values and freedom for those protections. Jeffrey Sterling is in prison because he tried to shed light on questionable government practices.

The U.S. government loves to accuse and sanction other nations for repression of opponents and critics. American political prisoners like Jeffrey Sterling bear witness to that hypocrisy.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News:

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