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At a time when the president routinely lies and hides key facts, the need for whistleblowers has never been greater. That reality underscores the importance of continuing support for CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling.

Jeffrey endured two and a half years in prison after going through channels to inform congressional committees about racial discrimination and a dangerous nuclear weapons caper at the CIA. (Links to extensive Background information are at the bottom of this email.) Now, home in Missouri, Jeffrey is struggling.

The last few months have been uplifting yet discouraging. It’s great that Jeffrey received the Sam Adams Award, which in previous years has gone to other brave whistleblowers including Katharine Gun, Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. But the grim fact remains that -- because of the bogus felony convictions that sent him to prison -- Jeffrey has been unable to find a job.

The RootsAction Education Fund was proud to work in solidarity with Jeffrey during his long imprisonment, and we’re now equally proud to sponsor his work as the coordinator of The Project for Accountability. You’ll give him a lift if you make a tax-deductible donation in support of that exciting venture. Half of every dollar you donate will go directly to Jeffrey as he works to rebuild his life, while the other half will go to sustaining his project.

Meanwhile, as Jeffrey explains below, he hopes that someone reading this email will assist him in finding employment. (For context, perhaps a potential employer would be interested in reading Jeffrey’s recent book, Unwanted Spy.) All inquiries for possible employment can be sent directly to Jeffrey at hjster@tutanota.de.

We asked Jeffrey to share some of his current thoughts, and he responded quickly.



[From Jeffrey:]

There are many issues I’d like to discuss and hopefully be a spark for change. One topic that has become very important for me is prison reform.

I read Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow while in prison. I recently read an interview with her where she discusses the book, which was published 10 years ago. From my experience, I have to agree with her that, with regard to the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex, “Everything and nothing has changed.”

I had heard about the book prior to going to prison, and being banished by and to the very system she was speaking of, made it a very difficult read for me. It was difficult, because of what she had to say about how the entire system is one of “control” that “shatters the lives of millions of Americans.” Prior to being a prison inmate, I didn’t want to believe what she had to say about the country I loved. And suddenly, there I was, persecuted by that very system. It was one of the hardest reads for me because, in many ways, she was talking about me.

I found notes I took while reading the book in prison. In handwriting I barely recognize as being my own, I wrote, “Being in prison gives me a more stark realization of the message in the book. In many ways, Alexander is correct, but in some ways, she either doesn’t go far enough or doesn’t touch on the fact that maybe what has developed is something far worse than Jim Crow, something more insidious and more clever than the old system. There is a subtleness to the new system that makes the old pale in comparison.”

My resistance to the book prior to prison became my reality while being prosecuted by a feckless criminal justice system that found no issue in highlighting the color of my skin as a foundation for the charges against me, being confined to a prison system that concerns itself more with cruelty and perpetual punishment in and out of prison, and being hampered by a society that has no place for those who bear the scarlet letter “F” indicating convicted felon. I certainly felt I was banished from my country; having gone to prison, that feeling continues as having to check “the box” on employment applications has meant a steady stream of rejection notices.

I can acknowledge though, that my situation is not typical, my voting rights have been restored and I have a support system helping me hopefully find my place in society once again. I think one such place for me can be to help abolish the cruel and obsolete system that has hampered our country for so long. I learned that when I refused to accept or even read about the truth, I paid for it. To quote my favorite scribe, “there is nothing more confining than the prison we don’t know we are in.” We have to break free of the prison we deny as a result of the New Jim Crow. If not, we all will remain confined.

Prison reform, if not abolition will be one of the topics I plan to discuss during upcoming speaking engagements. I will provide further details about all of my planned speaking engagements in future emails.

Your support of The Project for Accountability will allow me to continue raising my voice for change not only with regard to prison reform but also to raise attention to the need to protect whistleblowers and the ongoing travesty that has been the rampant and perverse use of the Espionage Act to silence whistleblowers. In fact, your support becomes all the more important as I have been experiencing continued silencing as venues who showed interest in my speaking, suddenly cancel for spurious reasons. I do feel a sense of responsibility to use my experiences to bring truth and accountability to power -- and without your continued support, I fear I will be permanently silenced.

I also humbly request your additional assistance with a matter that has become most urgent. While I remain hopeful for a return to society, I have not been able to find a job via the traditional methods; a steady stream of rejection notices continues to flood my inbox. What makes this all the more frustrating is that I certainly have transferrable skills that should be attractive to almost any employer:
  • Excellent research and writing skills including legal research and writing
  • Investigations and compliance experience particularly with healthcare fraud and Medicare Part D
  • Proven experience as a teacher and presenter
  • Voice Over and book narration experience
  • Excellent writing and public speaking skills and experience
If anyone has any ideas, contacts, or leads to employment avenues I may be able to explore, please feel free to contact me directly at hjster@tutanota.de.

Thank you,
Jeffrey Sterling


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PS from the RootsAction Education Fund:

Jeffrey’s refusal to knuckle under to illegitimate power has come at a very steep personal cost. That’s the way top CIA officials wanted it. His enduring capacity to speak truthfully and his emergence as a national voice can help strengthen a wide range of whistleblowers -- past, present and future.

You can help make that happen with a tax-deductible donation of any amount.

Please do what you can to support Jeffrey’s work as coordinator of The Project for Accountability.

Thank you!

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-- The RootsAction Education Fund team

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Background:
>>  Jeffrey Sterling: “Unwanted Spy: The Persecution of an American Whistleblower”
>>  BBC News: "Jeffrey Sterling's Trial by Metadata"
>>  John Kiriakou: “CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Placed in Solitary Confinement”
>>  ExposeFacts: Special Coverage of the Jeffrey Sterling Trial
>>  Marcy Wheeler, ExposeFacts: "Sterling Verdict Another Measure of Declining Government Credibility on Secrets"
>>  Norman Solomon, The Nation: "CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: The Latest Blow in the Government's War on Journalism"
>>  Reporters Without Borders: "Jeffrey Sterling Latest Victim of the U.S.' War on Whistleblowers"
>>  AFP: "Pardon Sought for Ex-CIA Officer in Leak Case"
>>  Documentary film: "The Invisible Man: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling"



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