Suppression of dissent: documents
If you are new to this site, first check the Guide for newcomers.
Documents and links are included here for the following topics:
Brian Martin, The
Whistleblower's Handbook: How to Be an Effective
Resister, is a practical
manual for people who speak out in the public interest. It tells how
to assess options, prepare for action, use official channels, build
support and survive the experience. Published in 1999. "I wrote this
book to record all the things I'd like to say to every person who
contacts me with a problem, but for which there is never enough time.
It sums up everything practical I've learned in talking to and acting
for dissenters over two decades." (Mark Hayes has written
a lengthy review of The Whistleblower's Handbook and William De Maria's book Deadly Disclosures.)
Brian Martin, Suppression Stories, describes experiences and insights from years of studying and opposing suppression of dissent. The book covers patterns of suppression, the problem of defamation, peer review, formal channels, the role of media, difficulties in opposing suppression and advice for dissidents. It uses numerous case studies to illustrate suppression and methods of dealing with it. Suppression Stories provides a personal account of how to go about investigating and resisting suppression. Published in 1997. The complete text is available here.
Full list of Brian Martin's publications on suppression of dissent
Tim Field has collected
excellent information about bullying at work, at http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/.
Many whistleblowers are subject to bullying, as are many other
Another excellent site on bullying at work is run by Gary and Ruth Namie, at http://www.bullybusters.org/.
Brian Martin, Review of 11 books on workplace bullying, 2000
Catherine Waerner has written on thwarting sexual harassment on the Internet, both a practical leaflet and a full-length essay.
"I'm being harassed. What should I do?" Comments by Brian Martin.
William De Maria, Whistleblowers and secrecy, conference paper, 1995.
The File Room is an archive of censorship cases from many different parts of the world and historical periods.
Sue Curry Jansen and Brian Martin, "Making censorship backfire," Counterpoise, 2003 and "Exposing and opposing censorship", Pacific Journalism Review, 2004.
Defamation law and free speech, a leaflet with information about legal rights and options for action for people who may be threatened by a legal action or who are worried about something they want to say or publish.
Brian Martin and Truda Gray, How to make defamation threats and suits backfire, from Australian Journalism Review, 2005.
Animal Liberation's leaflet on defamation gives information and hints for activists dealing with defamation threats and suits.
(Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), from Current
Affairs Bulletin, 1995.
Defamation and the Australian media: a case study: how an article for a newspaper was altered because of defamation law.
Sydney lawyer Bruce Donald describes the use of defamation actions against public debate in his paper "Safe speech and managing the media", which also gives advice on what to do about the problem.
Brian Martin, What to do when you've been defamed. 2006.
Brian Martin, Defamation havens. First Monday: Peer Reviewed Journal on the Internet, March 2000: publishing in the face of defamation threats, with case studies from the University of Adelaide and the University of Western Australia (see education section below).
Book review of George Pring and Penelope Canan, SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out..
The Kumarangk Legal Defence Fund web site documents (among other things) the large number of defamation suits brought by Tom and Wendy Chapman in relation to the Hindmarsh Island bridge in South Australia, including threat of a defamation action over the web site itself.
Australian university speech codes. Documents about university policies that enable or restrict public comment by staff.
The Subversion of Australian Universities, a book edited by John Biggs and Richard Davis and published by the Fund for Intellectual Dissent in 2002, in available in full text here. It treats a variety of cases dealing with dissent and suppression.
Commercialisation of university research. Thanos Mergoupis lost his job at the London School of Economics when a research sponsor withdrew funding. His case and others are described in these accounts:
Facundo on Freire. Paulo Freire is a widely known and respected advocate of "critical pedagogy". Blanca Facundo wrote a critique of Freire's ideas and her own experiences using his methods. Facundo's critique is a strong dissenting view to the largely uncritical admiration for Freire's work.
University of Florida: Bob Allston has a web site dealing with suppression of free speech and dissent at the university, with examples from the Medical School and the Law School.
Brian Martin, Australia
needs dissent, from
Campus Review, 1993.
Brian Martin, Advice for the dissident scholar, from Thought and Action, 1998.
Dudley Pinnock tells how he was victimised and declared redundant at the University of Adelaide.
University of South Florida:
Sami Al-Arian, Associate Professor of Computer Science, was
dismissed from his tenured position in December 2001, in violation of
due process, essentially because he expressed his opinions. The
United Faculty of Florida has set up a website at http://w3.usf.edu/~uff/AlArian/
dealing with this severe
attack on academic freedom.
"A teacher's story" tells what happened to a teacher who made a complaint about superiors at work.
UWA-David Rindos case. David Rindos was denied tenure at the University of Western Australia after exposing problems in the Archaeology Department. A giant collection of documents is available at http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~hjarvis/rindos.html.
Jane Cargill describes how citizen opposition to mining in Greenbushes, Western Australia has been met by intimidation and government inaction.
Robert Kuehn writes about attacks on attorneys who act pro bono on environmental cases in "Shooting the messenger," Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2002.
Robert Kuehn, "Suppression of environmental science", from American Journal of Law and Medicine, 2004.
Brian Martin, "Intellectual suppression: why environmental scientists are afraid to speak out," from Habitat Australia, 1992.
Brian Martin, "The scientific straightjacket: the power structure of science and the suppression of environmental scholarship," from The Ecologist, 1981.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, Australia, is the subject of a detailed critical examination by "Jane Doe" titled "NPWS Management - A protected species! NPWS Staff - A threatened species!" She uses categories developed by the Government Accountability Project to help make sense of her experiences. See also comment by parlimentarian J F Ryan (1996).
William Sanjour's collected papers tell of whistleblowing and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
and the origin of AIDS.
One theory of the origin of AIDS is that it developed from
contaminated polio vaccines used in Africa in the late 1950s. This
theory, if correct, has major implications, but it has never been
properly investigated. Many key documents about the theory and its
reception by the scientific community are given here.
Corporate healthcare documents. Extensive documentation is provided here concerning Tenet Healthcare (previously National Medical Enterprises), Columbia/HCA, Sun Healthcare, Mayne Nickless and other health, aged care, and managed care corporations. Information is provided about investigations into and convictions for health care fraud, conduct in Australia, Singapore and the US (including attempts to enter new markets), questions about government policy and the effectiveness of whistleblowing.
Blowing the whistle on healthcare fraud in the US: for practical advice see the website JustWhisper.
Aubrey Blumsohn complained about the research integrity of research funded by Proctor and Gamble carried out at the University of Sheffield, raising concerns about data being withheld and articles being ghostwritten. He had far more impact going to the media than via internal complaints. See http://www.thejabberwock.org/wiki/index.php?title=Actonel_Case_Media_Reports The ramifications are discussed on Blumsohn's blog at
James DeMeo documents attacks on alternative health therapies by the US Food and Drug Administration and attacks on orgone research.
The site NHS Exposed reveals information about problems in Britain's National Health Service, including medical negligence, child health, disability discrimination and private hospitals.
Jean Lennane, Employers
blamed for work stress,
from NSW Doctor, 1994.
Anthony Liversidge presented a paper, "The scorn of heretics", in Naples in 2001. It gives special attention to the difficulties faced by Peter Duesberg and other HIV-AIDS dissidents.
In the Australian state of NSW, overseas trained doctors face serious professional obstacles. Robyn Iredale has spoken up about this problem. Two documents are given here:
Dr P Grahame Woolf in "Whistleblower to vexatious correspondent" tells of his experiences as a member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in the UK. In Woolf's words, it is a case of a complaint backfiring against the complainer, with unjust suspensions converted to dismissal and loss of main employment all without a proper meeting with an opportunity to voice his concerns freely.
Dr John Wright was dismissed from a major Sydney university teaching hospital. This is his story of how and why.
A case of
disputed authorship at the Australian
Museum. Brian Martin
tells about the case of a scientific paper published in the
Records of the Australian Museum in which there is no
acknowledgment of the contribution of a person who was coauthor of an
Dr John Hewitt's website, entitled "A Habit of Lies: How Scientists Cheat", describes his work and experiences dealing with the subject, in biology, of capping and particle movement on the surface of cells.
Al Higgins has produced a massive database of more than 4000 references, each annotated and summarised, on fraud in science, as part of his listserv.
Brian Martin analyses two types of plagiarism in an article, "Plagiarism: a misplaced emphasis", from Journal of Information Ethics.
Michael Pyshnov, in a web
site entitled "Ruthless
science fraud at the University of Toronto",
alleges that credit for his research was taken by others.
Abuse of medical assessments to dismiss whistleblowers. Referrals to psychiatrists and diagnoses of mental illness can be used to get rid of whistleblowers.
Sherrie Gossett, two stories on the US National Security Agency and psychological abuse of whistleblowers, from Cybercast News Service, 2006.
Jean Lennane, Battered plaintiffs - injuries from hired guns and compliant courts, on whistleblowers' problems with psychiatrists and lawyers.
Armadillo-leprosy controversy. Dr H. P. Burchfield provides detailed documentation alleging misconduct in medical research by US Public Health Service scientists in relation to a World Health Organization effort to develop an anti-leprosy vaccine based on use of leprosy bacilli grown in nine-banded armadillos.
John A. Davison tells of his experiences of marginalisation in "What it means to be an antiDarwinian at the University of Vermont".
Jason Delborne presents a framework for understanding scientific dissent in "Transgenes and transgressions: scientific dissent as heterogeneous practice", Social Studies of Science, 2008.
Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in Society has written an article, "Independent scientists an endangered species", documenting suppression of dissenting scientists.
Brian Martin, Suppression of dissent in science, from Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, 1999.
Brian Martin. Suppressing research data: methods, context, accountability, and responses, from Accountability in Research, 1999.
Brian Martin, Strategies for dissenting scientists, from Journal of Scientific Exploration, 1998.
Brian Martin, Stamping out dissent, from Newsweek, 1993.
Brian McLean comments on the behaviour of scientific authorities in Scientific criticism by and for the scientifically untrained.
Bruce Pollock's website on "unsafe science" exposes problems at the National Seed Storage Laboratory in the US, among other stories involving science, risks, free speech and whistleblowing.
Jeff Schmidt worked as an editor at the magazine Physics Today for 19 years. On the side, he wrote a book, Disciplined Minds, telling how professionals are made into ideological conformists. After publication of the book in 2000, he was fired. Following a campaign supported by many physicists, he received a favourable settlement in 2006. Read about it here.
Toby J. Sommer, "Suppression of Scientific Research: Bahramdipity and Nulltiple Scientific Discoveries", Science and Engineering Ethics, Volume 7, No. 1, 2001, pp 77-104. This article is available here with the permission of Opragen Publications. See www.opragen.co.uk for complete contents and abstracts for the quarterly journal Science and Engineering Ethics.
Veterinary profession suppression, in relation to processed pet foods and alternatives, is documented at the Raw Meaty Bones website.
William De Maria in his 2002 paper "Common law - common mistakes" analyses strengths and weaknesses of whistleblower laws from five countries. (For a somewhat different, published version, see "Common law - common mistakes? Protecting whistleblowers in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom", 2006.) In another 2002 paper, "The Victorian Whistleblower Protection Act: patting the paws of corruption?", he analyses the Victoria government's new law.
Stuart Dawson discusses whistleblower legislation and related issues in his paper "Whistleblowing: a broad definition and some issues for Australia", published in 2000.
Kim Sawyer assesses whistleblower legislation with special attention to Australia in his November 2004 paper "Courage without mateship".
The Dissident Defence Network documents harassment and persecution of dissidents, whistleblowers and critics of elite rulers. See http://www.dissident-net.org/ddn/
Peter Bowden (email@example.com) has given talks about whistleblowing. His Powerpoint slides are available here.
Resisting unfair dismissal: a campaigning approach, a four-page leaflet by Brian Martin, 2005.
Schweik Action Wollongong,
Sometimes workers and clients of a bureaucracy need to oppose the
people at the top. The organisation may have strayed from its
original purpose or there may be serious corruption -- and sometimes
the bureaucracy is taken over by ruthless rulers, as when the Nazis
occupied Europe. This booklet presents seven illuminating case
studies, including the Movement for Ordination of Women and the
Australia Card debate. It also gives examples of people's challenges
to authoritarian governments. These case studies provide important
lessons concerning the vital task of bringing about change in
Jean Lennane, The canary down the mine: what whistleblowers' health tells us about their environment, conference paper, 1995.
Kim Sawyer, A test called whistleblowing: to survive, whistleblowers need to get through five tests; conference paper, 2005.
Kim Sawyer, Jackie Johnson and Mark Holub, The necessary illegitimacy of the whistleblower: organisational legitimacy theory can be used to understand what happens to whistleblowers.
Anti-terrorism powers could be used against dissent. Some resources for organising against this are available: see "Resisting repression".
See the site of Whistleblowers Australia for lots of information including "Whistleblowers of national significance" (Mick Skrijel, Bill Toomer, Kevin Lindeberg and Jim Leggate) and back issues of The Whistle.
Richard Blake tells about reporting on expenditure misrepresentations in the New South Wales Department of School Education.
Allan Fels, former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, tells of the value of whistleblowing for exposing anti-competitive actions including price-fixing and cartels in "Understanding the coporate governance and public sector reforms."
The shredding of the Heiner
documents. The Queensland state Cabinet approved the shredding of
documents gathered during an official inquiry into a youth centre,
although they were being sought for purposes of a prospective court
case. This case was brought to light in a series of stories in
the Brisbane newspaper The Weekend Independent. See http://www.heineraffair.info/
Raymond Hoser is a whistleblower who has exposed corruption in government bodies, the police and the legal system. His books include The Hoser Files, a detailed account of his experiences in Victoria, and Smuggled-2: Wildlife Trafficking, Crime and Corruption in Australia. At the end of 1996 his web sites at http://www.kew.starway.net.au/~adder/ were shut down without consultation not long after he successfully defended a court action aimed at banning Smuggled-2. His most recent books are on Victorian Politic Corruption. For more information, see his sites, now at http://www.smuggled.com/, or contact Raymond Hoser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Macgregor was gagged in 2003 by a religious cult. He tells the story in "Award-winning Australian journalist 'raided', gagged, sued by a well-known religious cult".
Sharnie Makinson's experiences of dealing with bullying at work in Legal Aid Queensland are described in an article in the Courier-Mail, 7 February 2004, and an ABC interview, 23 June 2004.
Networked Knowledge deals with miscarriages of justice in Australia, using scientific and legal skills, funded from voluntary contributions. The book A State of Injustice, by Robert N Moles, documents the sort of miscarriages that occur.
Allan Warren was a major in the Australian Army. Apparently due to trivial matters, he was drummed out of the service in 1981 by manipulation of the officer report appraisal system.
The death of Nicky Whelan: How two Australian government search and rescue authorities covered up their failure to rescue a dying man, got rid of a public servant who refused to be part of it, and how it was revealed.
Attack on education: A programme called the Special Tutorial Program ("Programa Especial de Treinamento" or PET in Portuguese) has come under attack. Professor Marcos Cesar Danhoni Neves, a leading PET advocate, has come under personal attack. In 2005 he was serious threatened. In 2006, the mayor used political criteria to choose school directors. See Suppression of dissent in Brazilian education.
Dick Nadeau reveals information about paedophiles in prominent positions in Cornwall, Ontario at http://www.projecttruth2.com. See also Cornwall: the inquiry at http://www.theinquiry.ca/
Robert Norburn, a quality assurance supervisor at Fleet Industries, blew the whistle on production and quality control problems. This is his story, as told by Dave Kewley in a two-article in The Spectator, 1990.
Dr Mauricio Schoijet, a social scientist who has written on many controversial issues, tells of his struggle for proper scholarly recognition in his "Background and statement for a lawsuit against the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores" and "Summary of a Lawsuit against the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores".
Aziz Choudry reports on the criminalisation of dissent in an article from the Otago Daily Times, December 2000.
Jane Kelsey, The closure of critique: embedding the new regime, 1996: an assessment of critical voices in New Zealand.
Health disaster cover-up. Bob Woffinden reports in The Guardian about a 1981 health disaster that left 1000 dead and 25,000 seriously injured. Blamed at the time on cooking oil, there is evidence that the real cause was pesticides, but many of those who said so were silenced.
Jeannette Campbell, Dare I blow the whistle?, a 2004 study of South Africa's Protected Disclosure Act of 2000.
Christopher Merrett, Back to the past in South Africa? from Information for Social Change, 1996.
Edgar Gillham tells about his whistleblowing experience at a military electronics firm.
Brenda Hill blew the whistle on a real estate company that sued her in retaliation. She was eventually vindicated, but at a cost.
Roberta Ann Johnson in a 2005 article tells of the special issues involved in "Whistleblowing and the police".
Community-supported radio stations run by the Pacifica Foundation have long been much-needed voices of dissent in the US. However, in 1999 the Foundation has dismissed staff and censored programmes at station KPFA in San Francisco, Pacifica's oldest station. Listeners have mobilised in outrage. Extensive and up-to-date documentation is available at http://www.savepacifica.net/index.htm.
Leroy J. Pletten is a US Army whistleblower concerning drugs and other issues.
Ian Thomas was dismissed from the US Geological Survey for putting maps on the web. He found out, after he was fired, that they were politically sensitive.
Brian Martin's website on suppression of dissent
revised 8 July 2009