If you are new to this site, first check basic information.
Documents and links are included here for the following topics:
Brian Martin, Whistleblowing: A Practical Guide, is a
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. Second edition published in 2013.
"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."
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.
Full list of Brian Martin's publications on suppression of dissent
Tim Field has collected
excellent information about bullying at work.
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, Tactics against bullying at work, 2007
Brian Martin, Review of 11 books on workplace bullying, 2000
Kim Sawyer, "The invisible hand: when the firm becomes the bully", 2015: on bullying and whistleblowing
Catherine Waerner has written on thwarting sexual harassment on the Internet, both a practical leaflet and a full-length essay.
Dealing with electronic and other unusual forms of harassment
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, 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), Current
Affairs Bulletin, 1995
Defamation and the Australian media: a case study: how an article for a newspaper was altered because of defamation law
Defamation threats relating to pages on this website
Environment Defenders Office Victoria, How to face legal threats: a resource kit for activists, 2002, gives special attention to defamation
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.
Lee-Anne Raymond and Demetrios Vakras, Australian surrealist artists, have been sued for defamation by a gallery owner, for describing his treatment of their exhibition. Raymond and Vakras have launched a petition to reform Australia's defamation laws. See Artists' exhibition critical of religion declared racist by gallery owner are then sued for writing about it (February 2013).
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. 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:
Kevin Dew, "Academic freedom and its limits", 2004, describes constraints on researchers, with many examples.
"The ethics and politics of ethics approval": how a university administration abused ethics procedures to shut down bullying research.
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.
Robert M. Frumkin was dismissed from his tenured post at Kent State University in the 1970s. His book The Ivy Conspiracy gives his comprehensive account.
Robert Kuehn and Peter Joy, "'Kneecapping' academic freedom", Academe, 2010: attacks on US law school clinics by corporations and governments. See also Robert Kuehn and Bridget McCormack, "Lessons from forty years of interference in law school clinics", Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, 2011.
Whistleblowers - and why academic freedom is most threatened from within, Campus Review, 1993
Brian Martin, Advice for the dissident scholar, Thought and Action, 1998
John Morgan in "Life after whistleblowing" reports on academic whistleblowing, Times Higher Education, 2014
Don Parkes in his book Doctored! tells how fraudulent candidatures, a scholarship and doctoral level examinations were handled by university, state and federal officials.
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 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 was 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", American Journal of Law and Medicine, 2004
Brian Martin, "Intellectual suppression: why environmental scientists are afraid to speak out," Habitat Australia, 1992
Brian Martin, "The scientific straightjacket: the power structure of science and the suppression of environmental scholarship," 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. This material is provided by Michael Wynne.
Several corporate healthcare pages have been the subject of complaints or threats to sue, delivered to the University of Wollongong:
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
Stephen Bolsin et al., "Whistleblowing and patient safety", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2011
James DeMeo documents attacks on alternative health therapies by the US Food and Drug Administration and attacks on orgone research.
Phil Hammond and Andrew Bousfield in "Shoot the messenger" tell how whistleblowers in Britain's National Health Service are "silenced and sacked".
Eve Hillary has written about attacks on alternative health products and practitioners in "TGA skeletons: WHO provatised the regulator?", "Casualties of corporate medicine: the Jenny Burke story" and "Codex - the sickness indu$try's last stand".
Jean Lennane: "Whistleblowing": a health issue, British Medical Journal, 1993; Employers
blamed for work stress, 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.
Brian Martin in "Caught in the vaccination wars" tells how he defended the free speech of a group critical of vaccination and came under attack himself
The site NHS Exposed reveals information about problems in Britain's National Health Service, including medical negligence, child health, disability discrimination and private hospitals. "Name and shame", from BMJ in 2009, is an excellent account of problems faced by whistleblowers in the British health system.
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. See also "In memoriam", Society of Clinical Psychiatrists, 2013.
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 earlier version.
Marcoen Cabbolet writes about forms of scientific misconduct that directly harm others, including ones that suppress dissent, in a 2013 paper.
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
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.
"Stephen Lee: unacknowledged sources?" summarises information provided by parents of students at Methodist Ladies' College, Perth.
Brian Martin analyses two types of plagiarism in an article, "Plagiarism: a misplaced emphasis", Journal of Information Ethics, 1994
Michael Pyshnov, in a web site entitled University of Toronto fraud, alleges that credit for his research was taken by others.
Marek Wronski has exposed many cases of scholarly misconduct in Poland. In several articles he documents serious cases of plagiarism.
Abuse of medical assessments to dismiss whistleblowers. Referrals to psychiatrists and diagnoses of mental illness can be used to get rid of whistleblowers.
APS Dignity, two blogs about psychiatric examinations used against members of the Australian Public Service, 2012
Sherrie Gossett, two stories on the US National Security Agency and psychological abuse of whistleblowers, 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.
Marcoen Cabbolet tells how to detect when criticisms of scientific work are themselves unscientific, in "Tell-tale signs of pseudoskepticism", 2015
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.
Tyrone Hayes has discovered dangers from the pesticide atrazine. He was targeted for attack by Syngenta, the chemical's manufacturer. Rachel Aviv tells the story in "A valuable reputation".
Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in Society documents suppression of dissenting scientists in "Independent scientists an endangered species".
Brian Martin, Enabling scientific dissent, New Doctor, 2008.
Brian Martin, Suppression of dissent in science, Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, 1999
Brian Martin. Suppressing research data: methods, context, accountability, and responses, Accountability in Research, 1999
Brian Martin, Strategies for dissenting scientists, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 1998
Brian McLean comments on the behaviour of scientific authorities in Scientific criticism by and for the scientifically untrained.
Claire Robinson reports on suppression of scientists who study the safety of GM foods in "Is Monsanto on the side of science?", 2015
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, 2001. 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.
Stuart Dawson discusses whistleblower legislation and related issues in his 2000 paper "Whistleblowing: a broad definition and some issues for Australia".
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.
Venkatesh Nayak gives a detailed analysis of the proposed whistleblower law in India in "Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 (India's whistleblower bill): a comparison with international best practice standards".
Kim Sawyer assesses whistleblower legislation with special attention to Australia in his November 2004 paper "Courage without mateship".
Kim Sawyer, "Lincoln's law: an analysis of an Australian False Claims Act", September 2011
Kim Sawyer examines whistleblowing from the point of view of a public-private partnership in his 2014 paper "The partnership called whistleblowing".
Brendan Jones, "A whistleblower's guide to journalists", 2013. This advice is based on contact with many Australian journalists.
The Dissident Defence Network documents harassment and persecution of dissidents, whistleblowers and critics of elite rulers. See http://www.dissident-net.info/
Peter Bowden (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
Jean Lennane, What happens to whistleblowers, and why: insights into the treatment of whistleblowers, 1996. This is a classic article, reprinted in 2012.
Kim Sawyer, A test called whistleblowing, conference paper, 2005: to survive, whistleblowers need to get through five tests
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
Sylvia Survivor, "Taking on a dysfunctional department: tips and traps", 2011. Written by an former public service employee, this account is based on experience with numerous successful legal actions over four years.
Anti-terrorism powers could be used against dissent. Some resources for organising against this are available: see "Resisting repression".
See Whistleblowers Australia for lots of information including "Whistleblowers of national significance" (Mick Skrijel, Bill Toomer, Kevin Lindeberg and Jim Leggate) and all issues of The Whistle.
Bad Health Queensland is a resource for whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers in Queensland Health.
Richard Blake tells about reporting on expenditure misrepresentations in the New South Wales Department of School Education.
John B Cole provides documents about a coroner's findings into a suicide in a Hobart clinic. He claims the findings are a whitewash.
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. 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 email@example.com
John Host, a professional historian, in 2004 wrote a lengthy report in support of an Aboriginal land claim. In 2009, without his agreement, his report was published as a book. In a critique titled "About that book", Host analyses what he sees as shortcomings in the book version of his report. For information about the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council's efforts to block access to Host's original report, see "Struggle over the Host report".
Sheila Jeffreys, who has done research on prostitution and the sex trade, was able to give talks in Tasmania in 2012 despite attempts by the Scarlett Alliance to discredit her and prevent the talks. See "Australian sex worker rights group fails in bid to gag professor".
Brendan Jones, "Debunking Dreyfus on free speech and freedom", September 2014. This is a comprehensive treatment of barriers to free speech in Australia, covering whistleblower laws, defamation and the role of the mass media, with numerous examples and references.
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.
Janet Walton tells the story of her experiences with the legal system in Western Australia in her 2012 book An Absence of Law.
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.
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 seriously threatened. In 2006, the mayor used political criteria to choose school directors. See Suppression of dissent in Brazilian education.
Update, July 2010 In 2005, the Tutorial Education Program (PET in Portuguese) was re-institutionalized in the Ministry of Public Instruction. At that time, the Brazilian government initiated a process of exclusion, preventing dialogue with CENAPET (the organisation of teachers and students defending PET against the threats by the Brazilian government). On 21 June 2010, after two years without a meeting of the Superior Council of the Program, SESu (Office of the Brazilian Ministry - Secretary of Higher Education) acted against CENAPET, threatening to end representation of the professors and imposing restitution to a student in a coercive and authoritarian form. The Brazilian government is preparing a repressive act (announcement) to replace, in two years, all the nearly 500 teachers who lead tutorial groups involving around five thousand students. Acting in this way, the Brazilian government, and especially its Ministry of Public Instruction, prepares to destroy PET.
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.
Denis Rancourt, a highly productive physicist and radical activist, was dismissed from his tenured position at the University of Ottawa in 2009, allegedly because of his system of grading. See http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/
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 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? 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".
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.
Suppression of dissent website
revised 3 July 2015