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Daniel Hale is out of prison!

March 5, 2024 — Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was finally released from prison last month, The Dissenter reports, having served 33 of the 45 months he was sentenced, most of which was spent in the incredibly restrictive Communications Management Unit at F.C. Marion. As Kevin Gosztola writes,

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) transferred Hale to U.S. Penitentiary Marion in Illinois in October. He was placed in a Communications Management Unit (CMU), which prisoners nicknamed “Little Guantanamo” in the 2000s as it was established by President George W. Bush’s administration for Muslim prisoners.

By putting Hale in a CMU, he was effectively cut off from the support network that came to his aid during his prosecution. The prison could prevent him from writing articles for publication or retaliate against him if he gave any journalists permission to publish his writing.

Noor Mir, a close friend and member of his support team, said in December 2021 that his communications were “severely limited.” Mir was his only contact during the first months that he was in prison. 

Hale was only permitted two 15-minute calls per week and anyone he contacted had to be approved by the BOP. All phone calls were monitored in real time by the FBI, and any letters or reading material sent to him was scanned. 

Hale authored an article for Al Jazeera upon his release contrasting his treatment with that of the president for allegedly mishandling classified information,

All told, the guilt I professed for wilfully delivering national defence information to a journalist was nothing compared to the immense shame I felt for wilfully participating in the drone programme. In 2021, scarcely weeks after I was sentenced to federal prison, Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family, most of them small children, were the victims of a mistaken US drone strike. The Pentagon called it a “righteous strike” before the truth forced them to quietly back away and conduct an internal investigation in which it found no one to be at fault for the innocent lives that were taken.

To this day, I am the only person to have worked in the drone programme to have been held responsible. Not for my role in it, but for my effort to reveal the deadly truth of it to the public with the help of a journalist.

I am sincerely glad President Biden was able to receive what so many others in the crosshairs of the Espionage Act have been denied – the benefit of the doubt. But if Joe Biden truly wishes to convey the kind of ideals that helped secure his presidency in the first place, he would utilise his power as president to pardon the whistleblowers and cease the global war on terror policy of “targeted” killing.

Read Daniel’s full piece here, and more about his release here.