Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Honest Human With Integrity Prevails Over Corporation

Pro Se Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower Prevails in Jury Trial

Jason Zuckerman, November 01, 2016
“A very interesting read for whistleblowers. Below is a blog by Jason Zuckerman, who is featured in the piece “How to Help a Whistleblower” by Jan Wolfe in Corporate Counsel’s Novemember edition.” 
 An article in Corporate Counsel titled How to Help a Whistleblower tells the story of Dr. Perez, a Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower who prevailed at trial after eight years of hard-fought litigation.  Dr. Perez recovered approximately $3M and represented himself throughout most of the litigation, including at trial.
The story in Corporate Counsel focuses on the lessons that companies can learn from this case, and the story quotes SOX whistleblower lawyer Jason Zuckerman about some of the likely reasons why Dr. Perez prevailed:
“This is a true David vs. Goliath story,” says Jason Zuckerman, a lawyer for whistleblowers in Washington D.C. “Progenics was well-represented and appeared to spare no expense on its defense. Yet a pro se plaintiff prevailed at trial.”
[ MORE ]

Saturday, October 8, 2016

U.N. Retaliations Against Whistleblowers

Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Tolerated at the United Nations

Bea Edwards, September 20, 2016
GAP’s blog “Tribunal Ruling Shows That UN Whistleblowers Cannot Be Protected” reviews the logic applied by the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) when itrejected an application for relief from retaliation submitted by two UN whistleblowers. The applicants to the Tribunal were Ai Loan Nguyen-Kropp and Florin Postica, two investigators in the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) at the UN Secretariat, who disclosed that their supervisor, Michael Dudley, then Acting Director, had tampered with evidence in an investigation. Subsequently, both were subjected to an investigation, which was ultimately closed without charging them, and which a subsequent supervisor conceded was unwarranted and a wasteful use of resources.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Leaked Docs Prove Systemic and Pervasive Corruption

The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian.
The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation.
The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections.
[ more ]

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Will The Pentagon Support Whistleblowers or No?

Advocacy Groups Call on Armed Services Committees to Preserve Military Whistleblower Rights

Irvin McCullough, June 27, 2016
After both chambers of Congress passed their versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017, twenty-eight public interest organizations and advocacy groups sent a letter to leadership of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and encouraged them to maintain the integrity of the military whistleblower provisions in the bill through conference.
The letter cautions, “While military whistleblowers play an important role in safeguarding our nation from fraud, waste and abuse, speaking out against wrongdoing is particularly challenging for servicemembers.” A 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office found that the military is plagued by widespread whistleblower retaliation, and according to a 2014 government survey, a quarter of Department of Defense Inspector General employees fear reprisal if they disclose a suspected violation of law.
[ MORE ]

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Unsafe at Any Time - Nader Hosts Civic Activists

Whistleblowers "Breaking Through Power"

Irvin McCullough, June 03, 2016
Last week, Ralph Nader hosted hundreds of civic activists for his Breaking Through Powerconference. These activists celebrated the 50th anniversary of the consumer advocate’s book,Unsafe at Any Speed, by listening to panelists describe how they improve civic mobilization and democratic integrity.
The Governmental Accountability Project (GAP) emphasizes whistleblowing as a way to spur action and break through power. Fifty years ago, Ralph Nader coined the term “whistleblower” when he called for civic-minded engineers and technicians to report corruption. And they responded! With the help of those early corporate whistleblowers, consumer-friendly legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act were created and corruption was exposed. Public life improved. If private sector whistleblowers could make so much change, could the same be done in the public sector?
On May 25th, three panelists revealed that it could. Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, and John Kiriakou shared their stories and discussed the difficulties they faced as whistleblowers.
They briefly outlined their stories throughout the panel: Drake blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s ineffective Trailblazerprogram that wasted millions of American taxpayers’ dollars; Radack exposed a Federal Bureau of Investigation’s unethical interrogation of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh; Kiriakou shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program. All three served their country, all three exposed corruption, and all three suffered reprisal. Their reprisal came at the cost of baseless FBI raids, criminal investigations, an Espionage Act prosecution, and even actual prison time.
The cost of whistleblowing can be high, especially for the unconnected. Breaking through power without power is difficult. While these whistleblowers were punished, they noted “hypocrisy” in the handling of high-ranking officials’ information disclosures, and Drake claimed that “[those with power] get another set of rules.” Kiriakou concurred, citing an instance where Director Petraeus “got a pass” forallegedly revealing sensitive information to the New York Times.

Friday, June 10, 2016

All The Dark We Will Not See - Excerpt 1

That’s right. Imagine it.
Now, do some tricks, try out Your powers.
Hide in a far Nothing at the edge of light. Drift near Far Tortuga in a leaky turtle boat. Melt an icecap, craft a crop circle, have sex with a virus.
Now, go to the city of Washington and read a few minds. Pick up a copy of the Washington Post. Hang out with a drug or weapons lobbyist at a local bar. Try to reconcile the biases, irrationalities, and politics You encounter into something that makes sense for the good of all.
In other words, try to un-Babel this city...
You cannot.
It is impossible, even for You. Being all-powerful, You have “created” a place even You will never sort out.
Short of an alien invasion or flaming snakes from the sky (at least twice a week), two worlds will always prevail in Washington and trump all Godlike efforts: the World of Idols and the World of Ideals.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

From the NYT - Ongoing Persecution of Whistleblowers

CreditTopos Graphics
SHOULD it be a crime to report a crime? Many top officials in Washington seem to think so, at least in the case of Edward Snowden.
June 6 will be the third anniversary ofThe Guardians publication of top-secret documents provided by Mr. Snowden that showed that the National Security Agency was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.
Outraged by this assault on the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure, Tea Party Republicans and progressive Democrats joined to block reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act’s surveillance provisions last year. Only after the N.S.A. was required to obtain warrants to examine such records was reauthorization approved.
But Mr. Snowden, the whistle-blower who set this reform in motion with his disclosures, is persona non grata in the nation’s capital. Democrats and Republicans alike have denounced him as a traitor.
President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have also been unyielding. Mr. Snowden, now in Russia, deliberately broke the law and should not “be brought home without facing the music,” Mrs. Clinton said in a Democratic presidential debate.
“He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistle-blower,” she said. “He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.”
Thomas Drake would disagree. So would John Crane.
Their intertwined stories, revealed this week, make clear that Secretary Clinton’s and President Obama’s faith in whistle-blower protections is unfounded, and cast Mr. Snowden’s actions in a different light.
Mr. Snowden has expressed his debt to Mr. Drake. “If there hadn’t been a Thomas Drake,” he told Al Jazeera, “there couldn’t have been an Edward Snowden.”
Mr. Drake was a senior N.S.A. official who had also complained, 12 years earlier, about warrantless surveillance. As a career military man, he followed the course later advocated by President Obama and Secretary Clinton. Joining others with similar concerns, he went up the chain of command, finally ending up at the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Things did not go well.
[ MORE ]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Good American Treated by White House Like A Criminal

The Government’s Criminalization of “A Good American”

Shanna Devine, April 25, 2016
Friedrich Mosers’ new documentary, A Good American, details the courage and struggle of National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Bill Binney and his partners in committing the truth. Before there was Edward Snowden, there existed a team of senior NSA employees who devised a surveillance program called ThinThread that effectively identified terrorist threats and protected the privacy rights of innocent individuals. When it was replaced by a costly, ineffective and unconstitutional mass surveillance program, they resigned and blew the whistle through designated channels. As the film reveals, however, they were ultimately treated as if they committed a crime for reporting a crime.
recent letter by prominent good government groups calls on the Obama Administration to put an end to that practice by “prohibiting managers from pursuing or threatening prosecution of whistleblowers who use protected channels.”
- See more at: https://www.whistleblower.org/blog/110925-government%E2%80%99s-criminalization-%E2%80%9C-good-american%E2%80%9D#sthash.phO48289.dpuf

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Insider Threat Program" of Obama is a Threat to Whistleblowers

Dissent is Dangerous: Insider Threat Defense and “The Snowden Affair”

Matt Fuller, April 06, 2016
In the aftermath of classified disclosures to Wikileaks, the Obama administration created an Insider Threat Program tasked with identifying the “malicious insiders.” In practice, however, we have found that the Insider Threat Program is really a threat to insiders who commit the truth – whistleblowers.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “An insider threat arises when a person with authorized access to U.S. Government resources… uses that access to harm the security of the United States. Malicious insiders can inflict incalculable damage. They enable the enemy to plant boots behind our lines and can compromise our nation's most important endeavors.”
The initial creation of the Insider Threat Program included an explicit exemption for whistleblowers covered under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and Intelligence Community WPA. However, in the years since the program’s inception, government agencies and congressional officials have used insider threats and whistleblowers as interchangeable identities, causing an irreversible chilling effect amongst public servants who are considering reporting waste, fraud, abuse and other misconduct. Further, the whistleblower exception has vanished from official training materials and guidance on how agencies should implement the Insider Threat program.t
- See more at: https://www.whistleblower.org/blog/031006-dissent-dangerous-insider-threat-defense-and-%E2%80%9C-snowden-affair%E2%80%9D

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

List of Ronald Reagan Virtues on Facebook

All The Dark
"In Reagan’s first three years as president, over 20 high-ranking EPA employees were removed from their positions and in some cases imprisoned. Perhaps the most roundly illegal of these scandals was a scheme to fix elections with taxpayer money, otherwise known as “Sewergate."
Although conservatives have recently tried to revive the image of former president and actor Ronald Reagan, his legacy includes details that are a little l

Interview With Author Regarding "Tear Down This Myth" - A Book About The Reality of The Reagan Administration

Harpers Magazine Interview
This is from 2010 but indefinitely relevant to learning the reality of the Reagan White House.

Will Bunch is an award-winning senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and a senior fellow with Media Matters for America. His latest book, Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy, just out in paperback, examines the process by which Ronald Reagan was subjected to a makeover after his death. I put six questions to Will Bunch about the book.
1. Your book describes itself as a deconstruction of the myth of Ronald Reagan. But how successful has the effort at myth-making been? How does Reagan now stack up among the presidents among historians and the public in general?
It’s interesting–Reagan’s reputation has risen with both the public and historians the further we get in memory from his actual presidency–which I think is a huge tribute to both the myth-making machinery created by the likes of Grover Norquist and the mainstream media’s willingness to embrace the myth. For example, in March 1990, some 13 months after Reagan left the Oval Office, Reagan’s popularity (59 percent) had dipped below that of Jimmy Carter (62 percent). Two major surveys of historians in the mid-1990s rated Reagan’s presidency as below average, not one of the all-time greats.
[ more ]

A Film Based on a Scene in "All The Dark We Will Not See"

Author's Note Regarding "All The Dark We Will Not See"

All the Dark We Will Not See is a historical novel based on a true story that takes us back to 1984 Washington, D.C. It allows us to live a life both profound and pedestrian, yet frighteningly real, and at times, even surreal. The foundational circumstance is the aftermath of a major corporate siege that overthrew the city and planted its flags in full view of the Reagan White House. Many of us who worked in Washington watched it happen with a predictable sense of awe and foreboding. We all had tales to tell, tales that few outside the city would ever believe.

When the novel was first conceived many years later, serious issues presented themselves for consideration, first and foremost being point of view. It would be relatively simple to create a White House character for purposes of observing insider intrigue and criminality--a Reagan apostle like Peggy Noonan, for example. But given my own experience in the bowels of the Executive, and having observed and studied the trickle-down effect of White House psychology and political culture, I realized the story would be better served by adopting the viewpoint of those who were a few degrees removed from the rarefied air of the Oval Office. The story would be told not by characters who wielded power like narcissist sociopaths, but by those who lived daily with the consequences of it, and who either resisted or amplified that power for their own ends.

Everyone in 1984 Washington who opposed the Leviathan, who put their reputations and lives on the line regardless of political affiliation, did so not because they desired glory, but because they still believed in a world where right would win out. Most lived to be terribly disappointed, for "doing the right thing" rarely if ever made a difference during that era--now glossed over by many and made to appear like a Camelot interlude.

Regardless, despite their reversals and the drama played out during those years of turmoil, redemption and hope are found in the knowledge that real heroes struggled to do the right thing for us, however futile that struggle often became. Some succeeded, others failed, but their sacrifices and battles, their enemies and betrayers, as detailed in "All The Dark We Will Not See," reveal an injustice none of us can afford to ignore. As Dostoevsky once said, "Tyranny is a habit, it grows upon us."