On February 17, 2010, legendary whistleblowers from all walks of life will meet in New York City for an event entitled “The Essential Role of the Whistleblower in American Society”. It is being presented by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), Participant Media, and The Paley Center for Media. The gathering is taking place at 25 West 52nd St., New York, New York at 7 PM EST. Noted guests attending the event are Frank Serpico, Cathy Harris, Colleen Rowley, Daniel Ellsberg, Dr. David Kessler, Babak Pasdar, Daniel Ellsberg, Mike German and Kit Foshee. Fox News Analyst Juan Williams will be in attendance with GAP and Participant Media, whose production credits include such projects as “Charlie Wilson’s War”, starring the Academy Award winner Tom Hanks.
The role of whistleblowers in our society cannot be overestimated. The cost of fraud in the U.S. is $660 billion annually, it takes away from Americans, destroys lives and compromises national security. Whistleblowers expose crime and corruption, by alerting both law enforcement officers and the general public of danger.
Lives and careers of whistleblowers are often destroyed by managing agency officials in an attempt to invalidate their whistleblowing disclosures. These harrowing stories are portrayed in such feature films as “Serpico”, “Silkwood”, “Erin Brockovich”, “The Insider”. The film about Frank “Paco” Serpico, NYPD’s finest, Medal of Honor recipient — “Serpico”, starring Al Pacino — changed New York politics forever. Julia Roberts portrayed Erin Brockovich in a big screen debut that illuminated corporate greed and corruption.
Government Accountability Project (GAP) is the leading public, non-profit, whistleblower protection group in the United States, headed by Tom Devine. GAP actively champions whistleblowers and fights for their rights in various legal venues, continuing a national campaign to change woefully inadequate whistleblower protection laws.
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Andrew M. ‘Andy’ Ramirez, President of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council (LEOAC) has testified before Congress and the Judicial committee to garner support for whistleblowers and bring about much-needed changes. He authored a comprehensive report titled “Unjustifiable & Impeachable, The FOBP Report on DHS, DOJ, and the Courts“, which was released on Veterans Day, 2008. This is the follow-up to the previously issued reports by FOBP, addressing the War on Law Enforcement and the 2008 National Conference. It was the culmination of five years of active field investigations that have led Andy Ramirez to testify before numerous Congressional Committees as an expert witness on border security, as well as providing briefings to key leaders in Washington.
Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council (LEOAC)
There are hundreds of stories that include the intelligence failures of the 9/11 attack, nuclear oversight, waste, fraud, sexual harassment and national security breaches. A bevy of highly regarded whistleblowers are continuing on their path of helping others, bringing much needed changes to the system and cleaning up the government. Cathy Harris is one of such success stories, by creating a business as a Life Coach Entrepreneur, writer and motivational speaker. Cathy also formed an organization, Customs Employees Against Discrimination Association, Inc. (CEADA).
Customs Employees Against Discrimination Association, Inc. (CEADA)
Former Customs Special Agent Darlene Fitzgerald-Price (author of “Bordergate”) is running for the Senate in Kentucky.
Darlene Fitzgerald-Price Run for Senate
Sources tell us that former US Air Marshal Robert MacLean is forming an exploratory committee to have MacLean run for Congress. The real changes in the government and the amended Whistleblower Protection Act can be brought about by these renown whistleblowers.
Veteran Producer BJ Davis, in association with the Citizens Committee for Constitutional Protection, is creating a television series, “Whistleblowers – The Truth Is No Longer A Secret”. It will showcase the stories of individual whistleblowers and the legal challenges they face, guiding the next generation of whistleblowers through the process of seeking recourse from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Protection Board, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and federal courts throughout the U.S.
Fleur De Lis Film Studios
Citizens Committee for Constitutional Protection
Whistleblower retaliation is illegal in theory, but unfortunately it’s a fact of life.
- As a reward for doing the right thing, you may get shot – like Frank Serpico.
- You may get arrested on false charges and have your home raided with a Blackhawk helicopter and a Special Response Team – like Julia Davis.
- You may get fired and blacklisted – like James Bobreski.
- Your attorneys may get investigated, audited and otherwise harassed until they abandon your case, leaving you alone in a fight for your rights.
- You may get fired and gagged from any discussion of your case – like Sibel Edmonds.
- You may be stripped of your assets – including books exposing government corruption and wrongdoing – and then be declared a “vexatious litigant” to prevent you from asserting your rights in federal courts, like Rodney Stich.
- Like Dan Hanley, after 35 years as a naval aviator/commercial pilot, you may lose your job if you stand up for what is right.
- Like Bunnatine Greenhouse, you may be removed from your position for opposing the approval of a highly improper muti-billion dollar no bid contract to Halliburton.
- Like Dr. Jonathan Fishbein, you may be fired after exposing misconduct in AIDS drug safety clinical trials.
- Like Dr. Coleman-Adebayo you may suffer the loss of your job for leading the charge against racial discrimination and whistleblower retaliation at the Environmental Protection Agency.
- You may lose your job after blowing the whistle on incompetence in the Bush Administration’s “war on terror,” like one of America’s top federal prosecutors, Richard Convertino.
- You may die in a mysterious car accident on the way to provide documentation to a reporter, like Karen Silkwood.
Whistleblowers report not only government corruption, but also corporate fraud – for example, Bernard Madoff’ financial investments/securities fraud, reported to be close to $50 billion; Eli Lilly & Co. — the pharmaceutical company that recently settled the federal government’s Medicare abuse case for $1.4 billion, Marcus Schrenker — the money manager suspected of staging his recent “death in a plane crash“, etc. Whistleblowers have uncovered and reported fraud committed by government agencies or contractors (such as Halliburton), private companies (such as WorldCom and Enron) and individuals.
According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the Whisfleblower Protection Act (WPA) has “suffered from a series of crippling judicial rulings [that] have rendered the Act useless, producing a dismal record of failure for whistleblowers and making the law a black hole.” Thomas Devine, one of the WPA’s key advocates stated: “My baby turned out to be Frankenstein.”
During the entire Bush administration, the MSPB ruled in favor of whistleblowers in only two cases. Since 1994, Federal whistleblowers have lost more than 98.5 percent of cases at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The GAP offered praise for two MSPB appointments by President Obama. Unlike the Bush administration appointees who compiled a 1-44 track record against whistleblowers, these leaders are seasoned veterans with a proven track record of commitment to the merit system throughout their careers. The laws have to change in order to allow whistleblowers to expose fraud, waste and abuse without fear of reprisals.
The time for change is now. America’s whistleblowers stand united, seeking the new perspective, changed laws and improved oversight procedures that our country so desperately needs.
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