Summary: Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, in the case Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel v. Donald Rumsfeld and The United States of America, ruled that two American citizens (both contractors who were wrongfully detained and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" by American military officers) can continue with their lawsuit holding former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally responsible for their alleged torture.
GAP, together with the Project on Government Oversight and the Society of Professional Journalists, filed an amicus curiae brief to the Seventh Circuit regarding the case, arguing that a decision against the two whistleblowers would have meant that American citizens working in war zones − contractors, journalists, aid workers, etc. − could be deprived of their basic constitutional rights while there, and that violations of such rights would have no recourse.
Out of many suits brought against Rumsfeld over the torture of detainees in Iraq, Vance is one of only two that has been allowed to proceed. GAP is co-counsel in the other suit, John Doe v. Rumsfeld, along with the Chicago-based civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy(which represents Vance and Ertel in the above case).
Summary: Education Management Corp, the second largest for-profit college chain in the U.S., allegedly paid their recruiters by the number of students each recruited − a violation of rules for any college receiving U.S. student-aid. This suit, a False Claims action, was brought by an employee whistleblower and joined by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in May. The suit was filed yesterday by the DOJ and four states: California, Indiana, Florida and Illinois.
Related Article: Associated Press
Summary: Acclaimed graphic novelist Alan Moore − author of The Watchmen and V for Vendetta − has thrown his support behind Bradley Manning, the WikiLeaks whistleblower.
Key Quote: "With any legitimate trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning still being at an unspecified date in the future, it would seem that what is presently on trial here is Western culture itself," said Moore, author of such critically acclaimed works as Watchmen and V For Vendetta, which contains the Guy Fawkes iconography adopted by the hacktivist group Anonymous.
"When the persecution of an individual who has exposed an evil is pursued so ruthlessly and yet the evil itself is studiedly ignored, all of us know that there is something very wrong with the way that our society is conducting itself," Moore maintained. "And if we do not protest in the strongest terms about what is being done in our name, then we become complicit."
Summary: The Canadian health department (Health Canada) has been ordered by an independent tribunal to reinstate a whistleblower scientist it fired seven years ago, but allowed the dismissals of two other scientists. The three, while working for Health Canada, had been critical of the department for inadequately protecting the food system.
Summary: The Whistleblower co-writer and director says she thought of famous whistleblower movies − Serpico, All the President’s Men, and Silkwood − as inspiration for her film, which opened last weekend.
Read GAP’s blog about the current status of United Nations whistleblowers, like the one in the film.
Summary: Legislation that will protect whistleblowers in white-collar crime comes into effect today in Ireland.
Summary: In a review of its high-end pensions, the California retirement system is slashing grossly inflated pensions for officials -- often those who have been accused of gross corruption using taxpayer money.
Once one particular scandal became known last year, pension system officials enacted a whistleblower hotline to encourage the reporting of unjustifiable payments.
Key Quote: Former City Administrator Robert Rizzo is now set to receive $50,000 per year. Before, he had been poised to get $650,000 a year from CalPERS and more than $1 million annually overall when a second pension from the city was included. The pension of his assistant, Angela Spaccia, was slashed from a projected $250,000 to $43,000.
Rizzo, Spaccia and six other former Bell officials were charged last year in a wide-ranging public corruption case that alleged that they schemed to illegally increase their salaries and benefits. They paid themselves lavishly while illegally taxing residents, levying arbitrary fees on businesses and aggressively impounding cars.
Hannah Johnson is the Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.