Summary: GAP’s American Whistleblower Tour will stop at Seattle University this evening. The stop features prominent whistleblowers Richard Bowen (Citigroup), Walt Tamosaitis (Hanford nuclear site), and John Munsell (contaminated meat/ConAgra/USDA).
The panel presentation will be moderated by Tour director Dana Gold, who appeared yesterday on Weekday, a Seattle’s NPR-affiliate (KUOW) program to talk about the Tour and the state of whistleblower protections. Tamosaitis and the Tour were also featured yesterday in a Seattle Weekly article.
For more information about attending today's Tour stop in Seattle, click here.
Summary: The Green Climate Fund, a new campaign to lower greenhouse gases internationally, is attempting to gain the diplomatic immunities particular to the United Nations that “shield its operations from any kind of legal process, including civil and criminal prosecution.” However, the fund is not part of the United Nations. The article quotes GAP Executive & International Director Bea Edwards.
Key Quote: “Immunities amount to a veil of secrecy,” says Bea Edwards, executive director of the Government Accountability Project, a Washington-based whistleblower protection organization.
“They are an immunity from external audit or oversight. They build in a structural conflict of interest at any immune institution for any internal oversight mechanism.”
Summary: Former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith resigned publicly last week with an op-ed in The New York Times that revealed a banking culture ruled by greed and self-dealing. GAP Executive Director Bea Edwards calls on the Justice Department to prosecute financial fraud more vigilantly to avoid a repeat of the 2008 economy crash.
Summary: The Obama administration is lowering restrictions on the amount of data analysts can collect on American citizens. The new rules would allow the National Counterterrorism Center to retain private information about innocent Americans for up to five years (from just 180 days) and to make more copies of database information.
GAP’s Jesselyn Radack commented on this action, and the continuingly increasing scope of domestic surveillance powers the federal government holds.
Summary: The maker of methyl iodide, a toxic pesticide used primarily on strawberries, removed the chemical from the U.S. market this week. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign explains why the move is a win for farmworkers and other pesticide watchdogs who have been raising health concerns for years.
Summary: The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower suit that accuses AT&T of allowing an Internet-based phone system to be used by criminals and then billing the government. The service is offered for customers who are hearing-impaired, however, according to the lawsuit, as much as 95 percent of calls were made by those trying to defraud customers.
Summary: Several major grocery chains, including Kroger (the nation's largest traditional grocer), have joined the list of stores announcing they will no longer sell ammoniated beef trimmings, or "pink slime" – further vindication for beef industry whistleblower and GAP client Kit Foshee. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign has more.
Hannah Johnson is Communications Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.