Summary: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his UK Supreme Court appeal fighting his extradition to Sweden where he faces on questions related to a sexual assault charge. Assange is currently under house arrest in England and has been fighting the extradition to Sweden for fear that he could then be extradited to the US and charged for leaking State Department documents.
Related Article: Associated Press
Summary: State Department whistleblower and GAP client Peter Van Buren appeared on Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer last night to talk about his disclosures on problems with reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The ACLU recently sent a letter to the agency, telling them that firing Van Buren would violate his constitutional rights.
Summary: Chicken and turkey industry groups filed comments in favor of USDA's deregulated poultry inspection plan before the comment period closed yesterday. Their support of the plan, known as HIMP, contrasts with USDA whistleblowers who revealed to GAP serious criticisms of conditions at current HIMP poultry plants. Yesterday, GAP's Food Integrity Campaign submitted its comments and petition to the USDA, along with several affidavits from federal inspectors.
Key Quote: In total, six federal inspectors with HIMP-plant experience have come forward at risk to their professional lives," said Amanda Hitt, director of GAP's Food Integrity Campaign (FIC). "That's a huge number, considering the HIMP pilot is only in a few plants - there's not that many federal inspectors who have this kind of firsthand knowledge.
"In the latest round of affidavits, inspectors allege that they are "made incapable of, or discouraged from, holding the plants accountable for contaminated poultry," according to GAP. "One whistleblower said the inspectors were told by their USDA supervisor to 'give [plants] a break' for violations, seemingly so that the plants with high violation numbers wouldn't be removed from the HIMP program. Another whistleblower pointed out that even if they are able to detect problems amidst breakneck line speeds during 'Carcass Inspection,' inspectors at his/her plant are not permitted to stop the line."
Reuters: Bank of America Whistleblower Receives $14.5 Million in Mortgage Case
May 29, 2012
Summary: A former Bank of America (BofA) employee is set to receive $14.5 million as part of a whistleblower suit that alleged Countrywide Financial (bought by BofA in 2008) had inflated appraisals on government-insured loans. Another former employee who has alleged home loan fraud at Countrywide/BofA is GAP client Eileen Foster, who recently won the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling. Her case is currently in appeal.
Summary: More coverage of the butler of Pope Benedict XVI, who was arrested as a Vatican “whistleblower after he was found in possession of secret papal documents. The Pope feels ‘betrayed’ by the actions of his butler.
Key Quote: [The butler]’s arrest was greeted with disbelief as the 46-year-old was known for his papal devotion and loyalty and there has been speculation he was a simply a pawn in a game of intrigue and struggle for power inside the Holy See.
Summary: GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack looks at the so-called “threat” words the Department of Homeland Security uses to navigate social media and identify signs of potential terrorist or other attacks against the US. This list is broad and includes words like “flu,” “cancelled,” and “pork.” Radack argues that this list can be applied to too much protected speech.
Hannah Johnson is Communications Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.