Read more »
The Week UK: G4S Whistleblower – 50 Percent Chance of Olympics Bomb
Summary: An expert who was employed by the 2012 London Olympics to train security staff has alleged that guards have missed mock bombs and weapons and says there is a “50 percent chance” of a bomb being carried into an Olympic venue without being stopped. According to the whistleblower, trainees who were failing security tasks were still given badges and approved to work. The Games are set to begin in two weeks time.
Related Article: RT
Wired: WikiLeaks Wins Court Battle Against Visa in Iceland Over Blocked Donations
Summary: A district court in Iceland has ruled that the Icelandic Visa and MasterCard partner violated contract laws when it imposed the block on credit card donations to WikiLeaks. The judge ordered the block to be removed within 14 days, or the company will be fined £4,000 (more than $6,000) per day.
Cincinnati Enquirer: Christ Hospital Settles Whistleblower Suit
Summary: Christ Hospital in Ohio will pay $1.8 million to settle a whistleblower suit that alleges that doctors were signing off on certain tests to charge Medicare without even reading the tests. This is the second whistleblower suit against the hospital in three years.
This is Croydon Today (UK): Croydon Health Chief Turns Whistleblower Over ‘Systematic Dishonesty’ in NHS
Summary: A senior doctor in the UK has turned whistleblower, alleging “systematic dishonesty and bullying” within the National Health Service. The whistleblower quit his job at the NHS over the concerns about major financial irregularities.
Read more »
*Note: GAP Legal Director Tom Devine and Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic author High Sinclair will be speaking tomorrow (Friday, July 13) at Politics and Prose. Both Confessions and Devine's book The Corporate Whistleblower's Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth will be available at the event.
Politics and Prose, 7 p.m.
5015 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20008
Whistleblowers are individuals who use free-speech rights to challenge abuses of power that betray the public trust. Frequently they are human wild cards who speak truth to power and change the course of history by challenging bureaucratic bluffs with reality. A new whistleblowing book by British microfinance expert Hugh Sinclair, Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic, exposes a particularly painful truth: What has been promoted as a charity structured to empower the poor in fact is camouflage for heavy-handed loan sharking that regularly victimizes its so-called beneficiaries.
The noble vision, which led to a Nobel Prize for its modern champion, Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, is to empower the poor, usually women, in underdeveloped countries through seed capital to start small businesses and a chance at economic self-sufficiency, both normally out of their reach.
Sinclair realistically labels himself a heretic, and he is criticizing myths as sacred but false as celibacy by Catholic priests. Indeed, the churches are major players in this popular outlet for donations within congregations wanting to help. The burgeoning microfinance industry has grown to $70 billion in loans annually and has been celebrated by celebrities ranging from Bono to Oprah (and even Lisa Simpson on aSimpsons episode).
Read more »
Hip Hop Artist Pharrell Names EP 'Pink Slime' After Ammoniated Beef Filler
Summary: Hip hop singer and record producer Pharrell Williams titled his new record "Pink Slime" after the controversial ammoniated beef product. According to Pharrell's collaborator on the record, rapper Mac Miller, the title is making a political statement and is a direct reference to "the ammonium hydroxide which was used in McDonald's meat" until last year. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign blogs about the significance of pink slime's infiltration into the music industry.
Bloomberg News: Filling Treasury Jobs Delayed Over IRS Whistleblower Concerns
Summary: Senator Charles Grassely (R-Iowa) is holding up assistant secretary jobs in the Treasury Department until the IRS reforms its whistleblower program. Last month, Bloomberg exposed that the program is virtually unused and ineffective.
Associated Press: Pfc. Bradley Manning Again Seeks Dismissal of Some WikiLeaks Charges
Summary: Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, is again seeking a dismissal of some of his charges at a pretrial hearing next week. A military judge refused this dismissal in a separate hearing last month. Manning faces life in prison if convicted on all counts.
The Hill: Whistleblower Sits in Defense IG Office
Summary: This article profiles Daniel Meyer, a lawyer in the Department of Defense Inspector General office. Meyer himself was once a military whistleblower, and now he works to protect those who are in that situation.
Read more »
The New York Times: Wall Street Short on Ethics, Report Finds
Summary: More coverage of the recent Labaton Sucharow (a law firm that works with investors and whistleblowers) survey that showed 26 percent of Wall Street workers surveyed had observed wrongdoing in the workplace. More than that (30 percent) said they felt the structure of their company put pressure on employees to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
Key Quote: “When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk,” Jordan Thomas, partner and chair of the law firm’s whistle-blower representation practice, said in a statement.
The findings resonate with a popular perception of the industry.
Related Articles: Forbes, MSNBC
Associated Press: Japan Whistleblower Complains of Continued Humiliating Treatment Despite Court Win
Summary: A Japanese whistleblower at Olympus says that he still faces retaliatory treatment for blowing the whistle, despite the Japan Supreme Court ruling in his favor last month. In 2008, the whistleblower raised concerns about colleagues’ behavior and relayed a supplier’s complaint to supervisors. His case was the first whistleblower case to reach Japan’s highest court, which found that his demotion and treatment after raising the concerns had been retaliatory and illegal.
Read more »
ABC News (Australia): Assange Asylum Could Discredit Ecuador – Envoy
Summary: The Ecuadorian ambassador in Washington, DC is concerned that if Ecuador decides to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the decision “could be used to discredit Ecuador in the United States.” Ecuador has not yet reached a decision on whether to grant Assange’s asylum bid.
Currently, Assange is staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been for about three weeks. Assange’s appeal of his extradition case was denied and he was due to have been brought to Sweden last week to face questions about an alleged sexual assault.
RT: ‘After 9/11 NSA Had Secret Deal with White House’
Summary: NSA whistleblower and GAP client Thomas Drake appeared on RT yesterday to talk about the lack of transparency after 9/11, as well as comment on recent national security events like Julian Assange’s legal troubles and the computer viruses created by the US government.
The Australian: UN Urges Whistleblower Laws
Summary: A UN review of Australia’s anti-corruption measures found “a strong regulatory framework,” but urged the country to pass its “long-delayed” whistleblower protection legislation.
Read more »
International Program Update – Wrongdoing at the World Bank; A Landmark UN Decision
|GAP's Shelley Walden spoke with Al-Jazeera about a very positive decision from the UN Dispute Tribunal.
With a new World Bank president taking office last weekend, this Forbes cover story looks at how corruption and mismanagement permeates the ranks and programs of the institution. The Bank, as the long-form article details, is plagued by widespread opaqueness, decision-making marked by conflicts of interest, and questionable financial practices. According to a former director interviewed by Forbes, “the inmates are running the asylum.”
The piece also touches on how the Bank has a terrible record on whistleblower rights. Specifically, this companion Forbes article highlights the trials of World Bank whistleblower and GAP client John Kim, who gave internal documents to the media after he determined there were no effective internal channels for reporting wrongdoing. In retaliation, he was put on administrative leave and eventually fired. After he filed an appeal, the tribunal ordered him reinstated, but – despite this landmark ruling – he was forcibly retired a few months later.
Turning to the United Nations, last month, the UN Dispute Tribunal sided with a whistleblower rather than the institution. The Tribunal ruled that the Ethics Office, which is charged with reviewing retaliation complaints and safeguarding the interests of UN whistleblowers, failed to protect the whistleblower, who was fired after he raised concerns about corruption in the UN Kosovo mission. This decision sends an important message to the UN Ethics Office – that the judges in the new internal justice system will not tolerate failures to properly apply the UN whistleblower protection policy.
World Bank headquarters in Washington, DCIn response to Richard Behar’s article in Forbes, "The Fate of a World Bank Whistleblower,” the World Bank claimed that GAP client John Kim, the subject of the piece, was not, in fact, a whistleblower. We at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) want to set the record straight. For 34 years, we’ve represented whistleblowers – thousands of them now – and we know one when we see one. John Kim was a whistleblower, and the World Bank fired him in order to punish him for telling the truth.
The World Bank makes much of the fact that a whistleblower protection policy is in place there. But it is a weak policy, riddled with loopholes. Kim’s attorney therefore argued that Kim should be reinstated because he was a whistleblower and because, as a consequence of his whistleblowing, Bank management violated his rights as a staff member. The Administrative Tribunal ruled that the Bank violated Kim’s rights, but the whistleblower policy failed to protect him. The ruling the Tribunal issued is thus silent on why Bank management picked John Kim, out of over 10,000 employees, to spy on, hack, marginalize and fire. The Tribunal simply ruled that this was what happened. At GAP we know that it happened because Kim made a public interest disclosure to the press about anti-corruption debates at the Bank. There was no other reason. The Bank did not present an alternative explanation and the Tribunal didn’t ask for one.
To our knowledge – and we keep close track – since 2008, when the whistleblower protection policy was put in place at the World Bank, not a single whistleblower has been able to protect him or herself from retaliation using that policy in arguments before the Tribunal.
Bea Edwards is Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.