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This Op/Ed was written by Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director of the Government Accountability Project, and Beth Adelson, Communications Fellow of the Government Accountability Project. It has appeared in several media outlets throughout the country, including the Key West News (FL), TruthOut, The Mansfield News Journal (OH), Asheville Citizen-Times (NC), and the Daily Sun News (WA).
For nine years, Harry Markopolos tried to tell the Securities and Exchange Commission that Bernie Madoff was running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Markopolos tried to alert SEC investigators in both Boston and New York, each of which dismissed, transferred, or simply failed to understand his advanced financial analysis. He even tried getting major media outlets to investigate.
Meanwhile, Madoff continued to swindle billions from his investors until his arrest last December. Only in the aftermath did Markopolos' reports emerge. Then people finally began to listen.
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This Op/Ed was written by Jesselyn Radack, Homeland Security director of the Government Accountability Project. It appeared in several media outlets throughout the country, including: Aurora Sentinel (CO), New Britain Herald News (CT), Litchfield Register Citizen (CT), Burlington Hawk Eye (IA), Bemidji Pioneer (MN), Bristol Press (CT), Aberdeen Daily World (WA), Fall River Herald News (MA), and Huntingdon Daily News (PA).
The Obama administration is proceeding with a Bush administration-devised plan to use the National Security Agency in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks, with AT&T slated to be the test site. This classified pilot program, “Einstein 3,” takes the two worst offenders from Bush’s secret surveillance program and puts them in charge of scrutinizing all Internet traffic going to or from federal government agencies.
Supposedly, Einstein 3 is meant to protect government networks from hackers. But if Einstein 3 is only meant to be an intrusion detection system, then why will it monitor outgoing communications?
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This Op-Ed was written by Jesselyn Radack, GAP Homeland Security Director. It has appeared in several news outlets throughout the country, including: Detroit News, Austin American Statesman, Arizona Daily Star, and the Wilmington News Journal (DE).
Cyber security is a real issue, as evidenced by the virus behind July 4 cyber attacks that hobbled government and business websites in the United States and South Korea. It originated from Internet provider addresses in 16 countries and targeted, among others, the White House and the New York Stock Exchange.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has chosen to combat it in a move that runs counter to its pledge to be transparent. The administration reportedly is proceeding with a Bush-era plan to use the National Security Agency to screen government computer traffic on private-sector networks. AT&T is slated to be the likely test site. This classified pilot program, dubbed "Einstein 3," is developed but not yet rolled out. It takes two offenders from President Bush's contentious secret surveillance program and puts them in charge of scrutinizing all Internet traffic going to or from federal government agencies.
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by Bea Edwards, GAP Director of International Reform
On the morning of May 27th this year, the staff of the Legal Affairs Office of the World Bank encountered an ugly racial slur scrawled on the wall outside their department. Very shortly, however, the words "N–––, go home!" were erased by order of World Bank management. This was the second such episode in as many weeks.
The General Counsel's office filed an incident report with security services, much as you might do about a broken lock or a stolen purse, but word spread rapidly through the Bank. For days, black staff members waited in vain for senior management to condemn the graffiti and inform them about steps that would be taken to ensure that public displays of race hatred would be stopped. This expectation was met with silence. Senior management neither acknowledged nor condemned either incident. One week later, the Bank's diversity policy was posted on the intranet. Period.
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The following op-ed by Beatrice Edwards, GAP's Director of International Reform, appeared in several outlets across the country, including the East Texas Review and Asheville Citizen-Times.
With the world waiting for economic relief, the G-20 struck an agreement in April identifying actors who will ride to the rescue: nearly $1 trillion will be given to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) so that they can help “the vulnerable in the poorest countries.” But these institutions are culpable of accelerating the spread of poverty as the developing world confronts the crisis. In a frenzy of deregulation and poorly-planned privatization, the IMF and the World Bank (the largest MDB) cut away both oversight of the private sector and social safety nets for the poor beginning in the 1980s.
As a consequence, by 1998, these institutions were presiding over a spectacular financial collapse in East Asia, Russia, the former Soviet republics and Brazil, which was in hindsight, a harbinger of things to come. Three years later, Argentina (the IMF’s best student) went bust and half of its people were suddenly poor. After years of hewing to IMF financial dictates, citizens lost their jobs, bank accounts, savings and pensions overnight.
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Op-ed written by GAP President Louis Clark
There is a great deal of talk recently about “shovel-ready” projects. These are state, local and federal construction programs that will be the first to spend hundreds of billions of dollars as part of the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the Stimulus Bill, in the hopes of lifting the economic condition of our nation.
There is a serious problem, however. Other than in the heavily regulated nuclear industry, there are few government contractors in the country with any experience in dealing with whistleblower protection provisions, required of all those receiving stimulus funds.
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by GAP Legal Director Tom Devine
Congress wisely included "best practices" whistleblower rights for all employees of contractors, state or local governments receiving the $787 billion stimulus. But it included nothing to protect federal workers in a position to expose stimulus fraud. What happened, and what can be done?
What happened was simple: Key Senate offices objected that the full scope of expanded federal rights only had been subjected to House hearings and not processed through the regular order. There was no time to argue. But the whole law was passed out of "regular" order. The same rules should apply to accountability decisions as to spending.
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This op-ed was written by GAP Food & Drug Safety Associate Jonathan Cantu, and appeared in several outlets across the country including: the Kennebec Journal (Me), Central Maine Morning Sentinel (Me), Newtown Bee (Cn), Valley-City Times Record (ND) and LaGrange Daily New (Georgia).
Spinach. Lettuce. Jalapeno and Serrano Peppers. Common agricultural products have been severely tainted in recent years amidst food-borne illness concerns. And rightfully so. These outbreaks caused multiple deaths and more than a thousand illnesses nationwide. The Center for Disease Control now estimates 76 million cases annual cases of food-borne illness, resulting in over 350,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths.
With massive product recalls seemingly constant, one would think that the federal government would have prioritized fixing its food system. Now, however, comes the peanut butter scare. In one of the largest food product recalls ever, peanut-laced items have been snatched from the shelves due to salmonella contamination that has killed at least eight Americans. Recent reports show that the culpable company, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), knowingly sent out salmonella-tainted product to other food processors at least 12 times since 2007. Even worse is that the FDA, according to current rules, had to gain permission from PCA to initiate the recall.
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Written by GAP Homeland Security Director Jesselyn Radack.
It's one of the nasty little secrets of Washington that everybody claims to dislike but nobody does anything about. It's called burrowing--the insidious phenomenon of political appointees, who should leave with the outgoing president or be forced to compete for positions to stay, instead frantically converting to career posts at the end of a presidential administration.
In nature, animals burrow into the ground to protect themselves from predators and harsh weather. In the government workplace, people burrow into the bureaucracy to protect themselves from the proper outcome of the democratic process. And that's outrageous.