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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:15 am

(A voice from the past.......one of the morally courageous truth-tellers who warned of the space shuttle disaster before it occurred)

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02-03-12 TNYT: Roger Boisjoly, 73, Dies - Warned of Shuttle Danger

----- Original Message -----
From: Roger M. Boisjoly
To: Joseph Killoran
Sent: August 18, 2003 3:27 AM

Subject: Re: IMAGINE: Made-in-Canada "Truthsayer" protection laws that are better

Dear Joe:

I hope the people in Canada grasp the significance of the difference between the terms "Whistleblower" and "Truthsayer/Truthteller." The first being the "Kiss of Death" (concerning career viability) for the person(s) sticking his/her neck out to attempt to correct a wrongdoing or stop a negative event because of all the negative interpretations by the "establishment" associated with the definition of "Whistleblower." However, use of the second term, "Truthsayer/Truthteller," would make it almost impossible for the "establishment" to twist the meaning into a negative interpretation, thus giving the person(s) involved the proper deserved credit and the very real chance to maintain a continuing desirable career.

I send this note because in the United States the public doesn't have a clue about the significant difference between the terms and the "establishment" (industrial complex & government) don't want any changes so they can continue to crush those who speak out. I wish you the best in making the attempt to create what I know to be a necessary change for the good of everyone, not only for those who are on the front line making the attempt to expose the truth.

Best Regards,


P.S. Feel free to quote my statements in any of your materials, if you desire to do so.

Roger Boisjoly, 73, Dies; Warned of Shuttle Danger
Published: February 3, 2012

Six months before the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Florida on Jan. 28, 1986, Roger Boisjoly wrote a portentous memo. He warned that if the weather was too cold, seals connecting sections of the shuttle’s huge rocket boosters could fail.

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Roger Boisjoly worked for a firm making rocket boosters.

“The result could be a catastrophe of the highest order, loss of human life,” he wrote.

The memo was meant to jolt Morton Thiokol, the company that made the boosters and employed Mr. Boisjoly. In July 1985, a task force had been formed, partly on Mr. Boisjoly’s recommendation, to examine the effect of cold on the boosters. The effort, however, had become mired in paperwork, procurement delays and a rush to launch the shuttle, according to later investigations.

Meanwhile, his apprehensions only grew. The night before the Challenger’s liftoff, the temperature dipped below freezing. Unusual for Florida, the cold was unprecedented for a shuttle launching, and it prompted Mr. Boisjoly and other engineers to plead that the flight be postponed. Their bosses, under pressure from NASA, rejected the advice.

The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launching, killing its seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from Concord, N.H.

Mr. Boisjoly’s memo was soon made public. He became widely known as a whistle-blower in a federal investigation of the disaster. And though he was hailed for his action by many, he was also made to suffer for it.

Mr. Boisjoly (pronounced like Beaujolais wine) died in Nephi, Utah, near Provo, on Jan. 6. He was 73. His death was reported only locally at the time. He lived in southwest Utah, in St. George. His wife, Roberta, said he recently learned he had cancer in his colon, kidneys and liver.

Until the Challenger disaster, Mr. Boisjoly was known in his field as a crackerjack troubleshooter who had worked for companies in California on lunar module life-support systems and the moon vehicle. In 1980, he accepted a cut in pay to move with his family to Utah to deepen his involvement in the Mormon religion and to join Morton Thiokol.

After the Challenger explosion, Mr. Boisjoly gave a presidential commission investigating the disaster internal corporate documents. His disclosure of the internal memo he had written six months before the disaster was regarded as a bombshell.

Mr. Boisjoly was awarded the Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and spoke to more than 300 universities and civic groups about corporate ethics. He became sought after as an expert in forensic engineering.

But before then he had paid the stiff price often exacted of whistle-blowers. Thiokol cut him off from space work, and he was shunned by colleagues and managers. A former friend warned him, “If you wreck this company, I’m going to put my kids on your doorstep,” Mr. Boisjoly told The Los Angeles Times in 1987.

He had headaches, double-vision and depression, he said. He yelled at his dog and his daughters and skipped church to avoid people. He filed two suits against Thiokol; both were dismissed.

He later said he was sustained by a single gesture of support. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, hugged him after his appearance before the commission.

“She was the only one,” he said in a whisper to a Newsday reporter in 1988. “The only one.”

Roger Mark Boisjoly was born in Lowell, Mass., on April 25, 1938, and earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Besides his wife, the former Roberta Malcolm, he is survived by his daughters Norma Patterson and Darlene Richens; his brothers Ronald, Russell and Richard; and eight grandchildren.

Mr. Boisjoly worked for 27 years in the aerospace industry. But it was one night and one moment that stood out. On the night of Jan. 27, 1986, Mr. Boisjoly and four other Thiokol engineers used a teleconference with NASA to press the case for delaying the next day’s launching because of the cold. At one point, Mr. Boisjoly said, he slapped down photos showing the damage cold temperatures had caused to an earlier shuttle. It had lifted off on a cold day, but not this cold.

“How the hell can you ignore this?” he demanded. At first this seemed persuasive, according to commission testimony. Makers of critical components had the power to postpone flights.

Four Thiokol vice presidents, all engineers themselves, went offline to huddle. They later said that they had worried they lacked conclusive data to stop a launching that had already been postponed twice. They thought the naysayers might be operating on gut reaction, not science.

Jerry Mason, Thiokol’s general manager, told his fellow executives to take off their engineering hats and put on management hats. They told NASA it was a go.

The next morning Mr. Boisjoly watched the launching. If there was going to be a problem, he thought it would come at liftoff. As the shuttle cleared the tower, his prayers seemed answered.

“Thirteen seconds later,” Mr. Boisjoly said, “we saw it blow up.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/us/ro ... t=cse&_r=0
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:12 am

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President Signs Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
on November 27, 2012
After 13 Year Campaign, Federal Workers Get Long-Overdue Upgrades

(Washington, DC) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is praising President Obama's signing of S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), into law earlier today. The legislation provides millions of federal workers with the rights they need to report government corruption and wrongdoing safely. The bill reflects an unequivocal bipartisan consensus, having received the vote of every member in the 112th Congress, passing both the Senate and House of Representatives by unanimous consent over the past couple of months. The text of the bill can be read here.

GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented:

"This reform took 13 years to pass because it can make so much difference against fraud, waste and abuse. Government managers at all levels made pleas and repeatedly blocked the bill through procedural sabotage. But once there were no more secret 'holds,' the WPEA passed unanimously, because no politician in a free society can openly oppose freedom of speech. Over the years, earlier versions of this law had been called the Taxpayer Protection Act. Nothing could set a better context for fiscal cliff negotiations than a unanimous, bipartisan consensus to protect those who risk their careers to protect the taxpayers. This victory reflects a consensus ranging from President Obama to Representative Darrell Issa. The mandate for this law is that the truth is the public's business."

Among other key reforms, federal employees now are protected (in addition to already-existing scenarios) from reprisal if they: are not the first person to disclose misconduct; disclose misconduct to coworkers or supervisors; disclose the consequences of a policy decision; or blow the whistle while carrying out their job duties.

Over the past 13 years, GAP has led efforts to pass the WPEA, heading a coalition of hundreds of groups demanding these protections. Intensive dialogue between the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC), which GAP coordinates, the Obama administration, and both chambers of Congress has paved the way for this development.

The WPEA nearly passed at the end of the last four Congressional sessions, only to be killed by backroom deals during the final hours of negotiation. In one startling example, during the waning days of the last Congress (December 2010), the WPEA – after passing both the Senate and House by unanimous consent in some form – was killed by an anonymous Senator's "secret hold" in the last hours of the session.

Devine noted that there is still key work to be done for federal employees. The WPEA does not include jury trials to enforce newly-enacted protections, or the extension of free speech rights to national security workers making disclosures within agency channels. While the House removed the national security whistleblower provision from the bill, last month the Obama administration made good on its promise to take executive action on those rights, signing a Presidential Policy Directive to restore the lion's share of national security rights that the House removed.

Devine continued, stating

"The victory reflects strong bipartisan teamwork, as well as advocacy within the party, as Republicans often had to work harder at convincing wary colleagues. And it reflects relentless pressure from conservative stakeholders – like the National Taxpayers Union – throughout the last 13 years. Crucial support came from President Obama, who was committed from day one of his term to signing this bill into law. Most Presidents have offered lip service for whistleblower rights, but President Obama fought to give them more teeth."

In Thanks: Whistleblower Champions

Devine singled out retiring Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) as the pioneer in the thirteen-year legislative campaign to pass the WPEA.

Other pioneer and current champions include Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joseph Lieberman (I-Ct.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Carl Levin (D-Mi.). A full list of Senate sponsors can be viewed here. House passage was led by Republicans Darrell Issa (Ca.) and retiring member Todd Platts (Pa.) – who has sponsored the House bill for over a decade – as well as House Democrats Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Elijah Cummings (Md.).

What the Bill Does: Details

The most significant benefits in the WPEA are listed below:

1.) Expanded Protection for Disclosures of Government Wrongdoing

Closes judicially-created loopholes that had removed protection for the most common whistleblowing scenarios and left only token rights (e.g. only providing rights when whistleblowers are the first to report misconduct, and only if it is unconnected to their job duties). (Sec. 101, 102)
Clarifies that whistleblowers are protected for challenging the consequences of government policy decisions. (Sec. 101, 102)
Cancels the 1999 precedent that translates "reasonable belief" to require irrefragable proof ("undeniable, uncontestable, or incontrovertible proof") before they are eligible for protection. (Sec. 103)
Protects government scientists who challenge censorship. (Sec. 110)
Codifies and provides a remedy for the "Anti-Gag" Statute – a rider in the Appropriations bill for the past 24 years – that requires a statement notifying employees that agency restrictions on disclosures are superseded by statutory rights to communicate with Congress, whistleblower rights, and other statutory rights and obligations. (Sec. 104(a), (b) and 115)
Clarifies that protection of critical infrastructure information does not override WPA protection. (Sec. 111)
2.) Expanded Coverage and Fair Processes

Suspends the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals' sole jurisdiction on appellate review of the WPA in light of its consistent track record of narrowing the law's protections. (The Court has a 3-226 record from October 1994 – May 2012 against whistleblowers for decisions on the merits), restoring all-Circuit review for a two-year experiment as mandated in the original 1978 Civil Service Reform Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. (Sec. 108)
Establishes explicit whistleblower protections for Transportation Security Administration employees. (Sec. 109)
Overturns an unusual Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) practice that allows agencies in some cases to present their defense first and allows the MSPB to rule on the case prior to the whistleblowers' presenting their evidence of retaliation. (Sec. 114)
Requires that the President's exercise of his discretionary power to impose national security exemptions that deprive employees of Title 5 whistleblower rights must be done prior to the challenged personnel action. (Sec. 105)
Provides compensatory damages for prevailing whistleblowers under WPA cases that prevail after an administrative hearing, (Sec. 107(b)), including retaliatory investigations (Sec. 104(c)).
3.) Administrative Authorities

Provides the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) with authority to file friend-of-the-court briefs to support employees appealing MSPB rulings. (Sec. 113)
Makes it easier for OSC to discipline those responsible for illegal retaliation by modifying the burdens of proof (Sec. 106(b)), and by ending OSC liability for attorney fees of government managers, if the OSC does not prevail in a disciplinary action (Sec. 107(a)).
Requires the designation of Whistleblower Protection Ombudsmen in Inspectors General Offices to educate agency personnel about whistleblower rights. (Sec. 117)
Requires the MSPB to report on the outcomes of whistleblower cases, from the administrative judge through the Board appeal, in its annual reports. (Sec. 116(b))
Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact and feasibility of changes in the number and outcome of cases before the MSPB, the Federal Circuit, or any other court; and to provide recommendations to Congress regarding whether the MSPB should be granted summary judgment authority and whether district courts should have jurisdiction over some WPA cases. (Sec. 116)

Contact: Tom Devine, Legal Director
Phone: 202.457.0034 ext. 124, 240.888.4080 (cell)
Email: tomd@whistleblower.org

Contact: Shanna Devine, Legislative Campaign Coordinator
Phone: 202.457.0034 ext. 132
Email: shannad@whistleblower.org

Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)
Email: dylanb@whistleblower.org

Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.


http://www.whistleblower.org/press/pres ... -act-wpea-
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:07 pm

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The Whistle Blower’s Dilemma
In August of this year, the following piece appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. It calls for new whistleblower protections in that country, and quotes our President, Allan Cutler, extensively. It also draws on the knowledge of Transparency International and the experiences of the U.S. whistleblowing regimes. It is followed by an op-ed by Allan.


ONE of the most direct methods of exposing corruption is whistleblowing. Unfortunately, whistle-blowers commonly face retaliation in the form of harassment, firing, blacklisting, threats and even physical violence, and their disclosures are routinely ignored.

Transparency International (TI) believes that the individual right to freedom of expression includes the right to identify acts of wrongdoing – both in government and in private companies. In addition to this basic right the simple fact is that people who step forward to disclose wrongdoing – particularly when public safety, health or resources are at stake – should be acknowledged and protected, not punished and ostracised.

Transparency International defines whistleblowing as the disclosure of information about a perceived wrongdoing in an organisation, or the risk thereof, to individuals or entities believed to be able to effect action. In some countries, blowing the whistle can carry high personal risk – particularly when there is little legal protection. Through Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres (ALAC), located in nearly 50 countries, TI advises whistle-blowers in making their disclosures and works to ensure that their disclosures are duly addressed by appropriate authorities. To promote responsible whistleblowing and adequate protection of whistle-blowers, TI developed international principles for whistle-blower legislation, which many countries and international organisations have used to develop their own legislation and standards: http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/activity/our_work_on_whistleblowing

Jamaica adapted 22 of TI’s 27 best practices recommended in this legislation. In December 2010, the Protected Disclosures Legislation (Whistle-blower Act) received the full backing of Jamaica’s Upper House.

At Trinidad and Tobago’s annual Anti-Corruption Conference in 2011, Canadian whistle-blower Allan Cutler shared some interesting insights into the reality of a whistle-blower’s experience in today’s society and acknowledged that, oftentimes, “the whistle-blower gets side-lined; the wrongdoer gets promoted.” But does this mean that one should not blow the whistle? Does this reality justify silence? Absolutely not. Trinidad and Tobago may do well to follow in Jamaica’s footsteps and adopt Whistle-blower legislation.

There are many ways to “blow the whistle.” Cutler noted the impact of modern communication devices such as the phone camera, YouTube and social media which have all made privacy a thing of the past. He also asserted that there is an imperative need for cultural change as laws cannot be effective unless people value the law. At the same time, positive cultural change must be complemented by laws that reflect a national commitment to such change. Ultimately, cultural change emerges from beliefs established at home that are often translated into a particular disposition towards ethical behaviour.

Whistleblowing is about solving a problem. It is not about getting people in trouble or being a tattle tale. It is about improving the community. A whistle-blower must have moral courage which, according to Cutler, comprises:

A situation of danger
A willingness to endure hardship

Corruption is not the product of a solitary participant. Actors that enable corruption to persist include the perpetrator, active participants, reluctant participants and passive participants. However, you, our avid reader, can be the actor that makes a change. This requires a willingness to take the ultimate risk and be the whistle-blower. This decision is not without personal and professional risks such as intimidation, demotion, firing, forced transfer, isolation or sham investigations. In the end, it is a matter of personal integrity and a deep rooted belief in fairness. The fight against corruption is one that requires relentless action. It is the journey that matters. If we don’t strive to improve, we never improve.

Anti-corruption is in the best interest of everybody and adequate disclosure mechanisms can and will benefit government. If whistle-blowers trust that something will be done they will report it. In this regard, legislation is imperative – you must first have a law to improve. Cutler noted that in drafting whistle-blower legislation there is the need to include a “reverse onus of proof” provision. It should be the job of retaliators to prove that they are not retaliating against the whistle-blower. They should be able to prove that everything is above board and things are going right. Given the risks, whistle-blowers place paramount importance on confidentiality. Legal provisions must include making it an offence to reveal the existence of the investigation or details of the investigation as well as making it an offence to give information knowing that it is false.

Under US Law, a whistle blower is an employee who “tells” on an employer because he or she reasonably believed that the employer committed an illegal act. American intelligence whistle-blowers such as Sibel Edmonds, Russell Tice and Ishmael Jones were fired for exposing abuses of and injustices in the system. Like their UK counterparts – David Shayler, Katharine Gun and Richard Tomlinson – they all experienced tremendous persecution, and were generally inconvenienced, blocked or stalled from testifying before a committee and the courts. However, Edmonds, Tice and Jones eventually did find recourse through the US Congress and the various House and Senate Committees. Trinidad and Tobago may consider adopting similar Committees to protect our democracy. Maybe we as a nation need to place emphasis on enacting Whistle-blower legislation and encouraging a culture of moral courage and ethical living.


The following op-ed was published in T&T Newsday following the above piece. The author is Allan Cutler.

Last year I had the pleasure of travelling to Trinidad and Tobago as a speaker at the TTTI Anti-Corruption Conference on Whistleblowing. As it happens, as well as being a whistleblower, I am President of Canadians for Accountability (C4A), the only national organization devoted to assisting whistleblowers in Canada. I had the good fortune of meeting Deryck Murray, the present Chair of Transparency International.

I read with interest Deryck’s interview. He and I both share a desire for a corruption free world. Being realists, we both realize this will never happen. However, there is a saying that summarizes our belief. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. (Ursula K. LeGuin) Nothing remains static. If we don’t try and improve, we will backslide. The greatest danger that all societies face is complacency.

As for the level of corruption in T&T, it can be reduced if people are willing to stand up for their rights. The government must also demonstrate that integrity and accountability are critical values in the society through programs and effective laws. The youth of a country learn their values through the values demonstrated by the leaders of a country. The lessons being taught to the youth will set the tone for tomorrow.

With modern communication, whistleblowing has become international. Originally whistleblowing was limited to a small area. With radio, the ability to get the message out grew. TV allowed the scope to expand to a complete country. The internet has allowed whistleblowing to expose corruption to the world. Governments need to realize that their corruption is no longer private or localized. The world is quickly informed whether through Wikileaks, other electronic media or blogs. This applies equally to Canada and T&T.

We live in a globally integrated world. Whistleblowing is here to stay. All societies continue to have great individuals with strong moral courage and a belief in the stated values of society. Whistleblowers have proven time and time again that they have perseverance. People are fascinated and support their struggles and triumphs. While the society values collective responsibility, it also respects individual heroism. The C4A motto expresses our reality: “Individuals standing for the good of the community against the misdeeds of the few.” The struggle to improve the world is becoming global. Governments and leaders will soon realize that they are better off supporting anti-corruption methods so that their historic legacy will be untarnished.

http://canadians4accountability.org/201 ... s-dilemma/
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:05 am

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The Internal Revenue Service has awarded an anonymous whistleblower $38 million for information leading to the recovery of between $127 million and $254 million in corporate taxes, according to the whistleblower's attorney.
The payment is believed to be the second-largest whistleblower award under a program created by Congress that took effect in 2007. The program awards between 15% and 30% of the taxes recovered by the IRS. In August, whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld received an award of $104 million in connection with information he provided the IRS concerning offshore tax evasion promoted by Swiss banking giant UBS UBSN.VX -0.97%AG.
The whistleblower's attorney, Scott Knott of Ferraro Law Firm in Washington, declined to name the whistleblower or the firm involved, although he said the corporation is among the top 500 public firms in the country. He released a redacted copy of the IRS's award notice verifying that the whistleblower received $38,037,899.
An IRS spokesman refused to confirm or comment on the new award, citing a federal law barring the agency from doing so. In July, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said publicly that the IRS was trying to determine claims in 10 whistleblower cases that were nearly complete.
Mr. Knott praised the IRS for its handling of the claim. "Both the existence and the name of the whistleblower remained completely confidential throughout this process, proving the IRS can reward corporate whistleblowers" without revealing their identity, he said.
Experts say this means the whistleblower likely was employed through much or all of the four years it took the IRS to process the claim. Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney at Kostelanetz & Fink in New York who has several large whistleblower cases outstanding, said that some of his clients have remain employed by the firms they have turned in.
Mr. Knott declined to discuss the issue involved in the claim, but did say it was more akin to aggressive corporate tax planning than outright fraud. He added that the claim was originally filed in early 2008, which means it was more quickly resolved than many cases.
Most tax-whistleblower cases take between five and seven years to be resolved, experts say, in part because whistleblowers aren't paid until after the IRS is paid and the taxpayer's time to appeal has expired.
Mr. Skarlatos added, "This case sounds exactly like what the IRS is looking for—information from well-placed corporate insiders who can provide specifics about tax noncompliance."
Whistleblower awards are taxable as ordinary income. Lawyers charge up to a 40% contingency fee to handle such cases, experts say.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... _whatsNews
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:41 am

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The courageous lives of whistleblowers
They have the courage to stand up and speak out when no one else dares, yet the popular perception of whistleblowers is they are doomed to be victims of reprisals. But when the fifth estate caught up with some of its more memorable whistleblowers, we found out their lives can take twists and turns no one ever expected.

These cases offer an ironic insight into what was supposed to be a new era of transparency and integrity in Canada. To date, not a single case has been prosecuted under Canada's Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act, and the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner was dismissed in disgrace.

It was the late '90s when the fifth estate first caught up with Drs. Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon. The two Health Canada scientists had serious concerns about a new synthetic drug that promised to transform dairy farming by increasing milk production in cows. Chopra and Haydon went public with their concerns and allegations that the manufacturer had offered regulators a bribe, and used questionable tactics as part of a campaign to get the drug approved in Canada. They would eventually both be both fired by Health Canada for insubordination and have spent years trying to get their jobs back. Bovine Growth Hormone was never approved in Canada.

"To serve and protect." It's the motto of numerous police forces, and the declaration of duty which underpins the decision made by so many Canadians to take on a career in law enforcement. For as long as Victoria Cliffe can remember, she's known she wanted to be a police officer. But when she came forward to allege she'd been sexually harassed and assaulted by a superior officer, she became the target of a smear campaign. She's paid a high personal price for speaking out, but today she says she's still just as proud to wear the RCMP uniform.

And a decade ago, Holly Brewer told the fifth estate an incredible story of a young girl pitted against her religion. Growing up as a Jehovah Witness in New Hampshire, Brewer learned two things: the Bible and how to keep quiet. Her silence resulted in years of sexual abuse by her stepfather, a respected member of their church. When her mother asked church elders for help, they did nothing to stop the abuse. And when Holly finally went to the police she and her family became pariahs in their own community. Holly eventually turned her pain into music, today she writes and sings about injustice, though now less about her own and more how it can be overcome.

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2012-2013/2012/ ... truth.html
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:50 pm

Brad Birkenfeld, the man who blew the whistle on a massive tax evasion scam that cost the U.S. government billions in lost revenue, has been awarded US$104-million by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The massive payout is understood to be the largest such reward to an individual ever made. It highlights the stark difference between the United States, where even criminal whistleblowers can become fantastically wealthy for selling out their company’s shady tax practices, and Canada, where critics complain there is no incentive to point out wrongdoing.

As an executive at Swiss banking giant UBS AG in Zurich in 2007, Birkenfeld approached the IRS and the information he provided served as the basis for a landmark court case that saw UBS pay a US$780-million settlement and turn over details on thousands of U.S. holders of offshore accounts.

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/ ... irs-award/
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Birkenfeld, now 47, also revealed details of the bank’s operations in Canada.

Evidence presented before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that was looking into the matter included information about a major offshore business in this country run out of UBS’s offices in Switzerland, managing more than $5-billion of Canadian assets at one point.

Tax haven crackdown reaps big rewards
Foreign banks shun U.S. millionaires thanks to tough tax evasion rule
Officials in Ottawa vowed to crack down when the information was reported but so far no Canadian holders of UBS offshore accounts have been successfully prosecuted.

“People realized that it’s a question of time before we get them,” Jean-Pierre Blackburn, then the minister of revenue, told the Financial Post in 2009. “I tell them, we’ll get you, we’ll find you.”

Despite his efforts to secure immunity in the U.S, Birkenfeld was himself caught up in the legal wrangling around UBS and was sentenced to 40 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. (He was released on Aug 1.)

According to court documents, UBS bankers in the U.S. trolled art shows, yacht races and other high-end events in search of potential clients looking for ways to avoid paying income tax. As a senior member of the bank’s wealth management team, Birkenfeld had a ring-side seat and also took part, at one point helping a client to stuff diamonds into a toothpaste tube to avoid airport security.

Under U.S. law, such practices are illegal and Birkenfeld reportedly became uncomfortable with what UBS was doing and complained to senior officials at the bank. Birkenfeld claims that it was only when his concerns were ignored that he went to the IRS.

In a statement on Tuesday the U.S. tax authority praised Birkenfeld’s evidence, calling it “comprehensive” and “exceptional in both its breadth and depth. While the IRS was aware of tax compliance issues related to secret bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere, the information provided by the whistleblower formed the basis for unprecedented actions against UBS.”

Offshore banks in Switzerland and other tax haven jurisdictions had largely avoided the gaze of tax authorities in countries such as the U.S. and Canada, but that changed in the wake of a series of scandals involving former employees going public with incriminating information and computerized client files.

One of the first tipsters was Heinrich Kieber, a former computer technician at LGT Bank in Liechtenstein, who sold details about account holders to Britain, France and Germany among others. Thanks to Mr. Kieber, the CRA came into possession of details of more than 100 Canadian clients of LGT bank.

The CRA subsequently obtained similar lists of offshore account holders UBS and HSBC.

Because of its efforts to chase after Canadian tax evaders and the publicity around the matter, the CRA says it has collected tens of millions of income tax that it would otherwise not have received.

But critics say it would collect a lot more if took a more aggressive approach, perhaps prosecuting tax evaders in court.

Another strategy employed in the U.S. but not in this country is encouraging whistleblowers to come forward by offering financial rewards— as much as 30% of the tax collected as a result of the information provided.

Indeed, critics frequently complain that far from being rewarded, whistleblowers are more likely to be punished in Canada.

Howard Wetston, chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, raised the possibility of creating a whistleblower program in the securities industry shortly after taking top job at Canada’s largest capital markets regulator in November of 2010. But nearly two years later no such program exists.

Al Rosen, founder of forensic accounting firm Al Rosen & Associates, said the failure of the CRA to aggressively pursue tax dodgers is part of a much larger problem.

“There is no investigation, no prosecution to speak of in Canada,” he said.

Whether it’s the tax authority, financial or securities regulators, there is no will to ensure that players follow the rules.

Mr. Rosen said he recently reported a case of tax fraud to the CRA “but quite likely they won’t even pursue it… [far from giving out rewards for information] they don’t even follow up when you give it to them for free.”

With files from Barbara Shecter
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:48 pm

SEC Pays $50,000 in First Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Reward
By Joshua Gallu - Aug 21, 2012 3:53 PM MT
Screen Shot 2012-09-11 at 8.46.29 PM.png

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission awarded $50,000 to a whistleblower in its first payout from a program started last year to reward people who provide regulators with evidence of securities fraud.
The whistleblower helped the SEC bring an enforcement action that resulted in more than $1 million in sanctions, the agency said today in a statement. The award represents 30 percent -- the maximum allowed under the Dodd-Frank Act -- of the approximately $150,000 collected so far.

The agency set up a whistleblower program in August 2011 to reward individuals who provide evidence of securities law violations which results in sanctions of more than $1 million. The program was authorized in the 2010 financial-regulation overhaul, which said awards could range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected.
“Had this whistleblower not helped to uncover the full dimensions of the scheme, it is very likely that many more investors would have been victimized,” SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said in a statement.
The SEC, which didn’t name the whistleblower or identify the related enforcement action, said it rejected a claim from a second person in the same matter because the information the person provided didn’t lead to or significantly contribute to the enforcement action.
Bradley Bondi, a former SEC attorney who is now a partner at law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in Washington, said in an interview that even though the award is “relatively small” in this case, it’s notable that the SEC awarded the maximum amount it could under the whistleblower rules.
“The question is whether the SEC will continue to award bounties at the upper end of the range when the SEC has whistleblowers in bigger cases,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at jgallu@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gregory Mott at gmott1@bloomberg.net

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:19 pm

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Try to Contain Your Laughter: The SEC Has Opened a Whistleblower Office
By Pam Martens: August 25, 2012

If you want a hearty laugh, check out the web page for the SEC’s official whistleblower office. They’d like us all to know that “Assistance and information from a whistleblower who knows of possible securities law violations can be among the most powerful weapons in the law enforcement arsenal of the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Really? Let’s take a walk down memory lane at what happened to past whistleblowers attempting to promote justice at the SEC.

First up is Gary Aguirre, a lawyer and investigator at the SEC who thought the powerful former Morgan Stanley honcho John Mack should receive a subpoena to give testimony about his potential involvement in insider trading. Mack was protected; Aguirre was fired via a phone call while on vacation — just three days after contacting the Office of Special Counsel to discuss the filing of a complaint about the SEC’s protection of Mack.

This is how Aguirre, who was eventually vindicated by Congress, explained it to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on December 5, 2006:

“My testimony today will focus on a favor. Senior SEC officials gave it. Morgan Stanley and its CEO, John Mack (Mack), accepted it.

“The favor was an invisible shield. It was put in place by senior officials within the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. It shielded Mack from an SEC subpoena seeking his testimony and records in the PCM insider trading investigation. That evidence was a critical step in proving whether Mack had tipped PCM’s CEO, Arthur Samberg (Samberg), of General Electric’s (GE) pending acquisition of Heller Financial (Heller). Mack was the only suspect. Blocking the investigation of the only suspect blocked the SEC’s investigation of PCM’s trading in GE-Heller. Without that investigation, the SEC would never be able to even consider the filing of insider trading charges arising out of PCM’s trading in GE and Heller against Mack, Samberg, PCM or anyone else.

“The favor had positive effects for some. It cleared the way for Mack’s return on June 30, 2005, as Morgan Stanley’s CEO. Without the favor, Mack would have faced the risk of an SEC lawsuit for insider trading over the next year. Without the favor, Morgan Stanley had two options: (1) it could pass on Mack as its new CEO and look for other candidates or (2) it could hire Mack and take the risk of an SEC insider trading case against him. According to Morgan Stanley’s head of compliance, the risk of an insider trading case against Mack was one Morgan Stanley did not want to accept. The favor made that risk go away.

“The timing of the favor was perfect. The search for the source of the GE-Heller tip began in May and began to point to Mack by mid-June. My supervisors authorized me to seek a criminal investigation of Mack and Samberg on June 14. An SEC subpoena for Mack’s testimony and records was the next logical step in the investigation. That should have occurred during the week of June 20. But just then the shield appeared out of nowhere: one of my supervisors blocked the subpoena…

“So, why would senior SEC officials give such a favor? My immediate supervisor, Branch Chief Robert Hanson, gave me the answer when he first blocked the Mack subpoena: Mack had powerful political connections. He made similar statements on other occasions. I questioned this decision up the chain of command, but only got back silence at first. Mack’s political influence is of course indisputable fact.

“If Justice at the SEC has lost her blindfold, the capital markets are in trouble. The SEC regulates the securities markets. Its success ‘is a bulwark against possible abuses and injustice which, if left unchecked, might jeopardize the strength of our economic institutions.’ Few principles are more deeply engrained in Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which regulates the SEC’s operation, than the mandates obligating the SEC to handle all of its affairs, including the enforcement of the securities laws, with impartiality. No conduct would stray farther from those mandates than a double set of laws: one for the politically well connected and another for everyone else.

“After my September 2, 2005 letter informed Chairman Cox of the favor, he directed his Inspector General (IG) to conduct an ‘investigation’ of my allegations. The IG employed a unique investigatory method; his staff interviewed and took evidence from only those senior SEC officials who were the subject of my charges. The IG staff never contacted me. Not surprisingly, those charged with misconduct offered little evidence against themselves. The IG was therefore duty bound to find them blameless. This kind of an investigation has a name; it is called a ‘whitewash.’”

Read Aguirre’s full testimony here.

Then there was Darcy Flynn, also an attorney for the SEC. Flynn made the stunning discovery that the SEC had been shredding evidence it had obtained during investigations that did not turn into enforcement actions, rather than preserving the documents as it was required to do under law. As Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone explains in-depth, Flynn appealed to SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, promising not to go outside the agency for review of the matter if she would grant Flynn protection against reprisal. No such offer was forthcoming. Flynn was forced to go to the SEC Inspector General and three Congressional committees as the SEC engaged in some very fancy footwork attempting to downplay the violations.

And, of course, there was whistleblower Harry Markopolos from outside the SEC who pounded on the SEC’s door for years, providing lengthy dossiers explaining in detail why Bernie Madoff was running a ponzi scheme, all to no avail. Madoff’s earlier investigatory files had also been shredded at the SEC.

More recently, on September 27, 2011, the SEC Inspector General released a heavily redacted report suggesting that SEC attorneys now understand that whistleblowing is the fast track to the unemployment line or a demotion, so they now operate incognito. The case involved an employee at the SEC who had sent an anonymous letter to the Inspector General, blowing the whistle on the SEC Director of Enforcement, Robert Khuzami, over his handling of charges that Citigroup executives had intentionally misled public investors about its exposure to subprime mortgages, understating the amount by $37 billion in the Fall of 2007. The report explains:

“…just before the staff’s recommendation was presented to the Commission, Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami had a ‘secret conversation’ with his ‘good friend’ and former colleague, a prominent defense counsel representing Citigroup, during which Khuzami agreed to drop the contested fraud charges against the second individual. The complaint further alleged that the Enforcement staff were ‘forced to drop the fraud charges that were part of the settlement with the other individual,’ and that both individuals were also represented by Khuzami’s friends and former colleagues, creating the appearance that Khuzami’s decision was ‘made as a special favor to them and perhaps to protect a Wall Street firm for political reasons.’ The complaint also alleged that Khuzami’s decision had the effect of protecting Citigroup from private litigation, and that by not telling the staff about his secret conversation, Khuzami ‘directly violated recommendations by Inspector General Kotz in previous reports about how such special access and preferential treatment can cause serious appearance problems concerning fairness and integrity of decisions that are made by the Enforcement Division.’ ”

The report essentially whitewashed the claims against Khuzami, ensuring that fewer and fewer whistleblowers within the SEC or outside the SEC will take the time or trouble to report wrongdoing. Nothing less than a full scale house cleaning at the SEC will do, together with a three-year ban on going to or coming from a Wall Street company or law firm representing Wall Street.

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu May 24, 2012 5:41 pm

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An offer to Alberta Premier Redford on whistleblowing legislation
The following was sent by our President, Allan Cutler, to Alberta Premier Allison Redford. It is an offer to assist her government in developing legislation for whistleblower protection – which she promised prior to winning the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives in 2011. It was sent on May 8, 2012; to date, we have received no reply.


I will keep my comments brief. Before the election you advised that there was not enough time to consider whistleblowing legislation and, since the election, you announced that you want to have up-to-date whistleblower legislation.

Canadians for Accountability is the only national organization serving and helping whistleblowers. Recently, we presented the Golden Whistle Award to Brian Skakun of Prince George, B.C. This is the only award recognizing the service and importance of whistleblowers in Canada.

We would like to offer our services in helping draft and promote Alberta’s proposed whistleblowing legislation. We have access to legal experts and, as it happens, the majority of our members have been or are whistleblowers. We are familiar with the impact of the lack of sound laws. As for myself, I was the whistleblower during the federal Sponsorship Scandal.

Our expertise and credentials would enhance your government’s credibility for any subsequent whistleblowing legislation.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Allan Cutler

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu May 10, 2012 4:16 pm

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Linda Almonte has filed a whistleblower claim after exposing what she calls fraud at JPMorgan Chase.
When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.

Instead, he fired her.

"We went down fast," said Almonte, 41, about her family. She had been making $100,000 a year as a division vice president at Chase, enough to support her stay-at-home husband, their four kids, ages 12 to 22, and rent a three-bedroom house in San Antonio, Texas.

Her move at Chase amounted to "essentially suicide," Almonte told The Huffington Post. No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant, she said. After more than a year of fruitless job hunting, Almonte and her family left town, landing at a hotel near Disney World, paying $300 a week for a two-bedroom with a kitchenette.

Almonte enrolled her children in a federal program for homeless kids so that they wouldn't have to switch schools if the family had to leave the hotel. Her father joined them to help out and they survived on her father's $2,700 monthly combined Social Security and disability payments.

Her fate is far from unusual. "Employees get fired all the time for blowing the whistle," said Dana Gold, a senior fellow at the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for whistleblowers. "We see it so much," Gold said. "It's a predictable phenomenon."

To help compensate for such risks, 2010's Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law offers incentives to sweeten the pot for some whistleblowers. While Gold and other employee advocates applaud the new provisions, neither Almonte nor any of the hundreds of other whistleblowers who have filed complaints under the new program have received a payout for their information. Instead these informants, who have risked their careers, wait to learn whether they will receive millions in government awards or nothing.

Under Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers could potentially receive 10 percent to 30 percent of the fines and settlements exceeding $1 million collected by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The bounty program is based on the Department of Justice's successful whistleblower program that offers payments to informants who expose fraud against the government under the False Claims Act. The Justice Department program has paid more than $3.4 billion to whistleblowers since 1987, according to the nonprofit Taxpayers Against Fraud.

The new Dodd-Frank program also grants whistleblowers more protection against retaliation by an angry employer -- informants have a longer period of time to report problematic employers, are eligible for reinstatement and back pay, and can bring a case against their former employers in a federal court.

While the new rules are precise, "it's the interpretation and implementation of the rules … that will take a while to play out," said Rebecca Katz, an attorney with Bernstein Liebhard LLP and a former senior enforcement lawyer for the SEC.

In a federal court in Houston, for example, General Electric is fighting, according to the Wall Street Journal, a case brought by a whistleblower who claims he was fired after raising concerns that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the same law that Walmart is alleged to have violated in Mexico). GE argues that the whistleblower isn't eligible for any protections under the new rules because he did not contact the SEC about his concerns. The new law is not completely clear about the steps that a whistleblower must take to be eligible for a payout or government protection.

One advocate of the more robust Dodd-Frank protections is Sherron Watkins, the former Enron vice president credited with exposing fraud at her company only weeks before its epic collapse in 2001.

Watkins, who today makes a living speaking about corporate ethics and her Enron experience, said that she doesn't earn nearly as much as she would have if she had stayed working in the energy sector. But it would be "completely impossible" for her to return to that line of work after she spoke up about Enron's corruption, she claimed.

"You won't find someone that is labeled a 'whistleblower' who has been able to return to their original career," she said, adding that job opportunities in other, related fields also shrink considerably for such individuals. "Even though they might be capable of, say, being a college professor, you'll see that if they're allowed to do something normal like teach, it will still be below their expertise level, like teaching in middle school."

That has been Almonte's experience. Almonte had been working at Chase for only a few months when she was asked to pitch in on a deal to sell 23,000 credit card accounts from customers behind on their payments. Debt collection agencies buy the accounts for pennies and keep any money they can collect from the customers, as reported in a series by American Banker.

All the accounts had "judgments" on them, meaning that Chase had already taken these cases to court, sued the customers involved for failing to make payments and won the lawsuits. Before the sale took place, Almonte was asked to check the amount owed and the court's ruling in each case.

After reviewing more than a third of the files, Almonte's team reported back to her that nearly 60 percent contained some sort of major error, including discrepancies about the amount or whether the court had indeed ruled for the bank. Concerned, Almonte went up the chain of command, flagging the errors and encouraging management to halt the sale. Instead, the bank fired Almonte and completed the deal in December 2009. Chase declined to comment for this story, as did the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is currently investigating the bank.

Almonte filed a whistleblower claim with the SEC in November 2010. The amount she could potentially be paid if she wins her claim is unknown, since it depends on whether the agency considers her information crucial to successfully bringing a case against Chase, and the size of any potential associated fines and settlement fees.

In recent years the size of penalties, fines and settlements paid by companies to the SEC has varied. Liquor conglomerate Diageo paid $16 million to settle charges of bribing government officials in Asia so as to increase sales of its Johnnie Walker and Windsor Scotch whiskeys. Citigroup paid the SEC $285 million to settle allegations that the firm defrauded investors by selling faulty mortgage-related products.

While waiting to hear if the SEC not only pursues a case against Chase but also wins it and whether she will receive a payout under the new program, Almonte says she's "starting to get [her life] back together now." She now works as a management consultant earning roughly 80 percent of her salary at Chase. She has relocated from the hotel to a rental home.

Nevertheless, she believes she will never regain her former career trajectory.

"You google me and my name is everywhere," she said. "Any company that would hire me will see that. I can never live that down."

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:42 pm

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Jack Palmer, Whistleblower, Finds Death-Threat Note On Office Chair
The Huffington Post | By Alexander Eichler
Posted: 04/13/2012 12:01 pm
How come there aren't more whistleblowers?

It's a vexing question for anyone who'd like to see corporate crime reduced. Just this week, CNN noted that half of all misconduct at financial companies never gets reported, according to a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, a Virginia consulting firm.

But another recent story, this one in The New York Times, provides a painful illustration of why potential whistleblowers may not be that interested in speaking up. Not every whistleblower has an experience like Lynn Szymoniak, the mortgage-fraud tipster who got an $18 million settlement for her troubles. Often things can go a lot worse -- like they have for Jack Palmer.

Palmer, an employee at the outsourcing company Infosys, alerted authorities a couple of years ago to what seemed to be shady business practices at his firm, according to the NYT. Since then, he says, Infosys has all but frozen him out, giving him no work and little communication. Palmer says he has gone on medication for anger and depression, and once found a death-threat note on his office chair.

It sounds like the same kind of blowback that many financial workers say they fear, and that keeps them from speaking up when they witness wrongdoing. That's one of the main reasons more whistleblowers don't come forward, Thomas Monahan, the chairman and CEO of the Corporate Executive Board, told CNN. Even Szymoniak says her bank has been harassing her since her case received national attention.

Many would-be whistleblowers also keep quiet because they think their warnings will have no effect, says Monahan -- a concern that's hardly unjustified, given the federal government's track record on ignoring whistleblowers and dismissing their complaints.

The fact that half of all misconduct goes unreported may seem especially troubling at a time when the country is still trying to shake off the effects of a recession hastened by the deregulation of many banking practices.

A few regulators have tried to offer greater incentives to whistleblowers in the wake of the financial crisis, with the Securities and Exchange Commission sometimes paying out between 10 and 30 percent of recovered money to the tipster who makes it happen.

But many Americans aren't even aware that these reward programs exist, and in any case the rules vary widely from agency to agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, has a reputation for sending whistleblowers on their way with nothing but a word of thanks.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:58 pm

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Speaking out: The heavy price of telling the truth

By Peggy Curran, The Gazette March 7, 2012

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Spe ... z1oZajXD6O
MONTREAL - He knows the truth about a dirty cop.

She can name a doctor who’ll happily take cash from a desperate patient seeking a speedy referral.

Insiders know which streams are polluted, what medicine will make you sicker, which palms must be greased to nail multimillion-dollar contracts for road, bridge and sewer projects. If only they would talk.

Whistleblowers have the dirt on kickbacks and cover-ups, cavalier public spending and sleazy tricks on the campaign trail.

“It would be good if everyone was willing to come forward,” said David Hutton, executive director of Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR), which monitors cases involving whistleblowers in the federal public service. “Research consistently shows that the best way to find out about fraud and wrongdoing within an organization is through employees. You have law enforcement that comes essentially free. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

If only more people felt free to talk without threat of committing career hara-kiri, that internal damnation of being sidelined or badmouthed by bosses and co-workers. Governments would be cleaner. Overpasses might not fall down.

So why don’t we show whistleblowers more respect? Why do politicians, public agencies and businesses still make it so difficult, damaging and emotionally draining for people who follow their consciences and speak up about wrongdoing?

Not only are there no incentives for right-minded citizens in most parts of this country to do the right thing. There are no consequences for those who punish the brave souls who do come forward.

Surveys show employees in the civil service remain skittish about speaking out, fearful they’ll be punished by their bosses or shunned by their peers – what Hutton calls the “head on a stake” approach. “The point is to make an example of them, so they run out of resources, run up legal bills, by isolating and demoralizing them.”

Arne Hintz is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Art History and Communication Studies department at McGill University, where he is co-editing a book on the WikiLeaks case scheduled for publication later this year. He said the whistleblower often “plays the game” and keeps quiet about injustices and criminal activity in the workplace until his conscience gets the better of him.

“In most cases, the lack of anonymity means that they will face repercussions, which may include mobbing and firing, and which can lead to serious – not the least – psychological problems. The seriousness of the repercussions (which often appears out of proportion to the initial act of whistle-blowing) has the purpose of discouraging similar acts by potential whistleblowers.”

“You can be a whistleblower if you aren’t worried about retaliation,” says Steven Appelbaum, a management professor at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business who has studied the implications of corporate whistle-blowing. “It’s fine if you think about the moment and doing the right thing instead of your own future and long-term prospects; if you believe you will get another job, that you’ll survive.”

Last month, the head of Quebec’s anti-corruption commission, Justice France Charbonneau, issued an appeal for Quebecers to reveal what they know about criminal activity involving the construction industry and government, hospitals, school boards and parapublic institutions. The commission has set up a toll-free hotline and is offering to protect sources from harm or retribution.

Yet by this week, at least seven emails sent to the commission, reportedly ripe with detail about unsavoury transactions involving a construction company and a Montreal city official, had already been hacked, raising doubts about the commission’s ability to keep that promise of confidentiality in the age of WikiLeaks and Anonymous.

Last Wednesday, Montreal police chief Marc Parent told a parliamentary committee the force needs to be more open to public scrutiny and input, citing a “perception of a lack of transparency.” Yet when former detective sergeant Ian Davidson committed suicide in January after reports alleging he had tried to sell police secrets to the mob, provincial police launched a probe to find out who leaked the information to the media.

The Sûreté du Québec has already suspended one detective for divulging sensitive information in the case of Paul Laplante, who also took his own life after being arrested for the murder of his wife, Diane Grégoire, prompting charges by the federation representing Quebec journalists of “a witch-hunt.”

After the sponsorship scandal in 2007, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government promised it would make it easier for federal government employees to blow the whistle when they uncovered corrupt or unethical conduct.

Instead, what Canada got was the sordid tale of Christine Ouimet. Canada’s first public accountability commissioner resigned with a hefty severance package in December 2010, three years into her seven-year term. Her departure came days before a scathing report by auditor-general Sheila Fraser said Ouimet, the senior bureaucrat responsible for protecting whistleblowers, had reigned over a hostile and hellish workplace where those who questioned her were subject to punishment and reprisals.

Of the 228 cases filed during Ouimet’s mandate on behalf of federal employees who said they had been punished for speaking out on matters of principle, only seven investigations were launched and not a single case of wrongdoing was identified. Little progress has been made in the 14 months since Mario Dion replaced Ouimet.

“No cases of wrongdoing have been found. It defies belief,” said Hutton.

“The federal government has spent a trillion dollars in the five years since the commission was set up, yet apparently not a single case of fraud has occurred? The federal government is the biggest Christmas tree in the country. There are so many ways to pluck goodies off the branches if you know where to look.”

In a report prepared for the integrity commissioner last month, federal government employees expressed fear of reprisals, a lack of anonymity and the risk of being ostracized by the colleagues. “Most employees see reprisals for disclosing wrongdoing as a real possibility, primarily because of the subtle form (reprisals) can take,” cautioned the report.

Hintz cites recent efforts by countries such as Iceland and Germany to protect whistleblowers. He said WikiLeaks has attempted to tackle the anonymity problem by providing a secure place that protects the whistleblower from being identified. “Many media organizations, such as al-Jazeera and the New York Times, have established anonymous ‘drop-boxes’ that have served the same purpose and have already led to significant revelations.”

But risks still arise, especially when the whistleblower feels the need to talk to friends or co-workers. Hintz points to the experience of Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower who was nabbed after he revealed his identity to a hacker via an online chat.

“The Bradley Manning case also shows the severity of the repercussions,” Hintz said. “He has now been imprisoned for almost two years under conditions which have been described by the United Nations as torture. He is facing life in prison for allegedly handing over documents to which large numbers of U.S. personnel (apparently more than 2 million) had access.”

Appelbaum argues that some individuals will come forward no matter what the risks may be, exhibiting a type of “organizational citizenship behaviour” that can be explained in two ways. “Either they are very ethical – ‘I don’t want to get caught involved in something unethical’ – or they are concerned about the fallout – ‘If I blow the whistle, will I get fired? If I don’t and the wrongdoing is discovered, am I complicit?’ ”

Appelbaum suggests the employee prepared to spill have a deep understanding of workplace ethos and the characters he or she is up against.

“It helps to know whether the company is basically ethical and the people doing bad stuff are rogues, or whether it is ingrained in the culture,” he said. “The minute someone says, ‘don’t worry about it,’ I always worry about it.”

“Wrongdoers can often hijack the system, using human resources to punish the whistleblower,” said Hutton. “A 20- or 30-year stellar record file will go missing, replaced with bogus complaints. Superiors will do what they can to denigrate them and make them appear to be irresponsible malcontents.”

One needs only look at recent investigations in Quebec into alleged kickbacks in the construction industry to see what’s at stake,” Hutton said.

“If you believe what Jacques Duchesneau said, what’s on the line in the corruption inquiry is shutting down a multibillion-dollar industry which has ties in business and government – and which can bump people off.”


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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:31 am

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whistle-blowers key in health care fraud fight

By Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – About 36% of the almost $16 billion recovered by the Justice Department in health care whistle-blower fraud cases has come since 2009, records show, which reflects an increased focus on fighting fraud.

By Mark Wilson, Getty Images
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said her department's budget included an additional $300 million to take on health care fraud.
A bipartisan coalition backed strengthening the False Claims Act in 2009, and the Obama administration pushed for more money and tougher fraud-fighting provisions in the 2010 health care law, said Tony West, an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's civil division.

The health care law "allows us to use it more effectively," West said of the False Claims Act. Whistle-blower cases are one of the "primary tools" they use to fight fraud, he said. "We've made health care fraud such a high priority; we've been using this tool very, very aggressively."

· STORY: $4.1B recovered from health care fraud

In the past 20 years, whistle-blower cases have increased so they average about three times as much money back to the government as non-whistle-blower cases.

In 2011, the federal government broke all records, bringing in nearly $2.3 billion in whistle-blower settlements and judgments. Since 1987, whistle-blower qui tam cases have earned about $16 billion; non-whistle-blower cases have collected about $5 billion.

Under the False Claims Act, the government can recover up to three times the amount fraudulently taken by a company, according to Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller. Large health care fraud cases often involve pharmaceutical companies either falsely advertising a product or marketing it for a use that hasn't been approved by the FDA.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week that her budget included an additional $300 million to take on health care fraud.

Despite the successes, the law could be used even more aggressively, said Stephen Kohn, director of the National Whistleblowers Center. The non-partisan center educates the public about the law, as well as working to protect whistle-blowers. "About 3,500 fraud cases have not been investigated," he said, citing Justice Department figures. "Why don't they get the resources? For every case they prosecute, they bring in more money."

West agreed and said the government is moving in that direction. In 2011, the federal government prosecuted 417 whistle-blower cases, compared with 231 in 2008.

Three years ago, the government recovered $5 for every dollar spent fighting fraud. Recently, that increased to $7 for each $1. Government agencies, including the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, have begun combining resources. That makes their efforts more efficient and better targeted, West said, and means that there are more resources available.

"The more resources we have, the more we can take on," he said.

Most whistle-blowers try to report fraud to company managers first and go to the government when they grow frustrated when the fraud continues, West said. "We find that their information is usually very credible," he said, but "we reject more cases than we accept. We're pretty choosy."

Justice Department action can have long-term consequences for a company, including bankruptcy, West said. That means Justice will try other steps beyond lawsuits and tend to focus on large cases that have the greatest impact, he said.

"It's not just the big cases that attract our attention," West said. "We look at whether public health is at risk."

In a 2010 case, Justice targeted a group of dentists and recovered about $25 million.

"They were engaging in practices that were absolutely barbaric," West said. One child received 16 unnecessary root canals in one sitting, he said.

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:11 am

From: Roger Boisjoly [mailto:boisjoly@sisna.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 10:36 AM
To: Killoran Joe
Subject: Long Overdue Communication
Dear Joe:

I received the book you sent me titled $WINDLER$ and wish to express my very deep appreciation and thanks. However, at the same time I would like to express my shameful lack of communication with you for quite some time now. I almost don't know where to begin my explanation to you for my behavior because you have beaten me to do what I was planning to do recently by sending the book.

Several weeks ago, I had planned to write to you but a vacation with my wife put off that communication until now. Even in your latest note to me dated October 22, 2010, you thanked me for being your mentor and I am thrilled to know and to be reminded by you that my actions and lectures explaining my position for doing what I did on the Challenger launch decision has made a positive impact on you.

I tell you this because my only initial purpose in lecturing to students and practitioners was to inform my audiences about the overwhelming lack of Ethics, Integrity and Organizational Behavior that took place during the Challenger launch decision process and also that what I experienced was typical of our Industrial and Government complexes here in the U. S. and my hope was to try and make a difference in how everyone would act in their chosen professions.

After almost 24 years of speaking, I know that I have accomplished my original goal from some of the feedback I have received through the years and sometimes many years after some had heard me speak. I use this as my opening to what I have to say that will follow.

I want you to know that I have agreed and continue to agree with everything that you have tried to accomplish and have accomplished to some extent. You should be very proud of what you have accomplished and continue to accomplish. I admire your ability to stay the course through all the negative backlash that you had to contend with from the Establishment in Canada.

The heart of what I have to confess to you is that outside of being able to communicate my lectures to others, I have been essentially unable to do anything else outside of my lectures, except to help some Whistleblowers (Truthtellers - my term) with advice to help them cope with the circumstances they would find themselves in as the result of their actions concerning proper Ethics and Integrity. I do not know if I have ever informed you that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from my ordeal with Challenger but I want to tell you now, not by way of excuse but for purposes of explanation.

The heart of what I have to confess to you is that outside of being able to communicate my lectures to others, I have been essentially unable to do anything else outside of my lectures, except to help some Whistleblowers (Truthtellers - my term) with advice to help them cope with the circumstances they would find themselves in as the result of their actions concerning proper Ethics and Integrity. I do not know if I have ever informed you that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from my ordeal with Challenger but I want to tell you now, not by way of excuse but for purposes of explanation.

The 63 initial free college lectures I gave over three college semesters starting in January 1987 that were fully supported by my psychologist as the best thing I could do for myself to help me heal from PTSD provided me with a relatively quick recovery from PTSD and allowed me to work myself back into the mainstream of life with one very large restriction as told to me by my psychologist at the end of my last visit with him sometime in 1988. He told me that the speaking would help me accelerate my return to society much quicker than if I had just been able to see him over the course of perhaps 5 to 7 years without having the chance to share my story with others.

However, he also told me that PSTD is not fully curable and that I will definitely be subject to many unknown triggers that could affect me in a very negative way once again and that I would need to protect myself against such events to remain viable in general society. My psychologist's parting words of advice were to seriously consider at first to not listen to any nightly news programs, take a subscription to a newspaper or news magazine or listen to any talk radio programs so I would not once again be subjected to negative bombardment of information that could create a serious trigger resulting in a relapse into PTSD. I followed his advice for quite some time and as a result I remained quite upbeat and happy.

I loved my new career as a Professional Engineer in my own home based company with my wife totally free from the corporate structure of organizational misbehavior, etc. and I especially was thrilled to be able to use all my Aerospace Engineering experience in my practice as a Forensic Engineering consultant and Expert Witness primarily in Product Liability, Trade Secrets and Ethics cases. Even so, the arm of blackball retribution followed me into my own business by companies refusing to allow me to be hired on the Defense side of cases and so my business was unfortunately skewed towards working for Plaintiffs.

All this occurred from the erroneous Corporate belief that all Truthtellers should be prevented from having any type of decent recovery from the event in which they participated to correct a wrong. Interestingly, the few Defense cases that I managed to secure were cases that I won big time for my client attorneys but even with that, the invisible Blackball continued against me. After about five years of forensic work coupled with lecturing, I was literally on top of the world with my wildest dreams coming true and my wife and I were thrilled that we had come back so far from from the depths of the hell we were in during the aftermath of Challenger.

Well that feeling of well-being changed rather quickly when the Defense Bar of Attorneys in Nevada decided to try and run me out of the business by trying to find the triggers that would destroy either my business by having me revisit PTSD or by creating such a pressure cooker environment that I would probably have a heart attack. I figured that they were tired of being beaten in court every time by me as they continued to attempt to win their cases with smoke and mirrors instead of the true facts in the cases which is what I always used and was able to put my expert testimony in layperson's terms so that the jury was fully able to understand what I was explaining to them and that made all the Nevada defense attorneys very upset.

They made this attempt to destroy me by brutalizing me during two successive depositions by asking me questions on the two separate cases that had nothing to do with my case work but rather with my medical history with PTSD, Challenger and any other negative things they could bring up during over five hours of pounding questioning. Although I never missed an answer to any of their questions, they were killing me one question at a time and by the time the depositions were over, I was physically ill at home for the better part of the week succeeding each deposition but the attorneys never had a clue that they had been successful at the time.

After this happened in two successive depositions in Nevada, I had a serious discussion with my wife to discuss my health. I told her that we could continue to make a significant amount of badly needed income and have a very short life due to either a recurrence of PTSD or heart attack or we could get out of the forensic business after I completed my active cases in other states and have a chance for a longer life at a very much reduced income because lecturing only comprised about 10 to 15 percent of our income. The decision was easy from a health standpoint but very difficult to make from an income standpoint because I was not 100% confident that I could pull off my second business transition into a new business model by only lecturing full time, especially since I had been receiving invitations to speak up to this point without any promotion effort on my part.

This was a very sad occasion for me personally because I really loved what I was doing and was always able to act with full Integrity and there was no one upstream of me that could direct me to do otherwise. Well. to make a long story short, the second transition worked out okay and we ended up having sufficient funds for our needs plus a bit more and that is where we ended up. I officially retired at the end of 2005 from accepting invitations to speak where I had to fly to a destination because the security people at airports were putting me through hell on just about every flight I took and it did not matter that I had flown over a million miles on Delta alone. I felt at one point that I had the word terrorists carved into my forehead as I continued to be singled out for searches when passengers all around me were getting a pass.

What this is all leading up to is the fact that I still need to be very careful about possible triggers to avoid another bout with PTSD. To that end you have not heard from me for quite some time. I cannot remember the last time I communicated to you about something that you have sent to me and that is because I was starting to feel the negative effects from your struggles and I had to terminate my contact or potentially suffer another round of PTSD and that was and still is something I never want to experience again.

My good friend, I am so sorry that I had not informed you earlier about my problems with reading so much about your struggles and its upsetting effects on me. Please don't take what I am telling you as lack of my support for everything that you have done and are still doing, because I am still near or at your number one fan position but just unable to write and express my support until now.

Also, please know that this is very difficult for me to express to you since you have been so supportive of me. It's simply the PTSD and the fear of sliding back that keeps me focused on what the psychologist told me to do and it has worked for me nearly 25 years. Please accept my deepest apology for not writing to you sooner.

Best Regards,


P.S. I continue to speak about four times each year at seminars arranged in Southern California by my very good professor friend, Mark Maier, and his wife. The seminars are all about Leadership versus Dictatorship type management and I speak about Challenger as a model for what goes wrong when professionals abdicate their Integrity.

I am currently in the process of giving all my written and recorded work to the Chapman University Library to archive all the material I have on Challenger and all my lectures on various related subjects. My wife and I drive from our home in Nephi, Utah and back to participate and thus avoid airport security. We have a wonderful time as we are treated very well by out hosts and audiences.

Other than getting older (I am now 72) we are as well as can be expected at this point in our lives. I sincerely hope that this note
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:07 am

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----- Original Message -----
From: Roger Boisjoly boisjoly@sisna.com
To: Joseph Killoran
Sent: August 18, 2003 3:27 AM

Subject: Re: IMAGINE: Made-in-Canada "Truthsayer" protection laws that are better

Dear Joe:

I hope the people in Canada grasp the significance of the difference between the terms "Whistleblower" and "Truthsayer/Truthteller." The first being the "Kiss of Death" (concerning career viability) for the person(s) sticking his/her neck out to attempt to correct a wrongdoing or stop a negative event because of all the negative interpretations by the "establishment" associated with the definition of "Whistleblower." However, use of the second term, "Truthsayer/Truthteller," would make it almost impossible for the "establishment" to twist the meaning into a negative interpretation, thus giving the person(s) involved the proper deserved credit and the very real chance to maintain a continuing desirable career.

I send this note because in the United States the public doesn't have a clue about the significant difference between the terms and the "establishment" (industrial complex & government) don't want any changes so they can continue to crush those who speak out. I wish you the best in making the attempt to create what I know to be a necessary change for the good of everyone, not only for those who are on the front line making the attempt to expose the truth.

Best Regards,


Roger Boisjoly-The Challenger Disaster

P.S. Feel free to quote my statements in any of your materials, if you desire to do so.
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