whistleblowers

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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:34 pm

sc0024edc4.jpg
Neuroscience and Emotional Harm in Tort Law: Rethinking the American Approach to Free-Standing Emotional Distress Claims

Betsy Grey
Arizona State University - College of Law
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1499989

November 4, 2009


Abstract:
American tort law traditionally distinguishes between “physical” and “emotional” harm for purposes of liability, with emotional harm treated as a second class citizen. The customary view is that physical injury is more entitled to compensation because it is considered more objectively verifiable and perhaps more important. The current draft of the Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts maintains this view. Even the name of the Restatement project itself - “Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm” - emphasizes this distinction. Advances in neuroscience suggest that the concern over verification may no longer be valid, and that the phenomena we call “emotional” harm has a physiological basis. Because of these early scientific advances, this may be an appropriate time to re-examine our assumptions about tort recovery for emotional harm.

Using studies of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an example, this paper explores advances in neuroscience that have begun to shed light on the biological basis of the harm suffered when an individual is exposed to extreme stress. These advances underline the shrinking scientific distinction between physical and emotional harm. Drawing on these scientific developments, as well as on the British approach to emotional injury claims, the paper concludes that we should rethink the American treatment of emotional distress claims. In general, it proposes that we change our approach to account for advances in neuroscience, moving toward a more unified view of bodily and emotional injury. Two potential legal applications are advanced in this paper: (1) that science can provide empirical evidence of what it means to suffer emotional distress, thus helping to validate a claim that has always been subject to greater scrutiny; and (2) that this evidence may allow us to move away from the sharp distinction between how physical and emotional injuries are conceptualized, viewing both as valid types of harm with physiological origins.

Keywords: Tort, Emotional Distress, Neuroscience and Law

What if whistleblowers were to begin to hold corporations accountable for the retaliatory damage they do to employees who tell the truth about corporate wrongdoing?
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:37 pm

Constant Gardner is a wonderful movie, based on true events of a truth teller in the pharmaceutical industry. Well worth a view.

The Insider is also very compelling story of a tobacco company employee who goes through the wringer trying to prevent abuses by this industry.

There is another one about a nuclear plant whistleblower who was killed under unusual circumstances, I think it is THE CHINA SYNDROME, but not certain.

There are others based on true events and these will be published as they occur to me.

One will be produced based on Canada's most predatory investment salesperson, and the death of a former employee, after legal harassment drives the employee to take his own life. Based on true circumstances as well.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:22 pm

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When a person tells the truth or corporate or organizational wrongs, he or she is stepping outside the system. They are placing the loyalty to the public interest ahead of a loyalty to their corporation or organization. This is an honorable thing, to all except the organization.

The organization will react much like a body's immune system, which is always on guard, always alert to threats to itself. Like the immune system, an organization will try to find, surround, attack and remove any and all threats to itself. This is not pretty when a person is on the attack end of the system.

It is not that the people in the organization are bad people, but they are part of a system which places them in a unique position where they must act in the manner that they do. Read, THE LUCIFER EFFECT, by Philip Zimbardo for more on how this works.

In the end, if you tell the truth, about your organization on matters which impact the public good, no matter how poor, how dangerous, or how deadly the behavior of your organization is (exploding gas tanks, bad drugs, weapons, chemicals, nuclear power), if you place your loyalty to the public good above your loyalty to the organization, you will be hunted like a virus inside the human body.

I maintain that it is still the right thing to do. It is still more human and more humane to tell the truth when you come to the realization that your organization is damaging other humans, the planet, or the economy etc. To do less than that is nothing but subhuman self preservation on the part of the discoverer. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us fail to place humanity above self preservation. That is the normal unconscious human condition default. We need to try and rise about this level of unconscious-ness.

What are the effects on a person who goes outside the organization (or within) and tries to reveal the truth about organizational wrongs? I found an commentary in the Globe recently that pretty much sums up some of the greatest damages, after you have lost your job of course, your career, perhaps your home and family. The commentary was by Michael Kirby, Chair of Mental Health Commission of Canada. His article appeared wed, aug 26, 2009 on page A13. The parts that I circled as having direct application to the whistleblower were this:

"In both natural disasters and man-made economic ones, people lose businesses, jobs, homes, hopes, lives. Each type wreaks a devastating toll on the mental health of its victims - lost jobs and livelihoods cause great psychological distress and increased rates of anxiety, depression, child neglect, family violence, substance abuse, crime and suicide."

"There is very solid data correlating unemployment and personal financial stress with increased mental-health problems, including higher rates of depression and suicide."

"......the daily lives of individuals, their families and whole communities are torn asunder by financial loss, unemployment, fear and declining physical and mental health."

A sane man who agrees with this would avoid it. To do this means to take the easy way out, and preserve yourself at the expense of damage to other humans. That is simply not right. The right thing to do is to fight to change this "automatic torture process". Fight so that corporate abuse, financial and legal abuse are no longer tolerated as tools of human torture in todays world. Other forms of abuse have come into the open, and have slowly, over decades been admitted, discussed and de-powered. It is a matter of social justice for every human that whistleblowers and the abuse they suffer is also eradicated.

Been there. Done that.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:02 pm

Killing by influence on the mind

228. No person commits culpable homicide where he causes the death of a human being

(a) by any influence on the mind alone, or

(b) by any disorder or disease resulting from influence on the mind alone,

but this section does not apply where a person causes the death of a child or sick person by wilfully frightening him.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 211.

(believe it or not, I have seen this crime in action, within the financial services industry. It is one of the reasons for deciding to make a film of the journey I have been on. I hope I can safely tell the story some day. It deserves to be told)
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:46 pm

money

Tuesday, Jun 30 2009
Barclays salesmen lift lid on 'fleece the customer' culture

By James Salmon
Last updated at 9:50 PM on 23rd June 2009

THE WHISTLEBLOWERS

Salesman A left Barclays last summer after more than 20 years, 11 as a financial adviser. Aged 40, he now works as an adviser for another firm.

'Before Barclays started selling Aviva Global Balanced Income fund, there was a group meeting and we were given a 20-minute presentation followed by a discussion. The brochures we were given left me with the impression the fund was relatively secure - even during falling markets.

'I now feel we were misled about the risks. I shouldn't have trusted what we were told, but you just assumed that someone would have done their research and known the risks.


Money grabber: Nationwide building society's TV advert pokes fun at the shortcomings of a 'typical' bank salesman

'I wanted to be an adviser, not a salesman, but I quickly felt this was impossible at Barclays. The emphasis seemed to me to be all on numbers - how many meetings you could set up and how many products you could push.

We had to set up a minimum 16 appointments a week and take in £11,000 to £12,000 a month to get a bonus.

'If we failed, Barclays would take the money we generated. For me, this created a culture of selling for the sake of selling rather than doing what's good for the client. I just couldn't do this any more.

'There was also a very limited number of products we could choose from. The Aviva Global Balanced Income fund was one of the few that offered a high level of income.

'The sales culture got worse three to four years ago. There were greater and greater demands on employees to justify their salary. Every two years, our pay structure was changed, so we had to sell more and more. In my last year, I did 30 per cent more business and earned 17 per cent less in bonuses.'

Salesman B left Barclays last year after almost ten years. He is now an independent financial adviser.

'Working at Barclays was a pressure situation. If you didn't make a certain amount of calls in a day, you had to stay in the office for as long as it took.


It seemed to me to be completely sales-orientated - you felt as though it was your job to squeeze the maximum commission you could out of a customer.

'For us, the target was to bring in around £15,000 commission a month. We did this by charging 3.75 per cent on most sales. Banks take all the commission up front, so there was no incentive to see these people again.

'If you didn't meet your targets, you were put on a "personal improvement plan", which was really a way of trying to squeeze you out. Those who missed targets were put on daily reporting or even hourly reporting, where your supervisor constantly called up to check on you.

'I invested £1million for a client at the end of 2005, and the commission was in excess of £70,000. It took me about 12 hours to complete, including visits to the client and making the recommendations. I suggested to my sales manager that the commission was bordering on the obscene and we should give a large slice of it back.

'I was told not to mention a word to the client, as that commission would meet the team's sales target for the month.

'As soon as a certain amount of money came on to a client's balance - I don't know what the trigger amount was - the bank got a text message and contacted the client to arrange an appointment.

'In my experience those that did best for the bank tended to be the advisers who would "realign portfolios" - that was persuading customers to sell one investment and buy another.'

'I went to Barclays naively thinking I was going to be an independent financial adviser. I'm now looking after several customers I advised when I was at Barclays for free because I feel so guilty - one customer is a two-hour drive away.'

Salesman C, 36, joined the bank in 1999 and left in 2007. He now works as a financial adviser in Glasgow.

'I was sent the details of the Aviva Global Balanced Income fund in an email. My understanding was that the fund would provide a high level of income and was balanced risk. It was virtually the only fund of its type available for those wanting income.'

'I remember selling to two retired people. They were balanced or cautious-risk investors and needed an income to top up their pensions. One of them is with the Financial Ombudsman Service at the moment. They invested £135,000, which shrank to about £85,000. If this fund had been marketed as high risk it wouldn't have been sold.

'Every year the top salespeople were taken on expensive trips overseas. I went on lots of these trips. One year we stayed at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco and another year we went to the Al Qsar in Dubai.

'We had to make as many appointments as possible and earn around £12,500 for Barclays to qualify for a bonus. I got into trouble for organising annual reviews for clients. I was told that the bank didn't make any money from that.'

They turned £51,000 into £28,119


Stan Richardson: Given bad advice

World War II veteran Stan Richardson, 89, says he was visited by a Barclays salesman at his home in West Sussex in October 2006. He was looking for a low-to-medium-risk investment which would give him an income to supplement his small pension.

Mr Richardson says Barclays advised him to sell the portfolio of shares he had held for many years and put the money in the Aviva Global Balanced Income fund. The advice proved disastrous.

The £51,000 invested is now worth just £28,119. In the six months from April 10, 2008, to October 9 alone, the fund slumped 28 per cent from £42,939 to £29,149, having taken out just £1,616 as income.

Unlike many victims of the Barclays scandal, Mr Richardson counts himself as a fairly knowledgeable investor.

For years he had held a portfolio of shares and done fairly well at investing, but he wanted something safer and was described by Barclays as a balanced investor.

But the fund Barclays recommended was only suitable for investors willing to take a high degree of risk.

Mr Richardson, who joined the Navy in 1936 and served on aircraft carriers in the Far East, says: 'I rang my Barclays adviser who advised me to hang on, as it would get better. But at almost 90, I haven't the time to hang on. I struggled to get my little nest egg for my retirement. I was told this was a balanced fund but there was nothing balanced about it.'

WHAT BARCLAYS SAYS

'Barclays' financial planning advisers are highly trained and our remuneration structure ensures that our advisers are not biased toward any product or provider. We have extensive business controls in place to ensure we retain a high standard of service.

'Barclays also has a group-wide "Raising Concerns" policy that obliges staff to report, independently of their management lines, any instructions or suggestions
that they feel improper. Barclays has a robust process in place for dealing with all customer complaints, and where customers feel dissatisfied they are entitled to take the issue up with the Financial Ombudsman Service.'

HOW TO COMPLAIN

Money Mail has passed a dossier of your complaints to Barclays chief executive John Varley and City watchdog the Financial Services Authority. But it is crucial that you lodge an official complaint with the bank yourself.

If your complaint is rejected by Barclays, you should go to the disputes arbitrator the Financial Ombudsman Service (020 7964 0500). Explain clearly why you think you were misled about what you were investing in or given poor advice.

Remember - the fact that the fund has lost money is not cause in itself for complaint. It is the quality of advice that is crucial. The key with the Aviva Global Balanced Income fund is that it was high-risk, but was sold by Barclays as balanced - or medium risk. If you were classified as a low or medium-risk investor, this should strengthen your case.

A similar complaint might apply to the Aviva Global Cautious Income fund, which claimed to be for cautious or 'risk averse' investors.

Other key reasons for complaint might include if all or most of your money was put in one fund or if you're elderly and wanted low-risk or were likely to need access to your savings. Gather as many of the sales documents as you can as evidence.

Photocopy these and send them off to the bank - although they should also have copies. There are some handy tips on how to make sure your complaint is taken seriously at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Do not go to a claims handler. They will take a proportion of your compensation. It is your money, so why give it away?
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:36 pm

Getting Laid-Off May Lead to Early Death -- But There Are Ways to Cushion the Severe Health Impact of Job Loss

Studies show that the current economic climate may be eroding months or even years from the lives of those on the bleeding edge of insecurity.

By Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune.com
Posted on July 1, 2009, Printed on July 2, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/141021/

When you lose your job, with no prospect of finding another one quickly, you give up a lot more than income. You are deprived of a sense of security, a source of self-esteem, a certain status in the community. And, according to recent research, you also lose something even more precious: a year or more of your life.

That's the conclusion of two prominent economists, Daniel Sullivan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Till von Wachter of Columbia University. Matching death records with employment and earnings data of Pennsylvania workers from the 1970s and '80s, they found mortality rates for high-seniority male workers spike sharply in the year following an involuntary job loss, and they remain surprisingly high two decades later.

If this higher death rate persists into old age, it implies "a loss in life expectancy of 1 to 1.5 years for a worker displaced at age 40," the researchers report. Or as von Wachter puts it more informally: "We were convincingly able to show that if you lose your job, you die earlier."

But the risk of premature death isn't limited to those who have actually been let go. A growing body of research suggests a nagging, persistent fear of losing one's job is also detrimental to one's health. University of Michigan sociologist Sarah Burgard, who has extensively studied the relationship between job loss, job insecurity and health, calls this "the waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop problem." Given the current state of the economy, many people are anxiously awaiting the thud of that falling footwear.

In recent months, official Washington has been consumed by two issues: jobs and the economy, and the cost and availability of health care. But there has been surprisingly little discussion regarding the ways in which they intersect. A series of recent studies not only provide evidence these public-policy problems are interrelated: They also suggest that if, as many fear, long-term job security is largely a thing of the past, the public health consequences could be enormous.

Let us start with the latest research on job loss and health, published just last month in the journal Demography. Kate Strully, a sociologist at the University at Albany, State University of New York, found herself struggling with a question often raised by economists (including von Wachter). The correlation between ill health and job loss has long been established, but how can we know which is the cause and which is the effect? Surely some sick people are laid off because they're physically unable to meet the demands of the job. Does this skew the numbers and cause researchers to come to false conclusions?

To find an answer, Strully examined data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative longitudinal study of American families that includes detailed information on the participants' health and employment. The surveys reported not only if the person had lost a job, but under what circumstances.

This allowed Strully to focus her attention on what she calls "no-fault" job losses -- that is, people who became unemployed when their entire workplace shut down. Examples included factory closings and companies that went out of business. In these cases, literally everyone was let go, making it highly unlikely poor health was a factor in any worker's dismissal.

The workers were interviewed approximately a year and a half following the layoffs. Of those who were still unemployed, close to 9 percent reported developing a new stress-related health condition such as diabetes or hypertension since parting ways with their former employer. This compares to a 5 percent rate among people who reported their job condition was stable. Those who found new employment also had above-average rates of new health problems, although not as high as the long-term unemployed.

Given these figures, "I'm convinced that a large shock to one's socioeconomic status, such as job loss, negatively impacts health," she says.

Burgard, who has done her own research along these lines, agrees. "Job instability is OK for some people, but not for others," she says. "If you're an IT guy and you have a high educational degree, part of being successful is jumping from firm to firm. That's how you increase your income.

"But the type of workers we tend to see here in Michigan, who aren't necessarily highly educated, are facing a really tough road. I think people have been focused on the economic payoff (of a more flexible economy where jobs appear and disappear), but are less aware of the potential costs in terms of worker health."

Economists tend to argue that the flexibility to hire and fire workers as needed ultimately makes the economy more productive, and increases overall wealth. If that's actually true, it would have public health benefits. As healthcare economist Jason Shafrin argued in 2007, the concept of "creative destruction" -- that is, a dynamic economy where innovation leads new companies to rise and old ones to adapt or die -- "has decreased average mortality for individuals all over the world due to rising living standards."

In their latest paper, published in the American Economic Review in May, Sullivan and von Wachter present evidence that cuts both ways. They report the association between income and mortality is far stronger than was thought earlier. If the ever-churning economy produces more higher-paying jobs, those able to land one of them likely will see a positive impact on their health.

But the economists also found workers who lose their jobs -- and cannot find another quickly -- tend to suffer large earnings losses and go through a period of income instability. This is a big concern, since "higher variability of earnings is associated with increased mortality."

"You're looking at two people, both with the same long-term earnings," says von Wachter. "The one with the more volatile earnings dies earlier. Certainly, this is interesting evidence."

Like many economists, von Wachter isn't certain that the public perception that jobs and incomes are less stable than they once were is accurate. But he has no doubt that “sweeping restructuring" is going on in a number of industries, and workers in those sectors are experiencing health-sapping stress.”

"This we can say: The large number of people being laid off in this recession will be subject to higher earnings volatility, and that will likely affect their mortality."

This is still more bad news for the former employees of General Motors and Chrysler, but what about workers at, say, Ford? Their company hasn't gone bankrupt, but they're fully aware that the industry is on shaky ground, and there are no guarantees their jobs will exist in a year. Using data from two nationally representative samples -- the Americans' Changing Lives and Midlife in the United States studies -- Burgard and two colleagues looked at people in that precarious situation for a July 2008 Population Studies Center research report.

Their study (to be published later this year in the journal Social Science and Medicine) concluded that

n "among people who are currently employed, those who have been persistently worried about losing their jobs have significantly worse self-rated overall health than those who haven't been consistently worried." Strikingly, these worried workers "are worse off than people who have had a job loss in the past few years, but are currently re-employed."

That makes perfect sense to psychologist Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University, one of the nation's leading researchers on the relationship between stress and disease.

"There is a fair amount of evidence that expecting a major stressor is often worse than the actual occurrence of the stressor," he says. "My understanding is people who lose their jobs and get new ones pretty quickly don't show many of these effects. That's consistent with what we know about stress in general. Generally, the longer the stressor lasts, the greater the risk you are under for various diseases."

Cohen reports there are "two general pathways linking stress to disease-related outcomes.

i.) One is the behavioral pathway. We know that under stress, people smoke more, drink more. They don't sleep as well. They don't exercise. They have poorer diets. All of these things can put people at greater risk of disease.



ii.) "The other is the physiological pathway. There is considerable evidence that under chronic stress, the immune system does not work the way it should. There's evidence for underresponsivity, where the immune system does not respond adequately to challenges and also for overresponsivitity."

What's the problem with an overly vigilant immune system? In many cases, the body's response to a perceived threat is what causes the symptoms we associate with a disease.

n "In cold studies, we find people who are under chronic stress, when we expose them to a virus, they're more likely to get sick," Cohen says. "They're producing much more pro-inflammatory cytokine, which is what produces the symptoms of colds."

So expect to hear a lot of sneezing in coming months. But Cohen counters that thought with some good news: The fact job anxiety is so widespread could actually dampen its destructive impact.

"A lot of the experience of stress has to do with challenges to your self-esteem -- that feeling you're not accomplishing what you should be able to accomplish," he says. "Being out of work is a stressful event, irrespective of the reason, but it is buffered a bit by the idea that it's the economy that's at fault -- not the fact I'm incompetent."

Cohen doubts there are any simple public-policy solutions to this particular health facet of the current financial crisis.

n "There are interventions that can influence aspects of stress in people's lives," he says. "But I'm not sure how effective they're going to be for people who are unemployed. The major stressors that put people at risk are the chronic, enduring problems that are engrained in their lives, and they're the ones least susceptible to interventions."

One obvious response is being considered as part of current the health-care debate in Congress: Finding a way to ensure laid-off workers continue to have health insurance. Under the current system, where most people receive health benefits from their employer, laid-off workers are losing coverage precisely at a time when they are at increased risk of disease.

On the other hand, Strully notes, "Making sure people have health insurance won't negate or undo the health consequences of job loss. In my analysis, it doesn't reduce the effect of job loss that much.

"If people are developing health problems as a result of job loss, being able to continue their health care will certainly impact how well they can manage. So it's definitely a good idea (to find a way to make sure the unemployed are covered). But any intervention is going to have to be more broad and holistic."

Meaning what?

n "Some combination of income protection and helping people cope with stress in a reasonably healthy way is probably the most practical intervention," she says. “There's a lot of research showing social support -- access to supportive, healthy relationships — is really important in how people cope with stressful events.”

"I was exchanging e-mails with a union organizer. He was asking me what that kind of organization could do. I suggested a support group that offers really practical advice, like how to maintain a healthy diet on a budget, could be really helpful. Having a group in which people share and develop ties with people who have gone through similar experiences has the potential to be beneficial."

n "All the research suggests the mental health costs are reduced substantially when people return to work," adds Burgard. "You want (as a society) to give people help in finding another job, perhaps retraining, health coverage in the interim. Those are all things our current system doesn't necessarily supply. So from a policy angle, there's a lot we can do.

"Will it be expensive? Probably. Will it be more expensive to pay for medical care when they get sick down the road? That's an open question. We need to think about preventive maintenance. Just telling people to sleep more and buy COBRA won't do it."

Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu May 28, 2009 9:27 am

It strikes me that one of the recurring problems with whistleblower programs, is that once the identity of the whistleblower is revealed, they come under immediate attack by those who would NOT like the truth to come out on their activities.

This makes it dangerous and usually career ending to tell the truth.

If a whistleblower can be anonymous it might help minimize this, but that raises another issue. Without testimony, clarity, and supplemental information throughout the investigative process, most corporate or government "strong men" can easily derail, diffuse or destroy an investigation that they would like to destroy. If this includes destroying the truth teller, then so be it. They do not care about collateral damage, only about saving their skin at that time.

This means that without constant support from one or more whistleblowers, most truth telling episodes end up being killed off rather quickly. Everyone appreciates this killing off of the problem, since it results in:

a) less work for investigators
b) less damage to reputations
c) less ugliness all around
d) favors earned with the power brokers
e) the satisfaction of self delusion....."we do nothing wrong here"

I have concluded that to blow the whistle (tell the truth) about someone in a position of power above oneself, is considered treason, and is usually dealt with by the most drastic and draconian means available. Telling the truth about someone below you (the janitor for example) is a no brainer and does not carry those risks.

The dangers to a whistleblower involves the bullying, abuse, and criminal acts that a person in power will commit in order to protect themselves. Until whistleblowing processes can address those dangers, while at the same time, allowing active participation by the truth tellers, (not allowing them to be easily silenced), ........until ways and means of protecting the persons in the equation who "rank" below those in positions of power........we will make no progress.

If anyone knows of a whistleblower program that accomplishes this protection, please let me know, as it needs to be put in place in any good whistleblower program. Without it, we become at the mercy of the most predatory minds in any organization.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu May 28, 2009 9:02 am

(advocate, I posted this here since it partially illustrates how difficult it is to actually tell the truth, or blow the whistle, in an organization. It shows how many, many people will align themselves to ignore or to protect the "system" that they represent. it is almost like they would prefer to be "delusional" about their organization and or their part in their organization, and that this self delusion is preferable to openly admitting that they may be working in (or assisting) a broken or abusive system. Is self delusion more important than truth and the public interest? I would say yes to most people in an organization. Those who think otherwise are usually "out of step" with reality, although they may actually be the least delusional in the organization. Read up on the topic of "double bind" to find out the kinds of damage that can occur to those who are unable to delude themselves)

BOWNESSCA.COM - SITE PAGES


Whistle Blower Program



Home | BCA Latest News | Podlubny Letter | Derek Podlubny BCA President | 2009 BCA Board of Directors | City Agenda | Outright Negligence | Undisputed Facts | What they did | Madam Justice Horner | 45 Irrefutable Facts | Criminal Code of Canada | Fabricated Court Documents | Fabricated Court Reports | RSM Richter the Receiver Managers | Whistle Blower Program | Over 2 Million Dollars missing? | Alderman Hodges/ Premier Stelmach | Allan Cunningham lawyer City Calgary | Unanswered questions | BCA Options 4 Justice

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The Whistle-Blower Program is operated by the City of Calgary’s Auditor's Office, which is an independent audit office reporting to Council. The City Auditor Tracy McTaggart states that she is committed to ensuring that an appropriate, objective and impartial investigation will be conducted regardless of the alleged wrongdoer's position, title, and length of service or the relationship with The City of any party who might be involved in such an investigation.
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The City Auditor Tracy McTaggart is personally taking charge of the investigation into the complaints of wrongdoings, and illegal and criminal acts committed by Allan Cunningham, City employees and City agents. The complaints were submitted under the newly passed City of Calgary whistleblower program. The initial process was compromised and corrupted by one or more of Ms McTaggart’s investigators.
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I firmly believe that if this investigation is done properly by Ms McTaggart it will result in her calling in the Calgary Police Service. AND these individuals being brought to justice, AND substantial amounts of taxpayers monies and substantial amounts of the Bowness Community Associations monies being recovered.

WHISTLE BLOWER PROGRAM COMPROMISED & CORRUPTED:
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Believe me, the City of Calgary Whistle Blower Program is not confidential, and the Whistle Blower Program is most certainly and definitely compromised.
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1. I can tell you right now, that the City of Calgary Whistle Blower Program has been compromised and corrupted by senior individuals within the City of Calgary. This program which is supposed to be entirely confidential and free from corruption is anything but.
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2. On the 21st Day of July 2008, a complaint was filed directly with the City of Calgary hotline for the "Whistle Blower Program." The complaint was against Allan Cunningham a lawyer in the City Legal Department and that he committed fraud, mis-management of City funds, subornation of purjery, lying to and misleading the courts, submitting fraudulant applications, malice and acting outside of his powers of authority. From August of 2004 to the present.
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3. 16 hours later, at about 8 am the 22nd day of July, I received a call from a man identifying himself as Ron Collins. He stated that he was with the Whistle Blower Program at the City of Calgary and that he was asked by Steve Patterson to give me a call.
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4. Collins asked for and was given full details of the complaint that I wished to make to the City, including who I wished to complain about, the dates, and nature of offences/wrongdoings that I wished to have investigated.
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5. This was a lengthy conversation (approx 40 minutes), and I told Collins everything (Allan Cunningham, Calgary Law Department, dates, and the nature of the wrongdoings). Collins then stated that he would call me back.
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6. When Collins called back he stated that this was not a matter for the Whistle Blower Program but was more a matter for the Courts, and he continually tried to dissuade me from making continuing with complaint.
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7. When I stated to Collins that it was a matter for the Whistle Blower Program and that it was not a matter for the courts and the reasons why, he then started getting agitated, and asked if I was a paralegal. Collins then stated that he would have to refer me to his boss Owen Key, but that he was away for a few weeks.
.
8. When I pressed Collins as to what his position was within the Whistle Blower program he got really agitated and asked me if I was taping the conversation. When I stated why did that matter he put the phone down.
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9. I traced the call to (590-8558) and the call was made from Ron Collins Residence. Later that day, I contacted the City of Calgary information line (311) and asked if they had a Ron Collins working for them, they stated that a Ron Collins was a security advisor with the Calgary law Department. They gave me his number (268-5617) I phoned that number and it went to a cell-phone I recognized the voice as the individual who had called me that morning.
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10. At no time did Ron Collins state that he was with the Calgary Law Department. I have since been informed that Ron Collins is not involved in the Whistle Blower program.
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11. Tracy McTaggart the City Auditor (268-3277) is now conducting 2 investigations. One against Allan Cunningham and the other regarding Ron Collins fraudulent impersonation.
.
Believe me, the City of Calgary Whistle Blower Program is not confidential, and the Whistle-Blower Program is most certainly and definitely compromised.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:36 am

Employees threatened if they questioned Stanford's books
Article Comments
DANIEL WAGNER AND RASHA MADKOUR
The Associated Press
February 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM EST
WASHINGTON — While R. Allen Stanford's investors were swallowing claims of vast returns on safe investments, some of his employees weren't so sure.

And though one of them tried as early as 2003 to pass on to regulators his concerns about the bank, nothing came of it until Stanford's operations were raided and shut down Tuesday.

The Texas billionaire with a reputation for jet-setting and lavish spending faces civil charges for allegedly lying about his investment strategy. But in 2003, when his offshore banking empire was exploding in size, even asking managers one question too many could get you fired, Miami broker Charles Hazlett said.

Mr. Hazlett was a top performer at Stanford's bank, having sold $10-million (U.S.) in certificates of deposit in a single quarter of 2002. The company rewarded him with a new BMW.

But when a client asked Mr. Hazlett for details about the investments, no one at the bank would give him even basic information about risk ratings and asset allocation, he said in an interview.

Eventually, Mr. Hazlett said, he called a meeting with a top officer of the bank to ask how the investments worked. Instead of answers, he got an ultimatum: Resign or be fired.

“I kind of peaked when I won the car and was doing great, but as soon as I started questioning things at the bank, they were setting up to let me go,” Mr. Hazlett said.

It wasn't just promises to investors of earning twice the normal rates on certificates of deposit that fed his suspicions, Mr. Hazlett said. The company also lacked detailed balance sheets. And it used a small and little-known accounting firm.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been criticized for missing the same red flag — a tiny accounting firm — when investigating Bernard Madoff, who allegedly ran a $50-billion Ponzi scheme for years despite the SEC's receiving numerous tips about him.

Mr. Hazlett said he repeated his concerns during an arbitration hearing over his departure from Stanford and believed regulators would follow up on them.

“I figured it was a matter of time before people figured things out,” he said.

But Mr. Hazlett said he never called officials directly because he didn't have any proof of wrongdoing — just a sense of being stonewalled.

It turned out Mr. Hazlett wasn't the only employee who wanted to know more about Stanford's portfolio.

Even the man responsible for selling multimillion dollar CDs and overseeing the bank's investments said he was rebuffed when he asked where the money was, court records show.

Michael Zarich, the company's senior investment officer, told authorities he didn't know where 90 per cent of Stanford's portfolio was invested.

Mr. Zarich said he was trained to deflect questions about the investment strategy while pitching to wealthy clients in Antigua, where the bank chartered.

His tutor on the evasive pitch was Stanford chief financial officer Laura Pendergest-Holt, Mr. Zarich said. He said she laid out the strategy in a series of training sessions in Memphis in 2005, according to court documents.

“I was trained not to divulge too much information, but it just wouldn't leave an investor with a lot of confidence,” he said in a Feb. 4 meeting with SEC lawyers.

Clients would “just push, push, push,” he told the lawyers. “'Give me an actual security. Give me something,”' he said they demanded.

But when he tried to learn how the money was invested, Pendergest-Holt and Stanford's deputy James Davis turned him away, Mr. Zarich said.

Ms. Pendergest-Holt and Mr. Davis are among those charged in the civil complaint.

Another lower-level employee in Texas said he and his colleagues were suspicious of the company's rapid growth and web of overseas ties. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he still works in the industry.

In fact, the only two people who knew where the money was were Mr. Stanford and Mr. Davis, Stanford's former college roommate, the SEC alleged in a civil complaint filed Tuesday.

Mr. Zarich said Ms. Pendergest-Holt also armed him with answers for potential investors worried about the size of Stanford's tiny, Antigua-based auditor. Mr. Zarich assured investors that CAS Hewlett had been working with Mr. Stanford and his father since 25 years earlier, when major accounting firms “wouldn't even give Stanford the time of day.”

If that didn't work, he said, he told clients that using a name-brand firm “would erode the yields.”

Mr. Zarich is cooperating with the investigation, his lawyer said in a statement.

An SEC spokesman would not elaborate on the agency's initial announcement about the case.

In his training sessions with Ms. Pendergest-Holt, Mr. Zarich said, he learned how to answer the “typical question” of whether Allen Stanford could run off with their money.

“The answer was it would be extremely difficult,” Mr. Zarich told investigators.

As investigators closed in on him last month, Mr. Stanford finally had no choice but to address former employees' concerns.

Complaints from “former disgruntled employees” had complicated an “otherwise routine investigation,” he wrote in an internal e-mail.

Mr. Hazlett said he knew better.

After Mr. Madoff's arrest in December, he said, “I went around telling people, Stanford is next.”

Mr. Stanford was found Thursday in Virginia, where FBI agents acting at the SEC's behest served him with legal documents. He was not arrested and has not been charged with any crime, though federal agents continue to investigate the case.
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:35 pm

Aug. 16, 2003. 01:00 AM

When the whistle blows
There are no legal protections in Canada for the `snitch' who exposes government wrongdoing. Maybe it's time whistle-blowers got


SARAH JANE GROWE
STAFF REPORTER

Were it not for the anonymous "snitch" in George Radwanski's office, full details of the former privacy commissioner's notorious dining and travelling at public expense may never have come to light.

But in order to obtain his testimony in June, the House of Commons government operations committee had to promise never to reveal his identity, committee chair Reg Alcock says.

"That's part of the issue," the Winnipeg Liberal MP explains. "Absent a more effective system for dealing with whistle-blowers, we felt we had to offer him protection to testify."

The need for the committee's silence is irrefutable now.

On July 18, British whistle-blower David Kelly was found dead, his wrist slashed open. The public servant's apparent suicide occurred only nine days after the British defence ministry "outed" him as the anonymous weapons inspector who told the BBC his bosses exaggerated the Iraqi threat in order to justify the government's decision to attack.

Whistle-blowers in the Canadian public service have no legal safeguards.

Now, Alcock has joined other politicians on both sides of the House in calling on the government to draft a law to protect them.

It's a move opposition MPs and unions have been urging for a decade, ever since Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's 1993 election promise.

But Alcock's urgent call is being voiced now only as a result of Radwanski's fall from grace.

Earlier this year, Alcock's committee paid mere lip service to whistle-blowing, making only a passing reference to it in its report on ways to encourage disclosure of government wrongdoing without fear of punishment.

"We did not get into the subject as thoroughly as we should have," Alcock admits. "Having had the experience with Radwanski, I think the committee members felt we would have approached this whole question quite differently."

A subcommittee is to begin a study on whistle-blowing next month.

"Governments don't like whistle-blowers," is how Don Soeken explains such foot-dragging.

Founder of a long-established non-profit organization that counsels whistle-blowers in the U.S. public service, Soeken says many are "burned at the stake" despite statutory whistle-blowing protection that has been in place for them since 1989.

Steeped in the convention of loyalty that despises the tattle-tale or stoolie, "snitching" embodies the classic no-win situation — no matter how abhorrent the activity exposed.

A whistle-blower is a person who discloses — within the organization, to outside agencies or to the media — information about something he or she believes is harmful to the public interest.

Jeffrey Wigand, who achieved celebrity status as a whistle-blower with the 1999 movie The Insider, hates the word.

"The semantics creates the perception that the people who do this are not in sync with the normal accepted code," says Wigand, who is now the tobacco regulations adviser for the federal government. "There is a stigma associated with reporting wrongdoing.

"We are viewed as pariahs. We are ostracized by our peers, by the company, by society. There is no tenable way to stay in the company. As you go through the processes, you are earmarked as a troublemaker.

"I don't know anybody who has been rehired who is happy."

The former U.S. tobacco-firm executive was fired in 1993 after he reported his concerns to his supervisor about a pipe-tobacco addictive that caused cancer in laboratory animals.

Two years later, he testified in court and told CBS his ex-employers were deceiving the public by knowingly enhancing the addictive properties of nicotine to boost sales.

Kentucky-based Brown & Williamson hired detectives to trawl through Wigand's private life, publishing a 500-page dossier of his personal "misconduct," a list that was later proved to be "largely unsubstantiated."

But just last year, New York newspapers trotted out the same outdated smears when Wigand was brought in to boost Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-smoking lobby.

Most of the employers of the 300 whistle-blowers interviewed by American sociologists Joyce Rothschild and Terance Miethe tried to discipline or fire them and cover up misdeeds. Some managers may have even secretly condoned the misdeed in order to maximize profits.

Rothschild, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Miethe, of the University of Nevada, found that even when the disclosures are revealed to be true and of great benefit, whistle-blowers still face significant risk of ostracism by co-workers, long-term economic harm and psychological injury.

In 1998, the federal government was accused of emotional abuse and harassment after Joanna Gaultieri and John Guenette, former realty portfolio managers for the Department of Foreign Affairs, alleged that misspending cost taxpayers $2 billion over the last decade.

That same year, Health Canada scientist Shiv Chopra was reprimanded after he accused the department of pressuring him to approve bovine growth hormone, a drug he considered unsafe. He went public with his concerns, despite a government-imposed gag order.

In 2000, the Federal Court of Canada upheld Chopra's right to speak out, ruling that the public interest outweighs the traditional requirements of employee loyalty.

Only then did Ottawa act. But legislation to protect whistle-blowers was deemed unnecessary.

"We do not have major problems of mismanagement, of corruption ... that would require a large public debate," says an internal government memo, gained through the Access To Information Act by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin.

Instead of a law, Ottawa created a public service integrity officer in 2001 "to act as neutral entity on matters of internal disclosure of wrongdoing."

Now, that officer, Ed Keyserlingk, says that when he issues his first annual report next month, he, too, will suggest that a law is needed to shield whistle-blowers. "The widespread perception is that we (his office) are not very likely to come up with action or effectively protect people from reprisal," Keyserlingk says, "and it is a perception not without some basis."

An internal process of adjudication looks like simply another way of protecting the government — rather than the whistle-blower — by ensuring that Ottawa's dirty linen is not aired in public.

It would be difficult to imagine a work situation more "dirty" than Chopra's is right now.

In February, he says, he received his first-ever poor performance appraisal in 34 years at the Veterinary Drugs Directorate. His work-at-home contract was cancelled, forcing him to come into the office. He says the environment there — shunning, threats, harassment and isolation — makes him sick.

The directorate disputes the mental toxicity of his workplace and calls the medical support for his absence tardy and inadequate. Chopra just finished a suspension without pay "for unauthorized absence from the workplace, constituting insubordination and unacceptable conduct."

Last year, he and three colleagues filed complaints to Keyserlingk, claiming they "were being pressured to pass or maintain a number of veterinary drugs without proof of human safety and were faced with various forms of punishment if they did not pass or maintain veterinary drugs in a manner consistent with the interests of pharmaceutical companies."

Chopra has given several television interviews critical of Health Canada since that time.

His job is to verify safety data provided by the industry before drugs are approved, and he has virtually made a career out of decrying what he says is industry-induced government sanction of questionable drugs.

"I cannot accept a gag order," Chopra says. "As a public service employee, it is not only my right but my obligation to speak out about matters that concern food safety."

The publicity of his battle against bovine growth hormone led to a Senate inquiry and the decision not to approve the drug for use in Canada.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
` We are ostracized by our peers, by the company, by society'

Jeffrey Wigand, noted U.S. whistle-blower

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Keyserlingk upheld one example of reprisal, but dismissed the other allegations. Chopra and the others are applying to appeal Keyserlingk's decision to the Federal Court.

Prototypical whistle-blowers are "organizationally naive" and believe the organization wants its practices to be in line with its mission, Rothschild and Miethe report. They typically go public only after management begins to cover up the wrongdoing and intensify the retaliation.

For a civil servant to apply for protection from punishment under the 14-year-old U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act, he must have blown the whistle by going outside the internal chain of command in his government agency. If the federal Merit Services Review Board turns down the claim for protection, the complainant must then resort to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., where the government is working on a complete shutout.

Between 1994 and 2001, Soeken says, all 70 appeals by U.S. civil servants were rejected.

"The Whistleblower Protection Act is a lousy law," says Stephen Kohn, a Washington lawyer, author and chair of the National Whistleblower Center.

Legal protection for American whistle-blowers has been "scandal-driven," he adds, rather than far-sighted and proactive. "Unfortunately, whistle-blowing is very political."

Judging by the American experience, persecution of whistle-blowers will continue as long as governments remain driven by scandal to patch leaks rather than by a real commitment to foster the exposure of unethical activity.

Rothschild and Miethe found that retaliation for both internal and external reporting is severe and common: 69 per cent of the whistle-blowers they interviewed lost their job or were forced to retire, 64 per cent received negative job evaluations, 68 per cent had work closely monitored by supervisors, 69 per cent were criticized or avoided by co-workers and 64 per cent were blacklisted from getting another job in their field.

Proving that job loss or other diminutions in the workplace are directly related to snitching is extremely difficult, says Anthony Incristi, an investigator with the U.S. Department of Labour for Louisiana and eastern Texas.

Versed in discrimination law, Incristi establishes if the case has merit and if there is evidence of unfair treatment as a result. Some complainants, who often aren't clear about why they were fired, find his investigation satisfying enough, he says, even if their allegations are not pursued.

Meanwhile, knowing the laws are being enforced may serve to warn off employers, he says, because a finding of reprisal can lead to fines, restitution or even criminal or civil prosecution.

The best whistle-blower Paula Leggieri can hope for is a $5,000 fine against the City of Toronto if her claim for job-loss retaliation is upheld during the current MFP computer leasing inquiry.

That's the remedy provided by Queen's Park's new Public Service Inquiries Act, created only in direct response to Walkerton's tainted-water scandal in 2000.

Leggieri, Toronto's former leasing supervisor, revealed that as early as the spring of 2001 she had reported her discomfort about equipment schedules not being signed according to protocol, hardware being added to leases that shouldn't have been and the city being overcharged.

The inquiry is examining how the city's hardware and software agreement with MFP came to be worth $85 million, although a July, 1999, report indicated it was worth $43 million.

Not satisfied with the response from her boss, Leggieri went to project director Lana Viinamae, who sent a letter to MFP.

No one could dispute that Leggieri disclosed within her workplace something that was harmful to the public interest.

But when she claimed in June that she lost her job as punishment for her co-operation with the inquiry, she was characterized as a "self-described" whistle-blower. City lawyers dug into her past, grilled co-workers and placed thousands of long-deleted personal e-mails in a document folder that was open to public scrutiny.

These e-mails included beefcake photos of "cowboys" and ribald jokes.

"I appreciate that a lot of what came out was potentially very embarrassing for Paula," says commission counsel Daina Groskaufmanis. "As a commission, we tried to minimize that. At the same time, it was important for us to understand what the relationship was between Paula and (her co-workers.)"

Some of the "raciest" material that the city filed was, in fact, published in the media without ever being led as evidence.

In today's complex technological society, it is often difficult to detect unethical activity unless an insider reveals it. The typical government response of shooting the messenger is not likely to encourage such revelations.

All American whistle-blower laws require reinstatement as part of the remedy, says Kohn, the U.S. whistle-blowing expert.

"But you have to win first. You can be off work for years. You have to prove you blew the whistle on something in the public interest, and that's defined by Congress."

Dr. Nancy Olivieri holds down the same job today — University of Toronto professor of medicine and pediatrics — as she did in 1996, when she says she found evidence that the blood-chelating drug she was clinically testing at the Hospital For Sick Children might hurt some patients.

In 1998, despite the threat of legal action, Olivieri and several of her colleagues published their concerns in a medical journal.

"A spat propelled by a small group of troublemaking malcontents" is how hospital management dismissed the imbroglio that erupted.

"I felt there was an interest in having the belief fostered that I was difficult," Olivieri says.

She was temporarily relieved of her duties as head of the hospital's hemoglobinopathy program in 1999, which effectively prevented her from continuing the clinical drug trials, and she was ordered not to speak publicly about what had happened.

What happened "during five years of vilification, reprisals and harassment," she says, distinguished those who were willing to speak from those who were not.

"Most people don't say anything," Olivieri says. "They try to figure out who is going to win so they can side with that side.

"I wish people would focus on what makes a culture that is so afraid of calling the emperor naked."

For many whistle-blowers, the trauma of their experience has forever changed their perception of themselves, Rothschild and Miethe report. Whistle-blowing has become the critical bedrock of their identity.

"They have come to see themselves as exceedingly moral, and as possessing extraordinary integrity that they now bring to their current endeavours."

Despite their personal and financial devastation, 90 per cent say they would do it again if they had the chance.

After years of acrimony and lawsuits, Olivieri and her colleagues negotiated a settlement with the hospital and the university last fall.

Her legal battles continue, both here, where she is suing the Toronto-based drug company and others, and abroad, where she awaits a ruling from the European Commission on her quarrel with its decision to license the drug for limited use.

"Ninety per cent of people won't do the right thing unless they are forced," says Olivieri, who just received her master's degree in medical ethics and the law.

Wigand, a research biochemist for 20 years, now is lecturing on legal and medical ethics at universities and colleges across the United States.

He could not get a job in his field after 1993, so he retrained as a teacher, taught high school and founded a charitable foundation to promote "Smoke-Free Kids."

"Whistle-blowers don't fare well, and I don't think any sort of legal protection is going to help that, quite frankly," he says.

Citing Aristotle, Wigand says: "But in an ideal better world, the need for a whistle-blower law should be nil, as moral conduct and integrity would be the driving force, not the consequences, for wrongdoing."
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:28 pm

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roger M. Boisjoly" <boisjoly@sisna.com>
To: "Joseph Killoran" <killoran@sympatico.ca>
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 10:27 PM

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
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:27 pm

Aug. 20, 2003. 01:00 AM

We can build better laws to protect 'truthsayers'

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the whistle blows


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
National Report, Aug. 16.

Congratulations to Sarah Jane Growe on her excellent article.

We Canadians can create and implement a system of "truthsayer" protection laws that are far superior to the whistle-blower laws that our American neighbours have implemented.

But first, a little American history is important. American whistle-blower laws were implemented in 1989. They were a cumulative result of many abuses, the most recent being the testimony given by Roger Boisjoly at the hearings into the 1986 explosion of space shuttle Challenger.

For a year prior to the Challenger explosion, Boisjoly, a Morton Thiokol engineer, was telling everybody about the o-ring problems that led to the disaster and nobody acted.

The American whistle-blower model has fundamental flaws that begin with its name. "Whistle-blower" means "snitch." It has nothing whatsoever to do with a "truthsayer," who genuinely is concerned about the safety and well-being of his or her fellow Canadians.

We all learned in public school what "whistle-blower" means. We learned from bullies that "whistle-blower" means, "Not me" and "I don't know" when it comes to being honest and being accountable for our own mistakes.

We can build a system of protection laws that will allow every Canadian to maintain his or her conscience.

Capitalism is full of warts and imperfections. Canadians need to treat their financial well-being with the same degree of attention, care and resources that they do their medical well-being.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joe Killoran, Oshawa
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:57 pm

THE NEW YORK TIMES

February 3, 2009, 6:32 pm
Madoff Whistleblower Assails S.E.C. for Ignoring Him
A former investment manager is prepared to tell a House hearing on Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission ignored his repeated warnings about the dealings of the disgraced financier Bernard L. Madoff.

The manager, Harry Markopolos, asserts that he submitted warnings about Mr. Madoff since 2000 and he assails the agency for ignoring his warnings or brushing them aside. “Nothing was done,” he declares, in what Dow Jones Newswires and Fox Business report is his prepared testimony.

“There was an abject failure by the regulatory agencies we entrust as our watchdog,” Mr. Markopolos says in his testimony. Mr. Madoff was arrested in December and accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Mr. Markopolos says his experience with most S.E.C. officials

“proved to be a systemic disappointment, and lead me to conclude that the S.E.C. securities lawyers, if only through their investigative ineptitude and financial illiteracy, colluded to maintain large frauds such as the one to which Madoff later confessed.”
Mr. Markopolos describes Mr. Madoff as “one of the most powerful men on Wall Street” and says there was “great danger” in raising questions about him.

During his years of investigation, “my team and I surmised that if Mr. Madoff gained knowledge of our activities, he may feel threatened enough to seek to stifle us,” he says in the testimony.

He also says, “I became fearful for the safety of my family until the S.E.C. finally acknowledged, after Madoff had been arrested, that it had received credible evidence of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme several years earlier.”

Mr. Markopolos says he began his investigation of Mr. Madoff after his superior at Rampart Investment Management asked him to try to match the returns of Mr. Madoff’s firm. Mr. Markopolos says his analysis showed it was impossible for Mr. Madoff to consistently outperform the markets and other managers.

Mr. Markopolos is scheduled to appear before a House Financial Services subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Wednesday morning. He will be followed by a panel of six securities regulators.





Madoff whistleblower wants to be left alone

Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:52am EST
By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - After a decade of trying to convince U.S. authorities that Bernard Madoff's seemingly high-flying hedge fund was a scam, the man whose warnings could have saved a lot of money for a lot of people issued a terse message to the world: Leave me alone.

He will talk to Congressional investigators and that's it.

Madoff stunned the world in December when he allegedly admitted to running a "giant ponzi scheme" that investigators have said cost investors $50 billion (33 billion pounds). In a ponzi scheme, money from new investors is used to pay back earlier investors.

Many people were fooled, but not Harry Markopolos, the 52-year-old former financial executive who had been onto Madoff since 1996.

Members of Congress have repeatedly invoked Markopolos name in questions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about how it missed the $50 billion fraud.

"Why in the world didn't anyone respond to his allegations?" asked Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, referring to a 19-page memo Markopolos wrote to the SEC in 2005 titled, "The World's Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud." Maloney asked during a Congressional hearing: "What happened to his report?"

Markopolos, who was due to testify before a Congressional panel early this month but begged off because of illness, said in a statement that he would work with Congress and the SEC, but then wanted to get out of the spotlight.

"Once his Congressional testimony is complete and his cooperation with the SEC Inspector General's investigation concluded, he wishes to return to private life," the former chief investment officer of Boston-based Rampart Investment Management Co said in a statement released on Friday by his attorneys.

NOT A 'HERO'

While Markopolos has drawn praise for spotting the massive fraud, according to media reports he is not so proud of his unsuccessful nine-year campaign with the SEC against Madoff.

Madoff is a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, which is now part of NASDAQ OMX Group Inc (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

"Why would people think I feel good about this?" the past president of the Boston Security Analysts Society was quoted as telling the Boston Globe. "People think I'm a hero, but I didn't stop him. He stopped himself."

Interest in Markopolos has extended to authors and moviemakers. The Boston Globe reported that he has been approached by people interested in making a movie about him, but he has rebuffed all overtures.

"They'll just add in sex and violence," the Globe quoted Markopolos as saying.

The derivatives expert turned his analytical focus on Madoff in 1996 after his boss at Rampart asked him to figure out how to match the returns of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Years of analysis convinced Markopolos, originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, that it was impossible for Madoff to consistently outperform markets so dramatically.

He brought his suspicions to SEC officials in Boston and later New York, eventually alleging that Madoff was running a "Ponzi scheme." That type of scam was named for Charles Ponzi, who defrauded Boston-area investors out of millions of dollars in the early 20th Century.

'SOPHISTICATED, COHERENT'

One factor that could have made it harder for Markopolos to convince regulators that Madoff's results were too good to be true is that he had neither the insider information that a staffer at the company would have nor the financial exposure of someone who had invested in the firm.

He was looking into the firm as a competitor.

Still, Markopolos' observations would have stood out from typical complaints, said Jonathan Macey, a Yale University law professor who studies whistle-blowing.

"This is a very unusual case because usually a whistle-blower will call up and say, 'I think that Joe is ripping off the company.' The level of detail that this guy had, you read this thing and he does not come across as a nut. He comes across as somebody who's sophisticated and has a coherent story," said Macey, who has read Markopolos' letters to the SEC but has not met him personally.

One person who worked with Markopolos on a risk-management committee in the early part of this decade said he was not surprised that he remained focused on Madoff for so long.

"His background is one of risk management and mathematics," said Mark Williams, professor of finance and economics at Boston University. "It's about when you see an error, correcting it."

Madoff would have aroused Markopolos' passions by promising high returns without risk, Williams said.

"Madoff was breaking the normal equation," Williams said. "From a pure academic standpoint, Harry was trying to break that and prove that something is wrong here."

A court spokesman said late on Friday that a U.S. judge would rule on Monday on a request by U.S. prosecutors to revoke Madoff's bail and jail him.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Toni Reinhold)
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:34 am

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a talk by Cynthia Cooper, whistleblower in the Worldcom case. She worked in the accounting department at Worldcom, and when she found irregularities, she investigated, despite pressure from senior management to cease and desist. She did the right thing.

One of the things that came out of her presentation was the concept of "do unto others, as you would have others do unto you." What a remarkable concept, and where has it gone? She brought it up as one of the key measuring sticks of ethics, of determining what is wrong and what is right in a faily conflicted world.

I would contrast it with the concept of "do unto others..........and then run", which seems to have become the order of the day in the upper echelons of many corporate entities. How did we get here?

She also mentioned Stanley Milgram, a Yale professor, who in 1961, did some controversial experiments that have become famous. Phoney "shock therapy" was administered by subjects, to other subjects under the supervision of an examiner. Milgram found that 63% of our society would knowingly hurt another human being if they felt that they were "following orders". Sound familiar? Think of war crimes. Think of any forms of institutionalized abuse, bullying or crime.

If you combine the findings of Stanley Milgram, with the cover quote of Martha Stout, ph.d "THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR". "one in twenty five ordinary americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty".

Imagine knowing that one in every 25 people you meet could carry this invisible illness, that would allow them to harm anyone, anything, at anytime, without having even a sliver of anxiety, remorse or hesitation?

Now imagine that this numer is among the general population. My industry was financial services, and I thing the rate of sociopaths that gravitate into that industry is at least double and perhaps triple the national average.

No imagine working for a bank or financial institution that has 60,000 employees worldwide. (I did)

There could be anywhere from 3000, to some 9000 sociopaths walking around in such an organization, and most of the employees would tell you that they are all in management. It would also stand to reason, that a sociopath would not only gravitate into the positions of power and control, but the charm and intelligence and the ruthless determination to get ahead would also funnel them into these positions. What have we got if this is even remotely close to accurate?

We have large corporate organizations, powerful organizatins, where management focus and motivation might be directed by an ill person. Or a thousand ill persons acting in concert or at odds. A "system" if you will. (read THE LUCIFER EFFECT to see this explained well)

With five or ten percent (speculatively speaking) at the top, directing 63% (milgrams shock therapy numbers) who will almost blindly follow orders from above, there is a case to be made that the lunatics are indeed running the asylum. (or the corporation)

The other saying I heard recently that made a great deal of sense to me, was "do no harm". We have seemingly forgotten this, like we have forgotten the golden rule quoted above.

To bring this back around to the current, (and any future) financial crisis that we may find ourselves in, without knowing who to hold accountable. I say it is found among those who represented themselves to the public as "professionals".
Start there, when looking for someone to hold to account for the losses, for the damages and the pain. Follow the money is certainly one method that will also get you there, but do not forget all those pro's who were pulling the strings. They are now pulling on their chins pondering what went wrong. What went wrong is that these so called pros forgot to "do no harm".
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Re: whistleblowers

Postby admin » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:44 pm

"In America, Speaking the Truth is a Career-Ending Event"

by Paul Craig Roberts CounterPunch

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.
He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com



January 26, 2009

Where Principles Go to Die

Speaking the Truth is a Career-Ending Event

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

"The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”

These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?

In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War. It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.

Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress. The other students ostracized them. Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood up for the US Constitution? Cockburn concludes that the Harvard law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal cowardice every day. Recently we had the case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.

The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them their careers. They trimmed their sails. One who did not was Major General Antonio Taguba. Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers. When it finally became public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after the whistleblower. Nothing was done about the felonies.

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that “we are a nation of law.”

The Bush regime was a lawless regime. This makes it difficult for the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead naturally into a war crimes inquiry. General Taguba said that the Bush regime committed war crimes. President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people, including 3 children. The bombing and strafing of homes and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets are also war crimes. Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law. The US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons and diplomatic support. What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at Nuremberg. Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman. UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war crimes. Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event. The tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases. The vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.” Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.

Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or halting the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA kidnaps people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.

Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com



(advocate comment.......ironically, I have always said that the corporate abuse and retaliation against those who tell the truth is also a form of psychological torture towards the truth teller)
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