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Interview: Whistleblower Don Soeken, author, "Don't Kill the Messenger!"

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser     Permalink
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DS: Unfortunately, things are getting worse. Judges have hit a new low. Elected judges need corporate contributions. Appointed judges also have deep ties to establishments. It is sad so many judges are hostile to truth-tellers.

The Obama administration is a great disappointment. This is truly a "war on whistleblowers." Witness the VA scandal this week. Are the whistleblowers being thanked for trying to save veterans? One of my clients has tried to sound this alarm for 14 years and despite decades of service to veterans, he has been blackballed.

The system is so messed up that even the best attorneys don't know what to do. My VA client has spent his life savings and his lawyers don't know what to do - even in this crisis!

Even wealthy whistleblowers run out of funds needed for trial. All good cases are appealed by the defense if they lose so that more funds are needed for the appeal. The Brian Hyatt case against Northrop shows how this appeal process works: the trial awards dwindle as the attorneys take 40% of the court award, and the appeal takes another cut, and the IRS gets around 30% of the award. The whistleblower is then left with less than 30% of the award which could be needed by multiple appeals. The defense bleeds the whistleblower of funds and the lesson is that many whistleblowers go bankrupt.

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People think that whistleblowers get rich; that is totally false. The chance that a truth-teller will get back his lawyer fees is less than the chance of winning the lottery. That's pretty tough for people who are blacklisted from their industry.

Shocking: how can the administration charge whistleblowers with the 1917 Espionage Act? This act was to be used on spies and traitors not people who want an open and honest law abiding government which is transparent with its citizens. This is absolute mendacity!

"They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth." [Plato, The Republic] This is the approach of the present Justice Department to treat whistleblowers as untruthful law-breaking citizens.

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Nothing will be left of our colossal country if we don't start listening to truth tellers. Future civilizations will look at the sands covering our great land and wonder how we could have missed the truth staring us in the face.

JB: Sadly, I agree; this administration's attitude toward whistleblowers is very disturbing. Anything you'd like to add before we wrap this up?

DS: Jack Anderson received classified material many times. He was the giant who helped me get started in this field. Read his obituary* if you get the chance.

Anderson knew well the inclination of the powerful to ignore unpleasant news. Since the time of Ozymandias, Plato and Caesar, empires fell because they shot the truth-tellers. This week, America has the chance to embrace the VA whistleblowers or trample and lose yet another cherished patriotic institution. We lost our industries, our mortgage banks, countless other trillions. When are we going to end waste, fraud, and incompetence? We must listen and protect truth!

It's time for America to read Don't Kill the Messenger! so we don't go the way of either the Dodo bird or lost civilizations.

JB: It was a pleasure talking with you, Don. Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of whistleblowers over the years. And good luck with your book.

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Thanks to Jim Murtagh for his invaluable editing suggestions.

*Here is a part of Jack Anderson's obit as it appears in our memorial section of our website

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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