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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/12/14

Whistleblowers Refuse to be Silenced or Intimidated

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Over the last eight years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. The Pacifica Foundation continues their historic support of whistleblowers, along with Code Pink and the Black Law Students Association at Georgetown University. Gloria Minott, from WPFW will moderate this year's event. Whistleblowers and their advocates will descend on Capitol Hill to convene the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights (July 28-31, 2014).

We are also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the passage Whistleblower Protection Act. Tom Devine, Legal Director for the Government Accountability Project, commented: "This law is a landmark paradigm shift of legal rights, but it would be dishonest to say that any government whistleblower is safe. Since the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act's passage, the Federal Circuit has ruled against whistleblowers in all final decisions. Unlike corporate whistleblowers, federal employees cannot seek justice through a jury trial. There is no legally safe option for Intelligence Community workers to challenge misconduct within the system, leaving media leaks as the only alternative to professional suicide. There is no protection against retaliatory criminal investigations or prosecutions, often more chilling than job reprisals. Our work is not over."

Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley authored the historic legislation, and passed a resolution to commemorate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center adds, "Whistleblowers are under attack. They have been gagged. They have been fired. They have been indicted and imprisoned. Yet, they have saved taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars and have exposed incredible corporate and government abuses. National Whistleblower Day is the time to remember that our Founding Fathers fully supported the duty of every American to blow the whistle on frauds, and a time to honor those who have sacrificed for the public interest."

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ACORN 8 and Drum Majors for Truth (DM4T) will co-host this year's conference, previously known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. This four-day event features Plenary Session, Workshops and Panel Discussions, Press Conference at the National Press Club, Whistleblower Book Signing and Film Screening, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Awards Luncheon and Welcome Reception, Pillar Awards Presentations, and Solidarity Dinner.

Zena Crenshaw-Logal, Executive Director the National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, which administers Drum Majors for Truth, an association of post-secondary students for effective whistleblower protection, adds "We are honored to co-host this year's Whistleblower Summit and Conference on Human and Civil Rights. Our role as a summit co-sponsor allows us to honor the real life people risking and, in too many cases, sacrificing their personal well being to help protect the American Dream for generations to come.

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"DM4T members are pro-American Dream which moves closer to being an illusion through unchecked acts of government waste, fraud, and abuse. Our message is simple: serious public and private sector misconduct needs to be put in check; not those who seek to expose that corruption in good faith."

The event opens at the Stewart R. Mott House on Capitol Hill with a symbolic "Empty Chair" welcome honoring courageous whistleblowers who could not be present due to retaliatory imprisonment, untimely death or increased prosecution under the Obama Administration.

The group will meet on July 30, 2014 or "National Whistleblower Appreciation Day" for frank discussions about whistleblowing post Edward Snowden and civil rights enforcement under the age of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

The general public, all whistleblowers and their advocates, as well as the entire civil rights and human rights communities were invited to participate. The conference theme is--Is It Right? From Black Farmers and USDA employees who reported "pink slime" in our food supply, to NSA whistleblowers reporting domestic surveillance on the American people--Whistleblowers Protect People.

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"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but we must take it because our conscience tells us that it is right."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair of the (more...)
 

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