|Whistleblowers Donate One Thousand Handbooks to Struggling Public Libraries|
Washington, D.C. September 12, 2011. Twenty nationally and internationally respected whistleblowers have initiated a campaign to ensure that every public library in the United States has a copy of The Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press, 2011) by National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn on its shelves. As of September 12, 2011, 1000 Handbooks have been purchased for donation to public libraries in all fifty states.
The idea for the campaign was sparked by Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who blew the whistle on the FBI crime lab in the 1990's. His allegations forced the crime lab to obtain accreditation and resulted in the expulsion from the laboratory of examiners who had engaged in forensic misconduct. According to Dr. Whitehurst:
Whistleblowers must know their rights. They need this Handbook to protect themselves. Being able to effectively blow the whistle is vital to our democracy. We, the whistleblowers, want to make sure that every single American has access to the information they need to expose corruption and misconduct.
Lindsey M. Williams, Director of Advocacy and Development for the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), responded to the donations:
These employees risked their careers and livelihoods to expose
wrongdoing and now they are reaching into their own pockets to make this
resource available to other employees. It is the most innovative way I
have seen for citizens to collectively fight against corruption. It is
tragic to see how many whistleblowers lose their cases by making simple
mistakes in the beginning.
Members of the public who would like to join the whistleblowers' initiative can donate a Handbook to a public library by clicking here.
Linda Tripp, whose disclosures resulted in a sitting-President being held in contempt of court and impeached by the House of Representatives, stated:
How I wish a manual had existed when I attempted to document and expose wrongdoing on the part of a sitting president. It might have changed history. Destructive retaliation effectively diluted the truth, shooting the messenger and victimizing the wrongdoer. This book arms the whistleblower with the vital ammunition needed to effectively document corruption, while guiding them in how to protect their families, reputations and careers.
Other whistleblowers shared these sentiments. Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse, the former top Civilian Contracting Officer and Procurement Executive for the Army Corps of Engineers, said "Employees need to know their rights when they insist that powerful special interests follow the laws." Ms. Greenhouse was removed from her position after opposing the illegal no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton for the reconstruction of Iraq. "I hope that every Government acquisition employee and employees of every defense contractor uses the book to ensure that taxpayers are not robbed by unscrupulous corporations that have friends in government," Ms. Greenhouse added.
Sibel Edmonds, Founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, shared her reasons for making the donation:
When I reported security violations right after the 9/11 attacks, I thought I would be congratulated, but I was wrong. Large institutions do not want employees exposing their wrongdoing. Whistleblowers must arm themselves with knowledge. Donating the Handbook to public libraries is the first step in the process of educating employees. Whistleblowers have the information necessary to hold the government accountable and they need to know how to exercise their Constitutional rights.
Dr. Robert C. Smith, who has exposed corruption and wrongdoing to protect the health and safety of millions of Americans explained:
Every story of every whistleblower reminds me of the following words from John F. Kennedy, in Profiles in Courage, and this applies equally to men and women: "In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience - the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men - each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient - they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." The Handbook will surely provide invaluable information to those who, in our current society, will surely need it.
Also joining in the library donation campaign are:
Anonymous Contributor - blew the whistle on fraud by a major multi-national pharmaceutical company. As a result of this disclosure, the federal government and several states recovered millions of dollars to compensate for Medicare and Medicaid fraud;
James Bobreski - a former engineer at the Washington Area Sewer Authority who exposed the illegal storage of toxic chlorine gas at the Authority;
P. Jeffrey Black - a retired Federal Air Marshal who disclosed TSA internal policies that promoted aviation security breaches and other dangerous conditions, that seriously jeopardized the health and safety of other air marshals, flight crews, and the airline passengers;
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Founder of the No FEAR Coalition - her whistleblower allegations of corruption in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resulted in the enactment of the first civil rights law of the 21st century, the No FEAR Act;
Julia Davis - exposed serious shortcomings in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's processing of aliens from terrorist countries;
Tom Hunter - exposed a major security breakdown within the Federal Reserve that placed the life of the Chairman of the Reserve in danger;
Kiki Ikossi - former employee at the US Naval Research Laboratory who won the right for federal employees to pursue "mixed case" whistleblower claims under the Whistleblower Protection Act;
Robert Kobus - blew the whistle on time card fraud within the New York office of the FBI and was retaliated against;
Dr. David Lewis - forced the EPA to abandon its policy of promoting the land application of sewage sludge on farmland through his cutting edge scientific research;
Dr. Jim Murtagh - revealed medical misconduct and fraud at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia;
Marrita Murphy - reported environmental violations at an Air National Guard base. She later challenged the law that taxes compensatory damages in the celebrated case, Murphy v. IRS;
Jane Turner - former FBI Special Agent who became the first female SWAT member and brought attention to serious misconduct against children in the North Dakota Indian Community. She also blew the whistle on FBI agent-theft of property at the 9/11 Ground Zero crime scene;
Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld - a highly decorated member of the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps who blew the whistle on constitutional abuses occurring at Guantanamo Bay, including abusive interrogations, evidence withheld from the defense, judicial incompetence, and confessions coerced through torture.
Dr. Aaron Westrick - the research director for America's largest body armor company, Dr. Aaron Westrick was the first official to oppose the sale of Zylon bulletproof vests. Based on his disclosures, these defective vests were forced off the market and police officers' lives were saved;
Bassem Youssef - Supervisory Special Agent and FBI Unit Chief who exposed systemic violations of constitutional protections under the FBI's National Security Letter program and discriminatory policies within the FBI that blocked the promotion of Arab-American agents.