WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held a press conference to announce he will leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London “soon.” Although Assange did not provide further details about his departure, he did state that his health is suffering. (Photo: Source)
Key Quote: Mr. Assange faces extradition to Sweden, which is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, and the British police continue to post a 24-hour guard at the embassy at a cost of more than $10 million. Mr. Assange argues that he has not been charged with any crime and that he fears that if he leaves the embassy, he will be extradited to the United States. Investigations continue there into the disclosure of classified material to WikiLeaks, which posted material on its website and arranged for other newspapers, including The New York Times, to publish some of it.
Former learning specialist and University of North Carolina (UNC) whistleblower Mary Willingham, after being repeatedly attacked in recent weeks for failing to provide a few citations in her 2009 master’s thesis (which contained scores of proper citations), penned this column which outlines many of her self-described “failings.” Willingham rightly points out that it is commonplace for whistleblowers to suffer constant attempts aimed at discrediting them, so “to save everyone time, and to direct the public’s attention back to where it ought to be directed, [she] would like to get out in front of all the internet detectives and provide a preemptive listing of all [her] failings.”
GAP has witnessed, time and again, whistleblowers suffer unjust retaliation and smearing from those who wish to defend the questionable actions of institutions.
Key Quote: Pointing out the flaws of a whistleblower—some of those flaws real enough, to be sure—may provide a nice distraction for sports fans, but it contributes nothing to the exposure of the most important truths. The important truth, the one that demands attention, is that UNC and the NCAA across the board have failed the football and basketball players whose labors have financed their lavish sports empire. Until UNC and its defenders bravely and honestly face up to their own failures, their efforts to magnify and distort the flaws of the individual most associated with their exposure will inevitably come across as desperate attempts to change the subject. “Mary Willingham” is not the story and never has been. This four-year-old story is about the need for serious top-to-bottom reform in the world of college sport. UNC has shown no interest in taking the lead in pushing for such reforms, but it’s never too late for Tar Heels of good conscience to begin pressuring them to do the right thing. Just remember not to get distracted by the character-assassination sideshow that has consumed so much of UNC’s energy since January of this year. I have my flaws and I’ll admit to them. It’s time for UNC to look in the mirror.
A judicial ruling last week held that the Dodd-Frank Act does not extend protection to some whistleblowers flagging violations at foreign firms. A federal appeals court ruled that the law could only reach “so far into Germany-based Siemens AG’s operations,” upholding a lower court ruling. Noted attorney Jordan Thomas of Labaton Sucharow, which joined GAP in petitioning the SEC on a rulemaking change, was quoted in the piece.
Key Quote: The ruling held that the provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform law that prohibit retaliation against whistleblower employees don’t apply to the former Siemens China staffer. The ruling cited a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that says that legislation doesn’t apply outside the U.S. unless there is evidence Congress indicated otherwise.
“The question that we’re left with is: Why can the government enforce other securities laws internationally but when it comes to enforcing a new securities law designed to protect people who report securities-law violations, it doesn’t reach there?” said Jordan Thomas, partner and chair of the whistleblower representation practice at Labaton Sucharow LLP.
This op-ed by Amy Goodman details the important work of investigative journalists, like James Risen, who risk their careers to bring abuses of power to public attention. More specifically, Goodman argues the unprecedented level of surveillance is threatening a free press.
An ex-prosecutor who blew the whistle on Attica prison in 1971 recently filed papers in support of opening sealed investigation documents about the incident that resulted in the deaths of 29 inmates and 10 prison employees.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.