DC: The Second Annual Meeting Of Whistleblowers
International Paul Reveres Ride Again at Second Annual Meeting:
Whistleblowers, From Revere, to
Lincoln to Semmelweis, Inspire Modern Truth
By James J. Murtagh, M.D.
(Dr. Murtagh is co-chair of International Association of Whistleblowers IAW.)
word that shall echo forevermore!
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
The second annual meeting of whistleblowers was held in Washington DC. May 11- 18, 2008. Inspired by Paul Revere and other world leaders, the group declared truth-telling as patriotic today as Revere's midnight ride to Concord. Abraham Lincoln enacted the first whistleblower laws during the civil war, and Martin Luther King's dream inspired civil rights whistleblowers. "The really great leaders of the world were great whistleblowers," noted Mike McCray, Esq., the co-chair of the event. "They spoke truth to power."
Whistleblower Lobbying Week alerted the countryside to grave dangers threatening the world, including a broad spectrum of government and private employers - health, environment, national security, civil rights, veterans, and more - have all banded together in a single meeting. The program was initiated and organized by the whistleblowers themselves. They were joined by more than 40 eminent public interest organizations. Hundreds of citizens took part.
Activities included congressional forums and tribunals, and an award ceremony for Ernest Fitzgerald, father of modern whistleblowing. Senator Charles Grassley, champion of the modern Lincoln whistleblower protection laws, described the fight against waste, fraud and corruption in government. The award, like the conference, is completely bipartisan and has been endorsed by both blue-chip conservatives and liberals:
James Holzrichter and Dr. Janet Chandler, named "whistleblowers of the year" by Taxpayers against Fraud (TAF), announced innovative mentoring programs. Mr. Holzrichter received the "Profile in courage" award, in recognition of his contributions and devotion, and his 17 year legal fight against corrupt defense contracting.
Distinguished attorney and judicial activist Zena Crenshaw also received a "Profile in Courage Award" and presented a day-long program underscoring the need for integrity and accountability in courts of law.
Famed TAF attorney of the year Mike Behn gave a keynote address describing his national fight against defense and pharmaceutical fraud. General Charles Henry, retired high-ranking pentagon procurement officer, introduced Mr. Behn.
Dr. Janet Chandler, a Supreme Court victor, was represented by Senator Barack Obama before he entered the presidential race. All presidential candidates were urged to follow the historic tradition of Lincoln, and to pledge to protect truth-tellers.
Religious leaders, including Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, stressed the role of speaking the truth and the role of faith based initiatives in America's civil rights heritage, invoking the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.
Physicians Dr. Patrick Campbell, and Dr. Lokesh B. Vuyyuru urged protection from unscrupulous HMOs like Tenet and HCA who put profit before patients. Dr. Campbell revealed that Tenet performed thousands of unneeded heart surgeries in Redding California to bilk the federal government of tens of millions of dollars.
Chief Deputy Marshal Matthew Fogg (INA) and President of CARCLE, announced: "We must be united as never before. Whistleblower unity is the key to our success with Congress, with the media, and the public."
John Schilling, a co-winner in the largest fraud case in US history, the $1.7 Billion dollar Health Corporation of America (HCA) case, introduced his new book. Mr. Schilling was joined by many of the other most successful winners in urging an end to fraud against patients.
Mr. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, held an in depth Congressional legal briefing, and together with top public interest groups, gave special awards to Congressional leaders and staffers who oppose fraud and support whistleblowers.
The group honored their advisors, including Jeffrey Wigand (aka "the Insider") and Coleen Rowley. Ms. Rowley was named as one of Time Magazine's Person's of the Year.
Whistleblowinig doctors have international impact. Hungarian Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis transformed world health in the 1800s by introducing simple handwashing. In honor of Dr. Semmelweis, "Clean Hands" awards were given to outstanding whistleblowers and journalists. Sunshine and soap are the best cures for the infected body politic.
Featured speakers came from India, Japan, Mexico and the U.N. This band of whistleblowers stood united to oppose hazardous, illegal and unsafe conditions, waste, fraud and abuse. They unite in order to maintain an open society, and to protect the rights of international citizens to speak without reprisal on matters threatening the general welfare and defense of the global village.
The spirits of Revere, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Ignaz Semmelweis were alive at this expanding annual event.
The joint task force of International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) urges you to write your congressman, your senator, the media, and your friends to support the goal of a safer, freer America and better world.