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Friday, August 31, 2012

Max Abramson: We should cherish our nation's whistle-blowers

Aug. 24 — To the Editor:
As the Portsmouth Herald reported in an Aug. 24 business page story, "Whistle-blower program draws thousands of tips," whistle-blowers have spoken out publicly about everything from abusive IRS tactics to corporate embezzlement and consumer fraud, from wasteful no-bid contracts in government to substance abuse and graft in local school districts, state agencies, police unions, and even the military. Although theoretically protected by freedom of speech, many of these brave, patriotic citizens have faced retribution over the years from political insiders.
At least two former IRS agents are behind bars after speaking out against unethical auditing practices by the agency. The infamous Franklin Boys Town child abuse scandal led to the prosecution of some of the victims, but not the perpetrators. Police officers like Bradley Jardis, who advocate dash cams or an end to the drug war, have found themselves being driven out of their department. According to an story, former U.S. Marine Brandon Raub, 26, was arrested, held, and "ordered Monday to undergo a forced 30-day psychiatric investigation at John Randolph Medical Center" for posting statements on Facebook questioning the government and its official explanation for 9/11. Even the Rockingham County Attorney's Office has a reputation for retaliation against those who speak out. And shows video of Adam Mueller being convicted and sentenced last week for airing video showing a public school security guard beating a high school student.
From Seabrook's Budget Committee, I saw millions spent on no-bid contracts, double charging, double-dipping of pensions, and the frequent "employment" of friends and relatives, rather than the most qualified candidates. Working as a merchant mariner for 10 years, I've seen some merchant marine officers lie to superiors, cover up unsafe work practices, and even send out dock-side work to favored contractors, bilking the company of millions. According to KTVU and other news outlets, APL Marine Services, "agreed to pay the government $26.3 million to settle allegations that it fraudulently inflated bills for shipping cargo to the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan." That time, the whistle-blower was paid $5.2 million.
Others, like Adam, are in jail.
Max Abramson

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