Podcast Show #26

NWC’s Stephen Kohn Takes on the Absentee White House

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Last week Boiling Frogs Post invited Mr. Norman L. Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, and Mr. Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, to publicly debate on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and the current bill proposed by the Senate (S. 372).Despite two invitations Mr. Eisen declined to participate in this crucial debate.

Mr. Kohn, who publicly accepted the invitation and agreed last week to participate in this independent debate, joined Peter B Collins and me to discuss these critical oversight issues, and the effects of this poisonous bill on an entire generation of federal workers, thus the nation at large.

SteveKohn2 Stephen M. Kohn is the Executive Director of National Whistleblowers Center, one of the nation’s foremost experts in whistleblower protection law, and the author of the first legal treatise on whistleblowing, Protecting Environmental and Nuclear Whistleblowers: A Litigation Manual. Since 1984, Mr. Kohn has successfully represented whistleblowers in numerous cases (both at trial and on appeal), has testified in Congress on behalf of whistleblower reforms, and has worked directly with the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee on drafting the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate whistleblower law. Mr. Kohn has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law; an M.A. in Political Science from Brown University; and a B.S. in Social Education from Boston University. In addition to his books on whistleblower law, Mr. Kohn is the author of Jailed for Peace and American Political Prisoners.

Here is National Whistleblowers Center’s Stephen Kohn Taking on the Absentee White House on Protection for Whistleblowers

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  1. I wrote a letter to my congressman. It is very encouraging to hear that in this case letter writing is working. I don’t think I’ve heard that before today on any issue. I was surprised at just how important this issue is and just how bad this bill is. I know most readers of BFP won’t be shocked that the Obama administration seems to be living up to the Bush administration in allowing or sponsoring bills that do the exact opposite of their title. Thank you very much for this detailed and comprehensive interview.

  2. camusrebel says:

    In a related story, today at Salon, Greenwald does a very good piece on the heat being turned up on wikileaks. They apparently posess a video of intentional civilian and journalist fatalities from the air in Afghanistan and plan to air it April 5.

  3. Bill Bergman says:

    Very interesting and informative. The historical perspective is very helpful. And Peter B. Collins does a great job setting things up. Thanks.

  4. Dear Sibel – Thank you to you & Peter for this.

    Stephen (Kohn) has a client whose treatment both shocks & fascinates me – one Bradley Birkenfeld. Mr. Birkinfeld was the UBS/”Swiss Banker” who provided IRS/Justice Dept. with the names and account information for more than 4,400 (secret) Swiss Bank Accounts, allegedly held by “some of the richest Americans”, (if I’m quoting Stephen Kohn correctly from his interview with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now”). Mr. Birkenfeld received a seemingly very harsh jail sentence of > 3 years. Obama/(Eric) Holder supporters allege this jail sentance was due to Mr. Birkenfeld’s reluctant cooperation.
    There seem to be myriad injustices here, Sibel. The obvious is the chilling effect of Birkenfeld’s incarceration on future Whistleblowers. The other Bull Elephant in the Room is why did Holder (and Obama?) issue what are in effect > 4,400 “de facto” Pardons? The Justice Dept. is offering “Amnesty” from criminal prosecution, if these (now) cornered Fraudsters “pay up”. These sleazy plutocrats should be facing felony prosecutions, from a Special Prosecutor akin to William Black of (early 1990s) S & L fame. I wouldn’t be a bit suprised if many of these secret bank accounts were held by the same people who you have bravely pursued, as well as the financial “Gangs of New York”.

  5. @Mike: And thank you for that. With these people (congress) only two things seem to work: Carrots (money money money, via lobby lobby lobby; a bit of positive publicity via MSM)& Sticks (Negative Publicity via MSM). Obviously the big money via becoming a big lobby won’t apply to whistleblowers. As for the sticks: the sorry state of our MSM takes away that option/channel.

    @Camusrebel: Glad to see more coverage on this, however, the credit doesn’t go to Greenwald; as always Mr. Greenwald comes in to the game late, and only after having the water tested by the frontiers.

    @Bill: Glad to hear that, Bill. After all, you know this area better than many. Peter B is simply great; with this discussion as well as every other discussion/interviews we’ve had. I believe I happen to be one of his biggest fan, and that started long before having him as our BFP host (he interviewed me several times during the height of my SSP journey).

    @Jbaspen: And thank you! Also thanks for sharing this case with us.

  6. Sibel — great clarity on the part of Kohn, and as always, indispensible material on your and Peter’s podcasts. I have written to my senator Susan Collins, not based on any encouragement from her over the years as to “moderation” in anything but window dressing, but encouraged by what Steve Kohn said, that the public attention is brushing them back, to use a baseball metaphor. As I said in my letter, if the American people find out the realities of this, there will be consequences.

    I posted my letter at http://www.proudprimate.com/resources/Collins-Whistleblowers.htm, and started a thread on Thom Hartmann’s message board at http://www.thomhartmann.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4126, where there are a lot of good and serious citizen activists hanging out.

    As always, great thanks for all you do. I do support your work as I am able. So many good causes, so little dough.

  7. I forgot to mention, the podcast above is #26, but the URL is BF.0029.Kohn_20100325.mp3 — did you notice that?

  8. theepitbull says:

    Sibel – Peter

    Very informative interview with Mr. Kohn. But this are a other issues that still need to be brought to the publics attention and discussed.

    Specifically what protections are there for Whistle blowers who work for U.S. Defense Contractors if any?

    More important are the types of retaliation that Whistle blowers experience both on and off record tactics.


  9. ZicaTanka says:

    I’d like to make a suggestion to Ms. Edmonds and Mr. Collins, regarding the BFP podcast intro.

    Let me start by saying I love the intro that you use for the show. It’s great how you use the lyrics to segway into a description of the kind of questions you’re asking of guests on the show. “…but do they?”

    Let me, also, throw an idea at you, about a possible future replacement choice of music. I’m not going to pretend I can write a quality voice over, such as you have with the existing intro. I just want to attempt to plant a seed in your minds about using some segment of the Michael Franti song, Yell Fire.

    To me, that song, along with its title, matches the BFP description and mission better than the forever classic Everybody Knows. That said, it wouldn’t bother me if that wonderful classic continued to be the theme song for the BFP podcasts.

    Please consider my suggestion; maybe the next time you hear the song to which I’m referring.

    Thank you!

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