Monday, June 06, 2005

Violence Against the Truth

From the POGO Blog

Violence Against the Truth

The label "whistleblower" has negative connotations for many: they think it means "snitch," "tattle tell," or "traitor." But these are meanings propagated by those afraid of being exposed, afraid of the truth. By telling people that they are disloyal to the team if they speak up, the wrongdoers hope to keep the truth pent up by conflicting loyalties. "I know this is wrong, but what would my boss, my co-workers think if I told others..."

This is not the way it should be. When higher loyalties call – namely, duty to the public – workers should always be free to communicate problems without fear of retaliation, be it ostracization, demotion, being fired, or worse. And they should not be threatened and physically attacked. But whistleblowers are truly the patriotic ones despite the myths, because they face metaphorical violence of all sorts – verbal, emotional, occupational – and, rarely, even "real" violence as well.

Which is what happened to Los Alamos National Laboratory auditor Tommy Hook this weekend.

On Saturday night Hook went to a Santa Fe bar to meet a person claiming to be a fellow Los Alamos whistleblower that called that night. When the person did not show, Hook left the bar after two drinks. In the parking lot he was pulled out of his car and beaten so badly by 3 or 4 men that he had to be taken to intensive care. Hook did not provoke these men. The men concentrated on kicking his head, and Hook's family thinks the men would have killed him if it hadn’t been for the witness who had just walked out of the bar.

The men didn’t try to take Hook's wallet, his watch or his car; they just told him to keep his mouth shut if he knows what's good for him. Tommy Hook was expected to testify before Congress this month (and talk to a congressional investigator this Tuesday--tomorrow) on possible fraud at Los Alamos (scroll to the bottom of this link for info on Hook). Welcome to the reality of whistleblowing.

Appears to be a real story. Press conference today at Atty's offices at 3:00 pm at 1215 Paseo de Peralta. Wishing the best for Mr. Hook.
Wait to get the entire story. There are already press reports that question Mr. Hook's story. No one wishes Mr. Hook any possible harm, but it is also true that Mr. Hook's history casts doubt on accounts.
What part of his story is being questioned? The part where he gets his jaw broken? That seems to be easily verified...
Already the attack dogs are out. Unbelievable! Not wishing Mr. Hook any harm, but still undermining his credibility due to his "history?" All the while failing to provide any context of what that history might be. Deep Throat had a history as well. As soon as Mr. Felt was unmasked there were plenty who came out and questioned his motives as self-serving (i.e. getting back at Nixon for not promoting him, protecting the FBI, etc.). Whether any of that is true or not has no bearing on one thing: much of what he revealed turned out to be correct. We know little about Mr. Hook and his allegations as of yet, so I do suggest waiting to get the full story. But when it comes out we should judge the allegations on their merit, not on allegations brought forth by anonymous attack dogs who want to undermine the messenger in order to distract from the message.
Funny how we have been criticized for our annonymous postings by the stalwart UC crowd. Do you want to be the next Karen Silkwood?
If he has an apolitical agenda, based solely on morality, then more power to him.

However, if he has a Leftist agenda and is on the Michael Moore / George Soros bandwagon, then I can imagine that he is involved in political factionalism.

There is no factionalism as rampant and violent as the factionalism which exists within the radical Left.

Personally, I'd love to know more about his politics.
wow stevesadlov, what a dignified stance: refraining from making any judgements until more decisive facts arise, namely, the political orientation of Mr Hook. Priscilla Owen would be proud.
Let's remember that there are different types of whistleblowers. A few are honest people who really want to remove and eradicate corruption, with no reward for themselves - Deep Throat comes to mind.

Then there are others, who can't do their job, and use whistleblower status to prevent firing them. Walpe and Doran come to mind.

Which of these was Hook? It remains to be seen; however violence is unjustifiable.
I've known Tommy for well over a decade. I've never known him to be anything but loyal, dedicated and capable.

I believe that he has been straight as an arrow through all of this. There have been several comments here and on the other posting from those who *want* to disbelieve him or the latest tragic turn, but I haven't heard anyone (here or elsewhere) who knows him and doubts his integrity.

All I withhold judgement on is whether those who orchestrated this were seeking to intimidate him or to accentuate his testimony. Both are possible and both are deplorable.

If this is a conspiracy of either ilk, I hope and trust that there will be people on the fringe of it who know what happened, who set it up and who are not willing to allow this kind of violence to happen unchecked.

This is sick.

- Steve Smith

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