Monday, February 15, 2010



By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden, Germany

A little over a month ago, the “former banker for the Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax-evasion scheme in US history” was sent to jail in the USA “to begin serving a forty-month federal sentence. Bradley Birkenfeld first came forward to US authorities in 2007 and began providing inside information on how UBS was helping thousands of Americans hide assets in secret Swiss accounts.”

The National Whistleblowers Center’s Stephen Kohn, the executive director and lawyer for Bradley Birkenfeld, has been pushing strongly for Obama to have the case reinvestigated and Birkenfeld freed.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Germany and neighboring states are paying off Swiss bank whistleblowers for handing over bank data on thousands of German’s illegally hiding nearly half a trillion dollars in Switzerland. The initial agreements earlier this month to 1000s of citizens coming forward and confessing to hiding money in Switzerland. This is occurring in the states that border Switzerland (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) and in states as far away as North Rhine Westphalia (a German state on the Dutch border).

In North Rhine Westphalia alone in the last two weeks 1000 citizens have come forward to admit their hiding of moneys in lieu of a provisional amnesty-of-sorts offered for this month. [Those pleading guilty must still pay their back taxes.] People are in a panic to meet the deadlines to come forward in four states. Several other states may become involved in coming days as the federal government’s finance ministry supports the practice of buying the stolen data from Swiss banks. Some Germans are calling for general amnesty for the whole country, but so far the federal government has not pushed the issue.

Stories of sleepless tax evaders are circulating without the country. Now, readers of OP-ED NEWS and other progressive to conservationist blogs and news groups, why did not the United States reward Mr. Bradley Birkenfeld?

Such an immediate amnesty for the now-honest Bradley Birkenfeld would give whistleblowers in the USA, in Switzerland, and all over the world the support they need to put pressure on America—quite likely the country with the most tax evaders world-wide. These evaders include some of the large contractors that make money off of the USA government.

Act now America, support Whistle blowing in governance, banks and financial institutions now.



Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Check the story of this whistleblower who had to flee one state to another in AMERICA

The nuclear power industry—and President Obama’s plans to fund its growth—is bracing for a major setback today as the Vermont state senate is expected to vote to shut down the Vermont Yankee plant, a nuclear reactor with a history of leaks. We speak to nuclear engineer and former industry executive Arnie Gundersen, who first sounded the bell on the Vermont Yankee.


So there’s a system that pulls oxygen out of the condenser called the off-gas system, and that appears to be leaking. It contains tritium and other radioactive isotopes. The only one that’s been detected so far is tritium in the soil, but in some other portions very near the soil, they’ve also detected cobalt and radioactive zinc.

The extent of the leak is quite large. It’s about 400 feet long and about 200 feet wide. And the depth is at least thirty feet. There’s monitoring wells down to thirty feet. Then it heads from the plant to the Connecticut River. It’s been detected only twenty or thirty feet away from the Connecticut River already.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, the nuclear plant had denied that it had underground pipes?

ARNIE GUNDERSEN: We were chartered, the panel—the oversight panel was chartered by the state to do something called a comprehensive vertical audit back in 2008. And the state asked the oversight panel to specifically look at underground pipe. That was one of the seven systems that they wanted—the state wanted us to look at. The contractor for the state inquired of Entergy, and they were told they had no underground pipes and that, in fact, there were none. So the issues related to leaking underground pipes that have been around the nation appeared to the panel to not apply to Vermont Yankee.

After that, we published a report, and this—over a period of eighteen months, there was plenty of opportunity to change the record. Entergy executives testified under oath that they had no underground pipes. And then I discovered—in my role as a contractor to the state legislature, I discovered that there really were underground pipes. I wrote to Entergy, and I said, “Do we have a misunderstanding here?” And they wrote back, “No, there’s no underground pipes.” That was last year; that was in August of last year.

Then I testified twice to the legislature in October. I told them there’s really underground pipes here, and we were mistaken when we wrote to you. And again, Entergy did nothing. And then, of course, in January, the pipe leaked, and it was obvious that there really were underground pipes.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

JUAN GONZALEZ spoke on theme of WHISTLEBLOWING in America when he received his 2010 Justice in Action Award from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:

I think of people like Luis Manuel Tejada, the director of the wonderful Mirabal Sisters Cultural Center in Washington Heights, who came to me several years ago to tell me of the thousands of people being forced from their homes by a single landlord called Pinnacle Management. I didn’t believe him—how could so many people be forced out by one landlord?—until I went to housing court, and I checked the court records, and I found that, indeed, over the past two years, a single company, Pinnacle, had filed eviction proceedings against 5,000 people. Pinnacle was funded by a hedge fund group, and it was operating a huge scam to drive people from their rent-stabilized apartments, then create fraudulent paperwork claiming that they were renovating these apartments, to be able to jack the rents up beyond the rent stabilization levels. And I wrote a series of articles about Pinnacle and the leader of Pinnacle and the hedge fund that was backing him.

I think of Antoinette Hargrove, the president of the parents association of PS 123 in Harlem, who begged me last year to help her and her parents association fight off a charter school that had suddenly come into her building and was trying to take up all the space in that building.

Or I think of Shirley Kwan, a twenty-eight-year-old Chinese American woman who lived on Mott Street in Chinatown after 9/11, who told me that none of the buildings in her neighborhood had been cleaned of toxic dust after the fall of the World Trade Center towers.

7:44 PM  

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