Air Marshal Whistleblowers Reveal a Federal Aviation Culture of Discrimination, Abuse, and Incompetence
February 23, 2012
By Joe Wright
Two training supervisors, Tom Feeney and Matt Ryan, have been exposed by 5 current and former air marshals as having created a discriminatory board game that was particularly disparaging of gays, lesbians, African-Americans, and veterans.
The whistleblowers say that the board game is actually a reflection of a system-wide attitude by Federal Air Marshal management that should make fellow workers concerned, as well as the flying public.
In the words of one whistleblower who revealed his identity, Steve Theodoropoulos, the investigation was a whitewash and nothing more than a review, not a true investigation:
The general public ought to be concerned the largest federal racist discrimination case in the history of federal law enforcement is going on and it’s being covered up. (Source)
More worrisome is that the blatant discrimination is merely the tip of a very large iceberg of unimaginable proportions of corruption and abuse.
The five individuals called for an investigation by the Office of Inspector General, backed by Senators and Congressmen. After 21 months, the Office concluded that there was no evidence demonstrating a system-wide attitude, but rather was contained only to immediate training staff in one office.
Beyond the blatant discrimination, however, the whistleblowers also have pointed out the general incompetence and wastefulness that is endemic within the Air Marshal service, leading to massive cost overruns due to layers of desk bureaucrats, as well as compromised safety and service for the flying public.
June 14, 2011
By Daniel Nasaw
More than 60,000 Americans were sterilised, many against their will, as part of a eugenics movement that finished in 1979, aimed at keeping the poor and mentally ill from having children. Now, decades on, one state is considering compensation.
In 1968, Elaine Riddick was raped by a neighbour who threatened to kill her if she told what happened.
She was 13, the daughter of violent and abusive parents in the desperately poor country town of Winfall, in the US state of North Carolina.
While she was in hospital giving birth, the state violated her a second time, she says.
A social worker who had deemed her “feeble-minded” petitioned the state Eugenics Board to have her sterilised.
Officials coerced her illiterate grandmother into signing an “x” on an authorisation form. After performing a Caesarean section, doctors sterilised her “just like cutting a hog”, she says.
“They killed my kids,” Ms Riddick says. “They killed mine before they got to me. They stopped it.”
Sterilisation in the UK and Europe
While eugenics is now recognised as a pseudoscience – and after the Nazis, one with murderous consequences – it was once a respectable branch of the social sciences.
The term ‘eugenics’, meaning “good birth”, was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, an English scientist who pushed the University College London to found a department to study the field.
Sir Winston Churchill once called for forced sterilisation of “the feeble-minded and insane classes”.
While eugenic sterilisation never became official policy in the UK – in part due to opposition from the Catholic church – Finland, Norway, and Sweden adopted the sterilisation laws in the 1930s.
Between 1933 and 1945, more than 400,000 Germans were sterilised under Nazi “racial hygiene” laws, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Nearly four decades after the last person was sterilised under North Carolina’s eugenics programme, a state task force is seeking the 2,900 victims of sterilisation officials estimate are still alive.
The group hopes to gather their stories and ultimately to recommend the state award them restitution. But with public coffers under severe pressure amid a flagging recovery, it is not clear the legislature will agree.
“I know I can’t make it right but at least I can address it,” said North Carolina state legislator Larry Womble. He hopes “to let the world know what a horrendous thing the government has perpetrated on these young boys and girls”.
America’s sterilisation movement was part of a broad effort to cleanse the country’s population of characteristics and social groups deemed unwanted, an effort that included anti-race mixing and strict immigration quotas aimed at Eastern Europeans, Jews and Italians.
Beginning with Indiana in 1907, 32 states eventually passed laws allowing authorities to order the sterilisation of people deemed unfit to breed. The last programme ended in 1979.
The victims were criminals and juvenile delinquents, women deemed sexual deviants, homosexual men, poor people on welfare, people who were mentally ill or suffered from epilepsy. African Americans and Hispanic Americans were disproportionately targeted in some states.
January 10th, 2011
By: Theresa Collington
It’s a textbook case of getting it wrong. A Virginia elementary school textbook will soon be history after a college professor and parent, caught more than one mistake in it.
Turns out the errors she spotted were not the only ones. Some of the glaring errors had to do with African-Americans and the Civil War.
“The United States entered World War I in 1916.” Wrong – it was 1917.
“There were 12 confederate states.” Also wrong – actually, there were 11.
“In 1800, New Orleans was a U.S. port.” Wrong yet again – the port of New Orleans was still under Spanish control at the time.
These and dozens of other errors can be found in the textbook handed out to thousands of Virginia fourth graders. Problems with the book ‘Our Virginia: Past and Present’, published by Five Ponds Press, first surfaced last October, as reported by the Washington Post, when the mother of one student, a college history professor, spotted several lines on page 122.
“It was particularly jarring when I got to this one passage that was so at odds with what historians have been saying about who participated in the Civil War,” said William & Mary Professor Carol Sheriff, a parent of one student.
The book says thousands of southern blacks fought in the confederate ranks, something not supported by mainstream Civil War scholarship. But it’s the next line that’s just plain wrong: “including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.” The textbook actually, does note that it wasn’t ’til 1865 that African-Americans could legally serve in the confederate army. It also tells children that Stonewall Jackson died in 1863.
The error about blacks serving in the confederate army was outrageous to many in academia.
“It is the equivalent of Holocaust denial being taught in the public schools. But worse, it’s also equivalent to saying the Jews helped the Holocaust,” Sheriff said.
The textbook’s author, who is not a historian, said she found the information while researching on line. The publisher defended the author saying she used real books as well.
“I don’t think the author could necessarily be accused of being stupid and doing Internet-only research,” said Jeremy Mayer, George Mason University.
Due to the outcry, the Virginia Board of Education hired five historians to review the textbook in November. They were the ones who found the dozens more mistakes or misrepresentations, leading one to ask, “How in the world did these books get approved?” He recommended they be pulled from the classroom immediately.
As to who selected the books in the first place, that is actually done by the individual school districts in Virginia that are now using the books. To fix that problem of the wrong information regarding blacks serving in the confederacy the publisher came up with this idea: stickers. Meaning the right information would be placed over the wrong information.
The problem is now there are so many errors in the textbook everyone agrees that they don’t have enough stickers. The publisher says the second edition of the book will correct everything. But those school districts with the first edition, they are going to be meeting after the first of the year to determine what to do.