Whistle Blower Summit In DC Features Senators, Free Film Screening, Book Signing, Awards Starting July 29
Among the special events at the annual Whistle Blowers Summit July 29-31 will be awards presentations, a free film screening of Kill the Messenger, and author book-signings July 30 at the Busboys & Poets flagship store in Washington, DC.
In addition to the panels that are the core of the free program, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden are scheduled to speak July 30 on Capitol Hill. Both are longtime supporters of accountability in government, co-founders of the Senate Whistleblower Caucus, and previous winner’s of the Summit’s “Pillar Award.”
Grassley (shown in a file photo) chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Wyden is the ranking Democrat on the Joint Senate-House Committee on Taxation, and has been especially active on the Select Committee on Intelligence in advocating greater public awareness of excesses in electronic surveillance.
Beginning in May 2007, whistleblowers have convened annually for education and advocacy at a free conference in Washington, DC. The theme for this year’s Summit is “Black Lives Matter — This Is the Movement!” Schedule specifics.
Two of the major organizers for years have been Arkansas-based attorney and CPA Michael McCray and DC-area whistleblower Marcel Reid, a former ACORN National Director, chair of DC ACORN, and one of a three-member Interim Management Committee to reorganize ACORN after the discovery of a major embezzlement. They collaborated on the book ACORN 8: Race, Power & Politics that they will sign at the event.
The Pillar Journalism Awards for Human Rights recognize those activists whose talent and courage make them “Pillars” of democracy. This year’s winners are:
- For print: Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch.
- For broadcast: Abby Martin, independent journalist and formerly with RTV, and Dennis Bernstein, host of Flashpoint Radio on KPFA.
- For documentaries: Kristina Borjesson, producer/director/writer of TWA Flight 800, a documentary featuring six investigators-turned whistleblowers. Also, she is scheduled guest this week on “From a Woman’s Point of View,” a show broadcast and available online via the 70,000-watt non-commercial station WMNF-FM (88.5) in Tampa.
- For activism: Dr. Riki Ott, an activist, speaker and author who is a trained marine toxicologist and former commercial fisher woman. She has written books on oil spill impacts to ecosystems, people, and communities and starred in Black Wave, an award-winning feature film. This week, she will also be a guest on the WMNF-FM, whose programming is available online.
Also, former Qwest Communications International Chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio receives in person before his 4 p.m. presentation July 29 a Pillar “Corporate Courage” award designated last year for his opposition in 2001 to Bush administration requests in early 2001 without a warrant for bulk access to Qwest electronic records of customers.
The film screening and book signing session will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m on July 30. It will include a free screening of Kill The Messenger about the late San Jose Mercury investigative reporter and Dark Alliance author Gary Webb, who died despondent after a firestorm of criticism for his 1990s work alleging official complicity in the crack epidemic plaguing inner cities. The screening may include another of the following films nominated for the Summit’s Pillar Award: A2-B-C ; Silenced; The Hidden Enemy; and TWA Flight 800.
The special event is sponsored by Sharyl Attkisson (shown in a file photo) from the proceeds of her best-selling 2014 memoir of her two decades as a CBS News reporter: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. The locale is Busboys and Poets at 2021 14th Street, NW, near V Street.