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Group: Senator Hillary Clinton lacks principle

RAW STORY
Published: Monday August 28, 2006

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A group of government dissenters has called out Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for what they see as a lack of principle and unwillingness to stand up for whistleblowers, RAW STORY has learned.

In an op-ed to be published soon, Sibel Edmonds and William Weaver of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) criticized Senator Clinton for her failure to take a stand on the deaths of two veterans and injuries of others in illegal drug experiments at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany, NY. A number of efforts have been made by NSWBC and other concerned parties to get Sen. Clinton to address the matter, but to no avail.

Edmonds and Weaver called Clinton's inaction in the Stratton case "part of a pattern of studious avoidance of principled action in the face of serious government misconduct, and the refusal to come to the aid of those people who expose that misconduct."

NSWBC describes itself as an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nationís security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nationís borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. Edmonds is the group's founder and director, and Weaver is a senior adviser and board member at NSWBC.

The full text of the op-ed will be available soon at the group's website. An excerpt is provided below.

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Between 2000 and June 2006, numerous contacts with Senator Hillary Clinton over the Stratton tragedy went unacknowledged, or glossed over, or shuffled around to various offices with no substantive action. No less than five Clinton staff members heard presentations and received documentation about the experiments, and Senator Clinton herself is personally aware of the detailed facts of the case. This personal knowledge did not translate into action, for though Senator Clinton carefully scripts her numerous public appearances to give the impression of caring and concern, her actions speak otherwise. She noted "our nation made a pact with those who serve their country in the Armed Forces Ė a commitment that those who served would have access to quality health care through the VA hospital system . . . and they deserve to be treated as the best." But while Senator Clinton was issuing such lofty statements and mugging for photo opportunities with active duty military, she did nothing about the systematic abuse and murder of veterans within her own constituency. The Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition, and more recently the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, sent numerous letters and e-mails and copious documentation, pleading for help from the Senator to investigate and address the crimes committed at Stratton, including unrelenting retaliation against the whistleblowers who brought these matters to public attention

Notably, the VAWBC recognized that the motivations and incentives that led to abuse at Stratton were present at many hospitals throughout the VA system, and that greed and poor management in the VA guaranteed that the events of Stratton would be repeated elsewhere. The most vulnerable people, the sick and dying with nowhere to turn but to the VA, were exploited and killed by those tasked with their medical care, and their suffering and death were ignored by Senator Clinton. It is doubly offensive that this woman sits on the Armed Services Committee, which, along with the Veterans Affairs Committee, has the duty to provide for the well-being of current and former military service members. For all her posturing; for a senator who advertises herself as a hawk and pro military; how does she show it in action? By abandoning our veterans and war heroes in need!

Senator Clintonís failure concerning Stratton is not an isolated event; it is part of a pattern of studious avoidance of principled action in the face of serious government misconduct, and the refusal to come to the aid of those people who expose that misconduct. When Bunnatine Greenhouse exposed extraordinary graft and impropriety in government contracting with Halliburton, when Sergeant Samuel Provance reported prisoner abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib, when Russ Tice disclosed violations of the Constitution by the National Security Agency, and when Jay Stroup, Thomas Bittler, Jim Griffin, and Ray Guagliardi exposed serious defects and negligence in the Transportation Security Administration that puts travelers at risk, Clinton did nothing. No words of support, no calls for investigations, no efforts to prevent the lives and careers of whistleblowers from being destroyed. Documents on numerous cases were shared with her office, offers to brief her and her staff have been made on many occasions, pleas for her to live up to the words she so casually utters, have all been ignored, or even ridiculed.

In her six years as senator she has done nothing but attempt to position herself for the presidency, done nothing but avoid acting out of principle and justice, done everything to offend no one. We respect our opponents in much greater measure than we respect Senator Clinton, for with our opponents at least the fight is joined; at least they have the courage of their convictions, at least they place their bets in public. But Senator Clinton, by trying to be something to everyone ends up being nothing to anyone. Where she cannot act safely, she does not act. The current times call for politicians to act with conviction and intelligence, not with cynical, calculated action in response to what opinion polls indicate. If Senator Clinton cannot even come to the aid of constituent veterans being killed through grotesquely immoral and illegal medical experimentation, if she cannot commit herself to call for investigations of national security vulnerabilities that risk national catastrophe, if she cannot offer even moral support to those who disclose outrageous government incompetence and impropriety, is there anything that would prompt her to take a stance out of conviction? Such a person has no business representing the people of this country. Nothing stirs her soul except for her own selfish ambitions; ambitions that she places in front of the nationís welfare.