May 22, 2014

Wisconsin Whistle-blowing Veteran Vindicated as Neocons Target Shinseki

To listen to Republicans today, the decades-long culture of the VA of Delay, Deny and Hope You Die sprung into being in January 2009.

During the Bush-Cheney administration Vietnam-era veteran, an early whistle blower of VA abuse and neglect, Keith Roberts of Wisconsin, navigated through the maze-like process of filing his claim for disability benefits for his diagnosed PTSD.

Roberts accused the VA officials at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center of fraud, fabricating the minutes of a benefits hearing and altering his C-file (claim file).

Roberts said the VA were a "bunch of crooks." In retaliation top VA officials and a corrupt U.S. attorney indicted and criminally convicted Roberts in 2004-05 to shut him up. The indictment was based solely on the testimony of VA special agent with the VA regional Inspector General office in Hines, Illinois.

When President Obama announced on December 7, 2008 that he would appoint Eric Shinseki to become veterans affairs secretary, Roberts and a small band of veterans' advocates said Shinseki needed to clean house at the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (DVA) (VA).

Rid the VA of bureaucrats from the some 1,700 medical centers, the deputy assistant secretaries at the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) like Michael McLendon who during the Bush administration blamed PTSD on lack of belief in God and country. (McKelvey, Boston Review) and search out and can the people who don't want veterans to receive benefits.

What eludes most mainstream news is that embedded neocons throughout the VA have sabotaging the VA for decades because they are ideologically opposed to the mission of caring for veterans in the first place, and want to privatize the whole agency.

While former VA staff attorney and Vietnam veteran Robert Walsh (who now works for veterans in private practice), former VBA staffer Paul Sullivan, and Anthony Hardie (Gulf War veteran and advocate) and veterans’ advocate Steve Robinson (a veteran who served in Ranger and Special Operations units) kept spreading the word about the neocons and anti-veterans' cabals at the VA, they found in Secretary Shinseki who a man who didn't listen.

Said Robinson in 2010: "(Y)es, there have been some improvements, ... but it baffles the mind to think that the Administration believes change will occur if they don’t clean house, and remove the entrenched bureaucrats, and policy wonks, who are gatekeepers to affecting that change. I don’t know why they haven’t moved them out, but they are still there, and they are, in fact, sabotaging Shinseki on several fronts."

Shinseki, as noted on the Rachel Maddow Show last night, was a whistleblower himself as a military general on the Bush-Cheney 2003 invasion of Iraq, and now Republicans want him as a fall guy and political punching bag for "(c)hronic VA problems." 

I don't feel too bad for Shinseki. 

As a whistleblower, he didn't bare anything like the injustices of Wisconsin veteran Keith Roberts at the hands of the VA and U.S. Attorney Stephen Biskupic.

Shinseki never listened to the likes of Keith Roberts, Bob Walsh, Paul Sullivan, Anthony Hardie and Steve Robinson.

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