A public watchdog and advocate for fishermen and their coastal communities. Taufen is an "insider" who blew the whistle on the international profit laundering between global affiliates of North Pacific seafood companies, who use illicit accounting to deny the USA the proper taxes on seafood trade. The same practices are used to lower ex-vessel prices to the fleets, and to bleed monies from our regional economy. Contact Stephen Taufen
June 16th, 2006Director Hogarth Notes Patriotism: While Flag Flies Again
Chair Stephanie Madsen should have learned by now - especially since NOAA Fisheries Director William Hogarth wrote a letter to Groundswell on May 11, 2006. But we had to ask the (shocked) high school office to place the American flag and Alaska's flag in the room, again, at last week's North Pacific Fishery Council meeting in Kodiak.
On a major side note, when the special day (Tuesday, June 6) of hearing Public Comments on Gulf of Alaska privatization took place, Madsen also instructed the audience that the Council is "not being called to order and the meeting is not part of the official record." And the GAO thought there was simply a lack of two-way dialogue and core principles! But couple that with the repeated lack of respect for the flag, the fact Madsen is a lobbyist for primarily foreign-owned firms, and I think we are once again talking economic treason.
After mail problems and through good efforts by the Secretary's office to ensure delivery, Hogarth's letter arrived in Kodiak on Saturday, June 10th, just in time for us to read it into the record during Staff Tasking on Monday. That's the part of the meeting where internal affairs and use of the council staff's valuable future time gets rolling along.
Packed into a sardine can sized meeting room at the Best Western, in an apparent deliberate attempt to ignore the public's comfort and not provide ample space for all participants, it was a joy to read out loud part of the director's letter, which reads as follows.
Dear Mr. Taufen:Well, it sounds sincere enough, but they do say Ph.D. stands for "piled higher and deeper," don't they? Or maybe Hogarth finally got it right - we are Patriots, now: once again fighting for our Freedom and Liberty. In 2006, we apparently need a flag to fly above the ramparts and the rockets' red glare in the dawn's early light - in opposition to imperialists who would tax our harbors as they steal our fish and export it cheaply.
Thank you for your letter to Secretary Gutierrez regarding the April 9, 2006, North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting. I admire your patriotism and agree that our forefathers carefully crafted our individual political rights. I respect your thoughts regarding the display of the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. Regional Fishing Management Council procedures are governed by regulations at 50 CFR 600.105 - 600.155. Under these regulations, each regional Fishery Management Council determines its own internal procedures for conducting public meetings as part of its statement of organization, practices, and procedures. At an early opportunity, I will meet with our council chairs and executive directors and speak to them about the issues you have raised.
I have read carefully your other concerns about the operations of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. I hope you can appreciate the pressure under which the Council members work as they perform this public duty.
I appreciate your interest in these matters. Sincerely, William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.
I asked the Council to consider making a motion right there and then, to support always having an American flag flying at future Council meetings; and suggested that then Dr. Hogarth would have nothing left to discuss with them about the matter. But not one person had the courage to make such an expedient motion. Are they saying Hogarth's letter is of no consequence?
It now seems appropriate to remind Hogarth that he failed to stop Ted Stevens from including the Crab Rider in the Omnibus Spending Bill, when I personally challenged him on the topic back in November of 2003 while he was the featured speaker at Fish Expo - where he was answering questions via satellite feed from Ireland. He admitted that the Adak criminal investigations were currently underway - which of course was because my partner (Larry Davison) and I had filed a Writ of Mandamus after learning of perjury in the Adak Crab Allocation process in October of 2002.
Despite not prosecuting the perjury and many other violations, NOAA did assess the largest fine in fishery history to the companies who violated crab processing restrictions.
Other federal officials advised us that Hogarth did indeed have a responsibility that November to advise the Senate and make the advanced effort to get that rider out of the appropriations measure. Could that forewarning and appropriate request have stopped Crab Ratz's harms? Doesn't Hogarth, after learning of Ben Stevens' secret deal on pollock at Adak, now owe fishermen even greater diligence when it concerns Alaskan fisheries?
After all, it was, as you doubtlessly know, the same nepotistic rider that Ted snuck the Adak pollock giveaway into, for the sake of Benito and the Aleuts - who did not even qualify as the community based organization (since a second class state city existed, and the federal Land Transfer had not yet occurred). Neither Clem Tillion nor Sandra Moller was prosecuted for that fully documented perjury, but both had their dirty fingerprints all over it, and continue to lobby for Adak.
The 'defamation' difference between being labeled as a villain or as a criminal is said to be simply that a person can't be labeled the latter until convicted in a court of law, but the court of public opinion surely handles the former, does it not? But as whalebone Clem likes to spout, "he who has the gold makes the rules" in the council chambers. And from all his years of working political fixes, and escaping prosecution, he certainly believes no one will stop them today.
People who know Bill Hogarth tell us he's an okay guy, and doesn't like the corruption; but I don't see him rising up publicly. What is it going to take to wake up Bill and get him to throw away that silly title of doctor so and so, and instead put on the general's hat and fight for the Nation and its People? Isn't he also sick to the gills of Ted's political machinations, earmark skullduggery, financial chicanery, and carpet bagging friends who have snuck into the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization a bevy of special concessions for themselves, once again? Or is he going to let that despicable version pass next week in the Senate?
The entire section on Limited Access Privileges should be stricken from Pombo's House version and Stevens' Senate version of MSA; and Crab Ratz and the AFA's Pollock Ratz should be overturned regarding processor guaranteed quotas. The GAO should examine all foreign investment and ownership, thoroughly. A section on Abusive Transfer Pricing (accountability and transparency in an industry-specific context) should be added; or at the least, the Treasury Department should be named as a primary party needed to determine fair and equitable ex-vessel and wholesale prices.
Can Hogarth not protest to the President, at the least, and get the two-thirds EQUAL PROTECTION for all states and their fishermen, just as the New England states have requested for their 'fishermen referenda' before any more limited access privileges are created? Or are he and NOAA Fisheries also just slaves to Ted and the fourth branch of government - Appropriations? Will NOAA supply the weekend grease so the MSA can pass next week, instead of being held up for deeper Congressional review and proper Public input, until at least October? If Bill can't speak up at this critical moment, then he'd better resign before the next crab season or fishermen will want to use him for chum.
When the laws no longer work, when judges and administrators no longer protect the Nation, it is time for the People to rise up and create change - in a groundswell of political effort. At Kodiak last week, they did in overwhelming numbers. Please don't push us any further, Bill. Learn from what is happening in the Gulf of Alaska, and from the economic harms that Crab Ratz visited upon our fishery dependent communities. Please help while you still can - before we have to march on Washington carrying that Flag which the Council so readily disgraces.
From the looks of things, Secretary Gutierrez - someone who is likely well aware of the Banana Republics, and the Spanish encomienda and repartimeinto systems of padrones ruling over sharecroppers, and who appreciates the pressures that fishermen are under today from global resource imperialists - will probably be marching right alongside our Groundswell.
Stephen Taufen - Groundswell Fisheries Movement