Much Ado

April 20, 2011

Just what is the Fitial Administration up to now? Isn't it ironic that they can never completely answer an Open Government Act request, but have been very busy filing Freedom of Information Act requests to acquire documents that they were told months ago were no longer in existence?

The Marianas Variety reports that the Ombudsman's Office shredded the original documents that aliens completed when they registered there in December 2009 and January 2010. Of course, this is not news. We knew this last year. Kaipat was complaining about the registration before it happened and complaining to the press in September 2010, claiming that the registration was "fraud."

In May 2010 Governor Fitial's sent an extremely disingenuous seven-page letter with two appendices to Secretary Salazar attacking the DOI report and asking to have it withdrawn.  Some of the arguments within the letter and appendices were outright lies, others manipulated facts, and still others were unjustified attacks. The appendices, which appear to be written by DOL "volunteer" Deanne Siemer, made outlandish and nonfactual statements.  Many of the baseless statements echoed the same unfounded arguments used by the CNMI DOL and Siemer to support their dysfunctional system in previous letters and reports.

In a letter dated July 22, 2010, Secretary Salazar responded that the report fulfilled its obligation under the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 and it will not be withdrawn. He also noted:
As the Department entered upon this endeavor, the cooperation of your administration was sought by the Office of Insular Affairs, but denied. Thereafter, Department officials began to gather the information requested by the Congress by several means, which were utilized in the Report. In addition, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs personally consulted with you on this Report before it was submitted for clearance.
Read the letter:

The Fitial Administration complained about the fact that documents were shredded in their 2010 DOL Annual Report that was written by Siemer and Kaipat. (Read my previous post, 2010 Labor report: More Lies, here.)

It is a joke that the Fitial Administration, including former deputy secretary of the Department of Labor Cinta Kaipat and DOL, complain that they couldn't get documents when they refused to share any CNMI data and statistics with the federal government for decades. In fact, the registration had to be conducted to meet the mandate of the CNRA because the CNMI government either refused to share the documents or withheld them hoping that it would delay the report and takeover.

Why would the CNMI government need this information? The ombudsman provided detailed charts that broke down the statistics to the specifics that were required by the CNRA.  That was the purpose of the registration; it was not conducted to please the Fitial Administration. The Fitial Administration incorrectly labeled the alien registration as an official census.

Both the DOL and CNMI Immigration claimed that they had accurate records of all foreigners in the CNMI.  At least this claim was made when it served their anti-federalization agenda. This was one argument in their anti-federalization lawsuit. They claimed that their system was so good, why have the federal government takeover?

Why would an ombudsman who is charged with assisting, protecting and representing the foreign workers give sensitive information to a government that has systematically abused them for decades? Why would the ombudsman turn over documents to officials that have publicly shouted hateful remarks to aliens; sponsored anti-alien rallies and motorcades on the CNMI's dime; and enacted oppressive laws?

What federal government law states that sensitive and privileged information that could be used to harm individuals has to be released? Physicians don't release medical records; attorneys don't release their privileged files. The ombudsman is an attorney and is acting as such to the office's clients, the foreigners in the CNMI.

Governor Fitial, Kaipat, Siemer and several attorneys slammed the ombudsman's registration and urged foreigners not to register.  They have never stopped complaining about it over a year later! In December 2009, CNMI officials and others who supported umbrella permits advised workers not to register with the ombudsman, creating confusion and division among workers and advocates.

This serves as another example of the Fitial Administration engaging in unethical behavior, and senseless accusations. If the CNMI officials had cooperated with the Federal Government in the first place and tuned over their statistics and data as they should have, then the ombudsman's tally would not have been necessary. The constant whining and complaints is getting old. Move on.


the teacher said...

I would have done the same thing. The documents had a single function which was complete. It would have been deceitful to ask for private information and then use that info against those who voluntarily complied. No sane person would turn such confidential records over to an administration with such a well documented history of corruption, human abuse, trafficking, and sexual exploitation unless they were a puppet in the paid goon squad.

Bravo to the Ombudsperson

Wendy said...

Spot on, Ron!

Anonymous said...

I know she had good intentions, but she made a booboo in destroying those documents. She could have filed them and prohibited access short of a court order, however, burning them was not a proper solution. The decision with regard to the documents should have been left to her supervisors or a judge, should there come a time where there is a request of those documents. Otherwise, they sit there as long as it takes to meet the requirements of the law.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 1:45

This was not a census. It was a tally to determine a report. The report was written. It's like saying everyone should keep their rough drafts. Even the Secretary of Interior dismissed the accusations and pointed out that her numbers mirrored those DOL reported in their annual report.

Are you sure her supervisors weren't consulted? You suggest that the decision should have been left to them. Maybe she was concerned about what the anti-federalization, anti-worker government would do if they got their hands on sensitive documents, expressed this to her supervisors and was told to destroy them. AFter all, the job was done. I also think it's ridiculous that the CNMI who hides EVERYTHING and disobeys OGA requests gets made this a big deal. It isn't.

Anonymous said...

If her supervisors/superiors advised her to destroy documents, that doesn't make it right either, if the law says otherwise. The hypocrisy of the CNMI leadership does not justify breaking laws. If they were documents of substance, federal law relating to documents should apply.

Anonymous said...

11;39 WHAT LAW? What law says every piece of paper has to be saved? Where in the world would the federal government put all these papers? Wendy's right. It was not an official census. It was a way to quickly get the information needed for the report because the NMI would not provide it.

Anonymous said...

See Kim v. Dep't of the Interior, Civ. No. 10-01552, Memo in Opp. to Def.'s Mot. for. Summ. J. (D.D.C. Apr. 18, 2011).

wendy said...

What an odd comment to instruct readers to see Siemer's Opposition memorandum. Why not instruct them to read ALL of the court documents? Why not also instruct people to read the motion from the DOI for summary judgment? Here is what was revealed in court documents:

1. The Fitial Administration did not like the DOI Report. They LIED about not having met or having opportunities to meet with Mr. Babauta and whined and complained to the Secretary of Interior and the Congress. (Read the post, The Lie for details.)
2. The Secretary of Interior slapped him down and stood by the report and Pam's work.
3. Deanne Seimer and Teresa Kim submitted a FOIA request for documents related to the report.
4. All of the documents were submitted to Siemer.
5. They wanted documents that they knew were not in existence at the time of the request and yet Seimer filed a civil suit on behalf of Fitial.
6. Jessica Charles FOIA Specialist for the DOI submitted a declaration, as did Pam, which clearly explained that the DOI met the FOIA request.
7. Siemer made a "statement of genuine issues" that makes the CNMI government (and her) look foolish and unprofessional by making unfounded claims against the ombudsman and the process.
8. Seimer, Kim, and Fitial will push this baseless case in court and will most likely get slapped down as was the case with the anti-federal lawsuit. It will cost the CNMI lots of money that could be used elsewhere. It will cost the US taxpayers lots of money that could be better spent elsewhere. This US taxpayer says enough with the frivolous lawsuits that Fitial and his pals pursue against the federal government. I am sick of financing his temper tantrums.
9. Among court documents is Seimer's declaration, which like all Fitial documents, presents the facts from a seriously bizarre perspective. Her writing, as in the annual DOL reports, Fitial lawsuit, and other Fitial Administration documents, shows an inappropriate competitive slant with hostile vengeful overtones that are out of place in legal documents and unrelated to facts and logic.
10. Court documents reveal Seimer's insistence that the birth dates of the aliens in documents submitted by DOI not be redacted suggesting ill-motives on the part of the CNMI. The DOI attorneys point out that they are exempt to protect individuals from "injury and harassment." Considering the record of this extremely alien-hostile and oppressive Administration, the redaction of birth dates is necessary.
11. This same Governor has refused to disclose the invoices and amount of payment to Deanne Seimer that Tina Sablan requested i her OGA request. CNMI Departments still did not release documents to Ms. Sablan. My OGA request was dismissed by the Fitial Administration, as are almost all of them. It is ironic that the DOI met the requirements of the FOIA request and yet the CNMI still has a case in court. One should assume they have one set of rules for themselves in relation to open government and another for the federal government. So typical, so wrong.

Anonymous said...

Shredding those documents might constitute a federal offense. The FBI should investigate this. There are names of illegal aliens on the list, possible DHS territory now.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 6:59

Seriously? Might? There is a law against shredding notes and documents used to write a report? Really?

You claim that there are names of illegal aliens on that list. How do you know that? You mean those cheated workers waiting for justice that had outstanding cases that CNMI DOL labeled as illegals? Aliens with outstanding labor cases and court cases? Aliens that were appealing, but DOL threw out all of the appeals? And why wouldn't the former CNMI Department of Immigration have maintained a list of "illegals?" These CNMI agencies -DOL and Immigration- claimed that they had a better system than the federal system so why would they need the ombudsman's documents? This is not even logical.

This is asinine. Another Fitial-Seimer vendetta and a way for them to take digs at the office they love to hate. The FBI has enough real work. They still need to investigate the cop who beat up a Chinese worker, get to the bottom of the election fraud by the OAG and DPS, investigate the DOC and Juvenile detention center and check out the fraud in federal grants.

Anonymous said...

You don't give a list of the Jews you know to the Nazis, and you don't give info on alien workers to DOLI.

Anonymous said...

The real issue here is why does Interior keep giving grant money to this organized crime organization? Is Tony Babauta some kind of moron? If Fitial's got money for BS lawsuits against the ombudsman, he doesn't need any more federal taxpayer money.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:40 I agree. Most Americans would cringe if they knew what was happening with their tax dollars or to what corrupt government it was being funneled. The DOI should be giving some of the millions to the Ombudsman Office to hire attorneys to prosecute the employers and businesses that stole their wages, to investigate who (what agency and officials) allowed this, and to prosecute them too.

Wendy said...

Oh, and no, Tony Babatua is not a moron...

Anonymous said...

The use of federal funds for certain CNMI projects frees up their other funds for anti-federal lawsuits. Just as providing federal funds to Planned Parenthood frees up their other funds for abortions.

50 million (and counting) innocent human lives painfully slaughtered since January 22, 1973! When will it stop?

This is the preeminent moral issue facing our country and Commonwealth, not the grievances of guest workers who are fighting tooth and nail to remain in the CNMI so they can receive more "abuse".

Wendy said...

Anonymous 6:36 You are a prime example of what is wrong with our country today. You spew out untruths with authority like they are facts and confuse issues. FOCUS! Federal funds cannot legally be used for abortions. Stop the lie.

The issue of status may not be your most important issue but it is the most important issue for the LEGAL, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI. They have been routinely cheated of wages and never made whole. They have worked and sacrificed to advance the economy and benefit the community in the CNMI for decades. They are as deserving to be US citizens as any of the residents of the CNMI were in the 1980s when they got their US citizenship handed to them without any interference or opinions from other US citizens. No racism, no attacks, no protests -the residents of the CNMI just received a big welcome.

Anonymous said...

Federal funds cannot legally be used to sue the federal government, either. Stop the lie.

Speaking of which, if guest workers in the CNMI have it so bad, why are they trying so hard to remain?

Wendy said...

Who do you think pays to run the courts and for the US attorneys? The federal taxpayers! They are staying to recoup their losses and to try to better their lives.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mam Wendy,

The immigration issue about the LEGAL CW is important. Knowing what will happen to these legal CW will somehow stabilze the economy of the island. The ignorant people should think outside the box, remove the bits that cover their one direction focused eyes.

The question "why are these workers still here if they are having a hard time?" have a lot of answers from different people's perspective. 1. A lot of them are still waiting to get paid of what they are owed. 2. These people consider Saipan as their second home since they'd been here for ages, including me. 3. If these people are given status, they will not leave Saipan just like that. These people will nurture, will build the economy of this island.

And by the way, this might not be an issue here but I'm still enraged when anti CWs that CW wants status for free. CW knows that there are fees to be paid, rules, procedures to follow, etc. In addition, not free, because they work hard for years here and are still working very very hard.

The local are the lucky ones who got if for FREE. They just woke up one morning with the CITIZENSHIP on their plates. They should be thankful! I also agree with one of the writers saying that this island is a christian island but seems like they don't know what the meaning of Christianity. Count your blessings!

Anonymous said...

The indigenous people of the CNMI got nothing for free. They gave up 2/3 of Tinian, Tanapag Harbor, Farallon de Medinilla, and the 200-mile EEZ surrounding their islands worth containing resources worth billions of dollars.

And if that weren't enough, the Chamorro and Refaluwasch members of our armed forces continue to shed blood and give their lives almost every year in defense of our nation.

They were also educated for citizenship under the TTPI from 1947 to 1976.

Those who hold such a patronizing and demeaning idea that the locals got their citizenship "for free" (as did every other native-born American based on the unmerited accident of their birth to U.S. parents) are not yet worthy of U.S. citizenship themselves.

It is not an entitlement.