CNMI LeakSource: First Leak Exposed

September 16, 2012

A new website has been launched in the CNMI in the interest of open government. CNMI LeakSource is the work of five concerned CNMI citizens. In a place where corruption, cover-ups, back-door deals and sole-source contracts are common place, this is surely a welcome site. Any CNMI citizen can submit documents completely anonymously to the CNMI LeakSource.

About CNMI LeakSource:

Who is CNMI LeakSource? CNMI LeakSource states:
"There seems to be a misconception on Facebook that CNMI LeakSource is a project of Anonymous Saipan. While Anonymous Saipan supports our venture, CNMI LeakSource has no connection with Anonymous Saipan. Anonymous Saipan supports us because what we are doing is in a similar vein to Project Mayhem 2012, which they will be launching in December. CNMI LeakSource is the brainchild of 5 concerned CNMI residents, and is not connected to or affiliated with any other organizations or people."
Why was CNMI LeakSource founded? CNMI LeakSource states:
CNMI LeakSource was founded because of the obvious lack of transparency when it comes to our government officials and their business partners. We believe that certain corrupt individuals are only able to continue their corruption because the public is largely unaware of their acts. In an effort to finally put an end to corruption in the CNMI, we launched CNMI LeakSource as a way for anyone in the islands to take part in whistleblower activities with the safety and comfort of guaranteed anonymity; thus removing any chances of repercussion in the future, and removing any fears of retribution that would normally hold someone back from releasing something that the public deserves to know. 
The site is part of the movement for public transparency as established by Wikileaks, but it is also precursor to a much larger idea called Project Mayhem 2012, which is being handled by Anonymous and will launch in December of this year. 
This venture is completely CNMI-based, with no outside assistance from any other organizations or websites. 
The idea began at around the time that former CNMI AG Buckingham was assisted by the police in his attempt to evade a court summons. We, the founders, decided that there had to be some good people working for the government; people who, out of their love for these islands, would be willing to transcend party politics and/or family ties for the good of the CNMI as a whole. It was upon this principle that we launched CNMI LeakSource, but submissions are open to anyone who has information to be brought to public light, not just government employees.
These are tough times for us all, and part of the reason we are in this mess today is because of all the shady backdoor deals and agreements and obstructions of justice that have gone on without our knowledge (take, for example, all of the lobbying we did without public knowledge in the '90s to prolong the suffering of our guest workers, or the recent sole source energy deal that Governor Fitial made, or even the "mystery" of who it was that ordered police to assist in Buckingham's attempted escape). In order to help build a more prosperous future for our islands, we encourage everyone who is in a position to do so/who has access to "sensitive" documents pertaining to the CNMI and public officials to submit any information and documents that they believe the people have a right to know about. Just like Abraham Lincoln, we are firm believers "in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."  
How do you keep the identity of those who submit information or documents anonymous? From CNMI Leak Source:
The site itself is not encrypted, but our submission form is. In order to encourage others to come forward with their submissions, we realized the importance of guaranteeing complete anonymity to people. In order to achieve this, the submission form we use on the site is encrypted and it allows for anonymous submission. The form records nothing but the information that you personally submit. We have no way of tracking you down, nor do we have any interest in doing so. All we care about is the information you are submitting.  The site ensures source protection by anonymizing each submission so that we cannot track you down, even if we wanted to (which, we wouldn't, because we care about your information, not who you are). The form submission has no way of tracking or recording your IP address or your email address, or any other information that might lead to the discovery of your identity. We needed to make absolutely sure of this in order to encourage submissions from the public, so we tested out several different submission methods before settling on our current system. 
Does CNMI LeakSource redact or censor documents? From CNMI Leak Source:
We feel that the public has the right to know everything involving our public officials and their business partners, so we will not redact or censor any personal details of those people who may be involved in leaked documents. If, however, the leaked document mentions the names or other details of victims who would otherwise have no connection with the leak, we will protect the victims' privacy by redacting their names. We do this because we feel that the shame one experiences by being a victim (of, let's say, sexual abuse/harassment, for example) is already too much without the added embarrassment of being thrown into the public light in that fashion. 
We are all about 100% transparency within all levels of government.
FIRST LEAK: Bench Warrant for Saipan Mayor Flores

CNMI LeakSource received an anonymous leak revealing that Saipan Mayor Donald Flores had a bench warrant issued for his arrest since January 13, 2012, and STILL the CNMI Department of Public Safety did not arrest him!

This is serious not only because the individual is the mayor, but because the incompetence of the CNMI DPS has risen to such heights that it no longer functions as a law enforcement agency. The DPS hires police officers with criminal records, assisted the former CNMI Attorney General, Edward Buckingham to evade being served a court summons (assaulting a reporter in the process), and cannot investigate common burglaries or solve serious cases.

Are the DPS officers incapable of arresting the mayor as ordered? Assuming that this warrant is still valid, why hasn't the DPS arrested Mayor Flores? Why hasn't the judge taken steps to ensure that the warrant is followed through? It is not like they cannot find the mayor!

Why wasn't the fact that the Saipan mayor has an active bench warrant for his arrest publicized in the CNMI press?

Why is the federal government continuing to fund a police force that clearly does not enforce the law and even breaks the law to aide and abet select criminals?

Apparently Donald Flores was being sued by Dollar Rent a Car for failing to pay a debt to the company. According to the bench warrant, the mayor was ordered to appear in court on December 7, 2011. He failed to appear.

On January 13, 2012 Associate Judge Perry Inos issued a bench warrant for his arrest. It reads: "To any police officer, marshall or any other person authorized by law to execute warrants of arrest:  YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO ARREST AND TAKE CUSTODY OF THE BODY OF DONALD FLORES, Defendant herein for failure to appear in court on December 7, 2011 for proceeding on the Plaintiff's Motion for Order to Show Cause."

As an elected official, the mayor should follow the laws of the CNMI.  I am sure that all elected officials take an oath to uphold the laws. There appears to be an attitude in the CNMI that an elected official is above the law.  Why did Flores fail to pay what he owed to the rental agency and why did he fail to show up at the court proceeding?

Such illegal and irresponsible behavior should not be condoned.  In fact, isn't this really one of the basic problems of the CNMI –the fact that the public looks the other way while criminals steal, cheat and harm others? Isn't this how the tab that the thieving CNMI employers' owe the foreign workers sky-rocketed to over $6.1 million? What if the first employers who engaged in wage theft were arrested, instead of being allowed to get away with their crimes and facing absolutely no consequences for their crimes? Doesn't the attitude of ignoring criminal acts perpetuate crime?

I hope that CNMI LeakSource inspires the public to not only expose corruption, but to unite to stop it.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello folks, CNMI LeakSource here. People have been submitting leaks to us today without any attached documents. Please know that we will not publish any submitted leaks unless supporting documents are provided as evidence to your claims. We hope you understand. To publish your leaks without supporting documents is, at the very least, bad form. Please be sure to attach any supporting documents in the future. Thank you.