Open Letter to President Bush Re: I was a blind Air Traffic Controller
From: James A. Bergquist
Date: 19 May 2003
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Santee, CA. 92071
May 19, 2003
President Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Via Fax: (202) 456-2461 Via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is James Bergquist, former FAA air traffic controller and head of our union, NATCA, in San Diego. . In the past, I have sent you several letters informing you of massive corruption in your administration relating to aviation safety. I also told you that I had seen over half of my co-workers using drugs on the job and had been fired for telling management about it. They covered it up even after a second controller came forward to confirm my allegations. My Congressman, Huncan Hunter, sent me a letter saying that the FAA told him that no notes were taken in this second investigation. I also told you that I had used drugs as a USAF and FAA controller since 1972. We were warned in advance of “random” drug tests.
See my last letter to you at….
You have not replied to this 10/17/01 letter.
In that letter, I told you that the FAA hired one of my co-workers after he have been busted in the Navy TWICE for dealing drugs. He told the FAA about it and they hired him anyway. This same controller used to go with me when I would visit control towers as NATCA representative in San Diego. He would sell them a variety of drugs right in the tower cab. Now he owns an apartment building here in San Diego.
I told you that I had seen this all my life. My father was a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot and an FAA air traffic controller who was a severe alcoholic. He used to drink brandy in his P-47 on combat missions. Here is his biography…
I was hired TWICE by the FAA after they found out that I had some severe vision problems. So severe, in fact, that I would become completely blind.
I served in the USAF as an air traffic controller at Scott AFB tower, Phu Cat RAPCON (radar approach control), and Travis AFB, CA. RAPCON. I reenlisted at Travis and served my county for over 6 years.
While at Travis AFB, I volunteered for an assignment to Torrejon AFB, Madrid, Spain and was stationed at Andrews AFB while attending a 6-month long DOD language school. The Air Force had joint-use airfields and they required all controllers to be able to coordinate with their controllers in Spanish. During the course, our orders were changed to Zaragosa AFB in Barcelona. My wife and the wife of one of my classmates refused to accompany us citing the lack of medical facilities at Zaragosa. I had a year-old daughter and was concerned that my marriage was over. My friend had been married for only a month.
He and I went to the Andrews base Chaplin, our squadron commander, and to the flight surgeon in an attempt to get out of the assignment and save our marriages. My friend said he was suffering from nightmares of crashing airplanes. Every controller knows this trick. If you ever want out, tell them you see them prang in and just can’t seem to get it out of your mind, it works every time. Sure enough, he was released from the assignment. But he was allowed to stay in the USAF as a controller! What a shock that was!
I told the flight surgeon that I was suffering from migraine headaches with tunnel vision where I wouldn’t be able to see anything to the side and said sometime it was so bad that I lost all sight. I also told him that I was suffering from anxiety about my situation.
I got out of the assignment and worked in Base Operations at ADW pending re-assignment as an ATC. I was shocked to see the USAF was willing to keep me on as a controller with my medical problems.
When I got my new assignment, I realized that I was being punished for rocking the boat. I was assigned to Glasgow AFB, Montana, near the Canadian boarder. In my 6 years in the USAF, I had never heard of this base. It was an emergency landing strip for B-52’s and had no traffic. I got my letter from my new tower chief saying “If you like hunting and fishing, you’ll love Glasgow”. It went on to say “Look for a 2-story house so you can get out when the snow gets deep”
I wrote a letter to my Congressman from Illinois, Melvin Price, and he intervened. I put in for a discharge and got out.
That fall, I was surprised to get a letter from the Veterans Administration saying my migraine headaches and tunnel vision were service connected. I never put in a claim. Here’s the document…
I took the FAA’s test twice and twice got a perfect score (105% with 5 pt. veterans preference). In my six years in the USAF, I never saw anyone get over 90% on the first try. I was assigned to Flagstaff, AZ tower. Within days, I got another letter stating my medical history disqualified me from employment with the FAA. They cited my “migraine headaches with tunnel vision” and my “anxiety” as the reason.
You can see the documents at….
When I contacted the WP regional flight surgeon, Dr. Frank Raymond, he was not concerned about my vision problems at all. He told me that he was concerned about my anxiety. After years of fighting them, the FAA told me they would hire me if I passed a psychiatric examination and I made an appointment with the FAA’s Dr. Goldsband in San Diego. I could not have denied the vision problem and I can only assume that they wanted to punish me for bothering them with paperwork by having me spend some $5000 in a wasted attempt to have THEIR shrink examine me when they knew I would never see the report.
I had to go deeply in debt to pay for the weeklong exam. When it was complete, the Dr. told me he was going to lunch and would be back in an hour. He opened the report and put it in front of me and left. I read the report and was pleased to see a very positive report saying that I was fine.
When I contacted the FAA, they told me that the report was negative. I hired a PATCO attorney, Mr.Victor I. Reichman, who contacted Dr. Raymond on my behalf. When he tried to get the FAA to send me a copy, they told me that it was the property of the FAA and they would not release it.
About three years later, I found out that there was a new WP region flight surgeon. I met with him and he told me that he couldn’t hire me without a new exam. Again, he was not concerned about my vision problems.
I figured I was going to get chumped again, but had to take the chance. When I met with the psychiatrist again, he said, “What are you doing here, I gave you a good report years ago?” He examined me again and to my amazement, the FAA hired me in 1980.
This time, I was assigned to Brown Field, in San Diego. I was hired 13 days before I turned 31, the age limit the FAA imposed for hiring controllers. I went back to the FAA academy in Oklahoma City. There, in the main hallway were class photos from years past and I could see my Dad’s classes from 1958-59.
I was my class leader and one of my jobs was to get the “practice programs” from an out-going class. We knew which programs we would be running on test day and had copies of all the written tests. The instructors knew it and we would openly talk to us about it. A large portion of our grades was instructor evaluation of our “technique” and, therefore, it didn’t really matter, according to them. Here’s some material for an end of phase test…
We all practiced running problems almost every night after school and on the weekends. Drugs were not tested and over half of the students were using.
Being a union man, I was getting everyone in my class fired up about the upcoming PATCO strike. I told my classmates we were going to strike and get a big pay raise.
The graduation rate was only 30%. I had six years ATC experience in both tower and radar and thought I was a shoe-in. Statistics showed that prior experience was a deterrent in the FAA’s school and, in our class of 18 students, only ten graduated. I failed. All ten who made it went on strike and were fired by President Reagan. That made it possible for me to get back in. Flunking out of that school was the best thing that ever happened to me.
In 1983, I was working as a 911 operator for the San Diego Police Department when one of my 1980 classmates was hired. She suggested I apply again and I was shocked to get re-hired. I was assigned to Long Beach Tower, one of the busiest control towers in the country. There I saw controllers drinking and using drugs on lunch breaks and after work. I had to go back to the academy again and this time, I took no chances. We were not allowed to leave the campus at lunch, because they didn’t want us fraternizing with the instructors, but I would meet my instructors to a local bar and take their money at the pool table. We would all get drunk on our lunch break. When I bumped into them in the parking lot on our return, they used to say “You weren’t off campus, were you?” I would vehemently deny it and we would have a good laugh. Again, I saw massive cheating and drug use at the academy.
Apparently, my “technique” had improved in my second attempt at the academy, and I graduated with a very high score. After the PATCO strike, the FAA had raised the age limit from 30 to 35 to attract more controllers. I had turned 36 and was ineligible, but the FAA said that once I was hired before turning 31, even though I had flunked out of the school, that counted and the age limit was waived in my case. Later, at Montgomery Field, I became the NATCA facility representative and later became the San Diego County representative and was responsible for five control towers and San Diego Approach Control, where I had previously worked as an Air Traffic Assistant..
In 1992, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of a career as an air traffic controller and my tour of duty in Vietnam. I was surprised to see he saw my service in Vietnam as stressful. We barely talked about it other than me telling him I was not an infantryman and up to my neck in muck and bullets. I told him I had a lot of fun there and had many great memories of Phu Cat.
You may view the following incidents as stressful, but when you are young, you don’t see it that way. See…
Funny, in all those years of working as a controller, I never had any bad dreams or any symptoms relating to PTSD until the day my tower chief gave me 6 months leave without pay (LWOP) four hours after telling him about alcohol and drugs being used on the job by my co-workers. That was some seventeen years after Vietnam. No bad dreams about crashing airplanes or Vietnam. Why did the FAA hire me when I had all these medical problems? Am I just another “isolated” case or are there many more blind controllers out there? Just how many of these “isolated” cases does it take to be a real safety problem? One, two, three blind controllers?
Most controllers love the job. I did. I loved it so much I took videos at work. That’s how I got the movie of the near miss at Long Beach tower while the controller in charge of the position is mooning my camera. You could always tell the ones who couldn’t deal with the stress. When I came to work and the sky was full, I jumped into it. But others used to look around and just sigh. At San Diego Approach Control, we had a filing cabinet in the radar room with nothing in it but aspirin and antacids. If you wanted any other drugs, you had to bring your own.
There is an identical story to mine involving the crash of US1493 at LAX. The control tower operator, Robin Lee Wascher, was cited as the cause of the accident in which 34 people died and many more were injured…..
ROBIN LEE WASCHER
Medical Class: Second Medical Date: 10/1983 MUST WEAR CORRECTIVE LENSES DOI: 12/02/1990 Certificate: CONTROL TOWER OPERATOR Limits LOS ANGELES TOWER, LOS ANGELES, CA
She had been an USAF controller who got out of the Air Force after her parents were killed in an aircraft accident. She told her flight surgeon that she wanted out of the field because of the crash and was discharged. She later applied with the FAA. They hired her too.
After the 1981 PATCO strike by over 10,000 controllers, President Reagan needed controllers badly. So badly, in fact, that they hired my co-worker after they knew that he had no ATC experience after being busted while attending the Navy’s ATC school, and was busted a second time while pushing a mop around an aircraft carrier. They hired me after I had washed out of the Academy in 1980, and re-hired me after I passed the new older age limit, had previously suffered from stress, and was blind.
I have finally found a former FAA air traffic controller who was fired for allegedly using drugs. His name is Mr. J.Anderson. He was working at Jacksonville, FL ARTCC. He was not well liked because he didn’t socialize with many of his co-workers.
The FAA wanted to get rid of him, so they got two of his co-workers to come forward and accuse him of using drugs off duty. When they accused him, they admitted using drugs themselves. The DOT IG sent a huge team from Washington HQ to investigate.
When questioned, Mr. Anderson admitted seeing his two accusers using but denied using himself. He was fired and was told he was singled out for being the one who “instigated” the drug use. His two accusers, the only ones we know about that really used drugs, were rewarded for bringing the drug use to the attention of the FAA. It appears as if we have two air traffic controllers using drugs and the FAA looks the other way. Mr. Anderson says he wants to testify about this incident.
I didn’t get any big investigative team from my regional office. My manager interviewed me and three other controllers. We had a lot of other controllers who were not interviewed because management knew they were using drugs too. When a second controller came forward 6 weeks later with identical allegations, the hub manager and my manager interviewed me again. They were busy taking notes, but when my Congressman, Duncan Hunter, asked the FAA for information, they said no notes were taken. They interviewed the second accuser over the phone. She was immediately taken out of the Naval Reserves. This is tampering with witnesses. When I got her on the stand in a Merit Systems Protection Board hearing, she told a different story, and got the largest promotion I have ever seen in the FAA. Later, I got her on tape saying the accused had admitted to her that he had used drugs at work. I sent this tape to your father and he did nothing. What kind of investigation about alcohol and drug use on the job is done without taking any notes?
I told you that I used pot off duty and that I saw USAF and FAA controllers using drugs on the job and being tipped off about drug testing since 1972. I have seen only one fired in Miami after a controller there overdosed on heroin in the tower. Another controller had contacted WPLG describing drug use at Miami tower as “rampant”. What kind of feeble investigation went on there? Why weren’t the tower chiefs of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale fired for tipping off their controllers about “random” drug testing? Why wasn’t my tower chief fired for tipping us off? Instead, I was fired for telling him about his controllers using drugs on the job.
I have been the acting supervisor and tried to send someone home because they looked like they had a little too much to drink or smoke. Since I used drugs with them off-duty, they wouldn’t worry about it and would simply admit it to me. Then they would laugh at me and refuse to leave. I had to hear things like “What are you, nuts, I’m not going to waste my sick leave”. I knew if I ratted anyone out, I would be the one who got the shaft. When they screwed up, how was I to know if the error was drug-related? So the only thing I could do was to put them on flight data/clearance delivery until they sobered up and try to keep a close eye on them so they wouldn’t sneak off and burn another one in the restroom or out on the catwalk. Once I was working on a very busy Saturday afternoon when I saw smoke just outside the window. I leaned forward to see this guy on the catwalk, smiling at me with a joint in his mouth and blowing it my way.
One time at Mongomery tower, I was scheduled to work a Saturday afternoon shift, and was so hung over that I took almost an hour to get a saltine cracker down. I called in sick and the acting supervisor told me to come in anyway. I got half way to work and got rid of the saltine. I called in again from a public phone and pleaded for him to let me go back home. He told me to continue in to work. When I finally got there, I was put on local control to let my trainer take a break. After a couple minutes, I told the supervisor that I had to lay down immediately and he called the break room and told my trainer to come back up right away as I was going to get sick again. They didn’t care how sick I was just as long as they could take a break. I’ve seen a lot of sick controllers working traffic when they should have been home in bed.
When I got to Montgomery ATCT, I had to enter training and show my ability to work traffic at a certain level before I was on my own. I took me over a year mainly because my trainer was always drunk or hung over and didn’t like to train.
It took me over a year to get rated at Montgomery because my trainer was drunk, hung over, or just didn’t feel like training me that day. I saw other trainees fired who were doing better than I was. They were canned because they didn’t socialize with the rest of us. I threw a lot of parties at my house and I used to bring donuts in to work on the dayshift. Everybody likes the guy who brings in the donuts. If you forget to collect any money, all the better.
The day I got signed off, the chief called me into his office and said he wanted to give me a little advice. He said, “Bergquist, don’t jack off no spiders”. I knew that he didn’t want anybody creating any extra work for him by making waves.
When I was in training, I had an PA-32 Lance lose all power on takeoff. He told me he was “going in”. I got the emergency equipment going and had a helicopter follow the guy to get a better location for the SDFD. My trainer suddenly started yelling at me for acting without consulting her. She was plugged into the position with me and had override capability, but never said a word. I assumed that she was letting me go because I was taking care of everything. There was no time to wait for her. She was in another drunken stupor and talking with her boyfriend on ground control. He was busy getting the crash equipment moving and was ignoring her, but she didn’t know it.
One time, my trainer, her boyfriend, and I were in a bar at the beach. She was very drunk and left her little kid on a barstool so he could bang on the pinball machine. He was just beginning to walk and would take off if you didn’t watch him closely. Suddenly, the cops arrive and ask her where her son was. Her son had gotten down and walked out into the street. She started crying to the cops and they let her have the kid back.
When this same controller was in training at Montgomery, she was failing out of training. I heard she was really stressed out and would spend her breaks in her car in the parking lot and come back with booze on her breath. She went to her doctor and was removed from training because she was pregnant and couldn’t walk up the 6 flights to the tower cab. I would have difficulty too if I was drunk. So she spent the next several months in the chief’s office on the 4th floor. They were fast friends and when I got there, she would visit with him before coming up to the cab, again with booze on her breath. Her favorite watering hole was the Casa Machado, a Mexican restaurant at the terminal. Everyone knew her there.
I told you that my co-worker and I both went to the chief about my trainer coming to work drunk at least once a week. He came up to the tower cab and when I motioned for him to come over and smell her, he refused. Later, he told us that she wasn’t “slurring her words or tripping over her microphone cord”.
My co-worker was so upset with the chief that he decided to flaunt it in his face and started drinking on the day shift at 7AM. That was the final straw for me. When he refused to apologize to the others on his crew, I went to the chief about him. Within four hours, my career was over. Actually, he interviewed one of the female controllers and gave me the shaft just thirty minutes later. It looks like doing the right thing was the wrong thing to do.
I have been telling your father, President Clinton, and you about this massive corruption for 14 years now and I see NO interest on the part of the govt. to address this problem.
In an effort to let the American people know the truth about aviation safety, I and other FAA whistle-blowers have been sending our material to the Aviation Subcommittee of Congress, the Senate Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Oversight and Investigation. We repeatedly asked to testify to the Congress about these crimes. When they refused to act, I began taping telephone calls to them to document this inaction, just in case the press or crash victims families wanted to know who they were dealing with. I want to see a real investigation of this entire matter.
I recently read the NTSB’s final report on AS261 at….
There is some information that is absent. No mention of FAA whistle-blower and former FAA lead inspector of Alaska Airlines who was fired for exposing crimes in the FAA and at the airline. This FAA lead inspector sent you a letter on 1/26/01 and she hasn’t heard from you for close to two years now. Here’s her story and the letter….
In well over 2 years, she never got any response from you. Now she has sent another letter to the US Attorney and still another letter to you. Here it is again…
There is an identical story here. Mr. Rodney Stich was an FAA airline inspector of United Airlines in the 50’s. It appears that the same crimes were committed half a century ago and nothing has changed.
Lately, I have read articles about the government’s concern of airliners being brought down by a terrorist missile attack. Read the letter Rodney sent to Arlan Spector warning of missile attacks on civilian airlines just before TW800…
In my last letter to you, I told you about another FAA whistle-blower named Steve Elson. Read the articles from 60 Minutes at..
I understand all about the “Evil Empire” and the “Axis of evil”. From my view, it’s been run from Washington DC where the watchword seems to be “Doing the wrong thing IS the right thing to do”.
We need some whistle-blower protection in America. If there was whistle-blower protection, someone at Boston Logan might have caught the terrorists on 9/11. If someone would have listened to Mary Rose Diefenderfer, the FAA’s lead inspector for Alaska Airlines before AS261, someone would have been making Alaska airlines do the maintenance on the aircraft instead of just writing it off. AS261 might have been averted.
What does it take to get fired as a civil “Serpent”? Picket, Anderson, and I all found out what I takes to get fired. Pickett got fired for reporting his superiors at the IRS were violating the American people’s constitutional rights. Mr. Anderson found out when he told management about controllers using drugs off duty. I found out how within four hours of telling my tower chief about drug use by controllers at work. My tower chief knew who was using drugs. He knew I was using drugs. He told us about random drug testing. Just like the tower chiefs at Miami and Ft. Lauderdale tipped their controllers off.
You may ask yourself if I have been a troublemaker or been in any trouble before. The only negative entry in my FAA file was when my tower chief reprimanded me for getting into a shouting match with a female controller in the tower cab. He said I had to be ordered to leave the cab and that I continued the argument downstairs. The truth is that she was arguing with another controller. The supervisor and I were the ones who told them to take it downstairs to the break room. They left the cab. When the chief jumped me, I produced the position logs to prove I remained on my position and told him that he had the wrong man. The chief refused to take it out of my file. I brought this evidence to my Merit Systems Protection Board hearing appealing my six months LWOP with no effect.
Shortly after this shouting match, I applied for a position at San Francisco tower. I flew to SFO and spent the day watching their operation. I was denied this promotion and was told there were “no qualified bidders”. I was a qualified bidder, but the chief put the kibosh on it.
My Father was a whistle-blower too. His first job in the FAA was at Columbus, OH ATCT in 1946. His chief was building a case against one of his co-workers, using “bad phraseology” as the reason. One day, the chief was in the cab working local and BS’ing with the airline pilots. The next day, Dad stole the facility tapes and took them to the Regional Office in Chicago. The people in the RO told him they would look into it and told him to go back and say nothing. The next day, his chief pulled him in and chewed him out was taking government property and ratting him out to his superiors. He had to stay at Columbus for another year with the chief on his butt before he could get away. He was proud of what his did, but learned his lesson. Doing the right thing was the wrong thing to do.
When I was just a kid and living in London, my father got a subpoena to testify in a lawsuit filed by a widow of a pilot who died while he was working at MSP ATCT. Apparently, this guy went out on the runway without permission and got caught in the prop wash of a landing airliner. The plane flipped over and he died along with his secretary.
The attorneys told my father that they had discovered that the guy was messing around with the secretary and they had receipts from the motel, restaurants, and even knew they would hang out at the racetrack.
They sprang this information on the widow just before trial and the poor woman was forced to settle with the government to keep her children from discovering this information. I have heard you say that the safety of the American people is your number one concern. I don’t see it. Who is really concerned about aviation safety in our country? It doesn’t appear to be the government, the families, or the press. My Congressman, Duncan Hunter, along with my California Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, did the rope-a-dope on me and did absolutely nothing. I contacted two other San Diego Congressmen, Bob Filner and Vietnam Ace, Randy “Duke” Cunningham. They simply passed the buck telling me that I was not their constituent and referred the letters to Duncan Hunter. They weren’t concerned about the thousands of their constituents who fly out of San Diego everyday. No family members have contacted us wishing to assist us. We have delivered our proof of these crimes to the press worldwide, and they have chosen to refuse to tell the people the truth. I have told you about controllers using drugs on the job, dealing drugs on Government property, getting tipped off by management about “random” drug tests”, sleeping on the job, leaving work early and falsifying attendance logs to cover the fact, watching TV on the job, and told you I had two video tapes of sexual harassment on the job, management tampering with witnesses in a Federal hearing, and the theft of government property, and I can’t get YOU or any government agency to respond to my letter in well over a year now. How bad could the system possibly be? You will soon find out. The information I have provided you is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a lot more to say in my next letter to you. The American people are forced to rely on the NTSB to investigate aviation disasters so these tragedies might not have to happen over and over again. But, the opposite is true, They lie, falsify the facts, tamper with evidence, tamper with witnesses, and they allow the aircraft and engine manufacturers to join in on the investigation. Then, they offer suggestions to the FAA who ignore them. What a mess! Mr. Gregory Feith, the lead investigator of the crash of ValuJet flight 592, is a prime example. I have said that my belief was that there was some NTSB golf tournament shortly after the crash. They altered the FAA tapes. We have discovered some 90 seconds missing. We had those oxygen canisters tested and got a completely different outcome from the NTSB. Recently, I heard the news that during the crash in Charlotte, NC, the pilots managed to declare an emergency but didn’t have the time to tell us what the problem was. What difference would that make? In the case of VJ592, the CVR tells us that they had an electrical problem and they mention losing a buss. An anonymous VJ mechanic called the FAA three days after the crash and he said circuit breakers were “bypassed”. The NTSB managed to ignore all the evidence and their tests of the canisters in the cargo bay were totally inaccurate. With all the government’s resources at his disposal, one would think Mr. Feith would find the true cause of this crash. Placing blame on the oxygen canisters was a cheap fix for the airlines. Re-wiring the world’s aircraft will cost billions. In my view, Mayberry’s Deputy Barney Fife could have solved this one Here’s the truth…
http://www.flight592.com/Flight592Discussion-Current/_disc5/00000152.htm http://www.flight592.com/Flight592Discussion-Current/_disc5/0000013a.htm http://www.flight592.com/Flight592Discussion-Current/_disc5/0000013b.htm http://www.flight592.com/NTSB/an.htm I sent this information to the American Civil Liberties Union. When I talked to the President of the ACLU, she described my allegations as “devastating”, but told me here organization couldn’t help us. Mr. President, by you ignoring this issue, aren’t you supporting terrorism? If drug use supports terrorism and YOU are apparently pro drugs by refusing to address this drug use by air traffic controllers, then you are supporting terrorism. According to Nick and Norm in the recent commercials sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Policy at… http://www.theantidrug.com/ You are supporting terrorism. My life has been threatened. The FBI refused to investigate the threat. We have tried to contact the FBI to assist in the investigation of TW800. Look at the letter and the envelope. http://www.flight592.com/Flight592Discussion-Current/_disc5/000000cb.htm http://members.aol.com/papcecst/kollstrom.html The FBI and NTSB wouldn’t allow eyewitnesses to the crash of TW800 testify…. http://www.twa800video.com/reviews.html How are we going to find Osama when our intelligence agencies are so inept? Osama could be driving a cab in Washington DC and the FBI couldn’t find him. They couldn’t find Elizebeth Smart and she was right under their noses. Is it any wonder that I now suffer from PTSD? I now have frequent nightmares. They started when my career was taken away from me. They are not about Vietnam. There are to do with a situation, which I have had to live with for almost 15 years now. I know that these bad dreams will subside or disappear altogether if and when the problem is fixed. Is this the treatment our government dishes out to loyal civil servants? Congressional hearings are little more than a joke. They appear to be scripted. Is it possible that the witnesses are told the questions they will be asked in advance? When they hold hearings on aviation safety and we contact them, they refuse to let us speak. Aren’t we the very people who should be testifying?. Instead, the truth is being kept from we, the people. Is this the “land of the free and the home of the brave”? What good is it to have freedom of the press when the government tells the press what they can report? The “free press” is in a state of disrepair. When I see the way they protect and aid in the cover-up of these crimes, I can only wonder about all the other things they are hiding from us. If the press were to report the truth, they would immediately be blackballed by the government and, without sources and advertising revenue would be finished in no time. You are about to go to war with the “Evil empire” and you have told us that Saddam has killed his own people using “weapons of mass destruction” How are we any better than Saddam or Hitler when the US Govt. released biological and chemical agents for a period of some 20 years and in 239 areas in our country, one of which was just 5 miles from Robbinsdale, MN., where I lived in 1953 at the age of four. The government even gassed our military. Years later, my government sprayed agent orange in the Phu Cat area. The planes which did the spraying were “Ranch hand” C-123 Providers stationed at Phu Cat.
One of our nation’s worst aviation disasters occurred here in San Diego on September 25, 1978. 144 people died. I was in the post office at Grim Avenue and North Park Way. I heard a loud bang and thought it was a vehicle accident in the street. Suddenly, a mailman came in the door and said, “A 727 is coming down on fire”. All the other mailmen ran for the door to see. I walked to the door because I didn’t really want to see a planeload of people die. When I got outside, the 727 was impacting just 3 blocks away. I’ll never forget that sound. The ground shook like an earthquake. In another second the smoke started to rise. One of the mailmen ran to his car and took off. I yelled at him to stay away. There was nothing he could do but get in the way. I had been a dispatcher for the SDFD and some of my friends asked me if I wanted to see the official photos of the crash scene. I declined. Body parts hanging in trees are not something I can stomach. One of the people who worked at the PO had a body come through the wall of her house…
I have heard that some flight attendants who got off the flight in LA later told authorities that the crew had been drinking late into the night before the flight.
It is time for congressional hearings. The reality is that the U. S. government treats its own people like fodder. They gassed us. They reward corruption at all levels and they ruin the lives of anyone who speaks out about these wrongdoings. This sends the message to everyone. Don’t “Jack off no spiders”. No one gets fired for this wrongdoing. In the worst-case scenario, they simply retire with all benefits. For shame! When some government agency gets caught in some wrongdoing, we have to listen to the same old excuse time after time. They say they don’t have enough people to adequately do their job and try to blame the Congress for under-funding them. Only more money will solve the problem. Nobody ever gets punished.
NATCC sent me a threat in the form of a cease and desist letter right after I was on TV in Miami. I display it proudly in my office. Here’s a copy…
A roommate of mine at the time I worked at Montgomery signed a statement saying she saw controllers using drugs on a weekly basis for the six months she lived in my home. I provided this statement to the FBI, DOT IG, Aviation Subcommittee, Duncan Hunter, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Randy Cunningham, and others. Nobody ever contacted her. In her statement, she told of my other roommate who could also tell about the drug use. Nobody contacted her either. . Now we are allowing our airline pilots to carry handguns in the cockpit and are even training them. Over the years, we have seen many cases of airline pilots drinking before duty. Just weeks before this was implemented, an airline pilot got caught smuggling a gun onboard his aircraft We are told the government will do background checks. That would be reassuring but one of my co-workers was dating an airline pilot and Naval Reserve F-14 pilot who I saw dropping mushrooms while he was on standby to fly out of San Diego’s Lindbergh field. I wonder if he was flying over Baghdad under the influence of “schrooms”. Do we really want to put a gun in the hands of alcohol or drug impaired pilots?
My Congressman, Duncan Hunter, asked the DEA to investigate my allegations. I had to contact them and they dropped the investigation within 24 hours. That’s a cover-up.
Whistle-blower rights are non-existent, so we are not the Land of the free. And when the press fears the government and aids in the cover up, we don’t have a Home of the brave.
I am not anti government, but when I see my government as anti-American, I must speak out. I want to testify in open Congressional hearing about aviation safety and a lot of other people do also. We want to help our government clean itself up. You and our elected representatives no longer represent We, the People, you represent big business.
How can We, the People expect the government to oversee the airline industry when the airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and the engine manufacturers gives both political parties millions upon millions of dollars. This is a conflict of interest. You are “embedded” with them. If my father would have taken a $200 TV set from any of the companies who he dealt with when he bought ATC equipment for the Air Force, he would have be fired and facing criminal charges.
Punishment is not to be seen by the people. Timothy McVeigh was taken from this earth in a very sterile way. We are told that we can’t have any cruel and unusual punishment. What we need in this country is to bring back the stocks. We had a lot less crime in the good old days of “public humiliation”. Maybe you would do your job if you had to worry about having some rotten cabbage thrown at you.
Our prisons are filled with the poor and minorities for drug offenses. But if you are a federal government employee and part of the good old boy network, you are above the law. Mr. President, you are the one who is supposed to be fighting the war on drugs, but it looks like you are taking a dive and hitting the canvas.
Now I hear you tell the American people that we are liberating Iraq. My question is this, if we are the only superpower, who is going to free us? Now that we have beaten up on the “towelheads”, “ragheads”, “camel-jockeys”, and the “Mo’s”, who is going to “liberate” us from our corrupt government.
Our government has become the real “evil empire”. People all over the world know it. They are better informed than the average American. They aren’t wasting their idle hours watching American Idol or Darhma and Greg.
On 4/25/03, CNN did a story about an Iraqi soldier who complained at a marketplace that the best vegetables were being saved for Baath party members. He was arrested, his military orders taken, he was charged with being AWOL. He then was held down and part of his right ear was cut off. Being branded like this meant that he couldn’t leave the country, and couldn’t get any job. He was selling pencils on the street corner for the past 7 years.
Now Mary Diefenderfer is looking for a job. She was a GS-14, step 10, that’s up there at the top in civil service. Will she be hired by the govt. in another capacity? Will she be able to get any job? Once her new employer calls the FAA and they tell them that she’s a “rat-fink whistleblower”, are they going to stick their neck out and hire her? How is the land of the free and the home of the brave any different than Iraq under Saddam? The government of “We, the People” is corrupt. From the bottom to the top, in all agencies, and from sea to shining sea.
Our founding fathers were rich land owners, many of whom owned slaves. We are told that they were not corrupt. One could not tell a lie. Mr. President, you are telling We, the People to crawl back on airliners and that flying is perfectly safe. That’s a lie. We know it’s not safe, that’s why the planes are empty. The solution to the problem is quite simple. Hold open hearings about aviation safety and whistle-blower protection. You, Mr. President, are not doing your job. I have repeatedly asked to testify to Senator McCain’s Committee. Mr. Anderson wants to testify too. There are many more of us who have asked to testify and have been ignored. If you add up all the years the eight of us have been waiting to talk is well over 100 years now.
This may be the worst of times to tell this dirty little secret to We, the People, but this is what it will take to fix the problem. You can point your finger at your father when you look for someone else to blame. He was the first President to know about this. You must show We, the People, that the “high crimes” era in the U. S. Government is at an end.
I am asking anyone who reads this letter to forward this letter to you again at
And to the Congressional members listed below.
James A. Bergquist Air Safety Activist Chickenlittle92071@yahoo.com
CC to: John_McCain@McCain.senate.gov;Senator_Stevens@stevens.senate.gov;Conrad_Burns@burns.senate.gov;Senatorlott@lott.senate.gov,Senator@hutchison.senate.gov;Olympia@snowe.senate.gov;John_Ashcroft@ashcroft.senate.gov;Senator_Frist@Frist.senate.gov;Michigan@abraham.senate.gov;email@example.com;John_Kerry@kerry.senate.gov;firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
CC to: ACLU, Aviation Subcommittee, Senate Commerce Committee, Senators Boxer, Feinstein, and McCain, Congressmen Duncan Hunter, Bob Filner, and Randy Cunningham, and members of the worldwide press and posted on the NADA website at…
And the VJ592 Memorial website at…