July 30, 2002 - RPCV Spy Dies - Post Office Rejects USA Freedom Cops - GAO reports on PC Safety and Security - NPCA forms separate 3rd Goal Organization

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By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 12:10 am: Edit Post

Welcome to Peace Corps Online - August, 2002

A summary of Peace Corps News and Issues from around the world.

Also available at:


...........I. RPCV SPY DIES

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and CIA defector Edward Lee Howard
died last month in Moscow. While it is widely known that there is an
absolute prohibition against anyone who ever worked for a US
intelligence agency ever serving in the Peace Corps, many do not
know that former volunteers may go to work for the CIA after a 5-
year waiting period. Edward Lee Howard was one such former Peace
Corps Volunteer who became a CIA operative.

Howard was a PCV in the Dominican Republic and Colombia in the
late 1960's. After leaving the Peace Corps he worked for USAID for
a few years, then applied to the CIA for work. He later became a
traitor to his country when he defected to the USSR. Edward Lee
Howard was a disgrace to the CIA and a disgrace to the Peace Corps.
Many volunteers think it is a further disgrace that returned
volunteers are even allowed to join the CIA and that there isn't an
absolute prohibition on their future employment in the intelligence
community. Come to the website to read the complete story and
leave your opinion at:



In a related story, the United States Post Office announced that it
will not participate in a new Justice Department spy program that
encourages millions of American workers to report suspicious
activity they see while doing their routine work. The program, named
Operation TIPS, is called "a national reporting system that allows
these workers, whose routines make them well-positioned to recognize
unusual events, to report suspicious activity," according to a
description posted on a government Web site. The TIPS Program will
be a SISTER ORGANIZATION to the Peace Corps as part of the USA
Freedom Corps.

There has been opposition to TIPS across the political spectrum.
Republican leader Dick Armey came out against TIPS when he included
language in his markup of the legislation currently pending to
create the Homeland Security Department that would prohibit the
implementation of the TIPS program. In addition to the ACLU, the
Cato Institute and the conservative Rutherford Institute have both
come out against the proposal.

However Attorney General John Ashcroft said on July 25 that the
program is still going forward and is scheduled to be launched later
this summer. He assured senators that a program that would ask
millions of Americans to report suspicious activity won't create an
Orwellian government database that could be used against innocent

Many volunteers have already expressed concern on our message boards
with TIPS and the integrity of the Peace Corps. If it is illegal for
the CIA to plant agents in the Peace Corps, is it really a good idea
for the Peace Corps to be associated with an organization whose
mission is domestic spying. The Post Office doesn't want their
organization to be identified with TIPS because they do not to
create mistrust between postal workers and the community. Shouldn't
the same logic apply even more strongly to the Peace Corps where our
mission is to work within communities that may already be
mistrustful? Why doesn't the Peace Corps speak out like the Post
Office did? Is it that they don't understand the problem, or aren't
they concerned with the Peace Corps being identified with domestic
spying? If the Post Office can speak out as an independent organization,
then why aren't the men and women who lead the Peace Corps willing
to speak out to protect the agency?

Read our full coverage of TIPS on our website and leave your opinion
on this controversial issue at:



The GAO issued its long awaited report on Peace Corps Safety and
Security on July 25. The report said that assaults against Peace
Corps volunteers around the world have doubled in the past decade
and that Peace Corps' efforts to safeguard volunteers are not
consistent. The report offered a number of recommendations to the
Peace Corps to improve security. Director Vasquez with his
background in law enforcement seems the ideal man to implement these
changes and when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee last year during his confirmation hearings he said that he
would make safety and security of volunteers one of his top
priorities. Read the complete GAO report and Director Vasquez's
response on what he will do to improve volunteer security at:


The GAO's most interesting recommendation is for the Peace Corps to
develop a strategy to address staff turnover as it implements its
safety and security initiatives. The Peace Corps has said that high
staff turnover is the result of its statutorily imposed 5-year limit
on employment for U.S. direct hires. The GAO recommends that the
Peace Corps consider asking Congress to modify the 5-year rule.

PCOL concurs that consideration needs to be given to modifying the
5-year rule to reduce staff turnover to improve PCV safety and
security. Just as important is that to reach the Peace Corps' stated
goal of doubling the number of volunteers in the field by 2007, the
number of staff will also have to double. The Peace Corps' inability
to retain their most experienced staff may put too much stress on the
organization to meet that goal.

The idea behind the 5-year rule is good - to avoid an entrenched
bureaucracy and to keep the Peace Corps young. However, many RPCVs
believe a modification of the 5-year rule to 7 or 8 years would
allow the Peace Corps to retain its most experienced staffers
instead of losing them just when they become most effective.

PCOL will be covering this issue in more detail later on this year
with op-ed pieces both for and against the 5-year rule. Leave your
opinion at:



Last month we put up our Peace Corps Cartoon called "Hourglass" and
asked our readers to come up with the funniest caption. See what
RPCVs wrote and compare it to the original caption. Then, take a
look at our cartoon for this month - "Trip" - and come up with your
own caption for it.



The new Peace Corps legislation continues to move through Congress.
Two more Senators publicly co-sponsored the bill in July bringing
the total to seven. Our contacts on the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee tell us that the Senate has been too busy with the
Homeland Security Bill and Corporate Oversight legislation to
address the Peace Corps bill yet. Congress will soon be adjourning
for August recess and representatives will be returning to their
home districts to meet with constituents. RPCVs who support the new
Peace Corps bill should contact their representatives through their
home district offices and lobby for passage of Senate Bill S 2667 and
House Bill HR 4979. It is expected that the bill will be considered
when Congress returns from recess in September. Read our full
coverage of the bill at:



Opposition to the Peace Corps Fund seems to have died down this
month as posters to our web site discussed the pros and cons of the
fund. The Peace Corps Fund had received sharp criticism from former
NPCA President Chic Dambach in an op-ed piece he did for PCOL in
which he said the Peace Corps Fund could "be confused with funds for
the Peace Corps agency", that the founders violated "ethical
standards by using an event sponsored, organized, and financed by
the NPCA to promote and raise funds for their organization" and that
the founders of the Peace Corps Fund seem "determined to fracture
the RPCV community." Read the complete coverage of the debate at:


In related news the Peace Corps Fund opened their web site and
announced that former Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan, former
Senator Harris Wofford, and former Secretary of Health and Human
Services Donna Shalala have joined their advisory board.

The NPCA announced this month that they are forming a separate non-
profit organization to fund RPCV third Goal activities under the new
Peace Corps legislation. The new organization will be a joint
program between the NPCA and Roger Landrum and Dave Hibbard's
Coalition for a Peace Corps Charter for the 21st Century. The new
coalition is forming an "Office of RPCV Mobilization" to lobby on
behalf of the new Peace Corps legislation and is asking for
donations from RPCVs for $30,000 initial seed money to begin their
efforts. Read the full story at:



This month we focus on four service projects that RPCVs have been
involved with. Read about the web site the Friends of Niger are
hosting for the 2002 Niger AIDS Education Bike Ride organized to
raise HIV/AIDS awareness and to teach people with no formal education
about how they can protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The Friends of
Niger is one of the partner organizations officially supporting the
Ride along with Africare, CARE International and Family Care
International. Read and comment at:


RPCV Kevin Denny and members of the African charity he co-founded,
Malawi Children's Village, will be featured on "NBC Nightly News."
Malawi Children's Village helps 37 tribal villages on the southern
shore of Lake Malawi by providing medical care, food and education
to African children orphaned by AIDS, and devastated by famines and
homelessness. The charity serves 3,000 orphans in the Mangochi
district. Read about it at:


Next read a profile of RPCV Congressman Tony Hall who is leaving
Congress to start his new assignment as ambassador to the Rome-based
United Nations organizations that deal with international hunger
relief at:


Finally read this profile of Peace Corps Giant C. Payne Lucas who is
one of the most distinguished Peace Corps Alumni working in NGO's.
He served as Country Director in Togo and Niger before becoming
Regional Director of the Peace Corps for Africa in 1967. He went on
to spend thirty years as the President of Africare, a Washington-
based nonprofit organization specializing in grass-roots
development. Read the story at:



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