Still Unsafe At Any Altitude
Boeing whistleblower, Ed Pierson, joins us to talk about the report he wrote entitled “Boeing 737 MAX – How Is It Really Going?” that paints a troubling picture of current problems with the notorious plane that includes reports of 43 malfunctions and onboard failures and six flights where U.S. pilots declared emergencies. Plus, constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, stops by to talk about how the NATO Treaty should not override the US Constitution, the misuse of the “state secrets” law, and an ongoing U.S. war crime from the Vietnam era.
Ed Pierson is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Navy Flight School and served in the Navy for 30 years. Mr. Pierson worked for Boeing from 2008 to 2018. He was a Production Manager in the 737 Program, and in 2019 he testified before Congress as a whistleblower. Throughout his career, he has served as a volunteer and chair of safety committees.
There were widespread issues going on in the factory… the backlog of unfinished airplanes, really horrific supply chain issues, we had a shortage of skilled staff, workers were being asked to work ridiculously long hours, all of our health metrics in the factory were at record low points and trending in the wrong direction. And there was just a lot of evidence of warning flags. All the information was there to say that this factory was dangerously unstable.
Obviously the [MCAS] software has gained all the attention because it was covered up, and the pilot training was also not there. But my point all along has been that there’s evidence of production quality issues…And in my reports I showed that production in fact did play a role in these crashes.
Of course, the airlines are telling us the airplanes are perfectly safe. Boeing is saying the plane is safe. And so for pilots to not use the legally-required reporting system… It’s very concerning when you have a bunch of US pilots feeling that they have to anonymously submit reports.
There are civil lawsuits by the families against Boeing of course underway. but it’s the criminal indictments and lawsuits that Boeing is really afraid of. Because they can always pay out to the families and it’s insurable and deductible and it’s just a business expense. What they’re really worried about is being prosecuted and sent to jail. And the Justice Department is extremely secretive here. they don’t explain their decisions at all. And it’s important that people like [Ed Pierson] continue to persist and try to get another round of Congressional investigation.
Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar and an expert on international law. Mr. Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall.
Since 1953, the state secrets privilege has just burgeoned. It has blossomed to cover all sorts of things, including concealing government rules for assassinations, kidnappings, torture. All these kinds of things that conceal government crimes.
During a ten-year secret war in Laos from 1963 to 1973 – an unconstitutional war never declared by Congress – the United States dropped 260 million bombs on a country of 2.3 million, or 120 bombs per person… still today 80 million of those 260 million bombs are unexploded, and they are maiming children and women and fathers in the hundreds per year. Since the end of the war, 50 thousand have died from unexploded ordnance. And, unfortunately, the United States has never made amends for these gross war crimes.
The NATO Treaty is subordinated to the US Constitution which accords only Congress the right to declare war.