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Join our crowdsourced effort to explore the hidden history of Reagan’s decades-long relationship with the Bureau
Ronald Reagan’s decades-long association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation - from his early days as an anti-Communist informant in Hollywoodto the law and order governor of California to President of the United States during Iran-Contra - is attested to in his 30,000-page file, recently released to Emma Best. Due to the size and scope of the historical material contained in these pages, we’re using our new Assignments tool to start a crowdsourced project to hone in on the most interesting finds buried in the Bureau’s margins.
Click on the link below to start looking through the files. We’ll be highlighting your submissions in the weeks to come and offering prizes to those that end up generating new articles. Happy hunting!
Samuel Kaplan, a 64 year old FBI information technology program manager, was arrested and pleaded guilty, 3 June 2010, to child pornography possession. Kaplan was sentenced, 27 August 2010, to just under four years in jail followed by 15 years of supervised release. Kaplan worked in the FBI’s Chantilly, Virginia office and used “the FBI’s network to facilitate sexually explicit communications.” He was also trading in child rape from his home computer.
Michael Peluso, a 44 year old FBI Civilian Analyst with an undercover unit in
Critical Incident Response Group, was arrested, 9 January 2015, on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced, 27 May 2016, to no jail time and supervised parole for life.
Peluso was caught trading child rape on-line by an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce investigation.
United States Marshals Service (USMS)
Christopher W. McKee, a 37 year old intelligence analyst with the US
Marshals, was arrested on three counts of child pornography. McKee pleaded guilty, April 2013, and was sentenced, 15 August 2013, to five years probation with no jail time. McKee maintained a collection of child sex abuse on CDs labelled “teens” and “teen sluts” in his Arlington, Virginia office and also
traded in child rape from his government computer. He had downloaded thousands of images/video of child sex abuse. The US Marshals allowed him to resign. McKee is a registered sex offender.
Michael D. Rivera, a 29 year old Deputy US Marshal, was arrested on more than 20 charges including child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty,
20 January 2017. In February 2017, he was convicted, in North Dakota state court, of ten misdemeanors and cleared of 11 other charges. Rivera is being held in custody, pending sentencing, currently set in the state case for 13 June 2017, and 17 May 2017, for the federal charges. Rivera was caught for trading in child rape when he was discovered pushing his cell phone under dressing rooms in clothing store changing rooms where
women and girls were undressing. Twenty-one girls and women were victims. When investigators searched Rivera
Jon Burge once led a crew of rogue detectives accused of torturing mostly black men with cattle prods and guns
G. FLINT TAYLOR, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for 45 years. Among the landmark cases that Mr. Taylor has litigated are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case in which four innocent men received a record $36 million settlement for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and a series of cases arising from a pattern and practice of police torture and cover-up by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and numerous other police and government officials, five of which have been settled against the City of Chicago and Cook County for a total of approximately $26 million. He obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for a seven year old boy who was falsely accused by the Chicago Police of the murder of 11 year old Ryan Harris and has represented, and continues to represent, numerous other wrongfully convicted persons who have spent decades in prison and on death row, including Burge torture victims Michael Tillman, Darrell Cannon, Ronald Kitchen, Alonzo Smith, Anthony Holmes, Victor Safforld, Shawn Whirl, and Jackie Wilson, exonerees Randy Steidl, Paul Terry, Ronald Jones, Jerry Miller, Oscar Walden, Lewis Gardner, Paul Phillips, Terrill Swift, and Jonathan Barr, and the first woman jailhouse lawyer in Illinois, Maxine Smith.
Taylor’s work in fighting against police torture in Chicago over the past 29 years has been instrumental in obtaining the conviction and imprisonment of police torture ringleader Jon Burge and the precedent setting decision that upheld the inclusion of former Mayor Richard M. Daley as a co-conspiring defendant in the Tillman civil rights case. He also worked with the movement to obtain reparations for 60 survivors of Chicago police torture. He has also represented Nanci Koschman in her case against the CPD and SAO for covering up the truth about the death of her son in order to protect the Daley family, was one of the lead lawyers in obtaining a $5 million settlement for 74 victims of illegal strip and body cavity searches by the Milwaukee Police Department, and now represents three victims of torture and abuse at the CPD’s secret interrogation site, known as Homan Square.
Taylor also played a major role in the George Jones “street files” case that uncovered the unlawful Chicago police practice of keeping one set of files to be produced to defense lawyers while maintaining another secret set of files that often contained exculpatory evidence. This case dramatically changed the criminal discovery process in Cook County and also led to the groundbreaking wrongful prosecution verdict in Jones v. City of Chicago. As a police brutality litigator, he has been instrumental in pioneering and litigating Monell pattern and practice claims against municipalities, particularly in the areas of repeater cops, police discipline, the police code of silence, and domestic violence by police officers. Taylor also played a key role in major litigation brought against the Marion Federal Penitentiary, Stateville and Pontiac prisons in the areas of unconstitutional segregation, cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and behavior modification.
Mr. Taylor is also an accomplished appellate advocate, and successfully argued the cases of Cleavinger v. Saxner and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons before the United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous cases before Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and the Illinois Supreme Court.
Mr. Taylor is a longtime National Lawyers Guild member, a founding editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter, has extensively written and lectured in the field of civil rights litigation and police torture, and frequently appears on radio and television and at other public forums to discuss these topics. He has authored four law review articles on these subjects, and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, The Nation, In These Times, the Huffington Post, Truthout, and Portside.
In 1975 Mr. Taylor was honored, along with his law partner Jeffrey Haas, for his work on the Fred Hampton case by being named by the Chicago Reader as members of the “Heavy 75,”, in 1977, with Haas, as an Advocate For Our Freedom for “representing a rare breed of legal advocates who take on the contemporary Sacco and Vanzetti or Scottsboro cases,” in 1986 he was nominated for the Durfee Foundation Award for his work in “enhancing the human dignity of others through legal institutions,” and, in 1989, again with Haas, received the Citizens Alert Fighters For Justice Award. He is the 2008 recipient of the William R. Ming Jr. Award of the Cook County Bar Association, given to a lawyer “for dedication and significant contribution to the causes of civil rights and individual liberties;” and in 2009 was awarded the First Defense Legal Aid First Defender Award for his “tireless commitment to protecting the civil rights of Chicago citizens.” He was also the recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s 2009 Ernie Goodman Award “in recognition of extraordinary achievement by a National Lawyers Guild lawyer;” the 2009 Rainbow PUSH Father to the Community Award; the 2010 Jenner and Block award from the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions for his “unflagging struggle against police brutality and racial repression under color of law;” with his law partners Joey Mogul and John Stainthorp, the 2010 Chicago National Lawyers Guild Arthur Kinoy Award for their “commitment to the struggle for justice for the survivors of torture;” the 2011 SFPIF Northwestern Law School Distinguished Alumnus Award for his “outstanding commitment to public service;” with his co-counsel Locke Bowman and Alexa Van Brunt, the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization’s 2014 Legal Eagle Award; and the 2016 Nelson Algren Humanitarian Award as “a conscience in touch with humanity.”
In 2002 he was named by Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago’s “30 Toughest Lawyers;” and by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in 2003, and 2015, as a “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, and 2009, in 2015 as a member of the “Nation’s Top One Percent” by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and in 2016 as a “Top Lawyer” in the Global Directory of Who’s Who.
Why are there so few prisoners in the Netherlands?
The Dutch justice system is cutting jail populations by offering specialist rehabilitation to people with mental illnesses
Genealogy hobbyist database sells out to FBI-linked forensic genetic sequencing firm
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Another Brockton Cop Has Seriously Injured a Pedestrian
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Black Panther volunteer still serving hungry kids breakfast, 50 years later
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Maine Mineral & Gem Museum opens, and it’s pretty out of this world
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By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright Globe Correspondent,Updated December 12, 2019, 7:00 a.m.
We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly.
A high-profile inspector general report has served as fodder for arguments about President Trump. But its findings about surveillance are important beyond partisan politics.
Child predators target of sex offender bill
Updated December 12, 2019, 12:00 a.m.
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DECEMBER 12, 2019 | WHOWHATWHY STAFF
WHY SAUDIS KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER
Vatican Uses Donations for the Poor to Plug Its Budget Deficit
Only 10% of donations to the Peter’s Pence collection go to charitable works
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This scenic snowshoe on the Appalachian Trail leads to a frozen waterfall
How the Prosecution of Animal Rights Activists As Terrorists Foretold Today’s Criminalization of Dissent
FEDERAL COURT AFFIRMS CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION AGAINST SUSPICIONLESS SEARCHES OF DEVICES AT US BORDER
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DECEMBER 12, 2019
Zealots in High Office
by JAMES A HAUGHT
Back in 2003, in a top-secret international phone call, President George W. Bush urged French President Jacques Chirac to join America in invading Iraq on grounds that Christian nations must thwart the Satanic
The Daily Appeal
By Sarah Lustbader (@SarahLustbader)
What is the purpose of sex offender registries?
Two days ago, the Union-Recorder in Georgia published a bizarre editorial. The editorial board noted that the state’s sex offender registry system drives people into homelessness and deprived them of counseling and employment opportunities, but laments this fact only insofar as it allows registrants to “fly under the radar” and makes them “more difficult to track.” Georgia’s registry system, according to the authors, “places too much trust in the honor system” because requiring people to self-register “places too much confidence” in the registrant. They acknowledge that there are “strong penalties” for failing to register, including life in prison, but these apparently don’t go far enough, as some people with convictions could “choose to live on the fringes of the law.”
“As a society we have determined that in the case of convicted sexual offenders, the potential danger to the general public, and especially children, outweighs their rights to resume a normal life after the debt to society is paid,” the editorial board writes, but “despite all the concerns we have about civil liberties and individual rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we simply have to know where these offenders are and what threat they pose to a community.” The authors propose no solutions. And, more to the point, they betray a fundamental ignorance of the fact that no empirical evidence shows that registries actually protect anyone. Some evidence indicates they make us less safe.
Sex offender registries weren’t designed to punish people, Dara Lind wrote for Vox in 2016. “The registry was designed for ‘sexual predators’ who repeatedly preyed on children (at least according to the fears of 1990s policymakers). The purpose was supposed to be not punishment but prevention. The theory: ‘Sexual predators’ were unable or unwilling to control their urges, and the government could not do enough to keep them away from children, so the job of avoiding ‘sexual predators’ needed to fall to parents.” But now, 20 years later, “the focus on sex crimes has shifted from sexual abuse of children to sexual assault and rape. The idea that criminals can’t control their behavior has been replaced by attention to the cultural and institutional failures that allow rapes to happen and go unpunished.” As a preventive tool, it hasn’t worked, Lind writes. “Instead, it's caught up thousands of people in a tightly woven net of legal sanctions and social stigma. Registered sex offenders are constrained by where, with whom, and how they can live—then further constrained by harassment or shunning from neighbors and prejudice from employers.”
Despite ongoing stigma against those convicted of sex offenses, there has been some movement away from ever-restrictive sex registries and toward more productive solutions. The political pressure to oppose these efforts, however, is strong.
Recently, the governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have lifted state restrictions on how close to schools people convicted of sex crimes can live. The bill, which passed the state Assembly and Senate unanimously, would have repealed a state law that bars certain people from living less than 1,500 feet from schools, public parks, places of worship, or youth centers. The bill would also have required people be placed in their home county after being released. In his veto message, Evers said the change would have compromised children’s safety. “In testimony before lawmakers earlier this year, the State Public Defender’s Office said out-of-county placements often happen because counties can’t find a place to house offenders that meet the 1,500-foot requirement,” reports Wisconsin Public Radio. Senator Dan Feyen, a Republican and one of the bill’s sponsors, said he agreed the distance is challenging for some and, in his opinion, arbitrary. “It’s just a number that’s made up.”
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court will soon rule on the constitutionality of that state’s sex offender registry law. The latest iteration of the law, which took effect at the end of 2012, increased the “list of offenses subject to registration and notification—including a handful that are not sexual in nature—and imposing more stringent registration and notification rules,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The registry more than doubled. One of the cases before the high court deals with requirements under the current law for people classified as “sexually-violent predators,” those who have committed the most serious offenses and who are considered to have a high likelihood to reoffend. The question is whether lifetime registration, as well as lifetime counseling and community notification, constitute unlawful punishment.
In another case at issue, lawyers for a biochemical engineer with no prior record who was convicted of aggravated indecent assault and subject to lifetime registration are arguing that the law violates a fundamental right to reputation under the state Constitution. They posit that the law presumes that people convicted of certain sexual offenses cannot change and therefore are prone to reoffending. The lawyers “cite experts and studies that show the public holds a false perception that people convicted of sexual offenses will go on to reoffend, and that their risk for doing so lasts for years,” according to the Inquirer. “They said only a small number of offenders fit that bill, while the rest get lumped into that group, suffering a lifetime of harm. Their arguments go to the heart of the criminal justice reform movement blossoming across the country that aims to reduce harsh penalties for smaller offenses, and reform policies for offenders who, after serving prison time, suffer myriad social and financial hardships.”
Given the growing understanding of just how problematic these registries are, it is perhaps most remarkable that Nigeria is adopting a U.S.-style sex offense registry. “Campaigners have hailed the launch of Nigeria’s first sex offender register as a vital step towards tackling reported cases of sexual abuse, which are rising across the country,” reports The Guardian, in an article that notably lacks comments from critics. “The publicly accessible online register of people prosecuted for sexual violence since 2015 will allow public bodies and police authorities to conduct background checks and identify repeat offenders.”
Sexual violence indeed seems to be a serious problem in Nigeria, which stigmatizes those who come forward to report abuse. Despite the dearth of statistics, Unicef estimates that 1 in 4 girls in the country have experienced sexual violence by the age of 18 and few receive support. In Lagos, the most frequently assaulted group are children, many of whom are abused by relatives or family friends. Those who do come forward can be treated badly by authorities, according to the Guardian article. “We have cases where victims are being questioned in front of the perpetrators or in open spaces and criticized by officers for not remembering details like the road where the rape occurred,” said Oluwaseun Osowobi, the director of a Nigerian non-government organization that supports survivors of sexual violence. “Cases of sexual abuse are not prosecuted for flimsy reasons,” Osowobi added. “How police collect data is unprofessional and archaic. Police regularly misplace case-files or evidence. Eventually victims become exhausted by the system and give up.”
There is no doubt that this is all problematic and merits urgent attention. But the question is why a system that has already failed in the U.S. should be expected to succeed in Nigeria. Since few people are reported and fewer are convicted, it seems unlikely that anyone will be deterred by the idea that they now “have nowhere to hide,” as Osowobi put it. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the executive secretary of Nigeria’s Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, said: “It enables bodies such as schools [and] hospitals to conduct background checks and it will deter sex offenders because they will know their names will be published, affecting their employment and role in society.” Until the culture that tolerates sex abuse and stigmatizes victims is inverted, however, it is hard to imagine that anyone will be so deterred. Nigeria and the U.S. would do better to be guided by evidence.
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