What if it is a crime to backslap terror fighters and to encourage their terrorist-affiliated organizations to fight, except if the backslapper is an FBI agent or a senator?
The 700-page FBI informant file of James “Whitey” Bulger, never before seen by the public, will dominate the accused murderous mobster’s trial next week, prosecutors revealed yesterday after the jury was sent home.
The tome is a diary of Bulger’s corrupt relationship with convicted Boston FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr. from 1975 to 1990.
Attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who has denied the 83-year-old gangster was an informer, referred to the document yesterday as “the defendant’s so-called informant file.”
But Connolly’s attorney James E. McDonald, who has seen “parts of” the file, told the Herald Bulger’s disclaimer is “total BS.”
“You’re talking about 15 years of John writing 209 reports,” McDonald said, referring to the written reports by FBI agents to record their interactions with criminal informants.
“How could you possibly make it up all those years? What is it Bulger is trying to accomplish? That the law of the underworld was he was faithful to his family and friends?”
Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, has testified in prior court proceedings that they were secretly working for the FBI — and paying Connolly handsomely to work for them.
Connolly, 72, is serving 40 years following his 2008 second-degree murder conviction for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi that set in motion the 1982 hit on businessman John Callahan in Florida.
Bulger’s trial for racketeering and 19 counts of murder took a personal turn yesterday — even moving one juror to uncontrolled tears — as Diane Sussman de Tennen and Ralph DeMasi, both of whom survived being shot by Bulger’s gang, fought through their own emotions to put faces to their decades of pain and fear.
see link for full story
FBI agent Bill Tidwell's report about the visit he made last August to the residence of Hesham Abu Zubaidah to question him about a Freedom of Information Act request for his FBI files made by Truthout lead investigative reporter Jason Leopold.Early last year, I discovered that Abu Zubaidah, the first high-value detainee who was held in top-secret CIA black site prisons and brutally tortured, has a younger brother who lives in the United States.
Research I was conducting on the accused terrorist led me to a three-year-old comment posted on Guantanamo reporter Andy Worthington's blog about Abu Zubaidah, the alleged terrorist, left by someone who identified himself as Hesham Abu Zubaidah.
"Yes that is my brother and I live in Oregon," the commenter said. "Do you think I should have been locked away for 2 years with no charges for a [sic] act of a sibling? I am the younger brother of [Abu Zubaidah] and I live in the USA. Tell me what you think."
Wow! This is a big deal, I thought. What's Hesham's story? Why haven't we heard from him before? And what could he tell me about his brother, the alleged terrorist?
I tracked Hesham down to Florida. He had a fascinating tale to tell, which I have spent the past 14 months fleshing out. The result is a 15,000-word investigative report published on Truthout today about Hesham's pursuit of the American dream and the high price he paid because he says he shares a surname with an older brother who is an infamous alleged terrorist.
In addition to the disturbing revelations about the government's treatment of Hesham over the past decade, my report also contains the first new details about Hesham's brother, who is referred to in my investigative report by the nickname his father gave him,"Hani." In April 2000, Hani made three telephone calls to the United States when he was supposedly under surveillance. Former Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the joint Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, told me the calls should have been shared with his panel and the so-called independent panel set up to investigate the attacks but wasn't.
Moreover, Hesham revealed to me that, back in October 2010, he was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, to confirm that his brother was the person in a videotape speaking about jihad and 9/11, which was later used in the war crimes tribunal of a Guantanamo detainee.
Hesham was also recruited by the FBI as a confidential informant. For nearly three years, Hesham was tasked with spying on congregants at Sunni and Shia mosques in Portland, Oregon, and was told by his FBI handler to pay close attention to an imam at the Masjed As-Saber mosque named Sheikh Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, a native of Somalia, who the FBI has been trying to link to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for at least a decade. Hesham said he agreed to work as an informant because his FBI handler led him to believe the bureau would help him obtain US citizenship.
My investigation turned into a yearlong project, largely due to the fact that I had filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records on Hesham with several government agencies and waited many months for responses. It was the FBI's response to my FOIA on Hesham that led me to believe his story was bigger than I had originally thought it to be.
Hoping to gain deeper insight into his work as an FBI informant and the role he says the FBI played in his immigration case, I asked Hesham for permission to file a FOIA request with the bureau for his entire file. He agreed and signed a certification of identity form requesting that the agency turn over all of the records it maintained on him to me. Hesham visited a notary public and had the certification of identity form he signed notarized.
My FOIA request was filed in May 2011. The FBI sent me a letter that said the bureau's FOIA office was processing my request. Then, last August, the FBI sent out a special agent from the FBI's Tampa field office to speak with Hesham about my FOIA.
Listen to Jason Leopold discuss this report on the Peter B. Collins Show
Bill Tidwell showed up at the home of Hesham and Jody Abu Zubaidah, his wife, on the morning of August 26, 2011. Hesham was at work. Jody's mother, who was living with the couple at the time, answered the knock at the door. She told Jody there was "some guy in a suit at the front door."
Jody stepped outside and Tidwell flashed his FBI badge. He said he needed to speak with Hesham. Tidwell said Hesham wasn't "in any trouble, but it was important." Jody told Tidwell Hesham was at work. Tidwell returned later that afternoon. Tidwell told Hesham he was sent by FBI headquarters to speak with him about the FOIA request I filed. Tidwell used my name. The agent asked Hesham how I found him and what my intentions were. Hesham told him that I was writing a story about him and that he told me "everything." Tidwell asked Hesham to brief him on what he had told me.
"Did Jason Leopold force you to sign [the certification of identity] form? Did he offer you any money?" Tidwell asked Hesham.
"No," Hesham said. "I am not being paid."
Jody, who was present during the meeting, took meticulous notes.
"Listen, I don't know what's in your file but you do understand that once it's released, all of that information on you will be public and everyone will see it," Tidwell said.
"Yes," Hesham said. "I know. That's what I want."
"I believe there may be information in there some people don't want publicized," Tidwell said. "Why do you need Jason Leopold to get this information out?"
Hesham told the special agent his life story and the "spying" he did for the bureau. He said that he has been living in limbo for the past decade as a resident - but not a citizen - of the United States. No one was helping him, and he felt the time was right to tell his story. He told Tidwell what his FBI handler informed him when he asked her if she could help him obtain a green card that his case was stuck on a shelf and couldn't be touched.
"Whose life deserves to be stuck on a shelf?" Hesham asked Tidwell.
Tidwell and Hesham spoke for two hours. Before he left, Tidwell told Hesham he was going to write up a report and talk to the officials at headquarters who sent him out to meet with Hesham.
"I am going to call the person who sent this to us and tell him exactly what you said," Tidwell said. "He may say 'okay.' Or he may say, 'let's just get this man the security that he wants so this can go away.'"
If it's the latter, Tidwell asked, would you drop the FOIA?
"No way," Hesham said. "Forgive me, but I don't trust you guys."
Hesham then led Tidwell to his driveway and showed him his boat. They spoke for a few more minutes and then shook hands and Tidwell left.
When the agent left, Jody called me and told what transpired. She said she took detailed notes. I was stunned. I have never heard of the FBI sending out a field agent to check on a FOIA. I called FBI headquarters and spoke with Kathleen Wright, a spokeswoman for the bureau and asked her about it.
Wright said the "visit" was "routine" and that "the FBI has an obligation to abide by the Privacy Act."
"Agents spoke with Hesham Abu Zubaydah to confirm the FOIA request was legitimate and submitted with hi consent and knowledge." Wright said.
She added, "This happens all of the time."
Brad Moss, an open government expert who specializes in national security issues, disagreed.
"I've never heard of the FBI expending this kind of resource and going to an individual's house and asking if the reporter coerced the individual who signed the waiver," said Moss, an attorney with the Mark S. Zaid law firm in Washington, DC. "Given the nature of who this individual is, I am not surprised they would have concerns. With all of the budget cuts and pressure to process FOIA requests, it seems out of the ordinary to send an agent to someone's house. As far as I am concerned, it's unprecedented. You could have submitted this request without the waiver given the overwhelming public interest."
Kel McClanahan, another open government expert who heads up the public interest law firm National Security Counselors, said he queried several colleagues, many of whom are government FOIA analysts who work at the Justice Department, about the "routine" visit.
"Not one had heard of this [being] 'routine,'" said McClanahan, whose firm represents me in a lawsuit we filed against the FBI for violating a provision of FOIA when I sought pertaining to Hesham's files. "I sent an inquiry to David Hardy [head of FBI FOIA] about it, and I'm still waiting on the answer. I guess he's still thinking about it."
McClanahan added, "while the FBI might have reason to deny the request if the waiver was coerced, I'm aware of no legal restriction against a person being provided reasonable compensation for access to his government records."
"So even if the visit was routine, the questions definitely weren't," McClanahan said. "A routine visit would have consisted of 'Did Jason Leopold coerce you into signing this waiver?' 'No.' 'Are you sure?' 'Yes.' 'OK, thanks for your time.'" [Full disclosure: McClanahan and I sued the FBI earlier this year for violating a provision of FOIA in response to specific questions about Hesham's case file.]
Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who blew the whistle on the bureau's pre-9/11 intelligence failures, said she's not surprised the FBI sent an agent out to personally speak with Hesham about my FOIA.
"The FBI considers informant matters the most sensitive things in the world," Rowley told me.
After I spoke with Wright, the FBI spokeswoman, I filed another FOIA for documents and notes about the meeting between Tidwell and Hesham, since my name was used. It took the bureau about six months to respond. In April, I received three redacted pages. Tidwell's notes were not turned over, just a report he sent to "records management" summarizing his interview with Hesham.
Tidwell's name, which was also redacted from the interview report, says:
Tidwell's report claimed that Hesham told him he signed "the privacy statement for Leopold in hopes an article written by Leopold would help him gain status in the US and obtain a green card."
"Abu Zubaidah advised the article is not something he wants written, but he feels he has no other option," Tidwell's report says. "Abu Zubaidah currently has no status in the US and is fearful he could be deported at any moment. [Redacted] Abu Zubaidah feels he has proven he is not a terrorist and considers himself an American. Abu Zubaidah fears he [redacted] if he does not gain status in the US. He hopes the article will be read by someone who can help him with this matter."
In another redacted section of Tidwell's report, he noted the circumstances that led me to contact Hesham:
The report goes on to say:
Last September, after Tidwell filed his report, the FBI sent me a letter saying the bureau "located approximately 1,200 pages which are potentially responsive to my FOIA request."
The documents have been in the possession of a "disclosure analyst" since last September, according to David Sobonya, an FBI FOIA spokesman.
To be continued ...
It just so happens that the broker has served as an informant for the FBI since they caught him in a fake vending machine route scam. He is inclined to write the Magnolia folks off as absurd, but he speaks to his FBI handler about it, who tells him to record his conversations with the claimed “Chief Operating Officer.” Before any money exchanges hands, the Feds arrest, charge and convict the fakers on mail and wire fraud charges.
Is this ridiculous story a pitch to Saturday Night Live? A Three Stooges skit? Or a description of the latest from the FBI and the Department of Justice? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.
America has a serious problem with incarceration, even Attorney General Eric Holder agrees with that fact. What’s also unspoken is the amount of abuse taken by prison inmates locked behind bars. Facilities are accused of looking the other way as inmates are s*xually assaulted, tortured and beaten beyond recognition.
The San Francisco Bay View has released a distributing video of an inmate being beaten by guards with a hammer.
In the video, guards are heard shouting, “Get down! Just get down! Get down! Get down!” You then hear someone saying, “Oh (expletive) guy over there with his hands hitting him … and a d**n hammer!”
The beatings took place on December 31, 2010 and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has allegedly dragged its feet on getting to the bottom of what the incident. Rev. Kenneth Glasgow is responsible for posting the video to Youtube for the world to see.
A relative who brought the injustice to the attention of the public says that “The Georgia Department of Corrections denies this happened but were caught on tape. The officer responsible was never arrested or reprimanded. The district attorney had the video and never sought charges.
“The family is demanding justice for this barbaric, inhumane act. We ask everyone to help by contacting District Attorney Tom Durden at (912) 876-4151.”
Rev. Glasgow goes deeper into the incident, noting that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations has proven itself to be corrupt by refusing to look into what happened here.
“Within the entire GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) file,” says Rev. Glasgow, “no GBI investigative agent or prison official identifies the guard on the video who is clearly beating non-resisting Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson with the hammer-like object.
“If you look closely, you will see a very large man lying on top of Kelvin Stevenson as the other guard batters his head with the hammer. Eye witnesses state that Stevenson was also handcuffed at the time.
“For all those who watch this and ask what’s the whole story, first of all ask yourself why no GBI agent or prison official reported this – at least not in the ‘official report’ – when this is their video. The family and advocates want justice and humane treatment, the situation investigated, and the officer in that video arrested.”
You can read more here. You can watch the video below:
Robart [the US district judge presiding over the case] criticized what he called the “at-best sloppy” destruction of potential evidence by an informant — identified as Robert Childs, a five-time convicted sex offender — and Seattle police Detective Samuel DeJesus, who deleted more than 400 text messages from Childs from his cellphone after he’d been told to preserve them.As for the use of Childs, who was paid more than $90,000 for his services, Durkan [the US attorney] said, “It’s not the saints who can bring us the sinners.”
Robert Childs first appeared in Seattle organizing spaces at Food For Everyone, a weekly family-friendly community meal and free grocery store in the CD that was organized by some anarchists during spring/summer of 2012. He showed up at some point in June 2012. There had been a fair amount of publicity for this program so it wasn't exactly a secret (but he did show up prior to the article that was published on the Capitol Hill Times blog). Since it was shortly after the infamous events of May Day 2012, we were naturally curious (but not overly hostile at first). This is the story he gave about how he found FFE (to the best of our recollection):He stated that while he was in prison someone told him about the website Puget Sound Anarchists. He claimed that he saw an event invite for a benefit show for the Wildcat and attended this show (a show like this did take place on May 23rd and he gave a lot of details about it that could have been found on the PSA website). He then claims that people at the show told him about FFE and he decided to check it out.Honestly, this was all in the first hour we met the guy and we really thought this was hella suspicious. It was too intricate and memorized and frankly pretty convoluted. We filed that away as red flag #1 (didn't take long).At the time we were doing some organizing for the No New Juvie campaign and that was a common topic of conversation at FFE. He really used his time in prison as a wedge to get himself involved with folks. He admitted to us that he was a registered sex offender after we spotted his ankle monitor. We tried to remain neutral as he told us the stories behind his convictions (underage girls, statutory rape, unfairly incarcerated repeatedly for violations of parole, yada yada yada). We were sympathetic to this part of his story for obvious reasons, namely being a community dedicated to prison abolition. Even so, we knew he was sketchy as hell.He continued coming to FFE, and ingratiated himself with some of the organizing partners to the point that he showed up for a couple of planning meetings at a personal residence. During one of the meetings he confessed to us that he wasn't allowed to be near schools or parks due to his ankle monitor and he wouldn't be able to do certain things or go certain places without getting into trouble. At this point we just decided to limit his involvement in any organizing projects but we didn't feel we could tell him he was not welcome at any public events.A couple of days later he placed a really weird and random call to one of the organizers of FFE, asking where and when he should show up for the next meeting. The organizer was confused by this question, and then Childs proceeded to attempt to get the organizer to say their full legal name (first, middle, and last) while on the phone. The organizer hung up and called another organizer immediately. At this point we were completely sketched out but unclear on what to do.He showed up to the next FFE (this was early in July 2012) and people were discussing the upcoming No New Juvie march that was to take place on July 9th. One of the main organizers for this campaign was there and talking about it to everyone. About an hour into the event this organizer took one of us aside and said "I don't know what is up with new guy but he just asked me if there is going to be a black bloc at the No New Juvie march." At this point the organizers were exasperated and uncomfortable. He was taken aside and challenged on his behavior, including the fact that he was acting like a cop and/or snitch and making people uncomfortable. He was told his presence was not welcomed any longer.He did attend the No New Juvie march a few days later. (Here is a photo.)We never saw him or heard from him again until he showed up in the Salish CIRCA clown group. We did not catch on to the fact that he was back in the scene until very recently due to the fact that he gave a fake name the second time around ["Robert Vincent"] and, duh, clown makeup is the perfect disguise.Other details he told us about his life:He said he was going to scuba-diving school.He said no one would rent to him due to his sex-offender status so he purchased a boat.He said he "made some money" with some guy prior to his last incarceration and that is how he bought the boat.He explained the holes in his life story as recurring jail sentences due to multiple violations of his parole.
Published on Sep 24, 2013
Belleville, N.J. Cop caught sleeping in his squad car in a Stop & Shop parking lot. We had tried posting this picture on a number New Jersey related groups on Facebook and they weren't up for more than 1 day before being removed. We re-posted it and BOOM, It got taken down right away. But its also the reason I brought up the fact that he's not ill or injured cause some people did question that, in its short lived time on Facebook. So I figured a Youtube "Video" which is just the picture and the explanation of it, was the only way to hit the masses and avoid getting it removed.
Standard YouTube License
Leak information and you face a firing squad from the Justice Department.
So suggests a page of the ATF’s online manual, some employees complained, reports the Washington Times.
From 1940 until his death in 1966, Walt Disney served as a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents that have come to light under the Freedom of Information Act.
Details about the film maker's F.B.I. connection emerge for the first time in "Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince," an unauthorized biography by Marc Eliot to be published in July by Birch Lane Press.
Mr. Eliot, who has written several books on popular culture, provided a copy of the Disney file to The New York Times so that information and direct quotations in the book could be verified against the Government documents. Experience with similar F.B.I. dossiers leaves no doubt that the material submitted by Mr. Eliot is authentic. As it happens, because many of the 570 pages in the Disney file are blacked out or withheld for national security reasons, it cannot be determined what names of Hollywood figures Disney passed on to the bureau as Communists or subversives.
The documents leaked to media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this year have brought national intelligence gathering and surveillance operations under a level of scrutiny not seen in decades. Often left out of this conversation, though, is the massive private surveillance industry that provides services to law enforcement, defense agencies and corporations in the U.S. and abroad – a sprawling constellation of companies and municipalities. "It's a circle where everyone [in these industries] is benefitting," says Eric King, lead researcher of watchdog group Privacy International. "Everyone gets more powerful, and richer."
Promotional materials for numerous private spy companies boast of how law enforcement organizations can use their products to monitor people at protests or other large crowds – including by keeping tabs on individual people's social media presence. Kenneth Lipp, a journalist who attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia from October 19th to 23rd, tells Rolling Stone that monitoring Twitter and Facebook was a main theme of the week. "Social media was the buzzword," says Lipp. He says much of the discussion seemed to be aimed at designing policies that wouldn't trigger potentially limiting court cases: "They want to avoid a warrant standard."
See What Sen. Ron Wyden Had to Say About NSA Surveillance in Our Q&A
While the specifics of which police departments utilize what surveillance technologies is often unclear, there is evidence to suggest that use of mass surveillance against individuals not under direct investigation is common. "The default is mass surveillance, the same as NSA's 'collect it all' mindset," says King. "There's not a single company that if you installed their product, [it] would comply with what anyone without a security clearance would think is appropriate, lawful use."
The YouTube page for a company called NICE, for instance, features a highly produced video showing how its products can be used in the event of a protest. "The NICE video analytic suite alerts on an unusually high occupancy level in a city center," a narrator says as the camera zooms in on people chanting and holding signs that read "clean air" and "stop it now." The video then shows authorities redirecting traffic to avoid a bottleneck, and promises that all audio and video from the event will be captured and processed almost immediately. "The entire event is then reconstructed on a chronological timeline, based on all multimedia sources," says the narrator. According to an interview with the head of NICE's security division published in Israel Gateway, NICE systems are used by New Jersey Transit and at the Statue of Liberty, though it isn't clear if they are the same products shown in the video.
"Thousands of customers worldwide use NICE Security solutions to keep people safe and protect property," says Sara Preto, a spokesperson for NICE. She declined to confirm any specific clients, but added: "We work with law enforcement and other government agencies within the framework of all relevant and national laws."
Another program, made by Bright Planet and called BlueJay, is billed in a brochure to law enforcement as a "Twitter crime scanner." BlueJay allows cops to covertly monitor accounts and hashtags; three that Bright Planet touts in promotional material are #gunfire, #meth, and #protest. In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." Bright Planet did not respond to a request for comment.
A third company, 3i:Mind, lays out a scenario for a potential law enforcement client that begins: "Perhaps you are tracking an upcoming political rally." It continues:
Once you set up the OpenMIND™ system to profile and monitor the rally, it will search the web for the event on web pages, social networking sites, blogs, forums and so forth, looking for information about the nature of the rally (e.g. peaceful, violent, participant demographics), try to identify both online and physical world activist leaders and collect information about them, monitor the event in real-time and alert you on user-defined critical developments.
The scenario concludes: "Your insight is distributed to the local police force warning them that the political rally may turn violent and potentially thwarting the violence before it occurs." The 3i:Mind website gives no clues at to which governments or corporations use their products, and public information on the company is limited, though they have reportedly shown their product at various trade shows and police conferences. The company didn't respond to a request for comment.
Other companies are less upfront about how their products can be used to monitor social unrest. A product that will be familiar to anyone who attended an Occupy Wall Street protest in or around New York's Zuccotti Park is SkyWatch, by FLIR, pointed out to Rolling Stone by Lipp, the journalist who attended the police conference. SkyWatch is a mobile tower in the form of a two-person cab that can be raised two stories high to provide "an array of surveillance options," according to a promotional brochure. Those options include cameras and radar, as well as "customizable" options. The brochure says SkyWatch is perfect for "fluid operations whether on the front lines or at a hometown event." As of this writing, the NYPD still has a SkyWatch deployed in a corner of Zuccotti Park, where Occupy activists were evicted by the police nearly two years ago.
These promotional materials, taken together, paint a picture not only of local police forces becoming increasingly militarized, but also suggest departments are venturing into intelligence-gathering operations that may go well beyond traditional law enforcement mandates. "Two things make today's surveillance particularly dangerous: the flood of 'homeland security' dollars (in the hundreds of millions) to state and local police for the purchase of spying technologies, and the fact that spook technology is outpacing privacy law," says Kade Crockford, director of the Massachusetts ACLU's technology for liberty program and the writer of the PrivacySOS blog, which covers these issues closely. "Flush with fancy new equipment, police turn to communities they have long spied on and infiltrated: low-income and communities of color, and dissident communities."
Many of the legal questions surrounding these kinds of police tactics remain unsettled, according to Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice. Information that is publicly available, like tweets and Facebook posts, is generally not protected by the Fourth Amendment, though legal questions may arise if that information is aggregated on a large scale – especially if that collection is based on political, religious or ethnic grounds. "This information can be useful, but it can also be used in ways that violate the Constitution," says Patel. "The question is: what are [police departments] using it for?"
Rolling Stone contacted police departments for the cities of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for comment on this story.
"The Philadelphia Police Department has their own cameras," says that force's spokesperson Jillian Russell. "The department does not have private surveillance companies monitor crime." She directed follow-up questions about software used to process big data to a deputy mayor's office, who didn't return a phone call asking for comment.
When asked if the LAPD uses programs to monitor protesters, a media relations email account sent an unsigned message that simply read: "We are not aware of this."
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