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Seattle Post Intellingencer has become the main Public Relations arm for the FBI on the West Coast.They must have illegaly witetapped the owner and blackmailed the paper. Why would anyone advocate hiring more people from an organization that helped assassinate President Kennedy, gave us Waco and created 911?
a couple of easy reads also see http://www.franklinfiles.org

July 5, 2007 5:09 p.m. PT

Mortgage Fraud: Needed: FBI staff


Some right-wingers are fond of enumerating the many ways terrorists will win. For example, if Americans stop shopping, the terrorists win. If we don't drill in the Arctic for oil, the terrorists win. If we don't keep our troops in Iraq, the terrorists win.

We wonder how the terrorists feel about our government's anti-terror efforts leeching away about 2,500 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents from duties such as dealing with hate crimes, identity theft and, brace yourselves Seattle home buyers -- mortgage fraud.

The Mortgage Bankers Association figures that $6.25 million is needed to add enough FBI agents and federal prosecutors to investigate and prosecute the booming mortgage fraud racket. As it stands, this type of white-collar crime has run amok, with last year's losses exceeding $4 billion. And since 2005, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., has been pushing to add 1,000 agents to the FBI, saying that we ought to be able to fight terrorism and domestic crime (which he compares with walking and chewing gum at the same time).

The Seattle FBI office is ridiculously short-staffed, requiring 53 additional special agents before it meets the national average for a city of this size. And while mortgage fraud cases here aren't as bad as they are elsewhere, our growing market leaves the door open for that disaster. Mortgage con artists can ply their trade knowing that the FBI's financial investigators who pursued them have moved on and not been replaced.

Hey, Senate: Give us the budget to add more agents. We need 'em, badly.

Man caught in women's bathroom is an FBI employee

May 25, 2007 09:09 PM

This story contains details that some readers may find objectionable.

And FBI employee is on the other side of the law, facing charges of inappropriate conduct in a woman's bathroom on the University of Arizona Campus.

According to a University Police report, a woman was cleaning the bathroom on May 3, when she saw a stall door open. Inside stood a man with his pants down, masturbating.

"That's actually shocking," says student Meghan Carey. "It makes me question who's walking around U of A."

"I think that masturbation can be a very natural form of sexual expression," says student Stephanie Castle, "but there needs to be a time and a place for that."

The police report states, the witness went to get help. When she returned with an officer she spotted the man, later identified as Ryan Seese, outside the same bathroom.

Seese took off down a hallway and ran out the door. Police chased him into a parking garage where he was arrested.

Seese now faces charges of public sexual indecency, sexual indecency and trespassing.

He also told police he's an FBI agent.

The Bureau verifies his employment but will not reveal his position or status.

Meanwhile, students say this incident is a good reminder not to let their guard down, even in a comfortable place like the student union.

"I'll definitely watch out a little more," says Carey. "I have to be more aware."

Some students say they would like to see UAPD set up more patrols around campus to make them feel safer.

Prosecutors move to dismiss charges against former Scout leader

January 3, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. --Federal prosecutors have moved to dismiss charges against a retired FBI agent who was indicted on child sex charges dating back more than a decade when he was a Boy Scout leader, in response to the death of his accuser.

William Hutton, 63, of Killingworth, was arrested in February on charges he enticed a member of his Scout troop to Maine for the purpose of sexual activity in 1994 and 1995.

Prosecutor John A. Danaher III moved to dismiss the indictment on Dec. 19, and Judge Mark R. Kravitz granted the motion three days later, federal court records show.

On Dec. 26, the prosecutor moved to dismiss a revised indictment that had been returned by a federal grand jury in late March. There was no indication in court records that Kravitz has issued a ruling on that indictment.

Both indictments alleged crimes against the same person, who has never been publicly identified. The newer indictment added allegations that an August 1995 trip also included a stop in New Hampshire for illegal sexual activity.

Both of Danaher's motions cited "the sudden and unexpected death" of the accuser.

Hutton's lawyer, Hugh F. Keefe of New Haven, stressed Hutton had pleaded not guilty.

"Mr. Hutton was very upset by the news of the passing of the gentleman," Keefe said.

Hutton had been released on a $200,000 bond. He may not own any firearms or have any unsupervised contact with children. He was also ordered to stay away from playgrounds, schools, arcades or anywhere children congregate.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial this month in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

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Former Scout leader-FBI agent indicted on child sex charges

February 3, 2006, 5:59 PM EST

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A retired FBI agent was indicted Friday on federal child sex charges dating back more than a decade when he was a Boy Scout leader.

William Hutton, 63, of Killingworth, was arrested Friday. The federal grand jury indictment offers few details about the case but accuses Hutton of enticing a member of his Scout troop to Maine for the purpose of sexual activity in 1994 and 1995.

"It's obviously devastating. He was an FBI agent in this district and was reputed in this district," defense attorney Hugh Keefe said. "The people who worked with him in the U.S. attorney's office and FBI respected him."

Keefe said the investigation has been going on for years. He would not discuss the details of the case or how the allegations surfaced.

Investigators asked anyone who knows anything about the case to call the FBI. U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said that's standard practice whenever there might be more victims.

"In any case that's a concern," O'Connor said. "Whether that's the situation here I can't say."

If convicted on all four charges, Hutton faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Hutton was released on a $200,00 bond. He may not own any firearms or have any unsupervised contact with children. He was also ordered to stay away from playgrounds, schools, arcades or anywhere children congregate.

FBI agent in charge of FBI Child Abuse program sued by his daughters for incest

THE DENVER POST - Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire
May 17, 1990
Sisters win sex lawsuit vs. dad $2.3 million given for years of abuse
By Howard Prankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Two daughters of former state and federal law enforcement official Edward Rodgers were awarded $2.319,400 yesterday, after a Denver judge and jury found that the women suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father.

The award to Sharon Simone, 45, and Susan Hammond, 44, followed testimony of Rodgers’ four daughters in person or through depositions, describing repeated physical abuse and sexual assaults by their father from 1944 through 1965.

Rodgers, 72, who became a child abuse expert after retiring from the FBI and joining the colorado Springs DA’s office, failed to appear for the trial. But in a deposition taken in March, Rodgers denied ever hitting or sexually abusing his children.

He admitted that he thought of himself as a "domineering s.o.b. who demanded strict responses from my children, strict obedience." But it never approached child abuse, Rodgers said. "Did I make mistakes? Damn right I did, just like any other father or mother..."

Thomas Gresham, Rodger’s former attorney, withdrew from the case recently after being unable to locate his client. Rodgers recently contacted one of his sons from a Texas town along the Mexican border. Gresham said his last contact with Rodgers was on April 24.

The sisters reacted quietly to the verdict, and with relief that their stories of abuse had finally been told.

"I feel really good that I’ve gone public with this,"Hammond said. "I am a victim, the shame isn’t mine, the horror happened to me. I’m not bad.
"My father did shameful and horrible things to me and my brothers and sisters. I don’t believe he is a shameful and horrible man, but he has to be held accountable," Hammond added.

The lawsuit deeply divided the Rodgers family, with Rodgers’ three sons questioning their sister’s motives.

Immediately after the verdict, son Steve Rodgers, 37, reacted angrily, yelling at his sisters in the courtroom.

Later, Rodgers said he loves his father and stands by him. He said his sisters had told him their father had to be exposed the way Nazi war criminals have been exposed.

"In a way I’m angry with my father for not being here. But I’m sympathetic because he would have walked into a gross crucifixion," Rodgers said.

Steve Rodgers never denied that he and his siblings were physically abused, but disputed that his father molested his sisters.
Before the jury’s award, Denver District Judge William Meyer found that Rodger’s conduct toward Simone and Hammond was negligent and "outrageous."

Despite the length of time since the abuse, the jury determined the sisters could legally bring the suit. The statute of limitations for a civil suit is two years, but jurors determined that the sisters became aware of he nature and extent of their injury only within the last two years, during therapy.

The jury then determined the damages, finding $1,240,000 for Simone and 1,079,000 for Hammond.

The sisters had alleged in their suit filed last July that Rodgers subjected his seven children to a "pattern of emotional, physical, sexual and incestual abuse."

As a result of the abuse, the women claimed their emotional lives had been left in a shambles, requiring extensive therapy for both and repeated hospitalizations of Hammond, who was acutely suicidal. Simone developed obsessive behavior and became so unable to function she resigned a position with a Boston-based college.

Despite the judgment yesterday, Rodgers cannot be criminally charged. the statue of limitations in Colorado for sexual assault on children is 10 years.
Rodgers, who worked for the FBI for 27 years, much of it in Denver, became chief investigator for the district attorney’s office in Colorado Sp;rings. during his employment at the DA’s office from 1967 until 1983, he became a well-known figure in Colorado Springs, and lectured and wrote about child abuse both locally and nationwide.

He wrote a manual called " A Compendium -- Child Abuse by the National College of District Attorney’s," and helped put together manuals on child abuse for the New York state police and a national child abuse center.

FBI agent in charge of investigating other FBI agents for crimes sentenced to 12 years in prison for pedophilia

Ex-FBI official pleads guilty to child molestation
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for a two-decade career.

John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last Friday to 12 years in prison in Tarrant County court in Fort Worth, Texas, after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.

Conditt sought treatment for sex offenders after his arrest last year, said his attorney, Toby Goldsmith.

"The problem these people have is they don't really feel like it is their fault," Goldsmith said. "The treatment doesn't work unless you admit you are the one who instigated it, and he did that."

Conditt headed the internal affairs unit that investigates agent wrongdoing for the Office of Professional Responsibility at FBI headquarters in Washington from 1999 until his retirement in June 2001, the FBI said. He wrote articles in law enforcement journals on how police agencies could effectively investigate their own conduct.

FBI officials said Tuesday they had no information to suggest that Conditt had any problems during his career and he was never the subject of an investigation.

Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Mitch Poe, who prosecuted the case, said he wanted a longer prison sentence and was skeptical of Conditt's claim that his molestation of children subsided during his FBI career.

"Both myself and the judge in open court, we were kind of skeptical but we don't have any evidence," Poe said.

A recently retired FBI whistleblower who brought allegations to Conditt's office that agents had not aggressively pursued evidence of sexual abuse in Indian country said Tuesday she now questions whether his personal history affected that decision.

"Before, it never made any sense," retired agent Jane Turner said of the FBI's decision to decline to further investigate her allegations. "Now I can understand. Why in the world wouldn't you want to investigate that?"

Goldsmith said he was concerned about the safety of his client in prison given that he is a former FBI agent and an admitted child molester. "He's not going to be comfortable in the penitentiary," the lawyer said.

Goldsmith said his client had admitted that he had molested at least two other girls before he became an FBI agent more than 30 years ago, but that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing while he served in the bureau.

"It seems that he never did because he had stricter control at that time," the lawyer said.

Conditt could have faced life in prison, and prosecutors requested he get 50 years. The judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison, in part citing Conditt's decision to spare the victim the trauma of a trial, Goldsmith said.

Conditt's conviction is the latest controversy to strike the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Last year, FBI Director Robert Mueller transferred the head of the office to another supervisory assignment outside Washington, three months after rebuking him for his conduct toward a whistleblower.

That whistleblower, John Roberts, alleged the FBI disciplinary office had a double standard that let supervisors off easier than line agents.

Those allegations prompted investigations by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general. The latter concluded there was no systematic favoritism of senior managers over rank-and-file employees but there was a double standard in some cases involving crude sexual jokes and remarks.

Monday August 8, 2005 Longtime FBI agent sentenced to prison on child porn count


Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) � A longtime FBI agent who helped arrest mountain-man Claude Dallas and was involved in a deadly 1984 siege involving white supremacists in Washington state is going to prison for 12 months after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

William Buie, 64, of Boise, most recently worked as an investigator for the Idaho attorney general's office.

He was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to a year in prison on one count of possession of sexually exploitative materials involving minors. He had pleaded guilty in March.

Buie told agents with the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that he learned to access child pornography Web sites while attending a seminar on preventing child exploitation as part of his law enforcement training in 2000 or 2001.

He acknowledged using his bank debit card to gain access to child erotica and child pornography Web sites, including using the card to buy a month of access to a child pornography Internet site entitled ''Eternal Nymphets.''

Buie, a former FBI sniper who worked for about 30 years for the agency in Seattle, Butte, Mont., and Salt Lake City, participated in the arrest of Dallas in 1982 in Paradise Valley, Nev., after the self-proclaimed mountain man had spent a year on the run after killing two Idaho Fish and Game agents. Dallas served 22 years in prison for manslaughter.

Buie also took part in the 1984 siege on Whidbey Island, Wash. in which Robert Mathews, leader of the violent racist cell called ``The Order,'' was killed following an 18-month wave of armed robberies and assassinations.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge gave Buie a reduced sentence of just a year behind bars, down from the standard sentencing range of 27 months to 33 months. That's after his lawyer, Mark Manweiler, argued that Buie's efforts to find sex-addiction treatment and his exemplary work record � as well as concern that as a longtime FBI agent he would be in danger behind bars � entitled him to a sentencing break.

"He would be unusually susceptible to abuse in a federal correctional institution,'' Manweiler wrote in his motion.

In a statement, the Justice Department said that as many as 150 sexually explicit images depicting children were found on Buie's home computers. It said no images were found on Buie's work computer.

After leaving the FBI, he worked as a criminal investigator for the Idaho attorney general's office for about six years, according to court documents.

According to terms of his sentencing, Buie must turn himself in on July 20 to begin serving his federal prison term.

Phone messages left by the Associated Press late Monday at Buie's Boise residence and on his cell phone weren't immediately returned.

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. A former F-B-I analyst has been sentenced to seven years in prison for having sex with a young girl in Spotsylvania County.
Forty-four-year-old Anthony John Lesko entered an Alford plea yesterday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to nine counts of felony indecent liberties upon a child. An Alford plea means Lesko doesn't admit guilt but believes there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Under a plea agreement, he was sentenced to seven years in prison with another 15 years suspended. He also was ordered to pay ten-thousand dollars in restitution to cover the cost of the girl's mental-health counseling.

Authorities say Lesko engaged in a sex act with her nine times, beginning when she was nine years old.

Lesko's attorney says he worked as an intelligence analyst at the F-B-I for 17 years before moving to Jacksonville, Florida.

According to the plea, Lesko said he was a victim in the case. He said the girl initiated the contact.

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Investigator lobbied on day of DLNR vote

Hilton Lui approached Sen. Lorraine Inouye to tell her to oppose the DLNR's director

The state Ethics Commission says it has learned of more evidence indicating that an investigator showed bias while conducting a probe into alleged wrongdoing in the Bureau of Conveyances.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway outlined his concerns yesterday in a letter to lawmakers who are conducting their own investigation into the bureau.

The investigator, former FBI agent Hilton Lui, declined comment yesterday, saying he had just returned from Japan and had not had a chance to speak with his attorney.

Lui has been called to appear on Wednesday before a joint Senate-House investigative committee.

Lui also had been retained by the committee as its lead investigator, and Democratic leaders have said they want to hear from him before proceeding.

In yesterday's letter, Mollway said Lui openly displayed his opposition to the reappointment of former state Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young and lobbied a senator to vote against him on the day of the Senate's floor vote. The Bureau of Conveyances is a division of DLNR.

The senator whom Lui had lobbied was previously unnamed, but Mollway said yesterday it was Lorraine Inouye.

Mollway said Inouye told him this week that Lui called her as early as April to ask her to vote against Young's nomination.

Inouye also confirmed that Lui called her in April.

Inouye (D, Hilo-Honokaa) said she has known Lui for more than 30 years and that she did not know he was investigating the Bureau of Conveyances at the time he asked her to vote against Young.

"I would've raised the concern then," Inouye said yesterday. "I would just tell him that I think it's inappropriate that you're lobbying me because you are on a contract with the Ethics Commission."

Young's nomination was defeated by the Senate. Inouye voted in his favor.

The Bureau of Conveyances has been the subject of separate investigations by the Ethics Commission and the state attorney general's office, focusing on security of documents recorded with the bureau, computer access and overall operations of the agency
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Librarians Describe Life Under an FBI Gag Order “Life in an FBI muzzle is no fun. Two Connecticut librarians on Sunday described what it was like to be slapped with an FBI national security letter (NSL) and accompanying gag order. It sounded like a spy movie or, gulp, something that happens under a repressive foreign government. Peter Chase and Barbara Bailey, librarians in Plainville, Connecticut, received an NSL ( to turn over computer records in their library on July 13, 2005. Unlike a suspected thousands of other people around the country, Chase, Bailey and two of their colleagues stood up to the Man and refused to comply, convinced that the feds had no right to intrude on anyone’s privacy without a court order (NSLs don’t require a judge’s approval). That’s when things turned ugly.” Wired (6/24/07)
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                        THE FBI FRUHMENSCHEN PROGRAM
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The Federal Government and the Harassment of Black Leaders: A Case Study of Mayor Richard Arrington Jr. of Birmingham
Michele Wilson, John Lynxwiler
Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 28, No. 5 (May, 1998), pp. 540-560
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Today's Must Read

Alberto Gonzales lied, the FBI spied.

In March, and again last month, the Justice Department's inspector general and internal FBI reviews found that the bureau repeatedly misused its Patriot-Act power to subpoena e-mail or financial records without court orders. But years before the reviews were completed -- and word of them became public -- Attorney General Gonzales knew that the abuses surrounding so-called National Security Letters existed. And yet this is what he told Congress on April 27, 2005: "There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse."

Reports the Washington Post:

The acts recounted in the FBI reports included unauthorized surveillance, an illegal property search and a case in which an Internet firm improperly turned over a compact disc with data that the FBI was not entitled to collect, the documents show. Gonzales was copied on each report that said administrative rules or laws protecting civil liberties and privacy had been violated.

The reports also alerted Gonzales in 2005 to problems with the FBI's use of an anti-terrorism tool known as a national security letter (NSL), well before the Justice Department's inspector general brought widespread abuse of the letters in 2004 and 2005 to light in a stinging report this past March.

Some of the mistakes sent to Gonzales's attention were egregious. In May 2005, an NSL containing an incorrect phone number allowed the FBI to wiretap a U.S. citizen that had nothing to do with the target of the bureau's investigation. An earlier slip-up authorized surveillance on a phone line after a court ordered the wiretapping stopped. In June 2006, the FBI sought to cover-up an "over-collection": when a superior agent learned of the mistake, he recommended going to bureau lawyers to see if there wasn't language in the NSL "that would cover the extra material." Many of the reports were serious enough to be sent as well to President Bush's Intelligence Oversight Board, which monitors civil-liberties abuses. (Some the FBI decided it was best the board didn't know about.)

Yet when DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine released his March report into NSL abuses, Gonzales was shocked, shocked to learn that there was gambling with the counterterrorism rules in his fine establishment. Spokeswoman Tasia Scalinos told the Post in March that the AG "has ordered the FBI and the department to restore accountability and to put in place safeguards to ensure greater oversight and controls over the use of national security letters." An unnamed official described Gonzales as "incensed" to hear of the abuses. Again, this is years after Gonzales begin receiving alerts about FBI mistakes with Patriot and other counterterrorism powers -- alerts he appears to have received with some frequency. And not until March did Gonzales order FBI Director Bob Mueller to put new safeguards over NSLs in place.

So what's Gonzales's explanation? According to spokesman Brian Roehrkasse, "when Gonzales testified, he was speaking "in the context" of reports by the department's inspector general before this year that found no misconduct or specific civil liberties abuses related to the Patriot Act."

That context, it's now clear, was misleading. Other unnamed Justice officials used the tried-and-true standby that it's unclear if Gonzales ever read the repeated reports about abuse that he received. Roehrkasse bolstered the AG's case by saying that even if Gonzales messed up, so did his subordinates, as his assurances to Congress were "consistent with statements from other officials at the FBI and the department." Think that'll satisfy Patrick Leahy and John Conyers?

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        « Gonzales Knew About FBI Lawbreaking |         Main         | Security Researcher Wants Lube Maker Fined For Privacy Slip »


FBI Patriot Act Abuse Documents: What Special Project Lives in FBI HQ Room 4944?

By Ryan Singel EmailJuly 10, 2007 | 1:25:08 PMCategories: Privacy, Spooks Gone Wild, Sunshine and Secrecy                  

In March, the Justice Department's Inspector General revealed that FBI agents had sent a flurry of fake emergency letters to phone companies, asking them to turn over phone records immediately by promising that the proper papers had been filed with U.S. attorneys, though in many cases this was a complete lie.  More than 60 of these letters were made public today as part of a FBI document dump in response to a government sunshine lawsuit centered on the FBI's abuse of a key Patriot Act power.

The most striking thing about these expedited letters (.pdf) (made public via the Electronic Frontier Foundation) is that they all use the same pathetic, passive bureaucratese:  "Due to exigent circumstances, it is requested that records for the attached list of telephone numbers be provided." 

So far seem to all be coming from the same office: the Communications Analysis Group which looks to be located in Room 4944 in FBI Headquarters.  The "exigent letters" also refer almost exclusively to a "Special Project" and the only name on any of the letters is Larry Mefford.

Mefford was no rookie FBI agent. Mefford was the Executive Assistant Director, in charge of the Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence Division. In English, that means he was in charge of preventing another terrorist attack domestically.

What does that mean?  Well, Mefford's name is on documents that requested personal information on Americans.  Some of those requests included information known to be false to the agents signing them.  That's a federal crime, according to one former FBI agent.

What was this "Special Project" in the Communications Analysis Group?  What exactly were they doing that would require "expedited" letters that sometimes requested more than 2 pages of phone numbers from phone companies?  In the immortal words of the Butch Cassidy, who are those guys?

The documents also show that these "exigent letters" -- essentially end runs around the rules set up to keep the FBI from trampling on citizens rights -- weren't devised by some rogue Jack Bauer-style agent.  The form letters originated from inside FBI Headquarters and in some cases, bear the name of a senior level FBI offiicial who should have been aware of the letters' legal grey status and possibility for abuse.

The FBI is fully aware of the power handed to it by Congress's passage of the Patriot Act.  Indeed, as early as November 28, 2001, every field office was warned by the Office of the General Counsel that:

NSLs are powerful investigative tools in that they can compel the production of substantial amounts of relevant information. However, they must be used judiciously. [...]  In deciding whether or not to re-authorize the broadened authority, Congress certainly will examine the manner in which the FBI exercised it.  Executive Order 12333 and the FCIG require that the FBU accomplish its investigations through the "least intrusive " means.  Supervisors should keep this in mind when deciding whether or not a particular use of NSL authority is appropriate.  The greater availability of NSLs does not mean that they should be used in every case.

From the looks of the audits coming out, that seems to be one memo FBI agents dutifully ignored.  And perhaps rightfully so, since Congress didn't bother to challenge Alberto Gonzales's knowingly false statements to Congress about the FBI's use of these powers before they made them permanent.

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Concerns Raised Over FBI Spy Scheme
Privacy experts are raising alarm bells about a new FBI program that would pay private companies to hold millions of phone and Internet records the FBI is barred from keeping itself. Companies would be responsible for at least two years of network calling records. The program would allow the FBI to skirt laws banning the collection of data not directly connected to a criminal investigation or intelligence matter. The proposed companies involved are Verizon, MCI and AT&T.

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FBI Employees Face Criminal Probe Over Patriot Act Abuse

Ryan Singel Email 07.12.07 | 2:00 AM

FBI personnel who used misleading emergency letters to acquire thousands of Americans' phone records are the subject of a criminal investigation, top bureau officials told civil liberties groups Monday.

The unprecedented criminal probe, revealed at an outreach meeting led by FBI director Robert Mueller and general counsel Valerie Caproni at FBI headquarters, is looking at the actions of an antiterrorism team known as the Communications Analysis Unit, according to two people who attended the meeting independently and who informed Wired News, requesting anonymity.

The privately disclosed investigation would mark the first time government officials have faced possible prosecution for misuse of Patriot Act investigative tools, and highlights the seriousness of recent reports about the FBI's misuse of a powerful self-issued subpoena known as a National Security Letter.

Unit employees, who are not authorized to request records in investigations, sent form letters to telephone companies to acquire detailed billing information on specific phone numbers by falsely promising that subpoenas were already in the works.

According to a third source, FBI officials also said at the meeting that some bureau employees have already been granted immunity from prosecution in the investigation. The third source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, did not recall, however, that FBI officials described the investigation as "criminal."

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko confirmed that the meeting took place but declined to comment on the content of the conversation, saying only, "The FBI does not confirm or deny investigations."

Neither the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General nor the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility returned calls for comment.

While the scope of the alleged investigation is unknown, investigators could be examining whether the unit violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or committed fraud by falsely swearing that subpoenas were being prepared.

National Security Letters are self-issued subpoenas that allow investigators in terrorism and espionage cases to require phone companies, banks, credit reporting agencies and internet service providers to turn over records on Americans considered "relevant" to an investigation. Those records are then fed into three computer systems, including a shared data-mining tool known as the Investigative Data Warehouse.

Though warned in 2001 to use this power sparingly, FBI agents issued more than 47,000 National Security Letters in 2005, more than half of which targeted Americans.

Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have downplayed the gravity of the reported errors while attempting to mollify critics by promising to strengthen internal oversight.

The Communications Analysis Unit, part of the FBI's Communications Exploitation Section based in the agency's headquarters building, is tasked with analyzing terrorist communications and providing intelligence to the FBI's Counterterrorism Division. However, because it only supports investigators, unit employees cannot issue subpoenas and instead need to have counterterrorism investigators do so.

However, the Justice Department's Inspector General reported (.pdf) in March that the office issued 739 "exigent letters" to AT&T, Verizon and MCI seeking information on more than 3,000 phone numbers. The letters stated: "Due to exigent circumstances, it is requested that records for the attached list of telephone numbers be provided. Subpoenas requesting this information have been submitted to the U.S. Attorney's Office who will process and serve them formally to (Phone Company Name) as expeditiously as possible."

However, no such subpoenas had been filed with U.S. Attorneys and only later were some of the requests followed up with proper legal process, according to the Inspector General's report.

Several of the letters included requests for records for more than 100 phone numbers.

Bassem Youssef, the current head of the Communications Analysis Unit, told Congress in March that key FBI lawyers knew about the problem in 2005, when he notified them and put an end to the false letters.

Youssef first noticed the problem with the letters in 2005 when he took over the unit and quickly brought the matter to the attention of his supervisor and the FBI's Office of the General Counsel, according to a March letter (.pdf) sent by his lawyer, Stephen Kohn, to Sen. Chuck Grassley.

"At all times, the (National Security Law Branch) and the FBI (Office of the General Counsel) knew that the field offices and operational units were non-compliant in obtaining the legal documentation," Kohn wrote.

Youssef is currently suing the FBI for retaliating against him for complaining that the bureau was wasting his Arabic-language skills and antiterrorism experience. He attempted to get proper National Security Letters filed to provide post-facto legal backing for the exigent letters but was hampered by uncooperative field offices, according to the Senate letter.

Kohn did not respond to requests for comment.

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So much for the FBI lovefest.

How about posting some stuff on the corruption regarding Homeland Security who's just as bad as the FBI and a lot larger?
Gang Stalking is sanctioned by the FBI and many policing agencies, who maintain a hands off approach to this hate crime. It is indicative of the fascist shadow government that now controls this country.
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Debating "The Camden 28"
A scholar and an activist discuss a new film about the Catholic Left
By James T. Fisher and Edward Murphy | SEPTEMBER 17, 2007
the cover of America, the Catholic magazine

Editors' note: The Camden 28, which airs Tuesday September 11 at 10 pm on most PBS stations, tells the story of the 28 activists who were arrested in 1971 for conspiring to break into a draft facility in Camden, New Jersey and destroy records. Among the group were many members of the Catholic Left, including several priests. To shed more light on this moment in history, we asked two people to view the film and discuss it via email. James T. Fisher is the co-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University and a native of New Jersey. Edward Ned Murphy, S.J., was one of the defendants in the Camden 28 trial and now works at Part of the Solution (POTS), a soup kitchen in the Bronx.

Spoiler alert: this discussion addresses some historical facts that are only gradually revealed over the course of the film.

Father Ned,

My first of numerous surely off-center reflections on Anthony Giacchinos valuable documentary, The Camden 28: as a Jersey guy, it was very good to see the Garden States contribution to the Catholic peace movement honored! There is actually a genuine issue here beyond the boosterism: treatments of this movement and this era nearly always begin and end with a nod to the Berrigan brothers and their role in events at places like Catonsville that now enjoy a kind of canonical status in U.S. Catholic history. So I am especially appreciative for The Camden 28 as a film that highlights a story that was both deeply local yet linked via themes and participants to this broader dynamic movement.

Because you are one of the non-local figures among the Camden 28, it would be good to learn how you came to be involved in this particular act of witness. Some of my best friends are from Camden and the blue-collar suburbs to its north and east: these are some real characters deeply grounded in an environment that notably borders on the astonishing beauty and isolation of the Pine Barrens whose role in the formation of local culture should not be overlooked. I was reminded of these rugged characters by the South Jersey/Philly accents of several figures--especially Bob Hardy, the F.B.I. informant that viewers will surely find the most puzzling if not compelling subject in the film.

Hardys astonishing role in this story prompts one question that has recurred over the years: why was the Catholic Left so politically naive By 1971 the secular Left was well-versed in the F.B.I.s infiltration and entrapment techniques--which is not to say it was immune--but as we were reminded again in The Camden 28, the Catholic version featured this extraordinarily innocent streak, raising questions about its origins and background in a church whose structures of authority seemed really to complicate challenges to vested systems of all kinds.

The other side of this innocence is very powerfully represented in the 28s loving and compassionate response to the death of informer Bob Hardys son Billy in a terrible accident. Then later the pastoral intervention of Fr. Mick Doyle--one of the 28 and a central figure as a Camden priest--with Hardy and his family is part of process that leads to a very powerful discernment on Bob Hardys part.

Here are a few historical/political questions followed by some reflections on the film as film. Do you have any sense of why only one (Joan Reilly) of the dozen or so women participants in the 28 has any substantial screen time? There is a reference in the film to a dinner whose male-dominated character evoked The Last Supper. The secular Lefts gender issues have been widely treated, but we don?t have much on the Catholic version.

Father Mick Doyle is surely Irish-born--were you born in the NYC area Do you think there were any echoes of Irish causes/traditions in events in Camden I was struck by the caper film tone of the historical reconstructions around the Camden fed building, which in turn reminded me of some Irish rebel lore. The reconstructions also have that Zapruder film/Oliver Stone quality which by now can be as distracting as entertaining/illuminating.

The reunion motif is becoming a familiar feature of documentaries that treat communal events like that of the Camden 28 action and trial. The technique as deployed here is moving and often effective, though wed still like to know more about groups inner dynamics unmediated by gauze of nostalgia, poignant as it is. I imagine viewers might be especially interested in your role in the production: how you came to be interviewed, what was cut, and how you felt about overall process. There is a warm tone to the film that is quite touching; for some reason these '60s/70s historically themed-films often leave me a touch sad. I was also left with sense that some of the Camden 28's less central figures would have been among the best to hear from and theres something lost by their absence. Do you know much about those we dont hear from or learn about in film

Thanks Ned and best wishes from Jim

Dear Jim,

First of all, thank you for your reflections. As you pointed out, I was not a local. My roots, though, are inner city. I am what was once called a BIC--a Bronx, Irish Catholic. I was born in 1937 and so grew up in the 40s and 50s, when we were not only proud members of the Church Triumphant, we were also proud citizens of America Triumphant. It was a time of certainty both theologically and politically. The road to Camden, therefore, was geographically not a long one, but uncharted miles away theologically and politically.

More immediately, the story of how I came to Camden is the story of our community--the community which has often been called the Catholic Left but which we always referred to simply as the "action community." Seen by the F.B.I. as a rather highly structured organization with known leaders and by some of the peace movement as an amorphous group of pious do-gooders, we were neither. Rather we were a totally unstructured community of people who shared a very reasoned political analysis and a spiritual (not religious) dynamism which came from a commitment to the values articulated in the Gospel. We did not always share the same understanding of the person of Jesus, although the overwhelming majority of us came from a Catholic Christian background.

In 1971 I was working for the Harrisburg Defense Committee as were many of the action community. We thought it would give us a platform to explain who we were and what we were about. The workings of the Harrisburg 7 trial, however, did not give us as much of an opportunity to do this as we had hoped. So when I received a call from Peter Fordi--another Jesuit member of the 28--saying that there was a community in Camden that was preparing to do an action and needed help, I was anxious to go. This was our way of operating. If help was needed whoever was available would respond. In the normal course several people would surface after the action and take credit for it. The rest would go back to their work. The presence of Bob Hardy, however, enabled the F.B.I. to name and arrest everyone who was involved. Which brings us to the subject of Bob Hardy.

I have heard for over 35 years about the naivet of the Catholic Left. I do not want to sound defensive but I do not think it is a fair description. We were, indeed, an open community. We attended one anothers trials and often celebrated together. We were a natural for infiltration. The fact is that, to the best of our knowledge, we were never infiltrated. Which is to say that the F.B.I. never inserted an agent into our community. In our case it was a trusted friend and member of the community who chose to go to the F.B.I. Id like to point out that if Bob Hardys intention was simply to protect his friends, as he says in the film, he could have stood up and said that any further planning would force him to go to the F.B.I. and we would have aborted the action immediately. As you point out in your reflection, Jim, the Camden 28s treatment of Hardy, especially at the tragic death of his son, is a true example of non-violence.

The gender issue was indeed an ongoing cause of concern for the action community. I remember one former nun saying at a meeting that she did not leave one male-dominated hierarchy for another and I knew what she meant. I would not attempt to speak for the women of Camden 28, but I do know that the gender issue was alive among us and often openly discussed. Personally, I am very grateful to some of the women of the Catholic Left who shared their concerns and their feminist analysis with this Jesuit and who never gave up on me. Off the top of my head I think of Mary Moylan, Ann Walsh and Judy Peluso, and 28ers Anne Dunham, Lianne Moscia and Cookie Ridolfi.

I asked Anthony Giacchino, the director, why there were not other women featured in the film. He said that in the interviewing phase his budget was severely limited and Joan Reilly was available in the area and willing to talk at length, and that other women (and men) chose not to participate.

I loved your observation about the ring of Irish rebel lore that sounds in the reconstruction of the action. I smiled when I read it and realized its accuracy, even though many of the 28 did not have Irish rebel backgrounds. But I can tell you that I am sure it brought a smile to my rebel Irish mother. I was reared on such stories--the jailbreak from Kilkenny prison, the Tans searching the house for guns, and on and on.

I hope I have not been overly partisan, but then how could I not be I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It brought back wonderful memories of a loving community. The love was always present as we laughed and cried and discussed and disagreed and argued vehemently. What power there was in that loving community has shaped all I have tried to do since.

Much love to you,
Ned Murphy

Check back Tuesday for Part 2 of the discussion.

James T. Fisher is the co-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University. Edward Ned Murphy, S.J., was one of the defendants in the Camden 28 trial and now works at Part of the Solution (POTS), a soup kitchen in the Bronx.
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U.S. Sen. Grassley: Questions FBI on more alleged retaliation against whistleblowers

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has again reminded the FBI that the law does not allow retaliation against government whistleblowers.  Grassley reiterated his concerns to FBI Director Robert Mueller in a letter sent yesterday.

The Senator’s letter forwards allegations of retaliation against FBI Agent Bassem Youssef, chief of the Communications Analysis Unit.  Youssef is the highest ranking Arab-American in the FBI.  After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Youssef raised concerns within the FBI that he, as one of the highest ranking Arabic-speaking agents, was not being assigned to cases related to the attacks. 

        “It seems like every time I turn around, there’s another allegation of whistleblower retaliation at the FBI.  It appears to be second nature for them,” Grassley said.  “Director Mueller has talked often about the fact that he won’t tolerate retaliation, but it doesn’t look like the message is getting through to his management team.”

        Grassley is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has conducted oversight of the FBI since the mid 1990s. 

        Here is a copy of the letter to Mueller.  A copy of the signed letter along with the attachment can be found on Grassley’s website at http://grassley.senate.gov.
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PostSecret Site Shut Down Over National Security

by Dood Abides

Web archived copy of post card submission which reportedly resulted in website shutdown
Web archived copy of post card submission which reportedly resulted in website shutdown

Washington, DC (UPSI) - Thousands of fans worldwide were stunned to find today that the popular ongoing artistic experimental website PostSecret had been shut down overnight and replaced by a heretofore unknown blogger profile simply called "Nicole". Rumors have spread that the website was shut down over concerns of national security, but spokespersons for the White House, Department of Justice, FBI, and the CIA have steadfastly refused to confirm the allegations.

When news of the site shut down broke early this morning, bloggers began combing readily available archival content online, and many insist that they have found a posting from early February 2007 which may be responsible. The postcard in question depicts President Bush in a boat fishing with his father, the former President, and scrawled across the picture is the phrase, "I miss the way I used to feel." On the reverse of the card and in the same handwriting are two simple sentences: "I made a horrible mistake when we envaded(sic) Iraq. I'm sorry".

Handwriting analysts have compared the text with the president's infamous handwritten "bathroom break memo" from a UN meeting in 2005, and have declared the postcard to be a match within 98% certainty.

PostSecret was established as an ongoing social/artistic experiment in which people are encouraged to submit their darkest secrets under conditions of anonymity. Created by Frank Warren, it has displayed upwards of 2500 miniature works of art from people in the United States and across the world. Warren had recently begun branching out into YouTube with a new experimental "PostSecret Mini-Movie".

Warren today vowed to "continue the experiment in whatever capacity". "It is very liberating to finally be able to reveal that the problems at the website were due to ongoing secret FBI investigations since July of this year. Secrets are toxic, and this has been once again demonstrated to me firsthand. The spirit of the site remains intact, and anyone, no matter their stature or occupation in life should have the benefit of confession."

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This is important information.
Back in the 1970's the CIA  approached Yuri Geller, the Israeli born pyschic spoon bender and asked if he would cooperate in an experiment to stop pigs hearts from beating.
A paradigm shifting book called PSYCHIC WARRIOR lays out the CIA  Stargate program in detail. Written by Colonel David Morehouse, a participant in the program he has gone on to lead workshops teaching people what he learned in the program.
Several years ago he was a keynote speaker at the annual Psychotronics association conference. I highly recommend the video they made of his 3 hour presentation  see

Revealed: CIA Allegedly Transferred STAR GATE to Spy Agency
Gary S. Bekkum


Gary S. Bekkum is an independent 'occasional' rogue journalist & web author, and researcher of material that blurs the distinction between fiction and reality.

In 2004 Bekkum initiated Starstream Research, as an informal survey of exotic physics and consciousness concepts related to the survival or otherwise of the human race. Building from an international network of contacts in science and the defense industry, some of the Starstream Research material is available to the public at STARpod.org.

As a result of his efforts, Bekkum has reported numerous contacts with past and present intelligence officials interested in the application of exotic phenomena, ranging from antigravity to mind-to-mind communication.

 Gary S. Bekkum
September 16, 2007
 Several sources, including investigative journalist Gus Russo, are reporting America's psychic spy program is alive and well, hidden in the depths of the National Security Agency.

Gus Russo is the author of several books including "Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK." Russo has worked as an investigative reporter for PBS's Frontline and ABC News. In a story published in June of this year, Russo examined the "Real X-Files" behind the infiltration of government intelligence agencies into networks of investigative citizen journalists interested in exotic phenomena, like UFOs and parapsychology.

According to information provided by an independent source to Gus Russo, the STAR GATE psychic spy project "was relocated from CIA and is one of the most highly classified at NSA."

In 1995, the CIA inherited STAR GATE, a top-secret psychic spy program run by the Defense Intelligence Agency. STAR GATE has become the nickname for numerous government programs, beginning in 1972, that explored and applied human mental powers to collect intelligence. Many spy agencies were involved in STAR GATE, or similar projects, including the CIA, DIA, the USAF, the Navy, Army Intelligence and Missile Command, Secret Service, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others.

Another agency known to have been involved was the National Security Agency (NSA).

CIA killed the STAR GATE program in 1995, shortly after a Congressional Mandate transfered control of the program from DIA. Several years later, approximately 89,000 pages of STAR GATE documents were released to the public, many heavily redacted with sections or entire pages removed or censored in black.

Sources are telling Starstream Research that America's psychic spy efforts continue today as part of the war on terror.

Gus Russo's source told him "NSA considers remote viewing a valid SIGINT tool."

Remote viewing refers to the use of mental powers to perform psychic spying -- the use of extra-sensory perceptions of the human mind to access information not available to ordinary senses.

In the Intelligence Community, the National Security Agency "collects, processes and disseminates foreign Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)."

According to the NSA web site, "SIGINT plays a vital role in our national security by employing the right people and using the latest technology to provide America's leaders with the critical information they need to save lives, defend democracy, and promote American values."

If Russo's source is correct, SIGINT now includes exotic phenomenology for intelligence collection. Government persons and citizens interested in exotic phenomena are sometimes called phenomenologists.

In addition to Russo's source, another unrelated former government scientist told Caryn Anscomb, a contributing investigator for Starstream Research, of a "deep black" psychic spy program.

One possible explanation for a current NSA program is found in 1994 briefings given to various intelligence agencies, including Andy Marshall at the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.

A year before CIA killed the STAR GATE project, DIA documents show renewed interest in Russian phenomenology, with the discovery of a possible signal-carrying mechanism for psychic phenomena. STAR GATE scientific research was conducted by defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). The final SAIC report mentions various possible mechanisms for signal transmission.

The NSA is conspicuously absent from later-day STAR GATE documents. Incomplete redacting, which is the blacking out of sensitive information, appears to identify a representative from NSA in at least one of the 1994 DIA briefing documents.

If a transmission mechanism was discovered during STAR GATE research, psychic spying would change from HUMINT (human intelligence sources) to SIGINT (signal intelligence sources).

Gus Russo's unnamed source reports strange new developments at the NSA program. According to Russo, "The source says the program encountered problems when when foreign targets were being blocked by an extraterrestrial source that has never been identified."

STAR GATE files prove that DIA psychic spies reported encounters with extraterrestrials during the 1980's. Documents stamped with official CIA declassification ID numbers include drawings of biological entities and descriptions of their locations on Earth, and in space.

Investigator Caryn Anscomb asked Russo to rate the credibility of his human source for the latest NSA revelation. Russo replied, "His speculations are sometimes further than I would go ... But his accuracy re: facts has never been in question."

Some of the most vocal opponents to the possible existence of the NSA psychic-spy program worked with the original STAR GATE projects.

Paul H. Smith, a former DIA source, is the President of IRVA -- the International Remote Viewing Association -- an organization comprised of veterans of previous government programs and next generation private sector psychics. When asked about the NSA program, Smith replied, "If there still actually is one, I have no info on it."

Colonel John B. Alexander, retired, a well known advocate for non-lethal weapons, told Coast to Coast AM host George Noory he doubted the government was currently involved in remote viewing.

"The talent pool is really relatively small ... and most of these people all know each other."

Russo told Starstream Research the NSA remote viewers had received special university-level training.

A major security breach occurred in 1973 when, according to numerous accounts, SRI remote viewers Pat Price and Ingo Swann spied on NSA's Sugar Grove facility in West Virginia.

The tale of this incident was told by CIA's Ken Kress in a 1999 revised version of a formerly secret story written for CIA's internal "Studies in Intelligence," and is recorded in detail in the STAR GATE SRI Final Report for January 1974 to February 1975.

Kress writes, "No maps were permitted, and the subjects were asked to give an immediate response of what they remotely viewed at these coordinates. The subject came back with descriptions which were apparent misses. They both talked about a military-like facility ... To the surprise of the [CIA] OSI officer, he soon discovered a sensitive government installation a few miles from the vacation property. This discovery led to a request to have Price provide information concerning the interior workings of this particular site. All the data produced by the two subjects were reviewed in CIA and the Agency [NSA] concerned."

"Pat Price, who had no military or intelligence background, provided a list of project titles associated with current and past activities including one of extreme sensitivity. Also, the codename of the site was provided. Other information concerning the physical layout of the site was accurate. Some information, such as the names of the people at the site, proved incorrect."

Pages from the SRI report are available for viewing at the Starstream Research web sites.

A few years later, following Price's death, it was alleged by the FBI that Price had been passing information about the SRI research to a private organization. Kress addressed this incident in the 1999 public version of his CIA article:

"In the late 1970s, several years after the project was terminated, I got a secure line call from a person who identified himself as an FBI agent ... The FBI agent proceeded to explain that Pat Price was a member of an organization that was recently raided for documents indicative of illegal activity. The organization was vigorously resisting the government investigation but the raid produced hundreds of files and papers that supported the government ’s allegations. These documents were now in the public domain as part of the discovery process in the legal proceedings. One such file included debriefings of Pat Price about his CIA remote viewing projects ... As the file made clear, Pat, who had signed an official secrecy agreement, would immediately go to his superior in the organization after sessions with me and divulge everything."

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Guidelines on FBI Confidential Sources

Late last year the Attorney General approved revised guidelines for the use of confidential informants by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (pdf).

The guidelines require that confidential human sources be subjected to a new validation process to help ensure that their information is reliable.

The guidelines also generally require that the FBI and prosecutors inform responsible law enforcement authorities if they discover that an FBI source is engaged in "unauthorized criminal activity."

"The FBI does not have any authority to make any promise or commitment that would prevent the government from prosecuting a Confidential Human Source for criminal activity that is not authorized....."

See "Attorney General Guidelines Regarding the Use of FBI Confidential Human Sources," approved December 13, 2006.

The Guidelines were included in voluminous FBI answers to questions for the record of a recently published Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "FBI Oversight," December 6, 2006 (14 MB PDF file).

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Wanted: A Whitey story that stays hot

                                                                                                                                                                By Peter Gelzinis
                                        Friday, September 21, 2007 -
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It wasn’t her lilting accent, or the way she formally introduced herself as an “Italian journaleeest,” that endeared me to Flaminia Lubin’s phone message.

No, it was how she managed to step on Whitey Bulger’s last name with such polite grace and civility that made me smile.

“I would like, very much, to speak to you about Mr. James Bulgar,” Flaminia said, using the same hard “g” that enables Bulger to rhyme so perfectly with vulgar.

It brought back memories of the day President Bill Clinton came to town and dropped a hard “g” right on the head of Whitey’s little brother. “And I want to thank your Senate president, Bill . . . Bulgar,” Clinton said before a Park Plaza congregation of high hacks.

I still wonder if Billbo invoked the hard “g”as a way to cut our Napoleon down a few pegs. I’m guessing he did, but then I digress.

Flaminia Lubin wanted me to know that for a few days last week, our favorite long-lost gangster was bigger in Italy than he is aroundAndrew Square at the moment.

“This story has some, how do say, interest over there. When the (Italian) people hear that someone on the same list with Osama bin Laden could be walking around oh, yes, it was a big story.”

Then guess what happened. “After the Italian authorities did their best job, trying to find Mr. James Bulgar,” Flaminia said, “and they could not find him, the story, it went very cold after a few days.”

Even with a lovely Italian accent, doesn’t that sound awfully familiar?

Flaminia Lubin, who’s lived in New York for the last 20 years with her husband and family, works as a freelance producer for RAI, or National Italian Television. At the moment, she is trying to put together a segment on Whitey for the Italian version of “America’s Most Wanted.”

“It’s called ‘Chi l’ha visto?” she said, “which in English would be ‘Who Saw Him?’ The first story on Mr. James Bulgar was quite popular on Italian television and it drew a large audience. But when the police could not find him and there were no stories to follow, it disappeared quite quickly.”

So, Flaminia has been dispatched to pump some life into the story by giving her countrymen a portrait of our miserable old refugee. Meanwhile, I was more interested in learning what folks in the birthplace of La Cosa Nostra thought of an Irish gangster who made his fortune by ratting out Italians to the FBI. On the ancient streets of Rome or Sicily, I wondered whether the locals really believed the FBI wanted to capture their prize stool pigeon any more than we did?

“Right now, let me tell you that Italians, they could care less about if the FBI really looks for Mr. Bulgar,” Flaminia explained. “They have so many problems in Italy now, that wondering if the FBI will catch Mr. Bulgar this is the least of their problems. But, yes, they will pay some attention if they believe that someone like Mr. James Bulgar may be in Italy, living among them.”

He’s not - at least not anymore. If Whitey Bulger ever was in Italy, you can be sure he left shortly after the G-men gumshoes came through with another one of their classic head starts. Flaminia Lubin explained that it was FBI agents in Italy who approachedproducers of “Chi l’ha visto?” with the latest video of a Whitey Bulger with more hair and a different jaw line. Good thing they did, or else we’d forget they were ever looking.

Funny how that piece of video went global around the time of the White Man’s 77th birthday. As we all know, there are two days every year when a handful of people turn their tired eyes toward an old psychopath: Whitey’s birthday, and the anniversary of that January day in 1995, when he ran away leaving Kevin Weeks, Steve “The Rifleman” Flemmi and G-man John Connolly holding the bag.

As for the remaining 363 days, Whitey is simply one vulgar old man tucked away in the shadows.

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the narcosphere        
Bogotá Connection ’Informant’ Baruch Vega Sues U.S. Government
By Bill Conroy,
Posted on Mon Sep 24th, 2007 at 12:06:27 AM EST
A key figure in exposing alleged U.S. law enforcement corruption in Colombia has just filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit that promises to be quite embarrassing for the U.S. government — and revealing to those of us who don’t quite buy our aloof leadership’s Plan Colombia vision.

In that lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., Baruch Vega claims that the U.S. government owes him $28.5 million for services he provided in an operation that helped the U.S. government net 114 Colombian narco-trafficking targets.

From Vega’s lawsuit, filed on Sept. 21:

In or about 1996 and 1997, [Vega] became a documented confidential informant for the United States of America, specifically, two federal law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and later, for the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”). … Mr. Vega was not a traditional informant and his methodology was anything but parochial. Mr. Vega engineered a plan/program that proved to be innovative and very successful.

Mr. Vega would play and later, in fact did play, the role of an intermediary (or broker) between Colombian drug traffickers, some then unknown (and thus, unidentified) to U.S. law enforcement, others already identified (by their real names or nicknames as “suspects”) by U.S. law enforcement and, others already indicted, for drug trafficking and/or money laundering charges in various federal districts across the United States of America.

Vega’s plan, as explained in his pleadings, involved what might best be described as an elaborate, U.S. government-sanctioned extortion scheme. Vega, “at great danger to himself,” approached Colombian narco-traffickers and convinced them to “negotiate their criminal exposure” with the U.S. government rather than waiting to be indicted, arrested and extradited,” Vega claims in his litigation.

More from Vega’s lawsuit:

Once Mr. Vega introduced … American lawyers to the Colombian targets [the narco-traffickers], the lawyers would then get retained and then take over as legal representatives for the Colombian targets and further deal with a group of United States law enforcement agents and prosecutors, hand-picked to work out deals for the Colombian targets. A particular United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida became the coordinator of this “recruiting effort.”

Vega claims in the litigation that as part of this extortion scheme, FBI and DEA agents would initially meet with the Colombian narco-trafficking targets in Panama for introductions, eventual debriefings and finally to work out the details of proposed plea agreements.

“There were many of these types of meetings in Panama over a period of several years,” Vega alleges in the lawsuit. “… The plan/program was extremely successful. All in all, Mr. Vega convinced and successfully recruited about 114 Colombian targets to enter this plan/program, about 25 of which were fugitives at the time of negotiating the deals.

”Within the past seven years alone, there were 35 such Colombian targets who reached deals with the United States.” [A list of names can be found at the end of this story.]

Big Picture

Vega’s remarkable claims in his litigation must be set against the larger context of corruption allegations that have been exposed in Narco News’ prior reporting about U.S. law enforcement operations in Colombia.

This Bogotá Connection was revealed in a series of government documents uncovered by Narco News, including an internal U.S. Justice Department document known as the Kent memo, which advances detailed allegations of a criminal conspiracy involving corrupt U.S. law enforcers who operated in league with key Colombian narco-traffickers.

Vega was very involved with some of the U.S. law enforcement operations referenced in the Kent memo. Those particular operations played out between 1997 and 2000 and sought to snare narco-traffickers with Colombia’s infamous North Valley Cartel.

Vega claims that corrupt U.S. agents that are part of the Bogotá Connection seriously compromised his role as a government asset and that a number of his informants within Colombia’s narco-trafficking underworld were assassinated as a result.

Vega also contends that he has intimate knowledge of the alleged corruption outlined in the Kent memo.

Justice Department attorney Thomas M. Kent wrote the memo in late 2004 in an effort to draw attention to alleged serious corruption within the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. In the memo, Kent alleges that DEA agents in Bogotá assisted narco-traffickers, engaged in money laundering, and conspired to murder informants.

The first of the major allegations in Kent’s memo centers on a DEA undercover operation launched in Colombia in 1997 called Cali-Man, which made use of Vega as an asset. The operation was overseen by David Tinsley, a DEA group supervisor in Miami.

As part of that operation, Tinsley and the agents working under him uncovered evidence that DEA agents in Bogotá appeared to be assisting narco-traffickers in Colombia.

But in late January 2000, Bogotá DEA chief Leo Arreguin shot off a memo to DEA headquarters. The charges raised in that memo led to Tinsley’s operations being shut down that same year, including Cali-Man and another investigation called Rainmaker — which was zeroing in on the alleged DEA corruption in Bogotá.

Arreguin’s memo, which was addressed to the DEA’s chief of international operations, questioned the integrity of Vega and his so-called “extortion scheme.”

The Arreguin memo prompted an internal agency investigation targeting Tinsley and one of the agents under his watch (Lawrence Castillo) who was Vega’s in-the-field handler.

As a result of the investigation prompted by Arreguin’s memo, Tinsley was suspended and eventual dismissed from his job.

The DEA Bogota chief’s memo also put into motion a major criminal investigation targeting Vega, Tinsley and Castillo. The investigation was undertaken by two green FBI agents initially in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami. The agents, according to sources, thought they were onto something big, but had no idea that their own agency was operating Vega as an asset and had authorized the extortion scheme — without making Tinsley and the Cali-man undercover operation aware of that fact.

Vega was never criminally prosecuted for engaging in the extortion scheme, however. Instead, he was convicted on a misdemeanor charge for not paying taxes on some of the money he allegedly earned from the scheme (which he claims was conducted with the approval of and in coordination with the U.S. government) and received a four-month jail sentence.

In addition, Tinsley and Castillo were cleared of all criminal charges with respect to Vega’s use of the so-called extortion scheme. Tinsley also brought a claim of wrongful termination before a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) judge, who, in April 2004, ruled in his favor and ordered the DEA to reinstate him — with back pay, plus interest.

Sources tell Narco News those facts demonstrate that the extortion scheme was sanctioned by the government, which Vega also now asserts in his litigation.

The judge’s ruling in Tinsley’s MSPB case includes some very specific details about the activities of Vega, who in his other life was a high-profile fashion photographer. Those details confirm that the DEA, FBI as well as the CIA all were utilizing Vega in operations targeting narco-traffickers in Colombia.

From the MSPB judge’s ruling:

… The appellant [Tinsley] testified that, at the request of the FBI, he wanted the bare minimum of a paper trail for Mr. Vega. Both the DEA and FBI used Vega as a confidential source. The FBI specified that Vega would be a "non-testifier.” That is, he would never be used to testify in criminal trials. This status was necessary because Vega was called a “FCI-CI” or Foreign Counterintelligence Service Confidential Informant, who had been brought in by the CIA. As the appellant [Tinsley] put it, “I'm having my agents cut him out every chance they can. I don't want him documented. I don't want him in our Case File any more than we have to."

The trips to Panama at issue here were confidential source recruiting trips. The plan was for Mr. Vega to “introduce” SA Castillo [a DEA agent working under Tinsley] to drug traffickers and then to get out of there, so he would be in no position to have to testify regarding what conversations, if any, took place. For that reason, it was the appellant's [Tinsley's] judgment that few DEA-6s [reports] were required regarding Mr. Vega because Vega was a non-testifier, and, moreover, his activities did not yield investigative leads. And, as stated previously, at least one classified DEA-6 was prepared and was kept under lock and key in the Miami SAC's [special agent in charge’s] safe in order to safeguard the information contained therein….

The Cover-up

After Narco News exposed the Kent memo in a story published on Jan. 9, 2006, DEA reacted by describing the corruption allegations in that memo as “extremely serious.”

However, some nine days later, after Semana, a popular weekly magazine in Colombia, published a story about the Kent memo, DEA issued another public statement describing the corruption allegations as “unfounded.”

The U.S. mainstream media has been silent about the Kent memo, and the Bogotá Connection, since that time.

But Vega now appears to be forcing both the government and the compliant agenda-setting media to confront the Bogotá Connection through the U.S. court system.

From Vega’s lawsuit:

The economic (and non-economic) benefits to the United States in bringing all of the Colombian targets to justice is mind boggling. The United States obtained over a hundred federal drug convictions. Much of the cooperation of the Colombian targets itself resulted in other investigations, prosecutions and convictions — something akin to a “domino effect.” In varying degrees, these targets forfeited cash, real estate, jewelry and art in an estimated total amount somewhere between $250 million and $500 million.

… Accordingly, Mr. Vega seeks a $250,000 payment for each of the 114 cases he made for the United States and therefore, seeks a total sum of $28,500,000.

That’s a lot of money on the line for the U.S. government — in reality, the U.S. taxpayers’ money collected via the so-called war on drugs.

U.S. government attorneys can always choose to duke it out in court with Vega and prove that his allegations are “unfounded.”

However, by engaging Vega in that legal battle, the U.S. government also takes the risk that his “extremely serious” allegations are, in fact, true and that even more of the Bogotá Connection will be exposed to the sanitizing heat of sunlight.

The government has until Nov. 23 to file an answer to Vega’s legal complaint.

Vega, for his part, appears quite ready to play this game of roulette with the U.S. government. As he told Narco News previously: “It’s all a wheel … eventually my side will be up.”

Oh, and here’s that promised list — filed as an exhibit in Vega’s lawsuit, which can be found at this link:

List of Drug traffickers surrendered and cooperating sources recruited between 1997 to 2000


1. Arturo Piza
2. Oscar Grisales
3. Julio Fierro
4. John Castro (Jimmy Aloja “Mijares”)
5. Jairo
6. Luz Stella Ossa
7. Armando Ballestas


1. Herman Arboleda
2. Gustavo Gallego
3. Nelly Gallego
4. Attorney Enrique Mancera
5. Jose Guillermo Gallon
6. Pedro Gallon
7. Nicolas Bergonzoli
8. Orlando Sanchez-Christancho
9. Milton Perlaza aka “Javier Valencia” aka “Pele” — for Jorge Eliecer Asprilla Perea
10. Carlos Ramon-Zapata
11. Oscar Campuzano
12. Gustavo Usuga
13. Juan Gabriel Usuga
14. Bernardo Sanchez-Norena
15. Maria Elena Londono for Hector Mario Londono-Vasquez “Negro Yuca”
16. Jorge Orrego for Yvonne Maria Scaff de Saldarriaga
17. The Tascon sisters for Alfredo Tascon-Aguirre
18. Bernal’s wife for Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal “Juvenal”
19. Attorney Roberto Uribe
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Posted on Fri, Sep. 28, 2007

Plane crash in Mexico investigated

Star-Telegram staff writer; McClatchy Newspapers

U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in investigating an American business jet that crashed in Cancun this week with four tons of cocaine on board, officials said Thursday.

One of the registered owners of the plane, Joao Luiz Malago, said in a telephone interview from Brazil that his Florida-based company sold the aircraft for $2 million on Sept. 16 to a Lakeland, Fla., man and his partner, who Malago believed was from Miami.

Malago said he feared that the man was dead because he hasn't answered the phone.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico had no information on any U.S. citizens being killed or arrested in connection with the aircraft, a 1975 model Gulfstream II.

Some news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorism suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington, D.C., and Guantanamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantanamo. No suspects are known to have been transferred to Guantanamo directly from the U.S.

The Mexican attorney general's office said the plane crashed Monday in a remote jungle area on the Yucatan Peninsula. Two men were arrested and jailed on drug trafficking charges, officials said.

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American Indian Movement leader Vernon Bellecourt dies at 75

by STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press - Sunday, October 14, 2007



Vernon Bellecourt, a longtime leader of the American Indian Movement, died Saturday. He was 75.

Bellecourt died at Abbott Northwestern Hospital of complications of pneumonia, said his brother, Clyde Bellecourt, a founder of the activist group.

Clyde Bellecourt said his brother had been in Venezuela about four weeks ago to meet with President Hugo Chavez to discuss Chavez' program for providing heating assistance to American Indian tribes. He fell ill around the time of his return. His condition continued to deteriorate, and he was put on a respirator a week ago. He died within a minute after being disconnected Saturday, his brother said

Just before he was put on the respirator, he joked that the CIA had finally gotten him, his brother recalled Saturday night.

Vernon Bellecourt - whose Objibwe name WaBun-Inini means Man of Dawn - was a member of Minnesota's White Earth band and was an international spokesman for the AIM Grand Governing Council based in Minneapolis. Clyde Bellecourt helped found AIM as a militant group in 1968, and Vernon Bellecourt soon became involved as well, including in its 1973 occupation of the town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

In recent years, Bellecourt was active in the fight against American Indian nicknames for sports teams as president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media. He was arrested in Cleveland during the 1997 World Series and again in 1998 during protests against the Cleveland Indians' mascot, Chief Wahoo. The first time, the charges were dropped. He was never charged in the second case.

"He was willing to put his butt on the line to draw attention to racism in sports," his brother said.

Bellecourt was involved as a negotiator in AIM's 1972 occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington as part of the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan.

He was present only briefly during the 71-day Wounded Knee standoff with federal agents, Clyde Bellecourt said. He stayed mostly on the outside to serve as a spokesman and fundraiser.

After Wounded Knee, Vernon Bellecourt became a leader of AIM's work abroad, meeting with presidents such as Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, as well as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his brother said. He added that they plan to list them as honorary pallbearers.

But after Wounded Knee, AIM also became weakened by arrests and internal strife and a backlash against violence blamed on it. One of its founders, Russell Means, became a bitter opponent of the Bellecourts and leader of a rival AIM group.

Vernon Bellecourt was active in the campaign to free AIM activist Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout in 1975 on the Pine Ridge reservation.

A wake was scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at All Nations Church in Minneapolis and on Tuesday night at the Circle of Life School in White Earth in northwestern Minnesota, with funeral services planned for Wednesday morning.

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Biohazard lab worker sues, claiming retaliatory transfer


NEW YORK (AP) _ A former police officer in a municipal lab that tests for AIDS, anthrax and other bio-dangers is suing the city for $2 million, saying his bosses retaliated against him for complaining about the handling of hazardous materials.

Milford Gangadeen, formerly assigned to the Public Health Laboratories in Manhattan, says in court papers his supervisors viewed him "as a nuisance and a potential public relations problem," and had him transferred.

Gangadeen, 28, said the lab, part of the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, violated safety rules while "working with some of the most hazardous and harmful biological materials known to man."

The safety breaches not only put Gangadeen in danger of contracting a fatal disease, but they also put "everyone in the immediate New York City area in grave danger," according to court papers.

Sara Markt, spokeswoman for the Health Department, said in an e-mail that several disciplinary charges are pending against Gangadeen, and none have to do with his complaint of unsafe conditions.

She said Gangadeen was previously suspended from the department because he threatened a supervisor, and he currently faces several charges including violating security rules, unauthorized use of city equipment, and unauthorized absences from work.

He was transferred to another health department facility while department charges were pending

Gangadeen claims his supervisors ignored his warnings about safety, and instead began an effort to fire him from his $40,000-plus job for unfounded reasons.

In May 2006, about three months after the lab received suspected anthrax samples, Gangadeen got a rash on his right leg, court papers say. He believes the rash was caused by anthrax, and he may have been exposed when FBI agents combined 21 samples into four _ without decontaminating the samples _ in an attempt to reduce paperwork, according to court papers.

A doctor gave him the maximum prescription of CIPRO (ciprofloxacin), a powerful antibiotic used to treat people exposed to anthrax.

Gangadeen's lawyer, Walker G. Harman, said Monday two other lab workers support his client's claims and might join the lawsuit against the city. Harman said his client is accused of improperly taking interior photos of the lab to support his complaints. The trial on those charges is scheduled for Nov. 18.
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Posted October 18, 2007 | 10:18 AM (EST)
Read More: fisa, FISA Legislation, idaho, Idaho Senator, larry craig, Senator Larry Craig, Breaking Politics News

The United States needs a Senator like Frank Church once again to restore the original purpose of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

My former boss and mentor, Senator Frank Church, led the Senate investigation of Executive branch abuses of civil liberties back in 1975 - 1976 as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence.

His oversight was badly needed.

Among the findings of the Church Committee:

    * The FBI had created files on over 1 million Americans and carried out over 500,000 investigations of "subversives" from 1960-74 without a single conviction.
    * The CIA had opened the mail to and from selected American citizens which generated 1.5 million names in the Agency's computer bank known as "Operation Chaos"
    * The National Security Agency (NSA) computers had monitored every cable sent or received overseas by Americans from 1947-75.
    * Army intelligence units had conducted investigations against 100,000 U.S. citizens during the Vietnam War era.
    * The Internal Revenue Service had allowed tax information to be misused by intelligence agencies for political purposes.
    * The FBI's counterintelligence program (Cointelpro) had harassed civil rights activities, including Dr. Martin Luther King and Vietnam War dissidents.

The Church Committee's investigations resulted in the creation of a permanent Senate Committee on Intelligence, and the passage of substantial legislation, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978.

Church's work is now being shredded by the Bush Administration.

FISA established a legal framework for electronic eavesdropping at home, including a special FISA court. It was originally passed to allow the government to collect intelligence involving communications with "agents of foreign powers."

The Bush Administration exploited this narrow exception in the passage of the Patriot Act that allows use of FISA to obtain personal records from many sources including libraries and internet service providers, even when they have no connection to terrorism.

Even worse, the Bush Administration now uses FISA to get around the constitutional requirement of seeking a warrant before it eavesdrops on communications by the NSA.

Congress even condoned this abuse of power in passing the "Protect America Act" (also known as "Police America Act") that expires in February 2008.

Legislation currently under consideration - The Restore Act - is a further erosion of individual liberties because it goes beyond individual warrants allowing "basket warrants." A true restoration of our individual liberties will not permit "basket warrants." This provision needs to be fixed and fixed correctly. While there is a split in the civil liberties community about the basket provisions, I don't believe we should settle for just an improvement in existing law. We need real protection.

When I am elected to the Senate, I will demand an end to the abuse of FISA and a return to the checks and balances espoused by Frank Church and the Church Committee.

As a former Congressman, Frank Church staff member, and U.S. Army intelligence office, I will help lead the way back from the civil liberty abuses of this administration.

The New York Times editorial on 11/14/07 pointed out the loopholes in the "Police America Act" and encouraged members of Congress to close those loopholes when the legislation is up for renewal. Yes, indeed.

As Senator, I will return Idaho's representation to the Frank Church values in keeping big government and secret government out of American's personal lives. As another mentor, former Interior Secretary and Governor Cecil Andrus, stated it many times: Idahoans want the Federal government off their back, but by their sides."
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Posted October 18, 2007 | 10:18 AM (EST)
Read More: fisa, FISA Legislation, idaho, Idaho Senator, larry craig, Senator Larry Craig, Breaking Politics News

The United States needs a Senator like Frank Church once again to restore the original purpose of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

My former boss and mentor, Senator Frank Church, led the Senate investigation of Executive branch abuses of civil liberties back in 1975 - 1976 as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence.

His oversight was badly needed.

Among the findings of the Church Committee:

* The FBI had created files on over 1 million Americans and carried out over 500,000 investigations of "subversives" from 1960-74 without a single conviction.
* The CIA had opened the mail to and from selected American citizens which generated 1.5 million names in the Agency's computer bank known as "Operation Chaos"
* The National Security Agency (NSA) computers had monitored every cable sent or received overseas by Americans from 1947-75.
* Army intelligence units had conducted investigations against 100,000 U.S. citizens during the Vietnam War era.
* The Internal Revenue Service had allowed tax information to be misused by intelligence agencies for political purposes.
* The FBI's counterintelligence program (Cointelpro) had harassed civil rights activities, including Dr. Martin Luther King and Vietnam War dissidents.

The Church Committee's investigations resulted in the creation of a permanent Senate Committee on Intelligence, and the passage of substantial legislation, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978.

Church's work is now being shredded by the Bush Administration.

FISA established a legal framework for electronic eavesdropping at home, including a special FISA court. It was originally passed to allow the government to collect intelligence involving communications with "agents of foreign powers."

The Bush Administration exploited this narrow exception in the passage of the Patriot Act that allows use of FISA to obtain personal records from many sources including libraries and internet service providers, even when they have no connection to terrorism.

Even worse, the Bush Administration now uses FISA to get around the constitutional requirement of seeking a warrant before it eavesdrops on communications by the NSA.

Congress even condoned this abuse of power in passing the "Protect America Act" (also known as "Police America Act") that expires in February 2008.

Legislation currently under consideration - The Restore Act - is a further erosion of individual liberties because it goes beyond individual warrants allowing "basket warrants." A true restoration of our individual liberties will not permit "basket warrants." This provision needs to be fixed and fixed correctly. While there is a split in the civil liberties community about the basket provisions, I don't believe we should settle for just an improvement in existing law. We need real protection.

When I am elected to the Senate, I will demand an end to the abuse of FISA and a return to the checks and balances espoused by Frank Church and the Church Committee.

As a former Congressman, Frank Church staff member, and U.S. Army intelligence office, I will help lead the way back from the civil liberty abuses of this administration.

The New York Times editorial on 11/14/07 pointed out the loopholes in the "Police America Act" and encouraged members of Congress to close those loopholes when the legislation is up for renewal. Yes, indeed.

As Senator, I will return Idaho's representation to the Frank Church values in keeping big government and secret government out of American's personal lives. As another mentor, former Interior Secretary and Governor Cecil Andrus, stated it many times: Idahoans want the Federal government off their back, but by their sides."
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Bush's America: The Higazy Case

24 Oct 2007 11:04 am

You think coerced confessions are only part of Third World justice systems? Not under this US president. Check out the full and bizarre account of an arrest and conviction of a man subsequently proven innocent of alleged ties to 9/11 terrorists. The case was written up by the US Court of Appeals in New York. The case hinged on the FBI's threat of torturing a man's family in Egypt:

Higazy alleges that during the polygraph, Templeton told him that he should cooperate, and explained that if Higazy did not cooperate, the FBI would make his brother “live in scrutiny” and would “make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell.” Templeton later admitted that he knew how the Egyptian security forces operated: “that they had a security service, that their laws are different than ours, that they are probably allowed to do things in that country where they don’t advise people of their rights, they don’t – yeah, probably about torture, sure.”

Higazy later said, "I knew that I couldn't prove my innocence, and I knew that my family was in danger." He explained that "[t]he only thing that went through my head was oh, my God, I am screwed and my family's in danger. If I say this device is mine, I'm screwed and my family is going to be safe. If I say this device is not mine, I’m screwed and my family’s in danger. And Agent Templeton made it quite clear that cooperate had to mean saying something else other than this device is not mine.”

The Court tried to keep this part of the judgment classified, yanking it from the official site after mistakenly posting it - but not till the interrogation details were exposed. Higazy's false confession - that he was using a radio transmitter in his hotel room to converse with terrorists in airplanes - was rendered moot by the owner of the transmitter, an airline pilot who had also stayed in the room, subsequently claiming it from the hotel as his own. But that didn't stop the threat of torture. And that didn't stop the conviction. This is how we get intelligence in the Bush-Cheney era. Here's Higazy's explanation for cracking under pressure:

The Egyptian government has very little tolerance for anybody who is —they’re suspicious of being a terrorist. To give you an idea, Saddam’s security force—as they later on were called his henchmen—a lot of them learned their methods and techniques in Egypt; torture, rape, some stuff would be even too sick to . . . . My father is 67. My mother is 61. I have a brother who developed arthritis at 19. He still has it today. When the word ‘torture’ comes at least for my brother, I mean, all they have to do is really just press on one of these knuckles. I couldn’t imagine them doing anything to my sister.

Higazy added:

[L]et’s just say a lot of people in Egypt would stay away from a family that they know or they believe or even rumored to have anything to do with terrorists and by the same token, some people who actually could be —might try to get to them and somebody might actually make a connection. I wasn’t going to risk that. I wasn’t going to risk that, so I thought to myself what could I say that he would believe. What could I say that’s convincing? And I said okay.

Yes: this is America. And what Higazy claims was done to him is a war crime.

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Activist Lawyer Speaks Out Against Green Scare

Police StateNew Orleans, October 29 - Activist lawyer Brenna Bell spoke out against the Green Scare today at Loyola Law School, and informed people about how they can resist it. The Green Scare is a term used to describe a repressive campaign currently being carried out by the federal government against environmental activists.

Activist Lawyer Speaks Out Against Green Scare

by Michael Steinberg

Activist Brenna Bell spoke out against the Green Scare at Loyola Law School on October 29.

New Orleans, October 29 - Activist lawyer Brenna Bell spoke out against the Green Scare today at Loyola Law School, and informed people about how they can resist it.

The Green Scare is a term used to describe a repressive campaign currently being carried out by the federal government against environmental activists.

Bell said the Green Scare is also called that because "of its resonance with the Red Scare" of the McCarthyite 1950s. Then the Communists were the bogeymen, today it's the Terrorists.
Or, more specifically, Eco-Terrorists. Brenna Bell said that term originated with the Wise Use movement, a right wing attempt to criminalize environmental successes.

Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez gave the green light to the Green Scare by devoting an entire press conference to "Eco-terrorism" several years ago, Bell reported.
Around that same time the FBI announced that the ELF (Earth Liberation Front) was the #1 domestic terrorism threat. In late 2005 the G-men (FBI) began "Operation Backfire." It's purpose: to seek out and destroy environmental direct action groups, especially the ELF and ALF (Animal Liberation Front).

Bell reported that these groups had previously carried out a number of successful actions involving saboutage, arson and property damage. These included the burning of an under-construction ski resort in an old growth forest in Colorado; the destruction of SUVs in Oregon; the release of 2000 minks from a 'mink farm' in that state; and the freeing of wild horses slated to be ground up into horse meat.

None of these actions were intended to cause, or resulted in, any harm to people, according to Bell.

"Green Scare is a smokescreen to divert people's attention from real terrorist actions," Bell said. "Our planet is in serious trouble. The real Eco-Terroists are those people who pollute our air and water for short term profits. The environmental activists were motivated by a desire to stop environmental degradation."

Bell also pointed out that sabotage and property damage are American traditions in resisting oppression. Audience members gave examples of this such as the Boston Tea Party, the freeing of slaves from prisons, and the disabling of nuclear weapons.

Thus far "Operation Backfire" has resulted in 16 indictments. Bell said the charges initially were "arson, attempted arson, conspiracy, and carrying a destructive device. The minimum maximum for that last charge is 20 years."

The threatened sentences for each person charged were life + 115 years.

The government was able to get these indictments because one ELF member, Jacob "Jake the Snake" Ferguson, "known to be unstable and a heroin addict," Bell said, responded to an FBI offer of $150,000 for incriminating info leading to the ELF.

"The feds then used the life + 115 threat to get corroborating witnesses," Bell said. "About half of those indicted turned states' witnesses."

In addition one of those indicted, Bob Rodgers, killed himself in his jail cell shortly after his arrest.
The indictments and turning of activists into snitches created "a chilling effect" in environmental communities in the Pacific Northwest, according to Bell.

As have the sentences since handed down. Bell reported these as "37 to 156 months--3 to 13 years. The people who refused to 'cooperate' got vastly greater sentences. Now the government is seeking 'terrorism enhancement', which could add half as many years to the sentences."

Meanwhile, Jake the Snake, although also indicted, is walking. He received no prison time.
One more person indicted has refused to cooperate with authorities, and is awaiting trial.
And all this without any terrorist charges being brought against anyone.

Lessons learned? Among them, Brenna Bell said, are that "causing internal division causes more damage than anything else the government could do.

"Green Scare isn't about justice, it's about coercion and punishment of people because of their politics. We're living in a police state. The government is using the 'War On Terror' to totally abrogate the Bill of Rights.

"Know your rights and use them. Educate others. Hold protective rights trainings. Know the law and know how it might fail you.

"Don't gossip. Don't talk about stuff you don't want the government to know. Don' be a snitch.
"Know our history. This isn't the first time this has happened. This is what the US does every time a war starts, to take rights away. Know how other people lived through it.

"Reject the chill. The government can't round us all up, so it uses the chill to scare people. Keep acting for justice. Otherwise the government will keep bowling over our rights until it's total fascism."

Bell's appearance was sponsored by the National Lawyer's Guild of Loyola.

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The Secrecy File
Daily developments about the growing level of secrecy in the federal government and how it impacts the public's right to know.

The entry titled "Reporters Committee: first amendment at stake," and any of the comments about it.

Reporters Committee: first amendment at stake

By Rebecca Carr | Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 04:56 PM

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press urged a federal court of appeals in Boston to rule that FBI agents violated the media’s rights by “intimidating and harassing them” last year as they covered a law enforcement raid on a political activist.

Lawyers for the Virginia-based non-profit organization assert in a legal brief filed today that reporters were assaulted when an FBI agent pointed a rifle at them as they reported on the February 2006 raid in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico held such acts were protected state action and did not violate the journalists’ First Amendment Rights.

But Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee believes otherwise.

“The video of the attacks by law enforcement officials on the Puerto Rican journalists is shocking,” Dalglish said. It was clear the FBI’s search of the premises was over when the media came onto the property at the invitation of one of the residents, she said.

“There was no justification whatsoever for the attack on the reporters and photographers.” Dalglish said.

In a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the journalists’ appeal to the First Circuit, the committee’s legal team argued that such disregard for the long-recognized right to report news under the First Amendment should not stand.

“When journalists pose no threat to the investigation of a state actor and are merely present to observe and report on public events, such aggressive conduct by a state actor is surely unwarranted and cannot be tolerated,” the lawyers for the committee wrote.
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