The tons of tear gas and pepper spray munitions Seattle police used on demonstrators and bystanders alike at the anti-WTO demonstrations last December contained chemicals implicated in lung problems, eye damage and even death. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the effects of these chemical weapons are not always confined to 15 or so minutes of intense pain and incapacitation. According to manufacturers' documents, military research and medical literature, each of these agents carries short- and long-term health risks; various formulations contain potential carcinogens.
Tear gas and pepper spray cause health problems even when used within guidelines on healthy people. But in Seattle, as elsewhere, law enforcement violated manufacturers' warnings and inevitably sprayed vulnerable populations such as people with diabetes, asthma, allergies or heart problems, as well as pregnant women, children and the elderly. "It was like a war zone," says Russell Sparks, a student from Bellingham, Washington, who helped block a Seattle intersection on December 1. "The police rolled up in humvees, and I heard the clink, clink of cops jogging toward us. Within seconds the area was filled with gas and the air was pure white all around. I coughed and coughed. I felt like I was on fire, my friend and I both became hysterical. He fell down. A middle-aged man near me passed out, eyes open, shaking, dry heaving, twitching in the shoulders. A woman passed out face down. I tried to help but my eyes were burning and I was screaming for medical help."
Three days later, Sparks still felt "serious flu symptoms, phlegmy, tired, fatigued, problems with eyes focusing, burning, slightly nauseous. I felt like it went into every pore." He wasn't alone. The persistence and severity of symptoms widely reported by demonstrators and hapless bystanders gave rise to speculation that some "mystery gas" had been used. Rumors of nerve gas spread like a toxic cloud across the Internet.
The truth is that tear gas and pepper spray alone can cause temporary blindness, respiratory problems, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and disorientation. Symptoms may linger for days in otherwise healthy individuals. Out of 187 North Carolina corrections officers exposed to pepper spray under controlled conditions for training purposes, according to Duke University Medical Center study, eight had symptoms persisting for more than a week, including eye problems, chest problems, headaches and disorientation.
More seriously, reports by the Army and in prestigious medical journals have warned of respiratory arrest, pulmonary edema, and acute elevations in blood pressure associated with risk of stroke and heart attack. Military and industrial sources also point to the possibility of cancer, birth defects and DNA damage from these chemical weapons.
While tear gas and pepper spray are banned from use in war by an international treaty, domestic use is legal and nearly ubiquitous in the United States. The advantages of these "non-lethal" technologies, police say, include fewer deaths and serious injuries to officers and suspects, a more benign image for departments and less litigation. Currently, more than 90 percent of the country's police departments issue pepper spray to their officers, according to the Justice Department, and many departments store tear gas for use in crowd control or riot situations.
Despite widespread use, none of the agents sold for police purposes is monitored, tested or regulated by any government agency for consistency, purity, toxicity or even efficacy. Dr. Howard Hu, a Harvard University epidemiologist, says that the extent of ill effects from these chemicals is unknowable since there have been no rigorous, independent follow-up studies on exposed populations. Little has changed since 1989, when Hu wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "There is an ongoing need for investigation into the full toxicological potential of tear gas chemicals and renewed debate on whether their use can be condoned under any circumstances."
Because they are treated as weapons, police-grade products "fall between regulatory cracks," says Raymond Downs, program manager in science and technology at the National Institute for Justice. "Police are at the mercy of manufacturers," Downs adds, in that they have to rely solely on makers' claims for the safety of the chemical weapons themselves and for the wide variety of solvents and propellants routinely added to turn the active ingredients into aerosols.
Those claims may not be all that reliable. In a 1995 report, the Army warned that "manufacturer literature ... is often misleading, incomplete or inaccurate," and in some cases "manufacturers refuse to disclose the components of [their] products." Indeed, Def-Tec, one of the country's largest suppliers, declines to release information on concentration of pepper and tearing chemicals in its dozen products deployed in Seattle. It also won't disclose which solvents or propellants were incorporated, except to refer to three generic product-safety data sheets that the Seattle police are required by law to release.
When it comes to health aspects of any of the chemical weapons, used either singly or in combination, Downs notes, "there is almost no independent research going on." "They all spin the data," adds one federal official. "One manufacturer will say the other's is toxic, but mine is just fine."
Zarc International, which makes only pepper spray products, charges in its literature that the tear gases its competitors make promote cancer and cause allergic reaction and eye injuries. Def-Tec, a division of Armor Holdings, which manufactures both pepper spray and tear gas, denies any safety problems. "We know of tens of thousands of times that these have been deployed without any incident," says Dave Dubay, director of research for the Casper, Wyoming-based company.
It is not just manufacturers' data that have been called into question, but also the federal government's. After the FBI endorsed pepper spray in 1987 as an "official chemical agent," it was added to the arsenals of most police agencies and largely replaced tear gas. At the FBI, the Johnny Appleseed of pepper spray was special agent Thomas Ward, director of the Quantico Firearms Training Unit and the bureau's chief expert on pepper spray. Ward, who supervised, approved and guaranteed the chemical weapon's quality and safety for the FBI, also wrote the main bureau study cited by law enforcement agencies to defend its use. He promoted pepper spray in a widely disseminated official FBI training infomercial. Then, in February 1996, Ward pled guilty to a felony for accepting a $57,500 kickback from Luckey Police Products, the country's second largest manufacturer of pepper spray, whose weapons Ward had touted as an FBI trainer as far back as the mid-'80s.
While police rely on manufacturers for safety assurances, the public relies on police to define when use of chemicals weapons is a safe, appropriate response. The International Association of Chiefs of Police issues "use of force" recommendations for various weapons, but individual departments around the country set their own guidelines and enforce them with varying degrees of rigor.
Seattle police, for example, are authorized to use chemical weapons against people engaged in peaceful civil disobedience. Boston police can only use pepper spray in self-defense against a violent physical assault or when an officer trying to make an arrest is in danger of being injured or losing custody of the suspect. In the case of passive resistance, says Gary Eblan, defensive tactics instructor at the Boston Police Academy, "We would have four officers lift and take the subject to a holding area or wagon." Washington, D.C. may face crowd control situations similar to those in Seattle when demonstrators descend on the nation's capital in April for meetings of the IMF and World Bank. The Metropolitan Police Department is training 1,400 officers for crowd control and stocking up on chemical weapons and rubber bullets. Planning is underway to coordinate response with several federal agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Metro Police Department refused to release its written guidelines for "use of force."
Police guidelines and manufacturers' standards inevitably vanish in thick air under real life conditions. When deploying chemical weapons on crowds, police have no practical way to monitor those sprayed, to screen out people with risk factors, or to avoid bystanders. Nor can they quickly decontaminate those affected. "Responsible police have a saying: 'When you spray them, you own them,' " Downs says. "There is a requirement for aftercare. You need to make sure if they need medical attention, they get it. In the military, if a few limp away, we may not care. In the civilian world, aftercare is essential."
Manufacturers also warn against deploying chemical weapons in closed spaces--a warning notoriously violated, with fatal consequences, by U.S. law enforcement in the Waco, Texas siege of the Branch Davidians. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have documented numerous instances in which pepper spray was used by police as a form of "street justice" to mete out pain and punish unruly or uppity suspects after they already had been subdued. U.S. prison guards routinely use chemical weapons to perform "cell extractions."
Excessive exposure--both accidental and intentional-- is another problem. An internal report by Def-Tec cautions that more than a single, one-second burst of pepper spray "obviously would be an overexposure, which may cause added health risks." And manufacturers recommend that police hold the spray at least several feet from a subject's face to avoid eye damage.
Yet videotape clearly shows instances in Seattle in which police held aerosol cans within inches of the faces of seated protesters and sprayed them repeatedly or in long bursts. "My impression was that most Seattle police officers handled themselves with some restraint, but some didn't," says Larry Gossett, a member of the King County Council. "We got too many reports from people handled in a brutal way for all of them to be false."
An additional risk in situations such as Seattle--where police admitted spraying crowds with multiple chemicals--is that "there has been no research on the synergistic effects," Downs says. Maryland-based Zarc International charges that "mixing [pepper spray] and other chemical agents such as [tear gas] ... can prove to be harmful or even fatal in real-life situations." The probability of adverse side effects is only exacerbated by the addition of solvents and propellants--some of which are themselves toxic or carcinogenic--to the active ingredients to turn them into effective aerosol weapons.
Despite the dangers and drawbacks of tear gas and pepper spray, most critics are careful to differentiate between one-on-one use by a disciplined, trained officer who is physically threatened and wide dispersal on large and varied crowd of generally peaceful protesters. When judiciously used, chemical agents can immediately incapacitate a belligerent suspect with far less risk of permanent or serious damage than a bullet or a baton blow. "If an officer is faced with a situation in which his life is at stake, it makes sense to respond in a way that will leave both people alive," says Lew Pepper, a physician at the Boston University School of Public Health. "But there is no justification for use of toxic and potentially cancer-causing agents for crowd control for civil disobedience. There are better ways to deal with political speech."
There are also better ways to serve and protect the public than to deploy inadequately tested, unregulated chemical weapons. Unless there is independent research establishing that these weapons are reasonably safe, and until there is credible oversight of police practices and manufacturers' claims, the public has no way to assess how much risk it is accepting in the name of law and order. n Terry J. Allen can be reached at email@example.com. Support for this article was provided by the Fund for Constitutional Government.
Terry J. Allen is a contributing editor of In These Times. Support for this article was provided by the Fund for Constitutional Government.
An FBI agent testified yesterday that the founder of a defunct Boston-based Islamic charity told agents he had "never ever" been to Afghanistan, but they later learned he traveled there in 1994 and personally met with a notorious Afghan mujahideen warlord.
FBI special agent Christopher Peet told jurors that he and another agent showed up unexpectedly at Emededdin Muntasser's office in April 2003 to question him about the charity, Massachusetts Care International Inc., and its ties to a New York organization. He said they would have drastically changed their focus if Muntasser had disclosed his meeting in Afghanistan with warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatayr.
"We would have been very interested in how that meeting took place, where it took place," Peet told jurors.
Hekmatayr, who led a group that helped end Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1989, was designated a global terrorist by the US State Department in February 2003. But US District Judge F. Dennis Saylor ruled yesterday that jurors should not be told that Hekmatayr was an alleged terrorist because it could prejudice them against Muntasser and his two codefendants. The judge said that Muntasser's alleged meeting with Hekmatayr was in 1994 and that there was no evidence that he knew the warlord was deemed a terrorist by the US government nearly a decade later.
Muntasser, 42, of Braintree, who owns Logan Furniture Co., is accused of lying to federal agents for failing to disclose his trip to Afghanistan. He is also charged, along with Muhamed Mubayyid, 42, of Shrewsbury and Samir Al-Monla, 50, of Boston of defrauding the government to win tax-exempt status for Care International. Prosecutors allege the men failed to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service that the humanitarian organization also distributed projihad publications and professed support for Muslim militants overseas. Care International raised $1.7 million between 1993 and 2003.
Defense lawyers have argued that the three men are being prosecuted for their political views, and they told jurors during opening statements that all the money raised by Care International went to charitable causes and that no money was ever diverted to support Islamic militants.
In his opening remarks, Norman Zalkind, Muntasser's lawyer, said his client initially didn't disclose his trip to Afghanistan in 2003 because he was fearful that he might be sent to the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. But, later, Zalkind said, Muntasser consulted a lawyer and said that after traveling to Pakistan to verify that Care International's money was being used for charitable causes, he crossed the border into Afghanistan.
Muntasser said he worked as a volunteer for Al-Kifah Refugee Center, which was based in New York and had a branch in Boston, but split from the organization over concerns it wasn't operating as a nonprofit, then formed Care International, Peet said.
Other Briley Articles:
Chertoff Created Terror Pretexts for US Police State
Missile Defense, Nuclear Technologies Transferred to Russia, China
Forces at Work to Build a US Police State
More Briley Articles
Patrick Briley March 24, 2007 NewsWithViews.com
Convicted Oklahoma City (OKC) bombing conspirator Terry Nichols has alleged that former high level FBI official Larry Potts gave instructions to Timothy McVeigh to orchestrate the bombing. Nichols claims McVeigh said this before the bombing in a "slip of the tongue" when McVeigh said he was angry with Potts for "changing the target".
The seriousness of Nichols' allegation against Larry Potts lies partly in the fact that at the time of the OKC bombing Potts was an Assistant Deputy Director of the FBI who was put directly in charge of the OKC bombing investigation on April 19, 1995. In early May 1995 Potts was next promoted to the Deputy Director of the FBI, the "number two man" in the FBI under Director Louis Freeh.
Many are skeptical of Nichols allegations since he is a convicted mass murderer. However, people should also be skeptical of Larry Potts because of Potts' questionable role at the Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho sieges by the FBI. Potts was censored by the FBI and removed from being Deputy Director for changing FBI rules of engagement that led to the shooting of Vickie Weaver by Lon Horiuchi at the Ruby Ridge siege.
Weldon Kennedy replaced Potts to conduct the OKC bombing investigation and then was made Deputy Director of the FBI after Potts was removed as Deputy Director in July 1995. Danny Defenbaugh was next named to head the OKC bombing investigation. Defenbaugh himself left the FBI in 2001 after it was discovered that thousands of FBI documents Defenbaugh was responsible for relating to the OKC bombing had been withheld at the federal trials of McVeigh and Nichols. Weldon Kennedy also later resigned from the FBI after being accused of lying to Congress about corrupt practices at the FBI crime lab. Every one of the senior FBI officials Louis Freeh had named to head the OKC bombing investigation left their high-level positions in disgrace and joined the FBI's hall of shame. None of these high level FBI officials were ever prosecuted.
But even if it should later be shown that McVeigh did not directly take instructions from Larry Potts, it can still be conclusively shown that high-level FBI officials including Potts and Louis Freeh were behind the FBI instructing provocateurs to encourage and help McVeigh do the OKC bombing. FBI teletypes, memos and 302 reports already obtained by Jesse Trentadue clearly reveal high-level FBI officials used and protected provocateurs to encourage and help McVeigh including Shawn Kenny, German national Andreas Strassmeir, Dave Hollaway, and a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) who worked in and out of the FBI infiltrated white supremacist compound, Elohim City, in far Eastern Oklahoma. The spiritual leader for Elohim City, Reverand Milar was an FBI informant. An FBI 302 report obtained by Jesse Trentadue shows that McVeigh attended a meeting with FBI informants and provocateurs at Elohim City in 1994.
Shawn Kenny was an Army private that was involved in Midwest bank robberies with McVeigh. Andreas Strassmeir was in the US with an expired visa, knew McVeigh, encouraged him to blow up federal buildings and gave him advice on explosives. Dave Hollaway was a CIA pilot that introduced Strassmeir to Elohim City and then helped Strassmeir escape the INS to Germany via Mexico after the OKC bombing. Hollaway gave McVeigh advice on where to park his truck bomb for optimal damage and how to rent the truck without being easily detected. Public statements by McVeigh defense attorney Stephen Jones and an article by Ron Ostrow of the LA Times indicate that Louis Freeh knew Strassmeir was at Elohim City in 1993. FBI teletypes show that Freeh knowingly allowed Dave Hollaway to help Strassmeir escape. The FBI later used Hollaway as a negotiator in the 1997 Montana Freeman standoff with the FBI.
Larry Potts was a chief investigator for Louis Freeh during the prosecution of a Georgia mail bombing case called VANPAC that involved interaction with informant members of SPLC before the OKC bombing. Interestingly enough, a formal DOJ report later confirmed FBI crime lab chemist Frederick Whitehurst's allegations that FBI crime lab officials gave misleading if not false testimony in the courts not only about the VANPAC case but also about forensic analysis of the truck bomb used in the OKC bombing. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa publicly accused Kennedy of lying to Congress about the FBI crime lab and Kennedy was forced to resign.
Larry Potts came under DOJ and Congressional investigation in part because of use of the US military in the Waco operation, a violation of the Posse Comitatus statute. The FBI's use of provocateur Shawn Kenny in the OKC bombing plot was also a violation of the Posse Comitatus statue because Kenny was a private in the US Army. The penchant of Larry Potts of illegally using SPLC members in VANPAC and military personnel in WACO was repeated in the OKC bombing. The forensic evidence was "misrepresented" by the FBI under Potts and Freeh in the VANPAC and OKC bombing cases.
Assistant Deputy Director of the FBI, Danny Coulson was also assigned to the OKC bombing investigation. Coulson had worked with Larry Potts at Ruby Ridge and Waco. There have been persistent allegations that Larry Potts and Coulson were in OKC early, very near to the time of the OKC bombing.
WorldNetDaily reported that Danny Coulson checked into an Oklahoma City hotel nearly nine hours before the OKC bombing. Coulson referred in a report he filed with the FBI on May 16, 1995 to a clandestine operation targeting religious extremists (like at Elohim City) as his initial reason for going to OKC. Travel records and vouchers for Coulson and Larry Potts were listed as "missing," according to documents provided to WorldNetDaily.
Coulson traveled to Kingman Arizona to present a proffer, a plea bargain agreement to McVeigh's neighbor, Michael Fortier between April 28 and 29, 1995. The proffer was prepared by Freeh's and Clinton's legal counsel for the FBI and White House, Howard Shapiro. Coulson wrote in his book No Heroes that he encountered James Rosencrans brandishing a rifle at FBI agents when Coulson arrived to present the proffer.
Rosencrans was a drug dealer who testified at the OKC bombing federal grand jury in June and July 1995. Rosencrans claimed he gave McVeigh methamphetamine in exchange for guns stolen from gun dealer Roger Moore. Four employees at the Travelers Aid in OKC down the street from the Murrah Building saw Rosencrans and FBI provocateurs Shawn Kenny and Muslim Mujahid[in] Menepta with McVeigh's car at the Travelers Aid the day before the OKC bombing .
While Potts and later Weldon Kennedy ran the OKC bombing investigation, Coulson told FBI sketch artist Jean Boylan not to make sketches of a John Doe seen with McVeigh in OKC because he "did not want to help the defense." Boylan did not make sketches of numerous John Does seen with McVeigh in OKC by reliable Travelers Aid witnesses and Army recruiters inside the Murrah Building. Coulson likely was concerned Boylan might have sketched some of the FBI provocateurs seen with McVeigh.
Weldon Kennedy also did his part to cover-up his and the FBI's provocateur role in the OKC bombing, not only while he headed the OKC bombing investigation after Potts, but also when he later assumed Potts' position as Freeh's top Deputy Director.
According to Kevin Flynn of the Rocky Mountain News, Kennedy personally shutdown the FBI investigation into Robert Jacques. Jacques was a military man who had been with McVeigh and Nichols at the Cassville, Missouri real estate office of William Maloney and Joe Davidson in November 1994. Kennedy shutdown the investigation when FBI agents learned that Jacques was "one of ours."
While head of the Phoenix, Arizona FBI office, Kennedy had been in a position to monitor the OKC bombing plot activities via Rosencrans and informants in the Arizona militia that knew McVeigh including the head of the militia, Jack Oliphant and members Robert Jacks and Gary Alan Land. FBI documents obtained by Jesse Trentadue show the FBI had informants in the Arizona militia. Jacks and Land were neighbors of McVeigh in Arizona and followed McVeigh to OKC the day of the OKC bombing and afterwards to Perry, OK where McVeigh had been taken when arrested by the OK Highway Patrol.
While in Arizona, Kennedy specialized in using armored cars in FBI sting operations. In the OKC bombing a man named Robert Jacks was in an armored car observing the OKC bombing according to AP reports. There are persistent allegations that Weldon Kennedy, like Potts and Coulson were in OKC early, very near to the time of the OKC bombing.
An informant at Elohim City named Carol Howe identified men plotting to blow up federal buildings to her BATF agent handler Angela Findley Graham. Graham and Howe did not know the men were FBI provocateurs. As a result of Howe's and Graham's undercover work, the BATF planned a raid on Elohim City for March 1995 that, if successful, would have likely averted the OKC bombing in April 1995. However, the head of the OKC FBI office, Bob Ricks met with the head of the BATF in OK and persuaded the BATF to call off the raid on Elohim City. Ricks no doubt knew of the FBI provocateurs at Elohim City from high-level FBI officials like Potts and Freeh.
Bob Ricks knew Larry Potts and Danny Coulson because all three men were deeply involved in the WACO siege in 1993. Ricks worked with Potts, Coulson, and Kennedy on the OKC bombing investigation until October 1995 when Ricks resigned and was made head of the OKC Department of Safety under OK governor Frank Keating.
But Bob Ricks had more forewarning of the OKC bombing than just Elohim City.
The entire federal family of Ricks' FBI agents, US Marshals and federal judges in OKC was given a serious and official warning of an Islamic terrorist assisted attack on the OKC federal building complex in late March 1995 according to testimony by US prosecutor Beth Wilkinson in a November 1996 federal hearing for the OKC bombing.
Three days before the OKC bombing, the OKC FBI office was warned by William Northrup of an attack on the OKC federal building complex that included the Murrah Building. Northrup was a dual U.S. and Israeli intelligence asset who traveled from Florida to OKC to deliver the warning.
Reliable witnesses place Bob Ricks in front of the Murrah Building no more than 20 minutes after the bombing. If these witnesses' stories are true, then Rick's alibi for the time of the bombing is false and there would be further indication of Rick's prior warning. Ricks said his pager alerted him, as he was getting ready to tee off at the Fire Lake Country Club golf course in Shawnee, OK, 40 minutes away from downtown OKC.
There is a possibility that Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI counter terrorism official close to Louis Freeh, compromised the FBI's Elohim City operation to the KGB. Hanssen was later sentenced to life in prison for spying for the KGB. One of the men at Elohim City known to the BATF and FBI was Dennis Mahon, a member of the Klu Klux Klan who gave speeches in Tulsa, OK on behalf of Saddam Hussein and received a monthly stipend from Iraq of $200 per month. Mahon visited Russia and had ties to the KGB. Was Robert Hanssen aware of Mahon's activities at Elohim City for the KGB and Iraqis? When arrested, McVeigh had phone numbers of Iraqi intelligence agents.
The "old boy" FBI high-level leadership crony network involved in the OKC bombing provocations showed only contempt when they scammed the public with Larry Potts even at his retirement. The August 2001 Congressional Record has this entry:
"The Washington Times reported that a group of FBI managers staged a conference entitled 'Integrity in Law Enforcement'' that was merely a sham and a cover, so that senior FBI managers could obtain improper reimbursements for traveling to a retirement party for veteran agent Larry Potts [in 1997]… No one was disciplined other than to receive letters of censure."
For more details please see my new book The Oklahoma City Bombing Case Revelations
© 2007 Patrick Briley - All Rights Reserved
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Patrick Briley is a Navy Viet Nam era veteran who served on a Polaris ballistic missile nuclear submarine patrol in the Pacific. His Polaris submarine patrol in far East Asia near China was historically significant and exceptionally dangerous.
His Naval service was from 1968 to 1976 during the Viet Nam era. He was a battalion commander of his Naval ROTC unit and a Midshipman on board the ballistic missile submarine, SSBN 624, the Woodrow Wilson. He was chosen to serve under Admiral Rickover as a project engineer at Naval Reactors near Washington DC. Patrick Briley started research and investigation into terrorist attacks after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Patrick submitted his findings concerning the OKC bombing and the 9-11 attacks in briefings to high-level staff for the Senate Judiciary and Senate and House Intelligence committees, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and the 9-11 Commission.
You won't see them handing out any tickets, but a couple of reporters from FOX 2 now have a different perspective on law enforcement.
Wednesday, 20 people graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy. FOX 2’s Summer Knowles and Mandy Murphey received certificates after attending an 8-week class every Tuesday night at FBI headquarters.
They learned about the inner workings of how the FBI conducts it's investigations and got a chance to go to the shooting range and learn how to fire various weapons.
A group of New York City firefighters who lost brother jakes in the 9/11 attacks is taking its anti-Rudy Giuliani message to New Hampshire this weekend, blasting the Big Apple’s ex-mayor for “exploiting” the catastrophe for political gain.
The New York City Firefighters & Families will be spreading its “Rudy’s No Hero” campaign at firehouses and diners in the Granite State tomorrow and will host a town hall forum at Dartmouth College on Monday.
“We want them to know about him. He’s saying he’s the big 9/11 hero. It’s a big fabrication,” said New York Fire Deputy Lt. Jim Riches, whose firefighter son Jimmy died at Ground Zero. “He failed to prepare us for 9/11.”
The Giuliani campaign declined comment but released a statement from FDNY firefighter Lee Ielpi, who said: “On that day and the days following, New Yorkers and the rest of the country were fortunate to have the steady and strong leadership of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.”
“America’s mayor” has been dogged by New York firefighters who claim he misrepresented his leadership before and after the attacks. Chief among the group’s complaints are that the New York Fire Department had the same malfunctioning radios on Sept. 11, 2001, that failed during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“Why did they give radios to my son that didn’t work?” Riches asked. “I want him to answer all the questions and admit the mistakes that were made.”
The group also says Giuliani cut the recovery effort short, allowed human remains to be shipped to a Staten Island dump, falsely declared the Ground Zero air safe and didn’t provide rescue workers adequate respirators.
The firefighter backlash hit an apex this summer when the International Association of Firefighters released a scathing video raising many of the same complaints being voiced by Riches’ group. In the wake of the ad, Giuliani defended his record, saying that firefighter funding was strong during his administration and that the recovery effort was always a top priority.
Asked why the group was heading to New Hampshire, Riches said: “I am just strictly against him running. I think he’s totally unqualified. We want to tell everyone in New Hampshire and everywhere else who this man really is.”
'I just wanted to drift off. I wanted to disappear.' By RHONDA COOKAtlanta Journal-Constitution ATLANTA, Ga. — Alex White maintained a year ago he was a "hero" and risked his livelihood and life when he told federal authorities Atlanta cops were trying to cover up the truth about an elderly woman's death in a botched drug raid.
"I am a hero," White said.
Now he feels abandoned by the FBI agents, who for months talked to him almost every day.
White admits he's become paranoid. He said it's been two to three months since he spoke to agents. He says they don't even return his calls.
"Are they mad at me?" said White, whose birth name is Alexis Antonio White.
He sometimes regrets telling federal agents some Atlanta police narcotics officers were trying to get him to lie to help them cover up the circumstances surrounding the killing of a 92-year-old woman who was shot to death by police one year ago this week.
"They've put a strain on my life," White, 25, said in an interview. "Where do I go from here?"
White was a certified confidential informant, having worked with Atlanta's drug officers for four years and considered reliable, when Kathryn Johnston was fatally shot in her living room by police executing a no-knock search warrant on a house where they hoped to find a kilogram of cocaine.
The officers wanted to use White in their operation. He had several drug arrests and spent two years on probation several years ago for a cocaine-related charge. On Nov. 21, 2006, White wasn't available because he had no transportation to the Neal Street neighborhood in northwest Atlanta to make an undercover buy for the officers.
The truth of what happened next gradually emerged in news reports, interviews and law enforcement records and in court testimony when two narcotics officers --- Jason R. Smith and Gregg Junnier --- pleaded guilty last April to state and federal charges: Johnson died in a hail of police gunfire. The next day, the officers involved began working on a cover-up.
They allegedly wanted White to help them.
White's version is that police put him in a car and spent hours pressuring him to cooperate. He says he refused, escaped from the vehicle and called federal authorities, who placed him in protective custody.
For seven months, federal investigators kept him in a hotel and called on him often to tell them what he had done and what he had witnessed police officers doing, White said.
The FBI has repeatedly declined to discuss its investigation.
"Do you know what it's like just sitting around, doing what they wanted me to do?" White said of his work with the FBI as it continued its investigation of Smith, Junnier and a third officer who has pending state charges, Arthur Tesler, as well as APD's narcotics unit and the rest of the police agency.
In April, White married the mother of his 7-year-old daughter. In September, they divorced, and he moved in with a friend who lives more than 20 miles from Neal Street, to a location he wants to keep secret.
"It was a lot of things at one time," White said.
He wanted someone with him all the time, but at the same time, he wanted to be alone. "I just wanted to drift off. I wanted to disappear," White said.
White sees his daughter regularly and occasionally visits his mother and his younger sister and brother in East Atlanta, but he otherwise stays in his apartment and away from people and the city.
With each passing month, White said, he becomes more and more afraid and more and more angry. He sees law enforcement taking credit "for something they didn't do" in revealing the cover-up involving Neal Street. "I'm holding a grudge," White said.
At the same time, he insists, "This is a new Alex White," and he refers to the tattoo on his neck, which reads "truly blessed," when he talks of his new attitude and his intent to be a better citizen.
White, who occasionally works laying carpet but otherwise has no other job, has written a letter telling the mayor, the police chief and other officials he plans to sue them over his lost income as an informant, about $20,000 to $30,000 a year.
The letter also says White will ask to be compensated for his daily fear of the police and the drug dealers who now know he may have contributed to their arrests. White says he often sits in his apartment with a screwdriver in hand because he is a felon and cannot have a gun for his protection.
"I've got to worry about the cops. I have to worry about the people on the streets [who sell drugs]," White said.
"It's unreal thinking you're going to die, wondering if you're going to get framed. ... I wonder is my phone tapped? Are they following me? You know how easy it is to be set up when I'm by myself. That's playing with my mind."
White has mixed feelings about his decision to call federal agents instead of covering for the officers. Is he sorry for what he did?
"In a way, I am. In a way, I'm not," White said. "I'm sorry the lady got killed. I'm sorry I said anything [to the FBI]. November 21st changed my life."
The FBI agents don't tell you how they and agents from the CIA turned Bremer into a Manchurian candidate to assassinate Wallace. some easy reads for those people without Protective Stupidity 1st read http://www.ctka.net/pr599-bremer.html second read FBI report says Bremer regretted shooting bystanders Saturday, November 24, 2007 By BRIAN LYMAN Capital Bureau MONTGOMERY -- Shortly after his 1972 assassination attempt on Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Arthur Bremer expressed regret for wounding three bystanders, according to an FBI file on the shooting. The sentiment found its way onto a yellow legal pad, where Bremer apparently attempted to continue a diary he kept in the weeks before the shooting. "He devotes approximately one paragraph to the idea that his attention was focused absolutely on Governor Wallace and that the only reason other individuals were hurt in the shooting was due to spectators deflecting his arm," according to a report on Bremer's activities in a Maryland jail cell on May 17, 1972, two days after the shooting. "He expresses regret that other individuals were hurt and reaffirms his determination to shoot Governor Wallace." Nicholas Zarvos, a Secret Service agent whom Bremer shot in the throat, said Friday that he had not been aware of the material in the FBI report but that an expression of regret made no difference to him. "From the outset, I didn't have anger or thought of it," Zarvos said by phone from his home in Texas. "You can't do anything about the past." The attack left Wallace paralyzed for life and permanently damaged Zarvos' voice. Also wounded in the shooting were Alabama State Trooper E.C. Dothard and campaign worker Dora Thompson. Dothard died in 1989, and Thompson has disappeared from public view. Wallace died in 1998. The legal pad was apparently photocopied before being returned to Bremer, but neither the original document nor the copies were included in the file. The report, based on interviews with two special agents assigned to guard Bremer, provides the "gist of the three pages," in which Bremer also recorded "his best recollection of detectives and agents with whom he came in contact." Bremer, who was released from prison earlier this month for good behavior after serving 35 years of a 53-year sentence, has shunned interviews and never publicly expressed remorse over the shootings. The 57-year-old wrote letters during a parole process in 1996 and 1997 arguing that Wallace, a "segregationist dinosaur," was different from other politicians. "They are extinct, not endangered, by an act of God," Bremer wrote in the letter. Bremer is reported to be living in a halfway house in Cumberland, Md. The FBI file, stored in four boxes and containing thousands of pages of memos and correspondence, was given to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by the Wallace Museum Foundation in 2006 as part of a larger donation of the late governor's papers. The file documents FBI's investigation and attempts to piece together Bremer's movements before the shooting in a Laurel, Md., shopping center parking lot May 15, 1972. Bremer kept a diary for 2? months before the shooting, hiding the first half of the book under a Milwaukee viaduct; the second half, which law enforcement seized when they arrested him, was published as "An Assassin's Diary" in 1973. The FBI file documents extensive efforts by agents to locate the first portion of the diary, which was not recovered until 1980. Bremer asked after the shooting if he could sell his book. Zarvos said he had no concern over Bremer's release. "I let the judicial system work, and I think it works fine," he said. "If Maryland authorities thought he was ready to be released, that's fine with me." Arthur Bremer, one of four sons, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 21 August 1950. His father, William Bremer, was a truck driver. Arthur hated school and later wrote: "No English or History test was ever as hard, no math final exam ever as difficult as waiting in a school lunch line alone, waiting to eat alone... while hundreds huddeled & gossiped & roared, & laughed & stared at me." After leaving school Bremer worked as a busboy at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. However, his habit of talking to himself disturbed the customers and some believed he was suffering from paranoia. In October, 1971 it was decided to give him a new job working in the kitchen. Bremer was unhappy with this demotion and the following month obtained a job as a school janitor. While working as a school janitor he met 15-year-old girl, Joan Pemrich. After three dates Joan refused to see him anymore as she considered him to be "goofy" and "weird". On 13th January, 1972, Joan's mother told Bremer to leave her daughter alone. Soon afterwards Bremer purchased two handguns, a .38 caliber pistol and a 9-mm Browning automatic. After a incident where he fired bullets into a ceiling he was arrested by the police in Milwaukee. After undergoing a psychiatric evaluation he was charged with and fined for disorderly conduct. In March, 1972, Bremer attended a George Wallace campaign meeting at Milwaukee's Red Carpet Airport Inn. At the end of the evening Bremer picked up a bundle of posters, bumper stickers and a Wallace lapel button. Over the next few days he began pasting posters on the lamposts in Milwaukee. On 15th May, 1972, Bremer tried to assassinate George Wallace at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace was hit four times. Three other people, Alabama State Trooper Captain E. C. Dothard, Dora Thompson, a Wallace campaign volunteer, and Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent, were also wounded in the attack. The arrest of Arthur Bremer (15th May, 1972) Mark Felt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately took charge of the case. According to the historian Dan T. Carter (The Politics of Rage), Felt had a trusted contact in the White House: Charles Colson. Felt gave Colson the news. Within 90 minutes of the shooting Richard Nixon and Colson are recorded discussing the case. Nixon told Colson that he was concerned that Bremer might have ties to the Republican Party or, even worse, the Presidents re-election committee. Nixon also asked Colson to find a way of blaming George McGovern for the shooting. Over the next few hours, Colson and Felt talk six times on the telephone. Felt gave Colson the address of Bremer's home. Colson now phoned E. Howard Hunt and asked him to break-in to Bremer's apartment to discover if he had any documents that linked him to Nixon or George McGovern. According to Hunt's autobiography, Undercover, he disliked this idea but made preparations for the trip. He claimed that later that night Colson calls off the operation. At 5:00 p.m. Thomas Farrow, head of the Baltimore FBI, passed details of Bremers address to the FBI office in Milwaukee. Soon afterwards two FBI agents arrived at Bremers apartment block and begin interviewing neighbours. However, they do not have a search warrant and do not go into Bremers apartment. At around the same time, James Rowley, head of the Secret Service, ordered one of his Milwaukee agents to break into Bremers apartment. It has never been revealed why Rowley took this action. It is while this agent is searching the apartment that the FBI discover what is happening. According to John Ehrlichman, the FBI was so angry when they discovered the Secret Service in the apartment that they nearly opened fire on them. The Secret Service took away documents from Bremers apartment. It is not known if they planted anything before they left. Anyway, the FBI discovered material published by the Black Panther Party and the American Civil Liberties Union in the apartment. Both sets of agents now left Bremers apartment unsealed. Over the next 80 minutes several reporters enter the apartment and take away documents. Charles Colson also phoned journalists at the Washington Post and Detroit News with the news that evidence had been found that Bremer is a left-winger and was connected to the campaign of George McGovern. The reporters were also told that Bremer is a dues-paying member of the Young Democrats of Milwaukee. The next day Bob Woodward (Washington Post) and Gerald terHost (Detroit News) publish this story. The following day that the FBI discovered Bremers 137-page written diary in his blue Rambler car. The opening sentence was: "Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace." Nixon was initially suspected of being behind the assassination but the diary gets him off the hook. The diary was eventually published as a book, An Assassin's Diary (1973). Bremers trial lasted only five days. His attorney, Benjamin Lipsitz argued that Bremer was was a "schizophrenic" who could not be held responsible for his actions. Eight psychiatrists and two psychologists testified but they were divided on the issue of his sanity. Bremer was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 63 years in prison. In August 1972, three appeal judges reduced Bremer's sentence to 53 years. George Wallace survived the assassination attempt. He gradually developed the view that one Nixons aides ordered the assassination. To gain revenge he announces he is to become a third party candidate. However, Wallaces health has been severely damaged and reluctantly he had to pull out of the race. In a comprehensive analysis of Hunts work published in The New York Review of Books in 1973, Gore Vidal argued that Hunt might have written the diary that was found in the car of Bremer, the man who attempted to assassinate George Wallace of Alabama. In May, 1974, Martha Mitchell visited Wallace in Montgomery. She told him that her husband, John N. Mitchell, had confessed that Charles Colson had a meeting with Arthur Bremer four days before the assassination attempt. In his book, The Taking of America, Richard E. Sprague argued that Donald Segretti and Dennis Cassini, supplied money to Bremer before he attempted to assassinate George Wallace. Others have claimed that Bernard L. Barker, one of the Watergate burglars, was used to pass this money to Bremer. Gore Vidal has also suggested that Bremer's diary was a forgery and had been written by E. Howard Hunt.
11/26/07A group of Magic Valley Residents protested yesterday on Shoshone Street in front of Regional Office for the FBI. Those present say they were protesting police brutality and unequal legal rights towards Latinos in Minidoka and Cassia counties.Several members of the group say they've filed reports alleging battery and witness intimidation in several incidents, which they claim have been ignored by law enforcement agencies. One member of the group said they plan to get louder with their message to educate the public on discrimination against Hispanics.
On Dec 8, Potomac Earth First!(DC/Potomac River bioregion) marched to the J. Edgar Hoover building(FBI) and read out the dishonor roll of snitches against pro-animal and pro-earth movements in the US. The list was not complete, but it is a lesson to those who would consider selling out their compatriots in this or any struggle Audio: 2 min 59 seconds
a couple of hard reads about a death squad called the FBI using your tax dollars to hurt people.I guess that makes you a co-enabler
Sharpton calls for rejection of new top cop
December 10, 2007BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Rev. Al Sharpton urged the City Council today to reject Mayor Daley’s appointment of career FBI agent Jody Weis as police superintendent — and demanded that the U.S. Justice Department consider placing the Chicago Police Department in receivership — to stop what he called “unchecked police misconduct.”
Sharpton threatened to travel around the world to undermine Chicago’s chances of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games unless the mayor agrees to 10 demands.» Click to enlarge imageRev. Al Sharpton urged the City Council to reject the appointment of a new police chief outside Mayor Daley's office at City Hall.
They include: Removing the mayor as the final authority to make recommendations for firing and suspending wayward police officers; releasing the list of 662 officers most frequently accused of excessive force; and allowing disciplinary complaints alleging misconduct toward civilians to be filed anonymously and without a statute of limitations.
Sharpton also demanded the realignment of police beats, a Justice Department investigation of the police department and the immediate firing of two police officers accused of sexually assaulting a West Side resident with a screwdriver. The city has agreed to a $4 million settlement in the case, but the officers remain on the job.
Sharpton also wants a community representative to sit on police “roundtables,” which probe police-involved shootings right after they occur.
At a news conference outside the mayor’s office, Sharpton threatened to turn Daley’s Olympic dream into a nightmare unless his demands are met. He called it the height of “arrogance” that Daley had chosen Weis without input from the African-American community, which is most victimized by both crime and police brutality.
“I would actually take some of the victims [of police brutality] to some of the international spots to talk to some of the Olympics Committee people. I would hope that would not become necessary. But, when you are in a city where you can have screwdrivers stuck up your rectum — and where 25 percent of the shootings by police are off-duty cops —you have to do what is necessary to make City Hall understand that our lives are just as important as anyone else in Chicago,” Sharpton said.
Report: Feds Probing Sharpton Finances5 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities subpoenaed financial records and employees in an apparent probe of the Rev. Al Sharpton's 2004 presidential bid, nonprofit civil rights group and for-profit businesses, newspapers reported Thursday.
As many as 10 Sharpton associates were subpoenaed Wednesday to testify before a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on Dec. 26, his lawyer told the Daily News.
"Here we go again," Sharpton, whose various ventures have come under scrutiny before, told the New York Post. "Whatever it is, it's part of the territory. I'm a public figure."
Spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said Sharpton would "thoroughly address" the reports at a press conference Thursday morning.
Sharpton's associates were told to provide investigators with financial records from the campaign and roughly six Sharpton-related businesses, as well as personal financial documents of Sharpton and his wife, the newspaper said.
The FBI and Internal Revenue Service are seeking the records, which go back to 2001, according to the Daily News.
An FBI agent who answered the phone at the agency's New York headquarters declined to comment, and an agency spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message. An IRS spokesman did not immediately return phone calls.
"It was like a sting or a raid," said Carl Redding, Sharpton's chief of staff for eight years during the 1990s. "They converged on everybody."
Redding said FBI agents awoke him at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday with a subpoena to testify and to bring records to the grand jury, but would not tell him the reason for the investigation.
Several staffers from the National Action Network, a Sharpton-led civil rights organization, also got subpoenas to testify, said Sharpton lawyer Michael Hardy. Sharpton himself did not receive a subpoena, the Daily News said.
Sharpton spokesman Charlie King said the minister and the National Action Network were cooperating with the probe. He said he had "zero idea, not a hint" what the authorities were looking for.
"The irony of this is we've been working with a number of government agencies to make sure that we're up to speed on all of our outstanding paperwork," he said.
Hardy was sanguine about the developments. "I can't think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn't under investigation," he said.
Sharpton agreed in 2005 to repay the government $100,000, plus interest, for taxpayer money he received during his failed effort to win the Democratic presidential nomination the year before, though he denied wrongdoing.
The Federal Election Commission had determined that he spent more of his own money on the campaign than the qualifications for federal matching funds allow.
In 1993, Sharpton pleaded guilty to not filing a state income tax return in 1986.
Sharpton maintains heightened security as threats increase
By Hazel Trice Edney, NNPA Editor-in-chiefDecember 10, 2007 talkback
WASHINGTON (NNPA) - The Rev. Al Sharpton, looking back on a year of volatile civil rights and race cases, says despite the false alarm when a prisoner sent a harmless substance to his New York headquarters last month, he is still constantly concerned for his life.
"We're getting all kinds of threatening calls. This is just one that hit the papers," says Sharpton in an interview. "Especially since Jena and then around the time of the Washington trip. Every time we're involved, we get threatening phone calls... It's a recurring problem because that's part of the down side of leadership that people don't see. People only see you out there on TV. But they don't understand that also makes you a target for every nut and bigot in the country."
Sharpton boosted his already escalated security protection after the FBI warned him and his staff on Nov. 21 that a New York state inmate had confessed to sending a powdery substance to him and at least six other civil rights organizations and news agencies. The FBI successfully traced the substance in the mail less than a week after Sharpton led the U. S. Justice Department against hate crimes. The white substance turned out to be only talcum power, Sharpton confirmed.
But, he says the high profile media coverage on the incidents has raised prospects for real threats.
"It works up kooks and copy cats. Whereas this cat may not have been real, he could have woke us up because now, somebody might think that's a good idea. So it causes a lot of concern."
Among his 33 National Action Network sites around the country, Sharpton says he has especially upscaled security in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Miami because of the level of activism at those sites and some targeted threats.
"We've increased those who travel with us and we've increased those at our headquarters," he says. Reportedly, the FBI has also warned his staff to not open mail from certain addresses and police squad cars have been sometimes strategically parked outside of NAN headquarters.
Security has especially been boosted since the Sept. 20 march in Jena, La. In that march, tens of thousands of people pushed for justice in the case of the Jena Six, Black high school students charged in the beating of a White school mate during racial tensions after three nooses were hung in a so-called White tree then in the school yard.
The security concerns also come in a year in which the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center has reported a 40 percent increase in hate groups since 2000. The FBI last month also reported an 8 percent rise in reports of hate crimes last year, from 7,116 in 2005 to 7,722 last year. Most were racial attacks.
Sharpton is quick to recall one of the key reasons that he takes the new threats seriously.
"You must remember I was stabbed once leading a march."
On January 12, 1991, he was protesting the killing of a Black teenager in the predominately White Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. when he was attacked and stabbed in the chest by Michael Riccardi, an Italian-American wielding a five-inch knife.
Riccardi, who was convicted of first degree assault and served eight of a 15-year sentence, said he had attempted to kill Sharpton because he thought it would make him a hero in his community. It was Sharpton's security detail that stopped that attack, apprehended Riccardi and turned him over to police.
"Of course we've got to pay more people, pay more for them to travel and all of that," says Sharpton. "But, we take these things seriously cause I know what they can be 'cause I almost got killed."
December 23, 2007
"AMERICAN TALIBAN" WHISTLEBLOWER JOINS TAPEGATE FUROR
By William Fisher
A former U.S. Department of Justice ethics adviser who came to prominence as a whistleblower after she objected to the government's treatment of John Walker Lindh -- the "American Taliban" captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan – has joined leading members of the U.S. legal community in calling on Congress to investigate the destruction of tape recordings of interrogations carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Jesselyn Radack told a news teleconference last week that the destroyed tapes are “part of a pattern.” She said, “There are some 5 million missing White House e-mails. No one knows where the hit lists are from the U.S. Attorney massacre. And now the CIA interrogation videotapes have been erased. This is criminal.”
She added, “Remember when the Justice Department prosecuted Enron and Arthur Anderson for destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice? Now the Justice Department is trying to block congressional oversight and legal proceedings involving this latest scandal.”
Radack’s comments came during the launch of a new campaign, “American Lawyers Defending the Constitution.” The effort is backed by a statement signed by more than 1,300 lawyers and law students around the country, including former New York governor Mario Cuomo, former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein, leaders of legal organizations and more than 100 law professors in the U.S.
Their statement calls on House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to hold wide-ranging hearings to investigate “unconstitutional and potentially criminal activity by the Bush Administration.”
The “TapeGate” furor erupted after the New York Times revealed in early December that the CIA in 2005 had destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, “a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.” An announcement was subsequently made by the CIA.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in CIA custody — to severe interrogation techniques. In a message to his staff, CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden reportedly said the tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks. He also said the tapes no longer had intelligence value.
The destruction of the tapes has raised questions about whether CIA officials withheld information from Congress, the courts and the Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program.
The CIA program that included the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects began after the capture of Mr. Zubaydah in March 2002. The CIA has said that the Justice Department (DOJ) and other elements of the executive branch reviewed and approved the use of a set of harsh techniques before they were used on any prisoners, and that the DOJ issued a classified legal opinion in August 2002 that provided explicit authorization for their use.
Other participants on the telephone press conference included Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy group, and Marjorie Cohn, president of the 6,000-member National Lawyers Guild.
Ratner, whose organization has played a major role in providing defense lawyers for detainees in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, underscored the importance of congressional action. He said, “For far too long Congress has been the handmaiden of the Bush administration’s undermining and subversion of basic constitutional rights. The right to be free from torture; warrantless wiretapping; jailing without habeas corpus; and disappearances into secret sites. Principles going back to the Magna Carta are at stake.”
He called on Congress to “do its job: defend the Constitution from its enemies. Its enemies are the Bush administration.”
Ratner said, “Just announcing that investigations will be held and subpoenas will be issued is terribly insufficient unless Congress is willing to enforce the subpoenas by issuing contempt citations. Congress has a constitutional duty to oversee the activities of the executive branch and our entire system of government is threatened when Congress simply folds before an obstinate executive.”
Cohn, author of the recently published book, “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law”, told us, “ From the illegal war in Iraq to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody to the illegal destruction of evidence by the CIA, the Bush administration has become an institution of lawbreakers. Congress must hold hearings to investigate this lawbreaking, and should authorize the appointment of an independent prosecutor since Michael Mukasey cannot be counted to conduct an impartial investigation.”
Radack rose to prominence as a major whistleblower in the John Walker Lindh case. In the course of Lindh's criminal prosecution, the court ordered all documents associated with his interrogation to be turned over. After some documents were turned over, Radack was asked about the existence of more documents. At that time, she looked through the files and discovered that the bulk of her work was missing and had not been turned over. Radack was able to reconstruct much of her work, and informed her supervisor that her department had not complied with the court order. She was forced to resign before the documents were turned over. A criminal investigation into Radack’s actions was eventually closed with no charges, but her case was referred to the state bar of Maryland, which eventually cleared her of all wrongdoing. She has never been called to testify before Congress.The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it had no knowledge that Lindh was represented by a lawyer prior to his interrogation, but this position appears to be contradicted by material in Radack's files.
Radack told the news conference, “My e-mails documented my advice against interrogating Lindh without a lawyer, and concluded that the FBI committed an ethics violation when it did so anyway. Both the CIA videotapes and my e-mails were destroyed, in part, because officials were concerned that they documented controversial interrogation methods that could put agency officials in legal jeopardy.”
In a related development, one of America’s leading constitutional scholars said White House involvement in the CIA's decision to destroy videotapes documenting severe interrogation techniques of suspected terrorists could constitute as many as six crimes.
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University law school in Washington appeared on CNN to discuss a report by the New York Times that four White House attorneys, including then-White House counsels Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers, participated in discussions with the CIA about whether or not the tapes should be destroyed.
Turley said, "There are at least six identifiable crimes here, from obstruction of justice to obstruction of Congress, perjury, conspiracy, false statements, and what is often forgotten: the crime of torturing suspects.
He added, "If that crime was committed it was a crime that would conceivably be ordered by the president himself, only the president can order those types of special treatments or interrogation techniques."
The American Lawyers Defending the Constitution statement, along with the list of 80 original signers, is available at http://www.americanfreedomcampaign.org/lawyers .
The American Freedom Campaign (AFC) is a joint project of AFC, the Center for Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, the Alliance for Justice, the Equal Justice Society, and the American Freedom Agenda.
I was stunned to see the news that Benazir Bhutto was killed within hours of your recent analysis on gold. As you said, gold did in fact rise further in the aftermath of that tragic event.You wrote, “I find it interesting that some players see the need to take long positions right now; during a low liquidity time to trade.”That seemed like a remarkable observation, in light of what was about to happen in Pakistan. Do you think that your gold indicators caught market activity related to pre knowledge of the assassination, or was it just a coincidence?
I was stunned to see the news that Benazir Bhutto was killed within hours of your recent analysis on gold. As you said, gold did in fact rise further in the aftermath of that tragic event.
You wrote, “I find it interesting that some players see the need to take long positions right now; during a low liquidity time to trade.”
That seemed like a remarkable observation, in light of what was about to happen in Pakistan. Do you think that your gold indicators caught market activity related to pre knowledge of the assassination, or was it just a coincidence?
I think the answer, JJ, is that it doesn’t matter one way or the other. It doesn’t matter because there was no way to use the analysis to know that an international political figure was about to be assassinated. Sure, it’s interesting that the atrocity followed a strong move on gold during thin holiday trading, but as outsiders (people without privileged information), that’s all it will ever be to us. An interesting coincidence.
When I saw the news of Bhutto’s assassination, I thought to myself, “Ok, now I understand what that weird buying was probably about,” but it was after the fact. Remember that, at the time, my guesses were not even in the ballpark as the motivation behind the move. My speculation went like this:
It’s even more interesting if you read Paul Tustain’s recent analysis with December 31, 2007 as a date to watch. Indeed, the media is talking about the weak dollar, but the dollar is well off recent lows. My guess is that this is much more about Sterling and Euro holders who are frightened by those central banks’ recent decision to strap themselves to the mast of the sinking dollar.
And that might be right (or not), but there’s nothing in there about assassination, terrorism, Pakistan, etc. As any straight laced bean counter will tell you: the only relationship between my analysis and the assassination was chance.
However, as any [honest] trader or market operator will tell you, there are always insiders who know about major events before they happen. I saw weird things happen so many times in the market that, rather than just wrapping the coincidences in tinfoil and calling them conspiracies, I attempted to design a trading system based on the assumption that insiders were using their privileged information in the market before news hit. The trick was finding stocks to watch that had a low enough noise level to spot the signals. I wrote about this in detail in Insider Crimes, Funny Money and Options Rackets. There is no way (that I’m aware of) to apply a similar strategy to something like gold. There is far too much noise (which is great for the people who place trades based on their knowledge of future events). Likewise, there is probably no way—that you or I will ever have access to anyway—to derive actionable intelligence from the movement of commodity prices.
It’s just the unseen hand of the market, or a random walk, or not statistically significant, etc. Coincidences, in other words.
But hindsight is interesting, isn’t it?
Reservations will be accepted until Friday to hear Barbara Moser-Gabner, a special agent for the Miami office of the FBI, who will be the guest speaker at the Arnold Klein Sunny Isles Beach Democratic Club meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Denny's restaurant, 17550 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles.
The event is free for members; $5 for nonmembers. For information, call 305-868-3858, e-mail email@example.com, or visit http://www.sunnyislesbeachdemocrats.com.
Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_len_hart_080109_bhutto_knew_too_much.htm
January 9, 2008
Bhutto Knew Too Much About Bin Laden, 911, the CIA
By Len Hart
Bhutto's assassination by gun men was a pre-emptive strike! She might have exposed the CIA as the World's number one terrorist organization. Pakistan Dictator Pervez Musharraf, Bush's man in Pakistan, blames the victim. In some perverted sense, he may be right. Bhutto may have signed her own death warrant with the famous statement (censored by the BBC) that Bin Laden was murdered by Saeed Sheikh. [Her remarks found here]
The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of "chatter" among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place.As succinctly summarized in Jeremy Page's article, "Who Killed Benazir Bhutto? The Main Suspects", the main suspects are 1) "Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge", and 2) the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, a virtual branch of the CIA. Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari directly accused the ISI of being involved in the October attack.The assassination of Bhutto has predictably been blamed on "Al-Qaeda", without mention of fact that Al-Qaeda itself is an Anglo-American military-intelligence operation.Page's piece was one of the first to name the man who has now been tagged as the main suspect: Baitullah Mehsud, a purported Taliban militant fighting the Pakistani army out of Waziristan. Conflicting reports link Mehsud to "Al-Qaeda", the Afghan Taliban, and Mullah Omar (also see here). Other analysis links him to the terrorist A.Q. Khan.--Larry Chin, Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan
--Larry Chin, Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan
While the pakistani inter services public relations claimed that former ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Mahmud Ahmad sought retirement after being superseded on monday, the truth is more shocking. top sources confirmed here on tuesday, that the general lost his job because of the "evidence" india produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker mohammed Atta from pakistan by ahmad Umarr Sheikh at the instance of gen mahumd. Senior government sources have confirmed that india contributed significantly to establishing the link between the money transfer and the role played by the dismissed ISI chief. while they did not provide details, they said that indian inputs, including sheikh's mobile phone number, helped the FBI in tracing and establishing the link. a direct link between the ISI and the WTC Attack could have enormous repercussions. the us cannot but suspect whether or not there were other senior pakistani army commanders who were in the know of things. Evidence of a larger conspiracy could shake us confidence in pakistan's ability to participate in the anti-terrorism coalition. indian officials say they are vitally interested in the unravelling of the case since it could link the ISI directly to the hijacking of the indian airlines kathmandu-delhi flight to kandahar last december. ahmad umar sayeed sheikh is a british national and a london school of economics graduate who was arrested by the police in delhi following a bungled 1994 kidnapping of four westerners, including an american citizen. --India helped FBI trace ISI-terrorist links
--India helped FBI trace ISI-terrorist links
" was arrested and served time in prison for the 1994 abduction of several British nationals in India, an act which he acknowledges, he was released from captivity in 1999 and provided safe passage into Pakistan, apparently with the support of Pakistan and the Taliban (the hijackers were Pakistanis) in an Indian Airlines plane hijacking. He is most well-known for his alleged role in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Sheikh Omar Saeed was arrested by Pakistani police on February 12, 2002, in Lahore, in conjunction with the Pearl kidnapping, and was sentenced to death on July 15, 2002 for killing Pearl. His judicial appeal has not yet been heard. The delay has been alleged to be due to his reported links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, in his book In the Line of Fire stated that Sheikh was originally recruited by British intelligence agency, MI6, while studying at the London School of Economics. He alleges Omar Sheikh was sent to the Balkans by MI6 to engage in jihadi operations. Musharraf later went on to state "At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent".On October 6, 2001, a senior-level US government official told CNN that US investigators had discovered Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (Sheik Syed), using the alias "Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad" had sent about $100,000 from the United Arab Emirates to Mohammed Atta. "Investigators said Atta then distributed the funds to conspirators in Florida in the weeks before the deadliest acts of terrorism on US soil that destroyed the World Trade Center, heavily damaged the Pentagon and left thousands dead. In addition, sources have said Atta sent thousands of dollars -- believed to be excess funds from the operation -- back to Saeed in the United Arab Emirates in the days before September 11. CNN later confirmed this. "-- Omar Saeed Sheikh
Vidal argues that the real motive for the Afghanistan war was to control the gateway to Eurasia and Central Asia's energy riches. He quotes extensively from a 1997 analysis of the region by Zgibniew Brzezinski, formerly national security adviser to President Carter, in support of this theory. But, Vidal argues, US administrations, both Democrat and Republican, were aware that the American public would resist any war in Afghanistan without a truly massive and widely perceived external threat.--Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11
Was Afghanistan then turned to rubble in order to avenge the 3,000 Americans slaughtered by Osama? Hardly. The administration is convinced that Americans are so simple-minded that they can deal with no scenario more complex than the venerable lone, crazed killer (this time with zombie helpers) who does evil just for the fun of it 'cause he hates us, 'cause we're rich 'n free 'n he's not. Osama was chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the most frightening logo for our long contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan, planning for which had been 'contingency' some years before 9/11 and, again, from 20 December, 2000, when Clinton's out-going team devised a plan to strike at al-Qaeda in retaliation for the assault on the warship Cole.--Gore Vidal, The Enemy Within
--Gore Vidal, The Enemy Within
Regine DebattyJanuary 10, 2008 10:13 AM
Ecomedia - Ecological Strategies in Today's Art, currently running at the Edith Russ Haus in Oldenburg, presents projects founded on progressive ecological models and conceive utopian horizons in the process. (Part One is here.)
Tue Greenfort's contribution to the show is a simple plastic bottle. Just a bottle... until you have a look at the title of the sculpture: “Producing 1 Kilogram of PET Plastic Requires 17.5 Kilograms of Water and results in air emissions of 40 grams of hydrocarbons, 25 grams of sulfur oxides, 18 grams of carbon monoxide, 20 grams of nitrogen oxides, and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide. In terms of water use alone, much more is consumed in making the bottles than will ever go into them” (2004). I can't dream of anything more self-explanatory. The object is a 1.5-liters mineral-water bottle which, under the influence of heat, has melted down to the size of a half-litre bottle, and was then filled with tap water. The artist demonstrates that the production of a non-returnable bottle requires more water than it can actually contain.
Talking of which, there was a raft made of plastic bottles on the grass outside of the Edith Russ Haus building. It's Natalie Jeremijenko's office. At the exhibition opening, she invited people to jump on it and share with her their environmental anxieties. Best is to have a look at the video presentation that GOOD magazine made of the Environmental Health Clinic project.
GenTerra, by Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz da Costa, used a harmless form of gut E. coli to educate the public about genetically modified organisms.
GenTerra is a fictional biotech company dealing with "transgenics" and driven by profit, but also by a sense of social responsibility. Products created through this process—-for example, transgenically modified foods—-have often caused controversy. GenTerra claims to produce organisms that help solve ecological or social problems
GenTerra is essentially a participatory "theater" comprising a lab, computer stations displaying the company’s informational CD-Rom, and a bacteria release machine. Scientists and artists are talking the public through the process and implications (whether they are purely profit-driven or feature some utopian qualities) of transgenics. Materials are then provided to allow people to get a hands-on experience by creating their own transgenic organism, using human DNA derived from blood samples. After that they become actively involved in risk assessment by deciding whether or not to release bacteria from one of petri dishes of the release machine. 11 of the dishes have non-transgenic bacteria samples taken locally, and one contains the transgenic bacteria. Should the dish with the transgenic bacteria be selected, a robotic arm will open the lid of the dish, and then replace the lid on the dish after about 5 seconds. The transgenic bacteria is in fact a benign, crippled lab strain that is released in laboratories on a routine basis.
This form of participatory experience attempts to make the whole issue less abstract and distant and by doing so, it provides the public with the critical tools to reflect on how significant the transgenic issue is and how it is going to reflect their everyday life.
The Critical Art Ensemble defense fund page informs us that the FBI is still refusing to return most of the tens of thousands of dollars worth of impounded materials. The reason for that is that the art collective was using the harmless bacteria and materials in several of their projects, one of them is GenTerra.
Andrea Polli had two projects in the exhibition, the beautiful The Queensbridge Wind Power Project is a video (which you can watch online) for transforming the Queensborough bridge into a site for gathering clean, renewable energy.
The second project she was showing is a collaboration with Joe Gilmore. N. is an artistic visualization and sonification of near real-time Arctic data.
Franz John's Turing Tables takes live seismological data and turns it into pictures, sound and movement.
Seismological institutes measure the vibrations of the Earth and exchange the data collected among themselves via automated internet-transfers. Turing Tables feeds into this human-machine-communication data stream and translates it into an installation which bathes visitors in audio renderings and projections of live measurements made by seismographs all over the world.
The project is not about the catastrophes that cause these movements in inhabited areas, but instead about the archaic feeling and consciousness that the earth is an organism, that it moves and that it can be understood as an organism in constant flux.
I liked 01.org's Reenactment of Joseph Beuys' 7000 Oaks, 2007. My first reaction when i saw the project was "oh! No, not flugly Second Life agaaain!" but this "synthetic performance" has the merit of bringing the spotlight on a very inspiring work. In March 1982, Beuys was at Documenta 7 in Kassel with a mission: planting of 7000 trees, each paired with a columnar basalt stone approximately four feet high above ground, throughout the greater city of Kassel. The last tree was planted posthumously in 1987 by is son. Beuys intended the Kassel project to be the first stage in an ongoing scheme of tree planting to be extended throughout the world as part of a global mission to effect environmental and social change; locally, the action was a gesture towards urban renewal. 25 years exactly after the planting of the first tree, Eva and Franco Mattes of 01.org (or rather their avatars) started stacking virtual basalt stones on Mattes' island in SL. SL inhabitants are invited to participate to the performance by placing stones and trees on their land.
Infossil had a huge banner hanging above the reception desk of the art space. The white on black text reflects about the dependence of electronic communication, that is of the "infossil", on the energy resources available, the fossil: coal.
Also on show: Sabrina Raaf's Translator II: Grower was painting grass on the wall; EcoScope, a communication tool developed by Transnational Temps, provides a context for discussing environmental affairs; 10 Commandments for the 21st Century, by Tea Mäkipää; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's You don’t need a weatherman; Christoph Keller's The Whole Earth, a projection on a weather balloon. White clouds over a blue sky form the perfect picture of the peaceful blue planet we live on, there's even piano music for perfect bliss. Every two minutes, a roaring aircraft brings us back to reality. Its passage takes one or two seconds but that's enough to spoil the idyllic vision (image); Yonic, a NGO working in Brazil to diminish pollution in the rain forest and find new solutions to old problems, showed the fanzine they publish on a yearly basis using handmade recycled paper.
Now that was a fantastic and energizing exhibition. If only we can get more people to see it, not just the already converted.
On Jan. 11 the plaza in front of Federal Court in Brooklyn was filled with Puerto Ricans and their allies denouncing a new witch hunt against the pro-independence movement in their homeland.
The demonstrators, who numbered around 1,000, chanted, “Filiberto lives, the struggle continues!” and “FBI: terrorists, assassins, imperialists!”
On Jan. 10 and 11, similar demonstrations took place in Hartford, Conn.; Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; Philadelphia; Cleveland; Fitchburg, Mass.; and Orlando, Fla.
In San Juan, P.R., more than 1,500 demonstrators marched in front of the Federal Court House with placards that read “FBI assassins.”
“Filiberto” refers to Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, a leader of the Ejército Popular Boricua-Macheteros, who was gunned down by the FBI right inside his home in Hormigueros, P.R., on Sept. 23, 2005. Now the U.S. political police agency is going after Puerto Ricans in New York City.
Three were subpoenaed to appear before a New York grand jury on Jan. 11 and a fourth is reportedly being hunted. The three are Tania Frontera, a graphic designer; Christopher Torres, a social worker; and Julio Pabón, a filmmaker. The FBI may also be looking for Héctor Rivera, another cultural worker.
Just two days after the subpoenas, a committee was set up in New York called the Hostos Jan. 11 Grand Jury Resistance Campaign. The movement is calling for no collaboration with the oppressive authorities. It states that this heightened repression is a violation of human rights and of Article 1514 of the United Nations Charter, which states in part that “the subjection of a people by foreign subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denigration of fundamental human rights” and concludes that “any such people have a right to resist that foreign domination.”
A media conference at New York’s City Hall the day of the demonstration was well attended. Both events had an impact and the authorities agreed to a postponement of the grand jury. It was a tentative victory, but this struggle is not over and the movement remains vigilant.
The choice of Jan. 11 as the original date of the grand jury was an affront to the memory of one of Puerto Rico’s most revered pro-independence leaders, Eugenio María de Hostos. Born on Jan. 11, 1839, Hostos had been an abolitionist and an advocate of workers’ and women’s rights. He also supported a federation of the Caribbean islands.
After the murder of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos in 2005, popular outrage crossed party lines in Puerto Rico and pushed the conciliatory and pro-colonial government of Anibal Acevedo Vilá to launch an investigation into the FBI’s actions.
This past summer several articles in the press there exposed the role of the U.S. “security” company DynCorp in Filiberto’s murder. Like the Blackwater contract employees who murder innocent civilians in Iraq and New Orleans, these U.S. mercenaries have only one goal in mind and that is to kill and repress. Washington’s response to this inquiry has been to charge Acevedo Vilá with corruption.
In other words, the colonizer is saying to the occupied: “How dare you question us?” Washington’s plan may now be to put its colony in Puerto Rico under direct U.S. receivership.
Puerto Ricans have resisted U.S. culture and the imposition of English-only in schools, and over the years have formed liberation organizations such as the Nationalist Party, the FALN and the Macheteros. Now the movement and its allies are calling for the FBI and the U.S. Navy to get out of Puerto Rico. International solidarity is needed.
The pro-independence movement has come together to defend the sisters and brothers in the struggle. It is also demanding the freedom of political prisoners Oscar López Rivera, Carlos Alberto Torres, Haydée Beltrán Torres and José Pérez González.
From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to "violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism prevention"--as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name--have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.
Building a homeland security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:
1. Target dissidents. As the warfare state has triggered dissent, the campus has attracted increasing scrutiny--with student protesters in the cross hairs. The government's number-one target? Peace and justice organizations.
From 2003 to 2007 an unknown number of them made it into the Pentagon's Threat and Local Observation Notice system (TALON), a secretive domestic spying program ostensibly designed to track direct "potential terrorist threats" to the Defense Department itself. In 2006 the ACLU uncovered, via Freedom of Information Act requests, at least 186 specific TALON reports on "anti-military protests" in the United States--some listed as "credible threats"--from student groups at the University of California, Santa Cruz; State University of New York, Albany; Georgia State University; and New Mexico State University, among other campuses.
At more than a dozen universities and colleges, police officers now double as full-time FBI agents, and according to the Campus Law Enforcement Journal, they serve on many of the nation's 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces. These dual-purpose officer-agents have knocked on student activists' doors from North Carolina State to the University of Colorado and, in one case, interrogated an Iraqi-born professor at the University of Massachusetts about his antiwar views.
FBI agents, or their campus stand-ins, don't have to do all the work. Administrators often do it for them, setting up "free-speech zones," which actually constrain speech, and punishing those who step outside them. Protests were typically forced into "free-assembly areas" at the University of Central Florida and Clemson University, while students at Hampton and Pace universities faced expulsion for handing out antiwar fliers, aka "unauthorized materials."
2. Lock and load. Many campus police departments are morphing into heavily armed garrisons, equipped with a wide array of weaponry, from Taser stun guns and pepper guns to shotguns and semiautomatic rifles. Lock-and-load policies that began in the 1990s under the rubric of the "war on crime" only escalated with the President's "war on terror." Each school shooting--most recently the massacre at Virginia Tech--adds fuel to the armament flames.
Two-thirds of universities arm their police, according to the Justice Department. Many of the guns being purchased were previously in the province of military units and SWAT teams: for instance, AR-15 rifles (similar to M-16s) are in the arsenals of the University of Texas campus police. Last April City University of New York bought dozens of semiautomatic handguns. Some states, like Nevada, are even considering plans to allow university staff to pack heat in a "special reserve officer corps."
Most of the force used on campuses these days, though, comes in less lethal form, such as the rubber bullets and pepper pellets increasingly used to contain student demonstrations. Then there is the ubiquitous Taser, the electroshock weapon recently ruled a "form of torture" by the United Nations. A Taser was used by UCLA police in November 2006 to deliver shock after shock to an Iranian-American student for failing to produce his ID at the Powell Library. A University of Florida student was Tased last September after asking pointed questions of Senator John Kerry at a public forum, his plea "Don't Tase me, bro!" becoming the stuff of pop folklore.
3. Keep an eye (or hundreds of them) focused on campus. Surveillance has become a boom industry nationally--one that now reaches deep into the heart of campuses. In fact, universities have witnessed explosive growth since 2001 in the electronic surveillance of students, faculty and campus workers. On ever more campuses, closed-circuit security cameras can track people's every move, often from hidden or undisclosed locations, sometimes even into classrooms.
The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators reports that surveillance cameras have found their way onto at least half of all colleges, their numbers on any given campus doubling, tripling or, in a few cases, rising tenfold since September 11, 2001. Such cameras have proliferated by the hundreds on private campuses, in particular. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, has more than 400 watching over it, while Harvard and Brown have about 200 each.
Often it can be tricky to find out where the cameras are and just what they're meant to be viewing. The University of Texas battled student journalists over disclosure and ultimately kept its cameras hidden. Sometimes, though, the cameras' purpose seems obvious. Take the case of Hussein Hussein, a professor in the department of animal biotechnology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In January 2005 the widely respected professor found a hidden camera redirected to monitor his office.
4. Mine student records. Student records have in recent years been opened up to all manner of data mining for purposes of investigation, recruitment or just all-purpose tracking. From 2001 to 2006, in an operation code-named Project Strike Back, the Education Department teamed up with the FBI to scour the records of the 14 million students who applied for federal financial aid each year. The objective? "To identify potential people of interest," explained an FBI spokesperson cryptically, especially those linked to "potential terrorist activity."
Strike Back was quietly discontinued in June 2006, days after students at Northwestern University blew its cover. But just one month later, the Education Department's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, in a much-criticized preliminary report, recommended the creation of a federal "unit records" database that would track the activities and studies of college students nationwide. The department's Institute of Education Sciences has developed a prototype for such a national database.
It's not a secret that the Pentagon, for its part, hopes to turn campuses into recruitment centers for its overstretched, overstressed forces. The Defense Department has built its own database for just this purpose. Known as Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies, this program tracks 30 million young people, ages 16 to 25. According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the department has partnered with private marketing and data-mining firms, which in turn sell the government reams of information on students and other potential recruits.
5. Track foreign-born students; keep the undocumented out. Under the auspices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been keeping close tabs on foreign students and their dependents through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). As of October 2007, ICE reported that it was actively following 713,000 internationals on campuses, while keeping more than 4.7 million names in the database.
The database aims to amass and record information on foreign students throughout their stay inside the United States. SEVIS requires thick files on the students from the sponsoring schools, constantly updated with all academic, biographical and employment records--all of which will be shared with other government agencies. If students fall out of "status" at school--or if the database thinks they have--the Compliance Enforcement Unit of ICE goes into action.
ICE, of course, has done its part to keep the homeland security campus purified of those not born in the homeland. The American Immigration Law Foundation estimates that only one in twenty undocumented immigrants who graduate high school goes on to enroll in a college--many don't go because they cannot afford the tuition but also because they have good reason to be afraid: ICE has deported a number of those who did make it to college, some before they could graduate.
6. Take over the curriculum, the classroom and the laboratory. Needless to say, not every student is considered a homeland security threat. Quite the opposite. Many students and faculty members are seen as potential assets. To exploit these assets, DHS has launched its own curriculum under its Office of University Programs (OUP), intended, it says, to "foster a homeland security culture within the academic community."
The record so far is impressive: DHS has doled out 439 federal fellowships and scholarships since 2003, providing full tuition to students who fit "within the homeland security research enterprise." Two hundred twenty-seven schools now offer degree or certificate programs in "homeland security," a curriculum that encompasses more than 1,800 courses. Along with OUP, some of the key players in creating the homeland security classroom are the US Northern Command and the Aerospace Defense Command, co-founders of the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium.
OUP has also partnered with researchers and laboratories to "align scientific results with homeland security priorities." In fiscal year 2008 alone, $4.9 billion in federal funding will go to homeland-security-related research. Grants correspond to sixteen research topics selected by DHS, based on presidential directives, legislation and a smattering of scientific advice.
But wait, there's more: DHS has founded and funded six of its very own "Centers of Excellence," research facilities that span dozens of universities from coast to coast. The latest is a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism, the funding for which cleared the House in October. The center is mandated to assist a national commission in combating those "adopting or promoting an extremist belief system...to advance political, religious or social change."
7. Privatize, privatize, privatize. Of course, homeland security is not just a department, nor is it simply a new network of surveillance and data mining--it's big business. (According to USA Today, global homeland-security-style spending had already reached $59 billion a year in 2006, a sixfold increase over 2000.) Not surprisingly, then, universities have in recent years established unprecedented private-sector partnerships with the corporations that have the most to gain from their research. DHS's on-campus National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START), for instance, features Lockheed Martin on its advisory board. The Center for Food Protection and Defense relies on an industry working group that includes Wal-Mart and McDonald's offering "guidance and direction," according to its chair.
While vast sums of money are flowing in from corporate sponsors, huge payments are also flowing out to "strategic contracts" with private contractors, as universities permanently outsource security operations to big corporations like Securitas and AlliedBarton. Little of this money actually goes to those guarding the properties, who are often among the most underpaid workers in the universities. Instead, it fills the corporate coffers of those with little accountability for conditions on campus.
Meanwhile, some universities have developed intimate relationships with private-security outfits like the notorious Blackwater. Last May, for example, the University of Illinois and its police training institute cut a deal with the firm to share its facilities and training programs with Blackwater operatives. Local journalists later revealed that the director of the campus program at the time was on the Blackwater payroll. In the age of hired education, such collaboration is apparently par for the course.
Following these seven steps over the past six years, the homeland security state and its constituents have come a long way in their drive to remake the American campus in the image of a compound on lockdown. Somewhere inside the growing homeland security state that is our country, the next seven steps in the process are undoubtedly already being planned.
Still, the rise of Repress U is not inevitable. The new homeland security campus has proven itself unable to shut out public scrutiny or stamp out resistance to its latest Orwellian advances. Sometimes such opposition even yields a free-speech zone dismantled, or the Pentagon's TALON declawed, or a Project Strike Back struck down. A rising tide of student protest, led by groups like the new Students for a Democratic Society, has won free-speech victories and reined in repression from Pace and Hampton, where the university dropped its threat of expulsion, to UCLA, where Tasers will no longer be wielded against passive resisters.
Yet if the tightening grip of the homeland security complex isn't loosened, the latest towers of higher education will be built not of ivory but of Kevlar for the over-armored, over-armed campuses of America.
US presidential candidate Barack Obama was not granted access to secret FBI documents about Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness after his office in the US Senate recently applied for permission on behalf of literary scholar Chay Lemoine.
Lemoine has for three years applied for access to various documents about Laxness in the US, and has been granted access to most, but four FBI documents remain, which allegedly include information that have the potential to jeopardize national security and visa information, which is categorized as private, Fréttabladid reports.
After a few unsuccessful attempts, Lemoine’s decided to request assistance from his senator, Obama, but according to answers from the FBI given to Obama’s office, the FBI’s decision is final and the Laxness documents will remain confidential.
“I think it is remarkable that Obama’s office took the time in the middle of their campaign to react to my letter. I didn’t really expect that they would contact the FBI for me. But Obama’s representative thanked me for my letter about my troubles with the FBI and informed me that, unfortunately, the institution’s decision regarding my case is final,” Lemoine told Fréttabladid.
“Halldór would certainly have enjoyed this, that senators and secret service in this country are so concerned about him after all these years,” Lemoine said, adding that he will try finding other ways to gain access to the documents about Iceland’s most successful author.
Laxness lived in the US between 1927 and 1929 and tried to make it as a filmmaker in Hollywood. He particularly liked Greta Garbo and wanted her to play Salka Valka (who later became the heroine on one of his most famous novels) in a movie he wrote called A Woman in Pants.
Laxness was optimistic and excited at the beginning of his stay, but after constant delays and rejections he grew tired of show business and the American way of life. He moved back to Iceland and turned to socialism, according to gljufrasteinn.is.
A Scorpions elite anti-crime officer stands guard over a seized shipment of drugs. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
The elite South African anti-crime unit that targeted the new African National Congress leader, Jacob Zuma, in a corruption investigation is to be disbanded.
The party claims the FBI-style force known as the Scorpions employed "Hollywood tactics" against Zuma when raiding several of his and his lawyer's properties in 2005.
Zuma, who deafeated the country's president, Thabo Mbeki, for the ANC leadership, is due to stand trial later this year charged with bribery, fraud, racketeering, money-laundering and tax evasion. It is not clear how the disbandment will affect the trial.
The security minister, Charles Nqakula, announced the decision to parliament today. To cheers from ANC deputies, he said: "The Scorpions will be dissolved and the organised crime unit of the police will be phased out and a new amalgamated unit created."
Nqakula insisted that tackling organised crime remained a key government priority.
"We need proper measures, better human and material resources to achieve our goals in the fight against all crime," he said.
The Scorpions represents the investigation arm of the national prosecuting authority. However, police view the unit as invading its jurisdiction.
At December's ANC conference, which elected Zuma as leader, delegates voted to scrap the unit amid claims it had tried to smear Zuma and deny him the leadership.
The move is interpreted as a sign of renewed infighting between Mbeki and Zuma factions. Mbeki, who established the Scorpions in 1999, is due to hand over power next year, depending on the outcome of Zuma's trial.
Outraged opposition deputies branded the disbandment as an ANC attempt to control over parliament and President Mbeki.
"This announcement once again shows that the country is now run, not by parliament, but by those few in Luthuli House [ANC headquarters]," said Dianne Kohler Barnard, spokeswoman for the Democratic Alliance.
The Scorpions also led the inquiry into South Africa's police chief and head of Interpol, Jackie Selebi, who has been charged with corruption for accepting bribes from a convicted drug trafficker in return for protecting drug shipments, passing on secret reports from the UK and interfering with a murder inquiry. Although the disbandment must be still be ratified by parliament, given the ANC's domination, the move seems inevitable.
MURDERED BY OKLAHOMA
Ken and Carmen Trentadue
3/1/07 - Alex Jones interviews: Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue AUDIO: http://www.apfn.net/pogo/L002I070301SS2.MP3
New Links 9/21/07: http://www.apfn.org/pdf/HAMMER_DECLARATION.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/LANGAN.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/MUELLER_LETTER.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/NICHOLS_DEC_WO.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/ORDER.pdf
New Links 9/21/07: http://www.apfn.org/pdf/HAMMER_DECLARATION.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/LANGAN.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/MUELLER_LETTER.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/NICHOLS_DEC_WO.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/ORDER.pdf
New Links 9/21/07: http://www.apfn.org/pdf/HAMMER_DECLARATION.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/LANGAN.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/MUELLER_LETTER.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/NICHOLS_DEC_WO.pdf http://www.apfn.org/pdf/ORDER.pdf
21 Aug 1995 Oklahoma City, OK Kenneth Michael Trentadue is beaten to death in his cell at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center, where he is incarcerated for a minor parole violation. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons tells his family that he hanged himself, but upon inspection at the funeral, they discover injuries over his entire body. Since August 21, 1995, Salt Lake City trial lawyer Jesse Trentadue has led a small, relentless crusade against Janet Reno, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice. The quest is a family affair, and includes Trentadue's aging mother who has handed out T-shirts on the steps of "Main Justice" in Washington, D.C. For four years now, the family has doggedly searched for the truth about how family member Kenneth Trentadue died while in federal custody. And now smoke blowing in from the direction of Waco, Texas, where dozens of people met their death in a standoff with Reno and the FBI, may spell more trouble for embattled Attorney General Reno and her FBI director, Louis Freeh. For the Trentadue family, their personal nightmare began in the early morning hours of August 21, 1995, shortly after prison guards claimed to have found the body of Kenneth Michael Trentadue hanging in a suicide proof cell in the new "Federal Transportation Center" in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kenneth Trentadue had been returned to federal custody there for a "parole violation" hearing. According to family members who had contact with him hours before he died, he was positive and upbeat about his chances for an early return home. Originally locked up for a bungled bank robbery, Trentadue was a model prisoner while in custody. A slip-up had resulted in his return to jail, but family members say he had made important changes in his life and had prospects for a good future. "He left a wife and new baby behind," says older brother Jesse. The family describes Kenneth as a peaceful person, unless you pushed him into a corner. "He was not the kind of man to back down from a fight," says older brother Jesse. A recent twist in the Trentadue case coupled with newly discovered evidence in the Branch Davidian cases, may well set the stage for explosive confrontations in both the halls of Congress and federal courtrooms in October of this year. While Congress prepares to peel back layers of FBI secrets, families of the dead victims will be in federal court seeking once and for all to learn what the Justice Department and the FBI are doing in secret behind their closed doors. In the Trentadue case, older brother Jesse Trentadue says that from the very beginning, Justice Department lawyers have lied about the existence of critical evidence, including death scene pictures. Federal officials finally admitted that photos existed only after a number of them were leaked to a writer for GQ Magazine, Mary Fischer. Though they admitted photos existed, Justice then they claimed they couldn't find the negatives of the 35-millimeter snapshots taken of Cell 709A where several prison guards have testified Trentadue's body was found hanging at 3 AM on August 21, 1995. Early-on, a literal "swearing contest" erupted between the prison guard who took the pictures, and the FBI Special Agent he swore under oath he gave them to. The agent testified that he never received them. After several years, the negatives mysteriously reappeared in the Oklahoma City's FBI field office where another Special Agent, Tommy Linn, says he found them in a stack of pictures of the Oklahoma City's paramilitary FBI "SWAT" team. The prison guard, Kenneth Freeman, has testified he used two different cameras to film the cell at different times that morning. In a deposition, Freeman said he took one set early in the morning of August 21, 1995, before sunrise. Later that morning he went back with his assistant Serena Israel and took more pictures. In his testimony Freeman admitted "rearranging" several items of evidence: a plastic knife and two plastic toothpaste tubes. Freeman said he posed the evidence to better photograph the items. The government now claims Trentadue used the plastic items to inflict deep gashes in the right side of his neck before he supposedly fabricated a noose from bed sheets and hanged himself in a cell which the architect who designed it says is "suicide proof." Earlier this year, Trentadue lawyers filed papers with the federal court in Oklahoma City refuting the conclusions of experts hired by the Justice Department to help defend it in the civil suit. Former Oklahoma City police captain, and self-styled "blood spatter expert" Tom Bevel maintains that Trentadue viciously beat himself to a bloody pulp and then hung himself. Other experts, including Rudy Riet, and a Chicago homicide investigator disagree. The House Judiciary Committee had previously assigned a veteran homicide investigator, on loan from the Chicago Police Department, to investigate the Trentadue case. The detective, in a telephone interview, said that Trentadue "was clearly murdered." The investigation was derailed by the Clinton-Lewinsky matter and never taken back up by the House committee. It is a complex case to investigate. The alleged death scene, Cell 709A, was completely "sanitized" shortly after 7 AM on August 21, 1995, after Oklahoma State Medical Examiner staff were denied access to it. A "crime scene" investigation was never accomplished on the cell and all sides to the controversy agree that critical evidence was lost because of that. Since the scene was never properly documented and vital evidence lost or destroyed, the government and the Trentadue family have been at war over what the remaining evidence actually proves. And since the government is in control of virtually all the physical evidence in the case, the Trentadue family has had to fight lengthy battles to gain even limited access to the evidence. And when they do get access, inevitably it causes problems for the U.S. government. A person close to the Trentadue case said that one such problem the government will soon face is in the nature of explaining how the strips of sheet that supposedly formed a noose were "cut" into strips with either scissors or a knife. Bureau of Prisons records indicate that Trentadue was held in the most secure part of the facility. He was supposedly alone in a cell where there were no sharp objects, certainly no scissors or knives. A motion filed by the family revealed that forensic analysis of the sheet strips, a number of which are still missing, precludes their having been ripped by hand and confirms that they were cut. If sheets are a problem, the photos are a nightmare for the government. In May, 1999, the government finally produced a set of twenty-nine glossy enlargements of what they claim is the only roll of film ever shot at the scene. The Justice Department stands on that claim despite the fact that government lawyers had previously produced two separate "photo logs," and even the photographer, Freeman, says otherwise. "When we began to analyze the photos," said Trentadue, "we thought they had been faked." Beside the 35-millimeter photos, the government also produced a series of eight Polaroid pictures. An experienced trial lawyer, Trentadue says he was immediately suspicious when he was told the negatives could not be examined by Trentadue family lawyers and their experts. Agents and lawyers from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector showed Trentadue and his attorneys strips of negatives they claimed constituted "a roll." When they handed over the prints, they also produced several volumes of CD ROM's which supposedly contain digitized copies of the negatives. The attorneys for Trentadue werre never allowed to touch the negatives or closely examine them. Despite that, a photographic expert presently employed by the U.S. Navy as an image analyst, says the attempt by the FBI to fake the pictures is "an amateurish result produced by professionals." The pictures are a gory collection that begins with a sheet of paper with a handwritten date on it. What follows are pictures of Kenneth Trentadue's body, covered with blood. His knuckles are bruised. Huge patches of scalp are bloodied. Government officials claim it's the result of him beating himself. His neck bears a long gash on the right side. After the gruesome pictures shot in the prison hospital, the scene switches to the cell where it is claimed he first beat then hung himself. The cell has puddles of blood on the floor. A bloody noose is tied at an impossible height off the floor to a grate that has not a single drop of blood on it. The analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, examined the original prints at the request of Arkansas Chronicle on his off-hours. After nearly two months of comparing the prints, the digitized CD-ROMs, the testimony of the witnesses and the actual photo logs, the expert eventually unraveled and explained the faked photos. He said his first resource was the Navy's own Naval Observatory. The observatory keeps incredibly accurate records of sunrise times for every place on earth. That includes Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on the morning of August 21, 1995. According to the National Weather Service, the weather was clear with a thin haze in the air at sunrise, August 21, 1995. But, if the government's negatives are to be believed, the sun rose and set at least twice that morning at the Oklahoma City airport. If it did, nobody seemed to notice it. "The sequence of exposure of the pictures is tracked by 'frame numbers' that appear on the edge of the film. Even after the negatives are cut into strips and placed in plastic sleeves, you can always tell which order they were shot in by looking at the frame number just beneath the actual image," said the Navy analyst. "Those frame numbers are put on the film by the manufacturer, not the camera." It is this "image sequence" that creates the most problems for the Justice Department. When you take the pictures, in the sequence that the government claims they are on the roll and compare it to the testimony, and, to other pictures on the same roll, the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the government defense to a murder case becomes shockingly apparent. According to the negatives, the sun had risen an hour early, just in time for prison guard Freeman to take his first picture of the cell. His camera, a Minolta with a built-in flash, failed to flash on the first shot in the cell. And through the vertical slit window at the back of the cell, you can see daylight, trees and grass. "Another picture after that one shows a clearly illuminated outdoor scene," said the expert. "Somehow, the sun set again. Additional pictures, but with higher frame numbers, show total darkness outside the very same window. There's just no way the sun was going up and down. It's the pictures that are all wrong." Pressed for an explanation as to how such images could be faked, the image expert explained. He described the process whereby a computer with two "peripherals," a negative scanner and a film output printer were used to fabricate a roll of film that appears to be "original," but really isn't. "What someone obviously has done is this: they had the two rolls of film all along. And I would guess that there is surely something on one or both of those rolls they don't want anyone to see. So, they simply used a common computer tool, a 'negative scanner,' to import the negative images into a graphics program. "Once they have scanned in the images they can electronically reassemble them into any sequence they want to. The original sequence of pictures can be shuffled just like a deck of cards. Picture number one can become number eight, and so on. The images can also be electronically altered, special effects filters used, and information added or subtracted. "Once the original negative is scanned in, the sky's the limit with a skilled operator, and there are a bunch out there. But whoever did this job got into trouble when the 'reassembled' the faked roll and forgot to take into consideration the incredible documentation that exists on paper about who took which pictures and when they took them. That's why they have some of the pictures out of sequence with daylight where darkness should be, and vice-versa. "After they had the fake roll assembled they merely issued a command to 'print' the images to a new roll of film. There are printers that you can hook to your computer, even at home, and create a whole new roll of film. The printer created a 'perfect' roll of film that was conventionally processed using what is known as a 'C-41' process. The negatives were then cut into strips and placed into the plastic sleeves just like the originals," explained the imagery expert. "You could take the bogus roll to the local Moto-Foto and have them developed and printed, and nobody would be the wiser," he added. Government lawyers also produced the faked negatives for copying onto CD-ROM's. The analyst said that there are tell-tale "artifacts" on the digital imagery that further confirms the negatives are "second generation," but would not offer specific details on the methodology used to identify the fake photos. Arkansas Chronicle was able to obtain a set of the CD-ROMs and have them analyzed at the same time as the prints were analyzed. The analyst said that the most damning piece of evidence is that one of the pictures released earlier by government lawyers somehow does not appear on the "roll" that the FBI produced. "It's sort of an obscure shot. But the point is, the picture is not on the roll of their negatives, and without question, it was indeed shot between two frames that I can absolutely identify on the roll they released." Other evidence suggests, he said, that the roll they produced was in fact shot from two different cameras with "two different lens systems." "There is strong evidence to support a claim that several of the pictures were altered, and, in once case, some photos were electronically cropped to make it appear that one photo was in fact two different photos. The cycle time of a Minolta camera, such as the one they used is too slow to create to images that are otherwise so completely similar in intricate detail," said the analyst. "My opinion is that they had a quota to fill . . . somebody said, 'here, fill up this roll with pictures and don't use any of these shots to do it.' So they left some pictures out, got many of the real pictures out of sequence, and then doubled up on some of the pictures which were safe to use in order to try to make up a full roll. The big problem is that the sequences are all wrong and they don't coincide with the photo logs and they don't have any relation to the light conditions outside the window of the prison cell." One polaroid picture, supposedly shot at 4:30 a.m., has a picture of part of a watch band on the hand of a man who has testified under oath that he didn't come to work until at least 6:30 a.m. that date. "I suppose that's why they have refused to let us have them tested by an independent lab," said Trentadue. "Since the case record would indicate that the FBI had custody of these negatives for several years," said the imagery expert, "that's where I would be looking in terms of identifying who manipulated this imagery. It took really expensive equipment to produce these fakes and not a lot of people have it." Contacted again shortly before press time, the expert would neither confirm nor deny that he is one of two imagery experts now examining video tape of aerial FBI infrared photography from Waco for a U.S. Congressional committee headed by Rep. Dan Burton. According to court records in the Trentadue case, the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General has indeed been investigating Bureau of Prisons and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for complicity in criminal misconduct in the Trentadue case. It was in the process of having the pictures and CD-ROM's examined that a chilling allegation surfaced about the capabilities of the FBI's lab, especially its ability to alter physical evidence such as photographs, video and audio tape.
May 2, 2001
$1.1 MILLION SETTLEMENT ORDERED IN TRENTADUE CASE
U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard ruled today that the family of Kenneth Michael Trentadue suffered severe emotional distress because of the insensitive action of federal prison officials and ordered $1.1 million paid in settlement of the law suit brought by them against the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1997.
Federal and state investigators called the Aug. 21, 1995, death of Trentadue, 44, a suicide, but his family alleged prison guards or another inmate had killed him.
Although state Medical Examiner Fred Jordan initially ruled Ken Trentadue's cause of death as unknown, the injuries covering Ken’s body caused his family and others to suspect he had been beaten to death. Federal and state investigations subsequently determined the injuries were caused by a botched attempt to hang himself before succeeding on the second try. The cause of death was then amended to suicide.
In December, a federal jury found that Lt. Stuart A. Lee, a former officer at the Federal Transfer Center, was deliberately indifferent to Ken’s medical needs because when Ken was found hanging in his cell, Lee did not order guards to cut him down and attempt to revive him. Lee had said it was obvious Trentadue was already dead.
The jury awarded $20,000 in compensatory damages to the family in compensation for Lee’s deliberate indifference to Ken’s medical needs. Jurors decided only the case against Lee, the officer in charge the night Ken was found hanging.
The broader allegations against the federal government were be decided by the judge. Judge Leonard ruled Monday that the federal government was liable for the intentional infliction of emotional distress caused to Ken's wife and family.
Judge Leonard scolded prison officials for not informing the family of Ken's injuries or the fact that an autopsy had been performed. Ken’s family was shocked and outraged when they discovered the injuries after his body was shipped to them in California.
"Prison officials did not initially answer the Trentadue family's valid and understandable questions about the unexpected death of their loved one," the judge said. "Their silence and the mishandling of potential evidence from Trentadue's cell helped fuel conspiracy theories that the inmate was murdered."
Leonard did find however that Ken committed suicide, stating that allegations of a conspiracy by prison officials to cover up a murder was just speculation and that actions of prison officials were more consistent with ignorant or incompetent, rather than conspiratorial behavior.
Come on Judge Leonard – do these photos look like suicide to you? Do they look like suicide to ANYONE?
Oklahoma City attorney Scott Adams, who represented the Trentadue family, said he was very pleased the judge punished the prison officials for their actions.
"They stonewalled us from day one," Adams said. "They treated the family very horribly. You cannot treat people the way the government treated the Trentadue family." Adams said the judge was sending a message with his award of $1.1 million. http://www.geocities.com/prisonmurder/ken_trentadue.html
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