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joeb

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Reply with quote  #51 
http://gnn.tv/articles/
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #52 
The life of Claudia Jones


Carole Boyce Davies' new biography of a little known revolutionary

   

   
 

>by bigcitygal
March 1, 2008

Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones, by Carole Boyce Davies (Duke University Press, 2008; $22.95)

Claudia Jones is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about African-American feminist theorists and activists. Hopefully, this memoir of her life and achievements will change that.

Jones was a communist, Marxist-Leninist to be precise, a union activist, a feminist and an anti-racist activist. She integrated the ideas of those theories into activism and practice, in the United States for the majority of her life and in London, England.

At the beginning of Left of Karl Marx, Davies provides the reader with an abbreviated chronology of Jones' life, then divides the book into chapters focusing on different aspects of Jones' life: her radical writing as a journalist, her activism within the Communist Party USA, her prison writings, mostly in the form of letters and poems that she wrote, her arrests and her imprisonments in the United States, her deportation to London, England, and how she continued her work there until she died.

Jones died in London at the age of 49 of heart failure. Poor health had plagued her throughout her life, and imprisonment, it could be argued, accelerated her death. Her ashes are buried literally to the left of Karl Marx's tombstone in Highgate Cemetery, London.

Jones was born in Trinidad in 1915 and emigrated to the United States in 1924. She had tuberculosis as a young woman, and suffered from inadequate medical attention throughout most of her life. She worked manual labour positions such as laundry and factory work, and became involved in working class politics.

Jones first joined the Communist Party in 1936 at the age of 21 and was active in the Youth Movement. She was an avid writer and journalist and wrote for many newspapers throughout her life, many of them focusing on issues related to black Americans, working class life, and the role of women in the Communist party.

In the introduction, Davies talks about how Jones' life and work were very much ahead of her time, and relevant to the politics of anti-oppression, and linked oppressions that modern feminist and left movements struggle with to this day. Davies describes the black subject, such as Claudia Jones, as a body that can challenge the status quo from several subject locations:

    The radical black subject, male or female, challenges the normalizing of state oppression, constructs an alternative discourse, and articulates these both theoretically and in practice. This is a resisting black subject…resisting dominating systems organized and enforced by states, organizations and institutions in order to produce a complicit passive people and to maintain exploitative systems. The revolutionary subject works in a movement geared toward dismantling that oppressive status.

Jones talked about the "superexploitation" of black working-class women. Davies explains: "She brought an explicitly women's rights orientation to the politics of the Communist Party USA." Davies assesses Jones as part of the canon of Black transnational theorists such as Ella Baker, Ida B. Wells, and Angela Davis, as well as radical organizations of the time such as the Combahee River Collective and the National Black Feminist Organization. For Jones, the ideas and practices were inseparable, "that our current geopolitical locations are products of multiple historical processes, many of which we had no control over, which have produced us, as subjects, in various 'nation-states' of the world."

The Communist Party was illegal in the United States during the time of Jones' activism. In 1942, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began a file on her, obtained by Davies under the Freedom of Information Act. Despite harassment and threats, Jones continued her writing and activism, rising to the level of Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Review, the Communist Party newspaper in 1943, Editor of the Negro Affairs section of the Daily Worker in 1946, and was elected a full member of the National Committee of Communist Party USA in 1946 as well.

In January 1948, Jones was arrested for the first time, and was threatened with deportation to Trinidad. While out on bail she spoke at May Day rallies across the country, and worked on issues relating to the working class, peace, equality and black women. She recruited for the Party, even as the FBI continued to gather evidence to be used for her deportation hearing.

In 1953, Jones was convicted for one year and a day, a shorter sentence than two other women arrested with her, due to her health issues. She was released after serving nine months, and her deportation order came shortly afterwards. In London she was affiliated with the Communist Party of Great Britain and continued with the work she loved, including, in 1958, founding the newspaper West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News.

Davies makes a number of references to the parallels of Jones' treatment in the United Stated during the era, the McCarthy Era, and the recent restrictions on civil liberties within the United States since September 11, 2001. Parallels include imprisonment and deportation based on nothing more than affiliations with certain groups considered to be (current) enemies of the United States, the enacting of the USA-Patriot Act in 2001 whose full name is "Uniting and Strengthening American by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."

The criminalization of communism took place under very similar circumstances, in which the Internal Security Act (1950), also known as the McCarran Act, shares similar clauses to parts of the Patriot Act, specifically that all communists register with immigration authorities and local police.

This is a dense, academic, and thorough book about the life of a Black feminist theorist that more people should know about. It is my hope that this is the start of a revival of Jones' life and work. This is a must read for any women's studies class, as well as American history, politics and other disciplines. Highly recommended.—bigcitygal

bigcitygal is a Toronto-based anti-racist/anti-oppression educator and consultant. She is a frequent contributor to rabble.ca's discussion board: babble, and is the volunteer moderator of the anti-racism forum.

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joeb

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Reply with quote  #53 
March 3, 2008
 
 
New state personnel director using skills honed in the FBI

Otis Cox used to talk skyjackers off airplanes and break up gambling rings in the crime-ridden hotspots of Gary, Ind., and Jacksonville, Fla.

Now he's heading up an operation a bit less threatening to his life and well being, in West Virginia.

Cox, 66, was recently named director of the West Virginia Division of Personnel.

But it's not a job the retired FBI agent will be taking lightly.

"This job will require some of the same techniques," said Cox, who was appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin to the position earlier this month. "You need to be open-minded, have your eyes wide open and be quick to respond."

Cox, who more closely resembles a man 20 years his junior, attributes his longevity in public service to two things: "I drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of ice cream," he jokes.

Before accepting his new position, Cox worked two jobs. He served as a contractor for the FBI conducting background investigations for national security positions in the FBI, Department of Justice and the federal court system. He also reconstructed automobile accidents as a private investigator for the state.

"I call them crashes," he quipped.

Cox had spent 26 years in the FBI prior to working as a contractor. He also served as public safety secretary under Govs. Cecil Underwood and Bob Wise, and was a criminal justice instructor at West Virginia University and Fairmont State.

Born in Pilot Mountain, N.C., Cox grew up in Baltimore before moving to West Virginia in 1991. He was instrumental in bringing the FBI to Clarksburg, the site of the agency's Criminal Justice Information Services Division since 1995.

"I volunteered to move to West Virginia," Cox said. "They thought I was the least likely to go because there's not too many black people in West Virginia. They said, 'Otis, are you sure you know where you're going?' "

But Cox and his family have called the Mountain State home ever since.  

"I was elated from the first moment," he said. "The people were incredible. I hadn't been treated so well in my life, other than by my grandmothers. They're the only ones who thought I was special."

Cox is somewhat of a jokester, and a self-proclaimed extrovert. He's a people person, which is fitting for his new role. During an interview, he said, "Don't let me ramble on and on." He admits he might clam up if he's surrounded by other live wires.

"If I'm in a room with extreme extroverts, I'm very quiet," he said.

Cox believes he has the social tools to help boost the image of the state and the Division of Personnel, which had been without a director since Aug. 3 when Billie Jo Streyle-Anderson resigned to return to private law practice.

"The image is that of a typical bureaucratic organization," he said bluntly about the division. "We move slowly and we don't handle things that should be handled. We're in compliance, but we're a little too slow."

The division has to fill vacancies more quickly, Cox said.

"If this person leaves tomorrow, we should have someone ready to put in that position," he said. "I don't see us there yet."

He also noted that the state's job classification system may be a bit confusing and outdated.

Most of all, Cox plans to do what he does best - talk to people and feel them out on how they take their job.

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joeb

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Reply with quote  #54 
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0803/S00096.htm
FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report
Thursday, 6 March 2008, 12:24 pm
Column: http://www.UnansweredQuestions.org

Distribution via the Unanswered Questions Wire
http://www.unansweredquestions.org/ .

FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report

by Larisa Alexandrovna
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/FBI_documents_contradict_Sept._11_Commission_0228.html


Hijacker had post-9/11 flights scheduled, files say

Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.

The nearly 300 pages of a Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline used by the 9/11 Commission as the basis for many of its findings were acquired through a FOIA request filed by Kevin Fenton, a 26 year old translator from the Czech Republic. The FBI released the 298-page “hijacker timeline” Feb. 4.

The FBI timeline reveals that alleged hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi, who was aboard the United Airlines flight which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, had booked a future flight to San Francisco. He also had a ticket for a trip from Casablanca to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Though referenced repeatedly in the footnotes of the final 9/11 Commission report, the timeline has not previously been made available to the public.

The FBI timeline is dated Nov. 14, 2003 but appears to have been put together earlier (since the last date mentioned in the document is Oct. 22, 2001) and was provided to the 9/11 Commission during its 2003 investigation. The final Commission report cites the FBI timeline 52 times.

Post Sept. 11, 2001 flights

The FBI timeline reveals that Al-Ghamdi, the alleged United hijacker, was booked onto several flights scheduled for after the 9/11 attacks, a piece of information not documented in the Commission’s final report. According to the FBI timeline, Al-Ghamdi was booked on another United Airlines flight on the very day of the attack.

On page 288 under an entry pertaining to “H AlGhamdi,” the FBI timeline reads: "Future flight. Scheduled to depart Los Angeles International Airport for San Francisco International Airport on UA 7950."

The sourcing reads simply: “UA passenger information.”

The timeline similarly documents Al-Ghamdi’s bookings for several other post 9/11 flights, including one on Sept. 20, 2001 from Casablanca, Morocco to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and another on Sept. 29, 2001 from Riyadh to Damman, Saudi Arabia. (FBI Timeline 2, p. 296 under “H Alghamdi”)

No additional information or explanation is offered in the FBI timeline itself.

The Saudi connection

In January 2000, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and CIA Director George Tenet attended regular briefings as Malaysian intelligence conducted surveillance of a “terrorist summit meeting” in Kuala Lumpur. Among the attendees were Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two men who would later allegedly hijack American Airlines Flight 77 and crash it into the Pentagon.

A week after the Malaysian summit, al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi traveled to the United States. According to the 9/11 Commission report, they arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 15 and “spent about two weeks there before moving to San Diego.” (9/11 Commission report, p. 215, chapter 7). The footnote for this item shows that the Commission relied on a different FBI report, “‘Summary of Pentbom Investigation,’ Feb.29, 2004 (classified version), p.16.”

But the FBI timeline contradicts this claim, placing the alleged hijackers in San Diego with specific details. According to the timeline, the two men resided in Apartment 152 at Parkwood Apartments, San Diego, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 2, 2000.

“A rental application shows that before renting Apartment 150 Parkwood Apartments on 02/05/2000, AL-MlHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi alleged that they resided with [REDACTED] from 01/15/2000 to 02/02/2000 at Apartment 152 of the same apartment complex,” page 52 of the FBI timeline reads.

Two pages later, the same apartment complex is noted again, this time with its full address: “AL-MIHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi resided at Parkwood Apartments, located at 6401 Mount Ada Road, Apartment 150, San Diego, CA. [REDACTED] was the co-signor and guarantor on the lease agreement for this apparement. The rental application shows that before renting Apartment 150, AL-MIHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi resided with [REDACTED]." (A photograph of apartment 152 appears atop this article. An image of apartment 150 appears on page 2.)

In other words, according to the only public account, both Al-Mihdhar and Hazmi were in San Diego, not Los Angeles, contrary to the Commission’s report.

Why did the Commission use an alternate source for the whereabouts of the two men, when the FBI’s own timeline said they were in San Diego by Jan. 15, the same day as their arrival in the US?

Paul Thompson, author of the The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11--and America's Response, has been wading through the FBI timeline since its release. His preliminary analysis can be found at the website of the History Commons (formerly known as the Center for Cooperative Research).

Thompson believes that the possible motive for the Commission to alter the dates is to obscure official Saudi ties to the hijackers.

He points to the redaction of the name of a person who is a known employee of a Saudi defense contractor, Omar al-Bayoumi, who lived at the same location.

“We know it’s Bayoumi,” said Thompson, “because after 9/11, the Finnish Government mistakenly released a classified FBI list of suspects that showed Bayoumi living in apartment #152 of Parkwood Apartments.” That information is available here.

“But also important is that it strongly suggests that the hijackers already had a support network in Southern California before they arrived,” Thompson continued.

“In the official version of the story now, the hijackers drift around L.A. listlessly for two weeks before chancing to come across Bayoumi in a restaurant [according to Bayoumi’s account],” Thompson added. “Whereupon he's an incredible good Samaritan and takes them down to San Diego, pays their rent, etc.”

”But from the FBI's timeline, we now know the hijackers started staying at Bayoumi's place on Jan. 15 – the very same day they arrived,” Thompson says. “So obviously they must have been met at the airport and taken care of from their very first hours in the US. That's huge because the FBI maintains to this day that the hijackers never had any accomplices in the US.”

Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East whose See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism became the inspiration for the award winning film Syriana, concurs with Thompson’s view.

“There are enough discrepancies and unanswered questions in the 9/11 Commission report that under a friendly administration, the 9/11 investigation should be re-opened,” Baer wrote in an email message Tuesday night.

“Bayoumi clearly offered material assistance to [the 9/11 hijackers].”

READ THE DOCUMENTS: PDF pages 1-105, PDF pages 106-210, PDF pages 211-297.
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #55 

Officers report conflict with personnel employee

                 
                                                               
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                Staff Writer

        Published March 8 2008
       
NORWALK - The arrests of a city personnel department employee's two sons on drug and weapons charges last month have raised concerns about the security of police officers' sensitive personal information.

Police Chief Harry Rilling plans to meet with city Personnel Director James Haselkamp on Monday to discuss the situation involving Personnel Records and Benefit Technician Donna Parker.

       

                               
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While some police officers have demanded Parker be transferred out of the personnel department, Rilling said he has discussed options with Haselkamp to resolve the situation.

Parker made threatening comments after her sons' arrests, and officers expressed concern that she has access to their personnel records, police sources said.

Haselkamp said yesterday that he was not ready to move Parker out of the department.

"Based on what I got from the reports, I have concluded at this point that it doesn't rise to the level that I perceive as a threat. The request to have any kind of a transfer at this point is unwarranted," Haselkamp said.

Rilling said he was surprised that Haselkamp would make that decision before their scheduled Monday afternoon meeting to discuss Parker's future in the department.

"I am just concerned for my officers and I need assurances that there will be no breach of confidentiality," Rilling said.

Fears were raised about Parker on Feb. 20 after the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and Norwalk police officers served a search warrant at Parker's 11 Third St. home in East Norwalk.

During the search, where marijuana was found and Parker's 16-year-old son was charged with possession, Parker excoriated the police for targeting her sons.

She told them that she knew who they were and mentioned her work in the personnel department, said police sources, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the incident.

Parker's other son, Trayson Stevens, 22, who was under federal indictment for charges of selling crack cocaine, was picked up that same day with 23 other suspects.

His arrest was part of a yearlong drug investigation that had its roots in the drug trade inside Norwalk's Washington Village housing complex.

After the search warrant was served, Norwalk officers on the Third Street search warrant detail wrote up a report of Parker's remarks, identifying them as threats.

The officers said they were concerned that their personal information, such as home addresses, next of kin and telephone numbers, could be at risk because Parker has access to personnel records, sources said.

About an hour after that report was sent, Parker came to the police department and filed a handwritten complaint charging the officers with "verbal brutality," said one source who read part of the report to The Advocate.

Parker especially was incensed that the officers threatened her young son with the possession of marijuana charge if he did not give up his older brother and tell them where he kept his drugs and guns, sources said.

Stevens' federal indictment charges him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of crack cocaine, maintaining a premises for the purpose of distributing a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Reached at work yesterday, Parker, a 21-year employee in the personnel department, had little to say.

"I have no comment. It is just the normal pattern of police retaliation," she said.

Rilling said retaliation has nothing to do with police concerns.

"That is absolutely absurd," he said. "She is throwing up a smoke screen. These officers were there legally and conducted themselves according to all policies and procedures as they searched for guns and drugs after a long-term investigation involving FBI, state police and Norwalk police."
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #56 
connecting the dots....
1st dot
http://www.copvcia.com

2nd dot
http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&q=gary+webb&btnG=Google+Search
gary webb

3rd dot
http://infowars-shop.stores.yahoo.net/powderburns.html
Welcome to the official website of retired DEA Agent Celerino "Cele" Castillo III. Cele Castillo served for 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration where he built cases against organized drug rings in Manhattan, raided jungle cocaine labs in the amazon, conducted aerial eradication operations in Guatemala, and assembled and trained anti-narcotics units in several countries.

The eerie climax of agent Castillo's career with the DEA took place in El Salvador. One day, he received a cable from a fellow agent. He was told to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras operating from the Ilopango Air Force Base.

Castillo quickly discovered that the Contra pilots were, indeed, smuggling narcotics back into the United States - using the same pilots, planes and hangers that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, under the direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, used to maintain their covert supply operation to the Contras.



4th dot

From Publishers Weekly
In a shocking expose, Michael Levine--former undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and author of the 1990 nonfiction bestseller Deep Cover --rips the lid off the sewer of what he argues is America's phony "war on drugs." Levine, writing with his wife, charges that the CIA and the Pentagon have for decades protected and supported the world's biggest drug dealers, and that the U.S. government has allowed top-level dealers and criminals to escape punishment. This first-person account reads like an edge-of-the-seat thriller--complete with reconstructed conversations. Levine recounts his deep-cover assignments, particularly Operation Hun, which resulted in prison terms for key players in Colombia's cocaine industry and for Bolivia's drug-pushing minister of the interior, Luis Arce-Gomez. Many high-level traffickers went free, however, and Levine berates the U.S. government for failing to investigate or prosecute them, blaming this failure on the CIA and other federal agencies' policy of courting criminals in order to gain information, win influence and fund further U.S. covert operations. Levine also tells how Bolivia's booming cocaine industry was protected by paramilitary goons led by Klaus Altmann, "a/k/a Klaus Barbie, a fugitive Nazi war criminal and long-time CIA asset." Revealing the personal motivation that fuels his story, Levine writes about his brother, a heroin addict who committed suicide, and about his own daughter's struggle with drug addiction.

5th dot.............


and this infomercial from the FBI department of Orwell


Brunswick looks to launch drug court
The message: 'Get it straight or go to prison'

By Shelby Sebens
Staff Writer
shelby.sebens@starnewsonline.com

Bolivia | Some days when she's presiding over Superior Court in Brunswick County, Judge Ola Lewis feels like 90 percent of the cases that come before her involve drugs or alcohol.

The offenders range in age from 16 to 92. Their crimes vary. But she says they have one thing in common: a clear substance abuse problem.

That's why Lewis, senior resident Superior Court judge, and a group of court officials are heading to Los Angeles this week to be trained in drug court treatment. They want to give repeat offenders who suffer from crack addiction, alcoholism or other substance abuse problems one last chance.

"This is last offenders. This is: 'Get it straight, or you're going to prison,' " Jason Disbrow, a defense attorney, said recently at a gathering of the Superior Court's core drug court team.

Here's how it will work: After pleading guilty to a felony charge, those who have documented drug or alcohol addictions may be referred to drug court. Rather than doing time, they will get treatment, work daily or weekly with a probation officer and check in twice a month with the judge.

"We want to be a successful program," Lewis said, noting the drug court program also has an advisory board that includes a parent of someone with an addiction problem, a retired FBI agent, a psychiatrist and others.

The program also is looking for volunteers who could help simply by calling the drug court participants, Lewis said.

Alternate methods are not new to Lewis. As a District Court judge, she required teenagers to apologize to crime victims or write essays as part of their punishment.

Long time coming

New Hanover County has had a District Court drug program in place since 1997, and Lewis had a similar vision for one in Brunswick County when she was a District Court judge around that time.

But it wasn't until she became senior resident judge of Superior Court that her dream started to become a reality.

In June she met with administrative officials of the court to discuss the need and possibility of a drug court program. From October through December, the core group including Lewis, Disbrow, a prosecutor and other justice system workers began vying for three grants to get the program up and running.

So far they have received the training grant and are awaiting word on a state and a federal grant, Lewis said. They also will ask the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners for $100,000 for counseling and treatment in the budget year that starts July 1.

Lewis said the grant money, which totals more than $300,000, and the county money would cover the startup costs. The state will pick up the costs after two years if the program is successful, she said.

Drug court elsewhere

Craven County Superior Court Judge James Ragan said drug court is a necessity at a time when 64 percent of men and 73 percent of women in jail have substance abuse problems.

"It's accepting the reality that some of the people have addiction problems," he said of drug court programs.

Ragan said Craven County has had drug court since 1999 and has seen good results.

Most of the participants stay with the drug court program for six to 18 months, he said. It takes a minimum of 12 months to graduate.

Ragan said the program now has about a 40 percent graduation rate.

Ragan also said the program is relatively inexpensive once it's up and running.

He said the main expense is a full-time drug court coordinator and an office for that person.

"We feel like we're saving taxpayers a lot of money," he said, noting fewer people end up behind bars.

Root of the problem

The goal of drug court is to rehabilitate offenders and get them back functioning in the "real world," Lewis said. It will target nonviolent offenders and drug users - not dealers.

Initially, the program hopes to have 30 participants referred by lawyers, counselors, probation officers and others.

Each participant will be individually assessed for the type of treatment needed, whether it be in-patient care or just counseling, and given certain requirements to fulfill by the next court session.

For example, an offender may be required to take five treatment sessions and to start looking for a job at his first session. By the next session, he should be able to tell the judge he made it to all the sessions and applied for jobs, Lewis said.

Court will meet the first and third Thursday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., so people with daytime jobs can attend.

The first 120 days are crucial, with heavy monitoring, counseling and rehabilitation.

The next step is more responsibility, including holding down a job and maybe fewer court appearances.

And finally, the hope is to be able to pull back the support system and have the participants lead law-abiding lives without drugs or alcohol.

The drug court treatment will also include not-for-credit courses at Brunswick Community College that focus on job training.

Arnold Foy will be the probation officer for drug court participants. He said he usually has a caseload of 60 or more criminals. With fewer people to watch over, his supervision will be more intensive.

He said about 80 percent or more of the people in the probation system have a substance abuse problem.

"There's been a need for this in Brunswick County for a long time," he said.

Moses Stanley, courthouse bailiff and a member of the core team, agrees.

He sees a lot of inmates who have suffered from substance abuse and thinks they'll be receptive to help.

"Some of them really have a lot of desire, let's say, to better themselves," he said.
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #57 

Two easy reads about the Pathologist who said the President kennedy Warren Commission Autopsy reports were phony.
1st read

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=cyril+wecht+jfk+assassination+conference

2nd read
Day 22: Bob Mayo Blogs The Cyril Wecht Trial In Pittsburgh

POSTED: 10:18 am EDT March 10, 2008
UPDATED: 10:36 am EDT March 10, 2008


Channel 4 Action News reporter Bob Mayo is covering the trial of Dr. Cyril Wecht at the federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh. He will be posting blogs as often as possible from court. These are the raw notes that were sent on his mobile device.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Wecht Day 22 - March 10, 2008 - 8:30 a.m. update

Sister Grace Ann Geibel is back on the witness stand, being cross-examined by Wecht defense attorney Jerry McDevitt. He's reviewing with her various correspondence with Dr. Wecht and others concerning the establishment of the forensic science / autopsy technician training academic program.

---
Now on the screen, a January 18, 2005 letter from Wecht to Sister Geibel. It notes that during a luncheon with Carlow faculty, the subject came up of establishing some kind of contractual agreement between Carlow and Wecht. Geibel says at that at the time of this letter, she was preparing for her retirement and the transition to a successor for her.

McDevitt: eventually a document was drafted....? Geibel: "That's right".

Defense document now on the screen, dated March 23, 2005. It's a cover letter for a draft of the agreement. It says it's Carlow's desire to "have you forever associated with our autopsy program and to have access to an (until your hundredth year) access to our science facilities".

Next document: letter dated Mary 20, 2005. It's the cover letter for the memorandum of understanding. The agreement itself is co-signed by Geibel and Wecht. McDevitt notes that it's nearly two years after the initial discussion, and that it was drafted by Carlow's legal counsel.

The agreement says: "Carlow desires...to permit Wecht to continue to use Carlow's Gross Anatomy Laboratory"... "for the purpose of private autopsies."

McDevitt notes that there's no mention of any condition based on the use of cadavers from the coroner's office. Geibel: "no, there is not."

The agreement does not provide for any pay to Wecht for participating in the Carlow educational program. Geibel: "he never asked for any."

McDevitt: Prior to these charges you were not interviewed by any representative of the FBI? no I was not. ..by any member of the prosecution team? "No I was not."
No attempt by them...to interview...? Geibel: "No there was not."
McDevitt says how she found out about the charges? "I came to know about it by seeing it on television. I believe it was on CNN. I was in Florida at the time." She says it seemed like it was on throughout the day.
It was given widespread publicity? A: "Absolutely. It was on all day", and it was referencing Carlow College.
What was your reaction when you heard it? "I was just shocked. I thought 'what could this mean?' I began to question whether I could have lived that life back there."
"What basis could there be for such an allegation. This was absolutely false, for one reason."
"There was an invitation and securing of the lab for Dr. Wecht from the outset."
"That was my reaction, it was shock, then I settled down and said I have to think about this."
McDevitt: Do you recall the first representative of the government who attempted to speak to you about this? Objection.
Did you have the opportunity to speak with the U.S. attorney herself about these charges? Objection.
Did you tell the U.S. Attorney that these charges were false? Geibel says "Yes, I did", as the government objects. Move to strike. Granted.

Her testimony establishes that months later there was a meeting with government: Mr. Stallings, Mr. Brad Orsini from the FBI.

Defense attorney McDevitt: did you observe anyone from the government making notes of your conversation. I did not.

McDevitt asks if she was ever shown any FBI 302 forms -- those are FBI records of the content of interviews conducted by agents.
Did you answer every question they asked that day. I think so.
Did you tell them you never made an agreement with Dr. Wecht that he would have lab space for free cadavers. I'm quite sure that I did.
Did you tell them this was an academic program that was a fulfillment of your dream. She says she did.
McDevitt: before this trial began, you told Mr. Stallings and FBI agent Orsini there was no deal as discussed in this case? Yes, I did.

9:04 AM Cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Stallings.

You testified that it was "reprehensible" that you did not get the opportunity to go through these documents? Yes.
This morning you asked "what would be the basis" for bringing these charges.
Stallings brings up document: minutes from June 20, 2003 Carlow board meeting.
Next Stalling shows copy of her remarks at the announcement of the program from September 5, 2003.
Asks if she was aware of the government subpoenaing documents from Carlow from April of 2005? She says she recalls her secretary telling her that kind of activity was under way.
Stalling shows her government exhibit 2002, page one. It's a letter from her legal counsel to Stallings, cc:ed to her. It's a response to the subpoena.
Stallings asks if Geibel's handwritten notes in preparing for her announcement of the program were produced to the government. They were not. He also asks about other materials presented as defense exhibits during cross-examination. They apparently were not.
Document introduced by Stallings speaks of the use of bodies of "indigent". It also says students will meet an adequate amount of time built into the course to perform an autopsy".
There's also a reference of cost of transportation.
Stallings questions whether these documents were produced in response to the initial subpoena. Apparently they were not.

Now shows her a 9-15-2004 Carlow purchase order. It refers to removal of autopsy cases from the Allegheny County coroner's office to Carlow -- 10 to 12 cases. $75 a unit to $900.

Now Stallings goes back to an earlier government exhibit, which refers to budgetary considerations for transportation of $75 each. She acknowledges they would be apparently be bodies.

Stallings: these documents all refer to the transportation of bodies from the coroner's office to Carlow, would you agree? Yes.
He also notes they were apparently not provided to the government in response to its initial subpoena.

Next document: notes "Things to be done" from 2004. It listed "contract with Carlow & Wecht regarding bodies and facilities". She acknowledges it was not provided in response to the subpoena in April of 2005.

Stallings shows her government exhibit 20002, page two. It asks for "All records relating to Cyril H. Wecht, including without limitation contracts, formation documents, by laws, financial statements..,.bills, invoices... from January 1, 1997 to April 2005."

Left Carlow in June 2005. Asks if she's familiar with government efforts to get additional documents and what Carlow did produce in 2006. She is not aware.

Stallings now shows a "Draft #1" of the contract between Carlow and Wecht, which has handwritten notations on it. Section 3, Contributions, says Carlow agrees to contribute one autopsy lab. There are question marks and blank spaces, indicating it was a draft. Item B lists Supplies: "Chemicals, bodies". Stallings establishes this was not provided to the government in response to the earlier subpoena.

A draft from 3/17/05 initially notes Wecht serves as coroner. Stallings notes a later version refers to him in his private capacity.

Stallings: you made clear this morning you never discussed an exchange of bodies for cadavers? She says that's correct.

Stallings shows an addendum to the agreement from September 27, 2005, after she left Carlow.

This version - section 4, Contributions. Carlow agrees to contribute the premises and use of the lab.
"The primary instruction mode will be autopsies provided by Wecht Pathology"... "augmented by additional cadavers procured by Wecht Pathology".
You are aware that cadavers were coming to Carlow even as you were president? She answers she wasn't aware of the details. She says she invited Wecht to bring his private practice, and she had then and still has now "every confidence" that he would have followed appropriate procedures.
Stallings: and you would have relied on Dr. Wecht? Geibel: that's correct.

9:40 AM Testimony is continuing.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Wecht Day 22 - March 10, 2008 - 9:40 a.m. update

Stallings shows checks and invoices for transportation of bodies. He asks if they were included in response to the initial subpoena. They were not.

Stallings notes that it appears Carlow was paying for transportation of bodies from at least the fall of 2004.

Stallings asks what she did to make your her response to the subpoena was complete. She says she relied on her staff and legal counsel Charles Gibbons to determine the material that was most appropriate.

You are clear that you never had a discussion with the defendant about exchanging bodies for lab space. Would you agree to me that bodies were being sent from the coroner's office to Carlow and back again on a frequent basis? Yes.
That Dr. Wecht was the one responsible for obtaining those cadavers? Yes.

---
Stallings asks if the documents showing the transportation don't pre-date the subpoena of April 2005? Yes.
That the defendant was allowed to use the lab as early as 2003 and he didn't pay for the lab space? Yes.
Did he tell you that prior to that he was paying PIMS for lab space? She wasn't aware.
That he would have to pay PIMS $60,000 a year to continue to use PIMS? No.
Did she believe that the autopsies did for outlying counties were a public service? She indicates that it seems reasonable to assume that might be the case.
Did he tell you that he earned at least a thousand dollars for each of those autopsies he performed for the surrounding counties? She believes she knew that.
Did he tell his business earned as much as $400,000 a year from autopsies alone.. tell you how valuable it would be for him to have use of Carlow's space? She doesn't recall that.
Can you tell us what records, if any, Carlow kept that Lillian Takacs had consented to having her body used for educational purposes? No.
That Takacs family consented...? No, but says she's confident any appropriate measures would have been taken.
Stallings now lists others whose bodies were autopsied and asks about consent in those cases. She says the same answer would apply.

Stallings: assume for me that a woman named Charlotte Keegel wrote down in a letter what she wanted to happen with her body in the case of her death. Over defense objections, Stallings reads the letter, which says "please definitely do not make me a donor of any of my organs."
Stallings: "Would you agree that sending the body for autopsy of this body would not show respect for the dead?" Defense objects, questions whether there will be any evidence offered that Wecht or anyone involved knew of the letter. Judge allows the question. Geibel: I do not know how to respond to that. I don't know the nature of the transaction, if this information was known. If it was known and deliberately contradicted, I would assume that it would not show respect. But there are so many unknowns floating in the air here, and so many hypotheticals, it's really untenable.

Now Stallings asks about another individual ... similar objections are overruled by judge.

Stallings asks again if Carlow relied on the defendant to make sure all obligations were met. Geibel: yes.

10:03 Re-cross questioning by McDevitt.

Did you rely on your lawyer to respond to the subpoena? Yes.
Would you agree that you supplied about a half-inch of documents in response to the subpoena? Yes.
So whatever documents were given to the document, they've had since April, 2005? That's correct.
So Carlow responded to the government with these documents within 12 days? Yes.
There's nothing requesting any thing about livery (body transportation) records, is there? Geibel: No, there isn't.

McDevitt shows through his questioning that various documents she provided in April 2005 do mention private autopsies. He's apparently attempting to show Carlow and Geibel were not trying to hide these reference. He also uses her to show that information about the formation of the program, including news articles were provided. McDevitt asks her if it wasn't enough for them to be able to ask her about the allegation later brought in the indictment, which she says they did not do. She agrees.

10:21 AM Judge says they're breaking until 10:40 AM

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Five Years Later
Rachel Corrie's Case for Justice

TOM WRIGHT and THERESE SALIBA

March 15, 2008

The darkness is infinite
As I leave the curtain's edge
It is filled with watchers
Silent judges

--Rachel Corrie, about 11 years old

As their plane touches down in Tel Aviv this week, Cindy and Craig Corrie will mark five years since their daughter's death. On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death beneath an armored Israeli bulldozer. The Corries are a short distance from Gaza, where Rachel was killed, and where in the past few weeks, an Israeli military incursion killed over 100 Palestinians, including many women and children.

This week, the Corries come to Israel to attend the first Arabic-language performance of the acclaimed one-woman play, My Name is Rachel Corrie.

Compelling though her story was -- an American peace activist killed trying to block the demolition of her Palestinian host family's home, killed by the military of her own government's major regional ally -- Rachel's story might well have faded quickly, subsumed in the weekly news cycle just three days before the "Shock and Awe" of the attack on Iraq. But her family's instinct, even in the first hours of grief and bewilderment, felt imperative: "We must get her words out." Rachel's emails home during her month in the Gazan border town of Rafah, volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement, had stirred and shaken her family and friends. Having traveled from her comfortable life in her hometown of Olympia, Washington, she had sat smoking late into the night, passionately reporting the other-worldly scenes of violence and destruction from the military occupation around her.

From Rachel's habit since childhood of journal-keeping and poetry-writing, her parents knew her to be a writing talent of great originality and promise, and they sensed that her dispatches from Gaza could have a broader reach. Editors at the Guardian in London felt similarly, and told the Corries that Rachel's words "connected readers to the occupation more than anything they had read in a long while." The Corries granted the London newspaper permission to publish the e-mails nearly in total, yet to their knowledge, no U.S newspaper picked them up. [The first way many met Rachel was through CounterPunch which published many of her dispatches, before and after her death. AC / JSC ]

From there, Rachel's writing came to the attention of the British actor Alan Rickman (best known here as "Snape" of the Harry Potter films), whose collaboration with Katherine Viner of the Guardian would lead to the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, produced by the Royal Court Theatre in London. That project, which germinated and was nurtured in London, would later reach audiences in the United States and around the world.

In the days following Rachel's death, the Corries' whole world was upended. With little connection to Mideast issues, they found themselves "catapulted into the midst of an international conflict and controversy." They moved back to Olympia, Washington, and immersed themselves in work, from local grassroots campaigns to national and international work on behalf of peace between Israel and Palestine. It was the beginning of an education.

The Search for Accountability

The family wanted the help of their own government in the painful task of securing the return of Rachel's body, as well as in determining responsibility and seeking redress. According to the U.S. Dept. of State, on the day after Rachel's death, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President Bush a "thorough, credible, and transparent" investigation. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher assured: "When we have the death of an American citizen, we want to see it fully investigated. That is one of our key responsibilities overseasto find out what happened in situations like these." U.S. Representative Brian Baird, whose district includes Rachel's native Olympia, introduced House Concurrent Resolution 111 calling on the U.S. government to conduct a full investigation of her death.

When Israeli officials said that an autopsy had to be performed before Rachel's body could be returned, the Corrie family insisted that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present. They also requested that it not be performed by anyone associated with the Israeli military, since after all, these were the people who killed her. Even an Israeli court ordered that a U.S. official be a witness, and with this understanding the Corries acquiesced. Not until 2007 would the family learn that their requests, and the court order, weren't honored. Although the State Dept. knew for four years that no American had been attendant, the Corries discovered this only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Furthermore, the autopsy had been performed by someone the IDF used regularly.

The results of Israel's investigation were announced in May of 2003. Eyewitnesses had reported that Rachel was clearly visible, at eye level, to the two drivers of the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, surely plausible given her Day-Glo flak jacket, and the highly charged context of the skirmishes with the ISM activists throughout the day. (One soldier entered into the log that day, referring to the International activists: "Those foreigners should be handled and their entrance into the Gaza Strip forbidden. Additionallythe firing orders must state (illegible) that every adult person should be shot to kill"). But the military report simply found that they did not see her.

The case was closed and no charges were brought. The report would not even be released to the U.S. government, whose billions in annual largesse ranked Israel as by far the largest recipient of American aid. Pressed by the Corries, Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson acknowledged that regarding the Israeli Defense Forces report, "Your ultimate question, however, is a valid one, i.e., whether or not we view that report to have reflected an investigation that was 'thorough, credible, and transparent.' I can answer your question without equivocation. No, we do not consider it so." But the U.S. government declined to conduct its own investigation, and claimed it could not force a "thorough, credible and transparent" inquiry from the Israelis. Congressman Baird's resolution calling for an investigation had gathered 77 cosponsors, yet died in committee that year without a hearing.

The Corries persisted. It took nearly two years before they had a contact in the Justice Department, and were able to meet with the U.S. Attorney in Seattle, John McKay. He explained that one of the elements to enable a prosecution was a certification by the U.S. Attorney General that the killing was intended "to coerce, intimidate or retaliate against a civilian population or government." This anti-terrorism statute was used against Indonesia, when the FBI went to investigate the killing of an American, Rick Spier. Cindy explained how McKay told them, "'I'll give you as much time as you need, but I'm here to tell you that no Attorney General-past, present or future-will ever certify against Israel.' Maybe that's what shocked me the most," she said. "I couldn't believe that Mr. McKay was being so forthright. I was dumbfounded."

On March 17, 2005, the family met with Barry Sabin, head of the Counterterrorism Section of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department. Sabin told them that the applicable criminal statutes could be applied to the military of a foreign country and that Rachel's killing could meet the criteria of "trying to coerce, intimidate, or retaliate," if there was proper evidence for it.

The Corries said that such evidence was abundant, citing the killing of Rachel and two other international human rights observers within a seven week period by the IDF in Rafah, all of whom were documenting civilian home demolitions on the border between Gaza and Egypt. They pointed to the intimidation of internationals and Palestinian municipal water workers trying to repair water wells destroyed by the IDF in Rafah; finally, the mass demolition of civilian homes in Rafah was itself evidence of precisely such intimidation and coercion.

But, echoing U.S. Attorney McKay, Sabin told them there would be no investigation without the ability to prosecute, which would required certification by the U.S. Attorney General.

The family would meet once more with Justice Dept. officials Sabin and Michael Mullaney, more than a year later, when they were duly informed that the only applicable statute was Title 18, 2332, which required that Rachel's killing come under the rubric of a "serious, violent attack on a U.S. citizen or U.S. interests." But Justice wasn't going to pursue an investigation under Title 18, because, as Mullaney explained, they had to go back to the original intent of Congress in that statute, which meant it only to apply to "terrorist" attacks on Americans.

Cindy says, " I really asked the question twice: 'Are you saying that no matter what amount of evidence we bring to you there will never be a U.S. investigation into Rachel's killing?' And Barry Sabin said, 'I never say never, but no.' And our daughter Sarah said, 'Even if we could show intent?' And he nodded."

Sabin counseled that the criminal justice system was not the means to solve all problems. He suggested to the family that perhaps the play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, was the best way to address the issue.

 

Caterpillar-the Question of Liability

Weighing more than 60 tons with its armored plating, the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie is built to destroy a reinforced concrete house in a matter of minutes. More than 70,000 Palestinians have seen their homes destroyed by the IDF since the occupation began, and some 1,600 of these homes were demolished in Rafah alone, between 2000 and 2004. The wholesale destruction of neighborhoods on pretexts that were at best flimsy has long attracted the condemnation of the major human rights organizations, and executives at the Caterpillar Corporation can hardly claim innocence of the controversy. Rights groups have spent the last twenty years filling Caterpillar's In-box with appeals about grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to no effect.

In April 2002, the home of Mahmoud Omar Al Sho'bi was bulldozed to rubble in the middle of the night, without warning, in the West Bank town of Nablus. Perishing inside were his father Umar, his sisters Fatima and Abir, his brother Samir and pregnant sister-in-law Nabila, and their three children, Anas, Azzam and Abdallah, ages 4, 7, and 9.

In 2005, the Corries joined Mahmoud and four other Palestinian familes as plaintiffs in a major lawsuit against Caterpillar.

The suit charged not only wrongful death, public nuisance and negligence, but that Caterpillar violated international and federal law by selling the bulldozers to the IDF despite its knowledge of their intended, unlawful use. In doing so, claimed the lawsuit, Caterpillar aided and abetted war crimes such as collective punishment and destruction of civilian property.

Judge Franklin D. Burgess in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the case without permitting discovery or hearing oral argument. His reasoning included the disturbing interpretation that a company cannot be held liable for selling its products-merely knowing they will assist war crimes-- unless it actually intended that the war crimes be committed. It is hard to imagine the corporate tort case that could surmount this kind of impediment.

Corrie et.al. v. Caterpillar then proceeded to the appellate level, before the Ninth Circuit. Just before the Court was set to issue its ruling, the Government weighed in on the matter with a late amicus brief -- standing with Caterpillar, and against the Corrie plantiffs. In the brief, the U.S. first stooped to argue that there should be no liability for aiding and abetting human rights violations under the statutes germane to this suit, namely the Alien Torts Statute of 1789, and the Torture Victims Protection Act of 1992. (These Acts are part of the foundation of individuals' access to U.S. courts in cases of human rights violations.)

Then, in the same brief, the government declared (without submitting evidence) that it had reimbursed Israel for the cost of the bulldozers. Therefore, went its argument, to hold the company liable would be to implicate U.S. foreign policy itself in criminal violations. Foreign policy being the prerogative largely of the Executive branch, the Court lacked jurisdiction. To hear the case would be a breach of the separation of powers.

Incredibly, the Ninth Circuit embraced this "foreign policy" argument, and in September, 2007 affirmed the dismissal of the suit.

"Foreign policy" challenges of this kind, based on the so-called "political question" doctrine, do come before the courts, but are usually rejected, explains Maria LaHood, Senior Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and who led the legal team. It's just not the kind of dispute that has been found to involve a genuine "separation of powers" conflict, she argues. "Here we have private partiessuing Caterpillar for war crimes and other violations, and way off to the side we have the possibility that the U.S. is paying for the bulldozers. It's so far attenuated that it is a stretch to call this a political question. We allege violations of international law. That's what the court's role is-to adjudicate. Take this to its logical extension: you sue corporations, foreign officials, foreign governments, and anytime it may be a party that receives aid from the US government, it somehow interferes with U.S. foreign policy? That just can't be."

The plaintiffs are now awaiting a reply on their petition for a re-hearing of the appeal.

 

The Reach of Rachel's story

In Rachel's case, all three branches of the US government have now taken a stand -- against her, and in favor of Israeli and corporate impunity. The Corries aren't deterred. "The kind of impotence in government around this whole issue, after five years with Rachel's case," says Cindy, "points to the need for people at the grassroots level to find other channels, other ways of keeping the communications open, of building those relationships that ultimately are going to lead to some change in the world."

Rachel's parents, along with many community activists, have established the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (rachelcorriefoundation.org) and the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project (orscp.org), local initiatives fostering exchanges and projects with Palestinians. With Gaza under siege, and Hamas declared a "terrorist organization", ORSCP faces financial obstacles, and delegates from both the US and Rafah face difficulties getting in and out of Gaza. Cindy states that the extreme difficulties "make it all the more important to keep trying to do the work. It's because it's that bad that it's so crucial for us to not just back away and say it's too hard."

Yet even on the local level, the government is a hurdle to be overcome. The Olympia City Council rejected official sister-city status in April 2007 after a concerted campaign by local activists. Despite broad community support, as well as the backing of Sister Cities International, the City Council thwarted the initiative, deferring to some in the community who viewed the Palestinians as "terrorists" and the project as "divisive." As one organizer wrote from Portland, "If Rachel Corrie's city cannot gain official recognition, then who can?" Still, the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, initiated by Rachel, won't go away. In the past month, two local delegates got in to Rafah to witness conditions under siege and the temporary breeching of the border wall, and to offer some slight economic relief through fair trade exchange of Palestinian embroidery, even as people imprisoned in Rafah are running out of basic supplies, such as thread, baby formula and medicines, not to mention food, water, and electricity.

If all official avenues have been closed to Rachel's case and vision of justice, the power of her words has proven indomitable despite efforts to silence them. And if, as Justice Dept. official Barry Sabin claimed, the stage play was indeed the best means of addressing Rachel's killing, then the play indicts the Israeli military in the deliberate killing of Rachel, as well as in the systematic onslaught on the Palestinians' ability to survive. My Name is Rachel Corrie, which opens this week in Haifa, in Arabic, is reaching audiences worldwide. From the cities of Lima, Montreal, Athens, New York, Des Moines, Seattle, and scores more, and with showings performed or scheduled throughout Europe, and in South Africa, Australia, even Iceland, Rachel's story continues to have what Cindy describes as an "unexpected impact." In several US cities, theaters have backed out due to political pressure. "If people aren't familiar with the political landscape," states Craig, "they can be blindsided and easily scared by the pressure." Yet artists and activists offended by the censorship and silencing, usually find creative ways to stage the play, bringing even more attention to Rachel's story.

Moreover, this month has seen the release of Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie, a major publication by Norton. Here, as in the play, Rachel becomes more than a political symbol. As Cindy explains, "Sometimes she is demonized; sometimes she is lionized, but it makes it more possible for her to have more impact if people see her as human." The sustained beauty of Rachel's writings and sketches, and her incisive observations into personal and global relationships, from 10 years old into young adulthood, expose a young woman who is deeply caring, creative, quirky, wise beyond her years, anything but naïve.

"People accuse Rachel of being naïve, which of course she wasn't," says Craig. "Though she may have been naïve about US pressure on Israel." Up to the day of her death, Rachel worked tirelessly, building relationships with Palestinians and Israeli activists, engaging in direct action, and strategizing on the grassroots level to stop the "massive destruction of civilian homes" in Rafah. In a press release from March 2003, she writes, "We can only imagine what it is like for Palestinians living here, most of them already once-or-twice refugees, for whom this is not a nightmare, but a continuous reality from which international privilege cannot protect them, and from which they have no economic means to escape."

Today, the Corries share Rachel's sense of urgency, even as they point to the hypocrisy of the US government, the world's superpower, claiming impotence and abdicating responsibility in Rachel's case, and in the case for Palestinian justice. As Craig says, "We have the luxury to sit around and discuss all of this, yet we feel the growing impatience. We want to drive home Rachel's message that we have a responsibility to act."

Tom Wright directed the documentary, Checkpoint: The Palestinians After Oslo, and was a founding member of the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project.

Therese Saliba is faculty of International Feminism and Middle East Studies at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, and is a board member of The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice. Mail can be sent to tomwright59@comcast.net.
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Pakistani bombing injured 4 FBI agents

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 16 (UPI) -- A bombing at an Italian restaurant in Islamabad, Pakistan, this weekend reportedly left at least four FBI agents injured.

The FBI agents were wounded when an assailant threw an explosive device into the eatery's courtyard, ABC News reported Sunday. Among the casualties was the U.S. agency's top officer in Pakistan, the U.S. network reported.

The attack reportedly left Embassy FBI attache Ray Biteski with serious ear damage, while an assistance attache suffered a concussion. Two other FBI agents were released after receiving treatment for minor injuries.

The bombing was being investigated to determine whether the assailant knew beforehand that the agents would be at the restaurant, multiple sources told ABC News.

It marked the first time since 2002 that U.S. citizens or officials were the victims of a bomb attack in Pakistan.




       
       
       
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                                        Sunday, March 16, 2008                                
                                                                                       
                                       
                                       
                       
                                               
                                                                                        Blotter                                                                                                                
                               
               
                       
                               
                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                       
                                                                                               
                                                       

Four FBI Agents Hurt in Pakistan Bombing

                                               
                                                                                                       
                                                               

Top Agent in the Country Was Among the Wounded

                                                       
                                                                                       
                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                               
Islamabad
Police officers cordon off the area outside Luna Caprese restaurant after an explosion was set off amidst diners on March 15, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. One person has been killed in the blast and several were wounded in the restaurant that is frequented by foreigners.  (Warrick Page/Getty Images)
                                                       
                                                       
                                                               
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                       

At least four FBI agents were wounded -- none critically -- in a bomb attack on a popular Italian restuarant in Islamabad this weekend.

The attacker tossed a small bomb or hand grenade directly into the restuarant courtyard, which is known for serving alcohol to Westerners.

Multiple sources said that the attack was under investigation to see whether it was based on the terrorists having learned in advance of the agents' presence.

In Washington, meanwhile, officials downplayed the possibility that the attack specifically targeted the agents based on advance intelligence.

They cited the relatively small size of the attack -- one in which injuries to the agent's were relatively minor -- as part of their rationale. Also the explosive does not appear to have been tossed directly at the agents' table.

The top agent in the country, U.S. Embassy FBI attache Ray Biteski, suffered serious ear damage, an assistant attache reportedly suffered a concussion and two agents are reported as suffering minor injuries.

The two who suffered minor injuries were treated and released. Biteski and a second agent were med-evaced to Europe.

This was the first bomb attack on U.S. citizens or government personnel in Pakistan since a church bombing in 2002.

ABC's Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.

                                               
                                                                                                                                               
                                                       
Four FBI Agents Hurt in Pakistan Bombing                                                                                                                        
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joeb

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Police advisory board member loses post

Posted: March 17, 2008 09:21 PM EST

Updated: March 17, 2008 10:11 PM EST

SPOKANE -- A woman who served as the liaison between the Spokane police and the local Hispanic community has left her post because of her association with a man arrested for attempting to extort an immigrant family.

Carmella LeBlance, a member of the Spokane Police Department's advisory committee, was supposed to be a liaison between the community and the force. However in a criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorneys last week, she was named in the complaint for assisting Marwan Nasser in a scheme aimed at extorting a family from Mexico out of thousands of dollars.

Nasser was arrested and is being held on a $750,000 bond on charges that he posed as an FBI agent and threatened to extort members of the Zuniga family of Spokane Valley. The Zunigas run a popular Spokane Valley restaurant say they paid Nasser thousands of dollars to allow them to stay in the United States.

Reportedly LeBlance had assisted Nasser in his scheme to extort money from the Zuniga family and in light of these allegations LeBlanc was asked to step down from her post last Friday.

"When we learned of the association that she my have with this person who was arrested, being investigated by the federal government that raised serious concerns for us," Spokane Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks said.

LeBlanc has not been charged with committing a crime but cannot rejoin the advisory committee without Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's approval.

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joeb

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Thursday, 20 March 2008200803200838
NZ key member of FBI cyber specialists

New Zealand has been revealed as a member of a specialist American led anti cyber crime group.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a statement today that the newly formed Strategic Alliance Cyber Crime Working Group was one of its most promising initiatives to fight cyber crime.

It says "high-level cyber cops" from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States had met at FBI headquarters and in London to create the group.

"Cyber attacks, we've been saying for some time now, are the ultimate borderless crimes: they can come from anywhere, anytime, impacting millions of people and systems across the planet in the blink of an eye," the FBI statement says.

Operational partnerships had been built among countries and says the Working Group is one of the most promising with the plan to share intelligence, swap tools and best practices and strengthen and synchronise laws.

At the London meeting this month each of the five countries presented plans on key issues.

"It's a terrific group of people who really have their eye on the ball when it comes to cyber crime," says FBI Special Agent Donna Peterson, Acting Assistant Section Chief in our Cyber Division.

"We've learned a lot from each other, and it's already paying dividends for all of us."

The FBI listed the group's activities and accomplishments.

They had collectively developed a comprehensive overview of the transnational cyber threat, including current and emerging trends, vulnerabilities, and strategic initiatives for the working group to pursue.

The statement said that report was only available to law enforcement units.

The Working Group had set up a special area on Law Enforcement Online, the FBI's secure Internet portal, to share information and intelligence.

A series of information bulletins on emerging threats and trends had been issued.

One bulletin, for example, described how peer-to-peer, or P2P, file sharing programs can leak "vast amounts of sensitive national security, financial, medical, and other information".

The five-nation group will also exchange cyber experts to serve on joint international task forces.

The group will hold a three-day conference at the FBI that will bring together legal and legislative experts from the five countries to talk about common challenges, differing approaches, and potential ways to streamline investigations and harmonise laws on everything from data retention standards to privacy requirements.
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joeb

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OSWALD and the FBI

Harold Feldman
The Nation
, 27 January 1964, pages 86–89

Harold Feldman is a translator and journalist, living in Philadelphia. As a translator, he has worked extensively for the Social Security Administration. Mr. Feldman is also a frequent contributor to psychoanalytic journals, one of his papers having been “The Hero As Assassin.”

    The Warren Commission should, if possible, tell us how President Kennedy was killed, who killed him, and why. But beyond that, it must tell us if the FBI or any other government intelligence agency was in any way connected with the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. At this moment, the possibility of such associations in the young man’s life is intolerably a subject for speculation.
     
On the day after the assassination, the Dallas Chief of Police complained on television that the FBI had interviewed Oswald about a week earlier and had failed to inform the Dallas authorities of this fact—something the bureau would normally do after making contact with a suspicious Red. Drew Pearson also reported this but added, “In Washington, the FBI denied that they had interrogated Oswald recently.”
     
However, Michael Paine, who with his wife helped take care of Mrs. Oswald and the two children, “claimed that FBI agents had visited Oswald more than one time after he returned to Dallas from a trip to Mexico City.” Oswald returned to Dallas from Mexico City on October 3, 1963. This report is also contradicted by another:

   The FBI picked up the trail again in Dallas after Oswald’s return there on Oct. 3. He was not interviewed, but agents checked twice with Mrs. Ruth Paine, who told them that Oswald had gone to work on Oct. 16 in the Texas State School Book Depository. (The New York Times, 12/10/63.)

      The Minority of One (January, 1964) tells us:

      William M. Kline, Chief of the U.S. Customs Bureau investigative services in Laredo, Texas, stated on November 25 that Oswald’s movements were watched at the request of “a federal agency in Washington.” (New York Post, November 25.) Eugene Pugh, U.S. agent in charge of the Customs office on the American side of the bridge at Laredo, Texas, said that Oswald had been checked by American immigration officials on entering and leaving Mexico. Mr. Pugh admitted to the New York Herald Tribune that this was “not the usual” procedure. He said Americans were not required to check in with Immigration when crossing the border, “but U.S. immigration has a folder on Oswald’s trip.”

      One thing is clear: the FBI was in fairly constant touch with Oswald’s activities. How far these contacts went is indicted in “the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to recruit Oswald as an undercover informant in Castro groups two months before Mr. Kennedy’s death.” This report, which appeared in a Philadelphia Inquirer dispatch from Dallas December 8, went on:

   The FBI attempt to recruit Oswald as an informant, an informed law enforcement source said, was made in September, just after he had moved to Dallas from New Orleans.
  
Oswald’s mother said an “agent named Hosty” came to the Irving house and talked to the young man at length in his car.
  
An FBI agent named Joseph Hosty handles investigations of subversives for the Dallas field office.
  
The source said he did not know if the FBI succeeded in hiring Oswald; and the federal agency would not discuss the matter.

      On January 1, Lonnies Hudkins of the Houston Post, published a story under the headline: “Oswald Rumored as Informant for U.S.” Hudkins found that Oswald did know agent Hosty. He had Hosty’s home phone, office phone and car license number—this on the authority of William Alexander, assistant to Henry Wade, Dallas District Attorney. Alexander had attended the grilling of Oswald on November 22 and 23. Hudkins notes that if the FBI had Oswald under surveillance, the watch could not have been too close or they would have known about the rifle and other matters; but, as a sheriff deputy put it, “you just wouldn’t think to check out one of your own stoolies.” Hudkins quotes Wade, himself a former FBI agent, as saying” “It may be true, but I don’t think it will ever be made public if it is.”
     
What the public hears of the FBI’s part in the Oswald case is usually a report that such and such a witness or authority has been asked, or ordered, to keep his mouth shut. Thus, Dr. J. J. Humes of the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the man who conducted the autopsy on the President, seemed to be the best authority on the exact angle of entry of the murder bullets, but “Dr. Humes said he had been forbidden to talk.” A thirty-four-year-old machinist named Malcolm Howard Price said he had looked through the telescopic sight of Oswald’s rifle on a rifle range in suburban Dallas—but “Mr. Price declined to answer further questions because, he said, the FBI had asked him not to talk. The FBI here [Dallas] denied this.” (The New York Times, December 10.) On December 6, the Times had observed:

   Most private citizens who had cooperated with newsmen reporting the crime have refused to give further help after being interviewed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Dallas city and county police withdrew their help the same way. One high officer said he wished he could answer questions “because it would save us a lot of work.”

    The Western Union office in Dallas handled frequent messages for Lee Oswald, but inquiries there brought the reply that “any details or comment would have to come from Washington headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      It is in the light of this official coyness that we must consider the possible connection of Oswald with the attempted shooting of General Walker. Oswald’s widow is said to have declared that he boasted of shooting at that doughty warrior. In view of her prolonged seclusion from the public, and even from relatives, under government supervision, we must infer that any statement alleged to be hers at this time is a deliberate “leak.” It is interesting that a similar “leak” at the beginning of the case—that a rifle which Mrs. Oswald knew her husband had kept in a garage was missing on the morning of the assassination—proved to be false. The FBI is also reported to have found a document in Oswald’s handwriting that mentions his attack on Walker, but once again the document has not been produced for examination or reproduced in the press.
     
Incidentally, if “the loner” did try to shoot General Walker, we would be again confronted with questions like those raised about the killing of the President. “At the time of the Walker shooting,” we read in the Philadelphia Inquirer of December 7, “Dallas police reported that the bullet was from a .30-06 caliber rifle. The weapon used to kill Mr. Kennedy was a 6.5 millimeter weapon, equivalent to about .270 caliber.” Moreover, an eyewitness in the walker affair informed police that he saw at least two men enter the getaway car after the shooting. (Oswald never learned to drive a car.)
     
Was the alleged assassin of President Kennedy employed by the FBI? We have seen a news report that the agency tried to recruit him and that it has refused to say whether he accepted the offer. At present, all we know is that his history, as we have been able to piece it together, is not inconsistent with such employment. Indeed, his financial record seems entirely inexplainable unless we make some such hypothesis.

      If there is anything constant in Oswald’s life, it is his need of money. After three years on a marine private’s pay, he goes to Russia. There he works in a factory for the pittance of 80 rubles a month. He returns to America with a wife and child in mid-1962 and thenceforward works at a series of jobs paying the legal minimum wage or less—when he is not unemployed. For months his only acknowledged source of income is the Texas unemployment compensation of $33 a week. His job at the School Book Depository, from whose warehouse he is supposed to have shot the President and Governor Connally, paid him $1.25 an hour.
     
Surely he was a pauper, a fellow whose monetary resources could only keep him swinging between want and destitution. But if there is another thing about Lee Oswald as certain as his indigence, it is that he was often capable of expenditures that would have cramped the purse of a suburban status seeker.
     
After years of subsisting on a marine’s pay, from which he occasionally sent money to his mother, he undertakes a trip to Russia with a capital of $1,600. How could he have put aside this nest egg? After years of low factory remuneration in the Soviet, he wants to return to the United States and, in a letter to his mother, estimates the cost at $800. He borrows $435.71 from the United States Embassy in Moscow but, mirabile dictu, he repays the loan between October, 1962, and January, 1962, during which time he was unemployed for several weeks and worked for a time as an unskilled developer of photostatic prints.
     
A Miss Pauline Bates, public stenographer, whom Oswald paid for typing his notes for a book about Russia three days after his return, has said that “he hinted he had gone to the Soviet as a U.S. secret agent.” He allegedly told her then that “when the State Department granted my visa, they stipulated they could not stand behind me in any way,” an admonition suggestive of instruction, to an undercover man.
     
Back in America, as impecunious as ever, he finds the money to rent an office for $30 a month, where he sets up in business as the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He buys a rubber stamp, he prints 2,000 leaflets, he pays a $10 court fine, he buys a rifle and telescopic sight by mail, gets them assembled and bore-sighted—and in his room after his arrest the police find $150. This young man, untalented, it appears, for anything but finding odd windfalls of money, goes to Mexico City for a week to get visas for a trip to Cuba and Russia that would have cost at least $1,000. (The Cuban and Russian consulates did not issue the visas.) After the murder of the President, the police find in his room, in addition to the wad of money, “several expensive cameras and rolls of film.”
     
Where did the money come from? The FBI and the Dallas police fail to supply information on the subject. For the Russian period, we have the unsupported assertion of Pravda that Oswald was an American spy who made numerous contacts with the American Embassy. This might indicate a CIA affiliation. He wrote his mother that, on his return, he would spend a day or so in New York and Washington for “sightseeing.” After that, all is dark except for one hint. An Associated Press dispatch of November 30 from Dallas says in part:

   “Someone telegraphed small amounts of money to Lee Harvey Oswald for several months before the assassination of President Kennedy, it was reported today,” the Dallas Times Herald said. The unidentified sender telegraphed Oswald $10 to $20 at a time.

    Here apparently are some of the Western Union items about which the FBI has been so secretive—but why this secrecy? If the money came from the Communist Party, it is hard to understand why the FBI should cooperate in a Bolshevik plot. If it came from a right-wing or Fascist source, the FBI could not lose much by revealing it. But if the money came from a government source, then the agency’s reticence is understandable.
     
Shortly before the assassination, Oswald seemed to be expecting better times:

   Mrs. Ruth Paine, the woman with whom Marina was staying, said: “He seemed in exceptionally high spirits.” [When he visited his wife the weekend prior to President Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas.] Oswald told his wife “things are looking up” and that soon they would have enough to look for an apartment, buy furniture. (Sunday Bulletin, Philadelphia, 12/15/63.)

      If the FBI did not employ Oswald or work with him, they who wrote the letters he addressed to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York? Oswald alone certainly didn’t. Whoever wrote the letters to New York was coherent, commanded a good vocabulary, rarely misspelled a word, and punctuated decently. Oswald himself wrote English that a sixth-grader would blush to acknowledge. Here is a letter he wrote to his mother from Russia on June 28, 1963. I preserve the original spelling and punctuation:

   Dear Mother.
  
Recived your letter today in which you say you wish to pay me back the money you used last year, that, of course, is not nessicary however you can send me somethings from there every now and than.
  
If you decide to send a package please send the following:
  
One can Rise shaving cream (one razor (Gillet)
  
Pocket novels westerns and scienace fiction—Time or Newsweek magazine
  
Chewing Gum and chocolate bars.
  
That’s about all. Ha-ha
  
I very much miss sometime to read you should try and get me the pocket novel “1984” by Wells.
  
I am working at the local Radio plant as a mettal worker. We live only five minutes from there so it is very conveinant.
  
Well thats about all for now. I repeat you do not have to send me checks or money!
  
Love XX

Lee

   P.S. Marina sends a big Hello to you also

    Now compare this semi-literate effusion with the following addressed to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee about two years later. (A New York Times report on the letters to FPCC indicates that they were handwritten, so presumably no public stenographer improved their style.)

   Dear Mr. Lee:
  
I was glad to receive your advice concerning my try at starting a New Orleans F.P.C.C. chapter.
  
I hope you won’t be too disapproving at my innovations but I do think they are necessary for this area.
  
As per your advice I have taken a P.O. Box (N.O. 30061).
  
Against your advice I have decided to take an office from the very beginning.
  
I u c [apparently meaning, as you see] from the circular I had jumped the gun on the charter business but I don’t think it’s too important. You may think the circular is too provocative, but I want it to attract attention even if it’s the attention of the lunatic fringe. I had 2,000 of them run off.
  
The major change in tactics you can see from the small membership blanks, in that I will charge $1 a month dues for the new Orleans chapter only and I intend to issue N.O. F.P.C.C. membership cards also.
  
This is without recourse to the $5 annual F.P.C.C. membership fee.
  
However, you will lose nothing in the long run because I will forward $5 to the national F.P.C.C. for every New Orleans chapter member who remains a dues paying member for 5 months in any year.…

And so on for several more well-integrated paragraphs.
     
He now spells “receive” and “necessary” correctly. He has mastered the apostrophe. His ideas cohere. He tackles words like “innovations,” “provocative,” “recourse,” “disapproving,” “approaching,” and “application” with success, something that would have been clearly beyond the powers of the voluntary exile in Minsk.
     
Until the authorship of the letters to FPCC is settled, I think it reasonable to suppose that Oswald did not compose them, at least not without help. Who, and where, is the invisible scribe? No associate of his New Orleans period has been found, or even hinted at. If Oswald was employed by the FBI to operate in “Castro groups,” as the news report suggests, it is also reasonable to suppose that in the letters to FPCC his pen was guided by the FBI.

      It is no simple matter any longer for a radical American to get a passport from his government. If he is a known Communist or subversive, it is almost impossible. Let a man be known as a do-gooder, bleeding heart or a nonconforming screwball, and his application for travel will be greeted with jaundiced eye and dragging feet. But Lee Oswald got one readily as late as June, 1963.

   One day last June, he applied for a passport and—despite his record—got it in a single day. He called himself a “photographer”; he said he planned to take a long trip abroad—perhaps including Russia—late this year. (Newsweek, 12/9/63.)

      By that date, Oswald was known as a Soviet defector, had praised Castro on a radio program, and on November 2, 1959, had written an affidavit saying, “I affirm that my allegiance is to the Soviet Socialist Republic.” But his passport application was granted—and posthaste. “It still isn’t clear how it was processed so rapidly,” commented the New York Herald Tribune.
     
Oswald’s apartment, too, was filled with fascinating things. Besides the batches of leaflets with the legend “Hands Off Cuba!” and bearing the unauthorized imprint of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, police found several metal file boxes filled with names of Castro sympathizers. How did he manage, in so short a time, to compile so extensive a list?
     
The FBI appears once more in Oswald’s news life during the last two days before he was killed. One report details two telephone calls made by FBI agents to the Dallas Police on November 24, warning them of threats against Oswald’s life. The threats materialized later the same day under circumstances which raised a forest of questions throughout the world.
     
Equally puzzling, his mother, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, has insisted that an agent of the FBI showed her a photograph of Jack Ruby about seventeen hours before Ruby shot her son.

   It was understood, however, that Federal agencies had acknowledged that she had been shown a photograph that night for identification, but spokesmen would not disclose whether it was that of Ruby. (The New York Times, 12/2/63.)

      The next day the FBI denied that the photograph was that of Jack Ruby, but they would not comment further. Mrs. Oswald repeated her statement and has demanded that the pictures be produced again.
     
The following item completes, for the moment, this side of the weird Dallas story.

   Washington, Dec. 9—The Federal Bureau of Investigation gave the Secret Service a “risk” list of Dallas individuals in advance of President Kennedy’s fatal trip, but the list did not include the name of Lee H. Oswald.
  
An official source explained today that Oswald’s name, like many others in the Dallas file, had been omitted because the F.B.I. found nothing in Oswald’s background to mark him as a potential assassin.…
  
Oswald was not under surveillance by the F.B.I. at the time of President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, the F.B.I. noted. Months of checking by the F.B.I. had indicated that Oswald was neither a spy nor a saboteur. That, it was said, covered the statutory area of F.B.I. responsibility.
(The New York Times, 12/10/63.)

    Lee Oswald, the twice-court-martialed marine who defected to Russia and renounced his American citizenship, the pro-Cuba activist who had been arrested a few months earlier while distributing leaflets, the erratic “Marxist” who was employed on the route of the President’s motorcade—Lee Oswald did not qualify for the FBI’s exclusive “risk” list. And why? Because the FBI’s “statutory responsibility” was limited to suspected spies and saboteurs!
     
This sudden legalistic attachment to its self-interpreted “statutory” obligations must cause very wan smiles indeed among the many individuals and organizations (including the NAACP and the Unitarian Church in Texas) which have come under the beady-eyed surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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joeb

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Four reads showing how taxpayer funded FBI agents were able to silence
Rev Sharpton





Sharpton calls for rejection of new top cop

December 10, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter/fspielman@suntimes.com

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 image
Rev. Al Sharpton urged the City Council to reject the appointment of a new police chief outside Mayor Daley's office at City Hall.

(Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)

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 Finances
5 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-chief
December 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."
2nd read
Report: Feds Raid Al Sharpton Offices, Subpoena Financial Records, Employees

Thursday, December 13, 2007


NEW YORK — Federal authorities have 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, a newspaper reported Thursday.

As many as 10 Sharpton associates were subpoenaed Wednesday to testify before a federal grand jury in Brooklyn Dec. 26, his lawyer told the Daily News.

They 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.

A Sharpton spokeswoman did not immediately return phone calls or e-mail messages early Thursday.

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. 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.



3rd read

Sharpton: Criticism of Rev. Wright 'grossly unfair'
HASN'T OPENED OFFICE HERE | Pastor's daughter leads Chicago chapter of activist's group

March 20, 2008


BY FRANK MAIN, KARA SPAK AND ANDREW HERRMANN Staff Reporters

Eight months after the brash Rev. Al Sharpton announced he was bringing his civil rights organization to Chicago, he has yet to open an office here and has been quiet on the recent shakeup of the Chicago Police Department.

But don't think he isn't paying attention, he insisted Wednesday.
» Click to enlarge image
Rev. Al Sharpton at Chicago's City Hall in Decemeber.
(Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)


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"I never said I was going to move to Chicago," he said. "I said I would have a presence in Chicago, and I do."

On July 30, 2007, Sharpton announced he would open a Chicago chapter of his National Action Network, one of 36 chapters across the country. At an August rally at the South Side's Regal Theater, he vowed to have an office here by September.

That office hasn't materialized, said a spokeswoman at the New York headquarters of the National Action Network.

Calls to a Chicago cell phone number listed on the group's Web site were not returned Wednesday.

Sharpton said he's continuing to maintain his National Action Network chapter in Chicago under chapter president Jeri L. Wright, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the controversial minister and pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.

In a major speech Tuesday, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, a longtime member of the church, reacted to questions about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, denouncing some of the language in the pastor's fiery sermons.

Sharpton said he supports Wright and his daughter, who "is president of the chapter and will remain president of the chapter."

Sharpton said the recent firestorm over Jeremiah Wright's comments in the pulpit is "grossly unfair."

"He has a right to express his views," he said. "This is ridiculous. I think Jeremiah Wright has been totally distorted."

Despite his lack of Chicago real estate, Sharpton, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, is on WVON-AM (1690) Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. The Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, is a frequent guest on his show, Sharpton said.

"We talk about Chicago issues all the time," Sharpton said.

Hatch said he believed Sharpton thought it would be more productive to work with established groups in Chicago than as a lone agent for change.

"I'd say he has been one of many voices," Hatch said. "He's made some impact in that he lent his voice at a critical time on the whole question of reforming police."

Sharpton said he visits Chicago monthly and plans a trip in mid-April to hear reactions to Jody Weis, the new police superintendent. Sharpton said he liked how Weis shook up the department last week by changing 21 of the 25 district commanders.

In December, though, Sharpton was initially critical of Daley's appointment of Weis. He urged alderman to reject Daley's choice of the FBI supervisor, saying the mayor was arrogant not to seek input from the black community first.

Sharpton also demanded that the Justice Department consider placing the Chicago Police Department in receivership.

Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, said that Weis hadn't met with Sharpton but "he's amenable to meeting with him," she said.

"He met with Rev. [Jesse] Jackson today," she said. "I'm sure he's open to it."
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About New York

A Prosecution Goes Bad, and a Judge Lets Loose

Pool Photo by Jesse Ward

Justice Gustin L. Reichbach in his courtroom on Thursday, when he dismissed the charges.

Published: November 3, 2007
       

On Thursday morning, Roy Lindley DeVecchio, a retired F.B.I. agent who faced the astounding charges that he helped a mob informant kill four people, walked out of court after the prosecutors suddenly dropped the case. It turned out that their star witness had told an entirely different story a decade ago, to two of the city’s premier investigative reporters. After hearing her testify against Mr. DeVecchio, they dug out a tape of that old interview.

The case died instantly of natural causes: doubt.

At that moment, one option for the judge presiding at the trial was to say, “Mr. DeVecchio, you are now free to go,” and to leave it at that.

Instead, the judge, Gustin L. Reichbach of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, sent Mr. DeVecchio — and the prosecutors — packing with a four-page legal roundhouse that invoked Nietzsche, dwelt on the unholy dilemmas of using informants, and found, in the alliance between criminals and government, an analogy to the advocacy of torture.

For bonus points, he threw in a few words of such rare usage that they would be stumpers on the SAT.

So this is a legal opinion worth a few lines of context. Mr. DeVecchio spent 14 of his 30 years in the F.B.I. handling a high-level mob informant named Gregory Scarpa; over the years, others in law enforcement publicly said that Mr. DeVecchio had an overly familiar relationship with Mr. Scarpa and had given him sensitive information.

The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, went much further: He charged that Mr. DeVecchio had fed tips to Mr. Scarpa about four other people who were snitching on him or his family. All four were killed. Thus, the district attorney said, Mr. DeVecchio’s hands were bloody. The case was built on the word of Mr. Scarpa’s mistress, Linda Schiro. (Mr. Scarpa himself died in prison in 1994.)

Mr. DeVecchio waived his right to a jury trial and said his guilt or innocence could be left up to Justice Reichbach, who disclosed that he had been under F.B.I. surveillance as a student at Columbia University during the 1960s.

Mr. DeVecchio and his lawyers said they were not worried that Justice Reichbach would be unfair; ultimately, the judge did not have to give a verdict because of the midtrial revelations that brought the case to an end.

The Village Voice published an article this week by Tom Robbins that reported that he and another investigative reporter, Jerry Capeci, had interviewed Ms. Schiro in 1997 about the same events, and that she had cleared Mr. DeVecchio of involvement in three of the four killings.

With her credibility shot, the judge’s opinion centered on the revelations about the relationship between informants and the F.B.I. For a while, he noted, rival mobsters considered the possibility that Mr. Scarpa was an informant. Impossible, they decided.

Their reasoning, the judge wrote, was that “it would be antinomic for the F.B.I., charged with fighting crime, to employ as an informer a murderer as vicious and prolific as Greg Scarpa. Apparently, and sadly, organized crime attributed to the F.B.I. a greater sense of probity than the F.B.I. in fact possessed.”

With an informant of such high rank as Mr. Scarpa, the judge said, government agents are forced into a delicate balancing act. “It is the inescapable aporia of law enforcement that they must sometimes turn a blind eye to criminality in order to prevent or combat greater criminality,” he said (“aporia” being a term derived from the Greek for a perplexing philosophical problem). The F.B.I. had “failed miserably” in finding a balance with Mr. Scarpa, he wrote.

In an interview yesterday, the judge made the matter more concrete.

“Did the information Scarpa gave save more lives than he took?” he asked. “I am confident the answer is no. We’re talking about 20 or 30 murders. Did he save 20 or 30 lives? No.”

The failure was Mr. DeVecchio’s, the judge concluded, but also his supervisors’: “Any sentient being reading Scarpa’s informant file could divine that Scarpa was involved in illegal and violent acts.”

He noted that Mr. Scarpa had once been sent by the F.B.I. in an effort to use thug tactics to get information on the killers of civil rights workers. That reminded the judge of the belief held by some in government that torture against terrorists is O.K. — “that it is permissible to make men scream in the name of national security,” he wrote.

Justice Reichbach also quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation that “he who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

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                                Record shared without approval                        
                                               
                                               
                        By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau                        
                        3/25/2008                        
                       
                                                                                       

An Oklahoman's name went to an FBI mental health database although the state has no procedure for such submissions.



WASHINGTON -- Even though state officials have never signed off on a mechanism to share such information, the FBI says Oklahoma has listed one resident in the bureau's national database used to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

That one record, the first ever submitted out of the hundreds in Oklahoma that might qualify, was sent in several months ago, apparently without the knowledge of top state officials.

"It is an Oklahoma record," said Billy Estok of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, W.Va.

"A physician at a medical center completed a form requesting that someone be put in the NICS Index. They faxed that form to us, and we here at the FBI entered it for them."

Citing the privileged nature of the record, Estok said the FBI could not provide additional details.

Gov. Brad Henry, in response to a recent question about the state's first record being entered into the National Instant Criminal Background
Check System, said: "That's news to me. I have no idea how that happened."

Henry is not the only one in the dark about how or why that one record went to FBI.

The Tulsa World asked several other state agencies, including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Each insisted that it did not know that the record had been submitted.

Moreover, mental health officials said current state law bars them from sharing such information unless mandated by federal law, although state agencies can use it.

Felicia Jackson of the OSBI said that agency uses mental health records to process conceal and carry permits.

No mechanism exists for the state to submit mental health records to NICS, and Oklahoma has no system to check on gun purchases, she said.

Steve Emmons of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training said his agency uses mental health records to determine whether a person can be certified as a peace officer in Oklahoma.

Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is helping to lead the battle to get more records into the FBI's system, said there is no common practice among states on how information is submitted.

"That is frustrating," he conceded. "In many cases the one record is more perplexing than the no record."

The Brady Campaign, which has been promoting a new law designed to beef up NICS, has zeroed in on Oklahoma and other states to urge officials to do more.

That bill was passed following the shootings at Virginia Tech last year.

"The fact that whether it was zero before or one now obviously shows that more can be done," said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign.

"The point we are trying to make is not to point fingers at anybody but to say Virginia Tech taught us all a lesson: This could happen anyplace."

Oklahoma was not the only state whose numbers might puzzle some.

In testimony last year before a congressional panel, a top official in the Justice Department provided figures on the states that were then submitting names to the NICS.

Arizona, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York and South Carolina had one name each.

Figures for other states ranged from 81,233 for Virginia and 73,382 for Michigan to three for Maryland, 24 for Alabama and 27 for California.

Oklahoma's neighbors were on that list -- Kansas submitted 1,506; Missouri, 401; and Arkansas, 51.

The single record from Oklahoma did not come until September, several months after the Virginia Tech shootings. Federal officials reported that states doubled the information on mental health history available to NICS following that tragedy.

Estok said 33 states now have submitted at least one mental health record to NICS, and 42 supplied information for its other files.

Justice Department figures from last year show the FBI had obtained 138,766 mental health records that would disqualify veterans.

Steve Westerfeld, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that as of September 2007, his agency had provided information to NICS on 2,600 Oklahoma veterans.

During a recent visit to Washington, Henry was asked about NICS and whether Oklahoma should submit such information to the FBI.

"That's an issue that I need to look at more carefully before I give an absolute answer," he said.

"I know on one hand that mental health records are confidential. On the other hand, we have to be more vigilant about safety and security on our college campuses."

Henry conceded that he did not know how the state should reconcile those positions, "But I think it is something that is very worthy of discussion."

Jeff Dismukes, the public information director for the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, said an average of 2,500 people a year are committed involuntarily by courts for mental health reasons.

Even though state law does not allow those records to be submitted to the FBI's database to block those people from buying a gun, Dewayne Moore, the agency's chief legal counsel, cited a "fairly old" state law that bars such sales.

Moore conceded there is no way to enforce that law.

In January, President Bush signed into law a measure designed to encourage states to submit more information to the national database.

That law gives states several years to comply, initially offering financial incentives and eventually requiring cuts in certain funds for those that do not.
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Google Working Closely With Intelligence Agencies


CIA, FBI and others

The major intelligence agencies in the U.S. have turned to Google to help them better share and process information they have on security threats.

CIA, FBI and others

The National Security Agency has purchased servers on which Google provides search technology used to process information compiled by networks of intelligent agents around the globe.

Google is also offering search features for a site similar to Wikipedia, called Intellipedia, were agents can share and post information on a secure online forum. Intellipedia is accessible only to the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and a number of other intelligence agencies.

"Each analyst, for lack of a better term, has a shoe box with their knowledge,"  Sean Dennehy, chief of Intellipedia development for the CIA, told the San Francisco Chronicle  "They maintained it in a shared drive or a Word document, but we're encouraging them to move those platforms so that everyone can benefit."

Depending on their level of clearance agents can log on to Intellipedia and access three levels of information, top secret, secret, and sensitive but unclassified. Currently the site has 37,000 accounts with 35,000 articles making up 200,000 pages, according to Dennehy.

Google's other government customers include the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Alabama and Washington, D.C.

Mike Bradshaw, who heads Google's federal government sales team, says the company sells nearly identical products to corporate clients as it does to government agencies.
"There were some wild accusations," Bradshaw said. "But everything we do with the government is the same as what we do with our corporate customers."

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

       

        Bhutto Allegation Bin Laden Had Been Murdered

       

Jenna Orkin


In an interview November 2, 2007 with Sir David Frost, Benazir Bhutto mentioned in passing "Omar Sheikh" who, she said, had murdered Osama Bin Laden.

The camera remained fixed on the assassinee to be, so Frost's reaction is forever lost to enquiring minds, but he did not follow up with any questions concerning this eyebrow-raising bombshell.

The comment comes off as a possible slip of the tongue but even as such, provokes questions. Where exactly was the slip? On the words "Omar Sheikh," "Osama Bin Laden" or "murdered?"

A corollary question arises about whether the Omar Sheikh (a common name) to whom Bhutto was referring was the ISI associate who was convicted in 2002 of murdering Daniel Pearl. This Omar Sheikh, according to the Times of India, also wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta shortly before the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, Bhutto's not around to clarify but a trip to her party's website yielded a reference dated November 8, after the Frost interview, which refutes her statement:

"The United States alone has given the Musharraf government more than $10 billion in aid since 2001. We do not know exactly where or how this money has been spent, but it is clear that it has not brought about the defeat of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, nor succeeded in capturing Osama bin Laden, nor has it broken the opium trade."

A remarkable aspect of the interview is the fact that apart from Al Jazeera, no mainstream press have investigated its surely newsworthy allegation. This, of course, is not surprising in the United States, but the Asian and other Middle Eastern presses might have been expected to show some curiosity.

The Pakistan People's Party website did not provide contact information beyond an email address. This blog emailled an enquiry Saturday but has not received a response. According to my experience, Saturday and Sunday are work days in Muslim countries.
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Big Brother has joined nearly every American family. He lives in the cell phone, if a highly credible whistle-blower's March disclosure to Congress accurately reflects telecommunications industry standard operating procedure.

The affidavit of Babak Pasdar, a recognized national computer security expert, raises basic questions that Congress must answer before deciding on telecom immunity, such as "Immunity for what?" It raises fundamental questions about whether the reality of privacy still exists, let alone the right.
In the fall of 2003, Pasdar was hired by a major telecommunications carrier to overhaul its security. He discovered a mysterious "Quantico Circuit" with access to the entire mobile network that didn't have any security controls. Nor did it have any usage logs making a record of what information flowed through the system. The security breach was unheard of, abandoning basic industry norms practiced in the rest of the telecom's lines.
Quantico, Va., is the company town for massive military and FBI operations. Whoever was on the other end had access to everything in Americans' digital lives -- all calls, e-mails, text messages, Internet use, videos, billing, location -- with no record of what was taken.
When Pasdar insisted on basic controls, the corporate security director drove out to sternly inform him that he had never seen the Quantico Circuit. That nothing would change. That if he did not forget about it, someone else would be brought in who could.
Pasdar backed off but was haunted by the implications. In 2006 and 2007, he anonymously briefed congressional committees, whose follow-up queries were stonewalled. In late February, he decided to go public, horrified by imminent House approval for Senate-passed retroactive telecom immunity in legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
He acted in a March 4 affidavit to Congress. On March 6, key members urged all 435 representatives not to "vote in the dark" for immunity until Pasdar's and related allegations were investigated. On March 14, the House voted 214-195 to deny immunity. Blue Dog conservative Democrats backed their leadership, which rejected administration threats that legal accountability for telecoms would aid and abet terrorism.

The struggle is hardly over. The House FISA bill must be reconciled with a Senate version with blanket immunity. And President Bush promises to veto any legislation that doesn't retroactively grant telecoms immunity.
But Pasdar's disclosure was the major development in a week that turned the political tide. There is a lesson here about whistle-blowers and the power of the truth against abuses of power.
Congress is finalizing legislation to overhaul whistle-blower laws. If it truly wants to know when the public's trust is betrayed, it will act quickly to provide rights enforced through jury trials for the public's eyes and ears.
Pasdar's disclosure only earned a reprieve. The next step for voters is telling their Senators to stand up to administration bullying.
Domestic spying must be a cornerstone election issue. After all, the war on terrorism is supposed to be about defending America's freedom. Doesn't that start at home?
Tom Devine is legal director of the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistle-blower protection and advocacy organization, http://www.whistleblower.org
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House approves changing controversial Sept. 11 memorial

12 quotes on monument, which came from ASU researchers, targeted for removal

 by Daniel Newhauser
 published on Monday, April 7, 2008

<b>DIVISIVE MONUMENT:</b> The Arizona 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Phoenix near the state capitol may soon be under construction to remove its inscriptions if the Arizona Senate passes a bill calling for the removal./issues/news/704581
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
DIVISIVE MONUMENT: The Arizona 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Phoenix near the state capitol may soon be under construction to remove its inscriptions if the Arizona Senate passes a bill calling for the removal.
 
/issues/news/704581
 

College of Liberal Arts


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Labeled by some as "egregious" and "insensitive," the Arizona 9/11 Memorial, an endeavor of ASU researchers, is the subject of a recently passed House bill calling for its alteration.

The memorial near the Arizona Capitol is comprised of a circular steel structure with inscribed quotes that, when hit by sunlight, are reflected onto the pavement below.

Since its 2006 construction, quotes such as "06 03 02 Congress questions why CIA & FBI didn't prevent attacks" and " 'You don't win battles of terrorism with more battles,' " have led to heated partisan debate.

House Bill 2700, which passed the House Wednesday and is now en route to the Senate, calls for the elimination of 12 quotes, which would be replaced by a timeline of the day's events on 9/11.

All of the memorial's 54 quotes came from research compiled by ASU history academic associate Nancy Dallett, history graduate student Patricia Roeser and history department chairman Noel Stowe.

The team gathered news clippings and conducted interviews with Valley residents, then filled three large binders with the excerpts from their research, said Matt Salenger, a designer from coLAB + Jones Studio Inc., which created the memorial.

The Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission, the group in charge of planning the memorial, then approved which quotes would be included in the memorial.

Len Munsil, a 2006 gubernatorial candidate and early critic of the quotes, said he is not directly involved in any campaigns to change the memorial, but supports the bill.

"I opposed the memorial because the presence of anti-American, anti-military and anti-Israel rhetoric is not only offensive but inappropriate," said Munsil in an e-mail. "The memorial should unite Americans."

Salenger said the memorial was never meant to be offensive, but was instead intended to be a balanced, diverse representation of Arizona's reactions to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

"It's a matter of just being inclusive to all the views and voices people had in Arizona following the attacks of 9/11," he said. "We wanted to capture the different ways that people reacted to the events."

Rather than remove 12 quotes, the Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission has proposed striking only two quotes while adding six nonoffensive others, plus an introductory panel describing the intent of the memorial, Salenger said. Salenger said the quotes the commission recommends changing were about erroneous air strikes in Afghanistan and a terrorist leader addressing the American people — quotes not among the 12 that the House has approved removing.

An e-mail sent to the commission was not replied to by deadline.

He said all parties are acting too hurriedly and added that he does not think a change is necessary.

"These decisions to make these changes are overreacting," he said.

Inserting only an introductory panel would prepare visitors for the experience of the memorial, he added, without altering its original intended purpose.

"If [critics of the memorial] wouldn't be acting so quickly, they would realize that, really, the whole things should remain," he said.

Commission members and ASU researchers involved in the project were not available for comment. Roeser, the graduate student, declined to comment, and Dallett and Stowe did not respond to requests for comment.

Reach the reporter at: daniel.newhauser@asu.edu.



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0
joeb

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Reply with quote  #70 
spin,and more spin about the creators of 911.....check it out...
couple of easy reads


An exclusive look inside "Operation: Lively Green"

Posted: April 8, 2008 12:14 PM
        An exclusive look inside "Operation: Lively Green"

Operation: Lively Green is an FBI sting that uncovered some of the most scandalous public corruption in recent history.

News 4 has pictures and videotapes of that investigation never released to the public until now.

The investigation began in 2000, when a National Guard recruiter started trafficking cocaine with help from members of the national guard, military and Department of Corrections.

The FBI posed as drug smugglers to bring the operation down. In all, 68 people were convicted.

The last two defendants were sentenced just two weeks ago. Now, the FBI is giving us unprecedented access.

FBI Agent Adam Radtke worked closely on the case. "Less than 4 months after 9/11, still digging through the rubble at the Pentagon and World Trade Center, these guys are transporting cocaine 60 miles for a little bit of money and using a color guard flag to cover up the cocaine in the vehicle."

In the FBI world, this was the biggest you could go. Numbers wise, it was systemic corruption at its worst.

Throughout the FBI video obtained by News 4, over and over you can see public servants breaking the law - such as a customs inspector waving through what's called a "ghost load." He thinks the little truck vault is loaded with cocaine.

For allowing the truck through, the inspector got $20,000.

In another picture, a Nogales police officer in uniform holds a kilo of cocaine transported from Tucson to Scottsdale.

The FBI says the people involved believed they couldn't get caught. A newspaper picture shows a marine recruiter talking to high school students. Later, he's caught red-handed counting drug money.

Then there's a national guardsman counting packages of cocaine but he wants more money for his recruiting efforts, saying he brought in three people and he's a man of his word.

In a different picture, a national guardsman counts his money while drinking a beer. Then wipes his prints off the bottle.

Agent Radtke tells us, "He knew he was at a crime scene and just committed a crime."

In another picture, two military policeman are in a hotel lobby. People are thanking them for their service. But, Agent Radtke says, "On one hand they had 20 kilos of cocaine and the other hand they were shaking with the American citizen."

Perhaps the most disturbing video is where a soldier offers his services as a hitman.

Special Agent In Charge of the Phoenix Division, John Lewis, says "Unfortunately here in the U.S., as well as every place in the world, we're going to have to root out corruption where it rears out his ugly head."

Public corruption is a priority with the FBI and as long as public servants break the law, the FBI vows to do its job and bring them to justice.

According to the FBI, more than 24 public servants rejected temptation and chose not to participate in the drug smuggling operation.


2nd read

FBI agents from 911 Ground Zero detail ink deal with their supervisors to appear on FBI recruiting poster.


The National Whistleblower Center

3238 P. Street, NW

Washington, DC 20007

202-342-1902

202-342-1904 (fax)

Web page: http://www.whistleblowers.org




INTRODUCTION

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Whistleblower Center (Center) has been assisting numerous whistleblowers in sensitive security areas1. This report concerns the allegations raised by Jane Turner, a 25 year veteran FBI special agent. Agent Turner alleged that members of the elite FBI “Evidence Response Team” (ERT) stole valuable property from Ground Zero shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Ms. Turner identified the alleged theft in August 2002. In September 2002 she seized the alleged stolen property, placed it in an evidence bag, and turned it over to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. Because of this action, she was given notice that she would be terminated from the FBI in early October 2002 for “tarnishing the image” of the FBI.

Between September 2002 and December 2003 the Department of Justice had been conducting an investigation into Jane Turner’s allegations of FBI theft at Ground Zero. In December 2003 the Center learned that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had issued this major report on the theft allegations. However, it refused to publicly release its report or even permit the original whistleblower to review the report in private. The report was instead confidentially transmitted only to the FBI for the FBI’s internal use. This report confirms Ms. Turner’s initial allegations and reviews the scope of FBI criminal activity at Ground Zero. Recently, the Center has learned that the DOJ report also documents numerous other incidents of theft by FBI agents from different crime scenes such as the site of the Okalahoma City bombing and the Unabomber bombing sites.

In late January of 2004, the National Whistleblower Center was able to obtain FBI documents which confirmed many of Ms. Turner’s allegations. These documents confirmed the original allegation filed by the FBI whistleblower. Specifically, the FBI conceded that at least one of its agents stole property from Ground Zero and transported that property across state lines. Moreover, the FBI documentation confirmed that the theft directly interfered with an ongoing criminal prosecution of other non-federal agents who also stole items from Ground Zero.

FBI agent participation in a criminal larceny, and the cover-up of this theft by the FBI and Department of Justice, have significant long range implications for federal law enforcement. It is simply unacceptable that federal agents, while being paid a high salary by taxpayers, could be permitted to steal from any crime scene, let alone from Ground Zero. It is even more shocking when the criminal larceny is engaged in by elite FBI agents assigned to a special “team” specifically trained in the preservation of evidence.

THE FACTS OF THE CASE

Initial investigation into theft at Ground Zero

Jane Turner worked for 25 years as a Special Agent for the FBI.2 While assigned to the Bureau’s Minneapolis Division, Agent Turner was tasked with investigating allegations that an employee for a federal contractor3 had stolen property from Ground Zero. Specifically, Ms. Turner was asked to review an allegation that an employee for Keiger Enterprises, a company contracted by the government to do relief work at the World Trade Center site, had stolen a “fire truck door” which had been mangled in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Theft of the door would constitute a violation of federal criminal law. As a “collectable” if the door was valued at $5000.00 or above, the contractor could have been charged under the Federal Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods Statute and could have been subject to a 10 year prison sentence. The FBI has explained the case against Keiger as follows:

“One aspect of the Keiger case involved an allegation of interstate theft of stolen property (ITSP) and was based on information that Keiger employees recovered a truck door which had been on a fire engine that was destroyed as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The fire engine door was removed from the debris of the WTC site and it, along with other items, were transported back to Minnesota.4

In or about February of 2002, Ms. Turner commenced her investigation into the 9/11 theft case. In mid-April Ms. Turner led a team of FBI agents in search of the Keiger property in order to obtain evidence related to thefts which may have occurred at Ground Zero.

In a statement to the press issued when the search warrant was executed, attorneys for Keiger Enterprises defended the company by alleging that the FBI itself had stolen items from Ground Zero.5 At this time Ms. Turner had no information whatsoever that FBI agents may have also engaged in criminal theft at Ground Zero. Ms. Turner did not give the Keiger attorneys statements any credence, and did not conceive it possible that FBI agents would have been involved in theft from Ground Zero. Ms. Turner’s supervisor explained his understanding of the Keiger-attorney statements:

“. . . in mid-April 2002 when the search warrant was executed against the Keiger business location, Joseph Frieburg, Keiger’s defense counsel, was interviewed by the local television station regarding the search. The news piece quoted him as saying that he didn’t understand why his client was being investigated by the government for taking things from the WTC site when FBI agents had done the same thing.”6

After the search warrant was executed, the Keiger case became one of the most important cases within the Minneapolis Division of the FBI. By late August of 2002, the FBI had confirmed that the fire door had in fact been stolen and confirmed that as a “collectable” it had sufficient value to be covered under federal criminal law.7 In late August the government was very close to issuing an indictment against Keiger regarding theft from Ground Zero, including an indictment related to the theft of the fire door.8

FBI THEFT



Initial Identification of Globe

In late August of 2002, Agent Turner was casually walking through the FBI Minneapolis Division office when she noticed a crystal etched globe sitting on a secretary’s desk The globe had several distinguishing marks. Its surface was discolored and scratched.9 Agent Turner asked the secretary about the globe. The secretary proudly told Agent Turner that it was from the World Trade Center and that an “ERT” agent had given it to her.10 The ERT is an elite squad of FBI agents specially trained in securing crime scenes.

When Agent Turner asked for the name of the ERT agent, the secretary apparently realized that the nature of Agent Turner’s interest in the globe was not merely conversational and refused to disclose any more information.

A Tiffanys’ crystal globe paperweight normally commands a price of $100 to $200. However, as a “collectable” from the Ground Zero crime scene, it had an estimated value in excess of $5,000.11

Globe paperweight. Etched crystal, flat bottom, 2.5" diameter, Retail: $120.

Turner Report of Globe

Immediately upon learning that the globe had been taken from Ground Zero, Agent Turner recognized the seriousness of the situation. Agent Turner immediately informed the proper authorities. She first notified Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), Peg Magil, who had responsibility over the Keiger indictments. The AUSA was extremely troubled by the Turner disclosure and indicated that FBI misconduct may directly interfere with the government’s ability to indict Keiger on the fire door theft. Ms. Turner then notified her FBI superior, Charles Regan. Agent Turner let Mr. Regan know that the AUSA would "probably not indict on the fire truck door."12

In his own FBI-prepared, self-serving statement, Mr. Regan acknowledges having seen the stolen globe on the secretary's desk five to six months prior to Ms. Turner’s report. The secretary had even gone so far as to tell Mr. Regan that the Globe had come directly from "Ground Zero."

In describing his conversation with Agent Turner, Mr. Regan said:

"...Ms. Turner asked me if I had ever seen the Tiffany globe sitting on [the secretary's] desk. I told Ms. Turner that I had. Ms. Turner then said, 'You have? Do you know where it came from?' My immediate and instinctive response to Ms. Turner's question was, 'Oh stuff!'"13

The FBI had failed to take any action whatsoever on information it had concerning FBI agent theft from Ground Zero until Agent Turner “blew the whistle.” However, the FBI’s first response was to drop an indictment against other persons who stole from Ground Zero. The FBI failed to even confiscate the stolen property from the desk of the secretary.

Failure to seize evidence

Even though he knew of the importance of the Tiffanys’ globe and the impact of the theft of that item on a major ongoing criminal investigation, Mr. Regan told Agent Turner that he would not be confiscating the stolen evidence. Regan, in a statement prepared and approved by the FBI, attempted to explain why, as a law enforcement officer obligated to uphold the law (even within the FBI), he had failed to secure the evidence and/or confiscate the stolen property:

“Ms Tuner [asked], ‘are you going to go get the globe?’ In response I told her, ‘No, not yet.’ I recognized that, at some point, the globe would have to be sent to OPR at FBIHQ as evidence for the investigation but felt that, for the time being, the globe was safe sitting [in the support person’s] work space as no one had taken or disturbed [it] during the eight months I had been in the division.”14

Consequently, Mr. Regan allowed more time for the evidence to be tampered with by the same FBI personnel who had taken it in the first place, even after Ms. Turner had made an issue of the Tiffanys’ globe to the secretary who had possession of the stolen property, to the United States Attorneys Office and to management within the FBI.

On the evening of September 10, 2002, Agent Turner, along with a Special Agent from the FEMA Office of Inspector General, seized the globe as stolen contraband. The agents properly placed the Tiffany Globe into an evidence bag and created a proper "chain of custody" log.15 The next day Agent Turner flew, at her own expense, to Washington, D.C. and personally delivered the stolen property to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG). Agent Turner also filed a written complaint with the OIG regarding FBI misconduct.

Aftermath

Within days of providing the stolen property to The Office of the Inspector General, Agent Turner was informed that she would be terminated from the Bureau.16 On September 23, 2002, Ms. Turner’s supervisor (Regan) directly questioned her regarding the incident. Ms. Tuner informed him that “an investigation was underway.” Two days later, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with the Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, informed the Director of the FBI of Mrs. Turner’s protected activities and demanded that the FBI protect Ms. Turner from any form of retaliation. The Senators had learned of Ms. Turner’s courageous actions and also sent her a letter “thank[ing]” her for her “assistance in reporting an allegation of wrongdoing - a theft of personal items that might have great value to surviving family members from the Ground Zero.”

On September 25, 2002 Mrs. Turner’s supervisor, Charles Regan, sent an e-mail to Mrs. Turner’s second line supervisor (i.e. the “ASAC”) and the Special Agent in Charge of the

Minneapolis Division (SAC) informing them that “SA Turner took it upon herself to send the globe to [DOJ OIG], which has possession and will be conducting the investigation.” The following day, at a supervisors meeting, Ms. Turner’s ASAC stated that Regan was “ready to pull [the] trigger and rate Tuner as ‘Does Not Meet Expectations’ in the critical element that included working well with others.” Such a rating would result in Ms. Turner’s dismissal from the FBI. This decision was implemented October 2002, when Regan accused Ms. Turner of improperly “tarnishing the image” of the FBI in a formal performance review.

Since October 8, 2002, the FBI has known the identity of the ERT agent who stole the globe. In a conversation with the SAC, of the Minneapolis Division, conducted shortly after the FBI decided to fire Agent Turner, the ERT agent admitted taking the Tiffanys’ globe.17 The Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division responded to the ERT’s confession by stating the following to the FBI agent: "...that from now on, the ERT takes nothing into a site and the ERT takes nothing out."18

The Inspector General has since completed its investigation into the theft of the globe and has issued a formal report. However, the Department of Justice has refused to release the report either to Ms. Turner or to the public. The report was confidentially provided to the FBI, but the Inspector General refuses to release it.

DROPPING OF CHARGES

Agent Turner’s disclosure of FBI misconduct affected not only her status within the Bureau but also the disposition of the Keiger case. Like the crystal globe, the fire door’s face value was fairly low. As a collectible from the World Trade Center site, however, the item was determined to have a value in excess of $5,000, like the globe. On August 30, 2002, the SAC in the Minneapolis office was made aware of Agent Turner’s discovery of the globe. Having discovered that FBI agents had committed crimes similar to those of which Keiger Enterprises was accused, the latter case took an unexpected turn. Once deemed serious, the theft of the fire door was no longer worthy of prosecution. It was dropped almost immediately after the FBI learned that its own agents had also stolen “collectibles” from Ground Zero.19 Prosecuting Keiger Enterprises employees but not the FBI agents for similar crimes would have created a public relations problem for the FBI. Rather than acting forcefully against both the FBI agents involved in the theft of the globe and the members of Keiger Enterprises responsible for the theft of the fire door, the Assistant U.S. Attorney decided to protect the FBI agents from being held accountable for their actions, even at the cost of allowing two crimes to go unpunished.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

The actions carried out by FBI agents with respect to the globe are crimes under New York, Minnesota, and Federal law. The Tiffanys’ crystal globe paperweight has a face value of $120. As a collector’s item, it is valued in excess of $5,000. If classified using its face value, the theft of the globe constitutes petit larceny under New York State law, a class A non-violent misdemeanor which can result in a sentence of up to one year in prison. If, more appropriately, the globe is classified as a collector’s item worth more than $5,000, it becomes grand larceny, a class D non-violent felony, which carries a possible sentence of up to seven years in prison. In Minnesota, if the value of property or services stolen is more than $2,500, the defendant can be imprisoned for up to ten years, fined up to $20,000, or both.

The actions of the FBI agents and employees also implicated two separate federal laws. Under 18 USC §654 of the United States Code, an officer of any U.S. government agency or department who “wrongfully converts to his own use the money or property of another which comes into his possession or under his control in the execution of such office or employment, or under color or claim of authority as such officer or employee” can be imprisoned for up to ten years if the embezzled sum is more than $1,000 or one year if the sum embezzled is $1,000 or less. Section 666 also prescribes a prison sentence of up to ten years and a possible fine for any “agent of an organization, or of a state, local, or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof” who “embezzles, steals, obtains by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly converts to the use of any person other than the rightful owner or intentionally misapplies, property that is valued at $5,000 or more.” Finally, under Section 2314, a sentence of up to ten years in prison can apply for “whoever transports, transmits or transfers in interstate or foreign commerce any goods, wares, merchandise, securities or money, of the value of $5,000 or more, knowing the same to have been stolen converted or taken by fraud.”



Value of stolen property New York Minnesota Federal
$250-$0 Petit Larceny

Class A misdemeanor: highest punishment 1 year in jail
90 days imprisonment

OR
fine of not more than $7000
N/A
$500-$1000 ($1,000)

Grand Larceny 4th degree

Class E

non-violent Felony:

1 1/3 - 4 years
($500.00)

1 year imprisonment

OR

fine of not more than $3000 or both
( < $1000)

Wrongful conversion of property (Sec. 654)

1 year imprisonment

( > $1000)

1-10 years
$2500-$5000


($5,000)

Grand Larceny 3rd degree

Class D

non-violent Felony:

2 1/3 - 7 years
($2,500)

10 years imprisonment

OR

fine of $20,000 or both
($5,000)

Transportation of stolen goods (Sec.2314)

10 years imprisonment

OR

fine or both



DOUBLE STANDARD

Many individuals have been vigorously prosecuted and, in some cases, incarcerated under these laws for stealing from the World Trade Center site. In one highly publicized case, a 20 year old Russian immigrant named Vadim Reznikov was arrested for stealing the FDNY parking permit of a firefighter who had perished in the attacks. He was charged with five separate counts in connection with the theft, including grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.20 In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Mr. Roland Abarrategui was caught stealing watches, cameras and credit cards from a hotel near Ground Zero that was in ruins. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.21 Johnny Dunham was sentenced to at least two and a half years in prison for stealing watches from Ground Zero.22 Jacquelin Delgado, Louis Senecal, Jr. and Samuel Brandon were also prosecuted for stealing from the World Trade Center site. Mr. Brandon, whose case is still pending, retired from the New York City fire department in 1984. He allegedly took a damaged walkie-talkie, seven ID cards and a photo of a couple at their wedding, from the Ground Zero site. Even if their value is aggregated, these items are worth far less than the Tiffanys’ globe that Jane Turner reported stolen. Nonetheless, in a striking a display of double standards, Mr. Brandon faces eleven misdemeanor counts, each punishable by up to a year in jail, for stealing these items from the Ground Zero.23

Underlying these prosecutions and sentences is the notion that, while theft is always wrong, there is something particularly insidious about looting a disaster area for personal gain. As Assistant District Attorney Chad Sjoquist, who prosecuted Abarrategui, puts it, “There has to be something different about someone, to do something after this tragedy. To go down to what is essentially a graveyard – to steal.”24 Before giving Abarrategui the maximum sentence, Judge Lewis Stone declared, “You were down there at Ground Zero, at a time of great stress in this country. And you were there for stealing things.”25
Perpetrators Roland Abarrategui Samuel Brandon Johnny Dunham Louis Senecal
Charges 2nd & 3rd degree Burglary,

7 counts of 4th degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.
Petit larceny, Felony count of Tampering with Evidence. Grand Larceny. 2 counts of Stolen Property.
Sentences 10 years for Looting. Released on $10,000 bail, case still pending. Pled guilty: 7 years in prison for maximum sentence of 3rd degree Larceny, eligible for parole after 2 years and 4 months. Pled Guilty, 2 counts of receiving Stolen Property and Charge of Theft by deception for an unrelated incident.


The 9/11 attacks were neither the first nor last time citizens were prosecuted for looting disaster areas. Three individuals- James Sanders, his wife Elizabeth, and Terrell Stacey – were prosecuted and eventually given probation for stealing government property worth no more than $1,000 as part of an expressed plan to prove their theory that the United States Navy shot down TWA Flight 800. Much more recently, three individuals were charged for unrelated incidents of stealing from the crash site of the Columbia Shuttle. Former Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Arriola was sentenced to a year of probation for stealing two pieces of wiring from the shuttle.26 NASA worker Michael Pankiewicz was fined $2,000 and given a year of probation for stealing a three inch piece of debris.27 Robert Hagan II was also prosecuted for stealing from the shuttle. The prosecutors proved unable to sustain a case against him and he was acquitted. Had he been convicted, Mr. Hagan would have faced up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.28

FINDINGS

FBI officials, whose investigations often result in the arrest and imprisonment of U.S. citizens, should not be allowed to violate the law without judicial or intra-agency sanction. As we have noted, several private citizens stole items of similar or lesser value from the exact same geographical area as did the FBI agents who took the globe. The difference is that they were prosecuted and given sentences of close to the highest severity while the actions of the FBI agents have been dismissed with no reprimands, except, of course, for the agent who reported the crime. As a memo sent by Charles Regan to the attention of UC Thomas R. Monroe makes clear, the Assistant U.S. Attorney dropped the theft charges against the salvage company after information regarding the stolen globe was disclosed.29 The memo also shows that the person who supervised the ERT who stole the globe at Ground Zero had been promoted to an ASAC position.30 This two-tiered system of justice, one for ordinary citizens, and another for members of the FBI, should not stand. Theft committed by individual agents and the failure of the Bureau to hold them accountable is not only egregious, but is also symbolic of broader cultural issues within the FBI. These cultural issues have undermined its effectiveness since Ruby Ridge, and undoubtedly contributed to its failure to stop the 9/11 attacks or discover the source of the anthrax attacks.

These incidents clearly reveal the institutional and cultural features of the FBI that contributed to the lack of response provided by the Bureau to Agent Turner’s discovery. Agent Turner found this stolen globe openly displayed in a major FBI office for at least 7-8 months. The employee who had illegal possession of this property went so far as to brag about where it came from. The fact that scores of other agents, having knowledge of stolen evidence, ignored this information speaks volumes about the double standard culture within the FBI.

It defies common sense to suggest that this is the only instance in which FBI agents stole evidence from a crime scene whose integrity they swore to protect. FBI agents openly engaged in criminal activity for which there was no oversight or accountability.

Any person reading this report who would like to assist Jane Turner in any way should visit the Jane Turner Legal Defense Fund.


Based on the documented evidence of criminal activity, the President of the United States and the U.S. Attorney General should, at a minimum,

1. Publicly release the complete Inspector General’s report on this matter.
2. Department of Justice and the FBI should agree to fully assist in state prosecutions of the FBI agents identified as being involved in theft from Ground Zero. This includes, but is not limited to, all FBI personnel who stole, transported or possessed stolen property from Ground Zero. These implicated FBI employees should be efficiently extradited to New York and other localities to stand trial.
3. All FBI personnel that stole from any other crime scenes, such as the Oklahoma City and Unabomber sites, should be made available for prosecution in those respective localities.
4. Give Ms. Turner a formal public commendation from the President and the Attorney General and order the FBI to correct the discriminatory action taken against Jane Turner.
5. In accordance with the Supreme Court decision in Brady, the Department of Justice must identify every case in which FBI employees who engaged in criminal/unethical behavior at Ground zero provided testimony. The DOJ must properly disclose to defense counsel the facts which document the dishonesty, and criminal proclivity of these employees.


3rd read
http://infowars-shop.stores.yahoo.net/powderburns.html
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #71 
how much evidence do you need that FBI  agents were involved in creating 911

great lineup of speakers including Barrie Zwicker and Daniel Hopsicker.
for May 17th conference in New Hampshire
contact # 603 446 3561

Friends,

There are two events I would like to bring to your attention!

The first is not exactly an event, but is a national effort to push a 9/11 book onto the NY Times bestseller list. The book is entitled The Shell Game by Steve Alten. It is actually a work of fiction that uses facts and educated speculation. Here is the site that is coordinating the idea:

http://www.weekoftruth.org/

Note that only certain booksellers report their sales to the NYT and that it is the week of the 16th to the 22nd that counts, apparently.

------------------------

Secondly, I am pleased to report that there will be a one-day symposium in Keene, New Hampshire on May 17th.

"The New England Symposium on 9/11: Family Members and Researchers Speak Out will be held on Saturday, May 17th at the Keene High School Auditorium, from 9:30am to 6:00pm."

http://www.911blogger.com/node/14630

The organizers add:

"Our group is seeking some manner of donation from the larger community, with the myriad expenses that are incurred in offering such an event.� If you felt you could make a donation of even a small amount, this would help us a great deal in the upcoming weeks.

Checks can be written to "The Monadnock 9/11 Truth Alliance", and can be sent to George Corrette, PO Box 373, Marlow, NH 03456.

We look forward to seeing you at the event, and channeling energy into the next steps of necessary organizing."

--------------------------

Best,

Stephen Shaw
for Maine 9/11 Truth


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joeb

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Posts: 8,154
Reply with quote  #72 
       
        Email                 Print                         Text Size
Posted by Shaun Chaiyabhat
Local Businesses Raided; Arab Owners Feel Unfairly Targeted

FAST FACTS:

* Operation sudden impact combined federal and state authorities
* several businesses raided
* FBI confirms the raids, but declines to give details concerning investigation

shaun.chaiyabhat@wreg.com

(Memphis, TN 4/12/08)

They businesses were raided by the FBI and several other agencies, and now they think they were targeted because they are of Arab descent.

Hundreds of officers are fanning out across three states throughout the weekend hoping to catch terrorists. It's part of a coordinated effort called "Operation Sudden Impact". It's the first major local coordinated effort of its kind, but already some local business owners are feeling like the law isn't on their side, instead, they feel like they're being unfairly targeted. Now the business owners are wondering what they did wrong.

Thursday, the FBI and other agencies raided several businesses, including Jay Abbadi's. "I didn't know what to feel to tell you the truth," says Abbadi, the manager of Safe & Sound Car Stereos. "I didn't know what to feel because I have never been in a situation like that... Never broke the law in my life. My record is as clean."

Abbadi says agents with a vague warrant searched the place and took paperwork and computers, but never fully explained what he did wrong. "No they told me after they finished packing up all my paperwork, taking my computers."

Abbadi says they eventually said they were looking for stolen electronics, but he says his shop is legit. Instead Abbadi feels he was targeted because he's an Arab immigrant. And he wasn't alone. News Channel 3 spoke with several businesses who were raided and share similar concerns.

As local authorities continue 'Operation Sudden Impact' -- aimed at identifying terrorist ties -- the sheriff's office says it was not involved in these raids, but did know what was happening.

"What we have found traditionally is that terrorists are involved in a number of lesser known type crimes," says Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell. "Certainly our focus will be on small businesses and potential for terrorist interdiction in those areas."

An FBI spokesperson says the FBI along with other agencies did conduct the raids, but made no arrests.
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joeb

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Reply with quote  #73 
Ron Kessler is the #1 disinformation dispenser for the FBI.

Posting his piece so you can identify him.....
His main man at the FBI  was Oliver Buck Revell.
               
       

America’s Cultural Divide

       

A Dangerous Conservative Attempt to Rescue Joe McCarthy

       
April 14th 2008
               
Ronald Kessler
Ronald Kessler

A dangerous movement has been growing among conservative writers to vindicate the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and his campaign to expose Soviet spies in the U.S. government. The FBI agents who were actually chasing those spies have told me that McCarthy hurt their efforts because he trumped up charges, unfairly besmirched honorable Americans, and gave hunting spies a bad name.

To be sure, intercepts of secret Soviet communications that were part of the VENONA program eventually revealed that Soviet espionage operatives in the government numbered in the hundreds—far more than was thought in the 1950s. In that sense, McCarthy was right, but so were dozens of other anti-Communists of the time like FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The problem was that the people McCarthy tarnished as Communists or Communist sympathizers were not the real spies. Often, the information McCarthy used came from FBI files, which were full of rumor and third-hand accounts.

Several months before he died, I interviewed Robert J. Lamphere Jr., who participated in all the FBI's major spy cases during the McCarthy period. Beginning in 1948, Lamphere also was the FBI liaison to the U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service's VENONA program and used leads from the intercepts to work cases involving Klaus Fuchs, Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, and Kim Philby. For my book "The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI," Lamphere told me that agents who worked counterintelligence were aghast that Hoover initially supported McCarthy.

"McCarthyism did all kinds of harm because he was pushing something that wasn't so," Lamphere told me. The VENONA intercepts showed that over several decades, "There were a lot of spies in the government, but not all in the State Department," Lamphere said. However, "The problem was that McCarthy lied about his information and figures. He made charges against people that weren't true. McCarthyism harmed the counterintelligence effort against the Soviet threat because of the revulsion it caused. All along, Hoover was helping him."

The McCarthy era began on February 9, 1950 when the obscure Republican senator from Wisconsin gave a speech to 275 members of the local Republican women's club at the McClure Hotel in Wheeling, West Virginia.

"While I cannot take the time to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were known to the secretary of State and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy of the State Department," McCarthy said, holding up a scrap of paper.

By the time McCarthy got to Salt Lake City, another stop on his speech itinerary, McCarthy—an alcoholic—could not remember the number he had cited. He told his audience there that the number of Communists was 57. The conservative Chicago Tribune had been running a series on the Communist threat. The day after McCarthy's speech in West Virginia, Willard Edwards, the author of the articles, urgently asked Walter Trohan, the paper's Washington bureau chief, to come speak with him in Edward's office at the Albee Building at 15th and G Streets NW in Washington. Trohan related to me that Edwards then confided to him that just before McCarthy delivered his speech, he asked Edwards about the number of Communists in the State Department. Edwards said he gave McCarthy the figure of 205. Now he realized his mistake.

"Edwards said it was more or less a rumor. It was just a piece of gossip," Trohan said. "Edwards was afraid that McCarthy was going to blame him for it."  As for McCarthy, besides being an alcoholic, the senator was "crazy about girls about eighteen," Trohan said. "I always thought if the Commies wanted to get him, all they had to do was supply him with a girl."

"Joe McCarthy was into the booze," Roy L. Elson, the administrative assistant to the powerful Senator Carl T. Hayden, told me. "He was a sad case."  Bogus figures or not, McCarthy soon became a national figure. Returning from his tour, McCarthy called his friend Hoover and told him his speech was getting a lot of attention, according to a memo Hoover wrote after the call. There was only one problem: McCarthy said he had "made up the numbers as he talked."

In the future, Hoover advised him, he should not give specific numbers. McCarthy asked if the FBI would give him information to back up his charges. "Review the files and get anything you can for him" was Hoover's order. "We didn't have enough evidence to show there was a single Communist in the State Department, let alone 57 cases," said William Sullivan, who became the number three man in the bureau. Nevertheless, FBI agents spent hundreds of hours reading files and making abstracts for McCarthy.

Lou Nichols, who headed FBI public relations, cautioned McCarthy not to use the phrase "card-carrying Communists" because that could not be proven. Instead, he should refer to "Communist sympathizers" or "loyalty risks." The phrases were as fuzzy as Hoover's files. While Hoover built a great organization, he confused political beliefs that were critical of the government with violations of criminal law. Using material from the FBI, McCarthy instilled fear in anyone who might have looked at a Communist.

It's true that McCarthy's witch-hunts have been confused with those of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Because of pressure from HUAC investigations, Hollywood studios blacklisted playwright Lillian Hellman because her lover, mystery-writer Dashiell Hammett, was one. John Melby, a State Department officer with impeccable anti-Communist credentials, was fired for having had an affair with her. But as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, McCarthy's approach was similar. Having studied the transcripts of McCarthy's hearings, Donald A. Ritchie, associate historian of the Senate, has pinpointed his tactics. Typically, McCarthy held hearings in executive session first.

"The executive sessions were like a dress rehearsal," Ritchie tells me. "For the most part, he didn't really have hard evidence against the people that he was interrogating, so he was hoping just to get them to contradict themselves or to take the Fifth Amendment, or to confess. And he would badger them in these closed sessions and winnow out the ones he wanted to testify in public. He interviewed about 500 people in closed session; he called about 300 people to public session." In the meantime, "After they'd testified in closed session, he'd go out in the hall, and he'd tell the waiting press what had just happened," Ritchie says. "We looked at both the New York Times' and the Chicago Tribune's accounts and then we compared that to what actually went on inside the hearings. What he told the press grossly exaggerated what took place when compared to the transcripts."

While McCarthy said he would protect the names of witnesses, their names were leaked to the press, Ritchie says. Only half a dozen of the witnesses turned up in the VENONA intercepts, all minor figures in McCarthy's investigations, he notes. In the end, says Ritchie, "Not one of the 500 witnesses went to jail for perjury or contempt of Congress, whereas a lot of people who testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Senate Internal Security subcommittee were investigated, prosecuted and convicted, and served jail time. Yet McCarthy was constantly accusing people of having committed perjury and urging the Justice Department to prosecute them."

McCarthy eventually made the mistake of turning his sights on President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A former Army general who had led allied forces to victory during World War II, Eisenhower was as American as apple pie.As McCarthy began accusing Eisenhower of being soft on Communists, Hoover realized he would have to distance himself from the senator. Just before what became known as the Army-McCarthy hearings started on April 22, 1954, Hoover ordered the bureau to cease helping him. That would contribute to the senator's downfall.

During the hearings, McCarthy failed to substantiate his claims that the Communists had penetrated the Army, which had hired a shrewd Boston lawyer, Joseph Welch, to represent it. McCarthy noted that Fred Fischer, a young lawyer in Welch's firm, had been a member while at Harvard Law School of the National Lawyers Guild, described by the attorney general as the "legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party." Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg had also been a member of the group. Upon hearing this accusation, Welch responded, "Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness." When McCarthy continued to hound Fischer, Welch said, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

After two months, the hearings were over, and so was McCarthy's career. Watching the hearings on television, millions of Americans had seen how he bullied witnesses and what an unsavory character he was. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower pushed fellow Republicans to censure McCarthy. In August 1954, a Senate committee was formed to investigate the senator. On September 27, the committee issued a unanimous report calling McCarthy's behavior as a committee chairman "inexcusable," "reprehensible," and "vulgar and insulting." On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted 67 to 22 to censure him. After that, when he rose to speak, senators left the Senate chamber. Reporters no longer attended his press conferences. On May 2, 1957, McCarthy died at the age of forty-eight of acute hepatitis, widely believed to be a result of his alcoholism, a point generally overlooked by the revisionists.

As chief of Justice Department spy prosecutions for nearly 25 years, John L. Martin prosecuted 76 spies, including CIA officers Aldrich Ames and Harold J. Nicholson, Navy warrant officer John A. Walker Jr., and Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard. With his unlimited clearances, Martin read many of the FBI's most secret raw files on historic espionage cases, including the files on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Judith Coplon, Alger Hiss, and Rudolph Abel. No one knows as much about catching spies and the legal ramifications that go with it than Martin.

"While VENONA later confirmed and expanded upon what the FBI knew about Soviet operations in the U.S., McCarthy was acting on suspicions and myths rather than adequate investigations," Martin tells me. McCarthy used "the umbrella of national security to justify his outrageous practice of besmirching reputations of loyal Americans," Martin adds.

Efforts to vindicate McCarthy by people who have never caught a spy ignore the fact that rather than helping the cause of dealing with the spy threat, he harmed it.

New York Times bestselling author Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of http://www.Newsmax.com , from which this story was adapted.



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FBI informant describes Paterson gambling club slayings

                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                               

PATERSON, N.J. - Jurors at the trial of the man accused of the cold-blooded slayings of four patrons at an illegal gambling club in Paterson are hearing from an FBI informant.

Lorenzo Gonzalez operated the club so the FBI could monitor gang activity.

Gonzalez identified David Baylor as the gunman who killed four patrons during a robbery in 2005.

Under cross-examination, Baylor's lawyer tried to show that Gonzalez is no stranger to crime.

He told the defense attorney that the FBI had promised to pay him $9,000 a month after the shootings, but never did. However, he testified that agents hurried him off to Florida and Mexico.

Gonzalez now lives in Mexico and runs his own business there.



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Relatives sue FBI, say club sting was bungled

                       
                                               

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By DOUGLASS CROUSE
STAFF WRITER  

Relatives of three of the four people gunned down in a Paterson after-hours club sued the federal government Monday, claiming the deaths resulted from a bungled FBI sting operation.

Three men and a woman were massacred inside the illegal gambling club during an early-morning robbery Dec. 14, 2005.


"The FBI violated their own policies on undercover cases: to make sure that the safety of unrelated civilians is not in jeopardy," said the families' attorney, Rosemarie Arnold. "You have a virtual casino operating in a known dangerous neighborhood without any security. That to me is an invitation to robbery."

Four co-defendants are now behind bars, with the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office preparing a death penalty case against the alleged gunman.

FBI officials have declined comment and did not return a call Monday.

Based on police files, the lawsuit says the FBI set up the sting four months before the shootings to investigate drugs and arms trafficking by the Latin Kings gang. It claims the agency paid a former convict $3,500 a month to run the business -- known as Kings Court -- atop a warehouse on Railroad Avenue, but failed to properly train or supervise him.

The nine-count complaint filed in federal court in Newark names as defendants the U.S. government, three FBI agents and the four criminal defendants.

The victims' relatives say they hunger for accountability.

"I'm left wondering: Does the FBI realize what actions they set in motion when they opened this place?" said the sister of victim Tara Woods of West Paterson. "Somebody messed up and they have to be held accountable."

She asked that her name not be published for safety concerns.

Law enforcement sources say the club manager was a federal informant, and he had opened the club on the night of the shootings without notifying the FBI.

But the sister of Woods, a 29-year-old mother of two, isn't satisfied by that account.

"We want to know exactly what happened and why," she said. "This has devastated us. And that's one family. Multiply that effect by four."

Carmen Suarez of Paterson, who lived for 20 years with victim Ralph Hernandez, 53, said, "I want the people responsible for his death to pay."

Relatives of Jesus Antonio Gonzales, 31, also of Paterson, also are plaintiffs but could not be reached. The fourth victim was Johnny Melendez, 39, of Newark.

Investigators say the conspirators had envisioned an in-and-out robbery that would never get reported to police. Instead, they say, gunman David Baylor of Passaic snapped and shot the cowering victims point-blank.

"However solidified the [robbery] plan had been, at that point it went out the window," said John Latoracca, chief assistant prosecutor for Passaic County. "Baylor had effectively elevated the stakes a thousand times."

After the shootings, rumors spread quickly about FBI involvement in the illegal club.

Latoracca confirmed the club was the "subject of an undercover operation by the FBI." He was not aware of any armed guards, but said patrons were "wanded."

Baylor's death-penalty trial is tentatively set for September.

Baylor's attorney, Harley Breite, has attacked some of the state's witnesses as "people with lengthy criminal records."

"Is that the type of credible testimony we can rely upon to send somebody to death?" he said.

Baylor's co-defendants are Reginald "Khaddafi" Barris of Clifton; Beatriz Hernandez, 24, address unavailable, and Hamid Shabazz, 30, of Passaic.

All four have been indicted on felony murder, robbery and weapons charges.

Baylor, 27, and Barris, 25, are in the county jail in lieu of $5 million bail each. Shabazz is in prison for an unrelated robbery, and Hernandez is in undisclosed custody.

* * *
What happened

Authorities give this account of the Dec. 14, 2005, shootings in Paterson:

All four defendants arrive in the club some time after 2 a.m.

David Baylor and Hamid Shabazz leave shortly after 4 a.m., then walk back in through a rear door that Beatriz Hernandez has opened for them.

Moments later, Baylor shoots the four victims as Reginald Barris punches and knocks the manager to the floor.

The intruders race to grab what they can -- a few thousand dollars. In their haste, they leave $1,000 in one victim's pocket.

The manager escapes and phones Paterson police, telling them he works for the FBI.

Source: New Jersey.com

                               
               
                               
                                                                       
                               

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T: 201-461-1111 F: 201-461-1666 E-mail us

                       
                                                               
       
       
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