REPORT FROM DICK GREGORY AND LOUIS WOLF ON THE ONGOING VIGIL AT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON, DC, SEEKING COMPASSIONATE RELEASE FOR LYNNE STEWART
On Monday, June 17, as activists stood before the BOP headquarters on Monday, a guard emerged to ask why they were there. Upon hearing that Dick Gregory would be present at the vigil the following day, he responded enthusiastically: "My man, Dick Gregory!"
On Tuesday, June 18, shortly after noon, fifteen people with banners and signs assembled outside the doors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC. for the historic vigil, the first in support of a federal prisoner at the Bureau headquarters.
Dick Gregory spoke about the urgent need for FBOP Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. to sign Lynne Stewart's fully vetted Compassionate Release application and to authorize the federal attorney to file the motion for Compassionate Release with Judge John Koetl. Lynne cannot be freed without the completion of these steps. At this moment, the unconscionable holdup rests with the absence of Director Samuels signature as the completed file remains "on his desk."
As Dick Gregory spoke, workers at the Federal Bureau of Prisons gathered at FBOP windows. The ground floor lobby was filled with FBOP employees, listening and watching.
At 1:15 p.m. two Homeland Security cars pulled up. One of the men who exited one of the cars was in full combat dress. They stopped, watched as Dick Gregory spoke, noted the rapt attention Dick Gregory was receiving from both inside the FBOP and outside it, looked at each other and entered the building without speaking.
Askia Muhammad, News Director of WPFW, was there throughout the two hour vigil and recorded all that was said. Free Speech Radio News filmed and recorded. Code Pink and We Will Not Be Silent were present along with David Schwartzman, a noted DC activist.
Fernando Velasquez of Pacifica's KPFA interviewed Dick Gregory and Lou Wolf on the international campaign to free Lynne Stewart and the vigils at the FBOP and the White House. Fernando broadcasts across Latin America.
The vigil at the Bureau of Prisons headquarters continues all week. If you are in Washington, DC, please come at noon tomorrow and Friday to Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters, 320 1st St NW, Washington, DC (corner 1st Street and Indiana Avenue, NW) to demand compassionate release for Lynne.
Simultaneously, Lynne Stewart's husband Ralph Poynter and activists continue a vigil at the White House, mobilizing support for Lynne's release.
If you cannot be in DC, telephone BOP Director Samuels at 202-307-3250. Urge him to act now to move forward compassionate release for Lynne Stewart. There is no time to lose.
“...the national security state and the rule of law are mortal enemies... the national security state’s apparatus needs arbitrary power. Such power has its own code, which is meant to govern or justify the behavior of the initiated -- after the fact. It operates to protect the state apparatus from the citizenry.”
...and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Book of Job, 1:15.
The day after I read & watched the video of Glenn Greenwald's interview with Edward Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong, I began to paint Snowden's portrait for the Americans Who Tell the Truth project.
There were few images of Snowden available -- some stills from the video in which the subdued indoor lighting gives his face a bluish cast. And a few snapshots with flash that turn him yellow & obscure detail. His hair seemed different in the two versions, and the video never showed the top of his head. I had to make some assumptions. I began drawing until I thought I had a decent likeness, laid in some medium toned color all over his face, then began painting his eyes. If I can get the eyes right, the painting transforms. It becomes a real presence, looks at me, begins to talk to me about doubt, about vulnerability, about courage, about loneliness, about conscience, about anger. Begins to talk to me about defining moments & no going back. About justice being more important than himself.
* * * * * *
Snowden seemed to me a tiny chunk of the vast, submerged NSA iceberg, a chunk that had chipped itself free & willed itself to drift in the opposite direction. The one lemming that ran the other way.
The debates about whether Snowden is a traitor or a hero seem wrong to me. He is both. He is traitor to the National Security State, but a hero to the idea of democracy.
He is a hero to the rule of law, but traitor to the rule of legal hypocrisy. Or, put another way, he's a traitor to the selective law of power & privilege. He's a hero to the rule of justice.
I find it curious to hear our media and officials clamor on about the rule of law: Whatever else you may say, he did break the law! Well, of course he did. Haven’t many of our heroes broken the law? What did the law say to Rosa Parks about where she could sit on a bus in Montgomery? What did the law say to Susan B. Anthony about her right as a woman to vote? What did the law say to Harriet Tubman about the legality of slavery? It was not for nothing that Thoreau said, "The law will never make men free. Men have got to make the law free." Isn't that what Edward Snowden is doing -- saving us from unjust law? What is the law but a lump of self-serving clay in the hands of power? How easily the law can be shaped to make preemptive war legal, or torture, or rendition, or murder without due process, or total surveillance. I think the political philosopher Marcus Raskin says it best:
"Democracy and its operative principle, the rule of law, require a ground on which to stand. That ground is the truth. When the government lies, or is structured like our national security state to promote lies and self-deception, then our official structures have broken faith with the essential precondition for constitutional government in democracy. "
Edward Snowden is a traitor to those who say the law is about looking forward not back.
He's a hero to those who say that the law has to look back, requires a ground to stand on, in order to look forward. A law of convenience is no law at all.
Should Snowden have turned himself in? Confronted his accusers in court? I suspect his reason for not doing that was based in strategy rather than personal safety. He saw whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and John Kiriakou and Sibel Edmonds be denied the right to explain in court why they had to act. They are silenced in court. As a free but stateless man, he can continue to expose the duplicity of our surveillance state.
In the 1950s & 1960s when I was young, a common Cold War refrain was Better Dead than Red! The slogan's aggressive political and moral content was that it was preferable to blow up the entire world with nuclear weapons than succumb to a totalitarian surveillance state.
And here we are today being asked by our president to weigh our freedom against our security, to decide in favor of security and accept the surveillance of all of us.
This surveillance comes not by a hammer or a sickle, but from the paranoia of our own power. Communist moles have not infiltrated the State Department and the Pentagon -- we can do that very well for ourselves, thank you, with the help of corporate true believers. Joe McCarthy was right about the infiltration, but wrong about the perpetrators. So, are we red but not dead? Or, fascist and dead? Should we not resist?
Secrecy. I’d prefer to be responsible for my own secrets. As well as my endearments, my stupid jokes, my political rants, my plans to meet friends, my birthday greetings, my thank you calls, my favorite lines of poetry, my expletives, my sorrows, my indiscretions, my struggles to understand spirituality, my attempts at solace. They’re mine. They are me. I don’t want some NSA voyeur collecting what’s me and making it his. I empathize with some indigenous people who believe that taking their photo is stealing their soul. A man with a little black box walks away with you inside it. My secrets become his secrets. Who am I then?
When I paint, I paint mostly with my fingers -- more like sculpting, thinning and shaping color, mixing it, making the paint translucent to allow the color to come from underneath. The process is intimate. My fingers blot a highlight on the iris, smooth the pinkness at the inner edge of a nostril, rub a bluish shadow into the cheek, smudge the eyebrows into the occipital ridge, round a shadow to shape the lower lip. It's all about the intensity of seeing but accomplished as though I am blind and learning the contours of the face with my fingers.
While I was working on the portrait, the US revoked Snowden's passport. He was in Russia, apparently sequestered in the airport, having one possible refuge after another cave to US pressure. He was now stateless. How strange! The man who believes so deeply in the purported values of his state that he risks everything for those values is then disowned by that state. In effect, by being disowned, he becomes the state. By disowning him, the state disowns its own values. He becomes the remnant of those values in exile. One person becomes bigger -- morally, legally, courageously, spiritually -- than the hypocritical state that denounced him. He's like Jonathan Swift's Gulliver being staked out & tied to the ground by the swarm of ant-like Lilliputians.
While Snowden was tied down in Russia, I had to leave the portrait to attend a conference in Jordan about civic engagement and democracy in the Middle-East & North Africa. I bought a book there of the great Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, Absent Presence. In a section describing how it feels to live under Israeli occupation and surveillance, Darwish says, They interpreted your dreams before you had them. Oh, I thought, exactly the goal of the NSA as they decipher metadata and comb emails to predict my actions before I have formulated them myself. An invasion of the privacy of the future as well as the present.
An Aside: We hear apologists for the NSA say, well, hell, we've got the technology; it's going to be used! As if there is no escaping the destiny of the invention. We also hear: We have the technology for hydraulic fracturing, so it will be used. And: Because the tar sands are there, we will use the oil. So, should I get used to the fact that because I have a big knife in my kitchen, I will have to stab myself in the back? Are we a species with conscious choice, or is our only option an inventive determinism leading to suicide?
In his essay in the New Yorker about the NSA, Hendrik Hertzberg makes the good point that even if millions of people the world over are not being bugged except in terms of "metadata," maybe the intrusion is not so great for any one person, “But that does not mean no harm has been done. The harm is civic. The harm is collective. The harm is to the architecture of trust and accountability that supports an open society and democratic polity. The harm is to the reputation and, perhaps, the reality of the United States as such a society, such a polity."
Hertzberg's sentiments are fine & correct. But I am deeply bothered when anyone presents an argument based on the assumption that a viable "architecture of trust and accountability" is still standing in this country. As surely as the World Trade Towers, that building of civic faith was knocked down a long time ago & it serves none of us any good to act as though its mirage is still standing. To comfort ourselves with the belief that it does exist only plays into the hands of the powerful dissemblers who have taken it down. If you think you can see it, they can still pretend it's there for the good of us all. Of course, we can’t survive as a polity without that architecture of trust and accountability. Which is why, first, we must drain the swamp of special interest money from our politics.
An aside on "service": While tediously scratching in Snowden's hair and stippling his short mustache and goatee, my mind wanders. I think about the service he has tried to perform for the people of this country through his sacrifice. It's an unpaid and un-honored service. His service has some similarities to the service of our military. Their charge is to protect the Constitution. He took that oath and ordered himself to do that, too. But there are some vast differences. Our servicemen & women were betrayed by their government when they were sent to Iraq and required to risk their lives while killing people who were not a danger -- nor intended to be -- to this country or our Constitution. They are praised highly for their service -- for the obvious reason that the praise obscures the crimes. Snowden is condemned for his service because it exposes crime & hypocrisy.
A further aside: I travel a lot. Those of you who do, too, know that our domestic airlines offer a thank you to our military service personnel by letting them board planes first, sometimes upgrading them to first class, sometimes asking fellow passengers to applaud their service. This irritates me -- not because these soldiers are not courageous & patriotic, but because it enforces the idea that the cause is just. I would love to hear -- just once! -- a flight attendant ask the passengers to acknowledge the peacemakers on board, to see a social justice activist be offered an upgrade to first class (and refuse it, of course).
I decided to paint the background of Snowden's portrait a deep brown/black. No other color seemed right.
Somebody asked me if I was going to paint Snowden’s moles on his left cheek & neck. Of course, I said, my obligation is not to be a cosmetic surgeon. Quite the opposite. Part of my obligation as an artist is to paint whatever I see in people however it varies from the aesthetic ideal -- the lopsided nose, the differently sized eyes, their blue-gray circles, a protruding ear, the thinning hair, crooked teeth. Nor is my task to judge what might be seen as character flaws in my subjects. We all have flaws. We all don’t have courage. Part of my obligation is to make visible the courageous integrity that informs the face, how it radiates as beauty.
One metric by which to measure Snowden's action: did it take courage or cowardice? The answer to this reminds me of Camilo Mejia, the first US soldier who, for refusing to go back to Iraq spent 9 months in prison. From prison Mejia wrote: "I was a coward, not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being, and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier. What good is freedom if we are not able to live with our own actions? I am confined to a prison, but I feel, today more than ever, connected to all humanity. Behind these bars I sit a free man because I listened to a higher power, the voice of my conscience.” He went on to say that he was also a hero -- not because he led men into battle, but because he refused to do it anymore in that immoral war.
Edward Snowden was a traitor to the kind of duty that can make one feel part of something, but simultaneously rob one of humanity. He was a hero for following his conscience which required of him a profound and deeper duty.
In a recent essay in the The New York Times, Roger Berkowitz, writing about Hannah Arendt, wrote,
“Arendt concluded that evil in the modern world is done neither by monsters nor by bureaucrats, but by joiners... Such joiners are not stupid; they are not robots. But they are thoughtless in the sense that they abandon their independence, their capacity to think for themselves, and instead commit themselves absolutely to the fictional truth of the movement. It is futile to reason with them. They inhabit an echo chamber, having no interest in learning what others believe. It is this thoughtless commitment that… makes them willing to employ technological implements of violence in the name of saving the world.”
This quote may explain the deafening silence from others in the NSA to Snowden's action. Two of the only NSA employees to support Snowden have been Tom Drake and William Binney, fellow NSA apostates and courageous whistleblowers who tried years ago to make the same warning.
My last task was to scratch a quote from Snowden into the surface of the portrait. As anyone who has listened to him knows, Snowden is articulate, measured, thoughtful and philosophically accurate about the ideas that support democracy and that impelled him to act. After considering many possible quotes, I chose one of the simplest and most obvious, one which the NSA with all of its super computers, eavesdropping equipment, and secrecy could not begin to understand:
"...the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless…. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed." --- Edward Snowden
see link for full story
Former U.S. Marine and FBI agent LtCol. John C Parkinson is bringing a whistleblower case to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
Parkinson claims he was fired from his position as an FBI special agent in 2010 because he was attempting to expose the illegal sexual escapades of fellow agents Steven Broce and Andrew Marshall. He filed a 2008 motion against the men through the Office of the Inspector general. His motion led to a brief investigation which was stopped when Parkinson’s FBI superiors retaliated against Parkinson with a motion of their own.
According to Parkinson’s claim, he said that a thorough investigative probe of Broce and Marshall “will reveal a clear pattern of fraud, waste and abuse over a period of years that has cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and damaged the public reputation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Justice.
“Mr. Broce has utilized his position as an FBI agent to engage in a career-long pattern of soliciting sex from prostitutes,” Parkinson wrote. “The symbols of his position as an FBI agent, specifically, his gun, badge and official identification, are utilized as part of the act of soliciting sex from prostitutes and have on at least two occasions been left behind in brothels by Mr. Broce.”
Parkinson also claims that Broce on multiple occasions brought prostitutes back to undercover FBI facilities for sex. Parkinson claims Broce would bring prostitutes to the facility “often during evening shifts that he is known for being especially eager to work.”
Parkinson claims the men also flew plains from Sacramento, California to Nevada for the sole purpose of picking up prostitutes in the state.
“As a pilot assigned to the Sacramento office of the FBI, Mr. Broce has unrestricted access to the FBI hangar, plane and aviation pool,” Parkinson’s claim reads. “Mr. Broce utilized the FBI’s plane to fly at night to Reno, Nevada for the sole purpose of engaging prostitutes in acts of illicit sex. In addition to spending thousands of tax dollars to fund his prurient interests in prostitution, Mr. Broce, who has failed multiple check rides and has vision and hearing impairments, violated FAA and FBI regulations by flying alone from California to Nevada.”
Soon after Parkinson filed his motion, several of his FBI superiors accused him of misusing $77,000 of FBI money. At the same time, Parkinson’s claim against Broce and Marshall was dropped. FBI officials pegged Parkinson with the misuse costs because he removed couches and other furniture from the FBI’s Sacramento airport hangar. Parkinson claims the furniture was becoming stained from Broce’s and Marshall’s sexual activities. Parkinson was ultimately fired over the charges.
Parkinson is being represented by attorney Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project in his case before the MSPB. Radack spoke recently on her client’s case.
“This is what happens to intelligence professionals who go through the proper channels,” she said. “Parkinson did everything by the book. He went to the Inspector General and yet he still ended up fired.”
For now, Broce and Marshall remain employed by the FBI. Neither men have received punishment or restrictions of access for the activities reported in Parkinson’s original claim.
Jeremy Hammond in a March 2012 booking photo from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago.
By Chris Hedges
NEW YORK—Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.
On Friday the 28-year-old activist will appear for sentencing in the Southern District Court of New York in Manhattan. After having made a plea agreement, he faces the possibility of a 10-year sentence for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor, which does work for the Homeland Security Department, the Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency and numerous corporations including Dow Chemical and Raytheon.
Four others involved in the hacking have been convicted in Britain, and they were sentenced to less time combined—the longest sentence was 32 months—than the potential 120-month sentence that lies before Hammond.
Hammond turned the pilfered information over to the website WikiLeaks and Rolling Stone and other publications. The 3 million email exchanges, once made public, exposed the private security firm’s infiltration, monitoring and surveillance of protesters and dissidents, especially in the Occupy movement, on behalf of corporations and the national security state. And, perhaps most important, the information provided chilling evidence that anti-terrorism laws are being routinely used by the federal government to criminalize nonviolent, democratic dissent and falsely link dissidents to international terrorist organizations. Hammond sought no financial gain. He got none.
The email exchanges Hammond made public were entered as evidence in my lawsuit against President Barack Obama over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 1021 permits the military to seize citizens who are deemed by the state to be terrorists, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities. Alexa O’Brien, a content strategist and journalist who co-founded US Day of Rage, an organization created to reform the election process, was one of my co-plaintiffs. Stratfor officials attempted, we know because of the Hammond leaks, to falsely link her and her organization to Islamic radicals and websites as well as to jihadist ideology, putting her at risk of detention under the new law. Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled, in part because of the leak, that we plaintiffs had a credible fear, and she nullified the law, a decision that an appellate court overturned when the Obama administration appealed it.
“In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution—transparency,” wrote Sarah Harrison, the British journalist who accompanied Snowden to Russia and who also has gone into exile, in Berlin. “If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.”
“When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged,” she went on. “When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it. Courage is contagious.”
Editor's note: The artist's essay that follows accompanies the 'online unveiling'—exclusive to Common Dreams—of Shetterly's latest painting in his "Americans Who Tell the Truth" portrait series which present citizens throughout U.S. history who have courageously engaged in the social, environmental, or economic issues of their time. This portrait of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds* follows one of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden unveiled on these pages in July.Portrait of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. (Painted by Robert Shetterly / 'Americans Who Tell The Truth' project)
“Senator Humphrey, I been praying about you, and I been thinking about you, and you’re a good man. The only trouble is, you’re afraid to do what you know is right.”
Those words were spoken by Fannie Lou Hamer in Atlantic City in 1964. Hubert Humphrey, the soon-to-be running mate of Lyndon Johnson, had informed Ms. Hamer that her integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation would not be seated at the Democratic Convention, nor would they replace the all-white delegation sent to the convention by the Mississippi Democratic Party.
The reason I quote them here is that the problem she identifies—a good man afraid to do what he knows is right— haunts our history. It haunts it because moral cowardice, euphemistically called political expediency, leads to injustice, denial and corruption.
When I was painting the portrait of the FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, those words came back to me. Just three days after the 9/11 attacks, Edmonds received a call from the FBI. She had applied to the agency for an internship in 1997 and been given a battery of tests that probed her language abilities in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani. The FBI, however, had never followed up with her. Now, scrambling to bolster their translation capabilities in the wake of the terrorist attack, the agency reached out to Edmonds. After a moment’s consideration, Edmonds, who was then a full-time student working on degrees in criminal justice and psychology, agreed to come on part-time as a translator for the FBI, feeling compelled to answer this “call to duty.”
What the FBI didn’t realize was that Sibel was not simply a translator. They had hired a fierce convert to US ideals. In her 2012 book, Classified Woman, Edmonds describes inheriting her “love for freedom of speech and of the press, my dedication to the protection of due process, and my endless quest for government held accountable” from her Iranian Azerbaijani father. Her father, a surgeon and hospital administrator, had been subjected to interrogation and torture in Iran when he advocated for worker’s rights in the hospital where he was employed.
As a teenager in Turkey, Edmonds wrote an essay for school in which she criticized Turkey’s censorship laws. Her scared and angry teacher asked her to withdraw the essay, fearing that his student would be jailed and tortured. Edmonds’ father backed his daughter’s decision not to submit a different essay. Within months in 1988, Edmonds left for the United States and experienced “love at first sight.” It was a place, she writes, where she could live “with the kind of freedom and rights that existed only in books and in my fantasies.”
Edmonds began work at the FBI on September 20, 2001. She was fired without cause in March of 2002. In her six month stint at the agency, Edmonds witnessed blatant incompetence, personal agendas that compromised national security, and corruption at top levels of the American government. Despite mounting threats from superiors, Edmonds refused to turn a blind eye or walk quietly away from the agency, believing it was her responsibility to expose the wrongdoing she saw. Like most whistleblowers, she assumed that when FBI really understood what she was discovering, they would stop it. She reported to what she thought were a few good men, each of them afraid to do what was right. Their choice was to silence her.
As a translator, she was discovering intricate webs of corruption involving money laundering, illegal weapon and drug sales, and illicit trading in military and nuclear technology. The spinners of the webs were (are) fronted as Turkish construction companies operating in the US. In the web, and making huge profits from the deals, were very high ranking US officials in the Congress, State Department and Pentagon. Every time Edmonds was rebuffed she tried harder to get the FBI to pay attention. Once she was fired, she went to court to sue to make her knowledge public and the US courts responded by classifying all of her information as Top Secret. She had been muzzled.
We applaud whistleblowers for their courage to tell truth to power. However, that statement is at the best misleading, at the worst, false. Power is not listening, and it is making sure that others can’t hear. Whistleblowers tell truth about power. And when that truth is about a corruption as deep and far-reaching as what Sibel Edmonds had uncovered, many people don’t even want to know.
When she was given the 2006 PEN Newman First Amendment Award. Edmonds said in her acceptance speech, “… our freedom is under assault—not from terrorists—for they only attack us, not our freedom, and they can never prevail. No, the attacks on our freedom are from within, from our very own government: and unless we recognize these attacks … and stand up, and speak out—no, shout out—against those in government who are attempting to silence the brave few who are warning us, then we are doomed to wake up one sad morning and wonder when and where our freedom died.”
It seems that the information that Sibel Edmonds is sounding the alarm about, systemic corruption in all our branches of government, is information that many people, even good people, don’t want to hear. Her message is similar to what William Pepper argued in a Memphis court in 1999, that the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was carried out by a conspiracy of government and mafia forces; similar to what James Douglass asserts about CIA involvement in the assassination of JFK in his book JFK and the Unspeakable.
Many of us would prefer to ignore this kind of deep criminality on the part of our own government. Why? Is it too dangerous to confront? Irrelevant to the struggles of our everyday lives? Is what this acknowledgement would require of us as citizens too frightening?
We celebrate the lives of people like Dr. King, mourn and grieve in official ceremonies promoted by the government, but refuse to acknowledge that the government itself was involved in the crime of his death even when the evidence is readily available. In a sense then, all of us become accessories after the fact to the crime.
Unfortunately, we all inherit our legacy of denial. Our economic, political, historical and moral lives are too often shaped by failures of accountability. When Obama refused to prosecute the Bush administration for any of its crimes in order to look forward instead of looking back, he enabled this deep criminal denial. He also ensured that we would never be able to look forward because the past would be blocking our view. And in doing so, he also ensures that a republic based on the rule of law becomes little more than propaganda.
We are taught that our separation of powers makes justice inevitable. We are not taught that corrupt collaboration of those powers makes injustice unchallengeable, that “law” is being used to commit crime.
For Sibel Edmonds that situation is untenable. Her courage and tenacity in trying to expose these crimes is, even by whistleblower standards, remarkable. I urge everyone to read her book Classified Woman to find out what we don’t want to know. She’s not afraid to do what she knows is right.
Chicago, IL - Since 1992, activists with Fight Back! news, some of whom are members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, have held a People’s Thanksgiving dinner. According to Joe Iosbaker, “It was started as part of a movement to protest 500 years of colonialism and to celebrate the resistance of the indigenous people.”
Each year the dinner has recognized activists and organizations that have contributed to struggles in Chicago and around the country.
This year, there is urgency to the gathering. Rasmea Odeh, a beloved activist in the Palestinian community in Chicago, is under attack by the U.S. government. The Sunday, Dec. 8 dinner will raise funds for her defense, in addition to helping to keep publishing Fight Back!.
Hatem Abudayyeh, a friend of Fight Back!, and himself a victim of repression, said, “The FBI and the U.S. attorney in Chicago have used political repression against 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists for the past three years. Now the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. attorney in Detroit are victimizing Rasmea.”
Odeh faces 10 years in prison and deportation if she is convicted of falsifying her application for citizenship.
Along with Rasmea Odeh, the dinner will honor two activists with the Anti-War Committee-Chicago: Newland Smith, a longtime fixture in the Palestine solidarity movement, and Sarah Simmons for her role resisting Mayor Emanuel’s attack on the Chicago Teachers Union and public education. Pete Camarata, a founder of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, will be recognized for his lifelong efforts for the cause of working people. And the continued struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin will be highlighted by a Skype message from Michael Sampson, a Dream Defender who occupied the State Capitol in Florida after the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
For more information on the dinner, go to http://www.StopFBI.net
http://www.curenational.org/index.php CURE is a membership organization. We work hard to provide our members with the information and tools necessary to help them understand the criminal justice system and to advocate for changes.
Founded in 1987 and located near Boston, Massachusettss, Granite Island Group, is THE internationally recognized leader in the field of Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM), Bug Sweeps, Wiretap Detection, Surveillance Technology, Communications Security (COMSEC), Counter-Intelligence, Technical Security, and Spy Hunting.
Granite Island Group provides expert technical, analytical and research capability for the detection, nullification, and isolation of eavesdropping devices, technical surveillance penetrations, technical surveillance hazards, and physical security weaknesses... Simply put, we hunt spies, stop espionage, and plug leaks.
Granite Island Group was initially formed to provide TSCM and SIGINT training services to the Army Intelligence School located at Fort Devens, MA. Engineering, design, and related services were also provided to various research facilities and defense contractors throughout New England. These services also included product design, fully instrumented TSCM surveys, bug sweeps, wiretap detection, SCIF compliance inspections, shielding evaluations, and other engineering services related to the technical security and protection of classified information.
Design projects included the development of several briefcase and man-pack systems used for signals exploitation and surveillance, along with suites of software products used to control test instruments for automated ECM, SIGINT, Signals Analysis, TEMPEST, TSCM and related measurements.
In 1989 the services offered were expanded to include the design, installation, and maintenance of high performance computer networks used in secure facilities. This included performing TSCM, wiretap detection, and bug sweep services on desktop computers, data networks, and PBX/ESS systems to identify weaknesses which could allow technical penetrations or the compromise of classified or sensitive information. At the time there was only one company in the entire country who could do this... and we were it.
Granite Island Group currently provides TSCM, bug sweeps, wiretap detection, and communications engineering services to a wide range of clients and has become one of the most respected names in the industry.
Granite Island Group has had an Internet presence since 1987, and James Atkinson has been active on the Internet since the mid 1970's. With the growth on the Internet in the early 1990's came an FTP/UUCP library, then an IRC reflector, and a dedicated E-Mail based list for discussion and to publish and exchange files related to TSCM and ongoing projects. With the advent of "Mosaic browsers" several years later the informational files and documents were converted to HTTP (or Hypertext Documents) and placed on a dedicated domain in 1994 (http://www.tscm.com)
The web site developed to over 1,950 publicly assessable documents related to TSCM, technical counter-intelligence and technical security which involves well over 78,200 printed pages. The site currently handles an average of over 4,500 visitors a day from all over the world. It is the first, the largest, and most complete site anywhere on the Internet dedicated to TSCM, Technical Counter-Intelligence, and Technical Security.
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Production of Court-Room Photographic Exhibits in Large Scale Formats
Photography of Injuries and Wounds of Injured Persons
Technical Examination of Photographs to Detect Manipulation or Forgery
Intelligence Analysis and Interpretation of Aerial Photography
Forensics, Criminalistics, Crime Scene Logs or Reports
Court Records and Case Transcripts
Physical Evidence (where are the holes in the case)
Medical Evidence and Records
Electronic Records or Computer Related Evidence
Jury Selection, and Jury or Witness Behavioral Analysis Consultant
Contemporaneous Intelligence Analysis (provided at hearings and during trial)
Technical Advisor, Tutoring, and Technology Coaching for Attorneys
Computer Forensics and Expert Testimony
Recovery of Erased or Damaged Computer Files
Recovery of Erased or Damaged Digital Photography and Video
iPhone, iPod, and iPad Non-Tainting Duplications (Perfect Bit-by-Bit Direct from Memory Copies)
iPhone, iPod, and iPad Forensic Analysis
Assistance in Crafting and Properly Issuing "Preservation Letters for Telephone, Data, ISPs Records"
Assistance in Crafting and Properly Issuing "Subpoenas for Telephone, Data, ISPs Records"
Converting Raw Data Obtained from Telephone, Data, and ISPs into Readable Reports
Computer Source Code Analysis and Deconstruction
Methods Used To Manipulate or Fabricate Electronic Evidence
Methods Used To Manipulate or Fabricate "Forensics and Criminalistics"
Methods Used To Manipulate or Fabricate "Fake Crime Scenes"
Methods Used To Manipulate or Fabricate "Fake Evidence"
Methods Used To Manipulate or Fabricate Photographs
Methods Used To Illicit False Confessions and False Testimony
Bug Sweeps of Judges Chambers and/or Homes
Bug Sweeps of Jury Rooms, Juror Hotel Rooms, and other placed used by Jurors
Bug Sweeps of Attorney-Client Booths and Meeting Rooms
Bug Sweeps of Attorney Offices and Conference Rooms
Bug Sweeps of Attorneys Client Homes and/or Offices
Granite Island Group Mission Statement
Granite Island Group Profile and Backgrounder
Background and Qualifications - James M. Atkinson
Questions To Ask TSCM Specialists The GOLD LIST
Helpful Books to Read, and Training to Attend
TSCM-L Archives, over 10,000 messages
TSCM 101 - The Technical "Meat and Potatoes" The following are a series of brief entry level tutorials regarding specific areas and topics relative to TSCM and methods used to find bugs and other eavesdropping devices.
Noise and Sensitivity
Modeling Eavesdropping Devices
TSCM Antenna Methods and Protocols
Wireless Microphones Revisited
The Wavecom Eavesdropping Threat
Video Signal Eavesdropping Threat
Detection, Isolation, and Evaluation of Spread Spectrum Signals
Frequency Allocation Basics
Basic Bug Frequencies
DTV Signals Analysis
Tutorial on Basic Sweep Gear
Spectral Analysis of RF Bugging Devices
Common RF Bugging Frequencies
Time Domain Reflectometry Analysis (Wiretap Locating)
Time Domain Reflectometry Tutorial
Fluke LANMeter (Dry TDR Methods)
TSCM-L Technical Counterintelligence Mailing List
Executive Order 12333 - United States Intelligence Activities
Title 50, Chapter 36 - Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Title 18, Chapter 119 - Oral, Wire, and Electronic Communications Interception
Title 18, Chapter 121 - Stored Wire and Electronic Communications Records Access
Title 18, Chapter 205 - Searches and Seizures
Title 18, Chapter 90 - Economic Espionage Act of 1996
Deepwater Doo Doo - U.S. Government Conned Out Of Several Tens of Billion Dollars
Antennas and Signal Acquisition
Vector Signal Analysers
Demodulation and RF Intercept Equipment
Time Domain Reflectometers
TSCM Specific Instrumentation
Non Linear Junction Detectors
Acoustic TSCM Equipment
Physical Search Equipment
Photographic and Imaging Instruments
Special Purpose Vehicle Consideration (SPV)
Telephone Equipment Index
For a confidential consultation please E-mail: email@example.com
Telephone: (978) 546-3803 International Callers: 001-978-546-3803
In the early 1980s, when he was the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Puerto Rico office, Bernardo “Mat” Pérez was the highest-ranking official of Hispanic origin in the agency. But the Mexican American didn’t last long in his position in turmoil-plagued Puerto Rico, where groups labeled as terrorists were fighting for independence.
Eventually, Pérez said, he was demoted and sent to the FBI’s Los Angeles bureau, where he worked as second in command.
Pérez said his boss in Puerto Rico didn’t seem to understand the volatile situation there and didn’t seem to respect him because of his Mexican heritage. And when he got to L.A., it wasn’t any better.
The retired agent, who now works as a private investigator in Santa Fe, said he had been naive about racism because he had grown up in a small but diverse community where everyone got along. But his experience in the FBI opened his eyes to the rampant discrimination that minority people faced in the federal workforce. In 1987, when he finally had become fed up with the way he had been treated by those at the highest levels of the FBI because of his Mexican heritage, Pérez sued the agency, along with 310 other Hispanic agents.
At the time, Pérez said, only about 450 of the agency’s 9,000 agents were Hispanic.
The historic discrimination case was heard in 1988 in El Paso, and the Hispanic agents prevailed. A New York Times headline declared, “Judge Finds F.B.I is Discriminatory.” National media sought out Pérez for scores of interviews, and he won awards and acclaim from civil-rights organizations.
But he said he brought the lawsuit only because he wanted Hispanics in the field to be rewarded for their hard work and to make the FBI a good career choice for younger generations of Latinos.
Growing up proud
Pérez, 74, was born and raised in a diverse mining town — Lone Pine, Calif. — with Italian and Irish families. His parents told him that he should be always proud of the family’s Mexican heritage. Growing up in that small-town community, he said, he didn’t think racism existed in the U.S.
“There was no barrio,” he said. “We were all mixed into the town.”
Pérez got into law enforcement after following advice from his uncle, a former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1960s, when the department had few Hispanic officers.
“I had told him I wanted to be an officer, too,” Pérez said of his uncle. “But instead, he told me, ‘Go apply at the FBI. They’re more respected and better paid.’ ”
He applied for a position with the FBI’s Los Angeles office, but he was told he needed a college education to be an agent.
Pérez wanted to get his feet wet in the field, so he applied at the FBI’s Washington, D.C., office, where he got a job in 1960 as a messenger and file clerk. His duties included handling top-secret files and delivering them to agency officials such J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s controversial director.
While he was living in D.C., Pérez got accepted to Georgetown University, where he majored in Spanish literature and became fluent in the Spanish language. And in 1963, when he achieved his college degree, he finally became an agent. He was assigned to offices in Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C.
Advancement and retaliation
Pérez met Hoover in 1969, when he was sent on an assignment to Mexico. It was nerve-wracking, he said, because he knew the meeting could determine his rest of his FBI career.
“At the end of the meeting, he says, ‘You have anything to ask of me?’ ” Pérez said of Hoover. “And I told him, ‘Yes sir, I have one request: I would like more responsibility.’ ”
Hoover was delighted to hear that, Pérez said, and he responded, “As long as I’m the director of this organization, young man, you are going places.”
Pérez worked in several FBI divisions before he was designated as special agent in charge of the Puerto Rico office in 1979.
Pérez quickly launched his first major investigation in his new position — one of the Puerto Rican nationalist groups fighting for independence from the U.S. had gunned down a bus full of sailors. Two were killed and nine others wounded.
Pérez had hoped that with such terrorist attacks occurring on U.S. soil, his bosses would give him the resources he needed to apprehend the nationalist fighters. He asked for computers and more Spanish-speaking agents. But his bosses didn’t take him seriously, he said.
After the bus attack, Pérez did get more Spanish-speaking agents, but he was told he would have to wait years for the computers. He had no intention of waiting. He said he went around his bosses at the FBI and secured computers from another government agency. And then he got his manpower focused on Puerto Rico’s terrorists.
When it was time for an evaluation, however, Pérez was told by his bosses that they weren’t going to consider his investigative work on the island’s nationalist organizations. Instead, they said, he would be evaluated on his administrative abilities. And he didn’t fare well.
Pérez maintains the evaluation was used as an opportunity for his bosses to retaliate against him for going above his director’s head to get computers for his office. A judge later agreed that the evaluation was a pretext for Pérez’s demotion.
“I had been demoted and bounced out of San Juan because I lacked administrative abilities — that was the reason [they told me],” Pérez said. “But the real reason was because I was acting like a Latino. I was talking back, and I wasn’t going along with the company line.”
Pérez was made an assistant special agent in charge in the Los Angeles bureau, working under Special Agent in Charge Richard Bretzing.
“When I got there, [Bretzing] told me, ‘I’m going to try to overlook the fact that you’re a Mexican,’ ” Pérez said.
A painful, costly lawsuit
Although he had experienced discrimination firsthand, accepting that it was widespread in the agency was difficult for Pérez. At an October 2008 meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about issues facing Hispanic federal workers, he described his dilemma at the FBI:
“I had investigated Klan cross-burnings in Florida, police brutality cases in Texas and other civil rights violations,” he said. ” … But I refused to accept and admit that discrimination existed at my beloved FBI. I even argued with my own father and insisted that the FBI was incapable of discrimination. But I finally came to understand a painful truth — He was right, I was wrong.”
Initiating the historic lawsuit was costly for Pérez. He had to borrow thousands of dollars from friends and family members, and he maxed out his credit cards, he said. And even though the court ruled in his favor, there was no monetary compensation. During his talk at the EEOC meeting, he said his successful attorneys had gone bankrupt after the trial.
Still, he said, the case opened the doors for major changes at the FBI — and more lawsuits against federal agencies that were discriminating against minorities.
Fight for equality continues
After the trial, Pérez continued to work for the FBI, but many agents were outraged, accusing him of embarrassing the agency, and he even threatened to bring another lawsuit just to get respect from his bosses, he said.
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