Wes Swearingen served as an FBI agent from 1951 until he retired in 1977. During that period he perpetrated or witnessed numerous violations of law by FBI agents and their operatives, heard revealing statements by other agents about their illegal activities, and read files which documented violations of the rights of American citizens.
The activities of FBI agents and their "informers" include warrantless break-ins, theft, fraud, kidnapping, perjury, fabrication of evidence, suborning of witness perjury, and murder. The targets were political dissidents: anyone FBI agents didn't like.
Swearingen details how members of the Black Panthers were murdered by FBI operatives, another was framed for a murder he didn't commit, and still others were prosecuted on trumped up charges.
He does not mention anything about the deaths of John or Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King, but he describes an agency so deeply involved in criminal activity of every kind as to be capable of causing the deaths of those men and others who have died under mysterious circumstances.
He describes various files on political dissidents, called the "Security Index" and the "Reserve Index", which eventually included about 500,000 names, and which were the persons to be arrested without warrant and taken to detention areas in the event of a national security emergency. For those who are inclined to dismiss such concerns as paranoid, here is supporting evidence, notwithstanding the repeal of authorizing legislation in 1971, which would not stop people like these.
Swearingen provides an insider's view of the COINTELPRO program of suppression of political dissidents, but also tells us that the program continues to this day under another name, apparently without a paper trail.
He paints a picture of an agency riddled with corruption, incompetence, and inefficiency, composed of men who may have once been patriots, but who have been reduced to common criminals, whose crime fighting activities are limited at best and largely for show, with political repression being the primary mission.
Some may suggest that the FBI may have been reformed since Swearingen left the agency in 1977, and no longer does the things he describes. Certainly there have been some reform efforts, particularly during the period Edward Levi was Attorney-General, and we would expect another generation of agents to have taken the place of those Swearingen worked with, but available evidence, including continuing harassment of Wes by his former agency, indicate it has not been reformed at all.
There have been other books by former FBI agents that have told similar tales, such as William Turner, author of _Hoover's FBI: The Men and the Myth_, and books by former agents of the CIA, such as those by Philip Agee, John Stockwell, Victor Marchetti, Frank Snepp, and Ralph McGehee. It seems likely that similar books remain to be written by agents of almost every agency of the U.S. government, revealing them as criminal enterprises and implicating almost every employee as criminal conspirators. Such agents should read this book and begin gathering the evidence they will need to take out with them.
Even Swearingen still speaks with pride of his crimefighting activities, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there is no constitutional authority or federal jurisdiction for statutes against the offenses he was investigating, making enforcement in federal courts itself a criminal violation of the civil rights of the targets, even when they really are bad guys who deserve to be prosecuted under applicable state laws.
The most important thing this book reveals is the mindset of government agents, and the way otherwise good men get corrupted by the system of which they become a part. They are totally ignorant of the principles of constitutional republic government, and willing to do whatever works, regardless of legality. Their arrogance was revealed in a statement by Special Agent Joseph G. Deegan in 1977: "We are the only ones who know what is good for the country, and we are the only ones who can do anything about it." After reading this book and others, it is clear that this statement reflects a dangerous delusion of grandeur.
Anyone who is involved in any kind of politically significant activity, or who is concerned about the future of this country, needs to read this book to learn how government agents operate and how citizens can defend themselves against them, both in court and in the field. These agents are not very effective, and people should not be awed by them. Standing up to them works if one exercises a few simple precautions, such as taping all encounters and having witnesses around at all times. Going armed at all times may not be a bad idea, either.
WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statementis being issued by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Today the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a misleadingrelease announcing a significant increase in the number of hate groups andhate crimes over the last few years. The release then suggests that ournational debate over immigration reform has fueled the increase in both.Offering no criteria as to what constitutes a hate group, manipulating thedata for self-serving purposes, and then making broad, unsubstantiatedconclusions, this latest release from the SPLC constitutes one of its mostreckless charges to date. It is calculated to be inflammatory, tarnish thereputation of leading immigration reform groups, and shut down meaningfulpublic policy debate about immigration reform. When examined responsibly, the FBI hate crime data show a dramaticallydifferent story than the one the SPLC portrays. First, in order to suggestan artificially large increase in the raw number of hate crimes, the SPLCselects 2003 as its base year, one of lowest years on record for hatecrimes against Hispanics. If one compares the number of hate crimes between1995 (the earliest report available on the FBI's website) and 2006 (themost recent statistical year available), one would see that the number ofhate crimes has increased only 17 percent. But even this is not the whole story. The SPLC conveniently forgets toindex the raw hate crime data with the population, a step always taken bythe FBI to more accurately depict an increase or decrease in crime. Thus,when one indexes a 17 percent increase in hate crimes against Hispanicswith a 67 percent increase in the Hispanic population between 1995 and2006, it becomes clear that the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics hasin fact dropped dramatically -- by about 40 percent. This reduction in the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics is evenmore apparent when one considers that the number of law enforcementagencies that participate in the FBI's hate crime data collection programincreased 33 percent between 1995 and 2006. Between 2003 and 2006 alone,the number of law enforcement agencies participating in the FBI's hatecrime data collection program increased by over 700. Finally, the SPLC claims that there has been substantial growth in thenumber of "hate groups" since 2000. However, the SPLC provides nodefinition of a "hate group" and offers no objective criteria that it usesto classify organizations as such. The SPLC appears to think that it canstick this label onto any organization it wishes, including long-standing,highly-regarded immigration reform organizations such as the Federation forAmerican Immigration Reform (FAIR) without being challenged as to itsmotivations or methodology. FAIR is confident the media and the Americanpeople will see through the SPLC's deceitful tactics. "There is no level of hate crime that is acceptable -- period," saysDan Stein, President of FAIR. "However, the SPLC's calculated abuse of theterm 'hate group' and manipulation of hate crime data for self-servingpolitical interests is an affront to hate crime victims and those whoadvocate on their behalf. The SPLC manipulates data to reach deceitfulconclusions, tosses the term 'hate group' at highly-respected organizationslike FAIR, and then mixes the two in an attempt to stop our national debateover immigration reform. But this is consistent with the SPLC's growingpractice of making allegations with no factual basis, no criteria andsadly, no one challenging their increasing habit of playing fast and loosewith the facts. Unfortunately, it is the American people who suffer mostthrough this irresponsible behavior." ABOUT FAIR Headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., FAIR is the largest,oldest and most respected immigration reform group in America. With over250,000 members, FAIR advocates for non-discriminatory immigration policesthat protect American jobs, wages, the environment, and national security.As a bipartisan organization free from special interest influence, FAIR isregularly sought by Congress and the media for its objective analysis andfor its fair, practical and effective policy solutions.
Stetson Kennedy was born in Jackson, Florida, in 1916. After graduating from the University of Florida he joined the Federal Writers Project (1935-39). While working on the project Kennedy was deeply influenced by the book, You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), a documentary account of impoverished living conditions in the South, that had been produced by the novelist, Erskine Caldwell, and the photographer, Margaret Bourke-White. Kennedy became a newspaper reporter and wrote investigative articles for the New York Post. His first book, Palmetto County, was published in 1942.
A member of the NAACP, Kennedy was a strong opponent of racism and in 1950 "campaigned for the U.S. Senate from Florida as an independent 'colour-blind' candidate on a platform calling for a 'live and let live' foreign policy and total equality at home." As an investigative journalist, Kennedy joined the Ku Klux Klan. Articles about his activities appeared in the New York Post. He also supplied information of its illegal activities to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) but both organizations showed little interest in what he found. Kennedy also wrote several books about racism such as Southern Exposure (1946), I Rode With the Klan (1954) and Jim Crow Guide to the U.S.A (1959). Kennedy's latest book, After Appomattox: How the South Won the War (1995), explains how the Old South converted military defeat into political and social victory. Kennedy was also featured in Coming of Age (1995) by Studs Terkel. In 2001 was given the Benjamin Spock Peacemaker of the Year Award.
Bill Mauldin, "Bloodstains Again" (1946)
Who Killed Martin Luther King?
Deaths of Civil Rights Workers
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner
Segregation in the United States
Ku Klux Klan
Lynchings in the United States
James Earl Ray
(1) Stetson Kennedy, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan (1954) In delving into both old and new outrages perpetrated by the Klan, I was soon struck by one all-important fact - almost all the things written on the subject were editorials, not exposes. The writers were against the Klan, all right, but they had precious few inside facts about it. Their punches consequently lacked the dynamite I knew it would take to score a knockout blow against the Klan. The need, obviously, was not just for more words, but legal evidence on the Klan's inside machinations - evidence which could be taken into court and used to put the Klan's leaders behind bars where they belonged. To get such evidence - just as obviously - somebody would have to go under a Klan robe and turn the hooded order's dirty linen inside out for all the world to see.
(2) After joining the Ku Klux Klan, Stetson Kennedy was able to informally interview Cliff Carter, the Night Hawk of the Klan. The Kloran of the Klan defines a Klavalier as the soldier of the Klan. We take our name from the cavalier - a courtly, polite, cultured and very courageous and skillful soldier of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As the Military Department of the Invisible Empire, we Klavaliers also serve as the secret police of the KKK and are entrusted with carrying out all "direct-line" activity. We are a militant army, serving our country in peacetime as the U.S. Army does in wartime! Our country was founded by a white Protestant nation, and we intend to maintain it as such! Any attempt to influence its affairs by inferior racial minorities or persons owing allegiance to foreign prelates or potentates will not be tolerated! All hyphenated groups - whether they be Negro-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Catholic-Americans, Italian-Americans or whatever must become American-Americans, or leave the country! The Ku Klux Klan is an American-American organization. As the Army of the Klan we Klavaliers are dedicated to saving America for Americans!
(3) Stetson Kennedy was present when an African American cab-driver was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for carrying a white woman in his cab. The Negro man watched out of the corner of his eye. But the fear he must have felt upon discovering he was in the hands of the Klan did not show in his face. We turned off the highway and on to a clay road that threaded off through the pine flatwoods. When we came to a clump of hardwood trees at the head of a branch, Randal stopped the cab. Reaching over and opening the door, he gave the Negro a shove that sent him sprawling face first on to the ground. Almost before I knew what was happening, both carloads of Klavaliers had swarmed around him, and were kicking at his prostrated form amid a torrent of profanity. The Negro groaned and doubled over to protect his groin, but he made no plea for mercy. Randal, meanwhile, was standing on the sidelines, calmly putting on his robe. That done, he stepped up, and the kicking subsided. "You'd better say your prayers, nigger!" he said. "Your time has come."
(4) In his book, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan, Stetson Kennedy described the election of Gene Talmadge, the Governor of Georgia. Talmadge was elected Governor of Georgia after a whirlwind campaign of Klan terror aimed at keeping Negroes from going to the polls. On the eve of the election, fiery crosses had flamed on court-house lawns all over Georgia. Notices signed "KKK" were tacked on to Negro churches, warning, "The first nigger who votes in Georgia will be a dead one." Other warnings were sent to Negroes through the U.S. mails, and others were dropped from airplanes over Negro neighbourhoods. On election day, thousands of Negroes awoke to find miniature coffins on their doorsteps. My union friend Charlie Pike led his locals, white and Negro alike, to march to the polls and vote as a body. And though many thousands of Negroes defied the Klan and voted for the first time, in the end the forces of hate carried the day, Talmadge was elected, and the liberal supported by Governor Arnall was defeated.
(5) In his book, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan, Stetson Kennedy wrote about the murder of his friend, Harry T. Moore, on 25th December, 1951. Terrorists planted a bomb under the bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Harry T. Moore, Negro residents of Mims, a small town north of Miami. Moore was killed instantly. His wife died after a week of suffering. Even though Mrs. Moore said she had a "good idea" who planted the bomb, neither the local police nor Governor Warren's special investigator Elliott nor the F.B.I. bothered to take any statement from her before she died. Moore was a two-fisted saintly fighter for democracy, who throughout his life was in the forefront of the struggle of his people for a greater measure of justice. at the time of his death he was not only state secretary of the N.A.A.C.P. but also leader of the Progressive Voters League of Florida.
(6) Working undercover as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Stetson Kennedy discovered the organization switched its support from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party when Dwight Eisenhower was selected as its presidential candidate in 1952. It was Eisenhower's record as an enforcer of racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, that opened up the possibility of swinging the traditionally Democratic South into the Republican camp. "My policy for handling coloured troops will be absolute equalitative treatment, but there will be segregation where facilities are afforded," Eisenhower had said in 1942 - and the Klan proceeded to make much of this fact. On July 16th of that same year, a directive bearing Eisenhower's signature went out to the red Cross clubs in London, ordering that, "Care should be taken so that men of two races are not needlessly intermingled in the same dormitory or at the same tables in the dinning-halls." Finally, when in campaigning for the presidency Eisenhower announced his opposition to civil rights legislation by Congress, the Klan took off the wraps and went all out for Ike. On election day, more Negroes than ever before in American history defied the Klan terror and marched to the polls - but nevertheless at least five million were kept from voting. The hate propaganda did its work, and Kludd Shuler's prediction that five Southern states would go for Eisenhower came true.
(7) Stetson Kennedy, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan (1954) Another signal for the Ku Klux Klan ideology is represented by the McCarran Immigration Act. sponsored by Republican Senator Pat McCarron - who is also the author of the U.S.A.'s concentration camplaw - and Republican Congressman Francis Walter, the new law bars coloured races almost entirely, while favouring immigration by north Europeans. Instead of working for repeal of this racist law, Eisenhower has asked for special quotas to let in migrants from eastern Europe, most of whom are diehard German Nazis.
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For Immediate Release March 19, 2008
Washington D.C. FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691
Washington D.C. FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691
Michelle Ann Jupina has been named Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of Intelligence for the Washington field office. Director Robert S. Mueller, III appointed her to this position to replace SAC Timothy Healy, who is returning to FBI Headquarters as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Directorate of Intelligence. In this position, Ms. Jupina will oversee the Washington field office's Intelligence Division.
Ms. Jupina entered on duty as a special agent with the FBI in 1996. Upon completion of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, she was assigned to the Washington field office, where she conducted investigations in cyber, white collar crime, criminal, and counterintelligence matters. While at Washington Field, she received the United States Attorney's Award for leading a high-profile cyber investigation. Ms. Jupina later became a Supervisory Special Agent in the National Infrastructure Protection Center, and later in the FBI's Cyber Division, where she focused on computer intrusion and malicious code investigations.
During her career with the FBI, Ms. Jupina also served as Special Assistant to the Executive Assistant Director (EAD) of the National Security Branch (NSB), the EAD of Intelligence, and the Deputy EAD of Administration. In those positions, she played a key role in strengthening the FBI's intelligence program and in the establishment of the Directorate of Intelligence and the NSB.
Prior to her appointment as SAC, Ms. Jupina served as the Section Chief of the NSB Executive Staff. In that position, she oversaw the coordination of the national security budget, performance metrics, strategy, training, human resource matters, information technology matters, communications, and policy issues that cut across the five NSB components: the Counterterrorism Division, the Counterintelligence Division, the Directorate of Intelligence, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, and the Terrorist Screening Center.
For Immediate Release March 21, 2008
Clayt Q. Lemme has been named Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Counterintelligence Division for the Washington field office. Director Robert S. Mueller, III appointed him to this position to replace SAC Kevin Favreau, who was recently named Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters. Most recently, Mr. Lemme served as Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters. Mr. Lemme has over 30 years of service in the FBI, with over 20 years of experience in espionage and foreign counterintelligence investigations.
Mr. Lemme entered on duty with the FBI in August 1977 as a fingerprint examiner, and was assigned to FBI Headquarters until he became a special agent in January 1984. Upon completion of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to the Cincinnati Division, where he investigated white collar crime and violent crime matters. Mr. Lemme then transferred to the Washington field office, where he worked primarily foreign counterintelligence and espionage cases, with intermittent assignments in support of counterterrorism investigations such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the embassy bombings in Africa, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing. He became Supervisor of a Washington field office counterintelligence squad in 1993.
In January 2001, Mr. Lemme transferred to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters. While there, he supervised infrastructure protection matters and participated in the management of the 9/11 investigations in the weeks following the attacks. He was then assigned to work with a number of federal agencies to develop and implement procedures for the identification and protection of critical national assets. In February 2003, he returned to counterintelligence, becoming Unit Chief of a counterespionage unit at FBI Headquarters. He was promoted in July 2003 to Assistant Section Chief for counterespionage matters. He remained in that position until he returned to the Washington field office to serve as Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Counterintelligence in May 2005. In May 2006, he was promoted to Chief of the Counterespionage Section in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters.
Mar 25, 2008,
Second National Fusion Center Conference Held to Foster Greater Collaboration
More than 900 federal, state, and local law enforcement and homeland security officials attended this week the National Fusion Center Conference here to further the U.S. government's plans to create a seamless network of these centers.The second annual conference was jointly sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative. Participants discussed how to best incorporate fusion centers at the state level and in major urban areas into national plans to improve the sharing of information related to terrorism - a key goal of a strategy that President Bush released last October.After the 9/11 attacks, states and various U.S. localities established information fusion centers to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and sharing of homeland security, terrorism, and law enforcement intelligence. Today there are more than 50 operational centers in 46 states."Working together - leveraging federal as well as state and local networks; moving relevant information and intelligence quickly; enabling rapid analytic and operational judgments - that is what this network of centers is all about," said Charles E. Allen, Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, in his opening remarks at the conference, which was held March 18-20 at the Hilton San Francisco. Added Russell M. Porter, Director of the Iowa State Fusion Center: "Establishing a national, integrated network of fusion centers isn't solely a federal effort. "State, local, and tribal officials have been and will continue to be actively engaged in every step of the process," said Porter, who also serves as Chair of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Committee. Arthur M. Cummings II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch, emphasized the importance of maintaining a unified front. Fusion centers, he said, "are an effective and efficient mechanism for exchanging information by merging data from a variety of sources to produce actionable intelligence for consumers, such as the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces and local police departments."Moreover, stakeholders must stay vigilant, said Bart R. Johnson, ODNI's Director for Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Support and Outreach."Terrorism remains a credible and ongoing threat to our country," he said. "The ODNI and all of the relevant federal, state, local, and tribal agencies must maintain the focus on and commitment to collaboration to mitigate this threat."To that end, bureaucratic turf wars would be extremely counterproductive. "Law enforcement and justice agencies at all levels need to find ways to overcome obstacles to sharing information - and the U.S. Justice Department is committed to providing the resources and assistance necessary to make sharing as easy as possible," said Domingo S. Herraiz, Director of the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance at DOJ. On the whole, fusion centers play a decisive role, said Ambassador Thomas McNamara, Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment. "They are a critical part of President Bush's National Strategy for Information Sharing," the ambassador said. "They strengthen the nation's ability to protect communities from future attacks."
By LARRY NEUMEISTER – 40 minutes ago
NEW YORK (AP) — The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans' Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, the ACLU said Tuesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union based its conclusion on a review of more than 1,000 documents turned over by the Defense Department after it sued the agency last year for documents related to national security letters. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court.
The letters are investigative tools used to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena.
ACLU lawyer Melissa Goodman said the documents the civil rights group studied "make us incredibly concerned that the FBI and DoD might be collaborating to evade limits put on the DoD's use of NSLs."
It would be understandable if the military relied on help from the FBI on joint investigations, but not when the FBI was not involved in a probe, she said.
The FBI referred requests for comment Tuesday to the Defense Department. A request for comment from Justice Department lawyers for that agency was not immediately returned.
Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said the military is allowed to demand financial and credit records in certain instances but does not have the authority to get e-mail and phone records or lists of Web sites that people have visited. That is the kind of information that the FBI can get by using a national security letter, she said.
"That's why we're particularly concerned. The DoD may be accessing the kinds of records they are not allowed to get," she said.
Goodman also noted that legal limits are placed on the Defense Department "because the military doing domestic investigations tends to make us leery."
In other allegations, the ACLU said:
_ The Navy's use of the letters to demand domestic records has increased significantly since the Sept. 11 attacks.
_ The military wrongly claimed its use of the letters was limited to investigating only Defense Department employees.
_ The Defense Department has not kept track of how many national security letters the military issues or what information it obtained through the orders.
_ The military provided misleading information to Congress and silenced letter recipients from speaking out about the records requests.
Goodman said Congress should provide stricter guidelines and meaningful oversight of how the military and FBI make national security letter requests.
"Any government agency's ability to demand these kinds of personal, financial or Internet records in the United States is an intrusive surveillance power," she said.
Bill Fletcher Jr. is one of the Left’s intellectual elders. A long time union activist and former president of TransAfrica forum, Fletcher is a fixture at Leftist gatherings and his articles fill pages of internet. I first saw him at the Left Forum in hand on chin, busily making notes for his presentation. We talked and kept in touch. Over the years, with each conversation I saw how his words make a clear line to the core of the question. As the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and the now mythic year of “68″ approached, I interviewed him on the state of black radicalism.
Q: You recently participated in the Left Forum at Cooper Union. What did you make of it?
A: Mostly it was a success. One could see large numbers of young people but still the Left Forum has not tapped into large numbers of people of color. It’s not “racism” as such; there is a tendency for groups to reproduce themselves and their cultures unless dramatic actions are introduced. I believe that Left Forum has more work to do and I say that as a board member of the Forum. Secondly there is a tendency to self-isolation by some black radical activists. When in a white setting, we can hold high the red-black-green as a way to carve out a space to be heard. We don’t always challenge for the right to talk about other things, which connects to the last reason for the absence of people of color. This must change. There are many of us who do not wish to be pigeon-holed and we resist such efforts. Black radical activists have a lot to say about a variety of issues.
Q: Your answer brings up the question of post-racial politics, which the mainstream media has used to describe Newark Mayor Cory Booker and of course Sen. Barack Obama. Is there meaning in that phrase?
A: First there is no post race politics in the U.S. politics because racism was and is the primary means of social control. A useful distinction is that we are in a post Civil Rights politics not a post race politics. So the new crop of black politicians like Booker and Obama say they are taking the Black Freedom Movement to the next level but it becomes a politics of the elite not the black working class majority. Previous Civil Rights and Black Power activists had to at minimum pay lip service to the people.
Q: Why is there less of a need for the post Civil Rights black politicians to reflect the masses of working class people?
A: Several reasons, first during the Cold War the anti-Communist McCarthyism destroyed the Black Left so discussion of class was cut from black political discourse. Second, the Counter Intelligence Program–COINTELPRO–of the FBI of the 60’s and 70’s sowed rivalry and violence in the freedom movement. Third our own mistakes caught up to us. We were ideologically unfocused and many of us saw race only. In the 80’s and 90’s segments of the Black Freedom Movement were influenced by Neo-Conservatives. Finally, the freedom movement was in part a victim of its own victories, which created a black middle class whose interests were often detached from the black working class.
Q: It seems the narrative that radicals offer the working poor demands they recognize the system’s rigged which competes against the narrative of “making it” as seen in popular imagery and celebrities like Russell Simmons, 50 Cent, BET’s Bob Johnson or NBA’s Michael Jordan.
A: Individuals can and do triumph. What is misleading is that when the masses identify with them it doesn’t offer them any explanation for why they didn’t “make it” and why their lives are getting harder. It leads to people blaming themselves. People can be ’screwed up’ but the problem is not in them; the problem rests with the way that the system operates. What you’re going through, millions of others are going through. It’s not that you don’t have a work ethic, it’s that there’s no work. The consequence of our focus on individual achievement is that the enemy becomes less clear and the enemy is a social system led by a sector of transnational capitalists. We have to re-focus people to see who the enemy is because at the most basic level the role of organizers is to gather people together to identify a problem and solve it.
Q: Do you see these contradictions reflected in the recent speech on race that Sen. Obama gave?
A: The irony of Obama’s speech is he ran a campaign where racial justice was not involved but he was forced to confront it after his pastor’s sermon became a media controversy. I thought it was a brilliant speech. He did not “diss” his pastor but the one problem in his speech is he framed the sermon as a relic of the past that did not reflect today’s America .
Q: Why was that a problem?
A: The rage expressed in the sermon is not a relic of the past; it is with us today. Hip Hop is full of anger. Black on black crime is anger unfocused and turned against our selves. It’s why the Nation of Islam could organize the Million Man March because it is linked to and articulates this rage.
The emergence of Bill Ayers as a controversial figure during Wednesday night's debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton reminded me of when Ayers came through Madison a couple of years ago and said something startling.
He said it to me and I was startled, anyway.
Ayers is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. During the Vietnam War era, he was a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group that advocated and practiced violence against establishment targets.
Ayers was indicted in 1970 for inciting to riot and conspiracy to bomb government buildings, but he was never tried. He was a fugitive for more than a decade but, when he turned himself in, the charges were dropped due to misconduct by his pursuers.
"The Bureau had recklessly tapped phones," Ayers wrote in a 2001 memoir, "broken into people's homes, even written a plan to kidnap (his wife) Bernadine's infant nephew."
While promoting that book, titled "Fugitive Days," Ayers told the New York Times: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
During Wednesday night's debate, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News asked Obama about Ayers. Obama downplayed their relationship, saying that Ayers lives in his neighborhood but they're not close. He called Ayers "somebody who engaged in detestable acts when I was 8 years old."
Hillary Clinton then noted that Obama and Ayers had served together on the board of a do-gooder group in Chicago. Obama shot back that Clinton's husband had commuted the sentences of two other members of the Weather Underground, at which point the candidates pretty much moved on to other topics.
Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, were in Madison in October 2006 for the Wisconsin Book Festival. They were promoting a new book, "Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques of the Weather Underground, 1970-1974."
I had a chance to interview Ayers prior to their appearance and he seemed to scale back just a bit from some of the more radical ideas of the Weathermen. He said neither he nor Dohrn were "nostalgic" for that era and that "some of the rhetoric" from that time "now seems overheated." But he added: "We continue to believe that empire building and occupation is wrong."
I wanted to interview Ayers for one reason: My enduring interest in whatever became of Leo Burt, Madison's most famous fugitive. Burt is more than that: He's the great unfinished story of my half century in this city.
Ayers had been underground for 11 years; Burt has now been a fugitive for nearly 38 years, since he and three others (all eventually apprehended) set off a bomb targeted at the Army Math Research Center in Sterling Hall on the UW-Madison campus. The 1970 blast killed a young researcher, Robert Fassnacht, and caused millions of dollars of damage.
When I began to ask Ayers about Burt, something unexpected happened. It became clear Ayers didn't realize Burt was still a fugitive. At that point, it had been 36 years.
"That's amazing," Ayers said, after I filled him in. Then he repeated it: "Amazing."
I said: "You really didn't know?"
"I remember who he is," Ayers said. "I'll be damned."
I guess I figured that '60s radicals would always keep tabs on each other, not like old high school teammates exactly, but one way or another.
I suppose it says less about Ayers than it does about my own obsession with Burt. I've written two long magazine pieces about him. The first was for Madison Magazine in 1996. It was memorable because I speculated that Burt was the Unabomber. The piece ran a few months before they caught the real Unabomber. In my defense, the Burt-as-Unabomber theory had also been embraced by Tom Bates, the author of "Rads," now deceased.
The other magazine story was for the Wisconsin Alumni Association's quarterly, On Wisconsin. It ran in the summer of 2005 on the 35th anniversary of the bombing and was perhaps most notable for something that happened during my research. While I was interviewing a retired FBI agent who had worked a decade on the case, he collapsed with a heart attack. I did nothing admirable other than call 911, but the Middleton EMTs were great. It was touch-and-go for 24 hours, but they saved his life.
We may yet get a definitive take on Burt if an Eastern writer named Joe Brennan Jr. ever publishes the book on Burt he's been researching for years. Tentatively titled "The Last Radical," I would have thought it might be out by now, but I 've lost touch with Brennan and have heard nothing lately.
Speaking of Burt, Bill Ayers told me: "If he has survived and led a decent life, that's good. I wouldn't want to see him caught."
I asked Ayers: "How hard was it staying underground?"
"It's difficult in some ways," he said. "In other ways, it was as easy as falling off a log."
In this informative newsletter sent as an e-mail yesterday evening, Cynthia McKinney describes her recent trip to a workers summit held in Mexico. She also describes her regret for a past mistake which has steeled her determination to take personal responsibility in these times of widespread distraction and global irresponsibility. Although former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is a Green Party candidate running for president, she reveals herself here as a true global citizen who is deeply interested in a more productive and healthy forms of patriotism.
Two Minneapolis police officers were put on administrative leave pending an investigation, the police department confirmed Saturday.
Sgt. William Palmer, a police spokesman, said Officer Mike Roberts and Lt. Lee Edwards were placed on paid administrative leave, but reasons behind the move were not disclosed.
Palmer said he had "absolutely no idea" why the officers were put on leave. He said no additional information was available.
WCCO-TV and the Star Tribune reported on their Web sites Saturday that the officers were under a federal criminal investigation.
The nature of that investigation is unclear. Paul McCabe, and FBI spokesman, wouldn't confirm whether the agency was involved in an investigation of the officers.
Edwards is one of five black officers suing the police department over allegations of race discrimination. Andrew Muller, an attorney for Edwards, said the investigation into the undisclosed allegation is "baseless."
Muller released a statement, saying that Edwards was removed from duty on Friday.
"The intent of the allegations against Lt. Edwards can only be to punish and intimidate those on the MPD who speak out against discrimination," the statement said. Muller also said that there is no connection between Edwards and officer Roberts.
Roberts is a 29-year veteran of the department. It was unclear whether Roberts has an attorney and a phone listing for Roberts was not immediately available Saturday.
By Brian C. RittmeyerTRIBUNE-REVIEW Monday, May 12, 2008
In an understatement full of meaning, John O. Chadwick was known around the Pittsburgh FBI office as a "good guy" other agents enjoyed working with, his son said.
"Even though it seems like an off-hand comment, it's actually a true compliment, because in the law enforcement world, that means that they absolutely trust that person with their lives," said son David Chadwick, 35, of Quakertown, Pa.
John O. Chadwick of Upper St. Clair died Friday, May 9, 2008 at home from pancreatic cancer. He was 65.
A native of Columbus, Ga. who was raised in Alexandria, Va., Mr. Chadwick joined the FBI in 1969 as a special agent and retired in 2000. He served in New Haven, Conn. before being transferred to Pittsburgh in 1971. He lived in Mt. Lebanon before moving to Upper St. Clair in 1979.
Born in a poor rural area, Mr. Chadwick believed education was the key to furthering himself and embarked on a career as a history teacher in Fairfax County, Va. Public Schools before a high school friend recruited him to the FBI.
"That was not something he had considered prior to that. I guess his friend kind of sold him on some of the missions and goals of the FBI," David Chadwick said. "One of the best parts of his job was he got to meet new people every day. Some of them were bad guys, others were just regular, everyday people he would have to go interview for various cases he was working."
Mr. Chadwick first worked in fugitives, later transferring to counterintelligence.
"I really don't know a whole lot about that work because most of that work is still classified," David Chadwick said.
While in Connecticut as a first-year agent, Mr. Chadwick arrested a suspect then on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. In Pittsburgh, he served on the Special Weapons and Tactics Team for more than 20 years and was a firearms instructor and fitness coordinator.
At 6 foot 7, Mr. Chadwick was an imposing man, but he had a thoughtful and gentle personality, said his co-worker and friend, Jerry Pino, 66, of Shaler. Both were officers in the Pittsburgh chapter of the Society of Former Agents of the FBI.
"He enjoyed his work. He had a variety of work and enjoyed 99 percent of it, and looked forward to going to work as most agents do. He looked at is as one of the better jobs people paid you to do. It's something you could be proud of," Pino said.
Mr. Chadwick was proud of his work and disappointed at having to leave at the mandatory retirement age, relatives and friends said. After retiring, Mr. Chadwick, a father of three boys, worked until last year selling uniforms to police, fire and ambulance departments just to stay in touch with law enforcement.
"He was a good father. He always took an interest in what the boys were doing. He took us to our soccer games and Little League games," David Chadwick said. "He was always aware of the criminal element. He was always aware and cautious of things and taught us boys to be that way also."
In addition to his son, Mr. Chadwick is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Chadwick, of Upper St. Clair; two other sons, Michael Chadwick of Swedesboro, N.J., and Andrew Chadwick of Silver Spring, Md.; his mother, Lydia Chadwick of Alexandria, Va.; and three grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Jack B. Chadwick, and a brother, Conrad Chadwick.
A federal judge yesterday unsealed records revealing that the lead FBI agent in the criminal case against Dr. Cyril H. Wecht was disciplined elsewhere for forging other agents' names and initials on chain-of-custody forms, evidence labels and interview forms.
See more information about the disciplinary reports of FBI agent Bradley W. Orsini.
Further, in September 2001 Special Agent Bradley W. Orsini was demoted and received a 30-day suspension without pay for a series of policy violations that occurred from 1993 through 2000, which included having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate; making improper vulgar and sexual comments; threatening a subordinate with violence; and improperly documenting the seizure of a weapon and ammunition from a search.
"We're pleased this information is now available to the public for its own analysis and understanding of its impact on the case," said Dr. Wecht's defense attorney, Jerry McDevitt. "The report speaks for itself."
The U.S. attorney's office filed Agent Orsini's records under seal on April 7, 2006, asking U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab to determine if it was required to turn them over to Dr. Wecht's defense attorneys.
What followed was a 15-month legal battle that ended this week when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a final order in the case, making the disciplinary reports public.
Judge Schwab unsealed the records late yesterday afternoon. He also vacated a previous decision in which he'd ordered a contempt hearing for the defense attorneys for their failure to follow his orders.
He wrote "this Court considers the 'time-out' caused by the interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit as providing an opportunity for a 'fresh start.'"
He also ordered a hearing in Dr. Wecht's case on Sept. 18 that will allow the defense to use the Orsini reports in their examination of him.
Agent Orsini has been an agent for more than 18 years, and he has spent much of that time, including in Pittsburgh, working public corruption cases. All of the allegations included in the two disciplinary reports occurred while he was working in the FBI's Newark, N.J., office.
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan would not comment on the reports' release. It was unclear if she was aware of Mr. Orsini's background before he became the lead agent in the case against Dr. Wecht, who is charged with 84 counts of misusing his public office for private gain.
The first time Agent Orsini was disciplined was Nov. 2, 1998. He received a five-day suspension without pay for signing other agents' names to evidence labels and custody forms from May 1995 to January 1997.
He explained that he and another agent, on limited occasions, signed each other's names on evidence "to save time."
Though the investigator from the Office of Professional Responsibility found that Agent Orsini did not intend to jeopardize the evidence or cases involved, his actions could have called the integrity of the bureau into question, he wrote in his report.
A 28-page report issued Sept. 24, 2001, by the assistant director of the Office of Professional Responsibility described additional transgressions.
The first violation listed dated to Nov. 2, 1993. Agent Orsini failed to obtain the proper consent form while searching a man's home for illegal firearms and failed to properly document the ammunition seized.
Agent Orsini was found to have falsified at least six FBI interview forms in 1993 and 1994 by writing other agents' initials on them.
He said in a statement that he didn't believe there would be a problem with that provided the information in the body of the interview form was accurate.
"I have no idea how many times I may have done so," he said. He said he did so for "convenience and a shortcut."
Throughout the Wecht case, defense attorneys have argued that the government based part of the charges against their client -- that he exchanged unclaimed bodies from the county morgue for lab space from Carlow University -- on a single interview form filled out by Agent Orsini.
The disciplinary report next goes into great detail about a relationship Agent Orsini had with a subordinate agent, from April 1998 through early 2000.
The document indicates that other agents in his squad believed Agent Orsini was favoring the woman and gave her premium assignments. It also details gag gifts exchanged at the squad's Christmas parties in 1998 and 1999. One, given to the woman, was a pet collar, with a note that said, "If found, return to Brad Orsini."
"By their very nature, the public notoriety attached to the gag gifts would have put even the most insensitive person on notice of this perception of favoritism," the assistant director wrote.
By January 2000, when supervisors in the Newark office learned of the relationship, Agent Orsini was reassigned.
But before that, he approached one of the agents in his squad and accused him of revealing the relationship. During the meeting, Agent Orsini threatened to hit his subordinate but quickly added that he was kidding.
Newark's assistant agent in charge reported that Agent Orsini "has an aggressive personality, and I would characterize him as a bully."
Other substantiated allegations in the report included that Agent Orsini punched at least one hole in the wall in the Newark office, and threw and broke chairs. He also jokingly called fellow supervisors "homosexuals," and even used a bullhorn to make his comments.
For those actions, the Office of Professional Responsibility said he failed to prevent the development of a "locker room atmosphere" in his squad that repressed professional conduct.
In addition to the suspension and demotion, Agent Orsini was ordered to serve 12 months' probation and to attend mandatory sensitivity training.
Ray Morrow, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh office, defended Agent Orsini yesterday, calling him one of the best investigators he's seen.
"Early on in his career, he made some bad decisions," Agent Morrow said, noting that nothing Agent Orisini did was criminal. "He has deeply and dearly paid the price -- both personally and professionally."
Civil Rights Workshop planned
The Madison County NAACP will host an eight-hour Civil Rights Workshop on Friday, June 27, at the New Hope Family Life Center, 812 W. 13th St., Anderson. The workshop will be facilitated by the FBI and will include the topics of Violet Crime and Hate Crime. The workshop is open to the public and the $10 registration fee includes lunch. Deadline is Friday, June 20. For further information or to register, call Rosetta Minnefield at (765) 644-1876, Jackie German at (765) 643-6194, or President James Burgess at (765) 643-9100.
June 15, 2008
Ominous ruling by Nebraska Supreme Court against Black Panther in COINTELPRO case puts new trial request in doubt
By Michael Richardson
The Nebraska Supreme Court denied a pro se parole bid by Ed Poindexter in a decision many expected was a foregone conclusion. However, in denying a request for parole eligibility the state high court signaled the difficulty Poindexter faces later this year when his request for a new trial is argued by Lincoln attorney Robert Bartle.
Poindexter was convicted in 1971 for the bombing murder of an Omaha policeman, Larry Minard, in a controversial trial marred by conflicting police testimony, withheld evidence, and tainted assistance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Poindexter and co-defendant Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) both deny any involvement in the crime and were both targets of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover under the infamous Operation COINTELPRO which targeted the Black Panthers for "no holds barred" treatment.
Poindexter's request for a new trial comes after sophisticated vocal analysis by voice analyst Tom Owen in 2006 revealed that the confessed bomber, 15 year-old Duane Peak, did not make the emergency call that lured Minard to his death. Peak implicated Poindexter and Mondo we Langa making his credibility critical…and leaving an unknown caller at large.
Retired Omaha detective Robert Pheffer also contradicted his own trial testimony about finding dynamite that was allegedly used in the fatal bomb in a dramatic and emotion-charged hearing in Douglas County District Court last year before Judge Russell Bowie.
At the time of the trial Omaha was gripped by racial tension. Former Nebraska governor Frank Morrison was Poindexter's court-appointed public defender. Morrison described Omaha in a 2003 deposition.
"There was tremendous racial feeling. North Omaha was one of the hottest spots in the whole United States for racial violence. In fact, when in 1966 we had to call out the National Guard, they set fire to North Omaha and we had to bring in the National Guard and take over to preserve order. There was terrible racial feeling….I don't have words to describe it, but there was terrible discrimination and hatred of African-Americans, terrible."
The "terrible racial feeling" Morrison described was fueled in part by COINTELPRO dirty tricks initiated by the FBI to disrupt the Black Panthers. Both Ed Pointdexter and Mondo we Langa had been secret targets of Hoover's clandestine operation but the compromised role of the FBI was unknown by Omaha police who were assisted by the federal agents in the search for Minard's killers and unknown by jurors who convicted Poindexter unaware of Hoover's secret directives against the Black Panthers.
The FBI, in cooperation with Omaha Assistant Chief of Police Glenn Gates, kept the recording of the emergency call from defense attorneys while the jurors who decided the fate of the two Black Panther leaders never heard the voice of the anonymous caller. A secret COINTELPRO memo obtained after the 1971 trial under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that release of the emergency tape recording would be "prejudicial to the police murder trial" case against Poindexter and Langa.
The jurors also never knew that Peak, the confessed bomber, brokered a deal where he served 33 months of juvenile detention and then walked free in exchange for his testimony against Poindexter and Langa. Nor did the jurors know that Raleigh House, the supplier of the dynamite, would never be formally charged and only spent one night in jail before being released on his own signature because the police wanted to claim Langa supplied the dynamite. In fact, Omaha Police Captain Murdock Platner did indeed make such a claim in sworn testimony to a Congressional committee contradicting actual trial testimony about the dynamite.
Details about the compromised FBI role in the case did not come until years after the trial and only judges, not jurors, have since been told about the withheld evidence, conflicting and contradictory police testimony, about the deal with Peak, and about the voice analysis that contradicts the story of the state's chief murderous witness against Poindexter.
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Poindexter's bid for parole must fail because the Board of Pardons has not commuted his life sentence to a term of years thus depriving the Board of Parole the ability to grant a parole request. In responding to Poindexter's arguments that numerous other prisoners serving life sentences have been released on parole after serving less time than he has the court said that a commutation of sentence was a "discretionary state privilege" and that even if "granted generously in the past" Poindexter had no legal entitlement to similar consideration.
While the expected ruling against parole for Poindexter does not presage the outcome of his pending new trial request some of the language in the decision does suggest that attorney Robert Bartle will have his work cut out for him during oral arguments scheduled for this fall.
In the ten-page decision there were three references to the underlying crime, the murder of Larry Minard. In the opening summary of the decision the Nebraska Supreme Court properly noted, "In 1971, a jury convicted Edward Poindexter of first degree murder."
However, two later references were less neutral and potentially betray a bias of the court to the prosecution case. The court discussed sentencing statutes, "in 1970 when Poindexter committed his offense." In the conclusion of the decision the court repeated the bias and used the statement "when Poindexter committed his crime" to describe the killing of Minard.
Nebraska newspapers, which have not reported on the COINTELPRO manipulation of the case against Poindexter, brandished headlines about Cop-Killer Poindexter Denied Parole following the language of the court decision.
Meanwhile, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa remain imprisoned at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary serving life sentences while three of Minard's killers, Duane Peak, the confessed bomber; Raleigh House, the supplier of the dynamite; and the unknown emergency line caller walk free.
Last week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, federal Magistrate Christine Nolan recommended that Black Panther Albert Woodfox, serving a life sentence at Angola State Prison, should be granted a new trial. U.S. District Judge James Brady has yet to rule on Nolan's recommendation. The new trial recommendation followed a state court denial of a new trial request last month for co-defendant Herman Wallace. Wallace and Woodfox were held in solitary confinement for 36 years and only recently have been moved to regular maximum security cells. The two men, leaders in a prison chapter of the Black Panthers, were convicted for the murder of a prison guard during a riot at the prison in 1972 on the testimony of another prisoner released in exchange for testimony against the Panthers.
In Nebraska, a decision on Poindexter's request for a new trial is expected later this year.
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