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Archive for the ‘FBI’ Category

Welcome to East Germany

Posted by Charles II on February 26, 2014

First off, a little history from DemocracyNow, in which we learn that former FBI agents (among others) participated in the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, which actively assisted white supremacists to harass, arrest, frame, and even kill people who were trying to achieve equal rights for African Americans. Here’s an example:

On December 6, 1958, [Army veteran Clyde] Kennard wrote a detailed letter to the local newspaper, the Hattiesburg American, in which he announced his intention to enroll at Mississippi Southern for the January quarter. In the letter, Kennard laid out his “creed,” which was based on the belief that all individuals should be judged by their ability rather than their skin color. Sovereignty Commission’s investigators, led by former FBI agent Zack J. VanLandingham, responded by trying to find “derogatory information” about Kennard to sabotage his application. They explored every possible aspect of the applicant’s life, including his financial history, his personal life, and his employment record. State leaders, including Governor James P. Coleman, soon realized that Kennard’s application was particularly problematic because there were no obvious grounds for refusing it.

VanLandingham hatched a scheme to short-circuit Kennard’s efforts by having conservative black educators “call on Clyde Kennard and persuade him that it was in the best interest of all concerned that he withdraw and desist from filing an application for admission to Mississippi Southern College.” Kennard, however, refused to change his mind.

Kennard’s efforts to attend Mississippi Southern ended on September 25, 1960, when the Forrest County Cooperative, which had foreclosed on his chicken farm, was burglarized. Five bags of chicken feed worth $25.00 were stolen. A young employee, Johnny Lee Roberts, admitted taking the feed but claimed that Kennard had planned the break-in. Kennard was arrested and charged with accessory to burglary, a felony under Mississippi law.

Glenn Greenwald:

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House….

Wonder if that’s grounds for firing a tenured professor. Probably not.

DemocracyNow
:

AMY GOODMAN: …The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. The antiwar activist Brendan Maslauskas Dunn helped expose John Towery’s true identity as a military spy. In 2009, Dunn spoke on Democracy Now!

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: …

when I met him, he admitted to several things. He admitted that, yes, he did in fact spy on us. He did in fact infiltrate us. He admitted that he did pass on information to an intelligence network, which, as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies, ranging from municipal to county to state to regional, and several federal agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Homeland Security, the Army in Fort Lewis.

So he admitted to other things, too. He admitted that the police had placed a camera, surveillance camera, across the street from a community center in Tacoma that anarchists ran called the Pitch Pipe Infoshop….

AMY GOODMAN: …

Since 2009, there have been numerous developments in the case. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent by Towery using his military account. It was sent to the FBI as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, in Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane, Washington. He wrote, quote, “I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro [distribution].”…

LARRY HILDES: I think they crossed the line. They claim they’re allowed to do some level of investigative work to protect military activities, military shipments. But entrapping people—attempting to entrap people into conspiracies where they can get charged with major felonies they had no intention of committing, dealing with law enforcement agencies around the country to keep tabs on activists, following them to protests in Denver and St. Paul that have absolutely nothing to do with military shipments, they crossed the line into law enforcement, into civilian law enforcement.

And they did so quite knowingly and deliberately, and created this cover story that Towery was working for the fusion center, reporting to the sheriff’s office, not doing this during his work time, because they were well aware—in fact, he got paid overtime for attending the RNC, DNC conference at Evergreen, by the Army. So the Army was expressly paying him to monitor, disrupt and destroy these folks’ activism and their lives. I mean, we had—at one point, Brendan Dunn had four cases at the same time in four counties, because they kept stopping him. Seven times he got arrested or cited; Jeff Berryhill several times; Glenn Crespo. People would get busted over and over and over. Towery was attending their personal parties, their birthday parties, their going-away parties, and taking these vicious notes and passing them on about how to undermine these folks, how to undermine their activities, how to destroy their lives. This is way into Posse Comitatus. This is way beyond any legitimate military role.

So, the U.S. Army is paying people to infiltrate, harass, falsely arrest, and frame peaceful protesters. This happened to protesters at the RNC and DNC conventions.

There is no difference between what law enforcement has been doing to peaceful protesters and what the white supremacists did to Clyde Kennard, who just wanted to go to college in a state that wanted to keep him down.

Posted in astroturf, civil rights, FBI, NSA eavesdropping | 4 Comments »

Policemen are your friends

Posted by Charles II on December 28, 2012

This is a story that was buried in the Christmas data dump. It seems that the FBI has overstepped the boundaries of what can be considered apolitical law enforcement. Again.

DemocracyNow:

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, the documents, as you stated, show that the FBI and American intelligence agencies were monitoring and reporting on Occupy Wall Street before the first tent even went up in Zuccotti Park. The documents that we have been able to obtain show the FBI communicating with the New York Stock Exchange in August of 2011 about the upcoming Occupy demonstrations, about plans for the protests. It shows them meeting with or communicating with private businesses. And throughout the materials, there is repeated evidence of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, American intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arm for corporations, for Wall Street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.

… even in these heavily redacted documents, you can see the FBI using at least private entities as a proxy force for what appears to be infiltration. There is—there are documents that show the Federal Reserve in Richmond was reporting to the FBI, working with the Capitol Police in Virginia, and reporting and giving updates on planning meetings and discussions within the Occupy movement. That would appear, minimally, that they were sending undercovers, if not infiltrators, into those meetings.

There is another document that shows the FBI meeting with private port security officers in Anchorage, Alaska, in advance of the West Coast port actions. And that document has that private port security person saying that they are going to go attend a planning meeting of the demonstrators, and they’re reporting back to the FBI. They coordinate with the FBI. The FBI says that they will put them in touch with someone from the Anchorage Police Department, that that person should take the police department officer with him, as well.

And so these documents also show the intense coordination both with private businesses, with Wall Street, with the banks, and with state police departments and local police departments around the country.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: I think that that is very much a measure of box checking by the FBI. I don’t believe—and their documents show that they did not believe—that this was a movement that posed a threat of violence. Now, throughout the documents, they’re using their counterterrorism resources and counterterrorism authorities, they are defining the movement as domestic terrorism and potentially criminal in nature. But the fact is, they also throughout the documents say that they know that this is a peaceful movement, that it is organized on a basis of nonviolence. And by that logic, of course, you can investigate everyone in every activity in the United States on the grounds that someone might do something sometime. And, in fact, think about the tea party rallies. The tea party was having rallies all around the United States where their members come carrying weapons—they’re open carrying—including at events where the president of the United States was speaking. But the FBI is turning its attention to this movement.

And when they reference the locations in Florida, I think that’s actually a political analysis, a recognition that this is a movement whose time has come. And whether it’s in hibernation right now, it is based on an organic reality of the economic situation in the United States. And the FBI is referencing the high level of unemployment, the needs that people have, and it’s a recognition, too, of the dynamism and the dynamic nature of the people of the United States, the people all over the world, when they organize and come together. That’s the threat that we believe the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are truly focused on, not a threat of violence.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD:…his is just part and parcel of the long history of the FBI. And this is not the first incident, it is not going to be the last, and it’s not the worst, to be honest. We all know that. It’s not—you know, the FBI has a long history — ’50s, ’60s, ’70s — of mass surveillance, of targeting of people based on political ideology, of efforts to disrupt the movements for social justice, for efforts to shut down black liberation movement, the antiwar movement. And in the ’70s, of course, there were these great revelations about the abuses of the FBI, of the CIA, of other security agencies. And there were the Church Committee hearings. There were supposedly protections put in place. But we can see, you know, decade after decade, with each social justice movement, that the FBI conducts itself in the same role over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people.(emphasis added)

And, you know, it’s not just a secret police directed against all subversive movements, but specifically against left-wing movements. The FBI took decades to engage against the KKK, was blindsided by Tim McVeigh, and as far as we know are doing nothing to rein in the sorts of people who use threats of violence–or actual violence– against persons/property in an attempt “to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).”

The very definition of law suggests a universally applicable principle. But the Tea Party was treated as a legitimate political movement, while Occupy was treated as a domestic threat. The Tea Party engaged in intimidation against political officials. Occupy (maybe) broke some windows in Oakland (unless it was agents provocateur).

There is nothing recognizable as a “law” in the way these two movements have been treated.

Posted in FBI, Occupy movement, terrorism | 4 Comments »

Your tax dollars at work

Posted by Charles II on August 30, 2012

Allison Flood, The Guardian:

Ray Bradbury was investigated by the FBI during the 1950s, with government agents interviewing his peers and putting him under surveillance before concluding that despite being critical of the US government in his writing, the celebrated writer was never a member of the Communist party.

The 40-page cache of the late science fiction author’s FBI files was obtained by the Daily Beast following a Freedom of Information request, and shows the extent to which the FBI had Bradbury in its sights in 1959. “Raymond Douglas Bradbury, a freelance science fiction, television and motion picture scenario writer … has been described as being critical of the United States Government,” the FBI wrote on 8 June 1959, before laying out its issue with Bradbury’s classic collection of short stories, The Martian Chronicles. The stories “were connected by the repeated theme that earthmen are despoilers and not developers”, according to the FBI.

[An informant said] “the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War which the American people would seriously believe could not be won since their morals had been seriously destroyed”.

Look, there’s a pretty simple line that any police agency should follow. If something is a crime, it should be investigated. If it’s unpopular, leave it the f— alone. Criticizing the government or, for that matter, membership in any political organization is not a crime.

Posted in FBI, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

Murdoch’s millstones. Brooks Charged.

Posted by Charles II on May 15, 2012

Rebekah Brooks has been formally charged:

The Crown Prosecution Service received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service on 27th March 2012 in relation to seven suspects:

* Rebekah Brooks;
* [her husband] Charles Brooks;
* Cheryl Carter – Mrs Brooks’ personal assistant;
*Mark Hanna – Head of Security at News International;
* Paul Edwards – Mrs Brooks’ chauffeur who was employed by News International;
* Daryl Jorsling and a seventh suspect – both of whom provided security for Mrs Brooks supplied by News International.

“All the evidence has now carefully been considered.

“Applying the two-stage test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors I have concluded that in relation to all suspects except the seventh, there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction.

“I then considered the second stage of the test, and I have concluded that a prosecution is required in the public interest in relation to each of the other six.

“All seven suspects have this morning been informed of my decisions.

“They are all due to answer their bail at police stations later today. When they do so, they will be charged as follows:

CHARGE 1 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE

Rebekah Brooks between 6th July and 19th July 2011 conspired with Charles Brooks, Cheryl Carter, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards, Daryl Jorsling and persons unknown to conceal material from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.

CHARGE 2 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE

Rebekah Brooks and Cheryl Carter between 6th July and 9th July 2011 conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.

CHARGE 3 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE

Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards and Daryl Jorsling conspired together and with persons unknown, between 15th July and 19th July 2011, to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Via Ritholtz, an article from Amy Chozick, NYT

A former News Corporation subsidiary, a Moscow-based billboard company called News Outdoor Russia, is the subject of an F.B.I. inquiry into whether the company bribed local officials to advance its business. The findings of that investigation could prove a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to a person briefed on the inquiry. News Corporation sold the company in July to a bank controlled by the Kremlin.

The hacking scandal has delivered a blow to News Corporation’s push into the potentially lucrative education sector….In November 2010, News Corporation paid $360 million for a 90 percent stake in Wireless Generation, an education technology company ….

In August, Wireless Generation lost its $27 million no-bid contract to develop educational software for New York schools….

In Turkey, News Corporation, which already operates several Turkish television stations, is one of three bidders for the country’s second-largest media group, Sabah-ATV, which is valued at $700 million to $1 billion. A deal would add to its portfolio of international pay TV stations, which includes Sky Deutschland in Germany and Sky Italia in Italy.

But the bid could face regulatory opposition in Turkey as a result of the scandal.

Posted in crimes, FBI, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 4 Comments »

Go visit Avedon

Posted by Charles II on August 26, 2011

Avedon Carol has a number of good links.

1. Lee Fang of Think Progress on how congressional Republicans, guided by a staffer from Goldman Sachs tried to embarrass and anger Elizabeth Warren:

ThinkProgress has now obtained more evidence that suggests that Haller’s employment under Issa is more akin to a bank lobbyist than a public servant entrusted with protecting the public interest. In May, GOP members on the Oversight Committee invited Professor Elizabeth Warren, then a special advisor working on the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to testify about the new agency. The hearing quickly became a media sideshow, with Republican lawmakers trying to trip Warren up and embarrass her. One congressman, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), became infamous overnight for berating Warren and accusing her of lying about her scheduling with the committee. It turns out that Haller, again carrying water for financial corporations afraid of new regulations, was behind the scheduling controversy at the heart of the McHenry confrontation with Warren.

According to e-mail correspondence obtained from Judicial Watch, Haller oversaw the scheduling of the Warren testimony. According to Flavio Cumpiano, a congressional liaison for the CFPB, Haller reportedly changed the time of the hearing at the last minute, then misled Warren staffers by promising to end the testimony by 2:15 pm that day.

Ian Welsh on how austerity killed four motorists in Pittsburgh.

Lois Beckett of ProPublica on how aid to underwater homeowners never reached them, and will be reclaimed by the Treasury:

Of the $45.6 billion in Trouble Asset Relief Program funds meant to aid homeowners, the most recent numbers available show that only about $2 billion has actually gone out the door.

The low number reflects how little the government’s home loan modification and other programs have actually helped homeowners deal with the foreclosure crisis.

Avedon also has a series of links on a story about how the NYPD worked under the direction of the CIA to infiltrate and spy on peaceful Muslims in … New Jersey! I learned of the story from DemocracyNow in a very disappointing interview with AP reporter Matt Apuzzo and a much more enlightening interview on how the FBI infiltrates peaceful Muslim groups seeking to push a few marginal types over the edge into doing something, anything that can be called terrorism. Even if they have to buy and build the bombs and put together the plan for them.

Posted in FBI, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off

Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission

Posted by Charles II on August 11, 2011

Jason Leopold, Truthout:

in a stunning new interview made available to Truthout that is scheduled to air on a local PBS affiliate in Colorado tonight, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, for the first time, levels explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials – George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee – accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence from the Bush and Clinton White House, the FBI, Immigration and the State and Defense Departments about two of the 9/11 hijackers who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks. Moreover, Clarke says the former CIA officials likely engaged in a cover-up by withholding key details about two of the hijackers from the 9/11 Commission.

“It’s not as I originally thought, which was that one lonely CIA analyst got this information and didn’t somehow recognize the significance of it,” Clarke said during the interview. “No, fifty, 5-0, CIA personnel knew about this. Among the fifty people in CIA who knew these guys were in the country was the CIA director.”

That’s an allegation that surfaced in Lawrence Wright’s groundbreaking book, “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9/11.” Wright, who interviewed Clarke for his book, said a team of FBI investigators and federal prosecutors known as Squad I-49 came to believe that the CIA “was shielding Mihdhar and Hazmi because it hoped to recruit them”

No, this doesn’t mean that George Bush authorized 9/11. It means that CIA management was negligent to the point of incompetence. But this is why it was such a mistake to have a presidential commission led by whitewashers like Lee Hamilton and infiltrated by White House staff, Philip Zelikow, serving as commission counsel.

For the record, the CIA denies that Tenet knew about these guys ahead of time.

Posted in CIA, FBI, terrorism, World Trade Center | 8 Comments »

FBI Aspires to Be Stasi

Posted by Charles II on June 13, 2011

That’s what Emptywheel says, and I think she’s right. No legitimate law enforcement agency wants this much power.

By the way, we had a period when the FBI had this much power. It produced COINTELPRO, which is regarded as a success exclusively by the FBI (and not all of them, I’m sure).

Posted in FBI, totalitarianism | Comments Off

Honduran dictatorship, day 263

Posted by Charles II on September 29, 2010

I have simply been too busy to aggregate Honduran news. However, this is such a serious development that it demands comment. Some of the people who have been targeted were (among many other causes) involved in opposing the Honduran dictatorship.

It was inevitable that if we Americans did nothing to confront the repression in Honduras and elsewhere, the repression would visit our shores. The recent FBI raid on anti-war/social justice activists does not appear to be substantiated by any genuine threat to the security and safety of American citizens. It is laughable to imagine that these people could be supplying to terrorists actual material support—guns, ammunition, explosives—though they may have talked to or even advised people from FARC or Hamas. If that’s what this raid is based on, it’s an abuse of the term “material support.” A suspicious mind might guess that a more likely motive for the raid is that a number of these people protested at the 2008 RNC.

Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley:

Well, I can’t really detail all of the legal factors that have changed since 9/11, but there simply has been a sea change. For instance, when I taught constitutional rights in the FBI, one of the main top priorities was First Amendment rights. And while this is not the first time that you’ve seen this Orwellian turn of the war on terror onto domestic peace groups and social justice groups—actually, we had that begin very quickly after 9/11, and there were legal opinions, Office of Legal Counsel opinions, that said the First Amendment no longer controls the war on terror—but even so, this is shocking and alarming that at this point we have the, you know, humanitarian advocacy now being treated as somehow material support to terrorists.

We’ve also just seen, ironically, four days before this national raid, we saw the Department of Justice Inspector General issue a report that soundly criticized the FBI for four years of targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, different antiwar rallies, even involving a finding that the FBI director had given them a falsehood to Congress as to the justification for the FBI to monitor a peace group.

Listen to Coleen Rowley. No question that FARC and HAMAS earned their place on the State Department list. If anyone sends them weapons or gives them money in amounts that allows them to buy weapons, that deserves punishment. But just as clearly, Americans cannot both be afraid to speak to foreigners and have a democracy. In the old Soviet Union, the excuse for keeping people from talking to foreigners was that they might be spies. Maybe some of them were. But the consequences of instilling fear for speaking are far more serious than any consequence of the speech itself.

Meanwhile in Honduras, the abuses pile up. Via Adrienne, according to reporting by Jesse Freeston, the police attacked a peaceful demonstration in San Pedro Sula. One of their main targets was the instruments of the musicians playing at the rally.

This is the sort of “freedom” we are defending by propping up the dictatorship: the freedom of the police to shut people up.

Posted in abuse of power, FBI, Honduras, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

The Friday newsdump, 1/22/10

Posted by Charles II on January 23, 2010

Ryan Singer, Wired:

The FBI and telecom companies collaborated to routinely violate federal wiretapping laws for four years, as agents got access to reporters’ and citizens’ phone records using fake emergency declarations or simply asking for them.

But in a surprise buried at the end of the 289-page report, the inspector general also reveals that the Obama administration issued a secret rule almost two weeks ago saying it was legal for the FBI to have skirted federal privacy protections.

I think that in the link above, Singer  may be referring to the second sentence, below:

Posted in abuse of power, FBI, wiretapping, wrong way to go about it | 3 Comments »

NJ Gov-elect, Sean Hannity, the neo-Nazi, and the FBI. PLUS: Sarah Palin and the John Birch Society

Posted by Charles II on December 19, 2009

Max Blumenthal always has a tale worth listening to:

The trials of [radio personality Hal] Turner might not have invited any media interest had he been another lone wolf howling into the night about the swarthy evildoers supposedly destroying America. After all, white supremacists across the country are persistently prosecuted for activities ranging from criminal littering to murder. But Turner has been an insider both in the New Jersey GOP and in a controversial federal anti-terror program designed to “flush out” violent far-right plots, making him a treasure trove of information on the many prominent Republicans he has associated with over the years. These characters include Turner’s former friend Sean Hannity, who allegedly counseled him on overcoming his cocaine habit and homosexual urges, and New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie, whose alleged involvement with Turner may result in the first scandal of his term.

Speaking of which, Rachel talked about the merger of CPAC and the John Birch Society.

And just to show you that we must be in the End Times, Little Green Footballs says that the John Birch Society is nuts and has a picture of Sarah Palin reading the John Birch Society magazine.

Posted in anti-Semitism, FBI, Flying Monkey Right, Fox Noise, GOP/Media Complex, propaganda, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

 
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