Friday, December 15, 2006

Connecticut's Face of Corruption


FORMER GOV. John G. Rowland is overcome with emotion as he reads from a letter he received in prison from a woman who said she was told by God to comfort him. He spoke Thursday at The Master’s School in Simsbury.
(STEPHEN DUNN)

Dec. 14, 2006

Copyright 2006, Hartford Courant

CONNECTICUT NEWS

Rowland Pins His Future On Faith

December 15, 2006
By MARK PAZNIOKAS, Courant Staff Writer
SIMSBURY -- John G. Rowland was about to tell a rapt audience of Christian high school students Thursday how he found faith and redemption in prison.

But first, Rowland noted the presence of the press. Two newspaper reporters sat in the auditorium. A WNPR radio reporter recorded his words. Two TV crews ran videotape.

"As you can see, there is a little bit of press here," Rowland said. "I describe that as morbid curiosity. They're just curious that I'm still breathing after the roller-coaster life that I've had."

For a fleeting moment, Rowland sounded less like an inspirational speaker - the former governor's new profession since leaving prison 10 months ago - and more like a politician weary of living in a fishbowl.

Then he smiled. It was a tight enigmatic smile employed often in 25 years in public life. Sometimes it signaled amusement, other times it masked annoyance.

Rowland returned to the story of his long roller-coaster ride: elected to the state legislature at age 23, to Congress at 27 and to the governor's office at 37. It was all gone at age 47, when he resigned amid an impeachment inquiry and a federal bid-rigging investigation into gifts and favors Rowland accepted from state contractors.

It was all for the best, he said.

His audience was students in grades 9-12 at The Master's School, a non-denominational Christian school. The headmaster, Rick Burslem, had invited Rowland weeks ago to talk about leadership and character from what he called Rowland's position of humility.

Burslem said the school tries to expose the students to a wide variety of speakers, experiences and ideas. He has staged a debate between an atheist and a theologian, and he invited a liberal pastor to talk to students about homosexuality.

Burslem said the school paid Rowland $500, a fee that the former governor donated to the school's leadership academy. Burslem said Rowland's typical fee for educational speeches was $1,500.

"He is no longer a politician, but I believe he is a statesman," Burslem told the students. "A statesman is one who believes in universal truths and applies them to life."

Rowland said he avoided one universal truth, the need all men have for a foundation of faith, until he was incarcerated at a federal prison camp in Loretto, Pa.

In a life consumed with a nearly unbroken chain of political success, Rowland said, he rarely strayed from a heady path to power.

"If you don't have a good fundamental foundation with your faith and with your God, that path will be filled with pride, ego and just self-satisfaction," he said. "At the end of the day, it doesn't really mean anything."

Rowland said his fall from the pinnacle of state politics was a surreal blur. One day, he was a guest at the White House. The next, it seemed, he was standing in line for toilet paper at prison camp.

In prison, he exercised, read and meditated. He hired a prisoner as a personal trainer.

"His name was Six-Nine. You'll never guess how tall he was," Rowland said, smiling. "I figure if you are in prison camp, you might as well hire the biggest guy in the place. It's not a bad idea."

Rowland described making peace with his fall from power.

Then, halfway through his prison term, his lawyer notified him by mail that he might face additional state charges in connection with consulting work he did after leaving office.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather," Rowland said. "As I read that letter, I thought to myself, `Holy smokes. God has given up on me. He is throwing in the towel. I'm a failure.'"

Rowland said he was at peace when the prison administrator warned him that new charges would mean a transfer from the camp to a higher-security prison. She asked if he was OK.

"I said, `I'm great.' I said, `Everything is going to work out.' I start quoting Romans 8:28 to her," Rowland said. "She thought I'd left my senses. She actually left the room to go get a counselor. And I said, `You don't need to get a counselor, I'm fine. Everything is going to be fine.'"

Then his lawyer called. A judge refused to sign an arrest warrant sought by state prosecutors.

Rowland said he returned to his bunk to find a letter from a woman from New York. He said it was someone he didn't know.

On Thursday, he pulled the letter from his pocket and read, "Dear Mr. Rowland. Don't panic. It's only a test."

She urged him to read Romans 8:28.

Rowland told the students the letter was the work of the Holy Spirit.

"I guess the message to all of you is real simple," he said. "Be ready. Continue to study The Word. Continue to look for circumstances to grow your faith."

He urged them to be evangelists.

"Reach out to other non-believers, your brothers, your sisters. And just show them by your actions. You can't talk anybody into it. Show them by your actions, and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest of the work," he said. "And it will all work out."

After meeting with the students, Rowland was guarded with reporters.

He had flown to Connecticut earlier Thursday from a speaking engagement in Ohio. He declined to provide details.

He and his wife, Patricia, recently bought a $500,000 house in Middlebury. He said his three children from his previous marriage are doing well: His middle child, his son, R.J., is a Marine serving in Iraq.

He did not object to the school's inviting reporters to his talk, but Rowland said he feels no need to explain himself anymore, at least not to the press.

"You're going to have your own impressions. You're going to have your own conclusions. You're welcome to them," he said. Then smiled and leaned forward. "I don't care."

Contact Mark Pazniokas at mpazniokas@courant.com.

* * * *
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Click Here for my picture and story on injusticebusters.com

Click Here for the text of my letter for what was former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland's first letter received on his first day of Federal Prison for being corrupt and taking bribes.


Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

In the above link I ask the USDOJ to investigate Blumenthal, former Connecticut State Police Commissioner Arthur L. Spada, Rockville Connecticut Superior Court Judge Jonathan Kaplan, and others.

Click Here for a post on the Connecticut State Police "100 Club" where there are accusations of countless false arrests and imprisonment for making up evidence and filing false reports for DUI. The above link also has links in that post to old www.freespeech.com posts. www.freespeech.com links no longer work, but some posts have been preserved.

Steven G. Erickson lets Official Connecticut have it live on television:

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crime does pay for that scumbag Rowland. Have no money before jail and then by a half million dollar house. Connecticut corruption makes me sick.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 5:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot Rats
WASHINGTON (AP) - Police and prosecutors are worried that a Web site claiming to identify more than 4,000 informants and undercover agents will cripple investigations and hang targets on witnesses. The Web site, WhosaRat.com, first caught the attention of authorities after a Massachusetts man put it online and named a few dozen people as turncoats in 2004. Since then, it has grown into a clearinghouse for mug shots, court papers and rumors.

Police Decry Web Site on Informants

Nov 30, 8:28 PM (ET)

By MATT APUZZO

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police and prosecutors are worried that a Web site claiming to identify more than 4,000 informants and undercover agents will cripple investigations and hang targets on witnesses.

The Web site, WhosaRat.com, first caught the attention of authorities after a Massachusetts man put it online and named a few dozen people as turncoats in 2004. Since then, it has grown into a clearinghouse for mug shots, court papers and rumors.

Federal prosecutors say the site was set up to encourage violence, and federal judges around the country were recently warned that witnesses in their courtrooms may be profiled online.

"My concern is making sure cooperators are adequately protected from retaliation," said Chief Judge Thomas Hogan, who alerted other judges in Washington's federal courthouse. He said he learned about the site from a federal judge in Maine.

The Web site is the latest unabashedly public effort to identify witnesses or discourage helping police. "Stop Snitching" T-shirts have been sold in cities around the country and popular hip-hop lyrics disparage or threaten people who help police.

In 2004, NBA star Carmelo Anthony appeared in an underground Baltimore DVD that warned people they could be killed for cooperating with police. Anthony has said he was not aware of the DVD's message.

Such threats hinder criminal investigations, said Ronald Teachman, police chief in New Bedford, Mass., where murder cases have been stymied by witness silence and "Stop Snitching" T-shirts were recently for sale.

"Every shooting we have to treat like homicide. The victim's alive but he's not cooperative," Teachman said. "These kids have the idea that the worst offense they can commit is to cooperate with the police."

Sean Bucci, a former Boston-area disc jockey, set up WhosaRat.com after federal prosecutors charged him with selling marijuana in bulk from his house. Bucci is under house arrest awaiting trial and could not be reached, but a WhosaRat spokesman identifying himself as Anthony Capone said the site is a resource for criminal defendants and does not condone violence.

"If people got hurt or killed, it's kind of on them. They knew the dangers of becoming an informant," Capone said. "We'd feel bad, don't get me wrong, but things happen to people. If they decide to become an informant, with or without the Web site, that's a possibility."

The site offers biographical information about people whom users identify as witnesses or undercover agents. Users can post court documents, comments and pictures.

Some of those listed are well known, such as former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, who served 10 months in prison before testifying in a public corruption case. But many never made headlines and were identified as having helped investigators in drug cases.

For two years, anyone with an Internet connection could search the site. On Thursday, a day after it was discussed at a courthouse conference in Washington, the site became a subscription-only service. The site has also disabled the ability to post photos of undercover agents, Capone said, because administrators of the Web site do not want officers to be hurt.

Authorities disagree. In documents filed in Bucci's court case last month, federal prosecutors said they have information that Bucci set up the Web site to help intimidate and harm witnesses.

"Such information not only compromises pending or future government investigations, but places informants and undercover agents in potentially grave danger," Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter K. Levitt wrote.

While prosecutors haven't pointed to a case where a witness or officer was harmed because of the Web site, it has been used to shatter an undercover agent's anonymity. After Hawaiian doctor Kachun Yeung was charged with distributing narcotic painkillers this spring, a surveillance picture of an undercover Drug Enforcement Agent was posted on the site.

Federal prosecutors said they traced the posting to the University of Hawaii newspaper's photo department, where the doctor's son was a photo editor. The posting identified the names of three agents and described one as "a known liar and a dirty agent. He is an absolute disgrace to the American justice system."

Prosecutors in Boston have discussed whether WhosaRat is protected as free speech but have not moved to shut it down. In 2004, an Alabama federal judge ruled that a defendant had the right to run a Web site that included witness information in the form of "wanted" posters.

Earlier this month, federal judges from Minnesota and Utah urged their colleagues to be careful about how much information about witnesses is released in public files, noting that they could end up on WhosaRat.

Steve Bunnell, chief of the criminal division at the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, said the rules of evidence already require authorities to identity witnesses to the people most likely to harm them: the defendants. Most of the documents labeled "top secret" on the site are really public court records or information copied from other Web sites, he said.

His concern is that the site disparages the reputation of people who come forward to help solve crimes.

"We don't make those high-level gang and drug organization cases without somebody on the inside telling us what's going on," Bunnell said.
Authored by: Admin on Friday, December 01 2006 @ 08:01 AM PST
I'm always tickled when one of my ideas sees the light of day under the rubric of a new project started by somebody else. Several years ago I was talking to a few people about starting up a similar online database on the police. Our working name for the project was "Operation Serpico." Now, I consider this project to be on my back burner, but it's good to see these folks breaking new ground with this important project.

One thing people should consider doing is mirroring the Whosarat website. If they run into legal trouble, the information on the site may disappear from public access. Given the amount of police spying done on activist groups, it's in our best interest to compile information on undercover police operations.

Chuck
There is a way to put up such a website so that it can NEVER be shut down, and so that it can NEVER be traced back to who made it or where it's hosted. In fact, there's a couple.

The first is to use a Tor ( http://tor.eff.org ) Hidden Service for the website ( http://tor.eff.org/docs/tor-hidden-service.html.en ). This makes the website's true location practically untraceable and additionally makes it virtually immune to DoS or other attacks that would seek to take it offline.

The second option is to use Freenet or GNUnet ( http://freenetproject.org/ and http://gnunet.org/ ), which are specifically designed as "censorship-resistent file-sharing" networks, allowing anyone to create an anonymous and untraceable "freesite" that has the additional protection of being redundantly distributed over many servers, making it virtually impossible to take down, even by the people that created it.

I think that this is a tremendously important project, and one that I myself have considered implementing in recent months. I was elated to read here that it's already in existence (or was...), but now it must be re-created in a way that transcends the boundaries of censorship and the law. The technology exists, is proven, and is perfectly applied to this kind of project. I hope that it can be re-formed under a more secure guise soon.
Well, the police have no righ to exist, so I don't give a fuck about their so-called "laws."

If these motherfuckers are going to spy on us and then use that information to fuck up our lives, then we should come up with a system to share information on the identities of police officers.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 5:52:00 PM  

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