U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday he has appointed career federal prosecutor John Durham of New Haven to investigate whether the CIA or its employees broke the law by using overly aggressive techniques when interrogating overseas terror suspects.
Holder said Durham's new duties, at least initially, will involve a relatively narrow, preliminary review to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a full investigation of whether current of former CIA employees violated anti-torture or other laws when questioning high value, terror detainees.
Durham was appointed in part, Holder said, because of his involvement in an ongoing, related investigation of CIA practices regarding terror suspects. In 2008, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asked Durham to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations.
Some of the videotapings allegedly depicted brutal treatment, including waterboarding. Durham and a team of investigators are working with a federal grand jury in Virginia.
"During the course of that investigation, Mr. Durham has gained great familiarity with much of the information that is relevant to the matter at hand," Holder said Monday in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice. "Accordingly, I have decided to expand his mandate to encompass this related review."
Holder said Durham has a "strong investigative team of experienced professionals" in place and has been asked, in connection with the new appointment, to recommend "whether there is sufficient predication for a full investigation into whether the law was violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees."
The new Durham appointment came in the wake of two other significant moves by the Obama administration in the area of the detention and interrogation of high-value terror suspects.
The administration was preparing to release a newly unclassified, 2004 report by the then CIA inspector general detailing CIA treatment of terror suspects. The report says one interrogator threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect, and another may have threatened to assault a suspect's mother in front of him. A federal judge in New York forced the administration to release the secret report after a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.
President Obama also approved the creation of a new, multi-agency interrogation unit for suspected terrorists that will be based at the FBI but overseen by policy-makers at the White House and its National Security Council.. The HIG, or High-Value detainee interrogation Group, is considered by some observers as an administration effort to distance itself from allegedly coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush.
Holder said he decided to move closer toward possible criminal prosecution of CIA interrogators after reading a number of still-classified reports, including one by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility examining memos by Bush Administration legal advisers that authorized what Holder called "so-called enhanced interrogation techniques."
The OPR report recommends that the Justice Department re-examine previous decisions to decline prosecution in several cases related to the interrogation of certain detainees, Holder said. He said he hopes to make much of the report public after it is vetted for classified material.
"As a result of my analysis of all of this material, I have concluded that the information known to me warrants opening a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations," Holder said.
Disagreements over the release of interrogation memos, photographs of detainees and what to do with detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have resulted in a year of political clashes over the shape of a future U.S. war on terror.
Holder's decision Monday to inch toward a criminal investigation seems on its face to clash with the view expressed by President Obama, who has repeatedly said he wants to "move forward" rather than dwell on controversies generated by his predecessor.
"I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial," Holder said. "In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take."
The White House said Monday the decision of possible prosecution belongs to Holder.
"The White House supports the attorney general making the decisions on who gets prosecuted and investigated," Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said.
However, critics like U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of began weighing in against Holder's decision Monday afternoon.
"I respectfully regret this decision by Attorney General Holder and fear our country will come to regret it too because an open-ended criminal investigation of past CIA activity, which has already been condemned and prohibited, will have a chilling effect on the men and women agents of our intelligence community whose uninhibited bravery and skill we depend on every day to protect our homeland from the next terrorist attack," Lieberman said.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
* * * * * * * * John Durham was, and still is, allegedly the "go to guy" to help cover up police, judicial, attorney, official misconduct, and public corruption in the state of Connecticut, and now maybe he has gone national, or even global, in being a "tool". Police officers in Connecticut can allegedly pay state registered confidential informants sums of plus, or minus, $10,000 in taxpayer funds, to kill, maim, injure, set up for malicious prosecutions, citizens who get in the way, or dare lodge public corruption or police misconduct complaints. So, if a guy can get his feet wet being the black bag man for official street thugs wearing badges, what can he do for the current national black bag ops, currently out and about? [a post about John Durham's past police misconduct cover ups?]
Steven G. Erickson wearing "Death is Mandatory, Really Living Optional" tee-shirt. Picture taken half way to the peak of Mt. Chocorua [info], New Hampshire, not far from Mount Washington. [Mount Chocorua pics on the web]
Climbing a mountain is more than just hiking here on Mt. Chocorua. Each step must be done carefully. Rocks are slippery. Rocks can roll and be pulled on top of the climber. Falling off a cliff is not impossible. Pulling your weight up, and onto rocks, is an adventure. Getting to the top is less than half of the battle. But, being on the top, knowing that the mountain has been conquered as the view is taken in, is just plain nirvana.
It rained on the way down. The whole experience was suddenly altered.
I watched the climber in the last picture, to study his skills in descending the mountain on slippery, wet rocks. I wasn't sure whether or not the loud thuds, crashing, and twigs breaking in the distance of darkening woods was a bear, moose, or just a deer. I escaped my adventure, and the later, completely dark woods, with a flashlight I was glad I packed ...
August 22, 2009, was just another life altering day and life experience for me.
I will climb this mountain again. I will climb others. I am no longer a mountain climbing virgin, the seal has been broken.
I talked with a gentleman who is familiar with Limnos (also Lemnos) Island in Greece, who travels there often, and he talked about the war profiteers, George H. W. Bush, and others meeting and/or investing huge sums of money in businesses and property in Limnos. The newer houses and resorts went from nothing to unbelievable in just over a decade, has the world noticed?
It is an island dirty little secret with locals.
Maybe half of the war contractor funds paid out by taxpayers are was wasted, was fraud, and is an absolute abomination. We were lied into a second ground war in Iraq. The first and probably the second Bush “election” was stolen and paid for by the Bush dynasty. This was in front of the world and American public and they got away with it, unpunished.
There is a whole army of domestic spies paid for by war booty stolen by the war profiteers, and there are thugs on the ground in America ready to take care of any individuals to squash any movement set up to get justice.
How disgusting does the royalty in America have to get before the world and the American people get off their collective hindquarters and act? Should there be an independent audit done in Limnos, and the investors there asked where they got such huge sums of money to invest in estates, resorts, and trinkets? Are these individuals in the jurisdiction of the Hague and international justice?
Look these fuckers' are doing their best to trash the American women, i.e. write US all of as sluts from slutsville, and we are waging a counter-bash, public awareness campaign. The Shawna case is global, huge...so we are showcasing her.... in the best of light. Just goggle her name, to see what is going on... This case is a total set-up by the media-govt complex....
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's BIGGEST fan: XXXL masseuse Brandy Baron. By Stephen Lemons in Feathered Bastard
I'll be out of pocket for the next couple of days, and so will not be able to blog as normal. There will be some catching up to do Monday, on the new Cave Creek raid and the series on Joe in the East Valley Tribune. Interesting video the Trib has online. Joe looks like a geriatric gangster, and PR flack Lisa Allen [formerly Lisa Allen MacPherson], his past-her-prime gun moll. I haven't had a chance to watch it all or read it all, so I'll reserve judgment until I can.
I have a bit of nativist nuttiness for you in the meanwhile, a member of United for a Sovereign America and stalwart supporter of Sheriff Joe by the name of Brandy Baron. A regular at anti-immigrant protests around town, Baron is a masseuse by trade, a practitioner of the art of the sensual touch, and though she strictly states on her Web site Brandysmassage.com that she will not perform any act of a sexual nature, she does offer "tandem" massages with an equally adipose skin-buffer by the name of Taylor.
Brandy is available by appointment at A Touch of Heaven Massage, which she's informed me in the past that she owns. The trade name is registered with the Arizona Secretary of State under the name Frank Baron, but the "Whois" for TOH's Web site lists "Brandy Baron" as the contact person.
Interestingly, two of her fellow masseuses, Angie and Nicole, have elected to have their faces blurred out online. Don't know why these gals would be so shy. Especially since the business' Web site features a disclaimer, which says,
"Anything of a sexual nature regarding massage is illegal so please don't ask us to discuss it with you. Rest assured you will have a pleasurable as well as relaxing experience with us."
Barron writes on her blog that she's of Hispanic descent, and is also firmly against any illegal immigration. She's particularly bitchy about immigration from Mexico (Canadians are apparently a-OK), and she claims she wants all of the nation's immigration laws enforced. She frequently can be found demonstrating up at the Macehualli Work Center in north Phoenix as part of U.S.A.'s ongoing harassment of that day-laborer site.
Baron is intelligent enough, and though we disagree on many subjects, we agree on some others, such as the legalization of prostitution, which she advocates. Indeed, in a blog called "BBW Brandy's Blog," on the site escortblogs.com, Baron writes about the differences between street hookers and the higher end of the trade.
"I don't think that there is any more special service that can be offered to another person than pleasure," blogs Baron in a 2005 post. "Most outside of the profession think that it's all about sex and money. Those same people usually think of anything sexual between unmarried people as being dirty. They have no idea how much caring, compassion and nurturing goes into providing intimacy. A good provider offers herself as a companion which is far more than just a sex toy. I have no respect or regard for those people who cheapen the profession by standing on street corners. They are the main reason that so many have such a low opinion of sex work. THEY are the ones that always get seen! A good professional is very discreet for everyone's protection."
I had a little confab with her on this a while back, at the state Democratic convention, no less. I was there reporting, and she was there doing a little observing for her camp. Her adult daughter was with her, as were a couple of other nativists. Below's a sampling of the give and take from the impromptu interview I did with her.
I should state that I actually like Brandy as a person. I've found both her and her daughter to be civil with me, unlike most other U.S.A. members, such as alleged public urinator Buffalo Rick Galeener, Craig Tillman and others. I think it's hypocritical of her to be for the enforcement of all laws, save for those having to do with the world's oldest profession. But one's own hypocrisy is always the easiest to justify, right, Brandy?
Do you really believe in enforcing the law, BTW, Brandy?
Brandy Baron: Absolutely.
You didn't say that on your blog.
BB: I would never -- I support prostitution.
I know. I'm all for it too, but it's against the law. Just like illegal immigration. What's the difference?
BB: There is a big difference, because it is a victimless crime.
I don't know. Do you think the people at U.S.A. would agree with you about that?
BB: Probably. They know I do massage.
But you don't give happy endings, do you?
BB: Hell no.
Have you ever given a happy ending?
BB: Absolutely not.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Brandy's daughter: You've got to get your action somewhere.
Yeah, at your mom's massage parlor, maybe...Why are their faces blurred out? Why would they do that if what they're doing is completely legal?
BB: That's their choice. Hey, Sheriff Joe's been in my place.
[NB: As you can see in the following, she doesn't seem to mean Joe's been there in person, only that deputies have inspected the place.]
BB: He checked on it, when he was doing his sweeps. He had his people in there checking us out too. Just like everyone else.
But not personally, I'll bet.
BB: I've never ever had a problem. We've have vice in there.
You think he can get it up?
BB: I have no idea what Sheriff Joe can do in the sack. I'm really not interested. All I want him to do is get the illegals out.
But you know it's not a cafeteria. If you want all the laws enforced, then that's a law too.
BB: But it's not a federal offense. Illegal immigration's a federal offense.
A misdemeanor, only if they catch you crossing the border illegally. Jaywalking is a misdemeanor.
Cranky old nativist dood: You turn everything around, and you're stupid.
Yeah, I'm so stupid, I don't have (neo-Nazi and U.S.A. member) Elton Hall as a problem.
Cranky old nativist dood: Elton's my friend.
Well if he's your friend, why are you so worried about him. Why are you devoting whole meetings to him?
Cranky old nativist dood: I wasn't there at the time, but he's my friend.
So you've got no problem with neo-Nazis?
BB: If it's good enough for the pope, it's good enough for us.
The pope was in the Hitler youth. It's a little different. Elton has told you he will not renounce anything he's done or believes in.
BB: I respect that. Absolutely.
You respect the fact he's a neo-Nazi? He's still a neo-Nazi.
Anyway, I don't see the difference between supporting illegal aliens and supporting illegal prostitutes.
BB: There's a big difference.
What is it?
BB: We're not taking anyone's job away. Nobody is having to support them with their tax dollars.
Do you check anyone's I.D. when they're in your massage parlor?
BB: Why would I ask for anybody's I.D.?
You could be giving a massage to an illegal alien.
BB: If they can't speak English, they don't get into our place.
Long before she was accused of robbing and murdering a Mexican man and his 9-year-old daughter in the southern Arizona desert — exposing the Minuteman movement to claims of racial warfare — and long before she told her followers that she saw brown-skinned immigrants as filthy lawbreakers, Shawna Forde was climbing into a car in Seattle to allegedly have illegal sex with a man named Rodriguez.
Then known as Shawna Breitgham, the 17-year-old future border vigilante had worked the city's strolls for at least two years, long enough to know that if a customer introduces himself by groping you, he's probably not a cop (undercover officers are generally bound by no-touch rules). So on that October evening in 1985, after getting into a car on Seattle's Pike Street and riding to an unlighted spot, the shapely, blond teen prostitute picked up the driver's hand and rubbed it against her breasts. Then she reached over and fondled his crotch.
After agreeing to a $50 blowjob, a reassured Shawna said: "Take off your pants." She began undoing the driver's fly.
That's when he took it out. His badge, that is.
"Seattle police!" said vice officer Rodriguez, whose first name, because of old and incomplete records, could not be determined.
It was Shawna's fifth bust since age 11, a run of convictions that included burglary, theft, and prostitution. According to prosecutors, public records, and her family, she has spent a good deal of her life testing how far the law will stretch before it snaps back — something she would, Fagin-like, impart to her own children, says her half-brother Merrill Metzger.
Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. 2012 is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.
Currently police informants can be paid to deal drugs, commit crimes, and get to keep all, half, or some of the money that they are either paid for by police with tax dollars or from proceeds of dealing drugs or even crimes such as breaking into houses!
Is the USDOJ for helping cover up public corruption or do they really investigate and act in the best interest of the public?
I talked with William Doriss last night, and today, video of that posted above. He's about 65 and complained about the police and courts near his former New Haven, Connecticut, home. There are known to be separate and unequal sections for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. Is Doriss' claim that the USDOJ in DC not investigating cases of reverse racism true?
Well, there might just be plenty of documents and proof. I will be posting what I find out in the form of text, video, and audio telephone interviews, if, and as, I get material. I have a judicial misconduct and abuse blog [located here].
Mr. Doriss was terrorized out of Connecticut by authorities and still faces up to 69 years in prison for children having witnessed his dog attack a smaller one across the street from his former business in New Haven. Risk of Injury to Minors is a felony punishable up to 20 years per count. As an antiques dealer, Doriss, allegedly also faced serious jail time for having placed a couch on the sidewalk in a bulk trash pile awaiting pick up in his New Haven, Connecticut, neighborhood.
William Doriss told me last night that a Kevin Walker from the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, told him (Doriss) that the word had been handed down from Obama himself that claims of reverse racism would not be investigated by the USDOJ.
Just another reason to have a People's Court and Investigation System. [more]
There are more and more examples of citizens who wish to reform the system by contacting their elected officials, get mouthy in blogs, or who lodge police and judicial misconduct complaints who are domestically spied on, targets of police, and even railroaded to prison. [a good example]
Janice Harper, the Nuclear Option, Silence and New Threats to Academic Freedom
Trial by FBI Investigation
By DAVID PRICE
Beginning in the early 1990s, I spent about a dozen years slowly collecting, analyzing and compiling tens of thousands of FBI files detailing how dozens of American anthropologists were investigated and harassed by the FBI and various loyalty boards during the late-1940s and 50s. In most of the cases I encountered, the scholars under investigation were targeted because they were involved in unpopular (legal) political causes—the most common of which involved activist campaigns fighting for racial equality, in others they challenged gender roles, economic stratification, the unbridled militarism or other conventions of their era. Many of those investigated already stood out amongst their colleagues as individuals unwilling to go along with the polite social conventions that supported the world they were challenging.
In most of these instances, non-relevant facets of individuals’ lives were collected and analyzed by the FBI, employers or local law enforcement agents, and unsubstantiated accusations were collected and used to informally blackball and persecute individual anthropologists who were engaged in political activities. The range of these collected details was bizarre and often prurient (in one case, a well known anthropologist’s reported, private, onanistic habits were collected and reported by the FBI). In the several dozens of cases I analyzed in my book Threatening Anthropology, none of the FBI’s exhaustive inquiries into the private affairs of anthropologists provided any proof of illegal activity directly related to these investigations; but many of the anthropologists who were the subjects of these investigations wound up losing jobs, marginalized within their discipline, or leaving the field entirely, simply because they were investigated by the FBI. In the McCarthy years, the mere investigation by the FBI as a suspected communist was enough to ruin one’s career, and the FBI’s practice of keeping their files and findings private lent a twisted sense of legitimacy to shadowy accusations and rumors of wrong doing—yet, when I had over a dozen linear feet of these files released under the Freedom of Information Act, I found that the FBI actually had nothing of substance.
As it was in other academic fields, anthropology’s weak disciplinary defensive response allowed the FBI and wider-facets of McCarthyism to flourish and wreck havoc on many of the field’s best and brightest. There was an emerging silence that took over the American Anthropological Association’s leadership and spread throughout the membership. Everyone got scared when the FBI investigated anthropologists in the late-1940s and 1950s, and, as the fear spread, everyone went silent. Sometimes the psychological anguish and reactions of those being persecuted made it easy for colleagues to rationalize abandoning friends. Just being investigated was enough to ruin careers and alienate individuals from other scholars—and, more generally, to teach the discipline not to study or engage in advocacy relating to controversial topics like racial inequality, poverty, segregation, and economic inequality. At a time when they were most needed, the professional associations went silent.
The relevance of this mid-century history takes on new meanings as Janice Harper, formerly of the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s (UTK) Department of Anthropology has found herself subjected to a bizarre and Kafkaesque investigation of the sort which cannot hope to produce anything resembling a positive outcome for the subject, regardless of the findings of the investigation: indeed, this investigation’s impact on Dr. Harper’s reputation seems to be an outcome structurally connecting these events with investigations of the McCarthy period. As it was during the McCarthy period, just being investigated is enough to undermine one’s career, and as reported by Robin Wilson in the Chronicle of Higher Education this past week, Dr. Harper has now been fired by the University of Tennessee.
The Chronicle piece skirts the details of this very complicated story (a story made all the more complicated by UTK declining to provide their version of events because of a pending lawsuit), characterized with baroque twists and turns, betrayals, ruptures in internal university procedures and safeguards, that, along the way, obscure the story’s main thread. But, the basic facts of the case are these: Dr. Janice Harper was an untenured assistant professor in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Anthropology, with an established research career as a medical anthropologist and a research interest in the nuclear legacy of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She was hired in 2004, and her initial performance reviewers were extremely positive. According to Dr. Harper, her 2004 evaluation said she was “off to an excellent start” and her following reviews were unanimously positive, with the exception of a 2006 review indicating that she might not be tenured due to issues of non-collegiality. In a department that Harper says now has no tenured women and has only tenured two women since 1947, it remains unclear what such an evaluation means.
Harper maintains that perceptions of her lack of “collegiality” stemmed from a meeting in 2005, where after problems with a failed job search, Dr. Harper says she raised questions about the department’s problems in hiring and retaining women. Dr. Harper contacted the campus Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) to discuss her concerns, and Dr. Harper believes that it was her decision to go outside the department to raise these issues that led some in the department to see her as not being a “team player” and raising issues of “collegiality.”
Professor Harper says that her teaching and research continued to be productive and highly rated. What sets Dr. Harper’s case apart from the usual tenure struggles was the series of events that spilled over from the personal and professional battles academics often have to endure, as the National Security State’s intervention superseded all other issues. With time, her research interests increasingly focused on controversial issues that included collecting oral histories of individuals recounting the past lax disposal of nuclear waste at Oak Ridge National Labs and legacies of disease among workers, while her department came to increasingly build up its institutional affiliations with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy.
Dr. Harper says that in October 2007 as she was under consideration for tenure, she approached her department chair raising concerns about an employee’s behavior. She says that the college called for a sexual harassment investigation, and that she was told she was compelled to cooperate and when she did, she says, “I was told that my tenure would not have been an issue without this report, but because I did make a report, my tenure should be denied.”
In February, 2008, the University of Tennessee’s College Tenure and Promotions Committee voted to grant her tenure with a 9-0 vote, noting that she had an “outstanding” record of graduate advising. But the following month, her Associate Dean rejected letters submitted by colleagues from other universities, citing concerns that these letters went beyond evaluation of Dr. Harper and her work into the realm of “advocacy.” Having written and read dozens of letters supporting promotion and tenure efforts, I must add that rejecting such letters from outside colleagues (who had apparently been pre-approved as appropriate references) for this reason, so late in the process, is highly unusual. But, this was apparently just the beginning of a seemingly inexplicable descent into the surreal. When Dr. Harper called a UTK colleague and friend to privately express her deep frustrations, her call reportedly triggered a police visit to her home, ostensibly to evaluate whether her upset state suggested that she might harm to herself or others. Harper says that the local police soon realized that this was not the case, but soon after this, University of Tennessee “police officers came to my home with notice banning me from the university for allegedly threatening the lives of my university employees and mandating I obtain a mental health evaluation.” Soon afterwards, the University Police informed her that two individuals had made these reports, but, after a police investigation, the case was closed and she was allowed to return to campus and officially declared not to be a threat.
But, like a textbook discussion of collective mobbing behavior, the act of investigation brought more accusations. As soon as this investigation was closed, Dr. Harper says she was informed by an Associate Dean that there had been more reports made against her, this time from students. Dr. Harper says that the Associate Dean would not tell her what the allegations were other than they related to a “bombing” and that she was being investigated by Homeland Security. In late April, 2008, Professor Harper says that she “received a letter from the Provost informing me that new information has come to light that could have a bearing on my tenure application.” But, the specifics of what was going on remained obscure. Dr. Harper says “I had no idea what I was accused of, other than it had been reported to Homeland Security.” Later, claims were made that Dr. Harper had tried to coerce a graduate student to provide classified data to help her own research; a claim Dr. Harper continues to deny and that the Faculty Senate Appeals Committee Report later suggested that even the Provost’s Office “did not find [these] charges credible,” yet these damaging claims remained as supplemental information in Dr. Harper’s file.
On May 9, 2008, Dr. Harper was suddenly approached by FBI agents. She says that:
“Special Agents with the FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force appeared at my door. They asked about my interest in bombs, if I would ever attend an anti-war rally, if I had plans for building a hydrogen bomb, if I had a list of human and building targets, if I planned to kill people, if I ever sought classified nuclear secrets, why I was researching uranium, what I would do if someone offered me classified information, would I ever attend anti-war rallies, what my politics are, if I keep in touch with my family, if I made a habit of talking about bombs. I had no idea what they were investigating me for, they were surprised I had not been told the nature of the accusations, but would not tell me themselves other than a student claimed I attempted to obtain classified information on nuclear transport and storage and reports of threatening students in class that I was building a hydrogen bomb. They soon realize that I am not at all a threat; I give them a copy of my course syllabus, and they leave, telling me they are closing the case, cannot tell me the extent of the searches and surveillance, but advise me to ‘hang in there.’”
Meanwhile, Dr. Harper says that the university began its own investigation, talking with students in her classes, even though the university was unable to identify a single student who could confirm that she had made any threat or acted inappropriately. The lack of evidence, however, only seemed to fuel the university’s compulsion to investigate.
The agents’ questions about “plans for building a hydrogen bomb” demonstrate how absurd the accusations had become, and how a climate of gossip had made even teaching a risk to Dr. Harper’s personal security. Dr. Harper was teaching courses on the history and impact of the nuclear weapons industry and a course on anthropology and warfare. Her class had been assigned to read anthropologist Joseph Masco’s brilliant book, Nuclear Borderlands, and had discussed Howard Morland’s landmark 1979 article in The Progressive disclosing “The H –Bomb Secret,” and these investigations suggested sinister undertones for such readings—as if it were any of Homeland Security or the FBI’s business what professors choose to read in the classroom.
Dr. Harper says that in early June, the University of Tennessee’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) revoked her standing research clearance on the grounds that the police and FBI investigations and the seizure of her research materials exposed her informants to risks. She was told that she “could not use my data until I had assurance from the FBI and university that I was no longer under surveillance.” As these investigations continued, however, they found nothing to indicate that she had made threats or was somehow building a hydrogen bomb. Yet, Dr. Harper was caught in a classic double-bind. Although the FBI did not find that she had done anything wrong, she could not complete her work simply because this investigation had opened her private research records up to FBI scrutiny. This, of course, seriously imperiled her professional activity and development. Last fall, Dr. Harper learned that the faculty in her department voted to deny her tenure application.
In June 2009, the University of Tennessee Faculty Senate Appeals Committee issued a detailed 26 pages report expressing concern over the procedural irregularities in Dr. Harper’s case. The report quotes from an FBI report indicating that even after the FBI undertook “a very aggressive and action oriented” investigation of these claims about Dr. Harper, the FBI closed the investigation after US Attorney “Jeffrey E. Theodore declined prosecution due to lack of criminal activity and no nexus to terrorism.” But a satisfied Justice Department appeared to make no difference to UTK officials.
Her position with the University officially ended a few weeks ago at the end of July, but Dr. Harper has retained legal counsel and reports she is filing suit against the university for gender discrimination, breach of contract, defamation and other tort claims, with additional Title VII Retaliation claims pending. Many academics, learning some of the details of Dr. Harper’s story, are content to let the courts adjudicate the matter, such an approach betrays unusual faith in the judicial system. Such a view overlooks the onerous financial costs facing a single mother waging a protracted legal battle with an entity as well endowed, financially and politically, as the University of Tennessee, while missing the important role that might be played by professional associations in investigating such threats to academic freedom.
Dr. Harper’s story appears to be one in which the usual politics of academic advancement became tainted by the “nuclear option” of an FBI investigation. This is an option that anthropologists and others who choose to critically (or perhaps even not so critically, in the case of fired Human Terrain Team member, Zenia Helbig, a doctoral student in religious studies at the University of Virginia, who was removed from her position after she joked over beers about defecting to Iran if the US declared war on Iran) study or work with the military or military-related sectors will increasingly risk such actions. With the military and intelligence and security agencies of the US government increasingly seeking to hire anthropologists and other social scientists, Dr. Harper’s experiences raise the probability that any scholars working in, with, or even around such sectors can easily become targets of investigation.
The way in which accusations of “non collegiality” morphed into an FBI witch-hunt is one measure of the chilling impact of the post-9/11 national security state on American campuses. The silence surrounding these issues adds to the chill and risks nurturing environments that invite rogue inquests to spread to other campuses. Professional associations such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA) have been approached and asked to take a stand in support of Dr. Harper, to ensure that she is given the protections of procedures and investigations due to all scholars, but, so far, they have done nothing. Beyond last week’s brief article in The Chronicle, a vacant silence surrounds her termination. Certainly, the loss of a scholar’s IRB clearance because of an FBI investigation that found no wrong doing ought to be an issue of central importance to such professional organizations, and I would hope that the AAUP, AAA and SFAA would recognize the need for them to weigh-in on this and other procedural aspects of her case. This is a case that impacts us all.
I have known Janice Harper as a valued colleague for over a decade (having read her work and appeared on panels with her organized by the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology), and know her to be a strong, independent and respected scholar. Over the last two years, she has periodically kept me apprised of some of these developments, and I am left wondering if being a strong woman in a department that has historically been so male-dominated relates to accusations of non-congeniality, or even how “non-congeniality” was, if at all, related to the ensuing FBI investigation. So convoluted and obscure has the entire story been that, even at this late date, Janice Harper herself isn’t sure if it was the political nature of her research at Oak Ridge National Laboratories that led to this chain of events. As she observes, “maybe my research had nothing to do with it and it was exclusively being the first woman up for tenure in years, in the front lines of feminizing the department, and not being the right kind of woman. I broke the silence about sexualizing women, keeping our mouths shut, being perky and quiet, non-assertive.” Regardless of the role of her Oak Ridge National Laboratory research in the chain of events described here, it is clearly the wider culture of national security paranoia and the broad powers of government investigation that allowed the sort of witch-hunt that has so damaged her professional standing.
Janice Harper wonders if this cascading flow of investigations makes her a sort of “indicator species of the Patriot Act;” as if her experience marks an entry into a new era where those engaged in the usual departmental disputes of academia can now use the specter of security issues to decimate their opposition. Similar dynamics occurred in the 1950s when mere accusations of communism led to firings, bankruptcies, suicides, or worse; in the mid-1980s claims of ritualistic satanic child-abuse soared and spread under conditions of presumed guilt and prosecutions without corroborating physical evidence. Today, the Patriot Act serves as attractive nuisance inviting abuses of process and principles of fundamental fairness, while Homeland Security and FBI agents’ snooping through professors’ course reading lists undermines the basic foundations of academic freedom needed for free and honest inquiry.
Precious few protections are afforded untenured professors, but chief among these hoped protections are expectations of fundamental fairness and protections of due process. Without knowing all the details of what occurred between Dr. Harper, her department and the administration, if her core claims are true that (and these claims have been echoed by the UTK Faculty Senate Appeals Committee Report): after making accusations of sexual harassment, a claimed positive tenure review was overturned at the end of the process by the unusual and sudden rejection of evaluative letter by respected colleagues, then the calm and neutral judgment of some outside body is needed to evaluate what happened here. I understand that UTK’s silence is only that mandated by lawyers demanding no comments on matters likely leading to litigation, but professional associations concerned with the protection of academic freedom and due process need to independently investigate what happened.
I began working on this story a few months ago, and when I contacted the University of Tennessee’s Chair of the Anthropology Department, Dr. Andy Kramer, for comments and to try and verify Harper’s version of events I was referred to the university’s General Counsel, Lela Young; who had no comment but referred me to Margie Nichols, Vice Chancellor for Communications, who also had no comment. No one at UTK would confirm, deny or comment on any aspect of this story beyond confirming Dr. Harper’s then employment at the university. I do not know all of the facts surrounding the University of Tennessee’s termination of Dr. Janice Harper; given the University’s silence, I mostly have Dr. Harper’s account along with records from the Faculty Senate inquiry and other sources substantiating her narrative. I would certainly welcome more information on the University of Tennessee’s version of events, but I have learned enough to support a call for a thorough independent investigation by an outside body of procedural violations of Dr. Harper’s due process, and violations of her academic freedom. The University of Tennessee Faculty Senate Appeals Committee report found that “this case creates the unmistakable impression that the outcome was decided by all parties in the University hierarchy long before the tenure application was ever filed, and the various entities along the way simply tried to find grounds to justify the desired conclusion of denying Dr. Harper’s tenure.” While this Faculty Senate report will likely be a devastating court document in Dr. Harper’s lawsuit, the issues raised by the actions in this case cannot just be left to the courts.
Professional academic associations need to investigate and take a stand on what has happened here. The post-9/11 militarization of our universities has opened the way for the sort of abusive FBI and Homeland Security probes that Dr. Harper had to suffer; and each such incursion on our campuses teaches students, professors and administrators to self-censor, remain silent, and to distance themselves from those who might fall under suspicion. This is exactly how the American social sciences learned to disengage from the sort of research focusing on racial and economic social justice during the McCarthy period, and it is easy to see how these impacts can be replayed slightly differently in the present if academics remain silent.
“Now, let me give you the history of the drug trade in Afghanistan,” his answer began. “Before the Taliban stepped into it, in 1994 — in fact, before they captured Kabul in September 1996 — the drugs, the opium production volume was 4,500 tons a year. Then gradually the Taliban came down hard upon the poppy growing. It was reduced to around 50 tons in the last year of the Taliban. That was the year 2001. Nearly 50 tons of opium produced. 50. Five-zero tons. Now last year the volume was at 6,200 tons. That means it has really gone one and a half times more than it used to be before the Taliban era.” He pointed out, correctly, that the U.S. had actually awarded the Taliban for its effective reduction of the drug trade. On top of $125 million the U.S. gave to the Taliban ostensibly as humanitarian aid, the State Department awarded the Taliban $43 million for its anti-drug efforts. “Of course, they made their mistakes,” General Gul continued. “But on the whole, they were doing fairly good. If they had been engaged in meaningful, fruitful, constructive talks, I think it would have been very good for Afghanistan.”
Referring to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, General Gul told me in a later conversation that Taliban leader “Mullah Omar was all the time telling that, look, I am prepared to hand over Osama bin Laden to a third country for a trial under Shariah. Now that is where — he said [it] twice — and they rejected this. Because the Taliban ambassador here in Islamabad, he came to me, and I asked him, ‘Why don’t you study this issue, because America is threatening to attack you. So you should do something.’ He said, ‘We have done everything possible.’ He said, ‘I was summoned by the American ambassador in Islamabad’ — I think Milam was the ambassador at that time — and he told me that ‘I said, “Look, produce the evidence.” But he did not show me anything other than cuttings from the newspapers.’ He said, ‘Look, we can’t accept this as evidence, because it has to stand in a court of law. You are prepared to put him on trial. You can try him in the United Nations compound in Kabul, but it has to be a Shariah court because he’s a citizen under Shariah law. Therefore, we will not accept that he should be immediately handed over to America, because George Bush has already said that he wants him “dead or alive”, so he’s passed the punishment, literally, against him.” Referring to the U.S. rejection of the Taliban offer to try bin Laden in Afghanistan or hand him over to a third country, General Gul added, “I think this is a great opportunity that they missed.”
Returning to the drug trade, General Gul named the brother of President Karzai, Abdul Wali Karzai. “Abdul Wali Karzai is the biggest drug baron of Afghanistan,” he stated bluntly. He added that the drug lords are also involved in arms trafficking, which is “a flourishing trade” in Afghanistan. “But what is most disturbing from my point of view is that the military aircraft, American military aircraft are also being used. You said very rightly that the drug routes are northward through the Central Asia republics and through some of the Russian territory, and then into Europe and beyond. But some of it is going directly. That is by the military aircraft. I have so many times in my interviews said, ‘Please listen to this information, because I am an aware person.’ We have Afghans still in Pakistan, and they sometimes contact and pass on the stories to me. And some of them are very authentic. I can judge that. So they are saying that the American military aircraft are being used for this purpose. So, if that is true, it is very, very disturbing indeed.”
* * * *
From the US Department of Energy website, a joint venture with NASA?:
The below found [here]. Many who are studying bio and other weapons are concerned about the misuse of the below.
Genetic Variation in Tissue Responses to Low-dose Radiation
To address how individual genetic background affects tissue responses to low dose radiation in the intact organism. It is known that the molecular responses of cells exposed to biological stimuli or insults (such as radiation or chemicals) vary with the type of exposure, dose and dose rate of the insult and the type, genetic constitution, and tissue-organ site of the exposed cells.
To see if low dose radiation responses will differ among individuals because of genetic variation in the genes/proteins that cooperate in producing these responses.
This study will standardize conditions to validate specific gene responses to low dose radiation in different tissues from animals with different genotypes. Global molecular responses will be tested in these animals. Microarray technology will be used to measure radiation-induced changes in gene response in various tissues from genetically diverse inbred mouse strains and from mice with known mutations. Additionally, a mapping analysis of genetic segregation will be done to molecularly characterized variant strains of mice and determine reproducible variant low dose radiation responses.
Variant strains of mice with a range of genetic backgrounds will be molecularly characterizes so that they can be used to directly test the relevance of any specific radiation-induced molecular response on phenotypes. Studies will be conducted to determine how these responses can be altered by genetic or environmental factors.
The cash for clunkers is going to cause more harm to the economically challenged than the current recession/depression.
Inexpensive running vehicles used to pull trailers, for contracting, for an extra vehicle will become even more scarce. Elderly people driving a couple, to a few miles, a week would be best served by an inexpensive "clunker".
US used vehicles exported to other countries bring in revenue to the US and to US business people. That revenue is now being lost.
I sell used cars. A customer came in with his new Jeep that he traded in his pickup for and got $4500 for in trade. He still needs a pickup and can't find one to replace the one he sold for the money he got for it. Business has immediately dropped to less than half.
People without credit and with limited means by used cars they can afford. This program is slamming the poor and the shrinking lower middle class. It is however, giving more tax dollars to the already affluent. The "trickle up" factor is still in place.
I went to work today. I drove a pickup truck with 4 wheel drive. A guy I know showed up on a Harley and wanted to trade me that for my truck. I drove the Harley Sportster with a displacement of 1200 around and around. So, I assumed I would leave work on two wheels after having come in on 4.
There is nothing like feeling the wind in your hair and yes, I wore no helmet.
Seeking to overcome years of gag restraints, former FBI contract translator Sibel Edmonds reportedly claimed in an Aug. 8 deposition that several leaders in Congress and other high-level U.S. officials were suspected early this decade of being bribed by Turkey's government.
Edmonds, who had been silenced by a gag order obtained by the U.S. Justice Department from a federal judge under a "state secrets" doctrine after the FBI fired her in 2002, reportedly said in her deposition that her FBI work made her aware of high-level officials and lobbyists from both parties discussed as potential bribe-takers.
This account of her testimony was by Wayne Madsen, one of a handful of alternative media journalists talking to participants of the deposition held at the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund headquarters in Washington, DC. His subscription-only website cited sources who identified the suspected officials, including one in Congress allegedly trapped by a sex-sting using a prostitute.
Reporter Brad Friedman of Los Angeles, who spoke by cellphone with Edmonds and several other key deposition participants, wrote a parallel "live-blog" account on his non-subscription website. His most recent story was headlined: "Deposition of Sibel Edmonds Completed, DoJ a 'No Show', Bombshells Under Oath."
More background is available on thewitness's own website. Allies of Edmonds suggested that they want to release videos of her deposition as soon as possible.
I attended the first 90 minutes or so of the reporter stake-out of the deposition site, and spoke to several of the proceeding's participants as they emerged during a break. But I'll defer on substantive claims to those who stayed through the end, and who have reported for years on a story seldom covered in detail except in the alternative media.
Edmonds wasa contract FBI employee for about six months, translating material in Azerbaijani, Farsi and Turkish. The FBI fired her in 2002 after she complained that colleagues had produced error-prone and incomplete translations of important terrorism intelligence before and after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Justice Department has argued as recently as this week that the witness's employment agreements forbid her from disclosing any information learned during her work.
The FBI's interests include protecting sensitive investigative work regarding officials, and in maintaining good relations with the government of Turkey, an important U.S. ally in the Mideast. Turkey would be particularly sensitive regarding allegations of bribery, of course, and of allegations that the government was involved in genocide against Turkey's Armenian minority early last century. U.S. voters of Armenian descent want the U.S. to pressure Turkey to confess to genocide, which Turkey resists.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has imposed an order forbidding Edmonds from describing government secrets. Edmonds and her attorneys have maintained that her FBI agreements do not prevent her from responding to a subpoena for oral testimony, particularly as a whistleblower informing the U.S. public about important matters. Ohio Congressional candidate David Krikorian, a Democrat, subpoenaed her as part of his defense against a "false statements" complaint by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, before the Ohio Election Commission.
Schmidt's attorney Bruce Fein, a constitutional scholar and a former high-level official during the Reagan administration Justice Department, told reporters today that he objected to many responses by Edmonds during her deposition.
Andrew Kreig is a Washington, DC-based journalist, drawing on his careers in law, business and journalism. His research interests are on government decision-making (including official corruption in both major parties), harms from such (more...)
I recall, pre-9-11, police officers talking about preparing for an upcoming event where they’d have bigger responsibilities and needed to route out politically active “Big Mouths” and identify leaders. Anyone with legal firearms, also needed to be identified, and then dealt with. Lieutenant Trapp of the Stafford Springs, Connecticut, Police Department showed me memos circulated amongst police in the 1990’s. There was a covert program to falsely arrest targeted individuals to take away their guns, confiscate their property, and dismantle their lives by making them lose their jobs and break up their families. So, was 9-11, the corporate banksters' Coup d'état, take over of America, installing a puppet government?
I thought to myself then, what possibly could be the purpose, dismissing petty police secret programs. Evidence, now unfolds.
If I hadn’t thought of the talk and what he had for reading materials, utter ridiculous nonsense, I would have made much different choices, and wouldn’t be here in America writing this to you. Asking questions in Germany before the outbreak of World War II could be dangerous to your health. Slowly heating up frogs, acclimates them to the temperature rise, ensuring death, not a gut reaction to save its life.
I recommend looking at the case of Sibel Edmonds [videos].
The Best Debunking Video? If you want to see how f'd up our US Government, law enforcement, and courts really are, watch the video below. If you want to continue to have your head buried in the sand, don't watch it.
FBI Terrorists, 9/11 Updates, Bad Week to be a Bankster - Sunday Update
Text with video: corbettreport—March 21, 2010 — Sunday Update is a public service of The Corbett Report podcast. Download the latest episode of the podcast from the Corbett Report homepage:
Sibel Edmonds Speaks Out on Whistleblower "Protections" (1/5)
Text with video: corbettreport—March 13, 2010 — FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds joins The Corbett Report to discuss the explosive information she uncovered while working in the FBI translation and how the safeguards that were supposed to be in place to help her blow the whistle were overseen by politicians who themselves had been corrupted.
DEA Agent’s Whistleblower Case Exposes the “War on Drugs” as a “War of Pretense”
Agent’s Sealed Legal Case Dismissed on National Security Grounds; Details Leaked to Narco News
By Bill Conroy Special to The Narco News Bulletin
September 7, 2004
Former DEA agent Richard Horn has been fighting the U.S. government for the past 10 years trying to prove the CIA illegally spied on him as part of an effort to thwart his mission in the Southeast Asian country of Burma.
After being removed from his post in Burma, Horn filed litigation in federal court in Washington, D.C., in 1994 accusing top officials for the CIA and State Department in Burma of violating his Fourth Amendment rights.
After languishing in the federal court system for some 10 years, Horn’s case was dismissed in late July of this year after crucial evidence in the case was suppressed on national security grounds. Because the entire court record had been sealed by the judge, no one would have even known that Horn’s case was torpedoed, if it were not for the fact that an anonymous source leaked the judge’s ruling to Narco News.
Horn served in the early 1990s as the DEA country attaché to Burma – which ranks as one of the top opium poppy producing countries in the world.
As the highest-ranking in-country DEA representative in Burma (also known as Myanmar), Horn was charged with overseeing the agency’s mission in that country of eradicating the opium poppy, which is used to produce heroin.
From the start, Horn ran into problems with the top U.S. State Department official in Burma, Charge d’Affaires Franklin Huddle Jr., and the CIA chief of station in Burma at the time, Arthur M. Brown.
Horn’s attorney, Brian Leighton, describes what Horn was up against in Burma in a letter he sent in 1997 to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. In the letter, Leighton claims Huddle and Brown were bent on portraying the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) – the oppressive military junta ruling Burma – in the worst possible light.
However, Horn, according to the letter to Shelby, had made inroads in gaining the assistance of the SLORC in working toward opium poppy eradication in Burma. Horn’s success set in motion a series of overt and clandestine efforts on the part of Huddle and Brown to undermine DEA efforts in the region, Leighton alleges.
The reason, Leighton claimed in a recent phone interview, was that if Horn’s strategy proved successful, it would have undercut the State Department’s goal of vilifying the SLORC in the eyes of Congress and the public at large.
Sources within the intelligence community, however, tell Narco News that the CIA’s motivations in the region are likely far more complex, and that Horn simply found himself in the path of the Agency’s buzz saw.
In the end, Huddle managed to get Horn run out of Burma through the machinations of the State Department, Leighton contends, but only after Horn discovered that the CIA had planted eavesdropping equipment in his private quarters in Burma.
Horn’s attorney claims the bug was planted by Brown or one of his cronies as part of an effort to set up Horn and to undermine DEA’s mission in Burma. The eavesdropping, in the end, failed to produce any dirt that could be used against Horn, but it was a clear violation of his civil rights, according to Leighton.
Sources within DEA contend Horn’s claims against the CIA and State Department are on target, adding that the Department of Justice went as far as to claim that no U.S. citizen is protected from eavesdropping by its government when overseas.
“Horn’s whole story is true,” contends one DEA source. “They spied on his home, and the Department of Justice defended the CIA’s actions.”
Horn’s attorney, in his letter to Sen. Shelby, contends that the CIA’s net is far wider than Burma, and that the Agency regularly spies on DEA agents overseas:
… My client has learned that many DEA agents have been the subject of electronic eavesdropping by the State Department and our U.S. intelligence agencies.
… There are, no doubt, countless times when DEA’s operation plans have been foiled by “the listeners,” without DEA even knowing what happened.
What really happened in the Horn case, though, is not supposed to come out, if the government has its way. From the start, Horn’s litigation was sealed and critical evidence that could have supported his claims censored by the court.
Specifically, the evidence – two federal Inspector General (IG) reports that centered on Horn’s accusations – was determined by the court to be protected from disclosure based on something called state secrets privilege. The privilege, which was established as part of a 1953 Supreme Court ruling known as the Reynolds case, allows the government to deep-six information if it is deemed a threat to national security.
“Having determined that state secrets privilege bars disclosure of the IG Reports and certain attachments … the case cannot continue and must be dismissed,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth in his July 28, 2004, ruling in the Horn case. “As a result of the state secrets privilege, plaintiff cannot make out a … case, defendants cannot present facts necessary to their defense and the very subject matter at the heart of this case is protected from disclosure as a state secret.”
Leighton says he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling in the case.
So what are these terrible state secrets that must be protected at all costs – even at the expense of Horn’s constitutional rights? Well, we may never know given how Horn’s case has been swept up into the world of cloak and dagger secrecy. Even in the sealed court ruling leaked to Narco News, all references to the alleged “state secrets” have been redacted.
However, it is clear that some of these state secrets are not really so secret. For example, in the sealed Lamberth ruling, among the material redacted is the name of the CIA chief of station in Burma who is one of the defendants in Horn’s lawsuit.
Horn’s attorney told Narco News that he would be subject to criminal prosecution for disclosing the name. However, the individual’s name, Arthur Brown, has been published numerous times in past media stories about the CIA’s operations in Burma and is referenced in the letter Leighton sent to Sen. Shelby. So it’s really not so secret after all, except when it comes to the peculiar rules of the U.S. Justice system.
Even though we cannot know for certain what the U.S. government deems to be “state secrets privilege” material in Horn’s case, we can assume that not everything is as it appears on the surface. An examination of Horn’s specific charges against Huddle and Brown offers additional insight as well.
For starters, Horn’s attorney claims Huddle and Brown used the resources of the State Department and CIA to sabotage a DEA plan to gain the government of Burma’s cooperation in conducting an opium yield study in the region. Leighton also claims that Huddle undermined Horn’s efforts to provide Burma’s prosecutors and police with U.S. assistance in implementing the country’s drug laws.
“In stark contrast,” Leighton points out in his letter to Shelby, “Mr. Huddle allowed the CIA to send Burmese military officers to Langley, Virginia, for training put on by the CIA.”
Horn also claims, according to assertions outlined in Judge Lamberth’s July 28 ruling in his case, that Brown compromised a DEA informant.
“… (Brown) turned over a copy of a DEA document that included the name of a confidential DEA informant to certain persons within the Burmese government without DEA permission,” the ruling states.
Leighton, in his 1997 letter to Sen. Shelby, describes the same event as follows:
DEA’s well-placed contact from the largest opium producing area in Burma provided DEA with a proposal to withdraw from opium production. The document was even signed by DEA’s informant. … If released, its contents would be highly inflammatory to the Central Government of Burma (GOB).
… Brown chose to deliver a signed copy of this document (which he surreptitiously obtained without Horn’s permission or knowledge) to a ranking figure of the Central Government of Burma knowing full well the outcome would be disastrous. It held the overall potential of causing the death of the informant, depreciating DEA’s credibility with the GOB and derailing the entire project – all at once.
… It seemed a near miracle that Brown’s plan failed. Horn and his agents still managed (after much work) to convince the Central Government of Burma not to arrest DEA’s informant and to give the crop substitution program a chance to succeed.
Huddle was finally able, through the clout of the State department, to get Horn run out of Burma in September of 1993, a little more than a year after Horn had arrived in Burma as the top DEA agent in the country. But about a month before his departure, Horn discovered that his home in Burma had been wired up by the CIA.
Leighton describes how Horn discovered the bug in his letter to Sen. Shelby:
Before leaving Burma, Horn happened to see a teletype which had quotes, ellipsis and summary of a private telephone conversation Horn had from the telephone in his living room. This cable clearly demonstrates that an electronic intercept had been planted – probably by Brown.
… As if that is not enough, Mr. Horn then learned about the technology used to conduct the intercept. … My client learned from a friend in the intelligence community (now retired) who served with him in Burma, how the intercept was likely accomplished and where the transmitter and receiver were likely located.
… Meanwhile, my client and I were threatened with prosecution if we told anyone details about this technology (designed specifically for use against other American diplomats) while at the same time, the government claimed it did not eavesdrop on my client.
In addition to the compromising of the DEA informant in Burma, the alleged illegal monitoring of Horn’s private residence is also referenced in Judge Lamberth’s sealed ruling. In fact, the ruling states that they were the subjects of the two Inspector General reports that have since been cloaked under state secrets privilege.
From Lamberth’s ruling:
(Horn’s) allegations regarding the handling of the DEA document was the subject of an Inspector General report that the court determined on Aug. 15, 2000, to be protected from disclosure by the state secrets privilege. (Horn) further argues that the purpose of the phone tap was to assist (Huddle) in obtaining information that would justify (Huddle) demanding (Horn’s) removal from Burma or otherwise justify expelling him directly. (Horn) alleges that (Huddle) sought (his) removal from Burma as retaliation for (Horn) sending reports to congressmen that conflicted with State Department reports prepared by (Huddle).
(Horn) supports his accusations of wire tapping with the contents of a cable sent by (Huddle) on or about Aug. 13, 1993, to his superiors in the State Department that contained allegedly verbatim quotations from the Aug. 12, 1993, phone conversation. The alleged phone tapping incident is the subject of a second Inspector General Report that the Court determined on Aug. 15, 2000, to be protected from disclosure by the state secrets privilege.
To understand the context of Horn’s incredible story, we have to explore the back story of Burma in the early 1990s. The SLORC is a brutal regime with a horrendous civil rights record that came into power through a military coup in 1988. That junta is now known as the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC.
However, today, as was the case in the early 1990s, the ruling junta of Burma, because of financial and military limitations, does not control various regions of the country. This holds true in particular in the Golden Triangle region of the nation – an area that borders Laos, Thailand and China and is the source of much of the world’s opium poppy production.
The narco-trade in the Golden Triangle region is controlled by warlords who are able to field large armies that are funded with the proceeds of their illicit trade, according to sources in the intelligence community. In some cases, Burma’s military junta has struck bargains with these powerful factions, such as the United Wa State Army, which has had a ceasefire in effect with the government of Burma since 1989.
The relationship between the powerful warlords who control the lucrative narco-trade in Burma and the corrupt military junta that controls the government is very complex and layered. Sources in the intelligence community say that relationship is similar to two parasites, each sucking the blood out of the other, in a symbiotic union. As a result, drug money often finds its way into government coffers and personal accounts through agreements of convenience between corrupt government officials and the narco-traffickers.
The intelligence game in the region, then, according to sources, involves penetrating both worlds, and using information gained to manipulate the politics and forces in the region. As a result, the CIA would have assets planted inside both the government and the major trafficking organizations – with some of those assets likely working both sides of that fence. The CIA officials handling these human assets have built their careers on the information obtained from this spying game, and in some cases may have become corruptly involved in the system itself, according to sources in the intelligence community.
“If you want to cultivate assets in the drug trade to get information, then you have to let the drug trade continue, and that’s why you don’t want a noisy DEA agent getting in the way,” explains one source who does consulting work in the intelligence field. “The reason the opium economy will not stop is that the CIA does not see a value in stopping it when they want intelligence. … We don’t have a drug policy, we have a drug pretense.”
Former FBI agent Lok Lau says the Horn case is a perfect illustration of how there “is no coordination at all” between the intelligence community and other federal law enforcement agencies. Lau drew national attention last year after revealing he spied on China in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the Bureau.
Although Lau is prohibited from discussing the specifics of his spying mission due to national security concerns, his assignment did provide him with the expertise to brief CIA agents on the topics of “Chinese alien smuggling, Asian organized crime and Asian cultural issues in general,” according to government documents.
Like Horn, certain pleadings in an employment discrimination case Lau brought against the government were later stricken from the public record under the cloak of national security. Documents filed in Lau’s case show that he was successful in penetrating the Chinese diplomatic community as well as organized crime organizations that had strong links to the Chinese government.
A partially classified brief filed by the League of Untied Latin American Citizens in support of Lau’s legal claims offers a glimpse of the nature of Lau’s spying assignment:
“From a reading of the record, it is not difficult to discern that Lau was involved in espionage activities, kidnappings, trading in human slavery, illegal immigration, murder, torture, extortion, hostage-taking and any number of other criminal activities that involved crimes against humanity. Lau penetrated the Chinese Triads, the Tong, and other Chinese Organized Crime Organizations that trade in all of these things as a way of life … For six years Lau had to be on his guard and had to participate in whatever these hostile forces demanded of him.”
Lau explains that if the U.S. Government was really serious about eradicating the drug trade, “they would have done it. But they do not really want to.”
“Let’s say the DEA was successful in eradicating all drug trafficking,” Lau adds. “What would be left to prop up pro-U.S. regimes that rely on the drug trade? … The CIA can use the proceeds of the drug trade to pay for armies to support a friendly government.”
Lau also says a lot of careers in the intelligence community have been built around human assets who have been planted within the ranks of the narco-trafficking organizations. If you take down the drug trade, you take down the very assets that are helping to make careers – and at times, corrupt fortunes – within the intelligence community, Lau points out.
In fact, Lau alleges in his lawsuit against the FBI, which was dismissed in late 2003 and is currently on appeal, that on the eve of one of his overseas spying trips, he learned that one of the Bureau’s “highly placed assets had betrayed him.”
“I did not cancel my trip for it would confirm the asset’s allegation,” Lau contends in his court pleadings.
Lau says no effort was ever made by the FBI “to flush the asset out, because some (FBI) agent had made his career running that asset.”
“So they sold me out so that agent wouldn’t have to give him up,” Lau adds. “… Nothing ever happened to that informant….”
“War of Pretense”
Given that backdrop, it doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to conclude that the intelligence community has a lot of motivation to keep a lid on the Horn case. Because the DEA agent actually wanted to do his job and take down the narco-trafficking trade in Burma, he was in fact likely threatening the opposing mission of the State Department and CIA in the region. Their mission was to maintain the status quo so that the information pipeline could continue to prop up careers and U.S. interests in the region – which had nothing to do with eradication of the opium market.
Clearly, the game as it is played is reprehensible in the eyes of most decent people, but it’s an old game that is not likely to end without a major reshuffling of the status quo. However, when that game starts to reach into this country’s courts and subverts the ultimate U.S. interest, the Constitution, it may be time to start drawing some lines.
The use of the state secrets privilege in the Horn case is the “government’s nuclear option when it comes to litigation,” explains Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “By claiming state security issues, the government can effectively shut down a lawsuit.
“It used to be a fairly rare procedure, but its use is on the rise in recent years, and based on perception at least, there is a question about the government’s good faith in citing the privilege.”
Mark Zaid, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who has represented a number of high-profile government whistleblowers, says often the use of state secrets privilege “is an abuse, a way for the government to cover up wrongdoing or incompetence, and the judiciary goes along with it because they are intimidated.”
Zaid is the attorney representing former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who claims she was fired from the FBI for blowing the whistle on serious security and management dysfunction within the FBI’s translator program. Edmonds filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in 2002 claiming the government violated her civil rights.
However, this past July, a judge threw her case out of court after ruling evidence Edmonds needed to prove her claims was protected by state secrets privilege. As in the Horn and Lau cases, Edmonds was prevented from exposing alleged government corruption and mismanagement because of the national security trump card. Edmonds case is currently on appeal.
Zaid points out that the Horn case has particularly serious implications for open government, because not only was state secrets privilege invoked, but the case itself was sealed, which meant no one would even know that national security had been used to torpedo the case if the judge’s order had not been leaked to Narco News.
“The CIA will do what it needs to do to suit its interests,” Zaid says. “If that means taking steps against another agency employee, they will do it.
“… But there is a double tragedy in the use of the state secrets privilege (in the Horn case) in that because the case is sealed, no one would even know the government invoked the privilege. … The ridiculous thing is that (Horn’s) case is still under seal. There is very little classified information involved in the case (and what is there has already been redacted from the record).
“So why is this case being covered up by the government?” Zaid asks.
That is a question that goes to the heart of our Constitution, and whether the document still has any meaning. Ironically, Horn could not be reached for comment on this story because, according to sources, he fears the government will retaliate against him if he exercises his First Amendment right to discuss his case.
Phone calls to the CIA and State Department were never returned.
Their silence, like the pall that the national security trump card lays over the truth, only contributes to the “war of pretense” being waged against the civil rights of people around the globe.
One DEA source summed up the danger of the government’s continued expansion of that pretense as follows:
Illegal eavesdropping, the centerpiece of Horn’s civil case, is also a criminal offense. An analogy of the government’s position is this: If a CIA chief of station had stabbed Horn with a butcher knife in the American Embassy, he could not be prosecuted because the very existence, location and name of chiefs of station are considered classified and cannot be disclosed. Moreover, the chief of station would not be able to defend himself without using classified information. Therefore, the state secrets privilege kicks in and the case disappears. This theoretical “stretch” of the privilege is not unlike what was done in Horn’s civil action.
In practice, both cases could move forward, but only if fair treatment is accorded by the court.
It is apparent that the state secrets privilege has expanded and evolved in such a way that it effectively immunizes persons and agencies of crimes and other misconduct. It no longer just protects troop movements, satellite imagery, etc. It now seems to include everything the intelligence community does. The intelligence agencies are no longer held accountable for wrongdoing. They have the all-inclusive trump card.
… In the Horn case, the state secrets privilege has been used to immunize people and agencies from wrongdoing – a far cry from what the United States Constitution intended.