This is what COunterINTELligence PROgram Looks Like
Alleged evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used for search warrants to raid 14 human rights defenders in mid-western United States in 2010 have been unsealed, exposing an undercover FBI agent infiltrated their group, repeatedly tried to frame them, and then lied about their rights work to charge and thus neutralize them.
The infiltrator persistently tried tricking the youthful rights workers, Targeted Individuals, into sending money to People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) so the FBI could charge them with material support for terrorism offenses. Three years later, they remain in Limbo, not charged and wondering daily what their fate is. In total, 23 human rights defenders were targeted in 2010, in FBI scandalous Cointelpro-style of the 60′s and early 70′s.
FBI’s New COINTELPRO Raises Ugly Head For Same Purpose As Days Of Old: To maintain status quo by silencing human rights defenders
Coordinated FBI raids occurred September 24, 2010 in Chicago, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Deborah Dupré reported that day:
Consistent with other military dictatorships’ maneuvers, on Friday, Sept. 24, the FBI conducted raids in communities across the nation on American human rights defenders against war and terrorism.
The FBI raided their homes, sending a loud and clear message: Either support America’s war crimes and state-sponsored terrorism - such as murdering children and innocent women and men in US led illegal and immoral wars - or be subjected to the life of a Targeted Individual including possible false imprisonment or even untimely death.
The fourteen rights defenders were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. The FBI alleged they’d provided “material support” to “designated foreign terrorist organizations,” specifically both PFLP and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Subsequently, nine other American human rights workers were issued grand jury subpoenas.
In COINTELPRO signature style, the FBI began turning over six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis Friday morning at 8:00 A.M. central time. It handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to about a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. It also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.
These actions are typical of rogue, fascist dictatorships.
The same tactics were used by the US counter-intelligence operatives of COINTELPRO in the Vietnam War/Civil Rights era when the ops targeted with lies, discrediting, framings and even covertly assassinated some innocent, peace-loving Americans with charisma. – Deborah Dupré, Sept. 24, 2010
The account that Kevin Gosztola provides on Firedog Lake details the FBI’s New Cointelpro actions that are similar to those of yesteryear.
Jessica Sundin, one of the activists raided and subpoenaed, is among those continuing to live with the possibility of one day being charged and sentenced indefinitely. She helped get the files unselaed that the government had initially sealed indefinitely due to it being a “terrorism” case. The young rights workers wanted the files public in hopes of learning if the investigation into their activities was over. Additionally, they thought it wrong for the government to continue keeping this information secret.
FBI’s “Karen Sullivan” Operative
Kevin Gosztola, writes for Firedog Lake that from July 2008 to May 31, 2010, an undercover FBI agent the rights worker knew as “Karen Sullivan” infiltrated their groups when coordinating a major antiwar demonstration at the 2008 Republican National Convention. “Sullivan” then joined Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and provided political intelligence to the FBI on the organization.
Gosztola says the affidavit makes it seem like an undercover agent met someone in FRSO, like at the library or the coffee shop, according to Sundin. What really happened, however, is the agent met with a group of activists organizing as part of the Antiwar Committee (AWC) (also targeted and raided by the FBI). They were “chief organizers” of a major march in dowtown St. Paul and had spent months trying to secure permits for the action to demand an end to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. The affidavit, however, makes no mention of this part of the FBI operation when intelligence was fed to authorities for the national special security event.
Special Agent John P. Thomas of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Minneapolis wrote the affidavit detailing “facts supporting probable cause to search the subject premises.” He clarifies in a footnote:
‘My descriptions of recorded conversations made by UC1 ['Sullivan'] are summaries based on my review of the recordings, the review of recordings by other JTTF members, UC1′s reports describing those recordings and my understanding and UC1′s understandings of the context of the recorded conversations. These descriptions are not based on a final, verbatim transcript.”
He says it does not contain a “description of every topic discussed or every statement contained in any recorded conversation.” According to Gosztola, what the the affidavit does contain are the most sensational and often out-of-context statements and jokes uttered by the rights worker in the presence of “Sullivan.”
They are accepted as serious and fact, and the humor and cultural context is not understood by FBI agents. It is as if they still suffer from an institutional and historical bias against leftwing organizing that can be traced back to when the Bureau was founded and operated by J. Edgar Hoover with a commitment to destroying and annihilating the effective organizing efforts of communists and socialists.
That does not mean the allegations are not to be taken seriously. Their nature give the FBI a great power to wield over the activists as government prosecutors continue to threaten to charge them with allegedly providing, attempting to provide or conspiring to provide “material support for terrorism.”
Assertions in FBI’s Affidavit
In sum, the affidavit asserts FRSO has a “secret goal” to “violently overthrow the government of the United States.” It “secretly provided” “material support” to the FARC and PFLP.
It alleges “Sullivan” learned the FRSO provided material support to terrorist organizations through donations to individual members of foreign terrorist organizations, to unions operating as fronts for the terrorist organizations, through ‘delegations’ of FRSO members visiting the terrorist organizations.
A second undercover officer, pretending to be “Sullivan’s” life-partner, was shown a video of Sundin on a trip in Colombia where she met members of the FARC in 2000.
The unwitting rights workers had also invited “Sullivan” on a solidarity trip to Palestine in August 2009. They helped her fundraise for her trip during which time “Sullivan” apparently asked multiple times if the rights workers would be raising money for Palestinian Women’s Union that hosted the trip. “Sullivan” determined some of the Women’s Union members were also part of PFLP, and concluded money given to them would likely fund purchasing guns.
Toward the end of July 2009, “Sullivan” had raised approximately $4,100 for the delegation, $2,000 from a “donation,” according to Gosztola.
The affidavit claims the Antiwar Committee Educational Fund, a nonprofit, made a “grant” to the Antiwar Committee, that then issued checks to protect the nonprofit’s status because money was being sent to a “terrorist organization.”
“There apparently was fear (though this may be a joke) that if the Antiwar Committee was audited or looked into by the FBI, ‘it would be in jeopardy,’” says Gosztola. “While it may seem like this would make a case to bring charges against the activists, apparently nothing happened that the FBI wanted to prosecute at that point. Multiple transactions are described in the affidavit in the months following August. None, however, indicate proof of ‘material support’ for PFLP.”
And, significantly, “Sullivan” was unable to get into Israel with the delegation. When she arrived there, Israeli security denied her and two other delegates entry.
Pressure Mounts, FBI Needs a Case It Can Prosecute
Pressure to conclude the operation and prosecute someone for a crime increased.
“By March 4, 2010, the operation became one where ‘Sullivan’ was engaged in an effort to entrap one of the activists into sending $1,000 dollars to a foreign terrorist organization,” writes Gosztola.
From the affidavit:
…On March 4, 2010, UC1 recorded a conversation with [REDACTED]. UC1 told [REDACTED] that UC1′s father had left him/her a package, which included envelopes and a video called “Women in Struggle,” when he recently died. UC1 told [REDACTED] that the video was about women in the PFLP who admitted killing and bombing targets in Israel. UC1 said that his/her father left $1,000 for UC1 to get to the “organization of the women in the video.” [REDACTED] said that they can “get it to our people.” [REDACTED] told UC1 to talk to [REDACTED] at the FRSO Congress meeting in May 2010. [REDACTED] said that “if that’s what you want to do with it, we can get it there” and said that $1,000 “will go far in a place like Palestine.” UC1 said that the $1,000 was for the women “which were the PF.”…
So, “Sullivan,” an undercover FBI agent, informed activists she wanted them to ensure money reached women in a US-designated foreign terrorist organization. She insisted after it appeared the money might go to Palestinians not a part of the PFLP.
She was part of a perverse scheme to convince activists that her father had died and it was his last dying wish to get money to the PFLP because he had treasured a documentary on Palestinian militant resistance to Israeli occupation. (Author emphasis)
Undercover agent “Sullivan” raised the issue of the documentary and her fictional dead father’s $1,000 again on March 10. She then again spoke with an activist on March 11 about it, suggesting her father “regretted” not sending it when she was “part of the delegation to Palestine in 2009.”
“Would It Actually Go to the PF?”
Over two months passed. Gosztola says nothing that happened is highlighted in the description of this effort to get the activists to send $1000 to the PFLP. Suddenly, on May 20, 2010, “Sullivan” was back again trying to get money to this US-designated foreign terrorist organization. She manipulated one activist to text someone about giving money to an “NGO,” that, according to Gosztola, was twisted into PFLP works with NGOs so the activist was going to help get the money to the PFLP.
Finally, there was an FRSO national meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northbrook, Illinois for dues paying FRSO members from May 28 to May 31. “Sullivan” was committed to achieving success by getting some member to transfer the money to the PFLP.
…On the evening of May 29, 2010, UC1 approached [REDACTED], who were speaking with one another, and recording the ensuing conversation. [REDACTED] told UC1 that she had spoken with [REDACTED] and that “it is going to be taken care of.” [REDACTED] told UC1 that [REDACTED] wife will be leaving for Palestine in about a month, so it will not be a problem to get done what UC1 needed to get done. [REDACTED] said “yes, it should be easy.” [REDACTED] said it is especially easy to get the money there when a family member is going. UC1 asked “would it actually go to the PF.” [REDACTED] responded “yeah, yeah.”…
“‘Yeah, yeah,’ like ‘Go away from me now and stop asking about sending money to a terrorist organization?”” Gosztola asks. “Or ‘yeah, yeah,’ like, ‘Yes, your money will get to where you want it to go?
…[REDACTED] said he would tell his wife who to give it to. FRSO Member K stated, “The war on terror, right here. Who is the terrorist? We are the terrorist.” [REDACTED] laughed loudly after FRSO Member K made this comment…
The affidavit shows less than an hour later, again “Sullivan” raised the issue of the video and the $1000 from her fictional dead father. She had someone to say he loved her story and it would “be cool” to help her send money because it’s “such a cool story.” The affidavit says that the undercover agent asked someone to “just tell me it’s going to the org (the PFLP).”
On May 30, “Sullivan” handed off $1,000 to someone at the national meeting, allegedly a male, who put it in his pocket, hugged her and said, “Thank you. This will get to the PF.” A letter from the PFLP was “purportedly” read that day, where a leader sent “special thanks to FSRO for their immeasurable support of him and the PFLP,” reports Gosztola.
…On May 31, 2010, in a recorded conversation, [REDACTED] asked UC1 if it would “be OK if that money was sent from our organization [the FSRO].” [REDACTED] stated that “we’ve given substantial material aid in the past [to the PFLP." [REDACTED] referenced UC1′s trip with other FRSO members in 2009. [REDACTED] stated that the money that UC1 and other members brought “got to them” even though they were turned away at the Israeli border… [emphasis added]
It appears this person did not say it had given “substantial material aid” to PFLP in the past. “To PFLP” was grafted onto the statement by the FBI. The money would go wherever the money went during the delegation in 2009, meaning probably not the PFLP or else “Sullivan” would not have spent the past months trying to get an activist to commit the crime of material support for terrorism.
“Activists involved in the conspiracy, if one existed,” Gosztola says, “would have been arrested after the 2009 trip.”
Raids were not carried out on the homes or the office of the Antiwar Committee until the final week of September 2010 – about four months later.
“What was the problem?” asks Gosztola. “Obviously, the FBI didn’t know if money was given to the PFLP and, ultimately, it just decided to raid homes and an office, seize property and conduct a search of computers and records to see if it could uncover the evidence the agency desired so prosecutors could bring a case.”
“An Embryonic Version of Officially Instigated Terrorism”
The nature of this FBI operation may evoke memories of COINTELPRO operations directed at groups like the Socialist Workers Party, the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, the New Left, the American Indian Movement and even black and white hate groups. Frank Donner, civil liberties lawyer, author and director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Project on Political Surveillance, considered these operations “an embryonic version of officially instigated terrorism.”
“The Bureau constituted itself the secret instrument of the tribal system of justice directed against people it had itself defined as enemies and outcasts,” he argued. They were “unfettered by professionalism or, for that matter, the norms of legality and accountability.” They did what “seemed like a good idea at the time.”
In her book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, Betty Medsger explores this as she tells of activists who broke into the FBI’s office in Media, Pennsylvania, and took files that exposed domestic surveillance in the 1970s. Those operations were to “maintain the status quo and quash new ideas by harassing people into silence and passivity.” For example, the FBI used informant Robert Hardy to become an “agent provocateur” and teach a group of peace activists how to “break into the draft board office.” He “taught them techniques” they didn’ know and hadn’t used in previous draft board raids for entrapment.
Today, in the case of twenty-three activists facing a federal grand jury investigation for over three years, they are Americans who organized in solidarity with Colombians and Palestinians engaged in life and death struggles.
“The government has put forward no clear evidence that any of the money being donated specifically went to groups designated as terrorist organizations,” Gosztola says. “In fact, the FBI would have the public believe these activists provided ‘material support’ to the FARC because the FBI happens to believe there are FARC members, ‘who do not publicly acknowledge their FARC membership and who are members of various unions in Colombia.’
“What the FBI fails to grasp is it would not be a crime to support the union if it is not a designated terrorist organization.
“What is their crime?” Gosztola asks. “They are on the side of political struggles in countries that the US government has opposed through its foreign policy.
“Yet, years after the raids, these activists have not gone into hiding. While they have not organized any solidarity trips, they have spoken out and fought back and, as Sundin said, refused to ‘hide in the shadows.’ They stand behind work they did and “created a real challenge” for the government to proceed with this case, according to Sundin.
The human rights workers’ lawyers don’t know whether the government plans to eventually charge them with “material support for terrorism” charges, an incredibly serious offense these days.
For now, Gosztola says, “the public can see the dubious evidence at the center of the case—evidence that seems to involve an undercover agent once again trying to get activists to engage in criminal activity as means to control and repress individuals courageous enough to dissent against deeply entrenched policies of their government.”
Source: Firedog Lake, Examiner
Email [email protected] Follow on Twitter @DeborahDupre
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