Archive for February 16th, 2012

Work in Progress

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Well, it’s like this, kids. Right now I’ve loaded 8 or 10 links onto this next post and have another 9 windows open. I haven’t even commented on the links yet. This onion ain’t going to peal by itself and it looks like it’s going to take a while to get it done so I might as well just post it as I go, so you don’t think I’m lounging with a Ceegar and a beer.

Today’s assignment: The Hutaree militia case.

But to begin, I think we shall start with Hal Turner, because we all know what happened when the BATF got involved at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Identifying himself as “Hal from North Bergen”, Turner became notable in American conservative circles as a frequent caller to and supporter of WABC radio talk show hosts Bob Grant and Sean Hannity.[4] Turner parlayed this fame into a role as the northern New Jersey coordinator for Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign. He went on to serve as campaign manager for Libertarian Party candidate Murray Sabrin in New Jersey in the 1990s, including a 1997 gubernatorial campaign.[5]

Turner claims he established a friendship with Sean Hannity, on whose program he was a frequent presence.[4] However, when confronted by the New Black Panther Party’s Malik Zulu Shabazz in 2008 about his association with Turner (in light of Hannity’s scrutiny of Barack Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright), Hannity at first denied knowing Turner, then said he had banned Turner from his radio program. Turner subsequently posted this response on his website: “I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn’t know me. In fact, Sean does know me and we were quite friendly a few years ago.”[6][7]

Again, from wiki:

Malik Zulu Shabazz (born Paris Lewis in 1968[1]) is an American attorney and the National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party. He is a frequent guest on television talk shows, such as Face the Nation, Meet the Press, The O’Reilly Factor, and Hannity.[2]

Now, back…

Turner was a paid FBI informant for several years, supplying information about right-wing groups to federal agents.[27] The original allegations that Turner acted as an informant for the FBI surfaced in 2008 after unidentified hackers claimed on Turner’s website’s forums that they had read email correspondence between him and an FBI agent, apparently his handler.[28] This led to a discussion on a neo-Nazi website on January 10, 2008, in which Turner revealed he was quitting political work, was ending his radio show and that he was separating “from the ‘pro-White’ movement”.[28]The FBI has declined to comment on the matter.[28]

On July 28, 2009 for United States v. Turner in Chicago, Turner pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill three federal appellate judges there and then sought his release from custody, saying he had been an informant for the FBI.[49] The judge gave Turner 10 days “to produce concrete evidence of Turner’s help to the FBI or federal marshals.”[49] On August 11, Turner was denied bail again. The judge cited the fact that Turner, from his prison cell, recorded and posted on the internet a telephone conversation that included the names of his arresting FBI agents. The judge said that Turner’s act “tells me something about the disposition of Mr. Turner.”[50]

He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said the defense will use “Turner’s background as an FBI informant” and argue that he was “trained by the FBI” as “an agent provocateur” to incite people.”[51][52] In late October Turner was freed on $500,000 bond, and was ordered not to use a computer or any device that can access the Internet.[53] His trial started on November 30, 2009 and ended on December 4, 2009,  [Huh. The day before the Chicago Tribune got the green light on the Blago story.]with the defense opting not to call any witnesses.[54] After two hours of deliberation, the jury announced it was deadlocked.[55] Three days later the judge declared a mistrial, and a retrial was set for March 1, 2010.[56]

This second trial, overseen by Western District of Louisiana judge Donald Walter, was moved from the Northern District of Illinois to the Eastern District of New York: since the prosecution was to call the three judges to the stand, the defense felt that Turner would not get a fair hearing if the trial was conducted in the same city where the judges worked.[57] A mistrial was declared on March 10.[58] In August 2010, his third trial began and on August 31, after three days of testimony the jury found Turner guilty.[59][60] On 21 December 2010, he was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

Turner has a projected release date of October 3, 2012.[1]

(Somebody, do the math.)

In July 2009 the Connecticut case was handed to a division of the state court that handles more serious matters.[69] In early February 2011, Turner appeared in a Hartford court for the Connecticut v. Turner pre-trial hearing on three counts of inciting injuries to persons.[70]

In July 2011, Turner’s public defender asked for the case to be dismissed saying Turner’s statements are free speech and that Connecticut courts don’t have jurisdiction because his threats were made in New Jersey.[75] Prosecutor Thomas Garcia responded that Turner himself wrote that his intent behind the writing was to “foment direct action” against the lawmakers “personally.”[71]

On September 16th, [2011] after three hours of deliberation he was found not guilty of “felony inciting injury to people and misdemeanor threatening.”[78] After hugging his family, Turner was “escorted back into custody” to continue serving his sentence in the federal case.[79]

OK, then there is this:

Before he was outed as a stukach in early 2007, Turner was the host of a web-based talk radio program and a freelance speaker who specialized in “incitement-and-indictment” entrapment of “right-wing extremists.” Hackers discovered a cache of e-mail correspondence between Turner and William Haug, an agent working for a Joint Terrorism Task Force who acted as the informant’s handler. Turner closed down his radio program while emitting great gusts of affected outrage over what he insisted were spurious accusations that he had collaborated with the Feds.

I encourage you to read that link, it’s very insightful.

In any event,

In each case, Turner contends his words are protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Turner’s attorney, Orozco, adds that other federal prosecutors routinely ignored his outlandish statements. “He has made other controversial remarks about judges, none of which have ever been prosecuted,” wrote Orozco in a legal brief.

So Turner, working for the feds, gets tossed under the bus. The charge is threatening to kill judges. Every time he hung a jury, they move the trial until he is convicted. Sentenced to 33 months, it looks like he isn’t going to do 2 years. OK, so the guy is a worm. So what? He pleaded not guilty on July 28, 2009.On October 28, 2009, three months later there was another raid. This time the Joint Terrorism Task Force shot and killed an Imam in Detroit.

DETROIT — The African-American leader of a Detroit mosque was fatally shot Wednesday during a Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on what authorities called a criminal gang run by U.S. converts to Islam.

Mr. Abdullah was imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque and was connected to a group known as “Ummah,” a brotherhood that seeks to establish a separate state within the U.S. that would be ruled by strict Islamic or Sharia law, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Ummah’s leader is Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is now serving time in a prison for the murder of two police officers in Georgia. He was a prominent Black Panther during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Continuing:

Despite the fact that both the investigation of the mosque and the raid were conducted by the local Joint Terrorism Task Force, no terrorism-related charges were filed against any of the ten men listed in the criminal complaint. The charges include “conspiracy” counts arising from an alleged plot to receive and sell “goods that defendants believed were stolen from interstate shipments”; one count of mail fraud; three counts related to possession of firearms or body armor by a felon; and tampering with automobile VIN numbers.

After the shooting CAIR got involved and the Justice Department opened a investigation on the possibility of violations of Civil Rights. (Take a guess how that panned out.)

From the complaint:

On January 20,2009, while the members of the Ummah were being evicted from 4118 Joy Road by the City of Detroit for non-payment of property taxes, the Detroit Police Department confiscated two firearms and approximately forty knives and martial arts weapons from Luqman Abdullah’s apartment inside the mosque. The firearms have been turned over to the custody of the FBI and they are logged in to evidence. While the eviction was taking place, FBI executed a federal search warrant inside the facility. Agents found clear evidence corroborating S-l ‘s statements that firearms training had taken place inside the mosque. There were empty shell casings on the basement floor, and large holes in the concrete wall of the “shooting range.”
According to S-l, all weapons and fight training was geared towards violent confrontation with law enforcement and / or with local street gangs.

On June 27, 2008, 8-3 told me he had been able to surreptitiously record his conversation with Luqman Abdullah standing outside the mosque that day. 8-3 reported that when he arrived at the mosque, he realized Abdullah was wearing a bullet proof vest under his customary robes.

Abdullah pointed to a plastic case on the floor and said “That’s a shotgun.” S-3 commented on the hatchet and asked Abdullah, “Do you throw hatchets, or no?” Abdullah replied, “Yeah, I can use a hatchet.” As set out above, Luqman Abdullah has been convicted of a violent felony, and therefore it is a violation of federal law for him to have possession of either a bullet-proof vest or a shotgun.

OK. Let’s recap.

Hal Turner is convicted of talking about killing judges after three tries.

After his first trial ends in a mistrial, within a week Blago is arrested for what he says on the taped phone calls. He had a mistrial, as well. Then Turner beats a State rap for speaking his mind. Next, this imam, Luqman-Abdullah gets into a beef with the feds for what some confidential witness claims he said, like possessing a shot gun when the witness only saw a case. The feds just happen to show up during an eviction and find evidence of a shooting range. Always, the government’s authority is challenged.

Then, CAIR gets involved, so the Justice Department has to investigate itself to prove there was no racism. Ironically, the very report that whitewashes clears the feds opens new questions. Specifically, the report states the 9mm handgun that Abdullah had didn’t have any prints. No paraffin test was done at the autopsy-  (photos) the pathologist said the police were supposed to do the test. (cite omitted) Of course the Justice report blamed the pathologist.   “9 Unfortunately, the medical examiner did not conduct testing to determine whether Imam Abdullah had gun powder residue on his hands.” The cameras that were placed around the government warehouse just happened not to show the inside of the truck were he was shot 21 times from four different angles. And in four seconds, one agent got off 7 rounds from a semi-auto .223 and hit the target each time. With a dog in the way. No necropsy was done on the dog.

Then, as the suspect is bleeding out, they order a medivac helicopter for the dog. Two minutes later the paramedics declare the imam dead. I realize that after 21 perforations, the likelihood of this guy surviving is nil, but to call a helicopter for the dog before the suspect is confirmed dead? Then one agent shooter then picks up the supposed weapon. No usable prints were found, how quaint.

The report declares in conclusion:

The evidence indicates that neither the FBI agent shooters, nor any other agents, willfully intended to use more force than necessary to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. The materially consistent witness accounts, as well as the forensic evidence, corroborate the reports of the agent shooters that they fired only after Imam Abdullah brandished a concealed
handgun and shot toward them and that they legitimately feared that Imam Abdullah was in a position to cause death or significant injury to another. Further, the evidence does not reveal that any other federally prosecutable violation might have occurred before or after the shooting. Accordingly, there is no federally prosecutable civil rights violation associated with this incident.
At this time, this matter is closed and is being returned to the FBI to complete its administrative inquiry.

The legal contortions they go through are just amazing, like this:

Under federal common law, death occurs upon the “(1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.” See UNIF. DETERMINATION OF DEATH ACT § 1 (1981). While Congress has passed no federal law defining “death” for federal criminal purposes, at least one court interpreting a federal criminal statute has adopted the above stated definition of death as the modern federal common law standard. See United States v. Gomez, 15 M.J. 954 (A.C.M.R. 1983). Our inability to prove that the victim survived the shooting would preclude, as a matter of law, that there was a Fourth Amendment seizure of a “person.”

I’ve read that last paragraph 12 times and I still don’t get it. But that is the point, right? Also, noted was a reference in the complaint in the imam case that ‘seditious conspiracy’ was notably absent, thus, it reappears in the Hutaree case.

“Abdullah’s recorded statements to S-3 confirm S-1 ‘s testimony, that Abdullah is advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States.”

Believe it or not, I have finally reached the point were the Hutaree militia enter the story.

Prosecutors have portrayed the Hutaree militia as a dark-hearted group with evil intent. They said Stone’s plan was to create his own country carved from four Michigan counties, then defend that country against attack by the “One World Order” army.

But defense attorneys have dismissed tapes recorded clandestinely by an FBI agent who infiltrated the militia as just talk, and talk protected under freedom of speech.

The group allegedly planned to incite that attack by making a false 911 complaint, shooting any police officer who responded, and then attacking attendees at the funerals of those officers with improvised explosive devices.

Makes sense to call it “protected speech” after Turner beat the rap three times out of four.

The feds are having none of it though, even going so far as to call local police officers part of the federal government.
In the beginning of the Hutaree case, it was widely reported that these guys were “a Christian Militia”.
The FBI conducted raids Saturday night in Washtenaw County and Lenawee County in an investigation involving members of Hutaree, a Christian-oriented militia group based in Lenawee County, AnnArbor.com has learned.
Local Michigan militia member Jimmy Schiel said he was told five people were arrested – including one known member of Hutaree. Schiel said the five were reportedly arrested during a raid at a service in the Ann Arbor area for a Hutaree member who died recently. Schiel was told about eight Hutaree members were present. He didn’t know who organized the service. Schiel, who said he was invited but did not attend, spoke to a Hutaree member who was there, he said. The member told him people were questioned about guns.
Not showing up was the luckiest thing in his life, as you will soon see.
But here is the important part:
On March 29, 2010:
Then they released the complaint accusing them of planning
Of course the Southern Poverty Law Center had to comment:

The Hutaree Militia first came to the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center early last year, when our researchers found the group’s MySpace page, which advertised their paramilitary training events. The Hutaree are just one of dozens of new anti-government “Patriot” groups that popped up in the last year as right-wing extremism exploded across the country in the wake of broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America. In fact, the so-called “Patriot” groups – militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans – rose from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 in 2009. Militias grew from 42 groups in 2008 to 127 in 2009. The last time America saw this much militia activity was in the months before the Oklahoma bombing.

The Hutaree arrests are just the latest in a series of domestic terrorism plots that have occurred over the past year and a half. Just a few weeks ago, Joseph Stack flew his airplane into an IRS building in Austin, TX, in a fit of anti-government rage. In the past year, six law enforcement officers have been killed by domestic terrorists enraged at the government, and high profile institutions, including the Holocaust Memorial Museum, have been targeted by men with anti-government grievances. The health care vote has further inflamed right-wing extremists. In the wake of the vote, several democratic offices had bricks thrown through their windows, a tactic egged on by an Alabama militia member.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center was trying to conflate TEA party activists with ‘right wing extremists’, it soon became the narrative.
Meanwhile the prosecution wanted a professor to assist the jury in understanding “conspiracy theories”:
After searching multiple locations for weapons, reports came out that these Hutaree types had automatic weapons and explosives. The prosecution was forced to admit all the firearms were legal and the explosives were introduced by the ‘confidential informant’, thus there was a question as to just how dangerous these guys were. The Judge ordered them released, but gave prosecutors time to appeal her ruling.
For the prosecution to appeal, they had to ask for permission from The Solicitor General- Elena Kagan. Who just happened to land a job as a Supreme Court Justice.
From the very beginning this case was falling apart. The militia was approached by loacl law enforcement to help in the search for two different people lost in the woods just weeks before the Joint Terrorism Task Force showed up with their arrest warrant. They couldn’t show the court any ‘machine gun’. The explosive devise was constructed out of cardboard. The “Special” agent in charge forgets her notes at a hearing.
But this, is incredible:

Defense lawyers in the Hutaree militia trial are attacking the credibility of the government’s star witness: a confidential informant accused of shooting at his wife while undercover for the FBI.

And he still got paid, despite being criminally charged.

Specifically, defense lawyers told jurors that the informant, Dan Murray, was charged in 2010 with shooting at his wife. The incident occurred about a month before the FBI arrested the Hutaree defendants and charged them with plotting a violent overthrow of the government

Now you can begin to see why it was so important to round up these militia types- the case was going south.

“I think the concern is which groups cross the line,” the FBI’s Arena said. “Obviously there’s First Amendment protected speech. In this country, you can say and just about think anything you want. The concern are those groups that are actually looking down the path to take action.”

While it’s not feasible that the group could have single-handedly overthrown the government, Arena said the sedition charge, which can carry a life sentence with conviction, fits the allegations.

“Their goal is not for these nine people to personally overthrow the United States government,” he said. “The concept is, ‘We are basically going to start the war and know that we are going to be martyred.’ The goal is to martyr themselves and to start the revolution.”

“You’re not going to personally do it, but you’re gong to be a part of it,” Arena added. “That’s the definition of sedition.”

In one of Judge Victoria Roberts Rulings, she pointed out there were 25 other “similarly situated” member that were not arrested. Only the members that showed up at the warehouse and the leader’s son were arrested. Selective prosecution? As I noted above, one guy,  Jimmy Schiel, that didn’t show up at the government warehouse escaped prosecution. Another waived his Miranda Rights and spoke to the FBI for 2 hours. He was arrested anyway.

The point of all this is to show how, as with Hal Turner, imam  Abdullah, Blagojevich and this Hutaree militia, the template is to pick a target that no one cares about, then create a campaign of disinformation about them. Using their own words, they are indicted- it’s an afront to free speech. And a very dangerous path.
Interestingly, words like “direct action” come out of the liberal playbook. I suspect these are cases of Projection- where the administration projects onto its enemies the very thing it is doing. Like overthrowing the government. How else could burning a U.N. flag be construed as an attempt to question the authority of the U.S. government?
Wow. Check out the plea agreement for Joshua Clough. He peads guilty to one count- carrying a firearm in the course of a crime of violence. The prosecution will not argue for  the fine that could be $250,000. But he will have to pay $100.00 ( a special assessment.) The sentence is a mandatory 5 years, but the judge can give him supervised release for 2-3 years. He also forfeits his guns.
Unfortunately, I can’t cut and paste the good parts. You have to go look at it yourself.
Now this. More stifling of the 1st Amendment: