FBI Repression in Boston

*FBI Repression in Boston*

Richard Hugus

February 14, 2011

Since before the raids on international solidarity and antiwar activists
in the midwest United States last September, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation
has also been steadily at work on a campaign of frameups
and harassment of similar activists in the northeast, in Boston.

On January 25, 2010, Boston’s legendary activist and leader Chuck Turner
was sentenced to three years in prison for the crime of governing while
black. Chuck Turner was a city councilor representing low-income and
minority districts in Boston. He regularly spoke out against the US war
machine and worked hard to support the interests of his constituents. He
was framed by the FBI in an overt political attack instigated by the
Bush-era US Attorney Michael Sullivan. In this attack, an informant was
paid by the FBI to lie about giving a bribe to Chuck Turner. No evidence
was introduced to corroborate the informant’s testimony. The prosecution
never even met minimum standards of evidence: they played a grainy video
of something unrecognizable changing hands. The alleged money was never
counted before the camera. In the sentencing, Chuck Turner was punished
for saying that he was innocent and for speaking out against the FBI and
the US Attorney–as both the prosecutor and the judge said openly. He
was also punished for pointing out the obvious fact that his prosecution
was based on race, as both he and Dianne Wilkerson, an African American
state senator, were the only subjects of the FBI’s “investigation” in a
city that is no stranger to corruption.

Michael Sullivan was rewarded for his efforts. He now works in an office
in Boston set up by former US Attorney General John Ashcroft, who will
go down in history as the head of the American Inquisition against Arabs
and Muslims across the entire United States after the 2001 declaration
of the “war on terror.”

It was John Ashcroft’s Justice Department and FBI who went after Boston
Palestinian activist Amer Jubran in 2002, jailing him without charges
two days after a demonstration for Palestine in downtown Boston, and
finally forcing him out of the country by means of judicial harassment.
It was John Ashcroft who was responsible for sending Lynne Stewart to
prison for the crime of providing legal representation for “the blind
sheik”,  Abdul Rahman. This was a Justice Department not known for its
professionalism. When John Ashcroft went after Lynne, he announced it
personally on a TV talk show. When his shill, Michael Sullivan went
after Chuck Turner, he immediately provided his phony photo evidence for
page one of the Boston Globe.

The same anti-Arab, anti-Muslim racism went into to the FBI frame-up of
Tarek Mehanna, an Egyptian American from Sudbury, Massachusetts who was
arrested by the FBI in October 2009 for the crime of refusing to become
an  informant at his mosque. The FBI told Tarek that if he didn’t
co-operate they would make life “a living hell.” He didn’t cooperate.
Moreover, he spoke up in support of another victim of the US war on
terror, Aafia Siddiqui. Tarek has now spent spent 15 months in prison in
solitary confinement in a prison in Plymouth, Massachusetts. US attorney
Michael Sullivan was responsible for the attack on Tarek. In this case,
Sullivan let loose his assistant Jeffrey Auerhahn, a prosecutor with an
already established reputation for coercing informants into giving false
testimony, and other flagrant misconduct. Auerhahn is in the Boston US
Attorney’s Office “anti-terrorism and national security” division — the
perfect place for a man with experience in creating crimes where none
exist.

FBI harassment didn’t end with the persecution of Amer Jubran in 2002. A
2003 FOIA request brought out extensive videotape surveillance of New
England Committee to Defend Palestine demonstrations, clearly
highlighting certain members. In 2010 the FBI came again to harass two
activists working with the Committee, coming at different times to their
doors to “ask a few questions.” Both activists knew enough not to speak
with an FBI agent and referred them to their lawyer. As reported back by
the lawyer, the FBI had come to ask about their political ideas and
associations. On February 10, 2011 an FBI agent using the name David
George came to the door of this writer, a member of the Committee who
lives on Cape Cod. They were once again referred to a lawyer. The FBI
made it explicit to the lawyer that they were investigating ideas
expressed in an article supporting the right of oppressed people to
resist their oppressors (see
http://www.onepalestine.org/resources/articles/Lies_of_the_Israeli_Peace_Movement.html),
and a personal letter of support to Aafia Siddiqui, a political prisoner
at that point facing trial in New York in September 2010.

The Holder/Obama Justice Department has gone even further than
Ashcroft/Bush in trying to make any expression of solidarity with
resistance into the crime of “material support for terrorism.” They
appear to be using the decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law to expand
the definition of “material support for terrorism” more deeply into the
international solidarity and anti-war activist community. This is the
first administration that has openly declared it a matter of policy that
they will assassinate US citizens for speech, as in the case of Anwar
al-Awlaki
. Once the right to assassinate is established, investigation
and harassment of people for things they’ve said or written is a matter
of course.

In Tarek Mehanna’s case, a man is being accused of “material support for
terrorism” because of things he published and comments he made on the
internet. Like the notorious “free speech zones” established by the
military and police at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in
Boston, lines are being drawn to establish the boundaries of permitted
discussion — where, when, who, and what people can legally say. The
expression of certain ideas is now being held out as valid ground for
police intervention and criminalization.

It is important for people to understand that the FBI and police are
today on the offensive against critics of the US government’s support of
the occupation of Palestine, its waging of criminal declared wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan; it’s waging of criminal undeclared wars all over
the globe, from Sudan to Colombia; its support of torture; its massive
prison establishment; its long-term incarceration of political prisoners
like Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal; and its widespread attack on
domestic civil liberties.

The good news is that a power acts in such fear because it is, after
all,  weak in its core. It is losing the war it created, and is going
bankrupt with its own greed and moral emptiness.

The bad news is that many truth-tellers have become the victim of the
authorities who have been set up to protect the center of power. Some of
these truth tellers have been murdered, some tortured, some are in
solitary confinement, some have lost their careers, some are simply
worried about the next knock on the door. They were each one of them
right to do what they did. If they are able, they must maintain the
courage to continue doing what they’re doing.

The people who will have trouble coping — mostly with themselves — are
those like Ron Wilburn, the informant who took $30,000 from the FBI to
help remove Chuck Turner from the Boston City Council; Bilaal McCloud
and other unnamed informants who made deals with Jeffrey Auerhahn to
smear Tarek Mehanna; Jeffrey Auerhahn himself, who knows he’s
prosecuting an innocent man and is doing it anyway; Judge John Koeltl,
the judge in Lynne Stewart’s resentencing, whose only excuse was to say
he was doing what he was told; and the Boston zionists who made the call
to have Amer Jubran deported from the country.

If you are working for justice, keep up the struggle. Educate yourself
and your community about the outrageous methods of Uncle Sam’s new
thought police — the FBI.

Posted in Progressive News Network