Chicago: Judge orders state to hand over info on police spying on the NATO 3

NATO5From NATO 5 Support:

The NATO 3—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, and Jared Chase—were brought before Judge Thaddeus Wilson again today for another status hearing leading up to their trial in September. The defendants looked well and were not shackled at the hands, only at the feet. There were also fewer sheriff’s deputies in the viewing gallery intimidating supporters.

As the September 19th trial date looms closer and closer, we must pack the courtroom gallery to let our comrades know we stand with them as they face this state repression. These status hearings have uncovered previously unknown information about the broad and sweeping surveillance program carried out by the Chicago Police Department against the activist community. They have also revealed the nature of the legal fight the NATO 3 are facing. Their lawyers continue to work hard on their defense and support funds are still urgently needed to help them prepare for trial. You can make a tax-deductible donation today by sending a check or money order with “8th Day Center/Nato 5 Defense Fund” in the memo line to:

8th Day Center for Justice
205 W. Monroe St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60606

You can also donate online at https://www.wepay.com/donations/nato-5-defense (these donations are not tax-deductible).

The judge has attempted to maintain a strict schedule, holding status hearings every two weeks to monitor the progress of outstanding discovery issues. The prosecutors have dragged out the discovery process past two set deadlines by withholding key information needed by the defense team. This information largely has to do with the extensive surveillance program of the Chicago Police Department and their months of spying on activists as well as their collaboration with federal police agencies.

In the last hearing, the judge ordered the prosecution to comply with a handful of discovery requests made by the defense. The main issue of contention was how much the broad surveillance investigation into Occupy Chicago, the Mental Health Movement, Chicago Street Medics, and other activist groups would be given up by the prosecutors and the Chicago Police Department as part of the trial. While the judge ruled that a majority of the discovery motions were irrelevant to the specific case of the NATO 3, he did order the state to comply with a number of discovery requests, including the following:

* the 1st Amendment worksheet produced by the field intelligence team in the course of the investigation and all subsequent re-applications

* text messages exchanged between different officers involved in the investigation

* Affidavits from the three police informants as well as additional officers within the Field Intelligence Team regarding the specific investigation of the three defendants, but not the larger investigation into Occupy Chicago

* The identification of officers involved in taking pictures during surveillance operations

* Any additional information on training programs undergone by the police informants

Today, the prosecution had not secured this discovery material, wasting more time to cover up the repressive state surveillance behind the targeting of the NATO 3. Matthew Thrun, Assistant State Attorney, claimed to have scheduled a meeting this Thursday with the 15 officers involved in the Field Intelligence Unit behind the clandestine spying and targeting operation carried out by the Chicago Police Department against activists. Thrun told Judge Wilson that they will have information on the deleted text messages and surveillance pictures after this meeting. The plan agreed upon by the prosecution and the defense is for the prosecution to be in compliance with the discovery orders in 2 weeks.

Two attorneys within the defense team then previewed motions to dismiss that will be filed by the next hearing. Michael Deutsch with the National Lawyers Guild, who is defending Brian Jacob Church, alluded to a pretrial motion to dismiss the arson charges, arguing that the facts of the indictment do not fulfill the statute. Attorneys for Brent Betterly alluded to their own pretrial motion to be filed by the next hearing to dismiss a variety of charges against him based on grand jury testimony.

Finally, the judge asked the prosecutors to what extent they had thus far received information from federal law enforcement agencies. In previous status hearings, the defense team requested discovery material from other agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Secret Service. The defense presented evidence of previous communications between these agencies through fusion centers on Occupy movement activities. The prosecutors stated that they had not received any information from the requests they submitted and the judge encouraged them to meet the scheduled deadlines.

The next court date is June 11, 2013 at 2 pm in Courtroom 303 of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse (26th and California).

Chicago: Undercover police officer from NATO 5 case still attempting to infiltrate local social movements

undercoverchicagocopdannyedwardsFrom Truthout:

On March 27, Chicago teachers and their supporters – including parents, students and community residents – rallied against the largest mass public school closure in US history. News of the mobilization sparked huge public interest before the demonstration – including from an undercover police officer calling himself “Danny Edwards.”

The day before the big rally, “Danny” reached out in individual emails to fellow volunteer street medics he had met a year earlier after he took a 20-hour training with Chicago’s local street medic collective, Chicago Action Medical (CAM). CAM’s volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors and trained street medics provide emergency medical treatment at local protests.

“Danny” – who admitted to us on May 6 that he is, in fact, a Chicago police officer – could have saved himself the trouble and his department the expense. After all, organizers had already coordinated directly with top CPD brass about their plans for the next day and widely promoted their intent to stage nonviolent civil disobedience.

After the CTU rally, “Danny” also tried to recruit at least one CAM volunteer street medic via email on April 30, the day before a May 1, 2013, immigrants’ rights march, to pair up with him as a partner. There were no takers, so he showed up alone at the rally sporting marked medic regalia.

His latest undercover sortie as a fake volunteer street medic bookends a hectic year for him.

Full story

Famed Black Panther Party ally Richard Masato Aoki revealed as informant

From the SF Gate:

The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Capitol.

Aoki went on to work for 25 years as a teacher, counselor and administrator at the Peralta Community College District, and after his suicide in 2009, he was revered as a fearless radical.

But unbeknownst to his fellow activists, Aoki had served as an FBI intelligence informant, covertly filing reports on a wide range of Bay Area political groups, according to the bureau agent who recruited him.

That agent, Burney Threadgill Jr., recalled that he approached Aoki in the late 1950s, about the time Aoki was graduating from Berkeley High School. He asked Aoki if he would join left-wing groups and report to the FBI.

“He was my informant. I developed him,” Threadgill said in an interview. “He was one of the best sources we had.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Activist-Richard-Aoki-named-as-informant-3800133.php#ixzz246MeAcMI

Docs show NYPD infiltrated liberal groups

AP Press

(AP) NEW YORK – Undercover NYPD officers attended meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the country, according to interviews and documents that show how police have used counterterrorism tactics to monitor even lawful activities.

The infiltration echoes the tactics the NYPD used in the run-up to New York’s 2004 Republican National Convention, when police monitored church groups, anti-war organizations and environmental advocates nationwide. That effort was revealed by The New York Times in 2007 and in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit over how the NYPD treated convention protesters.

Police said the pre-convention spying was necessary to prepare for the huge, raucous crowds that were headed to the city. But documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the police department’s intelligence unit continued to keep close watch on political groups in 2008, long after the convention had passed. Continue reading

Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned

By Paul Harris, The Guardian

David Williams did not have an easy life. He moved to Newburgh, a gritty, impoverished town on the banks of the Hudson an hour or so north of New York, at just 10 years old. For a young, black American boy with a father in jail, trouble was everywhere.

Williams also made bad choices. He ended up going to jail for dealing drugs. When he came out in 2007 he tried to go straight, but money was tight and his brother, Lord, needed cash for a liver transplant. Life is hard in Newburgh if you are poor, have a drug rap and need cash quickly.

Read the rest here.

DNC 2008: Anti-capitalista bloc scuffle started as staged fight between cops

From the Denver Post:

When a Jefferson County deputy unleashed pepper spray at unruly protesters on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, he did not know that his targets were undercover Denver police officers.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado is questioning whether that staged confrontation by police pretending to be violent inflamed other protesters or officers during the most intense night of the four-day event.

The protest occurred Aug. 25 at 15th Street and Court Place near Civic Center. Police ultimately arrested 106 people, the highest number of arrests in a single day during the convention.

According to a use-of-force police report obtained by the ACLU, undercover Denver detectives staged a struggle with a police commander to get pulled out of the crowd without blowing their cover. The commander knew they were working undercover, and the plan was to pull them out of the crowd and pretend they were under arrest so protesters would be none the wiser.

A Jefferson County deputy, unaware of the presence of undercover police, thought that the commander was being attacked and used pepper spray on the undercover officers.

The report says that the commander and an undercover detective were sprayed, but it does not indicate how many others were affected. The report also doesn’t say whether the pepper spray used on the undercover police was the first deployment of chemicals that night or whether the riot was already underway.

Denver police have said they were trying to control the crowd moving from Civic Center. The officers testified in court that they had intelligence that anarchists planned to gather in the park, then move toward the 16th Street Mall to wreak havoc at delegate hotels and other businesses. The activists had posted that plan on a publicly available website.

Full story here

Profiles of Provocateurs

This is a very thorough and helpful look at a few recent provocateurs who have wreaked havoc in the movement. While reading this, however, it might be best to jump to the final section first- Proceed With Caution- (or at least make sure one gets to the end :) )and remember that as Kristian Williams writes “it is totally conceivable, maybe even likely, that a person could fit this sort of pattern and not be a government agent” and that “it is important, therefore, not to jump to conclusions — and especially, not to jump to conclusions publicly. There is entirely too much mud-slinging, rumor-mongering, and trial-by-flame-war in the anarchist movement already. We can’t afford to make it worse with premature denunciations or allegations we can’t substantiate.”

Profiles of Provocateurs
by Kristian Williams

A recent article in Seattle’s Stranger detailed a long-term police operation to monitor, infiltrate, and entrap activists in Seattle: “The Long Con,” by Brendan Kiley, May 4, 2011: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-long-con/Content?oid=7989613.

The story is long, convoluted, and more than a little absurd; it’s all rather like the plot of a Coen Brothers’ movie. But the short version is that an undercover Seattle cop infiltrated an after-hours party scene — what prosecutors called “underground illegal gambling enterprises (concurrent with illegal liquor sales).” (All quotes in this section are from the Stranger article.) The SPD hoped to find some dirt on local politicians, the FBI hoped to find a connection to the Earth Liberation Front, and after two years they finally managed to hook someone with a drug scam:

“Bryan [Owens] had been pushing Rick [Wilson]—and everyone in their social set—for years to help him buy ever-larger amounts of cocaine. . . . he tried to play on people’s greed. ‘He’s like, “I can make you a millionaire,”‘ Rick remembers. . . . ‘He said he would pay for the drugs and I would take no financial risk. I told him to go fuck himself. He kept pestering me. I did, to my eternal shame, help him out,’ Rick says. ‘I asked around to some people who asked around to some people who eventually gave him some.’” Continue reading

United Kingdom: Statement from Cardiff Anarchist Network on infiltration

From the Cardiff Anarchist Network:

Statement on the infiltration by Mark ‘Marco’ Jacobs

For four years the Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) was infiltrated by an undercover police officer we knew as ‘Marco’.  During that time we believe he had a number of key objectives – to gather intelligence and disrupt the activities of CAN; to use the reputation and trust CAN had built up to infiltrate other groups, including a European network of activists; and to stop CAN functioning as a coherent group.

By 2009 suspicions had built up, but Marco had so effectively messed up relationships and trust within the group, that we were not properly sharing or voicing our suspicions.  In the autumn of 2009 he hosted a ‘goodbye’ dinner for the group, and announced he was leaving for a job in Corfu.  After he left, texts and postcards arrived for some weeks, but then suddenly dried up, without explanation. His British mobile number was not recognised on dialling it and the Greek mobile number he had been using after he left barred incoming calls and texts went undelivered. His social network pages became untouched.  Suspicions crystallised, but by now he had completely disappeared.

People who had been associated with CAN and the other groups he had become a part of in Cardiff, such as No Borders and Gwent Anarchists, tried to make it known within activist circles that the man we knew as Marco was an undercover cop.  But without definite proof we were urged not to make unfounded allegations.

It was only when news broke on Mark Kennedy and Lynn Watson that there seemed an opportunity to establish the truth for certain.  Following our leads, on the 14th January 2011 the Guardian obtained confirmation that he was indeed a serving police officer.  We don’t know exactly how this was done, but believe that confirmation came directly from ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers.  We were not comfortable relying on the mainstream media in this way, but all our previous attempts to properly establish who he was had come to nothing.

Marco worked on us (not with us) for four years.  He developed strong personal relationships and some of us feel an enormous personal betrayal.  But he also deliberately and systematically set out to damage a movement, and we think it is important that knowledge of what he did, and how he did it, is shared and discussed as widely as possible.
Continue reading

UK: Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges

Marc JacobsFrom the Guardian:

The unprecedented scale of undercover operations used by police to monitor Britain’s political protest movements was laid bare tonight after a third police spy was identified by the Guardian.

News of the existence of the 44-year-old male officer, who was involved in a sexual relationship while undercover, comes as regulators prepare two separate official inquiries into the activities of this hitherto secret police surveillance network.

The latest officer, whose identity has been withheld amid fears for his safety in other criminal operations, worked for four years undercover with an anarchist group in Cardiff.
Continue reading

Undercover Officer Spied on Green Activists

From the Guardian

Mark Kennedy“A police officer who for seven years lived deep undercover at the heart of the environmental protest movement, travelling to 22 countries gleaning information and playing a frontline role in some of the most high-profile confrontations, has quit the Met, telling his friends that what he did was wrong.

PC Mark Kennedy, a Metropolitan police officer, infiltrated dozens of protest groups including anti-racist campaigners and anarchists, a Guardian investigation reveals.

Legal documents suggest Kennedy’s activities went beyond those of a passive spy, prompting activists to ask whether his role in organising and helping to fund protests meant he turned into an agent provocateur.

Kennedy first adopted the fake identity Mark Stone in 2003, pretending to be a professional climber, in order to disrupt the UK’s peaceful movement to combat climate change. Then aged 33, he grew long hair and sported earrings and tattoos, before going on to attend almost every major demonstration in the UK up to the G20 protests in London. He was issued with a fake passport and driving licence.”

Read the rest here.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,599 other followers