UPDATES

People's Police Report #32              May 2004

   Joint Terrorism Task Force: Chief Gets Clearance, Mayor Dodges Issue
   FRESNO, CA: Sheriff's Deputy Infiltrates Peace Group
  DES MOINES, IOWA: Anti-War Activists Get Joint Terrorism Task Force to Withdraw Subpoenas
  Other "Terrorism" Updates: "Portland Seven" Sentenced; Tre Arrow Apprehended
  CW Jensen Fired Over $150

Joint Terrorism Task Force:
Chief Gets Clearance, Mayor Dodges Issue

Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth wrote Portland Copwatch an email on March 23 to let us know his FBI security clearance had been approved. This allows him to supervise the work of the eight deputized members of the Police Bureau who work as part of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF). Since its inception in 1997, the members of the PJTTF, when acting under the authority of Federal agents, have had no local supervision (see PPRs #23 -31). However, Mayor Vera Katz, the Police Commissioner, stated in March that she has not finished her application, despite her promise to have security clearance within three months of the October 29 hearing that renewed the PJTTF last year. Katz's office also told some citizens that it would be a security risk to divulge whether or not she had security clearance. Maybe Foxworth missed that memo.

The League of Women Voters wrote a letter to Katz in early February requesting an update on efforts for Katz and the City Attorney to get clearance. Andrea Meyer of the ACLU of Oregon followed up by presenting a three-minute "communication" to the Council on March 17. She noted a long list of local police working in JTTFs around the country who have infiltrated social justice groups, behavior which would be a violation of Oregon law if undertaken by Portland Police without suspicion of criminal activity (ORS 181.575). Katz's only response was to patronizingly joke with Meyer about running for office. (See sidebar for two examples of nation-wide JTTF activity; Meyer also cited incidents in Albuquerque, Grand Rapids, Denver and New York .)

FRESNO, CA: Sheriff's Deputy Infiltrates Peace Group

Last fall, members of Peace Fresno were surprised to read the obituary of Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Kilner who died in a motorcycle crash. Kilner was a man they had come to know as Aaron Stokes, and he had joined their group and participated in events for six months while actually gathering information for that region's Joint Terrorism Task Force. A photo of Kilner (R) was posted to San Francisco's Indymedia site on February 23.

DES MOINES, IOWA: Anti-War Activists Get Joint Terrorism Task Force to Withdraw Subpoenas

On February 10, federal prosecutors withdrew subpoenas directed to four peace activists and to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, which sought information relating to an anti-war conference hosted by the Drake Chapter of National Lawyers Guild and an anti-war demonstration the following day. The subpoena commanded the University to produce all records relating to a November 15, 2003 antiwar conference called "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!" The following day, 12 protestors were arrested on misdemeanor charges during a demonstration at the Iowa National Guard Headquarters (Associated Press, February 7).

The U.S. Attorney denied that the demonstration was being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), even though the National Lawyers Guild pointed out that the subpoena was an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force subpoena and it was served by a JTTF officer. Subpoenas were also issued to the former director of the Iowa Peace Network and members of the Catholic Peace Ministries. The subpoena to the University sought "all records and documents in the possession of Drake University relating to the conference" all records "relating to the scheduling of the conference," the identity of all "persons that actually attended the meeting," the identity of the officers of the Drake chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, all "meeting agenda or annual reports of this organization filed with the University since January 1, 2002," and records of campus security.

Following the withdrawal of the subpoenas, Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, stated in a press release: "This is a complete retreat by the US Attorney [for the southern district of Iowa] and an unequivocal victory for the National Lawyers Guild and the peace movement in general. The Guild is calling for congressional hearings to determine the extent to which the FBI and Justice Department are gathering information on student political groups."

This was an important achievement against the ever-increasing erosion of America's civil liberties in the wake of September 11.

Other "Terrorism" Updates: "Portland Seven" Sentenced; Tre Arrow Apprehended

The last of the so-called "Portland Seven," who never completed their attempt to help the Taliban fight against the U.S. in 2001, were sentenced in February (see PPRs #28-31). Former Intel engineer Mike Hawash, who allegedly aided in the plot, agreed to cooperate with authorities, and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Muhammed Bilal was sentenced to 8 years and Ahmed Bilal was sentenced to ten. Leon Battle and Patrice Lumumba Ford, who did not cut deals with prosecutors, were given 18-year sentences last year, while October Lewis received a three-year sentence (Portland Tribune, February 10). The last member of the "Seven," Habis Abdulla Al Saoub, allegedly was killed in Afghanistan, though some think the reason he was never caught is that he was a U.S. government employee who encouraged the others to hatch their plans.

More recently, Tre Arrow, suspected of sabotaging concrete and logging company trucks in 2001, was taken into custody in March in Canada on charges of shoplifting. Typically, the media referred to Arrow as an "ecoterrorist" even though his alleged crimes are better described as "sabotage." Instead of relating them to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building or the World Trade Center, they are better compared to the monkey-wrenching tactics of Earth First!. Three former PSU students who were convicted of participating in the logging truck arson were sentenced to over three years in prison (Portland Tribune, March 16). In what was perhaps a failed effort to expand his role from exaggerating law enforcer to stand-up comedian, local FBI chief Charles Jordan joked "We hit the bullseye...Tre Arrow is back in the quiver." Since Jordan was the first FBI employee to offer security clearance to the Mayor and the Chief to oversee the PJTTF (see above), we'll say "don't quit your day job, Charles"čbut maybe you should treat serious issues less lightly.

CW Jensen Fired Over $150

Former Portland Police Captain CW Jensen was fired after a long process of review regarding allegations that he asked to be reimbursed about $150 for meals he never purchased back in 1999. Jensen, who became a news reporter for NBC affiliate KGW-TV (8) while on "stress-related" disability leave, applied to return to his job last fall (see PPR #31). However, as the final decision about his fate was being determined, he filed another disability claim on February 24, indicating he may not be fit to return to the Bureau.

Although Mayor Katz herself approved the firing, which was proposed by Assistant Chief Stan Grubbs (since Chief Foxworth is a friend of Jensen's), Jensen is appealing the decision (Portland Tribune March 16).

 

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