Found at On The Wilder Side
The Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party has filed a formal request with the Department of Justice for an investigation into the process by which the FBI targeted Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner in its recent FBI sting operation. The letter states that known facts about the investigation “raise serious questions regarding whether the Turner action was a legitimate law enforcement activity.”
The letter states that biases in FBI targeting may “constitute infringement upon the civil and constitutional rights of Councilor Turner, his constituents, and the members of the Green-Rainbow Party.”
The only specific justification offered in the FBI affidavit for their interest in Turner is an unsubstantiated claim by the cooperating witness that Turner took money for writing a letter of recommendation for an ex-offender. Green-Rainbow Party co-chair Jill Stein noted, “This is scarcely the kind of evidence one would expect to trigger an FBI sting operation. Further, the implication that money from ex-offenders is corrupting the political process and warrants a sting is odd. Massachusetts politics is awash with private money on a massive scale – such as the $1.4 million in unreported payments made to a close associate of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi in return for influencing the award of $17.5 million in state software contracts. With all the real money flowing on Beacon Hill, what prompted the FBI to go after an office holder who could be convicted only if the FBI itself created a crime?”
Stein added “The recent Boston Globe report that the cooperating witness was approached by the FBI, not the other way around as implied in the affidavit, underscores the concern that the FBI may have been targeting Chuck Turner prior to any allegations of bribery.”
Green-Rainbow Party co-chair Eli Beckerman commented that “Chuck Turner was well known as a critic of the FBI’s record of infringement upon civil liberties. In 2005 he was a speaker at a rally outside the FBI’s Boston offices, protesting the killing of Puerto Rican separatist Ojeda Rios by an FBI sniper. If the FBI’s attempt to trap Chuck Turner in a fake bribery attempt was motivated by payback for his political activities, it will have a chilling effect on any elected official who contemplates questioning FBI tactics.”
Green-Rainbow communications director Lloyd Smith added “It would be very dangerous if a secret police force were allowed to practice political targeting of elected officials. This is a threat to our civil liberties and to our democracy. As we ask the Department of Justice to investigate possible civil rights violations in this case, we reaffirm our call for these unsubstantiated charges against Chuck Turner to be dropped.”
Green-Rainbow Party letter to Department of Justice
10 December 2008
Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. – Room 4706
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Inspector General,
The Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party requests that the Inspector General launch an immediate investigation into the process by which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) decided to initiate a sting operation against Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. Our concerns will be more fully documented in a later letter.
We feel that the question of how Councilor Turner was selected as a target is a critical one. The use of improper criteria would constitute infringement upon the civil and constitutional rights of Councilor Turner, his constituents, and the members of the Green-Rainbow Party. It may also involve violation of guidelines and protections regarding FBI undercover operations. We feel that the information contained in the FBI affidavit of November 19, 2008 raises serious questions regarding the reasons that Councilor Turner was targeted.
We feel that the actions of the FBI, especially regarding the timing of their actions and their use of the media, raise serious questions regarding whether the Turner action was a legitimate law enforcement activity.
We ask that the Department of Justice notify the FBI that this matter is under investigation and that the destruction of any FBI records regarding the case of Councilor Turner or the confidential witness or witnesses be prohibited.
Please feel free to contact us if further information is required to allow you to act on this request.
Signed for the Green-Rainbow Party with the approval of the Green-Rainbow Administrative Committee
Jill E. Stein, Co-chair, Green-Rainbow Party,
Eli Beckerman, Co-chair, Green-Rainbow Party,
PO Box 440353
Somerville, MA 02144-0004