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Velvet Revolution Lawyer Sends Letter To Maryland AG Requesting Prosecution of Breitbart, O’Keefe, And Giles For Violating Maryland’s Privacy Laws.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologizes to Shirley Sherrod for his giving creedance to Breitbart’s dishonest and racist tactics along with The Fox “News” Channel’s echo chamber that made her their latest scalp.

Kevin Zeese, an attorney for Velvet Revolution sent a letter early this month to Maryland state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and State’s Attorney Patricia Coats Jessamy asking them to prosecute James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart for violating Maryland’s Privacy Statute. It included the following,

Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all parties. See Bodoy v. North Arundel Hosp., 945 F. Supp. 890 (D. Md. 1996). Additionally, recording with criminal or tortuous purpose is illegal, regardless of consent. Disclosing the contents of intercepted communications with reason to know they were obtained unlawfully is a crime as well. Violations of the law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000.

I also call upon your office to bring conspiracy charges against Andrew Breitbart for paying and directing O’Keefe and Giles and then directly carrying out the distribution of the illegally obtained tapes, also a felony under applicable Maryland law. Mr. Breitbart is the director of BigGovernment.com, an internet website that pushes far right propaganda and he has used the ACORN tapes as a fundraising tool for his operations.

We believe that the case for criminal prosecution has been made stronger by the release of four official reports on the criminal conduct of these three individuals, which I have linked below, and by the recent arrest of Mr. O’Keefe in Louisiana for his illegal entry into Senator Landrieu’s Senate Office in order to tamper with her telephone system. The House Judiciary Committee, the former Connecticut Attorney General, the California Attorney General and the General Accounting Office prepared these reports.

Each of these reports paints a damning picture of O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart, who went on a multi-state crime spree, invading the privacy of ACORN staffers nationwide, taping their conversations and then editing them to create the appearance of illegality and impropriety by ACORN/staffers. Each of these reports makes clear that neither ACORN nor its staffers committed crimes but that O’Keefe, Giles, and conspirator Breibart did. In fact, the California Attorney General granted O’Keefe and Giles immunity in exchange for the unedited copy of their illegal tape, which showed that the tape was intentionally edited to portray a harmful picture of ACORN.

Indeed, as reported here at American Commentary Blog back in January in a report titled,”While Karma Catches Up To Republican Brownshirt James O’Keefe And A Mentor, Propagandist Breitbart, Examination Of Fellow Thugs In The Landrieu Office Phone Tampering Attempt Turns Up Questionable Connections That Require Official Investigation.”, the growing body of lawsuits were beginning in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Also, the Landrieu break in was mentioned as well as questionable connections of O’Keefe’s Brownshirts he was partnered with. Robert Flannagan is the son of William Flanagan, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana and Stan Dai had a connection to the Director of National Intelligence. As reported by Lindsay Beyerstein at Alternet in “James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot To Tamper With Senator’s Phones“,

The circumstances of Dai’s arrest are difficult to square any theory that the men were just checking the protocols of Landrieu’s phone system. A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that one of the four suspects was arrested a few blocks away in a car with “a listening device that could pick up transmissions.” Another anonymous official told MSNBC that the man in the car was Stan Dai. It’s unclear why the listening device wasn’t mentioned in the affidavit. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Louisiana declined my request for further comment. …

In 2008, Dai served as associate director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University. The ICCAE is funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and charged with recruiting the next generation of spooks. A university official assured Laura Rozen of Politico that Dai was a civilian whose job with the university ended in 2008 when the grant money ran out.

Last June, Dai was a featured speaker on torture and terrorism at a “CIA Day” for students in the Junior Statesmen of America’s summer school. The mission of the Junior Statesmen, according to the organization’s Web site, “is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.” The students visited Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., and then returned to Georgetown for a series of lectures.

Dai was a speaker at a CIA program called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” as reported here and the brochure of the event showed some interesting things,

Let’s look at the brochure or packets from the CIA program at which Dai was a speaker called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” Speakers Program. It cites his occupation as “freelance consultant”. It lists his career history as a former Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, as serving as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program, and also as an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (a neoconservative think tank with ties to Richard Perle).

It should be noted that consultant is a common cover for covert agents as indicated in a recent interview by Valerie Plame Wilson though it could be legitimate.

The Use Of Racism As A Political Tactic By The Right

Racism has been a tool for many governments throughout history for taking or holding power from the time of slavery, to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 20’s and 30’s up to today’s political tactics of the right in the United States. Since the Civil Rights Act was enacted by the Johnson administration, the Republicans under the Nixon administration developed what has come to be known as the Southern strategy to take advantage of white resentment. Since the age of Reagan and voo doo economics for the rich, multi-national corporations, and the military industrial complex, it has become worse. To vilify any of the people’s money going to the people for their benefit instead of everything for corporate interests, scapegoats have been needed. The have nots needed to be divided to vote against their interests and racism has provided the perfect weapon. And now that the Democrats elected Obama, the right has reached for old racist themes such as he is a socialist or Marxist (like they called Dr. Martin Luther King) though he has governed center to center right and the echoes of the racist “send them back to Africa” theme can be seen in the birther movement. The reappearance of dog whistles of the old south has opened the door for tools like Breitbart and he hasn’t disappointed. Add in the false race baiting stories generated by Fox “News” that has led to the destruction of ACORN, the bogus “New Black Panthers” story, the Van Jones firing, and now the firing of Shirley Sherrod, while dismantling the public square and attacking the themes of the 14th amendment, and has become way too obvious to deny or ignore. But Breitbart may have bitten off more than he can chew as Sherrod is contemplating whether or not to sue.

Disgusting Display

Two disgusting displays have emerged from this whole Sherrod affair. The first was done by Breitbart and Fox News (and subsequently on cue by “mainstream” reporting). In what can best be decribed as there is no low too low to go for the cause behavior, Breitbart edited a speech to the NAACP by Sherrod to make her out to be racist in her job with the Department of Agriculture when the speech was about overcoming the murder of her father by a white farmer and subsequent negative feelings to help a white farmer save his farm while working for a non profit organization before her job at the Department. She was glad she did because it wasn’t about race but about helping the poor. Breitbart’s vile and vicious artistry initially even fooled the NAACP as they condemned Sherrod before fact checking and then issuing a quick apology. The second disgusting display was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s “quick response” firing of Sherrod without getting her side of the story, fact checking the claims, or facing her. This is following a pattern that has become all to familiar, which is tap dancing to right wing media like puppets on a string. That is because Obama’s administration is too populated by members of Will Marshall‘s DLC or “New Democrats“, the group of Democrats that are moderate conservatives (rebranded “centrists”) that have controlled the Democratic party policy since the 1980’s. They spend way too much time running away from the “L” word and dismissing fellow Democrats they view as “too liberal” as well as working to defeat “too progressive” or “liberal” branded legislation or amendments without examining the merits. The Democrats need “New Democrats” alright, the old ones that put right before wrong instead of political calculation before what is right. The right wing takes no prisoners and has named us that do not agree with their politics as enemies and unAmerican. There is no middle in their absolutism and eliminationism. This is a battle for survival.

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While Karma Catches Up To Republican Brownshirt James O’Keefe And A Mentor, Propagandist Breitbart, Examination Of Fellow Thugs In The Landrieu Office Phone Tampering Attempt Turns Up Questionable Connections That Require Official Investigation.

January 31, 2010 1 comment

Lawsuits have been starting to pile up on the dark hero and rube of the American right wing, James O’Keefe. In a Pennsylvania lawsuit,

According to the lawsuit, O’Keefe and Giles met with Conway-Russell in an “attempt to entrap” ACORN workers into behaving inappropriately. Conway-Russell told O’Keefe and Giles that she could help them only with mortgage opportunities but not with other matters, the lawsuit said.

O’Keefe and Giles later disseminated the audio and video recording of the interview to “injure and harm” Conway-Russell, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Such activities violate Pennsylvania’s wiretap laws. In Maryland, O’Keefe, accomplice Giles, and Breitbart.com are being sued in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for,

“The video and audio footage was taken without the knowledge of Williams and/or Thompson and in violation of Maryland’s Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code §§ 10-402(a) and 10-410, which requires two party consent to all electronic surveillance. Violation of the law is a felony, and entitles parties whose rights were violated to sue,” ACORN said in a statement announcing the suit.

ACORN’s general counsel, Arthur Schwartz, said the acts of O’Keefe and Giles in making the hidden-camera taping were “clear violations of Maryland law.”

Of course, all these attacks on ACORN along with the dubious “voter fraud” charges the rightwing has continually tried to gin up to tap into some racist tendencies in the “tea bag” movement and insinuate that was how Obama got elected and the obvious attempt to defund it was to attack any infrastructure the have nots can have for a political organizing voice as revealed in “ACORN’s Vindication: Too Little Too Late” by Katrina Vanden Heuval,

According to Lewis, damage to ACORN’s work on the ground includes “10,000 people minimum” who will not obtain free tax preparation services from ACORN. In the past, ACORN has helped them file for the Earned Income Tax Credit and thereby “put billions of dollars back into low-income neighborhoods.”

“We’ve had to suspend that. That’s a direct affect on poor people, and you know we were commended by the IRS prior to the right-wing attacks,” said Lewis.

Lewis also said ACORN must curtail its fight against foreclosures. “About 200,000 people that we won’t be able to help directly,” she said, noting that this comes at a moment when the Obama Administration has admitted its own anti-foreclosure plan has fallen short because bailed-out banks aren’t cooperating.

Finally, Lewis said loss of funding has impacted ACORN’s fight to address wage and hour disparities — workers who aren’t paid the minimum wage, cheated out of overtime, unfairly dismissed or discriminated against — “people just totally taking advantage of low-wage workers in this economy.”

And now we have the arrest of O’Keefe in more illegal activity involving Senator Landrieu’s office. Let’s look into the connections into this operation. Arrested along with O’Keefe were Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, and Robert Flanagan, son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. Let’s take a peek at one of them, the circumstances and also the various rigtwing organizations surrounding the episode and events around Mary Landrieu’s (D) La., office. As reported by Lindsay Beyerstein at Alternet in “James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot to Tamper with Senator’s Phones“,

The circumstances of Dai’s arrest are difficult to square any theory that the men were just checking the protocols of Landrieu’s phone system. A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that one of the four suspects was arrested a few blocks away in a car with “a listening device that could pick up transmissions.” Another anonymous official told MSNBC that the man in the car was Stan Dai. It’s unclear why the listening device wasn’t mentioned in the affidavit. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Louisiana declined my request for further comment.

So who is Stan Dai and what and who is he connected with? Well let’s take a look in the same article,

In 2008, Dai served as associate director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University. The ICCAE is funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and charged with recruiting the next generation of spooks. A university official assured Laura Rozen of Politico that Dai was a civilian whose job with the university ended in 2008 when the grant money ran out.

Last June, Dai was a featured speaker on torture and terrorism at a “CIA Day” for students in the Junior Statesmen of America’s summer school. The mission of the Junior Statesmen, according to the organization’s Web site, “is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.” The students visited Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., and then returned to Georgetown for a series of lectures.

Let’s look at the brochure or packets from the CIA program at which Dai was a speaker called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” Speakers Program. It cites his occupation as “freelance consultant”. It lists his career history as
a former Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, as serving as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program, and also as an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (a neoconservative think tank with ties to Richard Perle). The topics listed he spoke about at that session concerned “Torture” and “Domestic terrorism”. Concerning questions listed as “possible questions” are listed,

D. Possible Questions
1. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has defended the Bush administration’s policies on surveillance, interrogation and detention as crucial factors that have protected the homeland. How much valid is the former administration’s assertions that these kinds of policies have prevented another terrorist attack on the United States?

2. President Obama has announced he will close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. He has announced he will close CIA black sites around the world, where they interrogate terror suspects. Says he will make CIA interrogators abide by the Army Field Manual, defined waterboarding as torture and ban it, suspend trials for terrorists by military commission, and now eliminate the label of enemy combatants. By taking those steps, do you believe the president of the United States has made Americans less safe?

Of course to anyone that supports the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States, and International Law based on the Principles set at Nuremberg, knows that torture, Guantanamo Bay, and CIA black sites are all illegal through the aforementioned. Who else does the ODNI fund besides the ICCAE? It funds or directs Proteus USA. Why would O’Keefe need such an connection or such “expertise”?

What about the groups harrassing Landrieu’s office? Are they helping the “spin” by participating in disruption? As quoted in AlterNet article,

Their defenders hypothesize they were just “checking” on the senator’s phone lines to make sure that constituent calls weren’t being blocked. Some conservative groups have complained bitterly in recent weeks that they couldn’t get through to Landrieu. Certain paranoid elements of the right speculated that Landrieu had “done something” to her phones to make it easier to ignore their calls. (A rather pervasive and simpler technology for that does exist; it’s called voicemail.)

Groups involved in defending or aiding the bogus defense of this felony it seems are the Family Research Council , the Baton Rouge Tea Party, and the Chamber of Commerce (who must still be working from the Powell Memo). The American people need for a political party or movement to emerge that will fight the attacks on our democracy. The Democratic Party under the influence of the DLC or “centrists” seems or has been inadequate.