Sharing Criminal Stories

FBI records reveal Earnest Withers' secret life spying on black Memphis

As a black woman in the South in the 1960s, Rosetta Miller-Perry knew the sting of discrimination and the angst that came with pushing for elusive change.

She found the perfect job, working in Memphis for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, a federal agency that investigated human rights abuses and recommended reforms to Congress.

What Miller-Perry didn't know was her colleagues in the FBI office upstairs were secretly monitoring her.

They acquired photographs of her and assembled information about her political views, her allegiances, even her love life.

"It's scary even when I think about it now,'' said Miller-Perry, 77, the owner and publisher of The Tennessee Tribune, a Nashville newspaper with a largely African-American readership.

"They could have really destroyed me. I would not be where I am today if I had lost my government job.''

Details of the FBI's spying on Miller-Perry appear among newly released records from the informant file of the late civil rights era photographer Ernest Withers who died in 2007 at age 85.

The records, 348 pages, were released under court order to The Commercial Appeal, which last year sued the FBI in federal court in Washington to unravel Withers' secret life as a "racial'' informant.

The records sketch a 14-year relationship between Withers, a freelance news photographer who took seminal photos of the civil rights movement, and the FBI, which first recruited him in 1958 as the movement gained its initial momentum.

He remained an informant until at least 1972, collecting a paycheck while helping agents monitor the pulse of Memphis' African-American community, deemed vulnerable by the FBI to subversion, first from Communism and later from black militantism.

Heavily redacted in places — an unspecified "volume'' of pages were withheld entirely — the records add sharper focus to a murky period when federal and local law enforcement maintained "red squads'' or intelligence units that secretly spied on citizens whose political views or actions were deemed dangerous to the nation's domestic security.

Some of the most celebrated figures of the period — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, singers Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin — appear in reports copied to Withers' file, though the FBI is withholding many of them.

Tapping Withers' "many contacts in the racial field,'' the FBI used the photographer to help monitor activists and celebrities visiting Memphis and to keep tabs on local figures, too, including militant Lance "Sweet Willie Wine'' Watson, Church of God in Christ Bishop G.E. Patterson, Tennessee Council on Human Relations deputy director Gerald Fanion, future judge Floyd Peete and future University of Memphis professor David Acey, among others.

"It had nothing to do with enforcing federal statutes,'' said historian Athan Theoharis, who reviewed Withers' file at the newspaper's request and believes much of the FBI's '60s security probes here were not lawful investigations.

"They were monitoring these activists … Their sense was these people were dangerous because of their political views.''

At the same time, Withers helped the FBI infiltrate a violent, black power group, The Invaders, whose members were convicted of crimes ranging from drug offenses to wounding a police officer.

The released records show Withers was first recruited in 1958 then in 1961, agent William H. Lawrence, who ran Communist and subversive investigations in Memphis, specifically requested Withers as a PCI, or Potential Confidential Informant. But Withers received a bad recommendation from the Memphis Police Department. He'd worked at MPD from 1948 to 1951 as one of its first black officers but was fired for taking kickbacks from a bootlegger.

"In view of the above, it is not believed that Withers can meet the Bureau's reliability requirements as a (racial informant) wherein his activities can be directed or controlled,'' Lawrence wrote.

''However, because of his many contacts in the racial field, plus his indicated willingness to cooperate with this Bureau, as attested by his recent furnishing of information, it is recommended that Withers be considered as a PCI. He will be contacted regarding general criminal matters. If in the course of these contacts he volunteers any information relating to security matters or racial matters, it of course will be accepted.''

Withers was simply too well-connected to pass on. As a freelance news photographer working for black newspapers nationwide, he'd covered the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman, and shot pictures of King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy riding one of the first integrated buses in Montgomery, Ala. He was present with his news camera for the movement's pivotal Memphis moments, too, including the 1960 library sit-ins and the integration of city schools in 1961.

"My father was everywhere,'' said Withers' daughter, Rosalyn Withers-Guzman. "That's what his life was. For them to miss him would have been missing the mark.''

The released records suggest the FBI used Withers sparingly over much of the '60s. The released reports include a handful between 1960 and 1967 and they are heavily redacted. There are references to others the FBI withheld entirely.

But by 1964, Withers had a "170 file'' — the FBI's classification for an "extremist informant,'' or one monitoring organizations and individuals with radical political views — and the Bureau meticulously tracked his career, clipping news stories about his 1963 beating by police in Jackson, Miss., his involvement with the Boy Scouts, his unsuccessful 1966 run for Shelby County Constable, even stories about his sons and father.

The released records show Withers became prolific in 1968 — he received a code number, ME 338-R, assignments and cash that made him one of just five paid racial informants in Memphis — as the sanitation workers' strike converted Memphis from a sleepy, civil rights movement outpost into a hotbed of activism.

Although the FBI withheld records that spell out specific things Withers told agents, including informant reports, it's possible in some instances to pinpoint things the photographer said.

For example, Withers told agents about a dinner King had with suspected militants the day before his April 4, 1968, assassination in Memphis and gave them background on Rev. James Lawson, the Memphis pastor who invited King to town to support the city's striking garbage workers.

This is possible in half a dozen instances in which either Withers' informant number, ME 338-R, or his file number, 170-70, are cited as a specific sources of information in FBI reports copied to his file.

Reports released from Withers file contain other instances in which Withers is identified as the likely source of information.

One such case involves a 1968 report on Miller-Perry. Known then simply as Rosetta Miller, she was a 33-year-old Civil Rights Commission clerk transitioning to a field representative, a job that involved interviewing activists.

In March 1968, as the Sanitation Strike frayed nerves with daily public marches, skirmishes between police and demonstrators and uncollected garbage piling up in yards across Memphis, the FBI inventoried activists, "radicals'' and others it deemed capable of inflaming an already volatile situation.

Miller-Perry was deemed to be one such person. Records show on March 12 someone gave the FBI two photographs of Miller-Perry and told agents she "is the type who is a rumormonger and one who will give aid and comfort to the black power groups.''

Although the informant's name is redacted, indicators point to Withers as the source. The single-page report was copied to two files: The FBI's file on the Invaders and Withers' informant file. The report also bears Withers' code number or "source symbol number'' — ME 338-R.

A second report from October 1968 refers to Miller-Perry as a "controversial Negro'' and alleges she'd married a teacher and "the marriage lasted only one week.'' The report, also copied to Withers' file, was withheld by the FBI in its recent record release, but was located by the newspaper among Invader records released under the Freedom of Information Act in 1977, The report is one of more than 30 reports copied to Withers' file the FBI is now withholding.

Miller-Perry said in an interview this summer the report is inaccurate.

Theoharis, the historian, said the FBI often gathered personal information on activists to discredit them.

"It had nothing to do with legitimate security concerns. It had to do with obtaining derogatory information on individuals,'' said Theoharis, a retired Marquette University professor given security clearances to review FBI records for Congressional and White House investigations and the author of the books on the FBI including, "Spying on Americans.''

Other reports copied to Withers' file assert the late James Bevel, a member of King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had "weird sexual hangups,'' make references to photos the FBI was given of priests at St. Patrick's Catholic Church who were friendly with suspected militants and show agents monitored Democratic candidates with radical political views.

Bobby Doctor, Miller-Perry's boss at the Civil Rights Commission, said he believes she got caught in the middle of the FBI's long-running investigation of him and it nearly cost both their jobs.

Doctor helped found the Black Organizing Project, or BOP, an umbrella organization promoting black pride and self determination. BOP was affiliated with a spectrum of activists, including some violent members of the Invaders at one end and professionals and intellectuals at the other.

Doctor said the FBI lumped them all together.

"They tried to get me fired even though I didn't do anything illegal,'' said Doctor, who said FBI agents gave his boss "an inch-thick'' report on his activities.

Yet in the wake of 1967 riots in Detroit and Newark and Memphis' own March 1968 incident when street thugs were blamed for dissolving a King-led march down Beale into looting and melee, many in the FBI believed they were at war. In handwritten notes agent Lawrence left to his daughter following his death in 1990 he wrote that his informant Withers was motivated by "his concern for the peaceful and effective preservation of the civil rights movement.''

Withers' daughter said she believes her father never did anything to harm the movement, and that his informant work is overshadowed by his larger photographic record documenting a tumultuous era.

"He's done everything in his power to record and document a nation that was going to change,'' Withers-Guzman said. "He always was going to protect life and character.''

Read More @ Source

Criminal Minds - 3x02 In Name And Blood *In Birth And Death* (Full Episode)

With Gideon missing, and Hotch and Prentiss off the team, the BAU investigates one of its most difficult cases yet as the remaining agents track a serial killer in Milwaukee who abducts women in public places by using his son as bait.'' *I do not own, or claim to, this material. It's purely for entertainment purposes and I gain no profit from this in any way whatsoever. All rights belong to CBS.

Video Rating: 4 / 5



Murderous Stories Here

FBI: Check your computer for malware

Updated: Saturday, 07 Jul 2012, 7:57 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 06 Jul 2012, 8:45 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The warnings about the Internet problem have been splashed across Facebook and Google. Internet service providers have sent notices, and the FBI set up a special website.

But tens of thousands of Americans may still lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check of their computers for malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago.

Despite repeated alerts, the number of computers that probably are infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.

Users whose computers are still infected Monday will lose their ability to go online, and they will have to call their service providers for help deleting the malware and reconnecting to the Internet.

The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.

In a highly unusual move, the FBI set up a safety net. They brought in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers so that people would not suddenly lose their Internet.

But that temporary system will be shut down at 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday, July 9.

Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their Web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

But popular social networking sites and Internet providers have gotten more involved, reaching out to computer users to warn of the problem.

According to Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent, ! many Int ernet providers are ready for the problem and have plans to try to help their customers. Some, such as Comcast, already have reached out.

The company sent out notices and posted information on its website. Because the company can tell whether there is a problem with a customer's Internet server, Comcast sent an email, letter or Internet notice to customers whose computers appeared to be affected.

Grasso said other Internet providers may come up with technical solutions that they will put in place Monday that will either correct the problem or provide information to customers when they call to say their Internet isn't working. If the Internet providers correct the server problem, the Internet will work, but the malware will remain on victims' computers and could pose future problems.

In addition to individual computer owners, about 50 Fortune 500 companies are still infected, Grasso said.

Both Facebook and Google created their own warning messages that showed up if someone using either site appeared to have an infected computer. Facebook users would get a message that says, "Your computer or network might be infected," along with a link that users can click for more information.

Google users got a similar message, displayed at the top of a Google search results page. It also provides information on correcting the problem.

To check whether a computer is infected, users can visit a website run by the group brought in by the FBI: http://www.dcwg.org .

The site includes links to respected commercial sites that will run a quick check on the computer, and it also lays out detailed instructions if users want to actually check the computer themselves.

___

Online:

To check and clean computers: http://www.dcwg.org

Comcast Warning: http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Security-and-Anti-Virus/DNS-Changer-Bot-FAQ/td-p/1215341

Google: http://googleonlinesecurity.bl! ogspot.c om/2012/05/notifying-users-affected-by-dnschanger.html

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-security/notifying-dnschanger-victims/10150833689760766

Copyright Associated Press, Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More @ Source

Warehouse 13 - The New Guy

Warehouse 13's newest agent, Steve Jinks, is on his first assignment accompanying Pete to solve mysterious deaths related to a secret banking conference in Denver. Assigned FBI Agent on the scene Sally Stukowski is less than cooperative, so Pete seeks the help of former agent Myka to interpret the phrases recited by the victims before dying. She connects the murders to the Lost Folios, a cursed collection of Shakespearian works. But when Steve becomes the killer's next target, Myka's agent instincts step in to save his life. The agents go undercover at the banking conference in search of the suspect. Stukowski arrests Pete and Steve for trespassing, while Myka uses the distraction to save the next three victims just in time. Meanwhile the killer retreats to a hotel room where he meets two shadowed figures, one of whom is Agent Stukowski. Having helped with the case, will Myka have a change of mind and return to Warehouse 13?

Video Rating: 0 / 5



Murderous Stories Here

FBI joins investigation into laser strikes at SFO

The FBI is joining an investigation to find out who aimed lasers at airplanes landing at SFO Thursday night. The dangerous laser strikes were pointed east and came from somewhere between the Dumbarton and San Mateo Bridges.

The FBI would like to strongly remind the public about the seriousness of this crime. It used to be prosecuted under the general heading of "interfering with the operation of an aircaft" but in February, it became its own specific crime punishably by up to $ 250,000 in fines and five years in prison.

The FAA says it was a Skywest commuter jet and a Virgin America Airbus 320 that reported having lasers pointed into their cockpits, a bright light, potentially blinding to the cockpit crew. The Skywest pilot saw it coming and alerted air traffic control. "San Francisco, that laser is almost right underneath us now," he can be heard saying in radio communications.

"It probably was just a little pinpoint laser bought in an office supply store that you use for a lot of Power Point presentations, but what happens is that pinpoint spreads out as it gets up higher and farther away, and what may seem like a very faint light to you, in a cockpit, gets almost blinding," explained SFO spokesman Mike McCarron.

The FAA says at 10:25 Thursday night, Skywest Flight 6269 reported the laser at about 4,000 feet altitude and 14 miles east-southeast of Palo Alto. Just four minutes later, Virgin America Flight 211 reported a laser at the same altitude about 13 miles east of Palo Alto.

Lasers directed at cockpits are dangerous under any circumstances, but landing and takeoff are the worst possible times, with other aircraft ahead, behind, and on the ground. "It's kind of like getting on and off the freeway. That moment is the most critical part. Once you get on the freeway, its easy to drive, but getting on and off, that's the tricky part. It's the same thing about coming in and out of the airport," McCarron told ABC7 News.

Australian tourist John Singh was at SFO Friday. He says he often hears news reports of similar incidents back home. "As the planes coming to land in Sydney, they point the lasers at the planes," he said, "They're idiots."

After they got the call Thursday night, the Menlo Park Police Department went out looking for the lasers. They say they would have used the CHP helicoper, but it was unavailable at the time. They say they will be out again over the next couple of nights patrolling the Dumbarton Bridge area.

(Copyright ©2012 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Get more Peninsula News »

Tags:

san francisco international airport, airport security, airline industry, FBI, dumbarton bridge, crime, peninsula news, heather ishimaru
Read More @ Source



Murderous Stories Here

Fort Hood review will call for FBI policy changes

(CBS/AP) An independent review of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting massacre will recommend 18 changes in FBI policies and protocol, according to a letter obtained by CBS News.

In the July 3 letter to Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., Judge William Webster, who was tapped by FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent investigation of the shootings, said the final report will outline "18 recommendations for corrective and enhancing measures on matters ranging from FBI policies and operations to information systems infrastructure, review protocols, and training."

Webster said the report, which culls information from more than 50 formal interviews and 10,000 pages of documents, will address how the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Forces "handled and acted on counterterrorism intelligence before and after the shootings." Webster, a former FBI director, said the report would be handed over to Mueller by July 13.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 shooting rampage, faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the shootings. The court-martial is to start Aug. 20 on the Texas Army post.

The case has drawn attention to U.S. intelligence lapses. Less than a month after the Fort Hood rampage, the Pentagon's top intelligence officer sent the White House a report detailing an earlier failure to connect the dots, CBS News correspondent David Martin reported in 2010.

According to that report, the terrorism task force responsible for determining whether Hasan posed a threat never saw the multiple e-mails he exchanged with that radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whose communications were being monitored under a court ordered wiretap.

After the Washington task force decided Hasan was not dangerous, it never asked to see his subsequent communications with Awlaki.

None of the e-mails specifically mentioned Hasan's plans for a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but because he was a member of the military the FBI showed them to a Pentagon investigator with the note "comm" written on it. To the FBI that meant "commissioned officer." The Pentagon investigator thought it meant "communication."

As a result, there were no red flags that an army officer was emailing a radical cleric suspected of being a talent spotter for al Qaeda.

Read More @ Source



Murderous Stories Here
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...