ACLU / Idaho / Surveillance Issues

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Thu Apr 25 14:46:09 MDT 2002

Note by Hunterbear:

This is simply FYI.

Earlier today, I posted [on RedBadBear] a letter which I've just sent to the
Idaho ACLU at
Boise -- once again requesting their assistance in the matter of obviously
long-standing "lawmen" surveillance at Pocatello and environs.  For us, this
problem began -- blatantly -- two days after we moved here from North Dakota
in the late Summer of '97.  Since then, we've heard [early January 2001] of
the situation at Portland, then [a few weeks ago] the Denver situation, and
yesterday strong indications of surveillance at Boise.  Much of this
obviously has spy-roots which precede Bush / Ashcroft authoritarianism. We
were raising these very issues several years ago.

The letter I've today sent Idaho ACLU at Boise is blunt, civil and formal.
It gives the link to the very detailed and specific website discussion of
our situation here in Eastern Idaho.  It was immediately backed up with a
strongly supportive letter to Boise by an active member of our RedBadBear
list, himself a veteran civil liberties lawyer in New Mexico.

What follows here is a post that I made on a number of discussion lists on
August 5, 2001. In it, I give the links to our website discussion --
detailed -- of our experiences. [ We've now rearranged that portion on the
website and the new link, as I indicated this morning, is ] And I also
discuss ACLU problems in this  August post.

Part of the ACLU problem in the West is the breakup almost ten years ago of
the old Rocky Mountain Office out of Denver, which encompassed a number of
the Western states [Rockies and environs.] In the interests of "state
self-determination," each state got its own small appropriation -- but that
has not gone well. [The Dakotas have now been combined -- a very large
region -- and the most recent staffer is Jennifer Ring, daughter of an old
and close UND faculty colleague of mine, the late Professor Ben Ring --
himself a very active civil libertarian. Jennifer is a very solid person but
she's got a big chunk of turf with which to deal -- and I suspect only very

Anyway,  in my opinion, we'd be much better off if the old Rocky Mountain
"amalgamated" office had been maintained.  I coordinated the legal defense
efforts in a major Native religious freedom case in 1984 -- U.S. v.
Warner -- involving the Native American Church.  We won that with regional
and national  ACLU help -- and we dealt directly and effectively with the
Rocky Mountain office
and, through it, with National.  For anyone interested, a discussion of
that complex and fascinating case is found in this section of our website

Anyway, here is my post of eight months or so ago --  obviously pre 9/11:



The just out, August 2001, issue of the always excellent LABOR NOTES has
this front page story:  "Portland:  Anti-Terrorism Task Force Targets
Unions."  The opening labor spokesperson making this charge is from the
Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.  Among other union
people involved who are echoing this are  persons from International
Longshore and Warehouse [ILWU] and Carpenters.

And the so-called Task Force?  It's the  same basic FBI/state police/local
police et al. coven about which we've sent out much material for a hell of a
long time.

One of the friendly beefs that I'm beginning to have with some [not all by
any means] cyberspace friends is that, on a multitude of these discussion
lists on which I've posted very contemporary and relevant material about
these Task Forces -- whose murky cover is now beginning to wear very thin
nationally -- it's hard to pick up much substantive interest in any of this
current, on-going witch-hunting. Worthwhile discussions about FBI
COINTELPRO  of the 1950s and 1960s etc come and go -- along with very
interesting  and solid give-and-takes on the Black Panther situation of

Present-day Idaho has  many of the qualities of "Old" Mississippi -- and one
of those is that its harassing practices certainly are not subtle.  In
addition, I'm a very, very long-time target of FBI et al. and am  extremely
quick to pick up the signs.   I'm also a  long-time hunter and woodsman.

When we came here in the Summer, 1997, we immediately began to encounter
multi-faceted surveillance and other forms of harassment which obviously
involved local cops.  But, at the same time, there was very obvious
interference with our US Postal mail -- and that clearly had Federal
connotations.  By the early Fall, '97, I was openly speculating about some
kind of Federal/state/local entourage -- and, at the very beginning of
1999 -- when I began writing the first of what have been several detailed
and unanswered  letters to regional US Postal Inspectors, I directly raised,
in  each of those letters, the strong possibility of "under color of law"
harassment. Not only were the letters not answered  by regional Postal
Inspectors [not even acknowledged] but the blatant interference continued,
and then some very crude examples of just plain sabotage of our mail
occurred  -- some of these very recent indeed.  Other forms of harassment
have continued right along into the contemporary period.  In July 2000, I
openly discussed the obvious existence of an FBI/state/local Task Force --
and did so very publicly on our large website

Rather than reiterate our situational detail, here, once again, are our
relevant website links:    This is our Index/Directory
which, in the upper portion, contains a number of relevant announcements and
postings on all of this.    This is
our very recently posted "Open Letter" to United States radicals on the
whole matter of contemporary FBI/state/local Task Force witch-hunting.
Attached to this is a very valuable and detailed critical  summary and
analysis of the national Task Force situation recently done by activists in
Portland.     This page is a very detailed  and
up-to-date discussion of our  own family Idaho experiences vis-a-vis Task
Force harassment.

Several months after I did my July 2000 website post indicating my very
strong feeling that an FBI/state/local Task Force was involved, word came
from Portland, Oregon that such a creature was being implemented in that
city with resultant wide-spread  activist protests.  In this embattled
context, FBI finally admitted it has almost three dozen "Task Forces" in
operation around the United States.

I began hearing some similar experiences from scattered points around the
country.  Although some of this, through no fault of the victims, is still
murky, it's certainly strongly suggestive.

More recently, material on all of this that I posted drew a very
appreciative letter from civil rights activists at Cincinnati, Ohio. They,
with every good reason , are convinced they're the targets of such a
Federally-managed arrangement,  and have  found my stuff -- and the
accompanying summary/analysis from Portland that I sent along--  extremely
useful.  [I posted Cincinnati's good letter in my website and on several
discussion lists -- keeping the sender's name in confidence as a matter of

We are intrigued that the normally timid CBS Evening News was, over several
days last week, discussing FBI surveillance of  Americans/political opinions
in the 1980s  into the  early 1990s -- and raising the possibility that it's
all still continuing.   And CBS cited Congressman Barney Frank as one who
has expressed strong concern about possible contemporary FBI et al.
surveillance of people simply because of their political beliefs.

Once again, I want to say that -- especially at this point where FBI is the
target of at least a half-dozen official investigations into its many, many
profound sins [but there has still been little mention of illegal
surveillance of people because of their opinions] -- it's incumbent on all
of us who believe that we may be targets of Task Force surveillance and
harassment to sensibly indicate this to comrades and fellow-workers , to
make -- whenever possible -- formal complaints to "authorities" and to
potential civil libertarian allies, and to contact responsive [or at least
relatively responsive] politicians at all levels.

Others,  not necessarily victimized but genuinely concerned with the
critical importance of civil liberty, should certainly ask the appropriate
members of Congress to investigate the nature and practices of the whole
FBI/state/local  Task Force network.

Several people have suggested to me that we contact ACLU.  We have done
that  --  a number of times in 1999 -- with no response.  In the early part
of 1999, I wrote three very detailed letters to the Idaho ACLU office at
Boise, asking for assistance.  [They are hard to reach by telephone.]
Nothing was acknowledged and, in early March, 1999, I wrote national ACLU
director Ira Glasser -- attaching much relevant material.  In the opening
paragraph of that long and detailed account, I indicated the "probability
that a crude and clumsy Federal/state/local task force of some sort is
involved as a causal mechanism."

I received only a form letter which referred me back to the quite
unresponsive Idaho  ACLU office.  Many months later, via computer, I had a
sketchy e-mail exchange with the Idaho office  -- but nothing came of it.
Since then, I've sent much material via e-mail to them with absolutely no

Part of the problem, at least, with ACLU in the Mountain States and
environs, is that, in 1994, with the retirement of the quite good Dorothy
Davidson,  the Rocky Mountain Office -- which encompassed a number of
 "small" regional states -- was ended.  The resources were divided among the
several states involved -- including Idaho.  The result has been a
functional disaster.  Prior to coming to Idaho in 1997, I had been for years
a member of the coordinating committee of the North Dakota ACLU, one of the
units in the combined arrangement  -- and can directly attest to the fact
that our operation suffered greatly from the break-up of the old Rocky
Mountain office.  How much of this accounts for the Idaho ACLU's obvious
reluctance to help us -- and how much stems from just plain cowardice -- is
presently speculative.  But I wish we had the old Rocky Mountain office  and
Dorothy Davidson again.

As I say, we fight on -- and we're experienced and tough.  I'm a hunter --
was once a trapper -- from very early childhood on.  We can certainly make
it on all fronts.  We always have.  But this FBI  task force situation -- as
so clearly indicated by our experiences and those of the Portland people and
organizations,  and others -- is simply, no more and no less, than the old,
traditional and always vicious FBI et al. campaign against the American Left
and its allied forces.

It's time, good folks:  Wake Up, America!

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]   Micmac / St. Francis Abenaki /St. Regis Mohawk --

Hunter Gray


Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]  ( social justice )
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