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Archive for February 10th, 2020

Did Our President Provide an Opening for a Racist Remark in Michigan Heard Around the Country?

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the late ’70s, I was assigned to the FBI Detroit field office’s surveillance squad. We spent most of the time following Detroit organized crime members, but we were also involved in other investigations. One of those resulted in information that a local group of the Ku Klux Klan were going to Tennessee to obtain dynamite. We were tasked with following them.

The Klan guys left for Tennessee in the evening in one van and drove straight through the night. They switched drivers every few hours — a challenge for us, as we only had one agent per car. A lot of coffee was consumed.

Periodically we would switch the lead car, so they didn’t see the same car following them. We ended up in rural east Tennessee on a two-lane highway. I was in the lead car when the van turned onto a dirt road. I let the van go over the first hill before I followed. There were several steep hills before the road led to an open field. Upon reaching the crest of the last hill, I saw something I didn’t think still existed.

The field was full of men in white robes with tall conical hats. Knowing I wouldn’t be welcome, I put the car in reverse, and backed down the road. I got on the radio and told the rest of the team to not come any further.

Later that night we saw the Klan burn a cross in a nearby town square. The Michigan Klan guys never got their dynamite, but that road trip left me with some indelible images of evil incarnate. No good has ever come from wearing those white robes and pointy hats.

I thought about what I saw in that field in Tennessee when I saw the reports of the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left a counterprotester dead. President Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” That’s only true if you can be a very fine person and be a racist and a xenophobe. 

Hate and racism are malignant

Greg Stejskal

Hate and racism are like some cancers. They may be in remission, but never go away. In the last few years, racism has seemed to metastasize.

When Trump announced that he was running, he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… . They’re sending people who have lots of problems and they’re bringing those with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some I assume are good people.”

His statement didn’t evoke Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty.

When Trump was criticized by four female congresswomen of color, he responded by saying that they should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.” All but one, who is a Somali refugee, were born in the U.S. and are elected members of the House of Representatives.

The Saline incident

Featured_try_this_40338
Mexican American parent Adrian Iraola, standing,  is interrupted by Tom Burtell at right. (Photo: MLive video screenshot) 

So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that at a school meeting a few days ago in Saline, Mexican-American parent Adrian Iraola, was interrupted by another parent, Tom Burtell. Iraola was talking about his son distress over being called names like “taco” and “enchilada” while attending Saline schools. Burtell interrupted, saying: “Then why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”

The video of the Saline incident (bleow) went viral and precipitated a national discussion. 

Read more »

Retired FBI Agent Who Investigated KKK: Did President Trump Open the Door for Racist Remark in Michigan?

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006. He is a columnist for ticklethewire.com. 

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the late ’70s, I was assigned to the FBI Detroit field office’s surveillance squad. We spent most of the time following Detroit organized crime members, but we were also involved in other investigations. One of those resulted in information that a local group of the Ku Klux Klan were going to Tennessee to obtain dynamite. We were tasked with following them.

The Klan guys left for Tennessee in the evening in one van and drove straight through the night. They switched drivers every few hours — a challenge for us, as we only had one agent per car. A lot of coffee was consumed.

Periodically we would switch the lead car, so they didn’t see the same car following them. We ended up in rural east Tennessee on a two-lane highway. I was in the lead car when the van turned onto a dirt road. I let the van go over the first hill before I followed. There were several steep hills before the road led to an open field. Upon reaching the crest of the last hill, I saw something I didn’t think still existed.

The field was full of men in white robes with tall conical hats. Knowing I wouldn’t be welcome, I put the car in reverse, and backed down the road. I got on the radio and told the rest of the team to not come any further.

Later that night we saw the Klan burn a cross in a nearby town square. The Michigan Klan guys never got their dynamite, but that road trip left me with some indelible images of evil incarnate. No good has ever come from wearing those white robes and pointy hats.

I thought about what I saw in that field in Tennessee when I saw the reports of the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left a counterprotester dead. President Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” That’s only true if you can be a very fine person and be a racist and a xenophobe. 

Hate and racism are malignant

Greg Stejskal

Hate and racism are like some cancers. They may be in remission, but never go away. In the last few years, racism has seemed to metastasize.

When Trump announced that he was running, he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… . They’re sending people who have lots of problems and they’re bringing those with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some I assume are good people.”

His statement didn’t evoke Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty.

When Trump was criticized by four female congresswomen of color, he responded by saying that they should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.” All but one, who is a Somali refugee, were born in the U.S. and are elected members of the House of Representatives.

The Saline incident

Featured_try_this_40338
Mexican American parent Adrian Iraola, standing,  is interrupted by Tom Burtell at right. (Photo: MLive video screenshot) 

So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that at a school meeting a few days ago in Saline, Mexican-American parent Adrian Iraola, was interrupted by another parent, Tom Burtell. Iraola was talking about his son distress over being called names like “taco” and “enchilada” while attending Saline schools. Burtell interrupted, saying: “Then why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”

The video of the Saline incident (bleow) went viral and precipitated a national discussion. 

Read more »

Off-Duty FBI Agent Shot Man Twice in Chest During Altercation in San Francisco

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An off-duty FBI agent shot a man in San Francisco during an altercation in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood late Saturday night.

The shooting happened at 11:34 p.m. and left the man injured with two gunshot wounds to the chest, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

He was taken to a hospital and listed in non-life threatening conditions early Sunday morning.

The FBI agent, who was not identified, was uninjured.

A witness told the Examiner that three men were in an altercation, and one man slammed another against a wall before pulling out a gun and pulling the trigger at least twice. The witness said he saw the man with a gun pull out a badge and identify himself as law enforcement.

“The FBI takes any shooting incident involving our agents or task force members seriously,” FBI spokesperson Prentice Danner said. “In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division. The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

The San Francisco Police Department’s Homicide Detail also is investigating.

Calvin A. Shivers Named Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation Division at FBI Headquarters

Calvin A. Shivers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Calvin A. Shivers has been named assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Shivers had been serving as the deputy assistant director of the division.

Shivers became an FBI special agent in 1990 and was assigned to the Lafayette Resident Agency of the New Orleans Field Office, where he investigated violent crime, gangs, white-collar crime, public corruption, and transnational organized crime. In 1996 he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Personnel Resources Unit at headquarters, managing the bureau’s national recruiting program.

In 1999, Shivers moved to the Counterterrorism Division for two years and then was transferred to the Washington Field Office as the supervisor of a violent crime squad and a violent gang Safe Streets Task Force.

In 2006, Shivers was promoted to unit chief of the bureau’s Safe Streets and Gang Unit at headquarters, managing the FBI’s gang program and 140 Safe Streets Task Forces across the nation.

In 2008, Shivers was promoted to assistant section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division, where he managed operational and intelligence programs that focused on violent crime, narcotics trafficking, and violent street gangs.

In 2013, he became assistant special agent in charge in the San Antonio Field Office in Texas, overseeing criminal and crisis management matters.

In 2015, Shivers returned to headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crimes Against Children Section, which oversees child abductions, child pornography, and child sex trafficking investigations.

In 2016, Shivers was appointed special agent in charge of the Denver Field Office, and in 2018 was promoted to deputy assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division.

Shivers was twice deployed to Iraq and once to Turkey during his time with the bureau.

Shivers earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a law degree from the Catholic University of America.