Tag Archives: Alt-Right

Charlottesville Mayor Leads Pilgrimage to Montgomery Lynching Memorial

Charlottesville Mayor Leads Pilgrimage to Montgomery Lynching Memorial

Charlottesville, VA – 100 Charlottesville community leaders and resident delegates will culminate a six-day Civil Rights Pilgrimage with a soil delivery ceremony for 1898 Charlottesville lynching victim John Henry James at the new Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Legacy Museum, 122 Commerce Street, Montgomery, AL, at 2:30 pm on Thursday July 12th.

The delegates have been visiting history museums and pivotal Civil Rights Movement sites on their journey to Montgomery, studying the 400 years of Southern racial violence and terror against Black people that provide a backdrop for James’ 1898 lynching; the white supremacist rallies, the attacks against anti-racist protestors, Heather Heyer’s death in Charlottesville in 2017, and the uncountable similar tragedies between.

“Charlottesville is mobilizing to make change by literally getting on the bus to learn how our own history fits with Southern and US histories of anti-Black terror and Black resistance,” said Don Gathers, Chair of the 2016 Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces.

“This trip is part of an effort to educate students, teachers, and all community members about the legacy of anti-Black racial terror and Black resistance in Charlottesville specifically and across the South more broadly,” explained Professor Jalane Schmidt of the University of Virginia.

“Nelson Johnson reminded our delegation in Greensboro, ‘We must speak to the soul of the other…. Seek truth, seek justice, and seek not to become the thing which we oppose.’ It is time to tell the truth in America. It is the only way we can all live,” declared Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms of New Beginnings Christian Community.

At the one-year anniversary of the summer 2017 Alt-Right violence, this trip is one of many ways in which the Charlottesville community is mobilizing to face the town’s difficult history of white supremacy.  The Pilgrimage commenced on July 8 — the one-year anniversary of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville — and will arrive in Montgomery on July 12, the 120th anniversary of John Henry James’ 1898 lynching. Trip participants will report back to the broader Charlottesville community before the one-year anniversary of the deadly August 12, 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally.

“Charlottesville —and the nation— have to understand how the violent white supremacist rallies last summer fit into a legacy of racial terror,” said Dr. Andrea Douglas, Executive Director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, and organizer of the trip. “This is our challenge: Can we create a process that uncovers and disseminates racial truth?”

Note to Editors

The 100-Member Delegation Includes: Mayor Nikuyah Walker (Charlottesville’s recently-elected, first-ever African-American woman mayor); Susan Bro (mother of slain anti-racist activist Heather Heyer); members of the clergy; University of Virginia students, faculty and staff; local public high school students and teachers; former members of the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission which held hearings in 2016 about Charlottesville’s Confederate monuments; representatives of community organizations, including 2017 counter-protesters; and other residents.

Images from the Pilgrimage: A selection of photos will be made available after the event by Eze Amos Photography. Reporters are also encouraged to peruse images uploaded with the tag #cvillepilgrimage on social media.

Pilgrimage Itinerary:
Charlottesville, VA – July 7 (departure)
Appomattox, VA – July 8
Danville, VA – July 8
Greensboro, NC – July 9
Charlotte, NC – July 9
Atlanta, GA – July 10
Birmingham, AL – July 11 (9am 16th St. Baptist Church, 10am Birmingham Civil Rights Institute)
Montgomery, AL – July 12 (9:00 Southern Poverty Law Center Museum, 2:00 Equal Justice Institute)
Charlottesville, VA – July 13 (return)

The FBI is Investigating Donald Trump’s Call for Russian Hacking and Espionage

The FBI is Investigating Donald Trump’s Call for Russian Hacking and Espionage

President Trump’s May 9, 2017 letter firing now-former FBI Director James Comey in part reads, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation[.]”

However, a recent court filing by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FBI in an ongoing FOIA lawsuit plainly indicates the FBI has an active investigation pertaining to Donald Trump’s actions related to actual or potential election-related hacking and espionage by Russia.

The lawsuit is filed by Ryan Shapiro, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD candidate/Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University research affiliate, and Jason Leopold, Senior Investigative Journalist at BuzzFeed News.

An excerpt from Donald Trump’s termination letter to James Comey.  You can read Donald Trump’s full letter along with accompanying letters from AG Jeff Sessions, and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein HERE

On August 18, 2016, Shapiro and Leopold submitted a FOIA request to the FBI seeking “disclosure of any and all records, including investigative records, mentioning or referring to Donald J. Trump’s statement on 27 July, 2016 [regarding Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails], ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ and ‘I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’”

When the FBI did not respond in a timely manner to the FOIA request, Shapiro and Leopold sued. During the lawsuit, the FBI initially asserted that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of documents responsive to this FOIA request.

Excerpt from the Joint Status Report that indicates that there is an active FBI investigation.  Read the full status report HERE

However, the FBI subsequently withdrew this position and agreed to search for the requested documents. Again, the documents requested by Shapiro and Leopold are records, including investigative records, mentioning or referring to a public statement made personally by Donald J. Trump, not his advisors, surrogates, or campaign staff.

Excerpt from the Joint Status Report that indicates that there is an active FBI investigation. Read the full status report HERE

In a court filing in this case on April 6, 2017, a Justice Department attorney representing the FBI informed the Court that there is an “active, ongoing investigation” pertaining to this matter and claimed that disclosing the “records that are responsive to the Russia Request” could reasonably be expected to interfere with “enforcement proceedings.” (As noted elsewhere in the DOJ/FBI’s new filing, the term “Russia Request” refers explicitly to Shapiro and Leopold’s FOIA request quoted above.) The DOJ/FBI’s new court filing acknowledges the existence of records responsive to Shapiro and Leopold’s “Russia Request”, and claimed that all, or virtually all, of these documents cannot be released because of the potential to interfere with active law enforcement proceedings.

On April 7, 2017, the Court set a deadline of July 25, 2017 for the FBI to file a motion explaining the basis for its claim that release of documents responsive to “the Russia Request” would interfere with an ongoing law enforcement operation.

The lawsuit is Case 1:16-cv-01827-KBJ. It is being heard in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Documents

  1. Read the Joint Status Report in 1:16-cv-01827-KBJ HERE 
  2. Read Comey’s termination letter from Trump, Sessions & Rosenstein HERE

About Operation 45

Ryan Shapiro, referred to by Politico as “a FOIA guru at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology”, is an historian of national security, the policing of dissent, and governmental transparency. Shapiro’s pathbreaking FOIA work has already led the FBI to declare his MIT dissertation research a threat to national security. Shapiro is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at MIT, as well as a Research Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Shapiro is also the co-founder and president of the new transparency organization Operation 45. The Nation has described Operation 45 as “a ray of hope in these dark political times.”

Jason Leopold is an award-winning Senior Investigative Reporter at Buzzfeed News, specializing in counterterrorism and human rights. Leopold has been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which includes successfully suing the FBI to force changes to Bureau FOIA practices.

Shapiro and Leopold are represented by Washington, DC-based FOIA specialist attorney, Jeffrey Light.

You can follow Ryan Shapiro on twitter at @_rshapiro, and Jason Leopold on twitter at @JasonLeopold.

You can support Operation 45’s efforts HERE

FBI Sued for Records on Agency’s Role in Trump Victory

FBI Sued for Records on Agency’s Role in Trump Victory

WASHINGTON, DC — The FBI is in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Investigative journalist Jason Leopold and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD candidate/Harvard Klein Center for Internet & Society research affiliate, Ryan Shapiro, filed a lawsuit this morning against the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The suit is over the FBI’s failure to comply with Shapiro and Leopold’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records on the FBI’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Jason Leopold is an award-winning Senior Investigative Reporter at Vice News, specializing in counterterrorism and human rights. Leopold has been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which includes successfully suing the FBI to force changes to Bureau FOIA practices.

Ryan Shapiro, referred to by Politico as “a FOIA guru at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology”, is an historian of national security, the policing of dissent, and governmental transparency. Shapiro’s pathbreaking FOIA work has already led the FBI to declare his MIT dissertation research a threat to national security. Shapiro is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at MIT, as well as a Research Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Leopold and Shapiro are represented by Washington, DC-based FOIA specialist attorney Jeffrey Light.

Six key elements of Shapiro and Leopold’s FOIA request & lawsuit:

1.) Leopold and Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records on a wide range of records pertaining to FBI operations involving the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This includes but is not limited to all records on:

* The FBI’s investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email & private server

* The FBI’s investigations of the Clinton Foundation

* FBI Director Comey’s communications with Congress regarding the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email & private server

* Allegations of FBI violations of the Hatch Act in the course of the 2016 U.S. presidential election

* Internal discontent at the FBI regarding the FBI’s Clinton investigations

* All leaks of information by the FBI to the press and political operatives about FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton

* All FBI communications with Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, Corey R. Lewandowski, Fox News, Bret Baier, Sean Hannity; & Rudy Giuliani

* Richard Spencer, the National Policy Institute, & the “alt-right”