FBI Case Against Turner Unravels; Renewed call for Investigation of FBI Targeting
Distributed by the Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts http://www.massgreens.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 20 February 2009
Contact: Jill Stein, 617-852-4727, Eli Beckerman, 617-821-1453
Co-chairs, Green-Rainbow Party, firstname.lastname@example.org
The FBI's "cooperating witness" who is the foundation of the FBI attempt to convict Chuck Turner and Dianne Wilkerson of extortion has announced that he is no longer cooperating with the FBI. In a front page article in Friday's Boston Globe, Ronald Wilburn states that he "felt he had been used by the FBI to topple a pair of prominent black politicians". Wilburn goes on to say "Dianne is a thief. Chuck isn't. Dianne knew better. Chuck is a victim of circumstance." Those circumstances, it should be noted, appear to have been fully engineered by the FBI informant. Importantly, the suspicious activities they suggest were initiated and carried out by the FBI informant, not by Chuck Turner. The unfolding facts thus appear not only to exonerate Turner, but also to raise serious concerns about the abuse of secret police powers by the FBI.
While much of the Boston media presented the case against Turner as "damning", and some even claimed that the presumption of innocence was "meaningless", a more skeptical position was adopted by those who knew Turner well. An analysis of the FBI affidavit by John Andrews of the Green-Rainbow Party found the affidavit to be "a decidedly unconvincing document that fails to provide a legitimate law enforcement justification for the targeting of Turner." Turner has steadfastly insisted that he is innocent, and his case has drawn support both from his own community and from nationally known figures such as Ramsey Clark.
"The flimsy nature of the case against Turner underscores the need to investigate FBI bias in selecting public officials to be targets of sting operations" said Green-Rainbow Party co-chair Jill Stein. Stein noted that "Turner has been an outspoken critic of FBI infringements on civil liberties, and has clashed with the FBI on high profile cases such as the imprisonment of the American Indian Movement's Leonard Peltier and the FBI killing of Puerto Rican separatist Filiberto Ojeda Rios. It is crucial that we get to the bottom of the question of whether Turner was targeted because he dared to criticize FBI behavior."
The Green-Rainbow Party's initial request for a Department of Justice investigation was declined by the DOJ, who merely referred the matter to the FBI. According to Green-Rainbow co-chair Eli Beckerman, "The latest turn of events makes it more important than ever that an investigation of political motivations in FBI targeting be conducted by parties who are not part of the FBI hierarchy." For his part, Turner has asked that all potential politically-motivated indictments that were initiated under the Bush Administration be examined.
Green-Rainbow communications director Lloyd Smith added, "The charges against Turner should be dropped. But that alone isn't enough. Until we get to the bottom of the targeting issue on a nationwide level, any public official who criticizes FBI misbehavior will have to worry about whether they'll be the next target of a sting operation. If Attorney General Eric Holder wants to demonstrate the courage of his convictions, and that we're not a 'nation of cowards', he should act upon former Attorney General Ramsey Clark's request and investigate potentially racially and/or politically motivated FBI targeting."