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Linksunten Antimil - Paz, 24/05/2015 - 17:47

Neurechter Journalistendarsteller im Donbas: Mark Bartalmai

Linksunten Antimil - Paz, 24/05/2015 - 17:47
0ujpQ [14] [15]  https ... ://   Original: ...

Joshua Oppenheimer Explores Aftermath of Killing In New Documentary

The Intercept - Engl. - Paz, 24/05/2015 - 15:58

Mostly I remember my heart as I headed up the front walk. I’m sure my skin was getting damp. A million scenarios were running through my head, everything I’d read or heard about the man on the other side of the door. “Stone-cold killer,” that’s what one guy called him. But mostly I remember my heart, hammering away. It was my first interview with a confessed murderer.

The man who answered the door was old and short and doughy, hardly the steely-eyed super-assassin I had conjured in my mind. Killers are often ordinary. They often live next door, especially when they’ve killed in the service of their government.

In The Look of Silence, American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer shifts his focus from the murderers who dominated his acclaimed 2012 documentary, The Act of Killing, to their second set of victims, the survivors of Indonesia’s 1965 military coup and the bloodbath that followed. This group is represented primarily by the aged parents of Ramli — an ordinary man slaughtered along with a million others during a government-sponsored purge of supposed communists — and by Adi, the younger brother he never knew.

Silences play a major role in this documentary, which will be shown next month at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, adding weight to the dialogue. Unnerving silences, as Adi formulates questions for men involved in his brother’s murder; stony silences as he sits with pursed lips, numbed, hollow-eyed and hushed, watching video footage of two grinning, graying former militiamen who talk of hauling victims to a riverside to be decapitated, who talk of the spray of blood, of kicking corpses into the water, of fish feeding on the dead. In the middle of a reenactment of their murders, the death squad duo literally stop to smell the flowers: “It’s pretty. It smells lovely. But it’s subtle.”

Following this interlude, they describe repeatedly stabbing Ramli and castrating him as the coup de grâce. At least they’re honest enough to admit what they’ve done. As Adi, followed by Oppenheimer, confronts men up the chain of command, they completely reject responsibility — while issuing not-so-veiled threats. When Adi reminds one culpable official, the current speaker of a regional legislature, that a million people were killed, the man’s reply is as blasé as it is chilling: “That’s politics.”

Watching Oppenheimer’s film made me contemplate different types of silences that arise in response to slaughter. In the United States, official silences regarding the Vietnam war have recently been augmented by something more dangerous. The government is currently in the midst of a 13-year “Vietnam War Commemoration” — a series of traveling exhibits, symposiums and other public events celebrating veterans and “highlight[ing] the service of the Armed Forces.” All of this is accompanied by online educational materials and an interactive timeline — a Pentagon-approved history of a conflict that cost the lives of nearly four times as many people, twice as many civilians, as the slaughter in Indonesia. Instead of truth-telling, however, the effort — which will have cost taxpayers about $15 million by the end of this year — is devoted to advancing a counterfeit history of the Vietnam War, ignoring the civilian costs right down to a whitewash of its one well-known massacre.

On March 15, 1968, members of the 23rd Infantry Division’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, were briefed by their commanding officer, Captain Ernest Medina, ahead of an operation in an area they knew as “Pinkville.” What stuck in artillery forward observer James Flynn’s mind was a question one of the other soldiers asked: “Are we supposed to kill women and children?” And Medina’s reply: “Kill everything that moves.”

The next morning, roughly 100 soldiers were flown to the outskirts of a hamlet called My Lai and followed Medina’s orders. Over four hours, the Americans methodically slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians. Along the way, they raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, burned homes, fouled the area’s drinking water. It took a year and a half to unravel a cover-up that extended from soldiers in the field to generals at the top of the division.

In a two-sentence entry, the Pentagon’s interactive timeline referred to My Lai as an “incident,” not a massacre, with a death toll of “more than 200,” and singled out only Lieutenant William Calley (who had no shortage of blood on his hands), as if the deaths of all those Vietnamese civilians, carried out by dozens of men at the behest of higher command, could be the fault of just one junior officer.

After I wrote an article about it and several other whitewashes in the timeline, the Pentagon made changes to each of them. The new My Lai synopsis was expanded by one sentence and now says U.S. troops killed “up to five hundred civilians” — an improvement undermined by a final sentence that is factual but disingenuous: “Calley would be convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison.” Left unmentioned was the fact that President Richard Nixon freed Calley from prison, and although convicted of murdering 22 civilians, Calley served just 40 months of his sentence, most of it under house arrest. Worse yet, the Pentagon still refused to use the word that always follows My Lai: massacre.

Throughout the rest of the timeline, the Pentagon remains largely silent on how almost all of the estimated 1,999,500 other Vietnamese civilians were killed. And out of more than 1,700 commemoration events across the country, none appears devoted to anything like the soul-searching that has accompanied The Look of Silence.

The Indonesian murderers of 1965 may still walk free and hold great power in the country, and officials may not have facilitated the making of Oppenheimer’s documentary, but two government agencies — the National Commission on Human Rights and the Jakarta Arts Council — hosted The Look of Silence’s premier last November, and the film was screened almost 1,000 times in 116 cities across the archipelago nation, leading to much public debate and press coverage.

The situation has been very different in the United States. The man who set my heart pounding had confessed to murder in Vietnam when interviewed by Army criminal investigators in the early 1970s. Members of his unit were found to have massacred 19 women and children. Neither he nor any of the men responsible for those crimes were ever prosecuted, let alone punished. When the massacre became front-page news in the Los Angeles Times in the mid-2000s, the government took no action and there was no outcry among most Americans.

Just as in Indonesia, these aging murderers live among us. And with a culture of impunity akin to Indonesia’s, they’ve been joined by a new cohort of killers and torturers from more recent U.S. wars who received slaps on their wrists or no punishment at all for similarly heinous crimes.

Oppenheimer has done a great service in shining a light on Indonesia’s unrepentant, unprosecuted killers and created a sophisticated and elegant piece of art in the process. His crisp, clean filmmaking is so refined that it looks effortless — a visually stunning, emotionally harrowing, and completely unflinching effort that transcends the Indonesian context and stands worthy of taking him from Oscar nominee to Oscar winner.

His directorial skills shine brightest when his camera is off the killers and trained on survivors. With great subtlety, he shows how pain ripples through time, warping and disfiguring lives decades after the initial trauma. Words from Adi’s dignified, silver-haired mother almost smother her son. He was, she tells him, very much a replacement for Ramli, the brother who died before Adi was born. His birth may have saved her life, but it left Adi shackled in all sorts of ways, finally leading him on a quest to confront the men responsible for his brother’s death.

While he was born after the bloodshed, Adi is marked by it — you can read it in his face, in his put-upon posture. His tiny, sweet-faced mother is marked, too — she prays for vengeance, for violence to cascade down the generations onto the children and grandchildren of her son’s killers. And Adi’s wife is gripped by fear that her husband’s quest will lead him to literally follow in his brother’s footsteps, a bloody end at the hands of the same men. She asks if he considered what that would mean for her and their children — leading to yet another long, devastating silence.

Maybe it’s time for an Indonesian filmmaker to shock the conscience of the United States, amplifying the silences surrounding our atrocities, shining a similar light on crimes that Americans are unwilling to face. Let’s hope she produces a film half as arresting, powerful and poignant as The Look of Silence.

Nick Turse is the author of “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.” His latest book is “Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa.”

Photo: Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media

The post Joshua Oppenheimer Explores Aftermath of Killing In New Documentary appeared first on The Intercept.

Pressekonferenz Mittwoch, 27. Mai 2015

Stop G7 - Elmau 2015 - Cts, 23/05/2015 - 18:34

Einladung zur Pressekonferenz
Mittwoch, 27. Mai 2015
um 11 Uhr im Eine-Welt-Haus
Schwanthalerstraße 80, München

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

zum G7-Gipfel sind es nur noch zwei Wochen. Aus dem gesamten
Bundesgebiet sowie dem Ausland werden tausende Menschen anreisen, um
über einen gesamten Zeitraum von fünf Tagen gegen den Gipfel zu
Im Vorfeld der Demonstrationen wird von Seiten der Behörden, Gemeinden
und Polizei regelrechte Angst geschürt. Jegliches Mittel scheint Recht
zu sein, um die Demonstrationen ein zu schränken.
Für Mittwoch, den 27. Mai, 11 Uhr laden wir Sie deshalb zur nächsten
Pressekonferenz mit Vertreter_innen des Aktionsbündnisses ein.

Wir informieren Sie über den aktuellen Stand der Dinge zu den Camps und Demos,
die inhaltlichen Ziele unserer Proteste, über Protestaktionen im Rahmen
des G7-Gipfels und werden auch auf ihre Fragen eingehen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
i.A. der Arbeitsgruppe Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Rückfragen an:
+4917683173177 (Benjamin Ruß)
+4917684685437 (CorneliaTeller)
+491769529350 (Mehmet Derik)

The Insurance Scam That’s Fleecing Low-Income Drivers — And How Police Are Making It Worse

The Intercept - Engl. - Cts, 23/05/2015 - 18:04

One evening last month, as custodian Tracy Martin took in a Detroit Pistons game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, her cell phone rang. “They’re towing your car,” her husband, who is paralyzed, told her. Later, when Martin arrived home, she found a flyer left behind by the Highland Park Police, which along with the police departments of neighboring Ecorse and Hamtramck, belonged to the COBRA Multijurisdictional Auto Task Force.

The leaflet, placed where her 2004 Ford truck had been parked, explained that Martin’s vehicle had been towed as a result of auto insurance fraud; it also listed a number for her to call.

“They said I couldn’t get my vehicle back, I have to wait to get it at auction,” Martin said, recounting that first conversation. “Then I talked to someone else who gave me an appointment to talk to a detective, but [he said] my best bet was to be ready to buy it back at auction.”

A task force representative told Martin her vehicle was towed after an insurance company reported her fraudulent policy to the Michigan Secretary of State, which checks proof of insurance when it issues license plates. The Secretary of State, in turn, was required to contact the police after it was notified of the fraud. So Martin called the Secretary of State’s office, and spoke with someone who told her the office “doesn’t tow vehicles for insurance fraud.”

With no apparent recourse to retrieve her car, Martin has resigned herself to buying back it at auction. Authorities have not given her an auction date.

“I called Progressive,” she said, “and they’re like, it’s a whole lot of you all in Detroit. There are many victims there.”

Tracy Martin, 36, of Detroit, holding a flier marked “Multijurisdictional Auto Theft Task Force” from Highland Park police, who had towed her truck. Sunday, May 17, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Salwan George)

Salwan Georges

Martin was taken in by a widening scam in which crooks, posing as auto insurance agents, prey on working people struggling to find affordable policies. Under the scam, the perpetrator offers auto insurance for a low price — low because the scammer, posing as a broker, will buy an authentic policy using fraudulent means of payment, keeping the policy just long enough to collect a proof of insurance card.

The racket is a growing problem in New York City and South Florida, according to an insurance industry group, but seems most prevalent in Michigan, where premiums are inflated by a state mandate that drivers purchase insurance plans which have unlimited lifetime medical benefits, among other features. Victims in Michigan are thrown even deeper into crisis when police, as is common there, accuse victims of being in on the scam and seize their vehicles and other assets under civil forfeiture laws.

The scam and seizures show how crooks and cops can end up working in concert to further imperil those already on the economic brink. Indeed, in this case, low-income residents are pinched at every turn. They start off with especially high insurance premiums, consumer advocates argue, because insurance companies sometimes charge people in low-income communities more for auto insurance in a practice some have labeled modern redlining.

Bogus agents exploit the need for cheaper policies by selling insurance that’s too good to be true, leaving victims financially exposed, for example, in the case of an accident. As if all that weren’t enough, the police then turn on the victims of the fraud, who are far easier to track down than the original perpetrators.

“You have a blend of crooked agents selling innocent, squeezed drivers bogus policies and insurance cards, and high insurance premiums,” said James Quiggle of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group that receives funding from insurance companies.

Anatomy of a scam

Progressive Insurance outlined the scam in a written statement, expanding on what the company told Martin: “In many of these cases, fraudsters act as sham insurance agents and set up real insurance policies for unsuspecting consumers but with invalid forms of payment that cause the policies to be cancelled for non-payment. It can very hard for companies to detect this type of fraud because the down payment and the policy information appear to be valid. The bogus seller then walks away with money in their pocket and the consumer is left hanging.”

The consumers left hanging are often working class people such as Martin, whose “agent” was a man who called himself Johnathan Brown. The number Johnathan Brown provided to Martin is now disconnected.

Brown approached Martin on the auto lot the day she bought her truck two years ago with the promise of cheaper-than-usual insurance.

According to Martin, Brown claimed he worked for a local agency called LA Insurance, which carried Progressive Insurance. LA Insurance told me they never employed anyone by the name of Johnathan Brown. Whomever Brown was, he was a smart crook, taking, Martin says, nearly $2,000 in what she thought were insurance payments destined for Progressive.

Worse, Michigan authorities are attempting to rob her all over again by forcing her to repurchase her own vehicle at a police auction. Police have not been able to locate Brown.

Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney placed the blame squarely on Martin. “She is contacting all these [media] people, but it’s something that she did wrong,” he said. I asked Coney why he was so certain of Martin’s guilt. “She had to know,” he answered. “It’s about 5,000 people out here we’re going after. Why would we just pick her?” But then he admitted, “I don’t know all the facts.”

Martin is furious with the police response. “I have all my paperwork from Progressive”, she said, “and from the state, and I paid my bill. I don’t deserve this.”

It’s true that auto insurance fraud is a major problem in Michigan. Nearly 20 percent of the auto insurance certificates in Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, are obtained fraudulently, prosecutors estimated. Earlier this year, as part of a growing crackdown, Eaton County, Michigan prosecutors charged Hakeem Olaynika Sanusi with six felony crimes related to insurance fraud. The 64-year-old Detroiter pleaded no contest to a host of charges, which included: “racketeering, issuing bad checks, identity theft and possession or sale of stolen or counterfeit insurance certificates.”

Sanusi is currently serving 12 months in Eaton County jail.

Robbed twice: First by criminals, then by cops

The forfeiture of Martin’s truck would hardly be worth noting if not for the widespread practice, on the part of Michigan authorities, of seizing the vehicles and other assets of innocent Michiganders. The Institute for Justice ranks Michigan among the worst states in the union when it comes to the controversial practice, known as civil forfeiture, which is ripe for abuse by state law enforcement agencies.

Police frequently pressure victims of insurance fraud to “admit” they were a party to the fraud — which would be a felony offense. Detroit resident Tracey Rodriguez claimed this happened to her; she said COBRA seized her car and attempted to coerce a confession of insurance fraud out of her.

She resisted, but under pressure “signed a settlement waiving her rights and paid $345 to the task force and $445 to get her car from B&G Towing in Detroit,” according to Fox 2 News. Rodriguez claimed she had little choice with four children who needed to get back and forth to school.

Michigan’s aggressive use of civil forfeiture laws goes well beyond the tales of Martin and Rodriguez. Between 2001 and 2008, according to state documents, Michigan seized more than $149 million in property and cash. In 2013 alone, police agencies reported $24.3 million in asset forfeitures. Some agencies, however, refused to submit figures, meaning the amount could be even higher.

One 2008 incident perfectly demonstrated how Michigan authorities both abuse forfeiture laws and terrorize innocent people.

In May 2008, during a party at Detroit’s Contemporary Art Institute, police seized the vehicles of 44 patrons because the museum hadn’t acquired a license to serve liquor after 2 a.m. The police claimed they believed the patrons to be complicit. The ACLU described a harrowing scene where police, dressed completely in black and armed with high-powered weaponry, stormed the museum and forced terrified partygoers to the ground.

After the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the police over the incident, Detroit dropped the charges against the revelers, though many victims were still forced to pay nearly $900 to retrieve their seized vehicles.

In 2012, a federal judge declared the museum raid and seizures unconstitutional because revelers were unaware the museum lacked the proper alcohol permit. Earlier this year, the city settled with the remaining “CAID Raid” victims for $175,000.

Forfeiture is common in Michigan in part because it’s so easy for the police to seize assets and property; state laws do not require a court hearing for seized assets worth less than $50,000. And in many cases, despite no charges being filed, the property is not returned.

“They take your shit and then ask questions later,” said Charmie Gholson, a local activist with Michigan Moms United, a group working to reform the state’s civil assets forfeiture laws.

“A lot of these southeast Michigan cities have become more clever when it comes to fleecing people.”

Photos by Salwan George for The Intercept

The post The Insurance Scam That’s Fleecing Low-Income Drivers — And How Police Are Making It Worse appeared first on The Intercept.

Senator Inhofe: Patriot Act Critics Forget That North Korea, Iraq on Path to “Kill Everyone”

The Intercept - Engl. - Cts, 23/05/2015 - 00:04

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says his office is getting deluged with phone calls in support of his colleague Sen. Rand Paul’s, R-Ky., campaign to end dragnet surveillance enabled by the Patriot Act.

But in an interview on Friday with radio station KTOK in Oklahoma City, Inhofe dismissed his constituents, claiming that privacy advocates don’t understand that “we’re in the most threatened position in the history of this country.”

The senator argued “countries like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, all of them are on the path to getting bombs and delivery systems that would reach the United States of America and could have the effect of killing everyone who is listening now.”

Inhofe went on to say that “everyone in the leadership except the president of the United States” recognizes the threat he was describing, adding, “when you stop and think and make a choice between having a complete city bombed out and privacy, my choice is easy.”

Listen to the Inhofe’s remarks here:

The future of the Patriot Act is in flux as the House of Representatives leaves Washington for a Memorial Day recess week. Several important sections of the Patriot Act expire at the end of the month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called for a series of votes this weekend on separate proposals, including a full reauthorization of the Patriot Act and the USA Freedom Act, which would codify the bulk collection of metadata while adding privacy reforms to the process.

Inhofe later moved on from the NSA and privacy during the interview, telling KTOK that he is focused on working to “stop the EPA over-regulation that’s killing our farmers and a lot of our businesspeople.” Notably, the Environmental Protection Agency has not killed any farmers or business people.

(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Photo: Senator Jim Inhofe, (Brendan Smialowski/Getty) 

The post Senator Inhofe: Patriot Act Critics Forget That North Korea, Iraq on Path to “Kill Everyone” appeared first on The Intercept.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Vetoes Major Criminal Justice Reform Bills

The Intercept - Engl. - Cum, 22/05/2015 - 23:30

Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., issued a press release on Friday declaring that he vetoed six pieces of legislation, including major reforms to Maryland criminal justice law.

The governor, who campaigned on a promise to limit government over-reach to win his upset victory last November, vetoed legislation designed to rein in law enforcement abuse of power, including:

  • SB 517, legislation to remove the penalty for marijuana paraphernalia (and impose a civil fine of up to $500 for smoking marijuana in public).
  • SB 528, a bill to limit asset forfeiture seized by police and to prohibit seized seized property from being transfered to the federal government unless there is a federal criminal charge.
  • HB 980, a bill to allow felons to register to vote.

Notably, in his letters to legislators explaining his vetoes of the marijuana and asset forfeiture bills, Hogan said he was taking action at the request of Maryland police unions, including the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association.

As we reported last month, a number of police accountability reforms in Maryland, including changes to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, a barrier to investigating and prosecuting police misconduct, were defeated in committee after heavy lobbying by police unions.

What do Hogan’s vetoes mean for criminal justice reform? Some pundits claim the movement is moving forward thanks to the action of a unique left-right coalition, including the conservative billionaries, Charles and David Koch.

However, Hogan’s rise to power was backed by political infrastructure funded by the Koch brothers. Hogan used campaign data supplied by i360, a voter targeting database set up by the Koch brothers. Logan’s political group Change Maryland worked closely with Americans for Prosperity, the grassroots group founded and funded largely by the Kochs.

Will the Kochs lash out at Hogan, as they have before against lawmakers who cross them on major policy issues?

(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Photo: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan greets Baltimore police dressed in riot gear the morning after citywide riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray (Mark Makela/Getty)

The post Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Vetoes Major Criminal Justice Reform Bills appeared first on The Intercept.

[NRW] Hausbesuche und "Gefährderansprachen" vor'm G7-Gipfel

Indymedia antimil - Cum, 22/05/2015 - 21:43
von: Rote Aktion am: 22.05.2015 - 21:43

In den vergangenen Wochen sind mehrere Fälle von Hausbesuchen von Bullen im Zusammenhang mit so genannten "Gefährderansprachen" bezüglich des G7-Gipfels bei verschiedenen politischen AktivistInnen in NRW bekannt geworden.

Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

The Intercept - Engl. - Cum, 22/05/2015 - 21:08

Nuclear power plant technicians, senior military officers, FBI contractors and an employee of “a highly-secretive Department of Defense agency” with a Top Secret clearance. Those are just a few of the more than 100 people with sensitive military and government connections that law enforcement is tracking because they are linked to “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

A year before the deadly Texas shootout that killed nine people on May 17, a lengthy report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detailed the involvement of U.S. military personnel and government employees in outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. A copy of the report was obtained by The Intercept.

The report lays out, in almost obsessive detail, the extent to which OMG members are represented in nearly every part of the military, and in federal and local government, from police and fire departments to state utility agencies. Specific examples from the report include dozens of Defense Department contractors with Secret or Top Secret clearances; multiple FBI contractors; radiological technicians with security clearances; U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees; Army, Navy and Air Force active-duty personnel, including from the special operations force community; and police officers.

A photo from the ATF report on Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

“The OMG community continues to spread its tentacles throughout all facets of government,” the report says.

The relationship between OMGs and law enforcement has come under scrutiny after it became known that law enforcement were on site in Waco bracing for conflict.

The 40-page report, “OMGs and the Military 2014,” issued by ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information in July of last year, warned of the escalating violence of these gangs. “Their insatiable appetite for dominance has led to shootings, assaults and malicious attacks across the globe. OMGs continue to maim and murder over territory,” the report said. “As tensions escalate, brazen shootings are occurring in broad daylight.”

The ATF report is based on intelligence gathered by dozens of law enforcement and military intelligence agencies, and identifies about 100 alleged associates of the country’s most violent outlaw motorcycle gangs and support clubs who have worked in sensitive government or military positions.

Those gangs “continue to court active-duty military personnel and government workers, both civilians and contractors, for their knowledge, reliable income, tactical skills and dedication to a cause,” according to the report. “Through our extensive analysis, it has been revealed that a large number of support clubs are utilizing active-duty military personnel and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contractors and employees to spread their tentacles across the United States.”

The report predicted that six dominant OMGs — Mongols, Hells Angels, Outlaws, Pagans, Bandidos and Vagos — would continue to expand, with escalating violence. The groups are known as “one-percenter” clubs, a moniker they proudly use to denote their outlaw status. The report identifies the most violent as Bandidos and Hell’s Angels support clubs — the same groups involved in a deadly shootout in Waco, Texas on Sunday.

The deadly confrontation involved the Bandidos and a rival club, the Cossacks MC, who are backed by Bandidos’ arch rivals, the Hell’s Angels. The shootout was part of a ongoing turf battle: Without permission from the Bandidos, Cossacks members have begun wearing a patch on their vests that claims Texas as the club’s territory — a figurative thumb in the eye of the Bandidos, long the state’s dominant motorcycle club. Nine people were killed and more than 170 bikers were arrested in the noontime showdown.

On Wednesday, law enforcement in Texas confirmed to several media outlets that one of the bikers arrested in the massive post-shootout sweep was a former San Antonio police detective, who joined the Bandidos after retiring from the department after 32 years.

The ATF report identifies the Bandidos as the dominant and most violent of the motorcycle gangs in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and identifies a staff sergeant instructor in the United States Air Force, currently stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, as the president of the local Pistoleros chapter, a Bandidos support club. According to the report, he routinely hosts parties for active duty military personnel.

In response to questions about the report, an ATF spokesperson said, “This was supposed to be solely a law enforcement tool to help fight violent crime. It was not supposed to be out there in the ether for general consumption.” The Intercept, after consulting with ATF, has redacted some portions of the report.

In an interview, Edward Winterhalder, a former high-ranking member of the Bandidos who left the club in 2003, said that while military veterans have long been involved in motorcycle clubs — many of the current outlaw clubs were formed in the wake of World War II — current-duty military or law enforcement members are not generally involved in the most violent gangs.

According to Winterhalder, biker clubs not associated with the violent one-percenters have many government employees — current military, law enforcement and firefighters — as members. Indeed, some clubs have emerged that pointedly disavow any connections to violence or lawlessness, or that specifically bill themselves as a LEMC — law enforcement motorcycle club.

Among those are the Iron Circle LEMC, a Texas club formed in 2006; the Arizona-founded Roughnecks Country MC — for the “99 percent … that gives a shit about society and the laws that govern the world we live in”; the Iron Order MC, a fiercely independent club that strongly rejects the ethos of the one-percenters; and the Protectors LEMC, which requires a criminal background check for prospective members.

Nonetheless, the report documents extensive involvement of current-duty military and government personnel in the outlaw groups, and does not mention LEMCs.

The report is a testament to how seriously law enforcement takes the issue of outlaw motorcycle gangs, detailing extensive surveillance; the document includes copies of military or government identification photos, some gained from traffic stops, and information from what appears to be close monitoring of military and government officials who attend the groups’ gatherings and activities across the country.

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Photo: A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald/ AP)

The post Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs appeared first on The Intercept.


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