(8 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
We’ve all heard about right-wing radio wingnut and notorious neo-nazi Hal Turner getting arrested yesterday afternoon, but when I clicked on some links to flesh out the story, things got a whole lot more twisted than expected. Almost Ludlum-esque in the “nothing is as it seems” department.
Now, it’s not like Turner has suddenly upped his ‘usual’ rhetoric or anything. He’s been trying hard to incite violence among his certifiable fan club for years. He often calls for bombings, assassinations and open armed rebellion. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (which keeps close tabs on the haters), Turner may also be on the payroll of the FBI. SPLC’s Mark Potok wrote in the Spring 2008 Intelligence Report that…
On Jan. 1, unidentified hackers electronically confronted Turner in the forum of his website for “The Hal Turner Show.” After a heated exchange, they told turner that they had successfully hacked into his E-mails and found correspondence with an FBI agent who is apparently Turner’s handler. Then they posted an alleged July 7 E-mail to the agent in which Turner transmits a death threat sent in to his site that targeted Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.). “Once again,” Turner writes his FBI handler, “my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a possible crazy.” In what is allegedly a portion of another of his E-mails, Turner discusses the money he is paid.
After the confrontation on July 10 of 2007, Turner announced that he was leaving politics and ending his radio show. But that didn’t last very long. He was back with a webcast show broadcast from his home once a week in April of this year. The threats and incitements to murder are the same as they’ve always been – overt and unabashed. Apparently the authorities decided to act now, after the high-profile murder of Dr. George Tiller in a Kansas church last Sunday.
So… I know the question has popped into your heads as it popped into mine… was it the FBI who arrested him? Well, not so much, no. Turns out it was New Jersey Capitol police, who obtained the arrest warrant on an indictment handed down (probably a rubber stamp by an already sitting GJ in CT, could find no details on that). Deal is, the Capitol police are holding Turner for transfer to Connecticut because the threats against two CT state reps and an ethics official have led to charges under CT law.
The threats were issued via internet, an interstate medium. They were by a guy in one state against officials in another state. This is definitely FBI jurisdiction. So where are they? Is he still on the payroll? Worse, why the Capitol police and not the State police? Could it be – as SPLC reported – that Turner’s ‘other’ handler is that New Jersey State Police detective sergeant who trained with the FBI in ’04?
SPLC reported that Mike German, a former FBI agent who has run informants himself, said early in 2008:
“This certainly raises a whole lot of questions that need to be answered in a public forum. There are strict rules about what an informant is allowed to do, and certainly encouraging or instigating others to commit acts of violence is far beyond what FBI agents should have their informants doing. Aside from the fact that you’re possibly encouraging someone to commit an act of violence, there’s also the danger that you’re actually entrapping that person, which means he would get off.”
Entrapment – legal definition
A person is ‘entrapped’ when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.
Hmmm. Looks like a cushy arrangement. Turner gets paid by the FBI to turn in those of his fans stupid enough to make death threats on his web site, which (if no crime is actually committed) is non-actionable because it’s all in-kind with Turner’s own regularly issued death threats. Meanwhile, those of his fans who might be persuaded to commit the crimes Turner calls for, generally don’t brag about it first to Turner and wouldn’t have an ‘entrapment’ defense in court – Turner might never be connected publicly. What a stupid (and dangerous) game to play! And if it’s not a game, there’s some rogues that need to be leashed right quick.
Looks like the state of Connecticut is doing an end-run around this game by jumping firmly on the instigator. My guess is there’s a bit of a turf war going on and these states aren’t waiting for either violence or permission from the feds to protect their officials. Good for them.
Now if we can just manage to dispel the smoke and mirrors around the hard-right’s broader media machine (including O’Reilly, Rush, et al.) to reveal the heart of this “divide and conquer” sleight of mind insurrection-machine – its operators, instigators and mission – we might could begin cleaning out the attic, basement and garage all at once. After we do that, we can remodel the kitchen.
Make some changes we can believe in…