Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Electoral College 2016 / What is it anyway? / Is it fair? / Why do we have it? / and Donald Trump

On December 19th the Electoral College members will vote and confirm Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.  And, I must say that most Oregonians that reside in the Portland Metro area have their respective undershorts or panties in a bunch regarding that expectation; not to mention the Hillary supporters, aka liberal activists (rioters) (or as I affectionately refer to them – ‘knuckleheads'), who spent a good bit of their inordinate spare time wrecking a very liberal city (Portland).  Moreover, the majority of said ‘knuckleheads’ didn’t vote or were not even registered to vote.  However, that didn't seem to hold any particular sway with them.  And, incidentally, said rioters will not, for the most part, be prosecuted because around here we are very protective of free speech – even when it includes significant taxpayer dollars lost (in the millions) for property damage and police overtime.  No one was killed you understand.  And, boys and girls (as they say) will be boys and girls.

So here we are.  The new target (temporarily) is the Electoral College.  Liberal activists are hoping that the appointed Electors will revolt and turn the process on its head.  If so, the Electors by showing their disapproval of the process, which they previously volunteered for (including swearing an oath), will as a result throw the Presidential election into chaos.

The Electoral College:

Unfortunately, most voters do not know much about the Electoral College and I’ve done some research that may be helpful.

How is the number of Electors for each State established?

Each State gets the number of Electors equal to the State’s number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives plus their two Senators.  Washington DC (not a state) also gets three Electors.  Each State has a minimum of three – correlated to two Senators and one Representative.  Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories do participate and vote in the Presidential primaries, but do not vote or participate in the actual election.

It is important to note that the number of Representatives to Congress is designated by the associated State’s population – not the number of registered voters and not the number of actual U.S. citizens in the State – it is the population overall based on the census at which time everyone is counted.

There are approximately 2.7 million residents in California designated as being illegal, about 7% of that State’s population.  Those illegals are counted toward awarding California its apportioned Congressional Representatives – even though the 2.7 million are in this country illegally.  For perspective, the 2.7 million illegals are equivalent to approximately 70% of Oregon’s entire population.  So, what’s the point?  Could it be that California actually has more Congressional Representatives and also Electors than it should have?

We live in a Democracy, or do we?

Yes, I understand that Clinton won the popular vote; but lost the Electoral vote.  And, many claim we live in a democracy – so what’s up with that?  Perhaps a technicality to some; but (surprise) we don’t live in a pure democracy.  We live, and have always lived since this Country was founded, in a ‘Democratic Republic.’  What’s the difference?  Well, it’s time you looked it up.  The Electoral College is emblematic of a ‘Democratic Republic.’  Pure democracies can become tyrannies where 51% of the population dictates to the 49% (some have described it as ‘mob rule.’)  The U.S. Constitution, in many respects, was written to protect the 49%, the minority – and that is a standard that most of us would agree is a good thing.  Am I wrong?

To be continued…

True Nelson

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner at Jake’s in Portland (2016) / the good and the bad / The ‘Homeless’

I know Christmas is less than three weeks away; but I’ve still been thinking about Thanksgiving – the good and the bad - mostly the bad.

This year the family went to Jake’s on 10th Street in downtown Portland for Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s a nice restaurant.  Eating out on Thanksgiving might not be everyone’s cup of tea; but it certainly saves a lot of wear and tear on those who customarily would be required to prepare Thanksgiving dinner at home.

Well, what was it like having dinner at Jake’s?  The answer:  good and bad.
The meal and service were very good.  The meals started at about $40, but I guess that’s to be expected considering the holiday aspect and the venue.

However… right outside the large window where we were seated was a ‘homeless’ woman, huddled under a quilt, trying to stay warm on a cold, rainy night.  She was, or at least looked, middle-aged.  I couldn’t get her out of my mind.  Except for the window, she was not more than four or five feet away.

We were in the restaurant about two hours.  When we exited the restaurant onto the street, the woman was mostly covered and facing the wall.  I lightly touched her shoulder and said something like, “Ma’am, excuse me.”  The quilt was wet to the touch.  She glanced at me and if looks could kill I would have breathed my last at that very instant.  I put a twenty down near her face.  She grabbed the money and pulled the quilt over her head.  I walked on with my family.

This ‘homeless’ woman is not unique.  In Portland, ‘homeless’ people are everywhere.  It is a public disgrace.  The City of Portland has been struggling with the problem for many years, but it only seems to get progressively worse.

The Oregonian newspaper (photo above from the same) did an article awhile back on the subject.  At the time, their research found that 20% of the ‘homeless’ are Mentally Ill, 20% are Chronic Substance Abusers, 10% are Victims of Domestic Violence and 10% are veterans.  I suppose some, maybe many, are on the streets because this is their choice.  I don’t know.  But, there are thousands of the ‘homeless’ populating Portland streets.  Why can’t we do something?  Why can’t we at the very least care for the Mentally Ill?  Wouldn’t that constitute some progress?

Next Thanksgiving, I will not be eating at Jake’s.

True Nelson

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Patricia Hearst Kidnapping / Some Final Thoughts / Conclusion

When I think back on the Patty Hearst investigation, I don’t remember any unusually dramatic experiences – that pertained to me directly.

Oh, I suppose I could bore you with endless stories about what it was like to be a FBI Agent working in Berkeley – in the early 70’s.  It was ‘surreal.’  And, yes, I understand that word is often overused, but that’s the way it was.  It was a crazy time.  Such as?  Well, like following Bill Walton around Berkeley.  You know Bill, the basketball player.  He was a shirt-tail radical at the time, and wanted to get involved some way in the Hearst matter.  I remember he was on crutches and was about seven feet tall – so he was pretty easy to follow.

               Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
               The Cat: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here.

You gradually become acclimated.  The abnormal and bizarre begin to become normal and routine.  For the most part, the Agents were hard-working and professional; but there were, of course, many exceptions.  There was some danger involved; and it went without saying the potential danger could extend to your family.  On many occasions, I got down on my knees to examine the undercarriage of my BuCar and even my personal automobile – looking for bombs.  There was a joke circulated about having your wife go out in the morning to start your car.  Not funny for most, I suppose; but Agents initially found it rather hilarious.

The days were long and exhausting, nerves got frayed.  Ultimately the Agents’ feelings toward Patty Hearst deteriorated – going from ‘I will risk my life to save her’ to something along the lines of ‘f--- her, I couldn’t care less.’  Most of us just wanted it to be over.

A couple other comments about the principal Agents mentioned in Jeffrey Toobin’s book, American Heiress:

Charles W. Bates, FBI Special Agent in Charge, San Francisco Division, during the Hearst investigation:  The Agents referred to him as Charlie.  I don’t know if he liked that name or not.  My experience, and I had a few contacts with him while in SF, was that he was formal, remote, often humorless and not particularly interested in the working Agents.  During the Hearst case, he spent a lot of time, much of it reportedly was social time, with the Hearst family.  Too much time, in my opinion – but they were, after all, the Hearsts.  Much of this time he should have spent with his Agents addressing leadership issues and morale.  There often seemed to be a leadership vacuum in the division.  Just my opinion.  Perhaps I am wrong.   I understand he had a long and distinguished career in the Bureau.  He passed-away at 79.

Picture above is several of us receiving an ‘incentive award’ for the capture of Cecil Robert Moody Jr., age 29, a former associate of SLA member, Donald DeFreeze.  Moody was wanted for armed robbery and murder.  Charlie Bates is in the center, dark suit, and terrific smile.  I am the tall dude, second from right.  I participated in the investigation leading up to the arrest; and was given the ‘honor’ of smashing down the apartment door with a 16 pound sledge hammer.  Moody was nude when captured, sleeping with two semi-naked women.  A loaded .357 magnum was under the bed, where he could quickly get to it.  Wisely, he made no move to do that.

Tom Padden, FBI Special Agent, San Francisco Division, directly involved in the capture of Patty Hearst:  I knew Tom casually.  He was an older Agent and assigned to the Bank Robbery, Fugitive Squad.  As I recall he was, at one time, with the Portland Police Bureau – and we discussed that we were both from Oregon.  Tom was one of the older Agents who chose to remain a ‘Street Agent,’ not interested in advancement.  He was highly regarded.  The fact that he was assigned or given the opportunity to arrest Patty was not circumstantial.  The arrest was, as I remember, a gift assignment largely based on information developed by other Agents.  However, I don’t begrudge him that assignment.  He was a good Agent.

Monte Hall, FBI Special Agent, San Francisco Division:  An older Agent, I knew him, but had very little contact with him.  He was on the same squad as Tom, and I believe Tom and Monte were close friends.  Monte might have been the squad supervisor – not sure about that.  Tom and Monte were major characters in Jeffrey Toobin’s book.  From what I read, it sounded like Monte may have been a little too cozy with the Hearst defense team – maybe not the most professional conduct, in my opinion.

As I’ve said before, on the inside, the whole Hearst / SLA investigation seemed often disorganized.  I suppose it’s easy to criticize, but that was the way it seemed to me.

For example:  To my knowledge, the FBI never set-up a professionally structured ‘hotline’ to receive tips from the public, as well as to offer a substantial reward.  The public did occasionally call in tips to various FBI offices, but those tips were sometimes ignored or haphazardly recorded.  I know of one instance where a caller telephoned the Resident Agency in the South San Francisco area; gave good information on the SLA’s possible location (which was later confirmed to be accurate), but the Resident Agent failed to write a memo reporting the caller’s information.  I guess he thought the tip didn’t sound credible.  Many of us thought the Agent should be fired, but he wasn’t.  I believe he received a letter of censure.

The ‘water – gas leads,’ when Agents were sent to every residence in the Bay area where new hook-ups for water, gas, electricity were ordered.  The operation became very public – ridiculously so – but might have caused the SLA to move south to Los Angeles.  Was that a good thing?  Doubtful.

I could go on, but what’s the point.  Anyway, I enjoyed reading American Heiress.  It brought back many memories.

Oh yes, in a previous post, I referred to ‘towers’ and that I would subsequently explain what they were.  This is what the Bureau called them and perhaps now calls fixed surveillance locations.  A tower could be an apartment, hotel room, or vacant building overlooking a location believed to be frequented by a suspect, person of interest or associate of same.  Towers could be operational for several hours or for many months – even years for those working foreign embassies.  It was boring, tedious work.  Towers were often used in organized crime cases and counter-espionage.  During the Hearst case, I spent one night in a teenage girl’s bedroom which overlooked the apartment of a possible associate of the SLA.  The girl, of course, slept downstairs on the living room sofa; but she made it clear that she was more than a little irritated by the FBI invading her private space.  I spent the night sitting on the floor and braced against her bed – drifting in and out of some sort of dream-like state.  It was miserable – and uneventful.  When I came down in the morning, the girl’s parents offered me coffee.  They were gracious.  The girl – eyed me suspiciously.  I apologized for the inconvenience.  Another Agent, later in the day, followed-up with a nice gift for the family.  This ‘tower’ turned out to be a one night deal – and was discontinued.

Patricia Hearst Kidnapping:  Part 1

Patricia Hearst Kidnapping:  Part 2

Patricia Hearst Kidnapping:  Part 3

Patricia Hearst Kidnapping:  Part 4

True Nelson

Monday, October 31, 2016

FBI Director, James B. Comey, Reopens Hillary Clinton Email Investigation

Breaking news… FBI Director, James B. Comey, is once again in the 'hot seat.'

First, it is my opinion that Director Comey is doing the right thing by notifying Congressional members of the recent developments in the Hillary Clinton ‘email investigation.’  Moreover, I don’t think he had any other viable choice in the matter.  But, I also believe that he put himself in the box by not following normal and customary FBI procedures initially.  Meaning…?

The FBI is now, and always has been, an investigative agency.  Usual procedure in FBI investigations is to conduct same in a thorough manner; and then present the results to the regional United States Attorney; or in this instance it would have been the United States Attorney General (Loretta Lynch).  Comey put himself in the spotlight for questionable reasons, or at the direction of Lynch, when he gave his famous, or infamous depending upon your point-of-view, analysis of the original Clinton email investigation – and that said case had no prosecutive merit.

Why did he do that?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps, it was a matter of self-assertion (I’m a player too), or perhaps self-promotion (political ambitions.) Or, maybe, it was at the direction of someone in the Obama administration (like the President himself) to take the focus off Lynch and her very inappropriate meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton.  If Lynch would have allowed Hillary to ‘walk,’ the public would have screamed ‘cover-up,’ and with some justification.  So, it probably appeared like a good move to everyone, including Comey, that he give the prosecutorial opinion.

But, don’t tell me that Comey made the decision on his own.  I just can’t buy it.  Obama was in.  Lynch was in.  It all seemed so simple and clean at the time – to the ‘players’ at least.

Comey is in a bind.  I wonder how this will all work-out – his career that is.  Now, certain members of Congress are throwing their weight around – saying Comey has violated the Hatch Act.  That is just ‘eye wash’ folks.  Politics talking.  It’s not going to happen.  Comey, as of now, is doing the right thing.  Let's see how it plays out.

The Clinton Foundation is still on the FBI's table.  More to come I predict.

Interesting Presidential election, isn't it?

Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity (The FBI Motto)

True Nelson

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Patricia Hearst Kidnapping (Part 4) / Camilla Hall’s Cat

I never met Camilla Hall or her cat; both had tragic, untimely deaths.

As I think back, the Patricia Hearst investigation often seemed unfocused and disorganized in the FBI’s San Francisco Division.

There were approximately 100 Agents brought in from other divisions to assist, most of them young and, relatively speaking, unfamiliar with the surrounding, radical environment swirling around San Francisco and particularly Berkeley.  We, the twenty Agents, assigned to Berkeley were considered to be the most familiar with the area; and were generally utilized accordingly.  Agents from other field offices were mostly used for stationary or moving surveillances, or in some instances assigned to ‘towers.’  (I will describe ‘towers,’ later).

One evening, I returned to the Berkeley Resident Agency after covering some leads.  I was approached by an older Agent who was responsible for coordinating assignments.  This was rather early in the investigation, and the whereabouts of the SLA members, still at large, was unknown.

The Agent told me that Camilla Hall’s residence had been identified and checked-out.  It appeared that she had left her apartment a week or so previously; but apparently took little or nothing with her except her pet cat.  It was believed that she would try to return for clothing or other abandoned items and we needed to set up a twenty-four hour surveillance on her apartment.  Unfortunately, the older Agent advised, we need someone to start as soon as possible; and he asked if I’d be willing to take the overnight shift – even though he knew that I had been working all day.  I said I would.  He said to get to the apartment as soon as possible, establish a discreet location; and that he’d try and get me some relief about eight in the morning.

I went home to get what I would need – knowing it would be a long night.  At home, I gathered some warm clothes, a pillow and my poncho liner from the military.  I also took some snacks and a thermos of coffee; and an empty plastic bottle to pee in if there was no other option.  More importantly, I had binoculars, camera, a strong flashlight, my .357 and a speed-loader with six additional rounds.

I positioned myself shortly after dark.  I did find a discreet location.  I could see her apartment, but was not sitting directly in front of someone’s residence.  It was a long, mostly uneventful, night.  Cars would pass, even a pedestrian or two, but no one seemed to notice me.  It was hard to stay awake.  This is the nature of real police work – not like in the movies that’s for sure.  I knew, of course, that if I was spotted by a member of the SLA, before I saw them, I would be in serious trouble.  Nonetheless, sometimes, the need to sleep is hard to resist – no matter the circumstances.

Fresh troops, two-man teams, were assigned the following days and nights.  I’m not sure how long they maintained that surveillance, but Camilla never returned.  She had what was dearest to her – her pet cat.  And, in her judgement, there was no reason to risk returning.  As previously noted, the cat died with Camilla in the Los Angeles shootout and inferno.

To be continued…

True Nelson

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Patricia Hearst Kidnapping (Part 3) / Camilla Christine Hall / The Investigative Assignment

This old San Francisco Examiner, dated Monday, May 20, 1974, is kind of interesting.  It does bring old memories back.  This particular issue is largely about the Hearst case which may explain why I kept it.  On the other hand, maybe not; the Hearst kidnapping was covered extensively for months – realize that the Examiner was controlled by the Hearst family.

Prior to May 20th, most of the SLA had been killed in a shootout in Los Angeles.  There were three remaining fugitives – Bill and Emily Harris, and Patricia Hearst.

For perspective, it’s kind of interesting to look over this old issue of the Examiner.  As I’ve said previously, I hadn’t looked at it in decades.  Some of the day to day stuff was kind of interesting.

For example, the Examiner’s daily issue, at the time, cost 15 cents.  Now, Portland’s daily is $1.50 and the Sunday issue is $3.00.

Much of this issue had to do with ‘Watergate,’ which some of you might recall.  President Nixon was still in the Whitehouse, but was under a lot of fire – which ultimately led to his resignation.

There is a full page advertisement for “Marlboro Green, Now in the Flip-top Box.”  Don’t see that sort of thing much anymore.  Maybe the ‘Marlboro Man’ dying of cancer took the wind out of their sales - moreover the public awakening I suppose.  Regarding cigarettes, its current reputation as a killer isn’t exactly new.  Sixty to seventy years back, they referred to cigarettes as ‘coffin nails.’  But, I digress.

There was one small quote in the paper which reminded me of a particular investigative assignment given to me:

“Los Angeles Coroner Thomas Noguchi identified the sixth corpse (in the LA shootout) as Camilla Christine Hall, 29.”

As a personal impression, and I got to know much about all of the SLA members, Camilla Hall seemed to have the most redeemable qualities.  It appeared that she joined this group more out of love than any sort of radical, psychotic motivation.  Camilla was a lesbian devoted to Patricia Mizmoon Soltysik who, in my opinion, had few if any redeemable qualities.

But to continue the Examiner quote:  “Near Miss Hall’s body, officials found the incinerated body of her pet cat.  When Miss Hall disappeared from her Berkeley cottage more than three months ago, she left everything except her pet.”

I’d almost forgotten this, but…

To be continued.

True Nelson

Part One

Part Two

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Patricia Hearst Kidnapping / My memories of the investigation (Part 2) / First Impressions

I’ve been giving some thought as to what I might add to Jeffrey Toobin’s book, ‘American Heiress.’  He did a very thorough job; and although I participated in the Hearst investigation, I found his book interesting and informative.  What more is there to say?  Well, all I might add are my personal experiences – what it was like in the trenches – so to speak.

When Patty was first kidnapped, I felt, and my feeling was not unique, that we, the Agents, would do anything possible to save her – to include, with no reservation, risking our own lives.  Many investigations in the FBI, then and now, are routine, boring, and with little or no motivational spark.  Patty’s kidnapping, that February night in 1974, set a fire among the Agents to work long hours, take risks, and bring her home.  We in the FBI’s Berkeley Resident Agency felt, somehow, especially responsible – that was our turf.

Most of us imagined her to be like a younger sister or other close relative – maybe some of the older Agents imagined her like a daughter.  We were later to be disappointed.  She was not, never was, like most FBI Agents imagined; had little or nothing in common with the vast majority of Agents.  Most Agents were from middle class families, many were prior military, mostly decent people.**

Patty was none of that and proved to be a spoiled rich girl with little or no inherent moral compass.  I know many will say she was ‘brain-washed.’  I later heard that numerous times – in her defense.  My response, as she became more known to us, was then and is now, ‘nonsense.’  I think Mr. Toobin made this point very well.  She was an unrepentant, participating criminal; who committed countless felonies; including driving a getaway car at a bank robbery where a woman (a mother of four) was killed (murdered), shot-gunned to death.  Patty later testified in court, coldly in my opinion and basically to save her own skin, against Emily Harris who actually shot the woman.

Patty Hearst was convicted and sentenced to prison for a few of her many crimes.  President Carter subsequently ‘commuted’ her sentence and had her released from prison after she served a little more than a year.  I voted for Carter prior to him taking that action.  I’ve never voted for a Democrat for President since then.  President Bill Clinton later gave Patty a full pardon.  The Hearst family was very rich – you understand. Just one more example of how ‘when money talks, justice walks.’

I kept an old newspaper (San Francisco Examiner dated Monday, May 20, 1974).  A souvenir so to speak.  It is now wrinkled and yellowed.  Time moves on - more than four decades.  I suppose there is little point in keeping it much longer – not even worth recycling.  I might burn it in the fireplace.  Perhaps, I will talk a little more about this old publication, give you a little glimpse of the 70s for those who might have forgotten, or for those who were not even born.

That said, regarding my ‘first impressions’ of the Hearst investigation, there was a book, an exceptional book, written by General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway titled ‘We Were Soldiers Once… and Young,’ about Vietnam.  And, if I might use that splendid phrase in a little different way (regarding the Patty Hearst case), ‘we were Agents once… and young.’

To be continued…

True Nelson

** As I’ve said before, some of the best people I’ve ever met (war heroes, scholars, athletes, and all manner of professionals) were FBI Agents.  However, as I’ve also said, some of the biggest knuckleheads I’ve ever met were FBI Agents.

Patricia Hearst Kidnapping (Part 1)

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Patricia Hearst Kidnaping / My memories of the investigation (Part 1) / & Jeffrey Toobin’s Book, ‘American Heiress

Recently, I finished a good book – ‘American Heiress’ by Jeffrey Toobin.  I recommend it.

“The wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst.”

Of course, as Toobin points out, Patty Hearst preferred to be called Patricia by anyone other than her immediate family.  We, in the FBI’s San Francisco Division, called her ‘Patty.’  We got to know her pretty well.

I actually lived part of this story, but wasn’t mentioned – nor did I expect to be.  I was just one of the many FBI Agents who worked 12 to 14 hour days, six or seven days a week for quite a few months on this case.  It was demanding, tedious and often disorganized.  Actually, Mr. Toobin gave me new insights on the investigation that I was not previously aware of – some of which seemed to explain why, at times, the investigation was disorganized.  However, other things he said in his book (petty perhaps) were kind of silly.  Such as…

Toobin:  “At this point, the Bureau was populated almost entirely by white** male agents who wore white shirts and black shoes and had crew cuts…”

February 4, 1974:  I was assigned to the Berkeley Resident Agency when Patty was kidnapped and don’t recall any Agents dressing as he described.  Oh, some of the older guys headquartered in San Francisco, desk jockeys mostly, might have occasionally worn white shirts and black shoes – but a “crew cut,” not hardly, unless they were attempting to conceal the fact that they were prematurely going bald.  This was San Francisco and Berkeley during the early 70s.  Agents working the streets dressed in accord with the venue so as not be too conspicuous.  Maybe, Toobin is talking about old photos of Charles Bates, Tom Padden or Monte Hall – prominent players in his story.  I will discuss them further in subsequent posts.

Toobin:  “They (referring to the FBI) knew little about the radical underground and had no chance of infiltrating those circles.  Who were the SLA?  Where were they?  Who were their friends and allies?”

Well, yes, that’s true in part.  However, we actually knew quite a bit, generally speaking, about the ‘radical underground,’ the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers.  However, the SLA, the Symbionese Liberation Army, was an instance of ‘spontaneous combustion.’  They were suddenly on the scene.  The SLA was closely knit and had no formal structure.  Infiltrating them would be like infiltrating a socially dysfunctional, psychotic family.  What was there, initially at least, to infiltrate?  The first question needing resolution was:  ‘Who are they?’

We knew, of course, that the SLA had already murdered the Oakland City Superintendent, Marcus Foster – a particularly cold blooded murder; shooting Foster with cyanide-laced bullets as he exited a school board meeting.  It was, at the time, a local crime being investigated by the Oakland PD.

Soon, there was a break in the case when a Concord Police Officer, conducting a routine FI or field interrogation, got in a shootout with Russ Little and Joe Remiro – who were members (later determined) of the SLA.  At that point, the nature of the SLA and who its members were began to come into focus.

The night Patty was kidnapped, I was one of the first Agents to respond to the scene.  I still remember how chaotic it was.  The confusion factor was almost overwhelming.

FBI Agents, including myself, began interviewing anyone in the area they could find.  Often times individuals contacted had already been interviewed by the Berkeley Police Department – and said individuals were understandably irritated by the FBI’s duplication of efforts.  One couple slammed the door in my face.  I made a note to return the next day when, perhaps, they would be in a better mood.  The FBI was not popular in those neighborhoods.  Ultimately, we spread out doing neighbor inquiries, noting license plates, taking photographs, mapping the neighborhood, and coordinating pertinent information that might lead to a quick locate of Patty Hearst.  As the violence involved became better known and the prominence of the victim became increasingly clear, we began preparing for the big push the following morning.

Berkeley PD was initially in charge of the investigation for the first 24 hours.  After that, the FBI was the lead agency.  Federal statute states that the victim, if not recovered within the first 24 hours, will create the presumption that the victim had been transported interstate or foreign commerce.  After 24 hours, with certain exceptions, kidnapping becomes a Federal crime (The Lindbergh Law).

February 4th turned into a long night; and the beginning of many long nights and days to come.

To be continued…

True Nelson
Join me on my Blog

**A point needing a little clarification is concerning J. Edgar Hoover.  It is often stated and inferred that he had a bias against Blacks and did not allow Blacks to become Agents.  I entered the Bureau under Hoover’s watch.  There were two Black Agents in my New Agents’ Class.  Both great guys.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Interview by the FBI / It was a farce, a comic play. My opinion…

Having done countless interviews and interrogations for the FBI, and later in my capacity as a Security Manager with a Fortune 100 company, I’m convinced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation ‘jumped in the tank’ on this investigation.  Harsh, you might say.  I don’t think so.  The reports of Hillary Clinton’s interview seem to show every indication that the FBI's interview was choreographed to cause Ms. Clinton the least possible inconvenience, and to create the best possible opportunity for her to rationalize past conduct involving her emails and her personal ‘server.’

First, let us establish a basis.  The FBI was involved in a massive criminal investigation that lasted months, involved numerous FBI Agents and outside experts, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.  The ‘subject’ of that investigation, the ‘suspect,’ was Hillary Clinton.  And, the culmination of that investigation was Hillary Clinton being interviewed for a little over three hours; and apparently one, two or three Agents wrote 302s summarizing their understanding of what took place and what was said during the interview.

Ms. Clinton had previously stated that the FBI inquiry was little more than a “security review;” a characterization to which FBI Director James Comey strongly objected.  However, as it turned out that was exactly what the FBI accomplished – a ‘security review’ of the State Department’s dangerously inadequate procedures in handling ‘classified’ and other sensitive documents.  With the primary offender being the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So what is a FD 302 to which the FBI has often referred?  It’s been quite a few years now, but it sounds like the FBI has not progressed from that antiquated system.  It’s basically a blank sheet of paper.  The Principal Special Agent dictates his interview notes, and a stenographer types them up, corrects grammar and structural flaws (without theoretically changing the content), therefore giving the 302 a professional look.  The Agent dictating the 302 reads the finished product and signs it as accurate.  Other Agents that were present during the interview also sign the 302 as being accurate.

The interview format:  FBI Director Comey has stated five or six Agents participated in the interview of Clinton.  Yes, that’s hard to believe.  But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  OK, we’d have approximately six Agents, Hillary Clinton (of course) and she probably had two or three attorneys and/or staff people with her.  Reportedly, the FBI’s interview seems more like a get-together, a social gathering, a conclave, rather than an official, fact-finding interview.

Normally, there will be one principal Agent conducting the interview.  If two or more Agents are questioning a subject, it becomes too confusing and the interview begins to lose focus.  Perhaps the Clinton interview was compartmentally separated with Agents conducting their own segment.  But, this too can become very confusing; and usually obscures good follow-up questioning.  The principal interviewing Agent has to manage the interview and be thoroughly prepared.  He or she usually takes the notes because he already knows where they want to go with the interview.  And, he is, should be, the most informed investigator in the room.

Additionally, one Agent is assigned to do the ‘Interview Log.’  What this consists of is a time sheet including notations such as:  What time the interview began and what time it ended.  When breaks were taken and the nature of the break; were breaks taken to consult with attorneys, go to the bathroom, serve coffee, etc.

In HRC’s interview, I imagine that there was at least one assigned woman Special Agent present in the room – if for nothing else than to soften appearances.  The principal Agent would begin with introductions and then establish the foundation.  This might take 30 to 45 minutes – perhaps an hour.  The object being to create a comfortable atmosphere and to lay-out the general ground rules.

The interview:  After the principal Agent finishes his questioning, he would ask other Agents in the room for follow-up questions.  Follow-up questions usually develop other areas of interest based on the subject’s answers and the need for clarification.  In an important case like this, the principal Agent probably would require a private meeting with the other Agents in an adjacent office or conference room to discuss the interview’s progress and to garner suggestions from the other Agents present.  In most instances, this private meeting would generate new areas of questioning that need to be explored in more detail.

Subsequent:  The principal Agent, utilizing his hand-written notes, would then dictate the findings of the interview.  The FBI used to have a ‘five day rule,’ which meant that the interview notes had to be transcribed within five days.

Now, let’s be clear, if this is what occurred in such a very short time (the alleged 3+ hours), the FBI Agents had to have been already briefed that there was to be no prosecution in the matter.  More importantly, they used this antiquated interview method to make sure that Clinton didn’t stumble and somehow throw a wrench into the previously decided decision.  The FBI was simply going through the motions – little more than a PR exercise.

What should the FBI have done?  At the very least, the FBI should have required a verbatim transcript.  Even better would have been a video and transcript.  Now, it’s my understanding that Clinton’s attorneys negotiated (demanded) the interview conditions, prior to the interview; and that there would be no transcript - a condition to which the FBI agreed.  In other words, Clinton’s attorneys and the FBI colluded to establish the least effective interview format; and the most beneficial format for Clinton.  What if Clinton had refused to be interviewed?  From an FBI standpoint that would be fine too.  They would simply refer their investigative results to the US Attorney with the postscript that the subject (Hillary Clinton) refused to be interviewed.  This can also be an indication of guilt when a subject refuses to be interviewed.

Duration:  I’ve undergone depositions, involving civil matters on investigations that I had conducted (civil and criminal matters which were infinitely less complex than the Hillary matter) that lasted more than a day.  Every answer, every word, was transcribed.  If I misstated or embellished under oath that would have subsequently been used against me in court to diminish or destroy my testimony.  This is mentioned to show contrast with the FBI’s ‘hit and run’ interview of Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is an attorney.  She is a master of obfuscation and evasion.  Her attorneys, as is there custom, would object during the interview and ask to confer privately with Clinton.  With breaks and attorney conferences outside the interview room, I would guess Hillary’s interview lasted no more than an hour – if that.

My advice to any Congressional Review Panel evaluating the quality, findings and conclusions of this FBI interview would be to request all hand-written notes completed by Agents, as well as the ‘Interview Log.’  This would be a pretty good indication of how thorough the interview was.  Or should I say that it would probably confirm what most current and former FBI Agents already know.

Yes indeed folks, politics talks and justice walks.

True Nelson

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Day 3 & 4 / Democratic Convention / Part 5

Well, I’m going to wrap this up.  I’m losing steam and quite frankly I’ve lost interest.  The Presidential Conventions are over.  Now, it’s head to head, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  The Presidential debates could be entertaining.

Just some quick thoughts…

Senator Tim Caine, designated VP for Hillary Clinton, gave kind of a strange ‘acceptance’ speech – trying to mock Donald Trump with the “believe me” line which he used over and over.  It got real tiresome, even embarrassing.  First impression of him is that he isn’t much of a public speaker.  However, he and his wife have a son in the Marines; and that’s a positive as far as I’m concerned.  Too many politicians talk tough, but want to send someone else’s sons and daughters to do the heavy lifting, you know the dangerous stuff.

I heard most of Hillary Clinton’s speech.  I thought she did, presentation-wise, pretty well.  The PBS News Hour staff of commentators seemed to give her about a ‘C’ – kind of average.  No comparison, they said, to Obama.

My thoughts about her speech:  Hillary promised something for everyone to include...  

Free college education for children of the middle class (that’s good for me, I can stop making contributions to my grandchildren’s 529 college plans);

She will expand Social Security benefits (whatever that means);

There will be a living wage and associated benefits for everyone to include child care and maternity leave – if you are working full time (apparently regardless of what type of ‘entry’ position you might have);

There will be massive infrastructure programs - jobs for everyone – good jobs (and, yes ladies and gentlemen, you have heard that one before / remember Obama's shovel-ready promises);

She doesn’t plan to “abolish the Second Amendment” or take our guns away (that’s good, but not sure why she needed to say it – that’s not going to happen as far as I’m concerned) - elaborating on the subject, she said she just doesn’t want guns to get in the hands of criminals (OK, I’m on board with that one – let’s enforce current gun laws);

She practically said that she would pursue amnesty for illegal immigrants and that more would be on the way (brace yourself young folks – especially those needing a job – illegal immigrants will gladly work harder and longer hours then you are prepared to do – and Republican business owners are smiling at the prospect / furthermore, Democrats are smiling about the grateful wave of new Democratic voters moving north to the U.S. - it's a win - win situation - at you young folks expense.)

But, there is no need to worry about how much this will cost because Hillary said the top one percent of the wealthy, plus corporations and ‘Wall Street’ will be picking up the tab for all of this (and, she said it with a straight face – good luck with that one).

Note:  For those recent college graduates who probably don’t know this – corporations don’t actually pay taxes.  People pay taxes.  Any tax placed on a corporation is simply passed on to whoever (or is it whomever) is purchasing their product – yes, young grads, that would be all of us – including you, when and if you get a job.  Additionally, you should know that if a corporation or business can’t pass along the tax (the extra overhead) they go out of business.  That is known as Capitalism.

True Nelson

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Day 2 Democratic Convention / Bill's Life with Hillary / Part 4

I didn’t watch much of the convention yesterday evening; but I did listen to William Jefferson Clinton.  Yes, the old wizard is a pretty good speaker.  He told the story of his wonderful life with his amazing wife Hillary Clinton.  I think most would agree that Bill spread it on a little thick.

Remember, I said the Trump family reminded me of the motion picture, The Stepford Wives (The Stepford Family).  Well, Hillary and Bill remind me of Francis Underwood and his wife, Claire (House of Cards).  Remorseless political ambition.

If you have been living in a cave (with no TV or radio) for the last twenty years or so , you might not know the back story; and, at this point, I suppose there is no real point in attempting to reiterate same.  However...

There was a noteworthy, recent exchange between Jesse Watters and Leslie Marshall – just for the sake of context.

Jesse Watters “is an interviewer at Fox News. He frequently appears on the O'Reilly Factor and is known for his on-the-street interviews, featured in his segment of the show, ‘Watters' World’.”

Leslie Marshall “has been a liberal radio talk host since 1988 and a commentator on national television since 2001. Leslie became the youngest person ever to be nationally syndicated on radio when she replaced Tom Snyder on the ABC Satellite Radio Network in 1992. She was also the first woman to host an issues oriented program nationwide. Leslie is a Muslim. Her physician husband and his family are Muslims. Leslie converted to Islam and that is undoubtedly the basis for her pro-Muslim stance. She goes to great lengths to keep this fact hidden when she appears on TV.”

The following is an exchange from the program:  ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’

Watters asked Marshall whether or not former President Bill Clinton has abused women, but she was left momentarily speechless before she was able to give an answer.

"I think your silence says a lot," Watters said.

But Marshall shot back, "No, I wanted to be very clear because I wanted to think about Monica - although consensual, she was young. I wouldn't say abuse - taken advantage of? Yes. Abused? No."

Watters listed off the facts, "Two women have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Another woman sued Clinton for defamation because he allegedly smeared her after an affair, and, you know as you said, he did prey on a young intern while at work. And he did use state troopers while at office to arrange the relationships. And then we know that he used his political attack machine to go after whistleblowers of the women who accused him of doing the wrong thing. It looks like there is a track record of being very aggressive with women and then using political power to then cover it up and smear. Am I wrong," Watters asked.

Marshall responded, "I missed the part where Bill Clinton's running again. He's already served two terms. His wife is running."

True Nelson

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Democratic Convention / The "Love" Theme / Part 3

Day One of the Democratic Convention was completed.  The biggest issue was Bernie Sanders’ supporters not about to leave with a whimper.  They booed and demonstrated over the news that the Democratic National Committee (headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz) attempted to ‘rig’ the primary – perhaps actually did ‘rig’ the primary, in favor of Hillary Clinton.  Shouts were heard by Bernie Sanders’ followers like "lock her up;" in apparent reference to the FBI’s questionable investigation into the Hillary email scandal.  Wow – some way to start off a Presidential run.

Michelle Obama gave a good speech during which she threw her ‘whole-hearted’ support to Hillary Clinton; interesting because it has been reported that neither she, nor her husband, particularly like Hillary.  That’s politics I suppose.  And, due to some of Donald Trump’s statements about President Obama, Michelle’s endorsement of Hillary seemed entirely understandable.

I have never heard a complete speech by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren before last night – both are compelling speakers – crowd seemed to love it.  Corey Booker, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, made a good speech – and had the crowd on their feet.

Regarding the various speeches’ content – just my opinion.  The overriding theme seemed to be ‘love,’ which they mentioned innumerable times.  OK, we the low-information voters, get it.  Love thy neighbor.  It’s in the 'good book.'  Personally, I think ‘respect,’ should come before ‘love,’ that’s how most relationships begin.  And again, just my experience, I’ve seen a lot of the underbelly of our population; and it’s hard to respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves.

Americans have been shown to be the most generous people in the history of the world, but we can only do so much.  I never heard that mentioned by the Democratic speakers.  The ‘love’ theme is a throw-back to the ‘hippie era.’  And, yes, I’ve worked the mean streets of Oakland and Berkeley during that era – and I hope that’s not where we are headed.  The hard-working folks in this country can’t afford to revisit that wasted generation.

There wasn't much talk about ‘leadership;’ more about give-away programs, free college, expanding Medicare, expanding Social Security Benefits, with a brief mention of an expanded national infrastructure, etc.  The U.S. is presently 19 trillion dollars in debt.  Obama has increased the National Debt by about eight trillion.  It appears more debt is on the way.  When does it stop?  And, when it does stop, what will that look like?  It won’t be pretty, that’s for sure.

I suppose more taxes are the answer; but did you notice there was no mention of simplifying the tax code – so that everyone will understand who is paying what.

Taxes:  Let’s see.  We could identify the 25 wealthiest people in the U.S. and take 50% of their money.  They could still live quite comfortably.  But, that won’t cover it.  How about the 100 richest, or 1000 richest; but nope that won’t cover it either.  To keep us out of further debt, the ‘middle class,’ will have to pony-up as usual.  The middle class will tighten their belts.  The rich will do what the rich have always done.  Not sure exactly what that is – I’ve never been rich.

The bottom line is:  This election is probably not my problem.  I was reading an article in Money Magazine.  Did you know that if you’re a man who just turned seventy, your chance of living two more decades is less than one in five?  So, I figure, if I can squeak- by and make it to 80 or 85, Social Security should still be solvent - at least until then.  For the rest of you, all I can say is ‘good luck.’

True Nelson

PS:  Just wondering - must have missed it - who was the babe sitting next to Bill in the Executive Box?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Presidential Race 2016 / Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton / Republican Convention Thoughts / Show Biz? (Part 2)

The Republican Convention and the official nomination of Donald Trump was completed Thursday night.  I listened to the entire Trump acceptance speech which ran nearly eighty minutes.  Although the microphone system seemed to be quite adequate, Trump was shouting /yelling most of the eighty minutes.  He did pause periodically to encourage the crowd with various chants; and would occasionally pivot ninety degrees to show his profile and determined, resolute countenance – seemed a little phony to me, but that’s show biz.  I was glad I was sitting in a comfortable recliner rather than being on the convention floor.  I thought he’d never stop.  Trump’s speech was way too long.  He covered a lot of bases.  Some of his goals, I agree with.  Some goals outlined seemed impractical, but perhaps worthy of an attempt.  But as someone later said (and I tend to agree), ‘Right message, but probably the wrong messenger.’  Trump stuck to his teleprompter for the most part, and it wasn’t a bad speech.  The crowd seemed to love it.

Trump repeatedly praised, in various ways, military veterans, said how they need to honored.  But, it sounded a little hollow after the way he had previously ridiculed the military service of John McCain.

Let’s see, what else?  The Trump family gave one speech after another; and to tell the truth, they were all pretty good.  But, it reminded me of that old movie, The Stepford Wives; but, in this case, it was the Stepford Family – beautiful, squeaky clean, and compliant – an illusion I’m sure.

Mike Pence was selected as Trump’s running-mate.  He is the Governor of Indiana.  He gave a very good speech – seems like a nice guy; and even has a normal looking family.  His son is a Marine, Second Lieutenant.  It’s unusual for a politician to have a son or daughter in the military.  In my book that is a positive aspect in the Mike Pence story.

Ted Cruz gave a speech and I caught part of it.  Why he appeared at the convention after Trump had previously insulted him, his wife and his father on numerous occasions, I do not know.  Any real man, in my opinion, would have punched Trump in the face or challenged him to a duel (oh the good ole days when men were men); but certainly not appeared at the Trump convention even to offer lukewarm support.  It only goes to show that you have to eat a lot of s—t for a career in politics.  Senator Cruz, come on, wife and family first, then politics.

Compliments should be given to the Cleveland Police Department, and the other law enforcement agencies that assisted.  The police kept a lid on everything, which I’m sure was no easy task – in view of the current climate in this country – including the recent, cowardly murders of police officers.  I think everyone was expecting some serious conflicts, if not riots; but nothing major happened.

In summary, I’m still undecided if I will vote in this election.  But, I’m starting to believe that Trump has an outside chance of being our next President.  The polls now seem to favor Hillary Clinton.  However, I think the U.S. may be potentially nearing a backlash vote similar to what the U.K. just experienced with Brexit.  We’ll see.  World affairs and terrorist attacks will have a lot to do with the Presidential outcome.

To be continued...

True Nelson