I left the USA in 1999, a political refugee after a period of intense FBI persecution. Before my exodus, I was a young mining analyst working on Wall Street for British investment bank for SG Warburg (now part of UBS).
In the lead up to my departure from the US, I faced pervasive interference and disruption from the FBI across all aspects of my life included hacking into and deleting phone messages, interfering in my work and propagating well targeted misinformation at work and socially.
The reason? I had authored a short work report that SG Warburg subsequently published and distributed to fund managers globally. From the authorities point of view, the report touched on a sensitive issue: US mining company Freeport McMoran – which had been implicated by multiple eye witness accounts in the killing of indigenous protestors at its massive Grasberg copper and gold mine in West Papua and was now under investigation by the State Department, though the allegations were never proven in court. This information had also been published by the New York Times.
Unfortunately, my employer did not hold firm in the face of pushback from the FBI, and some of its employees assisted the FBI; as did employees at some of the other banks responsible for funding Freeport, including Australian commercial banks Westpac and ANZ (where some senior employees assisted Australian intelligence – ASIO, in liaison with the FBI, in an orchestrated “payback”).
I had arrived in NY some years’ before with an MBA from Wharton and I felt like I had good skills and job mobility. Life in New York was great. I had felt well established with a long term girlfriend (whom they also targeted) and we had been thinking about getting married.
That the FBI dedicated the resources it did to hound me for publishing on a sensitive topic, though one that was very relevant to responsible investors (indeed, over the years some large fund managers have blacklisted Freeport; see a fund report), says a lot about what the country’s pre-eminent law enforcement agency prioritises.
For my part, while shedding a little light on Freeport McMoran, I learned that the FBI’s tentacles are everywhere attuned to finely nuanced comments about US corporations and revealed this is something the authorities care deeply about – protecting American corporate image on social and environmental matters even when, in cases like this, that reputation isn’t deserved.
While all of this was going on, Bernie Madoff was amassing billions in ill begotten gains on Wall Street, right under the FBI’s nose, something that had apparently evaded their attention for over a decade. This is despite the SEC having previously identified Madoff’s operation as a concern. While Madoff evaded the attention of the FBI, he not only took his clients to the cleaners, but in doing so he confirmed to the rest of the country that the FBI has a favoured status relationship with banks, money and corporate America by failing to act on corporate misconduct right under its nose.
Analyst commentary on sensitive and unpopular truths about American corporate behaviour on Wall Street evidently draws vast resources from the FBI to contain (and which congress funds); while massive frauds in other parts of Wall Street flourish till they become so big they collapse under their own weight.
The FBI looks like it has become every bit what President Truman feared: In 1945, a month after taking office, President Truman wrote of Hoover’s FBI, “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail.” Two years later he observed, “all Congressmen and Senators are afraid of him.”
Unfettered FBI persecution and surveillance of innocent people is likely one of the things that elected representatives have in mind when they say that the American political system is no longer a democracy but has morphed into a new form of fascism.
More details and FBI agents’ names disclosed
I have sought to work through the official channels for accountability and truth from the FBI, only to be thwarted at every turn. The FOIA and intelligence agency oversight system in the US (and Australia) is thoroughly broken, a sentiment shared by all attorneys I have spoken to who have experience dealing with these agencies. As a result, I am disclosing details of my case publicly, including the names of FBI agents and collaborators.
FBI agents named [27 March 2014]: more detailed report (click).
Some of the undercover FBI agents and collaborators self-disclosed include:
– Michael Mills: the FBI agent who moved into my apartment in NYC and occupied it for several years when I sublet it before my return to Australia.
– Kathleen Walton: former mining analyst at Merrill Lynch in NYC.
– Matthew Levey – Kroll Associates, Inc (New York City midtown office): consulting work case manager 2003 and 2004. Former State Department employee.
– Jeffrey S Robards:corporate finance, formerly Ernst & Young (E&Y) NYC. Now working for C.W. Downer & Co – a boutique M&A firm in Boston.
– Stephan Chenault and John Klotz: volunteers Sierra Club NYC Group since 1990s.
– Ben Worden, Rob Haggerty and Allison Dey (Tucson area): FBI agents involved with Diamond Mountain Buddhist group in southern Arizona and California.
– George Schneider and Livingston Sutro (Sierra Vista, AZ); Jennifer Conner (NYC): Associated with Diamond Mountain Buddhist group in southern Arizona.
– Paul Whitby (Tucson): biologist.
– Robert Schultz – Albuquerque based head hunter. MRC Mining Search.
– Steven D. Garber – (wife Andrea – collaborator) additional details: biologist; lived in Manhattan for much of the 1990s, before taking a two year posting to teach biology at Embry Riddle in Prescott, AZ. Books authored include The Urban Naturalist (New York. John Wiley and Sons. 1987). PhD in Ecology, Environmental Sciences – Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark. B.S. in Natural Resources – Cornell University.
ASIO agents, informers and collaborators self-disclosed include:
(to be disclosed)
[The names of 9 ASIO operatives were disclosed June 2013 to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, several journalists at the Sydney Morning Herald, a number of politicians, and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security – around 12 in total. This led to ASIO retaliation and further threats to destroy my family and business. As one well placed politician told me, “there is not really anywhere to turn: the police are in on it, they’re all part of it; you can’t rely on them.”]