The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 4

Jim Burroway

June 4th, 2015

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Aarhus, Denmark; Anchorage, AK; Asbury Park, NJ; Bergen, Norway; Birmingham, AL; Buffalo, NY; Pride Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo, ON;Charleston, WV; Columbus, GA; Conway, AK; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Dresden, Germany; Edmonton, AB; El Paso, TX; Fresno, CA; Guerneville, CA; Honolulu, HI; Indianapolis, IN; Innsbruck, Austria; Lander, WY; Lille, France; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Los Ranchos, NM; Milwaukee, WI; New Paltz, NY; Niagara Falls, NY; Nicosia, Cyprus; Oxford, UK; Pine City, MN; Queens, NY; Sacramento, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Santa Cruz, CA; Spencer, IN; Split, Croatia; Tulsa, OK; Washington, DC.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Beaver Lake, NY; Boston, MA; London, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Hartford, CT; Gay Days Disney, Orlando, FL; AIDS Lifecycle, San Francisco to Los Angeles, CA; Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Identities Queer Film Festival, Vienna, Austria.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, November 1968, page 31.

From The Los Angeles Advocate, November 1968, page 31.

FBI Collects Info on Homophile Groups “Obstructing the Efforts of the Bureau”: 1965. On On June 4, 1965, the Birmingham, Alabama field office sent a memo addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover with a copy of a document “furnished… on 6-1-65 by Major DON DRISSIL, Region 4, 111th Intelligence Group, Ft. McClellan, Alabama, U.S. Army Duty Station, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Major DRISSIL advised that the source of this document was unknown; however it had been furnished to him by one of his investigators who had obtained it somewhere in the State of Florida. It is being furnished to the Bureau for information and any action deemed necessary in the event it has not been previously furnished.” The memo, which had been routed to Associate Director Clyde Tolson and other senior staff at the F.B.I., quoted the following:


How To Handle A Federal Investigator

The discriminatory policies of the Federal Government in disqualifying the homosexual citizen from Federal employment, from eligibility for a security clearance, and from service in and fully honorable discharge from the Armed Forces, are not only not justified, but are gravely injurious to the national interest. It is, therefore, the patriotic duty of every American citizen to do everything lawfully within his power to impede and to obstruct the implementation of these policies, and to encourage others to do likewise. Central to that implementation is the conduct of investigations involving the administration of interrogations. To those finding themselves subject to such interrogations, the following pointers and suggestions are offered.

1. No citizen is required to submit to an interrogation by any Federal official — F.B.I., Civil Service Commission, military investigators, etc. — or even to speak to them. However, in certain instances (for example, where you yourself, rather than an acquaintance are the subject of the investigation) it may be advisable to grant the Government the privilege of interviewing you.

2. In case of such interrogation, your choice is NOT between telling truth or untruth, but between speaking and not speaking. Never lie, falsify, or misrepresent. On matters relating to homosexuality — yours or anyone else’s — just refuse to speak.

3. If you are asked any questions at all on homosexuality, in any aspect, your ONLY answers should be: “These are matters which are of no proper concern to the Government of the United States under any circumstances whatsoever.” and “This is information which the Government does not have to know.” Stand your ground on these. Do not engage inin philosophical or psychological or sociological discourses. Do not make use of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution; it is not necessary, and may be harmful.

4. Sign no statements; take no lie detector tests; give no names or other information about any other person.

5. Under no circumstances tolerate unannounced visitations by investigators at your home or your place of employment. Refuse to speak to them. Insist upon a proper appointment, at a time and place of YOUR choice and convenience. INSIST upon the right to be accompanied by one or more persons of your choice (without restriction to professional legal counsel) to act not only as counsel, but as witness.

6. The interrogators will try to cajole, to persuade, to bully, to demand, to threaten, to bargain. Do not be taken in. Regardless of what they may say and how they may act, they are “out to get you.” Among a few of their favorite techniques are:

a. “You are not cooperating.” Of course you are not. Continue not to.

b. “All of this is not really very important, and nothing will happen to you; we just need a few questions answered and your signature, so we can complete our records and close our files.” Do not believe it.

c. “The laws or reguatlions require you to reply.” This is not true, regardless of what may be quote to you or even shown to you in print.

d. The “good guy and bad guy” approach. After interrogator A has unpleasantly browbeaten you for a while, interrogator B will intercede, supposedly as your friend, to try to make things easier for you, and to modify interrogator A’s attitude. Do not be taken in. They are both your enemies.

7. This is stated with very strong over-emphasis because extensive experience has shown that without it, this advice, as simple as it is, is not properly heeded: On matters having to do with homosexuality, say NOTHING; “nothing” means NO thing, and “no” means NONE AT ALL, with NO exceptions. It does NOT mean “Just a little.” This means that you do NOT discuss juvenile homosexual experiences, and you do NOT discuss so-called passive acts, or anything else at all. You say NOTHING whatsoever. Do not attempt to exercise your judgment as to what may or may not be harmful to discuss. Close the door firmly and absolutely to discussion or comment upon ANY and EVERY aspect of homosexuality, and, in fact, of sex generally.

8. Do not confirm information which they allegedly have. They may not have what they have led you to believe they have and they may be only guessing and deducing. Even if there is no doubt as to their possession of information, you will be better off if there has been no confirmation or corroboration from you.

9. Insist that you be treated with the full respect and dignity due ALL American citizens in every status, by ALL their public servants, at ALL levels, at ALL times. If you are not so treated, walk out and do not return until you have received, in writing, an apology for past improper treatment, and assurances of future proper behavior. If you receive no such apology, object, by letter, to the appropriate Cabinet-level official, with details of the behavior and language involved, and inform you local Mattachine Society or other homophile organization.

10. Remember that the information involved in investigations is classified, as far as the Government is concerned. If anyone — particularly including your employer — is informed by anyone but you, of the subject or any details of an investigation of you, you can bring criminal charges against the investigators or other officials who have disclosed the information. Do so. At the same time, do not allow yourself to be misled into believing that you are not permitted to discuss any and all aspects of the matter with anyone you choose. You may seek counsel and advice from anyone, and are completely free to discuss all aspects of the matter with persons of your choice, at all times.

By following the advice above, you will be serving not only your own best interests and those of your acquaintances and fellow citizens, but the best interests of your country.

The statement ends with the addresses and phone numbers for the Mattachine Societies of Washington, D.C. and New York, the Daughters of Bilitis’ New York Chapter, and the Janus Society of Philadelphia.

That same day, another memo from the Louisville field office, also addressed to Director Hoover, contained the same mimeographed document. According to the Louisville memo, that copy was obtained by a Commanding Officer at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. The following day, another memo from the Newark office provided a two-page printed brochure with the same title that had been “found in a public telephone booth at Fort Monmouth, N.J.” In fact, “How To Handle A Federal Investigator” had been published in March of that year in The Eastern Mattachine Magazine, the official newsletter of the Mattachine Society of New York. Eastern Mattachine didn’t give an author’s name, but judging by its emphatic cadence and authoritative tone, it’s hard to imagine it being written by anyone other than Frank Kameny (see May 21), who had been working with a large number of Federal employees who were being hounded out of their jobs and denied security clearances.

Four weeks after those memos were sent to Hoover, another memo went out from the FBI to an official of the Justice Department responding to a suggestion from the Department’s Training Division that the FBI provide “instructions issued by such groups as the American Nazi Party and the Mattachine Society to their members to obstruct the efforts of the bureau and law enforcement.” The FBI provided the Mattachine’s “How To Handle A Federal Investigator,” along with material from the Communist Party, the American Nazi Party, the Minutemen of America and the Ku Klux Klan, all of which the Bureau apparently viewed as equal threats.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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