Issue Number 5 - June 13, 2002

National Security News Alert

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This is the text of a News Release sent to news organizations nationwide. The full text of the letter to the President and other goverment officials is included at the end of the release.

For Immediate Release

President is Warned Race Bias “Threatens National Security”

Redstone Arsenal minorities cite “Tar Baby” incidents, urge caution in creation of Homeland Security Department

Warning that deteriorating race relations present “a grave threat to our national security,” minority employees at the sensitive Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama have called upon President Bush and his top military and national security executives to “directly and forcefully address this matter before the U.S. Congress acts to create a new Department of Homeland Security.”

In a June 13th letter obtained by The Black Commentator, an Internet publication (http://www.blackcommentator.com), the head of the Redstone Area Minority Employees Association said that military and civilian supervisors had used the racial slur “Tar Baby” on three occasions since the events of September 11. Matthew Fogg described the incidents as examples of “an epidemic of official corruption, systemic racial discrimination and vile epithets that undermines our country’s War on Terror.”

Fogg’s organization represents 200 minority employees at Redstone Arsenal, which is home to many of the U.S. Army’s precision “smart” weapons systems as well as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “The alarming resurrection of ‘Tar Baby’ as a term of racial abuse at Redstone,” Fogg wrote, “is only one, dramatic manifestation of a deep and escalating breakdown in military standards.”

Fogg said Redstone race relations “are even worse than those that prevailed at Goddard Space Flight Center,” in suburban Washington, DC, where 120 Black scientists recently settled a discrimination suit against NASA for $3.75 million. 

The “security and intelligence agencies of the U.S. are rife with race discrimination,” said Fogg, a chief deputy U.S. Marshal.

Fogg called for caution in creating the Homeland Security Department. “Unless discrimination is immediately treated as a national security priority, this new department will find itself hopelessly infested with all of the bias practices of its 22 component organizations,” he said.

The letter was addressed to the President, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of the Army Thomas White and Senator Patrick Leahy.

The Black Commentator is an Internet publication of commentary, analysis and investigation on issues affecting African Americans.

Contact: mailto:publisher@blackcommentator.com Tel 856.823.1739

Contact:Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg
mailto:u.s.marshal@writeme.com Tel 301.423.8161

The full text of Marshall Fogg's letter follows.

June 13, 2002

Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Honorable Condolezza Rice
National Security Advisor
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C., 20504

Governor Tom Ridge
Director of Homeland Security
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20502

Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Honorable Thomas E. White
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0101


Dear Mr. President and Distinguished Gentlemen and Lady:

It is my responsibility to alert you to a grave threat to our national security, an epidemic of official corruption, systemic racial discrimination and vile epithets that undermines our country's War on Terror. Race relations at Huntsville, Alabama's Redstone Arsenal, one of the nation's most sensitive military installations, have deteriorated to such a degree that military preparedness has been seriously eroded.

I fear that this dangerous situation is spiraling out of control, degrading Redstone's mission and destroying the productive lives of valuable personnel.

As Executive Director of the Redstone Area Minority Employees Association (RAMEA), I have authenticated three separate incidents of flagrant, public use of the slur "Tar Baby" by civilian and military supervisors at the base, popularly known as the "rocket capital of the world." The targets of these horrific insults are dedicated African American scientists and specialists in precision weapons, men and women on whom our citizens depend at this time of national crisis.

A disturbing number of superbly trained weapons systems experts have been sidelined for years on end, forced to perform menial duties, solely because of the color of their skin. This pervasive pattern of under-utilization of minority expertise is cruel, wasteful and profoundly unpatriotic. Racial reprisals for complaints against such injustices are routine at Redstone. As one of our members, who also serves as head of the Huntsville NAACP, puts it, "Any time they can get us off of a critical mission, they'll do it."

You will recall that 120 Black scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center recently settled their discrimination suit against NASA for $3.75 million. They had been shamefully under-utilized and held back from promotions. Conditions at Redstone are even worse than those that prevailed at Goddard. The cost to the nation's military readiness is incalculable.

Is this the way the United States of America unites its citizens in our War on Terror? I cannot believe that our leaders would knowingly countenance such a cancer at the core of our national defense structure.

The alarming resurrection of "Tar Baby" as a term of racial abuse at Redstone is only one, dramatic manifestation of a deep and escalating breakdown in military standards. RAM has thoroughly documented a litany of abuses and illegalities throughout the installation, home of the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), Army Corps of Engineers, Program Executive Offices (PEO), Department of Defense Commissary and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Our grievances include discrimination, unfair labor practices, blacklisting, unfounded criminal prosecutions, false statements, unwarranted revocation of security clearances, falsification of official documents, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, physical assaults, slashing of vehicle tires, misappropriation of government funds, illegal contract activity, and other improprieties.

The NAACP joined with us in calling for a congressional investigation. We have submitted substantial evidence directly to the office of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, NASA's administrator and more recently to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Clearly, RAM has made the Redstone situation known in every official forum available to our membership.

We now appeal to you to intervene directly at Redstone. If this nation is truly being placed on a war footing, the Redstone problem cannot be permitted to fester through years of grinding EEO and Class Action litigation. The talents of many hundreds of patriotic African Americans are being wasted. Their rights and all of our freedoms are at risk.

To paraphrase the slogan of yesteryear's opponents of Jim Crow in the U.S. Armed Forces: America cannot fight a War on Terror with one hand tied behind its back.

The cancer eating away at Redstone Arsenal is acute, but not unique. As a chief deputy U.S. Marshal and Executive Director of the Congress Against Racism & Corruption In Law Enforcement (CARCLE), I am inundated with complaints of racial discrimination at virtually every law enforcement, national security and intelligence agency of the U.S. government.

All of you, Mr. President, Gentlemen and Lady, are aware of the great services rendered to our country by whistleblowers during this period of crisis. Supervisory Special Agent, Coleen Rowley, of the Minneapolis FBI office, has properly been granted a full hearing on her charges concerning the now infamous search warrant on terrorist Zacarias Mousaoui's computer prior to 9/11.

Yet, you may not be aware that the Special Agent In-charge (SAC) of that same office has been formally charged with egregious Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) racial discrimination claims since 1996, resulting in vast harm to the bureau's national security mission. Had the bureau followed its own EEO policies and guidelines with respect to that SAC, history might have been written, differently.

Patriots of color are blowing whistles all across this nation. Do you hear them?

I am very familiar with racism within the U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), having won a landmark discrimination case in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Fogg v. Reno 94-2814, in 1998. A federal jury found the entire USMS nationwide to be a Racial Hostile Environment. The USMS now faces a class action suit by many African American Marshals who have been subjected to this same hostile environment and curtailed career opportunities.

Mr. President, your own Secret Service is the subject of legal action by African American agents. National security is clearly at stake in this issue.

The US Customs, US Capital police, Immigration & Naturalization, Border Patrol and the CIA, all have some form of race discrimination complaints pending. Black FBI agents recently announced a settlement in their race discrimination Class Action complaint, but many of them have since told me that a racially hostile environment still exists in their offices.

The bottom line is that security and intelligence agencies of the U.S. are rife with race discrimination. Whistleblowers, who are truly America's unsung heroes and seek only to strengthen the effectiveness of these agencies, are being abused or ignored. For this reason, it is imperative that racial bias be treated as a serious threat to national security, and that your offices directly and forcefully address this matter before the U.S. Congress acts to create a new Department of Homeland Security.

Unless discrimination is immediately treated as a national security priority, this new department will find itself hopelessly infested with all of the bias practices of its 22 component organizations. I fear the problem will be compounded beyond all possible solution, further damaging our national security.

Do not allow the prevailing patterns of racial bias at these agencies to be stacked on top of one another and commingled into an impenetrable mass, thereby bequeathing the nation a $37.5 billion, 170,000-member edifice of discrimination. I implore you to act now to solve these problems before they disappear into a giant, bureaucratic jumble, only to resurface later in even more dangerous form.

Mr. President, on June 6, you promised that the Department of Homeland Security would "bring together our best scientists to develop technologies that detect biological, chemical and nuclear weapons."

But current employment practices at Redstone Arsenal and elsewhere tell us that African American scientists will not be full participants in this effort.

In the same speech, the President asked all Americans to, "Add your eyes and ears to the protection of our homeland. In protecting our country we depend on the skill of our people."

Yet we know that at Redstone and other federal workplace facilities, Black skills are marginalized and rejected. African Americans are derided as Tar Baby.

We ignore this crisis at our nation's peril.


Respectfully,

Matthew F. Fogg
Executive Director
Redstone Area Minority Employees Association
P.O. Box 22214
Huntsville, AL 35814-2214

cc: Kweisi Mfume, Executive Director NAACP
Gerald Reed, National President of Blacks In Government (BIG)
Maurice Foster, Executive Director - National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)

www.blackcommentator.com

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