DID THE FBI ORDER SEXUAL ABUSE?
Scandalous Resignation of Prison Official Proxy Raises Questions About Torture Tactics Employed to Neutralize Anarchist Prisoner
I first popped up on their radar in May 2008, at the height of the “Green Scare.” I had, by then, been locked up in the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for seventeen years, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation had raided suspected members of the Earth Liberation Front– the ELF –and they had found dog-eared copies of zines that I had written, including £Last Act of the Circus Animals£. The FBI also allegedly found what they believed were personal, handwritten letters from ELF prisoner Daniel McGowan.
So, on the same day that Daniel McGowan was transferred to the Communications Management Unit at Marion, Illinois– on orders of the FBI –Ohio prison officials, also alerted by the FBI as to my ostensible “connection” to “terrorists,” dragged me off to isolation and a planned emergency transfer to the super-max unit in Youngstown, Ohio. The transfer was eventually cancelled, as no real connection existed between the ELF and me, but I was on the FBI’s radar.
At the time, I knew nothing of any FBI investigation or the ELF’s impeccable tastes in reading material. I knew only that there was crime tape– crime tape! –across my segregation cell door and that some top prison administrators were acting incredibly sketchy. No one would so much as stop at my cell door to answer questions. I would not make the connection until years later when a prison employee confidentially revealed to me the real, covert reason I had been apprehended and tossed in the hole in May 2008.
The FBI, it seems, did not want me to know I was being investigated and monitored. They worked behind the scenes, directing prison officials to fabricate a disciplinary pretext that would serve as a smokescreen for why I was taken to segregation. For fabricating that ruse, the FBI enlisted the assistance of the ODRC’s “agency liaison” to the FBI, an attorney named Trevor Clark. It became Clark’s job to manufacture a disciplinary pretext as the cover story for my segregation; what he wrote up was an accusation that a published work of mine “encouraged a work stoppage.”
From that time forward, Clark became the FBI’s man on the ground, their proxy, their outsourced agent for administering the FBI program for monitoring and neutralizing me, and eventually for silencing me. Thus, whenever my name came across an FBI desk, the FBI called Clark and Clark carried out the plan.
The “plan” came to include disciplinary frame-ups that would make me appear to be a behavior problem, extending my imprisonment and causing me to get passed over for parole. The “plan” would eventually include torture. And, very possibly, it came to include sexual abuse.
In 2012, I wrote a critique of ODRC policy that outsourced services to the JPay corporation– a policy I asserted to be illegal. I did not know at the time that JPay was itself a front for the FBI, a massive metadata collection tool for domestic spying, where the FBI could monitor financial transactions and email communications to and from prisoners… in real time. This permitted the FBI to generate new hubs of investigation among those who communicated with prisoners, and then, in turn, generate new hubs of investigation revolving around those subjects’ other contacts.
At the same time my article was published to seanswain.org, the Army of the 12 Monkeys disrupted Mansfield Correctional where I was housed, inspiring an insurrection, and they sent letters to Ohio lawmakers at their home addresses, listing demands.
The FBI and Clark resumed their collaboration. While the FBI could not legally retaliate against me for exposure of their data-collection tool, and while the ODRC could not retaliate against me for the website they found to undermine their public image, they £could£ frame me for the 12 Monkey uprising. They could kill two birds with one stone, accusing me of the 12 Monkey uprising and sending me off to the super-max.
Clark, of course, wrote the conduct report, accusing me of a whole host of disciplinary charges, all without any actual misconduct. The charges were based solely on my “ideology”– claiming that my opposition to JPay proved I was the leader of a group that did not oppose JPay.
As Clark mounted the disciplinary frame-up, he simultaneously transmitted to the FBI what he claimed to be evidence of my involvement in the 12 Monkeys, hoping that he could benefit himself by being instrumental in getting me charged with federal crimes. That evidence included an address list that Clark falsely told the FBI was found in my property. That address list that included lawmakers’ home addresses, Clark argued, proved I had mailed the 12 Monkey letters to lawmakers.
The FBI, however, in their own declassified files, noted that only three addresses of the eight lawmakers who received letters had their addresses in that list; the FBI concluded that the 12 Monkeys had used some other list.
The FBI undoubtedly shared this conclusion with Clark, but Clark never shared that conclusion with the ODRC. While Clark knew the list to be debunked and irrelevant, he continued, for years, to misinform his superiors and others, alleging that address list to be a “smoking gun” that proved my 12 Monkey involvement.
This demonstrates a curious dynamic: Clark essentially monopolized all communication between the FBI and the Ohio prison system. He was the exclusive channel of information. When Clark spoke to the FBI, he spoke on behalf of the prison complex and no one questioned his integrity or veracity; likewise, when Clark shared with prison officials what the FBI had said to him, it seems no one questioned his integrity or veracity. Everyone accepted Clark’s word.
Thus, when Clark told officials what “the FBI wanted,” no one sought independent confirmation from the FBI. Consequently, everything Clark attributed to the FBI may or may not have originated with the FBI. It may have simply been Clark invoking the FBI in order to accomplish his own sick and twisted desires.
It is impossible to know, as the FBI has continued to withhold its files in these matters, from February 2013 onward.
At any rate, when Clark ordered Mansfield Correctional administrators to cut food rations in half and then cut them in half again, my cellmate and I suffered malnutrition and then starvation, but everybody knew that was “what the FBI wanted.” We lost roughly thirty-five percent of our body weight. We left Mansfield as walking skeletons. We were dying. Literally.
When Clark ordered us moved to a cell where the outer window was not attached to the wall, we froze all winter long in intolerable cold– and everyone knew that was “what the FBI wanted.” Or when we were denied laundry… or when soap rations were halved and then quartered… or when our outgoing and incoming mail was ordered seized… or when staff were ordered to rattle our cell door every fifteen minutes for days or weeks to prevent us from sleeping… or when Investigator Angela Hunsinger developed and employed a new “staff training” program to indoctrinate staff and convince them that my cellmate and I were “terrorists,” provoking the staff to unconscionable and brutal reprisals against us… everyone knew that was “what the FBI wanted.”
On March 27, 2013, six months into the domestic torture regimen, Trevor Clark came to Mansfield Correctional to inspect his handiwork up close and personal. He called each of the three of us charged in the 12 Monkey uprising into an office, one at a time, to be interrogated. I went last.
I was taken in, handcuffed, belly-chained and shackled, placed into a plastic bucket chair. Clark sat behind the desk, bloated, pasty, and sweating profusely. A double-chin protruded from below his poorly-manscaped beard.
Vinko Kucinic, the chief investigator for the ODRC, sat over in the corner of the room. He said little, if anything at all.
Clark made an elaborate show of leaving his phone on the desk face-up, so “the FBI” could listen in. He announced self-importantly that he was there because “the FBI” wanted him to interrogate each of us and that “the FBI” would soon be bringing federal charges.
I knew better. I knew the FBI was not bringing charges.
During the interrogation, Clark frequently sniffed and wiped at his nose. He had facial ticks twitching constantly. My cellmate, interrogated before me, was far more familiar with drug subcultures than I am. He later commented, “Oh, yeah. That dude was £seriously£ coked up.”
At some point, Clark slammed the infamous address list on the desk and ordered me to pick it up. He asked me if I knew what it was. When I said I did not, he informed me that it was a list of the home addresses of senators and representatives. He told me he found it in my property.
I said, “No. You didn’t.”
And, really, they didn’t. One day before my cell was searched, a snitch for Investigator Hunsinger, Richard D., warned me that a cell search was coming, and as a consequence, I had thoroughly cleaned out my cell. Even if I had owned that address list– and I most certainly did not –I would have disposed of it long before the cell shakedown team showed up.
When the officers had completed the cell search, they showed me what they were taking: my typewriter and a draft of my JPay article. Nothing more.
But while Clark rambled about this “evidence,” I memorized lawmakers’ home addresses. I memorized at least five of them and wrote to them after this peculiar encounter, asking why a coked-up prison system lawyer was handing out lawmaker home addresses to felons he claimed were home-grown terrorists.
As the interrogation wound down, Clark motioned to a stack of paper on the desk that stood a few feet high. He revealed that he had copied and read every piece of my incoming and outgoing mail for the last six months. That felt more than intrusive; it felt… obsessive. Clark then put away his phone and Kucinic went out into the hallway to find a security escort to take me back to my cell. Clark watched Kucinic depart down the hall, then asked me, “Do you really want to make this go away?” I said that I did.
Clark set some papers on the desk to his right and pointed to them. I stood and walked around the desk. I looked down at the pages and–
That’s when it happened. That was when Clark slid his right hand under my crotch and raised it, cupping my genitals in his hand. He told me to drop my pants and to spin around.
I froze, bewildered. After he removed his hand, I remember thinking, ‘Did that really just happen? Did it?’ But, it did.
When I did not drop my pants, Clark shrugged and pointed at the chair in which I had been sitting. Dazed, I walked back to the chair and sat. I said nothing. Clark continued doing paperwork as if nothing had happened.
When Mr. Kucinic returned, I said nothing. In fact, for almost a year, I never brought it up. I was at the super-max for several months when I first mentioned the incident in an email to a friend. Within days, all of my outgoing communications were suspended by Trevor Clark.
That is, months after all “investigations” ended, I made mention of Clark’s sexual touching, and Clark shut down all of my outgoing communications within forty-eight hours.
How closely was Clark still paying attention to my communications? Exactly.
The prison investigator informed me that my communications were suspended because of the comment I had made in an email about Trevor Clark’s sexual impropriety, essentially pressuring me to sign a statement that Clark had not engaged in sexual abuse in order to get my communications restored. Later, Chief Counsel Stephen Gray, Clark’s supervisor, would admit in writing to attorney Richard Kerger that the ODRC had suspended my communications for (1) reporting Clark’s sexual abuse of me, and (2) reporting Clark disseminating lawmakers’ home addresses.
This means the highest echelons of the ODRC were admittedly complicit to Trevor Clark’s sexual abuse.
Since then, seemingly in fear that I may again attempt to report him, Clark tormented me in a campaign of state terror, targeting my communications again and again, and using proxies to bring pretextual disciplinary charges, turning me into a terrorist on paper, sabotaging my chance of ever obtaining parole and going home.
For years, I convinced myself that all of this was solely a response to my expression, my writings; but, in the back of my mind, I had to wonder: would all of this have continued if, in 2013, I had simply dropped my pants and spun around? Perhaps if I had given Clark what he wanted, he would not have relentlessly and obsessively monitored my every word, would not have continued to repeatedly seek FBI validation for his effort to silence me, to prevent exposure of his dirty secret.
But I also have to wonder: Did Clark exclusively act out of his own personal, predatory sickness, or was Clark carrying out FBI marching orders? While this may, at a superficial value, sound ludicrous to suggest that the FBI would direct its proxies to sexually abuse or objectify political undesirables, consider: The FBI, according to Clark, ran the domestic torture program to which my cellmate and I were subjected for a year. That torture program came directly out of the CIA’s KUBARK Counterintelligence and Interrogation Manual. So that means the FBI, the domestic arm of the U.S. spy complex, was using the playbook compiled by the CIA, the foreign arm of the U.S. spy complex.
Consider also: at Abu Ghraib, under CIA direction, U.S. torturers kept captives balancing on wooden boxes, black bags on their heads, convinced the electrodes attached to their genitals would electrocute them. U.S. torturers took demeaning photos of female staff posing next to their male captives’naked sex organs; forced naked captives to form “ass pyramids,” and demanded a whole host of sexually degrading acts. At least one torture victim, tortured by the U.S., died of exposure– found chained and, of course, naked.
In this context, then, is it completely inconceivable that the FBI, following in the CIA’s footsteps, would not incorporate a sexual component into the domestic torture program? Is it outside the realm of possibility to think that perhaps in light of the effect of sexual abuse on foreign torture subjects, the FBI sought to learn whether sexual degradation would have any impact, whether it would neutralize my will to speak out, as sexual abuse often does?
Those questions remain unanswered.
On November 7, 2018, I signed a sworn affidavit describing in detail the sexual abuse to which Trevor Clark subjected me. Within weeks of my delivering that affidavit, Clark resigned and the ODRC has not revealed the reason for his resignation. I sent a copy of that affidavit to the FBI, requesting their response. Clark and the FBI hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the FBI domestic torture program and whether or not the FBI ordered sexual abuse.
So far, Clark remains silent.
So does the FBI.
I do not.
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