New York Lawmakers Carve Out Sales-Tax Exemption for Struggling Yacht Buyers (SOURCE: VANITY FAIR)


YACHT LIFE  MARCH 31, 2015 10:34 AM

New York Lawmakers Carve Out Sales-Tax Exemption for Struggling Yacht Buyers

By Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Those looking to purchase yachts can rest knowing that the folks in Albany are thinking of them.
A version of New York’s state budget includes a major sales-tax exemption on yacht purchases. That means those who pony up for boats over $230,000 would only pay taxes on the first $230,000, regardless of how much higher the price of the yacht climbs.

As Capital New York notes, the measure echoes one that appeared in the never-introduced and so-called “budget clean-up” bill that was being discussed last year.

Given that the measure might lubricate the yacht economy, reached out to both private and New York City docks and marinas to find out whether there are many vacant docks in the city. An employee who answered the phone at the Parks Department said there’s a “five- or six-year waiting list” for permanent docks at Manhattan’s Riverside Park marina.

In lower Manhattan, a picturesque marina in Battery Park City is privately operated by Brookfield Property Partners, the company that has worked to create a family-friendly indoor mall and food court in the area. Brookfield has partnered with Island Global Yachting to handle activity at the docks. The employee who answered the phone at Island Global was not authorized to speak to the press, but said she would forward’s inquiry. A spokeswoman for Brookfield told Capital New York the measure would not impact Brookfield’s business.

Andrew Farkas, a billionaire who owns both Island Global Yachting and Island Capital Group, happens to have a long history with New York governor Andrew Cuomo. A decade ago, Cuomo was an employee at Island Capital Group, where he made more than $1 million a year advising Farkas, according to The Wall Street Journal. Farkas served as Cuomo’s finance chairman for both of his gubernatorial races, and Farkas and related parties have donated more than $1 million to Cuomo’s political efforts, Crain’s New York reported.

The current yacht sales-tax carve-out wasn’t included in Cuomo’s original budget, but originated in both houses of the state legislature. It landed in the final budget, meaning that, at the least, Cuomo wasn’t too heavily opposed to the measure.

Critics point out the obvious: New Yorkers in a position to purchase a $230,000 yacht probably don’t need government exemptions. “The ironic part is that your average Joe in New York who wants to go out and buy a small 16-foot bass fishing boat for his own personal use will actually pay sales tax, but someone going out and buying a yacht isn’t going to be subject to the same tax,” Ron Deutsch, the executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, told Capital New York.

New York Senate majority leader Dean Skelos defended the bill as a job-creating measure, saying that it would benefit everyone from yacht owners to marina owners and operators. This isn’t the first time the yacht industry, which, like many luxury markets, took a hit during the recession, has been positioned as a world of benevolence. Think of it as the trickliest of trickledown economics.

On Brainwashing…Again

Ahh yes… Brainwashing. Brainwashing through a constant bombardment of Lies from cradle to grave, campaigns of pure Propaganda, endlessly and heavily employing all forms of media; using idiot-fear tactics–Communism, Socialism, Terrorism–tirelessly, constantly and continually, day after day, decade after decade; Using the taxpayer-funded public education system to brainwash the youth and HELL!! WE are all forced at gunpoint to pay for THEM to brainwash our own youth!! And turn the childrens’ minds to mud so filled to the fucking brim with psychotic gibberish and absolute certainty of that psychotic Claptrap. Just like Germany did…And China, and USSR and everywhere else.

But I must say, it’s AMERICA that gets the First Place Blue Ribbon for it’s populations’ SHEER STUPIDITY. And then using the Idiot-masses to carry out it’s very own campaign of TERROR.

How IRONIC!! Welcome to America!!

So…Do you want to read more? We are all force-fed outright LIES from the cradle to the grave.

Brainwashing has been used throughout the ages via a myriad of tactics; One is Patriotism, Nationalism; Being taught that America (or which ever country) is Great, Superior; Also, it builds a military that won’t ask questions as they are deluded into thinking that they are Patriots and Heroes.

And then, of course, there is another Campaign of Outright Lies and Duplicitous Clsptrap: RELIGION. Period.

You say “NO!!!”
I say “YES!!!”

Let’s discuss this then, shasll we?
The entire SLAVE-based economy is, in FACT, the political structure itself. Indeed the entire economy of the world has been and still is deliberately engineered by the very few men in and of the real, actual [White] POWER STRUCTURE. These very few shadowy figures, i.e. the Trillionaires, the Robber Barons, the Tycoons (take your pick) have been from the very inception of controlled human societies and communities, in Control. It is THOSE people who have been and still are pulling ALL THE STRINGS of the mere Puppets in this OSTENSIBLE government (Look Up “Ostensible”).

So these men, who themselves comprise the [WHITE] POWER STRUCTURE, have succeeded for quite some time to keep a fairly tight lid on too much knowledge, learning, awareness, fact-based truth; Since learning and discovering actual FACTS would, of course, lead to bitter protest and violent revolt, and maybe even a fate far worse e.g. similar to the French Revolution.

Religion is the deliberate suppression of knowledge and sciences and overt suppression of actual facts. Religion has been A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL Tool. “Fervor” and self-delusion was, and still is today, accomplished through organized religion and serves to reinforce the desired effect of Abject Ignorance which is, of course, the ABSOLUTE KEY in the game of mind control; Pacification through Religion and the tireless campaigns of keeping people in ignorant FEAR and insane self-righteousness.

Further, the outright lies which are found throughout all religions, serve as a vehicle for virulent, abject hatred; Hatred is produced by ignorance; ignorance serves to instill abject and usually quite irrational fear (of the unknown, of God, of Black people, of Hell, of Satan, Socialism, Fascism, on and on). The political hacks, in this scheme, have found that the employ of so-called buzz words, notable “God” and “Guns” has been and still is stunningly EFFECTIVE. IT DISTRACTS PEOPLE; Keeps them really dumb, too. And perhaps paralyzes them to render people just too numb to react to the daily atrocities.

There is a veritable myriad of other totally intentional distractions, deliberately designed to hide the truth, real history, FACTS, specifically the global slavery massive theft by fraud, for one, and the irreversible Plundering of all remaining natural resources.

Distractions on any and every contrived “side” of the political spectrum, the entire “Left”-“Right” paradigm, for instance, is one of the most useful and effective of contrivances; People are left confused and belligerent bickering about so-called “Issues,” Abortion, Gun Rights, Animal Rights, you name it… All Contrivances designed to distract the general populace away from the really big picture.

The game, then, is to distract the fools Away from what the Robber Barons are actually doing STEALING by brute force (WAR), that is, PLUNDERING, i.e. theft of other sovereign countries’ natural resources. World Bank? IMF? Crooks.

Every technique to distract is used; Mass media, which of course is wholly owned thereby entirely controlled by CORPORATE governance; Thus, the media outlets report NOTHING useful and everything asinine and inane. No matter the technique, All are forms of intentional trickery.

Religion, though again, has worked like a charm since the day it was invented and written down (by MEN), and Religion is still, bar none, the most highly effective tool for mind control today. Well, there WAS the period in history known as the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment… Well, We all know about THAT part of history, don’t we? CRUSHED IMMEDIATELY and THOROUGHLY BY (GUESS WHO); Replaced with RELIGION, NEVER TO SURFACE Widely AGAIN.

So, skipping straight to the late 20th century, the 1980′s specifically, the emergence of Ronald Reagan, his total embracing of R-wing “Christian” Fundamentalists– Lunatics; the beginnings of the Total DEREGULATION of ALL industry; the utterly Fantastic LIE of ”trickle-down” economics; And the new “service” economy, i.e. a boatload of low-paying thankless jobs, i.e. the “new” slave.

All these conspired deliberations worked hand in hand to set the new and more all-encompassing SLAVE-based economies (Yes, that means ALL OF US) and the Modern-Day Slavery, at least a veritable form of sharecropping; Working more and more for less and less, all while never being able to climb out of debt…Sound familiar, at least? 80 hour work weeks, climbing, declining standard of living, forever locked in debt…???

So it is that every [Puppet] Administration after that old bastard Reagan–Democrat, Republican–every government tool of the REAL POWER STRUCTURE Did follow, in lock-step, the ongoing and now thorough DEREGULATION of every single industry and the Privatization of ALL previously public sectors.

Clinton, of course, was among the most destructive of these twisted, perverted white men, as he is the one that repealed the Glass-Stegal Act that had been put into place by FDR after the Great Depression of the 1930s. Clinton did it, knowing very well the history and the certain ramifications [of giving a gigantic idiot-child a machine gun, i.e. DEREGULATION]; So, doing it anyway for his billionaire buddies in the Banks and on Wall Street; That, along with the passing of the Graham-Leech Bill, took away any and all restraints, i.e. REGULATIONS, from the banking industry and the financial sector..

So, look around NOW. The “Powers” tanked the economy deliberately; They want, for lack of a better term, Zombie-Slaves that won’t think or even ask why: (IDIOT-AMERICA). And they’ve sure GOT them and they’ve got them by the BOAT LOAD.

Slavery Then and Slavery Now:
The main difference (other than race, i.e. skin color) between slavery then and slavery now, is that NOW, as the world is literally collapsing from overpopulation and centuries of destructive pillaging and ruinous plundering of the entire planet, the main difference is that those few men whom are still in cahoots and “controlling” the people, the governments, etc., are thoroughly capable of committing mass Genocide; Indeed, it has become quite apparent that now we are all headed straight toward the edge of the Abyss at their command; And Engineered genocide is a clever and historic tactic; And that works too. They’ve been doing it all throughout history. Whether by Guns, Drugs, Prisons, Wars; You name it!! The main goal is very clear: Let “them” kill each other and themselves, on the battlefield, in the ghettos, in the many privately-owned, For-Profit Prisons, etc., The message is clear: Let them ALL simply DIE OFF.

For those that Disagree:
By the way, ALL of the others, women, Blacks, et al, are MARGINAL, at BEST, in this grim little charade. Meg Whitman, for example, is rich, but she’s still totally disposible; The women, the Blacks; They’re all, in Fact, mere Dupes in this “GAME.” And actually I blame it ALL on the ENTIRE HUMAN SPECIES; The Human animal is simply put, to quote John Gray now, an “exceptionally rapacious Primate.”

And further, I blame people for sheer and stubborn stupidity. Rather than seeking actual facts, most humans willfully choose to believe ENDLESS LIES and stupid fairy tales. People, as a rule HATE FACTS. Of course, on the most fundamentally impervious and horribly pervasive levels, Absolute Stupidity has morphed into a VIRTUE in America!! And it’s a Stupidity that is so base, so wide-reaching, that the destruction is total now. We’ve now reached the point of NO Return.



Do any of us really “Believe” anything AT ALL at this point?

Listen, we have all been lied to; We’ve been LIED TO from the cradle to the grave. We’ve been fed lies and propaganda. Examples? Everything.

Patriotism/Nationalism is spoon fed to us; Therefore America is “Great.” It simply Must be…great.

Well, the fact is that America ain’t so “Great” if you happen to be Black or Brown; And if you are one of the fortunate Whites, most of those Americans might as well be wearing their white hoods, including every one in government.

Another example? America has no more Middle Class. Gee. I wonder how that happened…

Oh, And by the way, When DID a million dollars become a TRILLION dollars? God, that happened FAST…

But, actually, this has been happening in slow motion if you had been actually paying attention to the signs of corruption, etc. during the four decades it took for the total corporate takeover of our government.

And people just don’t get it either that the divisive and hate-mongering so-called Issues are really by design. i.e. Let the fools argue about whatever “rights” or “issues” because we (the “Real” “Leaders”) will do whatever we want no matter what. Democrat/Republican is so old; In reality, these games are called “divide and conquer” tactics; And, the fact is that the U.S. Taxpayers–ALL OF US–are being Hung Out to Dry.

Yeah, and just wait until the value of the U.S. currency, yes, the U.S. Dollar, wait until it is worth NOTHING.

“They CAN’T be that crazy!!” cried the throngs of people; Yes they CAN!! And YES THEY WILL.

You’d better try soon to get at all that money you’ve been paying into the system for most of your live. Um, Social Security? Well, It’s not there. Where is it? Spent.

To the politician:
“Debt? What debt? WHOSE DEBT? I certainly did not create YOUR debt. I have NO DEBT.”

Oh!! And how about the fact that “Good Ol’ America” ranks dead-last in every imaginable demographic; worse than the worst, like Uganda, for one instance, in such things as, Total Injustice and Total Inequality.

Just suppose for ONE second: That “IT” is “ALL” a PACK OF LIES.

By the way….Whatever DID happen with ENRON?



Message from Stop Mass Incarceration: O’Shaine Evans Press Conference APRIL 1st

O’Shaine Evans Press Conference
San Francisco – A cesspool of Law Enforcement Brutality and Murder

April 1, Stand with the Immigrants, our Sisters and Brothers.
Along with the demand to fire and jail the murderer of O’Shaine Evans…

We Demand the Firing and Jailing of all of these

San Francisco’s SWINE-EST!

The recent revelations that at least four SF Deputy Sheriffs – Scott Neu, Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba and Evan Staehely – tortured, committed sexual abuse on prisoners and forced them to engage in “Gladiator” fights for the Deputy’s enjoyment and wagering…

A suspicion that these Deputies may be part of a larger group (gang) of Sheriffs running the jail, calling themselves “the 850 Mob”…

That the alleged leader of this “Gang”, Deputy Scott Neu, settled – out of court in 2006 – a suit accusing him of forcing male, female and transgender inmates “to perform sexual acts on him”…

The release of racist, white supremacist, homophobic and threatening texts by “respected veterans” of the SF Police Department, Sgt. Michael Robison, Noel Schwab, Rain Daugherty and Michael Celis…

The fact that San Francisco Police have killed at least 5 people (4 of them people of color) in the last year…

The SFPD has been exposed for officer falsifying of evidence, frame-ups and racial profiling where, in 2012, African-Americans make up just 6% of San Francisco’s population, but were seven times more likely to be arrested than whites…

All this points to the fact that under “liberal” San Francisco – no less than Ferguson, New York, Philadelphia, or the Deep South – there lies a stinking cesspool of depraved, racist, brutal, sexually abusive, homophobes with badges.

We Say:

Indict, Convict, Send all these cops to jail!


No More giving a pass to brutal, racist and murdering police



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Invite everyone you know to the our event
April 14th Shutdown Business as Usual

April 1st

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The Fiscal Cliff Revisited…REPOST

Old half-letter addressing the then-oft-bandied “Fiscal Cliff”… for your certain amusement:

The so-called DEBT, and the manufactured Panic surrounding it is nothing but a pure contrivance. Like almost all other nonsense, this confabulated “issue” is broadly bandied around by the corporate shills is nothing but a colossal SCAM; It is nothing more than a RUSE, a TOOL used specifically by the Republicans and then one-upped by the Democrats and back and forth ad nauseum… to distract, confuse and stupefy people.

The FACT is that the monied Power Elite have been intentionally Bilking everyone down the line, by way of a massive Scheme to Defraud; and ruthlessly Plundering (i.e. extraction by Theft) all the world’s natural resources; and indeed Hoarding ALL Hard Currency (MONEY), ALL Other Assets, along with significant natural resources.

The Robber Barons, the monied Rulers, do POSSESS, ALL to themselves, approximately 46 Trillion U.S. Dollars that they’ve secretively stashed away in various TAX-FREE HAVENS. The so-called DEBT, any “shortages,” are a direct result of HOARDING. Period. The Criminal-Tyrants have indeed been actively absconding all WEALTH, including U.S. citizens’ Tax Dollars, for themselves.

In FACT, The entire financial system, Wall Street, the Banks, the Corporate Governors, and the entire Kleptocratic thereby ILLEGITIMATE U.S. Government, is built on FRAUD;  [And WAR;  And Drug Trafficking;]  and THAT Scheme has been deliberately engineered by the tiny Ruling Class, i.e. the Robber Barons, the Tycoons, The Trillionaires.

These unconscionable power-mongers only seek to continue the totally disastrous, utterly ruinous policies of more Deregulation of ALL industry; The Thoroughly corrupt Privatization of all previously PUBLIC sectors; And the rest of the world can just simply DIE OFF. They don’t care A WIT.

By the way, the newly-coined term “ENTITLEMENTS,” are NOT “Entitlements.” That is a contrived term used only just recently and nowadays to make the very programs that all U.S. citizens have PAID into for YEARS, look and seem like undeserved WELFARE.   It is NOT:  The FACT is that the multitudes of U.S. citizens who have diligently paid their taxes, have paid into Social Security and Medicare, for many long years, indeed deserve what they’ve already paid for all of their wretched lives.

So, if these government hacks want to bring up the debt, the very debt that they themselves created through their own thoroughly failed and still- failing policies over the last four decades, I propose a referendum vote:

Retract entirely and completely, every health care benefit that government HUMPS get on OUR, the TAXPAYERS, BACKS. Everyone, every last one of them, is to be included: the entire Congress, i.e. the House and Senate for those of you who know NOTHING; each and every department; Every filthy parasite that clings to the government teat, all on OUR, the Taxpayers’, BACKS.

And then, they would all have to do just as WE DO: That is, to buy flagrantly inflated, anti-American, for-Profit Health Care “Insurance” i.e. ONE OF THE BIGGEST SCAMS IN HISTORY. Oh, and just as soon as one of these worse-than-useless HUMPS gets sick and needs health care, let the Insurance company CEO DENY COVERAGE and unceremoniously PULL THE PLUG.

As to AUSTERITY MEASURES, let’s CUT OUT every single one of their obscene benefits, that we the Taxpayers pay for: their secret service, their limousines, and LET’S CUT THEIR SALARIES by 100%. And if they can’t afford to live high on the hog, all off of OUR tax-payer dollars, Let them ROT on SKID ROW where they TRULY belong; And let THEM apply for “ENTITLEMENTS”–Only to be DENIED.

With Pure Contempt,

TPP: Nation of Change Article: Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret from the Public

“Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret from the Public”

The so-called leaders are indeed thoroughly INSANE.
And, by the way, the TOTAL Failure of the American people–IDIOT AMERICA– to Recognize, Realize, Grasp, to even momentarily Acknowledge the total corporate dominance or, TakeOver, IS the American Way.
Total Ignorance.
Total Hypocrisy.
Total Injustice.
This IS the American Way.
So, America is in no way, shape or form “civilized.”
America is One Gigantic, Laughable LIE and I will not support or endorse such a disgracefully corrupt and decidedly Corrupt, Criminal, Racist joke of a government.
My solution is as follows, but requires action of all citizens:
1. Stop paying Taxes
2. Stop paying All Bank Debt
3. Stop paying All “Insurance” companies, particularly so-called Health Care Insurance, the biggest SCAM in history
4. Withdraw All Monies from [Insolvent] Banks
5. Stop working [for slave-wages]
Passive resistance is a pure DELUSION at this point in the game.
WE the PEOPLE, EN MASSE, must DEMAND that each and every vile member, in each and every branch of this criminal KLEPTOCRACY, vacate their positions at once.
Then WE must YANK them out FORCIBLY.
Here is an old letter to my own government “representative” stating intent:
Letter to Representative Lois Capps, D-CA
Ms. Capps, You are included in the following statement, by your abject incompetence; your total refusal to address the systemic failure of this government; and your total and willful ignorance of any and all real issues, along with your continued insistence on focusing instead on trifling, insignificant non-issues.
Thus, Ms. Capps, you are very much a part of the problem:
It is abundantly clear that the U.S. government, including the entire Congress, the entire “Judicial” system, and all other government agencies that clearly do not represent “We the People.” In fact, the U.S. government is wholly owned, lock, stock and barrel, by the Corporations, in cahoots with the Banks and the Wall Street Quislings, that have enthroned themselves to UnChecked POWER. This is known as Corporatism. Look it up for yourselves.
I am, therefore, calling for all of you, each and every other member of each and every branch of this horribly failing government; I am calling on YOU to remove yourselves at once, unceremoniously and without protest, from your career seats of total DISGRACE and thorough INJUSTICE.
Oh, and another thing:
To U. S. Government HUMPS:
I keep getting emails about so many non-issues, while Idiot-America continues to bicker about nonsense. The campaign of Stupidification through Propaganda has been thoroughly successful, as U. S. Citizens are so thoroughly ignorant and so astonishingly misinformed.
So, let ME introduce the ENORMOUS elephant in the room:
(And To all the Idiots who are still busily signing worthless petitions and endlessly “campaigning” for NOTHING: Don’t waste my precious time…)
There is one and only one solution to both the American and the entire Global problem of the “financialization” of our economy, And Seventy Years of Continual WARS of both American and Israeli Aggression.
America is a full-fledged NarcoKleptocracy. Our government, this Corporate-owned and Corporate-Run American Dictatorship that has enthroned itself to power MUST END. There is ONE SOLUTION. Here it is:
First, since THE CRIMINALS will NEVER give up their seats of power or their ill-gotten gains, then it becomes obvious and necessary that WE the PEOPLE FORCIBLY YANK THEM OUT. They are CRIMINALS.
Second, The CRIMINALS must be PROSECUTED for their CRIMES. Absolutely NOTHING will “change,” much LESS get “better” until and unless THAT happens. Indeed, if the CRIMINALS are ALLOWED to continue to PLUNDER, it will, in FACT, only get WORSE. MUCH WORSE.
ALL criminals involved in these monstrous, reprehensible, PATHOLOGICAL financial CRIMES, which were clearly, totally and willfully collaborated as a gigantic Scheme to Defraud and totally BILK the very citizens of this, our country, the United States, and, um, the entire world, MUST PAY.
Each one of these Criminals must be Indicted, Prosecuted to the fullest extent of THE NEW LAWS, (all of which will be made retroactive) and, finally, actually PUNISHED SEVERELY; Let me be perfectly clear: Each CRIMINAL that is found GUILTY in the Courts of Law, whether by a judicious Judge or by a Jury of his/her “peers,” shall be held fully accountable for their [blatant] CRIMES, and penalties will surely entail STIFF terms of imprisonment, along with the lawful SEIZURE of ALL ill-gotten gains.
We all know, for example, that Obama, Clinton, George Bush Jr. and Sr, Dick Cheney, et al. And let’s not forget Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Richard Fuld, Hank Paulson, Larry Sommers, Timothy Geithner, Alan Greenspan; And an astonishingly dizzying and countless number of all the other CRIMINALS; All should be on the TOP of the list for the vigorous investigations and thorough prosecutions.
We MUST HOLD each of these Serial PREDATORS/Criminals FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for their outrageous crimes of WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY; Fraud, Scheme to Defraud, Financial Elder Abuse, and countless other very serious Felonies.
In fact, they should ALL be publicly EXECUTED by HANGING.
With Pure Contempt.

Remembering a Tragic Anniversary: Viola Liuzzo by Gary May from Bill Moyers

Remembering a Tragic Anniversary: Viola Liuzzo
March 25, 2015
by Gary May

Viola Gregg is shown in this 1943 photo. She married. Anthony Liuzzo, her second husband. She was shot to death while en route to Montgomery, Ala. on Thursday, March 25, 1965.
Viola Liuzzo was shot to death on Thursday, March 25, 1965.

Fifty years ago tonight, following the end of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old Detroit homemaker and mother of five, was shot and killed by a carload of Ku Klux Klansmen. She was the only white woman to lose her life working for the civil rights movement. Her murder helped accelerate passage of the historic Voting Rights Act.

While we celebrate Mrs. Liuzzo’s courageous decision to join Dr. King’s voting rights movement, we also should reflect on something else that makes her tragedy unique: one of the men in that car was the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s top informant inside the Alabama Klan. Gary Thomas Rowe’s career reveals how intelligence agencies used informants not only in the 1960s but continue to do so today as they fight organized crime and domestic and foreign terrorists. Rowe’s story suggests that informants can actually instigate the very crimes they are supposed to prevent.

In March 1960, Rowe was living in Birmingham, working as a machinist and nightclub bouncer when he was encouraged by the FBI to join the Eastview Klavern of the Alabama Knights of the KKK. His FBI handler warned him that he was not an official agent and, if he committed violent acts, he would be prosecuted like a common criminal. But the handler also appreciated that in order to protect his cover, Rowe might have to use force to defend himself. This was not a problem for Rowe. He loved a good fight and fancied himself an “undercover man,” a Southern James Bond who believed he had been given permission to raise hell without suffering the consequences.

He joined the Klavern, and quickly rose within its ranks. In May 1961, Rowe was the intermediary between the Klan and Birmingham’s Public Safety Director, Eugene “Bull” Connor, who gave the Klan a 15-minute head start to attack a busload of Freedom Riders when they arrived in the city. Rowe warned the FBI of the coming attack, but FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover kept it secret from Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the bureau did nothing to stop the assault. A classified Justice Department report later admitted that “Rowe was one of the handful most responsible for the violence.” Before the police arrived, he and other Klansmen beat African-American George Webb and other bystanders with their fists and pipes.

Gary Thomas Rowe Jr., shown in a 1965 photo, an FBI informer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan during the 1960s and helped convict three Klansmen accused of killing a civil rights volunteer, has died. He was 64. (AP Photo)
Gary Thomas Rowe Jr (AP Photo)

The FBI’s response to Rowe’s actions that day revealed how an informant can escape punishment for his crimes. Rowe told his handler what he’d done, but the agent assured Washington that “Rowe was not personally involved in the fighting…” Instead of being arrested, Rowe received a cash bonus of $175 and the praise of a grateful government. His handler told him he was “without doubt the most alert, intelligent, productive and reliable informant…currently being operated.” Nor were those closest to Rowe inside the Klan arrested, as that might have exposed the informant.
During the years that followed, Rowe continued to attack African-Americans and civil rights workers without fear, knowing that the FBI would protect him from prosecution. He may also have been involved in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four young girls and maimed a fifth, possibly even steering the FBI away from those responsible for that terrible crime.

Rowe’s ability to commit crime and escape arrest led some Klansmen to believe that he was an FBI informant but Rowe was always able to fight off such suspicions. Eventually, some of them came to believe that it would be advantageous to have an FBI informant inside the Klavern, as the Bureau’s shield would protect them as well as Rowe.

In fact, while the evidence points to another Klansman as the one who fired the shot that killed Mrs. Liuzzo on March 25, 1965, Rowe’s presence in the car may well have encouraged the group to chase after Mrs. Liuzzzo on Highway 80 and fire their guns with impunity. If so, this time they were wrong.

After the Liuzzo shooting, Rowe quickly made a deal with the Justice Department: In exchange for immunity from prosecution, he agreed to testify against his fellow Klansmen. His eyewitness testimony led to the Klansmen’s conviction for violating Mrs. Liuzzo’s civil rights and 10 year prison sentences. Without Rowe’s testimony, the three other Klansmen never would have been caught, as the crime occurred at night on a lonely highway.

It was the highpoint of Rowe’s career and one that illustrates the problematic nature of using informants: Rowe solved a crime which his very presence may have encouraged. He was again rewarded, now with a gift of $10,000, a new identity, and a job as an assistant US marshall in California.

Unfortunately, his habitual brawling and drinking cost him that job a year later. He blamed the FBI for his troubles. In 1975, Rowe testified before Senator Frank Church’s committee investigating illegal acts by the FBI, CIA and NSA, revealing his (and the FBI’s) complicity in the 1961 attack on the Freedom Riders and other civil rights-related crimes. Rowe spent the remainder of his life working as a private investigator in Savannah, Georgia. He died there in 1998.

While Rowe and the Klansmen are dead and the Liuzzo case is closed, the US government continues to use informants, with predictable results. In the fight against organized crime in the 1980s, the FBI used career criminal Whitey Bulger as an informant, allowing him to commit numerous crimes including murder, in exchange for information. That association corrupted two top officials in the bureau’s Boston field office, ultimately ruining their careers and severely damaging the FBI’s reputation.

In 2009, CIA officers in Afghanistan thought they had achieved a major coup by winning over a Jordanian doctor who promised to penetrate Al Qaeda. On December 30, while visiting the CIA’s base near the city of Khost, he blew himself up, also killing seven CIA officers and contractors, and wounding many others.

The case of Gary Thomas Rowe and many others shows how dangerous it is to plant unreliable citizens inside terrorist groups. To protect their cover, they often must commit criminal acts. Our government becomes their accomplice. As we honor Mrs. Liuzzo’s life, let us also re-examine the role played by an FBI informant in how she died.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and presented here to offer a variety of perspectives to our readers.