Click here to go to the Home Page Cover Story: The TRUTH About The FBI Case Against Boston's Chuck Turner By Quentin Davis, Greg King and Duncan McFarland of the Committees of Correspondence, Boston Chapter , Guest Commentators

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Note: Editorial Board Member Chuck Turner is due to report to federal prison on March 25.

As a preface to this commentary here is a statement about Chuck Turner by Editorial Board Member Bill Fletcher, Jr.:

I have known Chuck Turner for over thirty years and knew of him for several years prior to that.  The case that was brought against him, and for which he was convicted, makes absolutely no sense.

I do not know what actually transpired in his office.  What i do know is that there are few people that i have met in life who have the integrity and dedication to the people as has Chuck Turner

I do not know whether he did or did not do anything that broke the law.  The entire fact-pattern looks like entrapment.  When i last saw Chuck, about a year ago, it seemed as if this case was so flimsy that it would go away.  Why it has been pursued defies explanation. This is not someone against whom allegations have been made over the years regarding corruption.  Yes, Chuck has gotten on the wrong side of the establishment but always for doing the right thing, such as standing up for the regular person against the powers at be.

When i read the statement by the individuals from the Boston chapter of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (published below in this issue of BC), the reality of Chuck's situation hit me like a fist thrust into your mid-sections.  The prospect of Chuck going to jail is ITSELF the crime.

We need Chuck in the streets, not behind walls.  We also need a  very full explanation from the government as to why someone with Chuck's history would be targeted.  Whether he made a mistake or not, one thing is clear to all who have known Chuck Turner over the years:  he is selfless to a fault.

Chuck Turner must be freed!


We are justifiably concerned about the recent FBI raids in Minneapolis and Chicago.  But two years before this, the FBI mounted an attack on a well-known and respected leader of Boston's black community, City Councilor Chuck Turner.   Jan. 25 was a sad day in Boston when a Federal judge sentenced councilor Turner to three years in a federal prison for conviction on a charge of accepting a $1000 bribe from an FBI accomplice, who himself was paid $30,000 to offer the bribe.  Turner claimed his innocence from beginning to end.  This outrageous abuse of the justice system is typical of the backlash against black elected officials in the Obama era.. 

Starting in 2007, the FBI sought to discredit and ultimately convict two Black elected officials who were especially effective representing the interests of the Black community and other poor people in the city of Boston.  Diane Wilkerson, State Senator for 15 years, succumbed to a bribery scam perpetrated by one Ron Wilburn on behalf of the FBI.   Then Wilburn was sent to "take down"  Chuck Turner as well.  Wilburn testified he was paid $30,000 by the FBI to do this.
The case against Chuck was so flimsy (a bribe of $1000 documented only by a grainy photograph of a handshake) that no one thought he would be convicted.  In 2009, Wilburn told the Boston Globe he would not testify against Chuck because the FBI told him they were using him to "take down" more than 20 white politicians in the same operation -- yet none of them were arrested.  Wilburn testified at the trial only because the authorities threatened HIM with jail time if he refused.
  Yet Chuck was convicted by a mostly white jury from outside of Boston.

Chuck Turner has been a leading figure in Bostonís Black and progressive community, known for 40 years for his radical ideas, solidarity with those in need and his own modest lifestyle.   When he first ran for office in 1999, Chuck opened an office in the heart of his district, which is overwhelmingly Black and Latino, with a promise to keep that office open.  In recent years, Chuck has done this largely from his own salary -- yet he recently voted AGAINST a salary increase the Council was awarding itself. This does not tally with a person who would sell his soul for $1000.  The FBI case consisted of the testimony of a paid informant who became a reluctant witness.  The prosecution case is illegitimate to the point of absurdity and is nothing but an FBI attack and harassment of the left /progressive movement in Boston.   Chuck's opinion was: "I am an organizer.  That's who I am. If they send me to jail, I'll organize in jail."

Chuck remarked, "To me, the attack of US Prosecutor Sullivan on Senator Wilkerson and me is an example of the kind of prosecutorial terrorism that goes on within the framework of the American judicial system day in and day out.  Our responsibility to future generations is how do we begin to cleanse our justice system of its institutional racism, classism, etc.  We owe it not only to ourselves but also to generations yet unborn."  Thus Chuck sees a pattern of FBI repression which includes black leaders, antiwar and solidarity organizers, and anybody deemed a threat to the system in power.

Now that Councilor Turner has been sentenced to three years in prison, attention should be paid to supporting progressive measures before the Council whenever they arise.   It's up to the residents of District 7 to make sure the candidate who succeeds Chuck Turner carries on the people's fights as well as he did.  That, and we should be prepared to join Chuck in whatever new fights he finds. Guest Commentators Quentin Davis, Greg King and Duncan McFarland are members of the Boston Chapter Committees of Correspondence. Click here to contact Quentin Davis, Greg King and Duncan McFarland.

To contact Chuck Turner, click here.

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Mar 10, 2011 - Issue 417
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