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
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
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
Contact: mailto:[email protected]
Contact:Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
Matthew F. Fogg
Redstone Area Minority Employees Association
P.O. Box 22214
Huntsville, AL 35814-2214
cc: Kweisi Mfume, Executive
Gerald Reed, National President of Blacks In Government (BIG)
Maurice Foster, Executive Director - National Organization of Black
Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
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