Inside the Scandals of the FBI Crime Lab
By John F. Kelly & Phillip
The Free Press -ISBN 0684846462
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
Review by Robert S. Ortloff, POW and victim of FBI Crime Lab
of America's near-religious faith in science, the FBI created
for itself a reputation based mostly on its laboratory's legendary
ability to solve crimes through science and technology. During
the past couple of years, however, the FBI's standing as the
world leader in the scientific analysis of evidence has been
exposed as the well-designed ruse it was.
Tainting Evidence, a powerful new book by John F. Kelly
& Phillip K. Wearne, exposes the FBI's forensic fantasies
as a scientific charade which hid a disturbing culture of prosecution
bias rather than truth seeking, including the illegal withholding
of exculpatory information. FBI experts often give scientifically
flawed, inaccurate and overstated testimony under oath, they
alter laboratory reports to give them a prosecution slant, and
they fail miserably to document tests and examinations from which
they draw incriminating conclusions. The documented failures
of the lab, which include such high-profile, cases such as the
World Trade Center bombing, the siege at Ruby Ridge, and the
Vanrac bombings, the authors argue, are not isolated simply isolated
events, but rather overwhelming evidence of systematic bureaucratic
And this bodes ill for our country.
The FBI continues to expand its reach beyond its original mandate
of investigating federal crimes, and is eagerly pushing to broaden
even further the role of the FBI crime laboratory in the processing
of evidence for state and county investigators and prosecutors
throughout the United States. With the FBI lab doing sloppy,
biased and scientifically unsound forensic work, our society
suffers, individuals are falsely convicted, and every American's
fundamental protections to due process are further weakened.
Examining how well or poorly
a powerful and secretive agency like the FBI performs its work
in one of the most difficult and important tasks that any reporter
can take head-on. With Tainting Evidence, Kelly and Wearne have
met this challenge, exposing the FBI's practice of denial and
cover-ups and successfully documenting a shocking condition within
our system that should outrage every American concerned with
- Confronting the Prison Crisis
Edited by Elihu Rosenblatt
/ PARC Published by South End Press
Review By Russell Bentley, POW
Criminal Injustice is probably the best
book on prison conditions and prison reform available today.
It is a comprehensive examination of the prison situation in
contemporary America, how and why things got to this point and
what we have to do to change them. This book is filled with compelling
and up to date data and ideas, and should be considered required
reading for all activists working on behalf of prisoners and
Contributors to this excellent
book include teachers, prisoners, religious organizations and
death row inmates. The statistics and descriptions of conditions
are startling and sometimes terrifying, and the arguments for
change are eloquent and persuasive.
Prisoners will find this book
enlightening and encouraging and prison reform activists will
find the information to be useful in a variety of situations.
Subjects covered include:
The Economic Role of the U. S.
Prison System, The Politics of Super Incarceration, Legislating
Repression, AIDS in Prison, Women in Prison, American Political
Prisoners, and The Death Penalty. There is an appendix on how
to organize as well as contact info on the contributors and prison
reform organizations across the country. PARC also offers a free
guide to organizing that can be obtained by writing to the address
enclosed. If information is ammunition, (and it is), then this
book is a literary A-bomb. Get it, read it, use it.
Books for Prisoners
Reviews By Russell Bentley,
One of the few good things about
doing time is the opportunity to read, when you're not down in
the salt mine or out in the cotton fields. The following is a
list of books by prisoners about their prison experiences, books
that I have found to be enlightening and very worthwhile. Prisoners
may be able to order these titles through Inter Library Loan,
or friends and families of prisoners can use this list of books
for their own education or to send to their loved ones behind
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander -
Gulag Archipelago, parts I and II, The First Circle, One Day
in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
- A Russian political
prisoner's impression of Stalin's gulags. These books give a
taste of what the US prison system will become without prison
Berrigan, Phil - Prison
Journals of a Priest Revolutionary
- Anti-war, anti-nuke political activist, did fed time in the
60's and is currently back in the B.O.P. for political acts.
Havel, Vaclav - Living
in Truth - Czech
political activist, did 5 years for political acts. Currently
President of Czech Repub. Though Havel seems to have sold out
since becoming Prez, and his other book, Letters to Olga, isn't
that good, Living in Truth is a thoroughly excellent book.
Mandela, Nelson - Long
Road To Freedom -
Mandela did 25 years in South Africa prisons for political acts,
and went on to become President of South Africa. Nelson paid
his dues. A righteous read. Inspiring.
Frankl, Viktor - Man's
Search For Meaning
- Frankl did 3 years in Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz.
Probably the best book in existence on enduring the hardships
and suffering of jail.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich - Letters
and Writings From Prison-
Lutheran theologian who was arrested and subsequently executed
for aiding the plot to kill Hitler. Deep.
Adams, Gerry - Cage Eleven - Political activist in North Ireland
who did 4 years in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh prison for IRA activity.
Current leader of Sinn Fein political party.
Dumas, Alexander - The
Count of Monte Cristo
- Dumas was a POW in
the 1800's and went on to write this excellent adventure and
killer thriller about escape, honor and pay-back. Lots of fun.
Wachler, Sol - After The
Madness - New York
State Judge gets a tour through the B.O.P. on the wrong side
of the bars, for the crime of "inter-state sexual harassment".
Kind of whiney, and fairly amusing, but with some valid observations,
particularly about marijuana prisoners. Very current - 1996
All of the above books, with
the exception of the last two were written by political prisoners.
I've read and enjoyed them all, and learned something from every
single one. I recommend them to all my fellow prisoners and anyone
else interested in learning more about the prisoner's perspective.
The collective lesson from these books is that not all ex-cons
flip burgers or catch another bit- some become famous writers
and some even become presidents!