By Ken Krayeske • Hartford • 10:20 AM EST
"No one denies that he had the right to hold dissident views.
On the other hand, it was a drag having him around."
For me, both this op-ed today by Jean Moore about Connecticut's 1919 execution of her anarchist great uncles and Paul Stacy's Jan. 26 Letter to the Editor in the Hartford Courant fit the above cartoon, sent to me by Alan Bisbort, apparently from a Playboy in the mid-1970s. I made a minor alteration to what used to be a Kremlin-looking building.
Why Silence Opposing Views? (THC, 1/26/2007)
Stan Simpson's scenario [column, Jan. 10, "Protesting Rell Serves Public, Too"] regarding Ken Krayeske lobbing "an egg or two at Fairy Godmother M. Jodi Rell" is possible. This possibility apparently justifies the man's being arrested and kept in jail until the parade, even the ball, is completed uninterrupted.
A different scenario is not just possible, but probable:
One of the governor's armed guards, nervously imagining something awful - "It seemed to me like a real threat" - pulls out his pistol and shoots the man dead. The activist, never a threat, is dead. The trooper apologizes, most sincerely. The public has been served, too.
Tell me again why critics of politicians must be silenced or jailed for their opposition. Mark Twain takes a more American stand: "The first gospel of all monarchies should be rebellion."
Paul H. Stacy
Concern for Rights (Stamford Advocate, 1/26/07)
Tuesday night, CT-N aired the state Public Safety Committee hearing on the many issues arising from the arrest of award-winning journalist Ken Krayeske at Gov. Rell's inauguration parade.
Krayeske's name was allegedly picked up by "state intelligence" because of a blog he wrote that invited others to join him to protest at the inaugural ball.
Currently a law student and free-lance journalist, Krayeske was previously convicted of a minor misdemeanor for an act of civil disobedience. His only other source of infamy was his calling out to Gov. Rell during the last campaign and asking her why she refused to debate the Green Party candidate, Cliff Thornton, for whom Krayeske was the campaign manager.
The Connecticut Intelligence Center, the coordinating intelli-gence body in Connecticut, reportedly did not have Krayeske on any list as a potential threat to anyone, but his photo and name were claimed to have been added at noon on the day of the parade by someone from the State Police, and Krayeske was identified as someone to "watch."
According to Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts, Krayeske "dumped his bike and breached the parade line." He also "moved aggressively toward the governor," thus justifying his immediate arrest.
The truth is that Krayeske had no weapon on him and had been photographing the parade and the governor for some time before he was arrested. There was no criminal act or even an "aggressive" move, according to witnesses.
Despite the public furor, the chief called the debacle "exemplary police work" and defended the detention until 1 a.m. and an initial bail of $75,000.
The chief blamed a late pickup by the marshal for the late release, but couldn't explain why the pickup was late.
Forgetting Krayeske's right to remain silent (which even television watchers know about), Roberts complained earnestly that Krayeske was "uncommunicative" when the police "debriefed" him, and that this raised more questions.
Eventually Krayeske was released on a promise to appear, and his case returns to court on Jan. 30.
The good news is that committee members from both the Republican and Democratic parties have expressed concern over the arrest and the maintenance of a list. Who is on it and how did they get there? Does political protest qualify as criminal activity?
More than one legislator mentioned the right to protest, even volubly, without breaking any law. The governor has asked for a full investigation of this matter, something the criminal justice system may eventually accomplish.
In the meantime, Krayeske suffered a loss of freedom, the impact of which, along with the notoriety, has been traumatic.
At a time when our civil liberties have been eroded by the perpetual harping on 9/11 and the promotion of faceless fears, it appears that Connecticut will once again be the place where the system either works to protect innocent citizens, or we find out it's just too late.
Is Activism Illegal Now? (THC, 1/10/07)
I am disturbed by Ken Krayeske's arrest [Connecticut section, Jan 6: ``State Called Man `Threat''']. Mr. Krayeske had no record of criminal activity that would suggest he posed a danger to Gov. M. Jodi Rell or anyone else. Apparently the Connecticut state police, like the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, are spying on citizens for their political expression.
As The Courant reported, ``A Hartford police report ... says that state police had given them photographs of activists. ... A state police intelligence unit had previously identified the man, Ken Krayeske, as a political activist.''
The state police are putting names to these photographs of activists, investigating as ``potential threats'' any number of people whose only crime is to be an active participant in the political process, and circulating this information to other police forces.
The whole thing stinks. Apparently, enemies lists didn't end with Richard Nixon.
I would like to know several things:
How many ``activists'' are being spied on and how many are on the secret list as ``potential threats''? What are the criteria for an activist? Why do we have an intelligence unit that believes that free political expression is dangerous? Does the governor, who is ultimately in charge, sanction spying on politically active citizens?
We are truly blessed to have received so much funding for Connecticut's Homeland Security initiative, arming and preparing us for combat with any new threat that might cross our borders or our streets. Because of this, we have not been caught unguarded, as the latest exposed danger to our society has been uncovered: WMC, weapons of mass communication.
As was revealed in the article ``State Man Called `Threat','' it is now clear Connecticut has been infiltrated by cells of ``known political activists'' carrying digital cameras, camcorders and blogger smartphones, and attempting to cover news and politicians in the way the mainstream media used to.
We can't let that happen.
People might find out too much and get better at making decisions in the voting booth.
I am glad to see the Connecticut Intelligence Center, the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, FBI, Coast Guard, state and local police, and all those other officials working in unison to continue warning people about the new WMC threat.
That flashing sign on the highway -- didn't it say ``Cameras at Inaugural Parades Under Arrest''?
Ken Krayeske Is No Threat (THC, 1/13/2007)
Upon hearing of Green Party activist Ken Krayeske's strange arrest for attempting to photograph Gov. M. Jodi Rell at the inaugural parade [Connecticut section, Jan. 6, "State Called Man `Threat'"], I was reminded of my own experience with the man the heretofore unknown Connecticut Intelligence Center dubbed a "potential threat."
I first met Ken when I began volunteering with a political campaign in the early months of 2006. At 15, I did not expect to be taken particularly seriously, but I cared about the cause and sought to do whatever I could for the candidate I supported. One day, however, when Ken began working at the same table I was, we struck up a conversation. He took on a serious and respectful tone and asked me why I had decided to get involved at such a young age. I told him I wanted to help effect change.
Ken nodded and proceeded to tell me how he, in the past, had run a program to get inner-city youths involved in journalism. Unfortunately, one of the kids he thought was the most promising had fallen back on old habits and had been tragically killed the day before. Ken was not mad, but rather momentarily dejected that the seemingly endless cycle of inner-city violence could not be broken. Nevertheless, there Ken was, continuing to work toward causes he supported.
This firsthand account had a profound effect on me. Ken taught me that naive hope alone does not create change. However, when doubled with the courage of conviction and stoic persistence, over time, mountains can be moved.
Yes, Ken Krayeske may be a political activist, but he is a threat to no one. Indeed, I found that Ken is more passionate about human life and an individual's potential than anyone I've met, and I'm happy to call him my friend.
Questionable arrest of Ken Krayeske (CT Post, 1/14/07)
The recent arrest of Ken Krayeske, Green party gubinatorial campaign director, while photographing Governor Jodi Rell's inaugural parade raises grave questions about the integrity of Rell's administration. Does Rell blindly follow the Bush line of illegally spying and maintaining databases on citizens? (The police report stated that Krayeskye's picture was found in a state (sic) intelligence database.)
What rights does Rell believe her political opponents enjoy in Connecticut? It's time for a full and open investigation into wanton civil rights violations wrought by state government officials on state residents especially political activists.
What amount of political pressure on Rell will it take to drop these trumped up charges?
Or perhaps Rell's long standing relationship with the ex-convict and former close ally John Rowland should be further investigated?