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0520080351Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America by Frank J. Donner. Berkeley. 1992. University of California Press. 503 pages. 0520080351.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    This landmark exposé of the dark history of repressive police operations in American cities offers a richly detailed account of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms over the past century. In an incisive examination of undercover work in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia as well as Washington, D.C., Detroit, New Haven, Baltimore, and Birmingham, Donner reveals the underside of American law enforcement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Donner (November 25, 1911 – June 10, 1993) was a civil liberties lawyer, author, and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Project on Political Surveillance, whose clients included Morton Sobell (fellow accused in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case) and William Albertson. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donner earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from Columbia University. Donner worked for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1940 to 1945 before leaving for private practice, primarily representing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the United Steelworkers of America. With attorneys Arthur Kinoy and Marshall Perlin he founded the New York firm Donner, Kinoy & Perlin, which specialized in representing progressive and leftist clients, including Soviet spy Morton Sobell and the Labor Youth League. In the 1950s, the firm represented numerous individuals, including labor officials, who refused to take loyalty oaths or to testify on their membership in communist organizations, as well as several who were prosecuted under the Smith Act. Donner, himself, was brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, accused of membership in a Communist cell within the NLRB in the 1940s. He refused to testify, invoking his fifth amendment rights. Donner was a board member for the National Lawyers Guild. In 1977, Donner filed for administrative damages for William Albertson's widow, which led to a lawsuit in 1984 that went to appeal and then the Supreme Court before the federal government settled out of court for $170,000. Beginning in 1980, Donner headed the Project on Political Surveillance for the ACLU. During that time he wrote several books outlining official use of domestic surveillance and the use of Red Squads, programs like COINTELPRO, and other agencies to infiltrate organizations suspected of political dissent. Donner also cited the government's use of scapegoats to divert attention from government criticism onto other political groups.

 

 


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