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Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns

It’s a popular saying and loosely defined as life is so unfair that a person is more likely to get into some sort of trouble than be rewarded if they attempt to do a good deed.

That might be what Jay Dobyns has on his mind these days.  Who is Dobyns?  I posted an article previously on his soon to be released tell all book “No Angel” which detailed his years working undercover as an ATF Special Agent who penetrated the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC).  Dobyns was the lead agent in Operation Black Biscuit which resulted in the gathering of 1,600 pieces of evidence, the seizure of 650 guns, more than 100 explosive items including grenades, napalm and 30,000 rounds of ammunition.  Fifty people were indicted as a result of the undercover sting.  In Arizona alone, the government assembled 800 hours of bugged conversations, 92,000 phone calls and 8,500 seized documents in an effort to prove that the HAMC is a criminal enterprise. Dobyns received a top cop award by the National Association of Police Organizations.  CNN has a video snippet with more information HERE and HERE.

The news is the Arizona Republic is now reporting that Dobyns is suing the ATF for failing to protect his family from various death threats. The dispute and subsequent filing of a $4.5M claim against the ATF seems to be supported by an Inspector General’s finding late last year that the ATF has a pattern of agent neglect and failed to provide security or fully investigate a series of threats against Dobyns and his family.  If these facts hold up it’s a sad testimony on the ATF as he put a lot on the line and deserves better!   On his own dime Dobyns has moved himself and family several times to elude people who’ve threatened to kill him or harm his family. He filed a claim with the ATF for the emotional stress and financial burden he’s endured.

It would be easy to speculate that when the press spotlight faded on “Biscuit” the ATF somehow didn’t have the motivation, funds or struggled to deal with the complexity of undercover work and how to best manage agents when they’re back in the LE world.  However in 2004 the agency received indefinite annual funding for the establishment of the Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT) which was designed to reduce homicides and other firearm-related violent crimes in 20 cities. In 2006, the VCIT/ATF received $20M to identify, target and arrest the “worst-of-the-worst” offenders.  Is funding really an issue?

I’ll follow the Dobyns situation and provide updates as appropriate.

UPDATE: February 5, 2009 – Good interview and summary written by Leo W. Banks of the Tucson Weekly.

Photo courtesy Jay Dobyns and AZ Republic.

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pondeadvt2002_pg6One of the cool things about the internet is discovering a taste of world knowledge while sitting on the peripheral edge.  Often when doing research for blog posts it feels like a mini-journey to me.  For every step forward, I take two to the side or three back before compiling a broad range of information.

Part of my post-election withdrawal therapy has been background research on the only Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) member (Robert G. McClure) to be convicted of four murders in the State of Oregon.  McClure was found guilty of execution-style killings in the small Seventh-day Adventist community of Gaston, Oregon and sentenced to four consecutive life prison terms.  More about this in a future post, but one of the side paths this took me on was across the Pacific to the Australian Crime Commission.  They deemed ‘biker gangs’ a significant criminal threat to their nation.   As a result, the Australian Government is moving forward to ban the wearing of “colors” nationwide (similar to actions taken last month in CA. with the Mongols MC arrests) and they’re introducing laws to take legal action which allows them to confiscate ‘motorcycle club’ assets, including the club brand (“patches”), motorcycles and property.  It’s an interesting tactic for governments to seize trademarked name/brands and property, but I’ll save the far reaching laws with broad definitions and the suspension of habeas corpus rant for another day.

Humble Pie Concert

Humble Pie Concert

It was during my Australian surfing I ran across this little nugget buried in a video clip.  First off, and I’m dating myself here, the musical performance is one of the greats –  Humble Pie (Steve Marriott) – and the song is called “Big Train” or maybe its “Big Train Stops at Memphis.”  The beginning of the video has a member of the HAMC (“Mother”) who shouts to the audience… “One more song and they ain’t going home at all.” Somehow you believe him!

The Australian music festival at Ponde was famous in its own right, but certainly not on the same scale as the Altamont Speedway Festival which headlined the Rolling Stones.  This video was recorded off an Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) late night TV music show called “Rock Arena” back in 1983.  The show was cancelled in 1989.  Others in the video were keyboard player Goldy McJohn, a former member of Steppenwolf, the Bass player was Jim Leverton and the drummer (unseen) was Fallon Williams.  Another one of my “favs” is Led Zeppelin’s song “Whole Lotta Love” which is said to be a direct take off of Marriott’s version of the classic song “You Need Lovin’“. Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean…

mannum_australia1The Ponde Music Festival ran for 23 years (1979 to 2002) in Mannum, 50 miles from Adelaide Australia, and was hosted by the HAMC.  I find it curious that over the last year there has been a dramatic increase in arrests and negative publicity coming out of Australia on issues with, in Aussie words, “bikie” gangs.  I’m intrigued how “club” attitudes have migrated from supporting a public musical festival to turf wars, firebombs, shootings and combative LE exchanges?  Internet searches reveal little about the perceptions of the festival in the past which started out as a gathering for bike enthusiasts, but expanded over the years into a full-blown top talent multi-day music festival.

 

Video courtesy YouTube, Newspaper photo courtesy of Advertiser Newspapers Pty. Ltd.

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