Joseph R. "Joe" Banister

Thursday, November 20, 2003



Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 08:03:02 GMT
From: "Automailer - freedomabovefortune.com"
Reply-To: Joseph Banister - FAF jbanister@freedomabovefortune.com
To: Rose Lear firstrose@core.com

Dear Friends and Supporters:

My apologies for the length of this email alert, but the message is important.

I have just learned that the IRS may try to lock out the press and public from my hearing scheduled for December 1st. After initially being assured of a hearing location in San Jose, the IRS, on the eve of the hearing, has moved the hearing to a Coast Guard military base on an island in San Francisco Bay called Coast Guard Island or ?CGI?. Conveniently for the IRS, the Coast Guard forbids the presence of the public on the island ? period ? as told to us by Coast Guard security officers on the island. Thus, even if a ?public hearing? is convened on the island (and my hearing is supposed to be a PUBLIC hearing), the Coast Guard will not allow a member of the public or press to pass beyond the front gate of the base to get to the ?public hearing?. For all practical purposes, this ?public hearing? has been changed to a star chamber hearing held in secret, away from public and press. Now why do you suppose
the government, in a supposed effort to protect the public from people like ME, would not want the public to be able to view the inquisition? Why does the IRS fear the physical presence of the taxpaying public at the hearing? Why does the IRS fear the physical presence of even members of the press?

Unfortunately, this latest development follows the same troublesome path. My requests for discovery (in other words, requests to obtain IRS documents that might enable me to understand the allegations made against me) have been DENIED. My request to present evidence and witnesses that would prove the baselessness of the allegations against me have been DENIED. As if being prevented from properly defending myself was not enough, the IRS shockingly admitted in their own pleadings that they used their criminal investigation component by privately conferencing with both IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents and Department of Justice Prosecutors to coordinate parallel civil and criminal proceedings against me without notice. The IRS admitted they conducted surveillance on my speaking engagements and eavesdropped on my political conversations and appearances. Recently, the IRS tapped its computer database of information from other taxpayers, prying into private financial
intimacies and private accounts with banks and businesses, to use this information in this case. Is there anyone who still does not understand why I confronted this agency with their wrongdoing and resigned?

I?m reminded of a famous statement made by Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor, was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo and sent to Dachau in 1938:
?In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.?
I have always been mindful of the carnage that people like Hitler and Stalin were responsible for. Foremost in my mind has always been the belief that if people had spoken up in opposition to immoral and illegal activities, Hitler and Stalin never would have succeeded in destroying so many lives. I saw evidence of immoral and illegal activities going on at the IRS and spoke out about it. It cost me my job. I have seen evidence of immoral and illegal activities perpetrated by the IRS against not only my clients but the general public as well. I have been speaking up about such activities and it may cost me the ability to help those clients and the general public. It?s about time the general public tells the IRS enough is enough. We are not going to allow you to bully our fellow citizens and we are not going to allow you to bully those professionals who have encountered IRS wrongdoing and are speaking up about it.

Perhaps many Americans assume the days of using the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and federal grand juries to target political dissenters was over with the departure of J. Edgar Hoover. But, the IRS claims it can use its computer database monitoring the personal financial information of other citizens, banks, and businesses to conduct secret investigations of former whistleblowers like me, can, under the cloak of a "practitioner" investigation, inquire into the purely private and political conduct of anyone who ever "appeared" before the agency even when the alleged conduct had nothing to do with ?practicing? before the IRS, and that these agencies can use their investigative authority to plan and coordinate parallel civil and criminal investigations. Only the ghost of Hoover is smiling.

Ask yourself some simple questions. Have you known of any American (non-military) who has ever been subjected to a hearing/trial at a military installation? Have you ever known any American who was accused of wrongdoing and not allowed to have the public or press present at the proceedings? Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, snipers, bank robbers, and drunk-drivers are able to have the public and the press present at their hearings and trials, but a Certified Public Accountant and former IRS Special Agent who abided by his oath to support and defend the Constitution and did his best to protect his clients from the big stick wielded by the IRS gets sent to a star chamber on a military base with no jury, no press, and no public. I expect that not even my own family will be allowed to attend the proceedings. Is there anyone out there that finds these circumstances just a little strange, suspicious, and downright un-American?

In keeping with Reverend Niemoeller?s chilling quote, if they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone. And this is why I will fight this to the highest court and every way that I can. If the courts permit this quasi-military authority the IRS seeks, then the Inquisition has found its inheritor. The question in this case -- which we will take to as high an authority as we can -- is whether the IRS has impassable limits. The Commissioner of Stamps under the old British rule used its taxing authority to silence political troublemakers. The IRS, intoxicated with its own power, wishes to reclaim that mantle. But it will not do so in silent acquiescence.

I am lucky in that I am not alone and have your aid. The IRS normally escapes scrutiny by bullying those without the resources to challenge them. But with your help, we can remind the IRS that even they are not above the rule of law. Feel free to gather the addresses of the officials who are named on the various documents in my case (posted at www.freedomabovefortune.com ) and send them a letter telling them how you feel about this. If you are afraid to give your name, however, I don?t blame you. May be you can at least write to your Congressional Representative without fear of retaliation, but who knows anymore? Also, my only hope for publicity if, indeed, the press will be forbidden from attending, is each one of you. Please alert everyone that you can about these proceedings.

For your information, there are a number of San Francisco Bay residents who will get as close to the base as possible to show their support. I will be sending out more information for those who would like to join them. Maybe the Coast Guard will let me bring some binoculars so I can see the group from the island.

Kind Regards,

Joseph R. (Joe) Banister, C.P.A.
Former IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent