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Communication Using E-Mail
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Wannabright



Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 34
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 4:17 pm    Post subject: Tricky Ground Reply with quote

The following email trail is shown to describe the final actions around email use while working at GSFC during this period. It is an interesting look at the way things work behind the closed doors. This email trail has an interesting history since the key email was the one where management had decided I had violated there email policies, I was told they had dispatched a security team to confiscate my computer and escort me off the GSFC campus. Others who knew my position on the global system of racism white supremacy felt it was necessary to stop this from happening for some reason. One key official was removed from her position in the midst of this occurance, this official was a non-white female who was brought in as supervisor over a large group of racist suspects. I told her when she first met me to be careful in her interactions with them, she remembered that when they dropped the axe on her. Hurt and feeling abused, she gave me the key memo which showed the history of what they had done. I would never had known about this occurance had it not been for her forwarding the information to me. She was on her way out, demoted... and I guess she felt she had nothing to lose. Anyway, here it goes.

It goes in reverse date order and its a long document.

Quote:


At 04:00 PM 8/12/98 -0400, you wrote:

The following information is for employees who are interested in
the formulation of GSFC policies as they relate to E-mail and Internet
Issues.

The subject of this message is: CIO (Chief Information Officer)
Meeting of 7/22/98: Mark Walther and John Bilal discussing E-Mail and
Internet Issues.

This is a rather long draft so, if you don't think you want to read this, simply erase this please.


Date: Fri, 31 Jul 1998 13:14:38 -0400

To: mwalther@pop200.gsfc.nasa.gov

From: John Bilal <<John.Bilal@gsfc.nasa.gov>

Subject: CIO Meeting of 7/22/98: Mark Walther and John Bilal discussing E-Mail and Internet Issues

Bcc: talkpeac@pop.erols.com


Mr. Walther,

These are my recollections of our meeting. Please read this document and reply with corrections if necessary. Please reply soon if you can. If you choose not to reply I will accept that this document is an accurate representation of our meeting of 7/22/98.

--------------------------------------

The following information is from my notes of the meeting
between Mark Walther, GSFC CIO, and John S. Bilal II, NATI/OLS Mechanical Supervisor of 7/22/98:


John Bilal was told GSFC equipment and resources are to be used for
"official" purposes. John Bilal was told some "personal use" of GSFC
Equipment and/or resources is also considered permissible. John Bilal was told often it is very difficult for NASA GSFC management to draw the line to describe what is permitted and what is not permitted. John Bilal was told privacy rights and freedom of speech issues are two related factors. John Bilal was told the GSFC CIO and Legal Counsel have been struggling with this matter, that is, forging an appropriate
e-mail/internet communications policy for GSFC. John Bilal was told
whatever policies are devised by these two offices will apply directly to Govt. personnel only. John Bilal was told the policies will apply
indirectly to contract employees through their respective Contracting
Officers. John Bilal was told several messages that were written by John Bilal were met with complaints by several employees. John Bilal was told, after a review of these situations it was found that sending these messages were not incorrect uses of Govt. resources and contained no material that was either subversive or out of alignment with GSFC
organizational goals. John Bilal was told, John Bilal has the support of code 200 management, code 220 management, and code 227 management. John Bilal was told, Sharon Foster (code 200/Directorate Head), Cindy Tart (code 210/CO), Phil Holloway (code 220/Acting Division Head), Mark
Walther (code 250/GSFC CIO), and Larry Watson (code 140/Chief Counsel
GSFC) are all aware of this matter and are committed to the GSFC
organizational goals which you've expoused in your messages. John Bilal was told, even though some people tend to not agree with certain aspects of messages dealing with difficult subjects, it is still in the best interest of GSFC to deal with those subjects anyway. John Bilal was told, Mark Walther decided to be the person to talk with me directly since the CIO Executive Notice would have to be drafted by him. John Bilal was told, John Bilal is welcome to come to talk with Mark Walther anytime when scheduled.

John Bilal told Mr. Walther that I am staunchly committed to all
organizational goals. John Bilal stated that all of his messages
relating to race and racism are a direct result of problems discovered
while working here at GSFC and that since the TQM bulletion board days,
John has been seeking to refine the way of speaking about race and race
relations. John Bilal stated that he is now actively working with the
President's Race Relations Initiative and that activities are seen as a
"Promising Practice" by persons working in the White House.


Sincerely,

John S. Bilal II

-----------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 09:41:01 -0400

To: jbilal@pop200.gsfc.nasa.gov

From: Mark Walther <<mwalther@pop200.gsfc.nasa.gov>

Subject: Would Like to Chat


John,

I tried to call you this morning but your voice mail box is full so I
thought I would try email. I would like to chat with you about your
email to Sherry regarding "Tricky Ground and Authorized Use of the E-Mail."
As CIO, I have a responsibility to understand and explain to others
appropriate uses of our email system. I believe I have good,
clarifying information for you on your message specifically as well as Centerwide guidelines and policies. I have spoken with Sherry and we agreed that I should contact you to discuss. Please call me at 6-8192 when you have a free moment.

Thanks,
Mark W.


-----------------------------------------------------

Response to John Bilal from
Sharon Foster directing Clarification:

John - I apologize for the delay in responding. I have asked Mark
Walther as CIO to weigh in on this issue. I really don't feel qualified to answer this without some help. Mark will probably work with Larry Watson as well.

Thanks, Sherry

------------------------------------------------------
Letter to Sharon Foster
from Bilal asking for Clarification:

Dear Ms. Foster,

The memo below was authored last year. I see a serious discussion
occurred about whether or not my e-mail use was authorized. While I have continued to use my e-mail account in a way that I think is responsible, it's clear that the way I'm thinking contradicts some individual opinions. I have tried to carefully calibrate my language toward the best accomplishment of our mission goals.

To avoid violation of any center directives and/or neglect of our constitutional duties I would like to ask that specific organizational guidance be given to me and others in MOD. I am fully aware of the penetration tests that NSA is doing and offer my assistance for the protection of our vital I.T. systems. I am fully aware and offer my assistance to the mission of the Inspector General's office, and their mandate to stop fraud waste and abuse of Govt. resources. I do at all times seek to do as I'm told, all things considered.


Case Study: The following is a message that I sent to an employee who
asked to be taken off a mailing list.


Mr. XXXX, John,

Please remove me from your response lists on issues not related to
business activities.


thanks

Mr. XXX

My Reply:


Mr. XXX, Our dialogue about improving people *should be* directly
related to our business activities. Some individuals within our organization appear to discourage e-mail transmissions as a way to improve our people and our nation. However,
our organization clearly encourages our use of communication technology to help us better define and advocate the MOD mission and we
recognize that we are no better than our people. Our organization has
spent lots of time, money and brains to produce our blueprint. I am in
total support of our organizational goals as I understand them.

See MOD Blue Print VALUES: We continue to emphasize the
importance of what we value: (the first on the
list).

See MOD Blueprint under LEADERSHIP:

(1) Define and advocate the MOD vision.

(2) Communicate clearly, frequently, honestly and promptly.


(3) Motivate our people to work effectively together as
teams.


See MOD Blueprint under WORKFORCE DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
GOALS:

(4) Create an environment where workforce diversity is understood, valued, and embraced, where there is an absence of bias, and where the mission is achieved through collaboration and teamwork.

(5) Reward individuals who create and promote this environment.

(6) Continually assess processes and and systems to identify and
eliminate barriers that prevent us from working effectively as members of a diverse workforce.

(7) Develop networks outside the formal chain of command to obtain
a variety of perspectives from Directorate Employees.

(8) Demostrate proactive leadership in the management of workforce diversity through the articulation of a common vision, clear focus on the goals, active participation, and achievement of results.



Mr. XXX, my two most important driving interests are our people
and our mechanical maintenance, and in that order. In my reasoning, the only reason we have machines is for the comfort and use of people. My specific job is as a Mechanical Supervisor. In order to do my job, I must understand people. One of the ways I follow the aforementioned
management instructions is to USE the e-mail. If you are asking me not to use the listserv, I do not believe that it would be in the best interest of our organization to do so, however, perhaps you and
other individuals can discuss the concerns and come up with some
clarifying guidelines for everyone so as not to usurp our first amendment duties.


Thanks, John S. Bilal II (semper fidelis)]]]]]

I want to understand. I know our MOD Blueprint and Strategic Plans are
serious and well developed toward our mission, but, am I intepreting
something incorrectly? What is meant by tricky ground? Is there any
doubt about my personal commitment to improve our *workforce diversity*
at GSFC? Why is no there no active *workforce diversity group* in code
220? What is de-minimus use? Can you answer my questions please so that I can act more *in-line* with our organization goals? Please help me avoid confusion. I apologize in advance for errors I may have made in this transmission.


---------------------------------------------------------------

Letter from Mark Walther to Sharon Foster about Possible Unauthorized Use of Govt Equip; Case of John S. Bilal II:


>X-Sender: mwalther@pop200.gsfc.nasa.gov

>Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 08:07:52 -0500

>To: Sherry Foster <<Sharon.C.Foster.1@gsfc.nasa.gov>

>From: Mark Walther <<Mark.E.Walther.1@gsfc.nasa.gov>

>Subject: Re: Bilal Case

>Cc: David.L.Moulton.1@gsfc.nasa.gov, Cynthia.L.Tart.1@gsfc.nasa.gov,

> Heidi.I.Barranco-Fisher.1@gsfc.nasa.gov,

> Henry.J.Middleton.1@gsfc.nasa.gov

>

>Sherry -
>
>I have spoken with both Curt and Larry. Here are my summaries of
>Those discussions.
>CURT - I must unfortunately report that GSFC electronic mail lists can
>Be established and modified without the members of those lists >knowing. That is how the "major domo" service has been set up (note: >"listserv" and "major domo" are the same service). Curt is checking >to confirm for me that the "major domo" service can be configured so >that one person must approve all list additions, modifications, and >deletions and that the person affected has been notified. The concern >Curt and I discussed is that there is some overhead with making the >administration of the list less automatic but he is investigating. I >was hoping to hear back from him before writing but he hasn't been >able to and I know we need to move this issue forward. So, it is >possible that the individual who expressed concern about the Bilal >note was added without prior knowledge. Hank and Dave please note >that Curt says the indicator on the message ("user list suppressed") >is a feature of the mail reader not the sender. This means that it is >possible that if you went to the individual's machine who received the >offensive message and toggled off the "supression" feature, all the >names might appear (if the message is still in an in or out box and
>not deleted). Also, any of us can go to the CNE home page and browse
>the "major domo" mail lists, including users
>(http://listserv.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/majordomo/). However, Hank, I
>went to this http and did find the mail list "Awake".
>
>LARRY - Larry is working on the updated language on authorized use and
>"de minimus" use (incidental personal). He is familiar with this case
>having talked to Frank Kasmer (spelling? I don't know Frank; didn't >know him at the meeting) and says the governing rules right now are >quite limiting (only can use the computer for conduct of the federal >business) but he understands the desire of having our contractors be >treated as team members. Still, it's the C.O. who must approve any >additional uses of government equipment. And, he says, the updated >language he and I are working really applies to government employees. >I don't think it will be very long (some days only) before Larry gets >me the draft of the new language. He and I agreed that we are on very >tricky ground that makes it tough to draft explicit governing >language.
>
>BOTTOM LINE - Softness in the processes for mail lists contributed to
>This event occurring which I will work with Curt to try and tighten up >and the governing language today, strictly interpreted, suggests >John's activity was unauthorized.
>
>Mark
>
>
>


_________________
We hurl the truth against falsehood and it knocks out its brain, and see, falsehood perishes!

The Qur'an
Sura 21, Ayat 18
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Edward Williams
Site Admin


Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Posts: 3079
Location: I am from everywhere I've ever been and everywhere I've never been

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wannabright,

How would you suggest someone in a similar circumstance speak and/or act, exactly, to counter racism (white supremacy)?
_________________
What is the reason YOU were born into a SYSTEM of INJUSTICE if not to replace it with a SYSTEM of JUSTICE?
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Wannabright



Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 34
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Recommendations Reply with quote

I like your initial suggestions. Keep all your communications in writing where you can, email is a good way to do this, but this means keeping your records backed up on some portable media - you can take home each day. Also, always be extremely courteous in the workplace, to the extreme - this will usually help you. Always go straight to the source when you hear about problems emanating from an individual, be honest, direct, and open in your meetings. Again, always carefully and accurately write down what occurs in your meetings and protect your data. Before going into the meetings, or before they start always ask if you may prepare notes. If they say no, you may make a recollection of the meeting later and send it to them for confirmation of its contents. If they respond fine, if not fine, you are probably the only one with a careful record of the event. Always try to join at least one organization within your workplace that is attempting to produce justice, even if its just the food drive or charity group... you should attempt to become an outspoken advocate for people doing correct things. In this way, when a racial incident occurs, others will expect you to have something to say... in most of these cases, this is the best time to say - "I have a question". Other than these things, I implore others to keep their relationship with the All Power in balance as there are many unknown factors to these things. My relationship with the All Power was the safety harness to all the risks I took in openly challenging racist man and racist woman. Many of the coincidental things that helped me to know what was happening around me were out of my control, but they happened - and mostly in my favor. To this I give credit to the All Power. Further, read, read, read, everything you can get your hands on - the organizational manual, the Holy Books, the cafeteria menu, the sign on the corridor walls, and collect the information that relates to your quest - to replace white supremacy with justice. Share with whomever you can the information you have collected and/or the information collected by others - at GSFC I formed what was called the AWAKE Study group which met every Wednesday at lunch time, I'd set up a conference call, with Mr. Fuller and some guest reporter, educator, or notable person, and we'd eat lunch while speaking to them. Finally, do your assigned work to an exemplary level while you're doing all these things. During this period of time, while I was engaged in these activities my section also held the highest rating amongst all supervisors - this was important as it could not be said my activities were detracting from my success or performance.

Again, thanks for the forum, I appreciate and am in awe of the website. What a great place to live and work in the "mind of man".
_________________
We hurl the truth against falsehood and it knocks out its brain, and see, falsehood perishes!

The Qur'an
Sura 21, Ayat 18
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Edward Williams
Site Admin


Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Posts: 3079
Location: I am from everywhere I've ever been and everywhere I've never been

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 6:00 am    Post subject: Re: Recommendations Reply with quote

Wannabright wrote:
I like your initial suggestions. Keep all your communications in writing where you can, email is a good way to do this, but this means keeping your records backed up on some portable media - you can take home each day. Also, always be extremely courteous in the workplace, to the extreme - this will usually help you. Always go straight to the source when you hear about problems emanating from an individual, be honest, direct, and open in your meetings. Again, always carefully and accurately write down what occurs in your meetings and protect your data. Before going into the meetings, or before they start always ask if you may prepare notes. If they say no, you may make a recollection of the meeting later and send it to them for confirmation of its contents. If they respond fine, if not fine, you are probably the only one with a careful record of the event. Always try to join at least one organization within your workplace that is attempting to produce justice, even if its just the food drive or charity group... you should attempt to become an outspoken advocate for people doing correct things. In this way, when a racial incident occurs, others will expect you to have something to say... in most of these cases, this is the best time to say - "I have a question". Other than these things, I implore others to keep their relationship with the All Power in balance as there are many unknown factors to these things. My relationship with the All Power was the safety harness to all the risks I took in openly challenging racist man and racist woman. Many of the coincidental things that helped me to know what was happening around me were out of my control, but they happened - and mostly in my favor. To this I give credit to the All Power. Further, read, read, read, everything you can get your hands on - the organizational manual, the Holy Books, the cafeteria menu, the sign on the corridor walls, and collect the information that relates to your quest - to replace white supremacy with justice. Share with whomever you can the information you have collected and/or the information collected by others - at GSFC I formed what was called the AWAKE Study group which met every Wednesday at lunch time, I'd set up a conference call, with Mr. Fuller and some guest reporter, educator, or notable person, and we'd eat lunch while speaking to them. Finally, do your assigned work to an exemplary level while you're doing all these things. During this period of time, while I was engaged in these activities my section also held the highest rating amongst all supervisors - this was important as it could not be said my activities were detracting from my success or performance.

Again, thanks for the forum, I appreciate and am in awe of the website. What a great place to live and work in the "mind of man".

Thak you sir. Those are all excellent suggestions.
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Josh



Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 796
Location: Closer

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:27 am    Post subject: Taking notes Reply with quote

This is the one that struck me most.

Taking notes of your meetings with supervisors, coworkers...

and taking them using the " _____ was told..."

"_____ told supervisor _____"

In this example the opening and closing statements (in red text) are a key part of the effectiveness of the strategy of taking notes. In the example of the opening statement, It forces people to "sign off" on what actually occured in the meeting; in other words, they must validate what actually happened.

And in the example of the closing statement, (and this is important because the last thing a person reads is often the thing that is most important) The focus stays on your role in producing Justice and names some other people and institutions which share that goal.



Quote:
These are my recollections of our meeting. Please read this document and reply with corrections if necessary. Please reply soon if you can. If you choose not to reply I will accept that this document is an accurate representation of our meeting of 7/22/98.
--------------------------------------

The following information is from my notes of the meeting
between Mark Walther, GSFC CIO, and John S. Bilal II, NATI/OLS Mechanical Supervisor of 7/22/98:


1. John Bilal was told GSFC equipment and resources are to be used for
"official" purposes.

2. John Bilal was told some "personal use" of GSFC
Equipment and/or resources is also considered permissible.

3. John Bilal was told often it is very difficult for NASA GSFC management to draw the line to describe what is permitted and what is not permitted.

4. John Bilal was told privacy rights and freedom of speech issues are two related factors.

5. John Bilal was told the GSFC CIO and Legal Counsel have been struggling with this matter, that is, forging an appropriate
e-mail/internet communications policy for GSFC.

6. John Bilal was told
whatever policies are devised by these two offices will apply directly to Govt. personnel only.

7. John Bilal was told the policies will apply
indirectly to contract employees through their respective Contracting
Officers.

8. John Bilal was told several messages that were written by John Bilal were met with complaints by several employees.

9. John Bilal was told, after a review of these situations it was found that sending these messages were not incorrect uses of Govt. resources and contained no material that was either subversive or out of alignment with GSFC
organizational goals.

10. John Bilal was told, John Bilal has the support of code 200 management, code 220 management, and code 227 management.

11. John Bilal was told, Sharon Foster (code 200/Directorate Head), Cindy Tart (code 210/CO), Phil Holloway (code 220/Acting Division Head), Mark
Walther (code 250/GSFC CIO), and Larry Watson (code 140/Chief Counsel
GSFC) are all aware of this matter and are committed to the GSFC
organizational goals which you've expoused in your messages.

12. John Bilal was told, even though some people tend to not agree with certain aspects of messages dealing with difficult subjects, it is still in the best interest of GSFC to deal with those subjects anyway.

13. John Bilal was told, Mark Walther decided to be the person to talk with me directly since the CIO Executive Notice would have to be drafted by him.

14. John Bilal was told, John Bilal is welcome to come to talk with Mark Walther anytime when scheduled.






A. John Bilal told Mr. Walther that I am staunchly committed to all
organizational goals.

B. John Bilal stated that all of his messages
relating to race and racism are a direct result of problems discovered
while working here at GSFC and that since the TQM bulletion board days,
John has been seeking to refine the way of speaking about race and race
relations.

C. John Bilal stated that he is now actively working with the
President's Race Relations Initiative and that activities are seen as a
"Promising Practice" by persons working in the White House.

Sincerely,

John S. Bilal II
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