Investigate FBI Listing Expelled Editor Mark Nehls as "Subversive"

Investigate FBI Listing Expelled Editor Mark Nehls as "Subversive"

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Mark Roman started this petition

Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day I'm reminded.  I'm reminded that America considers me a threat.  Too dangerous to serve in the military.  Or hold a security clearance.  Ever since I was 19.  It's been 3 decades.

This Eagle Scout would like to know why.  To find out, I need your help.

(By the way, my legal name is Mark Nehls.  My father hated the idea of being a "Jackson".  Immediately after WWII, he swiped a new name from "Adolf Nehls".  True story.  My stage and SAG-AFTRA name is Mark Roman.)

Shortly after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hillsdale College expelled me.  For distributing free student folders.  Without proper authorization.  College officials assured me, the press, and anyone who would listen that my expulsion had absolutely nothing to do with my indie paper, The Hillsdale Spectator.  

Nevertheless, George Roche, the president of Hillsdale at the time, asked me to stop publishing my student newspaper.  "And all this will go away, son."

Months later I sought refuge.  In the military.  Not an unusual choice for a "troubled" young man of less privilege.  I entered the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program.  I quickly realized I was not physically (nor emotionally) prepared for boot camp.  That is how my ambition ended. To serve my country in the USMC.  Or so I thought.

I later learned from my brother's Marine recruiter that I was never qualified for military service.  Or to hold any security clearance as a civilian.  Because I was on the FBI's "Subversives List".  Like Abbie Hoffman.  My former college roommate's father was a sitting Member of Congress at the time.  William P. Baker confirmed with the FBI that I was on the List.  And that was that.

A decade later, a suicide in an arboretum revealed that George Roche had been having an affair with his son's wife.  Not a good look for the hero fund-raiser of "family, church and local community" Hillsdale College, right? I became a paragraph in a Vanity Fair article, where the College echoed their assassination of my character.  An attorney and former Hillsdale professor convinced me to sue the college for defamation.  A federal judge in Michigan ruled me a celebrity ("limited-purpose public figure") and dismissed my case.

It's been three decades.  I struggle with anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation.  To my knowledge, not a single journalist has ever filed a FOIA request related to the what, where, how, why or who involved with my placement on the FBI Subversives List.  In 3 decades.  A week ago I spoke to a  journalist who cited others on similar lists who had filed their own requests.  Apparently, the burden rests on my shoulders. 

Does that make sense?

If not, I'd ask that you help me.  I've been David.  I fought Goliath.  And lost.  Repeatedly.  I've got the wounds to prove it.  I'm just trying to get through my day.  After The Big Short (the event), I found stand-up comedy and acting.  While others pursued fame and/or fortune, I found performance the best therapy for my traumas.  Making strangers laughs.  Or helping tell stories on screen.  As Roger Ebert reminds us "Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people."  I'd like to believe that.

The pandemic and the rise of angry men on planes effectively ended my therapeutic livelihood as comedic improv performance busker "Lt. Frank".  I'm now selling used books and DVDs on eBay.  In between background acting gigs.  And posting teases of the Hero Tears literary universe I created (that may or may not involve autobiography).  I lack the resources, power or bandwidth to resolve my Hillsdale Experience. Not being Lt. Frank anymore, I find it difficult to forget.

I was practicing "See something, say something" long before it became a trending cause or civic plea.  In my experience, doing so undermined my ability to form healthy relationships of any kind.  With anybody.  No one had the bandwidth for my Hillsdale Experience.  I lacked the training to share it in the proper manner.  To this day I relate much better to an audience.  Of strangers.

I'm tired of saying something.  Maybe if enough people (who are not me) say something, the Powers That Be (the humans, not the podcast) might be more motivated to act. 

I realize there's quite a bit going on in the world.  Feels like too much.  But if America or journalism or military service means anything, I believe investigating my FBI "Subversive" status is worthwhile, important, and relevant.  My mental health requires me to ask others to help in the endeavor.

I'd like my Member of Congress, Adam Schiff, to start a congressional investigation.  I believe in the potential of organizations that identify as journalists such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.  I'd like them to start researching, investigating, and reporting.  They should be the ones to file the FOIA requests and ask difficult questions of power.  Not a traumatized expelled student editor. 

If this makes sense to you, please sign my petition.  Especially if you served your country.  In the military.  As a teacher.  Or in class, while being ten years old.  Thank you. 

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