F.B.I. Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ARogueTrader, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. F.B.I. Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies

    Published: November 23, 2003

    ASHINGTON, Nov. 22 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squads, according to interviews and a confidential bureau memorandum.

    The memorandum, which the bureau sent to local law enforcement agencies last month in advance of antiwar demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco, detailed how protesters have sometimes used "training camps" to rehearse for demonstrations, the Internet to raise money and gas masks to defend against tear gas. The memorandum analyzed lawful activities like recruiting demonstrators, as well as illegal activities like using fake documentation to get into a secured site.

    F.B.I. officials said in interviews that the intelligence-gathering effort was aimed at identifying anarchists and "extremist elements" plotting violence, not at monitoring the political speech of law-abiding protesters.

    The initiative has won the support of some local police, who view it as a critical way to maintain order at large-scale demonstrations. Indeed, some law enforcement officials said they believed the F.B.I.'s approach had helped to ensure that nationwide antiwar demonstrations in recent months, drawing hundreds of thousands of protesters, remained largely free of violence and disruption.

    But some civil rights advocates and legal scholars said the monitoring program could signal a return to the abuses of the 1960's and 1970's, when J. Edgar Hoover was the F.B.I. director and agents routinely spied on political protesters like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    "The F.B.I. is dangerously targeting Americans who are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're going back to the days of Hoover."

    Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law professor at American University who has written about F.B.I. history, said collecting intelligence at demonstrations is probably legal.

    But he added: "As a matter of principle, it has a very serious chilling effect on peaceful demonstration. If you go around telling people, `We're going to ferret out information on demonstrations,' that deters people. People don't want their names and pictures in F.B.I. files."

    The abuses of the Hoover era, which included efforts by the F.B.I. to harass and discredit Hoover's political enemies under a program known as Cointelpro, led to tight restrictions on F.B.I. investigations of political activities.

    Those restrictions were relaxed significantly last year, when Attorney General John Ashcroft issued guidelines giving agents authority to attend political rallies, mosques and any event "open to the public."

    Mr. Ashcroft said the Sept. 11 attacks made it essential that the F.B.I. be allowed to investigate terrorism more aggressively. The bureau's recent strategy in policing demonstrations is an outgrowth of that policy, officials said.

    "We're not concerned with individuals who are exercising their constitutional rights," one F.B.I. official said. "But it's obvious that there are individuals capable of violence at these events. We know that there are anarchists that are actively involved in trying to sabotage and commit acts of violence at these different events, and we also know that these large gatherings would be a prime target for terrorist groups."

    Civil rights advocates, relying largely on anecdotal evidence, have complained for months that federal officials have surreptitiously sought to suppress the First Amendment rights of antiwar demonstrators.

    Critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, for instance, have sued the government to learn how their names ended up on a "no fly" list used to stop suspected terrorists from boarding planes. Civil rights advocates have accused federal and local authorities in Denver and Fresno, Calif., of spying on antiwar demonstrators or infiltrating planning meetings. And the New York Police Department this year questioned many of those arrested at demonstrations about their political affiliations, before halting the practice and expunging the data in the face of public criticism.

    The F.B.I. memorandum, however, appears to offer the first corroboration of a coordinated, nationwide effort to collect intelligence regarding demonstrations.
  2. sick. absolutely sick.

    got a link for that story? i'm going to forward it to voters.
  3. Personally, I think these big demonstrations have gotten out of hand and need to be restricted. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble. It does not give a bunch of malcontents license to shut down a city, keep people from their jobs, destroy private and public property and endanger public safety by blocking critical streets and barricading intersections. We have seen where this leads with the ugly riots at the so-called anti-globalization protests.
  4. I certainly am not advocating violence by a few, or a group.

    The problem is this:

    Who monitors the activity of the intelligence agencies, and makes certain they are not abusing their power? We have seen the types of abuse that have happened in the past when intelligence agencies act with impunity.

    There needs to be balance, and people who tend to want to gain power in intelligence agencies are usually anything but balanced.

    If you had ever been on the wrong end of an intelligence agency, yet were not guilty of a crime...you might see things differently.
  5. All people who do not support our brave heros who liberated the Evil Scum of Iraq and the Camel Lovers of Afganistan are anti-American and should be sent to Guantanemo for execution...

    God Bless America, Israel and the rest of the Civilized World in the war against the Evil Doers...
  6. jem


    tough issue. I do not think I am on aaa,s side on this one. But I also do like to see the potential for violence or the potential for a lot of violence.

    I am concerned about out of control governments right or left.
  7. http://www.meforum.org/article/353

    MEQ: Which fundamentalist organization do you consider the most threatening?

    Emerson: The ones that succeed most in deceiving the White House, Congress, and the media. They advance themselves politically largely by creating false-front organization that permit them falsely to portray themselves as moderates who reject violence and are committed to pluralism and civil rights. These groups remind me of David Duke, a former KKK leader who has also put together a "human rights" organization; or how the mafia created an Italian-American civil rights group to intimidate its critics; or the communist front groups of old.

    MEQ: Which are some of those groups?

    Emerson: The most duplicitous include the American Muslim Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, both Washington-based and portraying themselves as in favor of "civil rights" and "dialogue" but in fact dedicated to an ideology of violence, the suppression of true freedom of speech, and discrimination against women. These groups also defend and support militant Islamic terrorist groups.

    Specifically, the American Muslim Council helped raise defense funds for Hamas terrorist leader Musa Abu Marzook; defended Omar Abdel Rahman, the militant cleric who organized the World Trade Center bombing; portrayed Iran and the Sudan as "moderate" regimes with good human-rights records; and headquartered Anwar Haddam, a leader of Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front (known as FIS), a fundamentalist group that has carried out horrific executions of (among others) Algerian women who refuse to wear a veil.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has branches around the country, was created by the Islamic Association for Palestine, a group that former FBI official Oliver Revell has labelled a Hamas front.11 CAIR attacks those who expose militant Islam as "defaming Islam." As such, it hopes to import the "Salman Rushdie rules" to intimidate opponents, though instead of proclaiming fatwas, it claims that their writings lead to "hate crimes" against Muslims. Toward this end, CAIR fabricates acts of anti-Muslim bias. For example, they claim both the arrest of Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook and the conviction of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman as acts of "anti-Muslim" persecution. CAIR is Hamas with a K Street address in Washington. But a terrorist in a suit remains a terrorist.

    MEQ: Are the AMC and CAIR the only groups you consider dangerous?

    Emerson: Hardly. The Islamic Circle of North America (or ICNA) proclaims in writing its support for jihad, or holy war, against the "enemies of Islam"; its U.S.-based conferences and publications are replete with the need to support the terrorist regime of the Sudan and the need to support "Islamic movements" in which category they include Hamas and the Islamic Salvation Front among others. ICNA's hatred of Jews is so fierce that it has taunted Jews with a repetition of what Hitler did to them.

    The Islamic Society of North America features speakers who have issued radical attacks on the United States, Christians and Jews as well as fundraising events for arrested terrorists. The United Association for Studies and Research is Hamas' strategic arm in the United States; its leader, Ahmed Yusef, has called for the annihilation of Jews. The Islamic Association for Palestine and it cousin charity, the Holy Land Fund for Relief and Development are Hamas fronts. The World Assembly for Muslim Youth and the International Institute for Islamic Thought are two wealthy Islamic foundations that provide millions of dollars to other smaller radical groups. The Muslim Arab Youth Association has featured speakers who openly exhort their followers in the United States to carry out suicide bombings.

    MEQ: The MAYA conference included calls to commit violence in the United States?

    Emerson: Calls for attacks against the United States do not differentiate geographically between in or outside the United States, at least in the materials I have examined. But bear two important facts in mind. Documents from the World Trade Center trial show that several of the conspirators attended the MAYA convention in Oklahoma City in December 1992; there is good reason to believe that they discussed the World Trade Center attack at that time. Also, American intelligence suspects the famous expatriate Saudi Usama bin Ladin has ties to the two bombings against American troops in Saudi Arabia as well as to the World Trade Center bombing; my evidence also shows he has a network of financial and political extremists operating throughout the United States.

    MEQ: But were they calling for violence in the United States itself?

    Emerson: What's the difference? There's hardly any distance between support for terrorism against the "enemies of Islam" in Palestine and carrying out attacks against the "co-conspirators of the Jews" -- meaning the United States. Despite the claims of apologists, you cannot claim to favor peaceful dialogue with the West while supporting terrorism or a militant version of Islam that would destroy the West's very nature.
  8. Steven Emerson is quoted in New York Times :

    "The Council on Foreign Relations [directed by Rockfeller], hardly a hotbed of radical thinking, has come under fire for its new monthly newsletter, Muslim Politics Report, a forum for a broad range of thought on Islam. 'It's a front for radical Islamic extremists attempting to legitimize their agenda and to put on a friendly face in the United States,' said Steven Emerson, a writer who believes the extremists represent a global Islamic conspiracy against America. The Council has denied his accusations, with Leslie Gelb, its president, saying: 'We consider the report a major contribution to let people know about a range of thinking by Islamic experts and leaders. It will stay. Period." The same theme is repeated in great detail in a later article entitled Friends of Hamas in the White House which appeared in the Wall St. Journal Wednesday, March 13, 1996 by Steven Emerson.
  9. Friday, November 7, 2003

    COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- A man charged with entering a restricted area during an October 2002 presidential visit has subpoenaed U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Bush political adviser Karl Rove to testify at his trial next week.

    Activist Brett Bursey, 55, said Thursday the men's testimony would show that the Bush administration tries to "sanitize" areas of dissent around the president during visits across the country.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney John Barton, who is handling the case, did not immediately return a telephone call. White House spokesman Taylor Gross said Rove had not been served with the subpoena and declined further comment. The trial is set for Wednesday.

    Bursey originally was charged by local authorities with trespassing when he refused to move to a "free-speech zone" at the Columbia airport. That charge was dropped, but the Justice Department decided to prosecute Bursey five months later under a statute that allows the U.S. Secret Service to restrict access to areas during the president's travels. He faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

    "We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached," said Lewis Pitts, Bursey's lawyer.

    Bursey has said he was arrested because he was carrying a sign that read "No War for Oil" and contends others with pro-Bush placards were allowed to stay in the area.

    The U.S. attorney's office has said Bursey was arrested not for what his sign said but for where he was carrying it.

    Bursey, who began protesting war and inequities in the 1960s, attached $400 checks to the subpoenas for fees and mileage.


    It's starting all over again...
    #10     Nov 23, 2003