Are you an Anti-Ameircan lone extremist?
Posted: Monday, February 24, 2003
By Kurt Nimmo
The Bushites and the FBI made a semantic leap recently. According to the New York Times, a "classified" intelligence bulletin generated for local law enforcement agencies warns of " individual extremists" perpetuating "acts of anti-American violence in the United States." These "[l]one extremists may operate independently or on the fringes of established extremist groups, either alone or with one or two accomplices." Timothy McVeigh, Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet (the Egyptian immigrant who fatally shot two people at El Al Airlines' ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in July 2002), and Paul Hill (an anti-abortion militant who fatally shot an abortion doctor and his assistant in Pensacola, Flordia, in 1994) are provided as examples of "solitary extremists."
It's significant the FBI has decided to use the word "extremist" instead of "terrorist." Many Americans -- thanks to the incessant barrage of corporate media palaver -- think of Osama bin Laden or wild-eyed and bearded Muslims when the word "terrorist" is rolled out for effect. The FBI, however, wants us to think beyond the Arab terrorist stereotype. In other words, the threat is no longer limited to al-Qaeda. Now the crazed and violent terrorist very well may be your neighbor, the guy with a German or Irish surname. It may be your coworker. It may even be your brother-in-law.
Far right-wing militants and members of the so-called Army of God are indeed rare and hardly pose a threat to the American way of life. Timothy McVeigh notwithstanding, you are more likely to be killed by a non-political act of violence or run over by a drunk driver as you cross the street. Obviously, the FBI is well aware of the useful mythology of the lone killer (McVeigh, Oswald, Hinkley, Chapman, Sirhan, Ray) and has cynically decided to add this unlikely category to the pantheon of evil villains out to get us. No longer are the terrorists over there; now they are right here in your hometown.
But let's assume for a moment the FBI is correct. How would the FBI (now teamed up with the CIA and local law enforcement) go about catching these malefactors before they commit their dastardly deeds? "Investigators have intensified their use of covert monitoring using national security warrants and have questioned a few people who they believe might engage in violence, a precautionary step that in effect warns interview subjects that their activities may be under scrutiny."
In other words, more FBI taps, bugs, and black bag jobs.
In the year 2000, well before the atrocities of 911, the FBI's national security wiretapping trumped the previous record of 886 applications in 1999 (as the Justice Department reported to Congress in May, 2001). The surveillance was authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a 1978 law originally intended to put a stop to decades of illegal FBI and the intelligence community domestic spying.
Section 101 of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, however, removes the requirement that domestic spying under the authority of the FISA be limited to agents of a "foreign power." If the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 becomes law, secret wiretaps and clandestine searches would target "all persons, regardless of whether they are affiliated with an international terrorist group, who engage in international terrorism." Section 103 eliminates the requirement that Ashcroft obtain FISA court approval for wiretaps and searches "by allowing the wartime exception to be invoked after Congress authorizes the use of military force, or after the United States has suffered an attack creating an national emergency."
As for the "wartime exception," think Iraq -- and then Iran, Syria, Libya, and North Korea. Think about what the Bushites say about the "war against terrorism" lasting decades, maybe forever.
Ashcroft butted heads with the FISA last year. He claimed the Patriot Act allows the Justice Department to seek wiretap and search warrants where the main purpose of the warrant is investigating crime rather than intelligence gathering. "It was not the intent of these amendments to fundamentally change (the surveillance law) from a foreign intelligence tool into a criminal law enforcement tool," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. "We did not intend it to obliterate the distinction between the two."
Ashcroft and the Bushites, however, do intend to "obliterate the distinction." They are attempting an end-run around our constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
It appears the Bushite Justice Department engaged in substantial snooping of the entirely legal political activities of Sami al-Arian and his codefendants before handing down a 50-count indictment (numbering 120 pages) last week. Ashcroft's indictment contains hundreds of references to telephone conversations and faxes that were apparently intercepted using warrants obtained under FISA.
It hardly matters if al-Arian and his codefendants are convicted; the purpose of Ashcroft's indictment is to sound the alarm and send an indispensable message to the American people via the all-too obliging corporate media: considering the perilous threat we face -- not only from Palestinian fellow travelers and al-Qaeda "sleeper cells" but (as the FBI would have it) from non-Arab "lone wolves" sneaking about the heartland -- the Bushites will soon urgently need the sweeping powers contained within the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. In order to stress this urgency, Robert Mueller III, FBI director, mentioned "the October 2002 Washington area sniper attacks and the anthrax letter attacks" in the so-called intelligence bulletin.
Imposing the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 on America would automatically invalidate the "Red Squad" consent decrees against political spying by local police departments. Last week US District Court Judge Charles Haight Jr. overturned an 18-year-old court order, known as the Handschu agreement, which restricted police surveillance of political groups in New York. Meanwhile, the US Attorney's Office in Seattle is asking the city to review a 1979 law that bans snooping into a person's religious or political affiliations, beliefs, or activities. Seattle wants the law eliminated so it can participate in the testing of a new Justice Department "anti-terrorism" database.
The door is now open for the FBI -- with the help of the CIA, who now have a presence in virtually all FBI offices across America -- to bring COINTELPRO back in a big way. "The document that launched the COINTELPRO operations against the black social movements directed FBI agents to 'disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize' dissident movements," writes Brian Glick. "It's not just the surveillance part of Ashcroft's proposal that is worrisome; it's the psychological operations, the false rumors, the planted media stories, forged documents and the infiltration of dissident groups that the people running the country dislike or fear."
Finally, consider the FBI's definition of domestic terrorism (as described by Louis J. Freeh before the Appropriations, Armed Services, and Select Committee on Intelligence on May 10, 2001):
"The second category of domestic terrorists, left-wing groups, generally profess a revolutionary socialist doctrine and view themselves as protectors of the people against the 'dehumanizing effects' of capitalism and imperialism. They aim to bring about change in the United States through revolution rather than through the established political process.
"Anarchists and extremist socialist groups -- many of which, such as the Workers' World Party, Reclaim the Streets, and Carnival Against Capitalism -- have an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States. For example, anarchists, operating individually and in groups, caused much of the damage during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.
"Special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect more widespread political change. Special interest extremists continue to conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including, the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to their causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other political and social movements."
Soon, in order to earn the attention of the FBI and the New COINTELPRO under the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- which Bush will insist be passed soon after Iraq is invaded -- you won't even need to be a member of one of the above mentioned groups. All you will need do is agree with the philosophy of "the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other political and social movements."
In the not too distant future thought crime alone will be enough to earn you the black mark of a "lone extremist" in the eyes of Ashcroft, Bush, the FBI, and the emerging Ministry of Homeland Security.
Terrorism -- it's not strictly for Muslims anymore.
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