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by charles amsellem
Tuesday, Sep. 03, 2002 at 12:16 AM
cartoon c 2002 by charles amsellem
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The Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force Is Harrassing Activists
The political police at the Federal Bureau of Investigation are at it again. The Portland FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) has indicted four activists on questionable arson charges. Questionable because arson isnt in their modus operandi according to the Cascadian Forest Alliance. (1) CFA insiders claim that the June 1, 2001 firebombing of Schoppert logging trucks is inconsistent with their peaceful methods. It may also be a deliberate attempt to disrupt their benign, legal, and increasingly successful efforts on behalf of the dwindling forests of the Pacific Northwest.(2)
In an official statement posted on Portland indymedia, the CFA exposed that indictments may have been brought in to substantiate the continued existence of the FBI/Portland Police task force. The PJTTF is set to expire in a few weeks pending review by the Portland City Council. The CFA statement read that due to "...the well documented FBI history of framing activists, we have no confidence in the validity of these indictments." They point out that the PJTTF hasn't arrested a single terrorist and courageously cited, "...the PJTTF's true intent: Defending big timber, biotech, and multinational corporations from the protests of outraged citizens." (3)
In the statement addendum is Howard Zinn's letter to Dennis Cunnignham, who served as lead council on the Judi Bari v USA (fbi) trial. In it, the ever erudite emeritus of political science presents an enlightening history of the corporate thugs as a persuasive argument that the FBI and Oakland Police conspired to violate the plaintiffs' rights. The June 11, 2002 court ruling coincides with Zinn's written statement that Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney's first and fourth amendment rights were violated. The jury awarded .4 million in damages.(4)
On The Subject of Real Terrorism
The Bureau has shut down several terror investigations in recent years.
In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11 mass murders, the FBI and other federal agencies with less than admirable human rights records have enjoyed a marked increase in powers to abuse our civil liberties. These events have enticed the general public to look the other way or even support legislation that all but repeal the Constitution. The FBI puts far more resources and energy into neutralizing political opponents, activists and whistleblowers than it does into stopping real terrorism.
Chicago Special Agent Robert Wright's travails over his investigations of mideast terrorists exemplify the bureau's priorities. A recent article in the LA Weekly exposed the alarming facts that Wright was silenced rather than uncover the existence of alleged terrorist training camps in Chicago and Kansas City. "The bombmaking curriculum included the sort of explosives later used in the 1995 Oklahoma
City Bombing. And government documents state that two trainees came from the Oklahoma City area. (5)
KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City) news reporter Jayna Davis began following leads that pointed to a larger middle eastern conspiracy in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. She uncovered compelling statements from several staff members at an OKC motel that identified Timothy McVeigh in the company of various middle eastern men months before the blast. (6)
Unlike FBI Council Colleen Rowley, who's now famous memo to the director explained how an investigation that may have prevented 9-11 was blocked, Wright went though correct channels to get his book about the affairs reviewed before it was published. The FBI responded by silencing both himself and his lawyer. (There is a lesson in there somewhere). Are the agents trying to cover up intelligence lapses in the wake of several major blunders in the past decade alone, or is there something more ominous being hidden from view?
In Wright's words, the FBI management, "intentionally and repeatedly thwarted his attempts to launch a more comprehesive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists." (7) The FBI is more concerned with neutralizing activists on spurious criminal charges and 'investigations' than they are in preventing real acts of terrorism. The ancillary benefits of increased powers and legitimacy they yeild after these horrific events and the zeal with which they seek to prevent thorough investigations before and after they occur point to more than just covering up mere incompotence, negligence, or bureaucratic inefficiency.
(1)Denson, Bryon, the Oregonian; 8-14-02
(4)San Fransisco Indymedia has prepared an excellent feature on the trial with background and documentation on COINTELPRO and the terror campaign against Judi Bari:
(5)Crogan, Jim, Another FBI Agent Blows the Whistle; New evidence that the Bureau quashed another terror probe before 9/11, LA Weekly, August 2-8, 2002, Los Angeles
(6)Crogan, Jim, The Middle Eastern Connection to Oklahoma City, Indystar, Indianapolis, February 17, 2002
(7)Crogan, LA Weekly
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