Are You an Anti-American Lone Extremist?
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
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.
Kurt Nimmo's Another Day in the Empire http://nimmo.blogspot.com/