Author Topic: FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies  (Read 110 times)

UnstoppableForce

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FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« on: November 23, 2003, 11:14:11 AM »
WASHINGTON (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.

The memorandum, circulated on Oct. 15 -- just 10 days before many thousands gathered in Washington and San Francisco to protest the American occupation of Iraq -- noted that the bureau "possesses no information indicating that violent or terrorist activities are being planned as part of these protests" and that "most protests are peaceful events."

But it pointed to violence at protests against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as evidence of potential disruption. Law enforcement officials said in interviews that they had become particularly concerned about the ability of antigovernment groups to exploit demonstrations and promote a violent agenda. "What a great opportunity for an act of terrorism, when all your resources are dedicated to some big event and you let your guard down," a law enforcement official involved in securing recent demonstrations said. "What would the public say if we didn't look for criminal activity and intelligence at these events?"

The memorandum urged local law enforcement officials "to be alert to these possible indicators of protest activity and report any potentially illegal acts" to counterterrorism task forces run by the F.B.I. It warned about an array of threats, including homemade bombs and the formation of human chains.

The memorandum discussed demonstrators' "innovative strategies," like the videotaping of arrests as a means of "intimidation" against the police. And it noted that protesters "often use the Internet to recruit, raise funds and coordinate their activities prior to demonstrations."

"Activists may also make use of training camps to rehearse tactics and counter-strategies for dealing with the police and to resolve any logistical issues," the memorandum continued. It also noted that protesters may raise money to help pay for lawyers for those arrested.

F.B.I. counterterrorism officials developed the intelligence cited in the memorandum through firsthand observation, informants, public sources like the Internet and other methods, officials said.

Officials said the F.B.I. treats demonstrations no differently than other large-scale and vulnerable gatherings. The aim, they said, was not to monitor protesters but to gather intelligence.

Critics said they remained worried. "What the F.B.I. regards as potential terrorism," Mr. Romero of the A.C.L.U. said, "strikes me as civil disobedience."

by ERIC LICHTBLAU, The New York Times

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So now the FBI tries to government tries to scare people out of protesting the war. Another example of how our government is becoming that talked-about Big Brother type state.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2003, 11:14:43 AM by SandNigga »
 

Trauma-san

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2003, 02:22:58 PM »
We should watch all of these people closely who speak out against the country.  They're probably aiding and abbeding terrorists.  
 

UnstoppableForce

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2003, 06:28:12 PM »
We should watch all of these people closely who speak out against the country.  They're probably aiding and abbeding terrorists.  

Yea, a majority of the American public is. ::)
 

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2003, 11:01:39 PM »
We should watch all of these people closely who speak out against the country.  They're probably aiding and abbeding terrorists.  

Yea, a majority of the American public is. ::)


LOL... classic... I was thinking the samething.

But we as a nation should remember, that supporting the president isn't exactly supporting the nation, and same with supporting what the people in Washington are doing. By supporting what's consititutional, and supporting how we want this nation to go is more patriotic than putting a Bush in 2004 sticker on your car. I for one feel that giving Bush this much power, and by having the Patriot Act, and other ways of gaining too much power is wrong. I'm a Democrat, we believe in big government, but we believe in big government to spend on normal government jobs, and aiding people that may need it. What we have here is wrong, using government to make people obey and fall into place. That's not what the United States is about, what we have rivals Nazism. A religious enemy in the Muslims, telling people that their lives are threaten, so fighting this war is the only way to make them safe and feel secure. For reals, we are in a war with terriorism. Terriorism is not an enemy, it's a straigy that people use to fight an enemy. We have the School of Americas, in Georgia at Fort Benning that trains Latin American terriorist. We trained the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union, we supported Saddam Hussian to fight Iran, I mean how are we fighting terriorism when we use it. In the words of a famous Republican, the war of Terriorism is an endless war.
 

UnstoppableForce

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2003, 01:06:18 AM »
We trained the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union
Correction: Mujahideen. Taliban came to power in 1994, also through US support.
 

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2003, 11:20:43 AM »
We trained the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union
Correction: Mujahideen. Taliban came to power in 1994, also through US support.


My bad... still... we trained them.
 

UnstoppableForce

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2003, 03:54:37 PM »
YUP. Our foreign policy since the start of the Cold War has been bullshit.
 

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Re:FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2003, 04:06:56 AM »
As far as im concerned they never stopped tracking these activities...


...they just made it less obvious...in their way of thinking why throw away and just abandon millions of pounds of "research"