[sixties-l] FBI v. protesters

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 09/29/00

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    FBI v. protesters
    From: mike burke <mikeburke99@yahoo.com>
    In an attempt to squash the debate about globalization
    the U.S. government, according to both police
    officials and activists, has begun using
    counterintelligence means in order to closely monitor
    the moves of anti-globalization by using such forces
    as the US Army Intelligence and Security Command.
    To many the covert tactics mirror the government's
    highly controversial and murderous COINTELPRO efforts
    in the late 1960s and 1970s which targeted many
    radical movements including anti-war protesters and
    black nationalists.
    Since the massive World Trade Organization protests
    in Seattle last fall, the Federal Bureau of
    Investigations has switched its focus away from
    violent right-wing domestic terrorists to a movement
    that often cites Gandhi as an inspiration.
    "Virtually every resource that the FBI has available
    will be put into play," said Thomas J. Harrington,
    the assistant special agent-in-charge in the FBI's
    Philadelphia office told the Philadelphia Inquirer
    prior to the Republican National Convention which
    attracted thousands of protests in late July and
    early August. "After the Atlanta Olympics it was bombings
    that were the main focus. . . . Now protesters have
    become more of a focus."
    Any why are counterintelligence efforts  needed?
    ``There are people who may do more than exercise
    their First Amendment rights,'' said David Yarnell, a
    department spokesman for the Philadelphia police explaining
    why the department took preventive measures during the
    "We were watching. We were making surveillance
    efforts. It's just prudent preparations for anything," Yarnell
    told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
    What may be most alarming is who the "we" Yarnell is
    talking about.
    According to a May report in the French publication
    Intelligence Newsletter,  "the Pentagon sent around
    700 men from the Intelligence and Security Command
    at Fort Belvoir to assist the Washington police on
    April 17, including specialists in human and signals
    intelligence. One unit was even strategically located
    on the fourth floor balcony in a building at 1919
    Pennsylvania Avenue with a birds-eye view of most
    The Intelligence Newsletter report also noted that
    "to justify their interest in anti-globalization groups
    from a legal standpoint, the authorities lump them
    into a category of terrorist organizations. Among
    those considered as such at present are Global
    Justice (the group that organized the April 17 demonstration),
    Earth First, Greenpeace, American Indian Movement,
    Zapatista National Liberation Front and Act-Up."
    Similar surveillance techniques were used in Europe
    prior to the September 26 protests in Prague. The
    Prague IndyMedia Center recently reported that the
    Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic made an
    unexpected visit to an Italian web firm that hosted
    the Prague IMC site.
    Foreign protesters have also been prevented from
    entering the Czech Republic on various legal
    technicalities, the Prague IMC has reported.
    In addition to tracking such organizations, police
    officials have taken draconian measures in raiding
    buildings used by demonstrators to organize and
    often condemning the buildings, on what protest leaders
    often claim to be trumped up violations done not to
    protect the public safety but to curtail free speech.
    On April 15, a day before the April 16 Washington D.C.
    protest against the International Monetary Fund, a
    them of officials from federal Bureau of Alcohol,
    Tobacco and Firearms, the Washington Metropolitan
    Police Department and the Washington Fire Department
    raided and condemned a warehouse used by
    demonstrators citing building code violations.
    Police claimed they had found material used to make
    molotov cocktails.
    "They found a plastic bottle that had rags in it
    that were being used to get paint off of people's hands,"
    one protest organizer said at the time.
    History repeated itself on Aug. 1 when just hours
    before a  scheduled direct action campaign in
    Philadelphia, police raided a warehouse dubbed the
    "house of puppetganda" where demonstrators were
    making puppets and signs for displays at the afternoon
    demonstration. Police arrested xx and claimed the
    warehouse was used for criminal activity although
    recent reports appear to show the police backing
    down on their original claims.
    According to many scholars who study the FBI, which
    Howard Zinn has called the Federal Bureau of
    Intimidation, the department's current actions
    should come as no surprise.
    In fact one of the most damning reports on the FBI's
    illegal and immoral tactics, came from a former
    agent M. Wesley Swearingen who published the book FBI
    Secrets after leaving disillusioned the agency he
    joined as part of his patriotic duty.
    "I did not know, when I joined, that I would learn
    the expertise of burglary, or that former Director J.
    Edgar Hoover would instruct agents to violate
    extortion and kidnapping laws," Swearingen wrote. "I
    did not know then that FBI agents would plot
    assassinations of American citizens and put innocent
    individuals in jail just because their skin is black
    or because they are Native Americans."
    Such covert measures taken by the FBI against often
    law-abiding U.S. citizens challenges the notion of
    democracy in our country.
    "Democracy is based on openness, and the existence
    of a secret policy, secret lists of dissident citizens,
    violates the spirit of democracy," Zinn has written.
    "It's a peculiar kind of democracy. Yes, you vote.
    You have a choice. Clinton, Bush and Perot! It's
    fantastic. Time and Newsweek. CBS and NBC. It's
    called a pluralist society. But in so many of the little
    places of everyday life in which life is lived out,
    somehow democracy doesn't exist. And one of the
    creeping hands of totalitarianism running through
    the democracy is the Federal Bureau of Investigation,"
    Zinn wrote during the 1992 election season.
    "The FBI has names of millions of people," Zinn
    said. "The FBI has a security index of tens of thousands
    of people- they won't tell us the exact numbers.
    Security index. That's people who in the event of national
    emergency will be picked up without trial and held.
    Just like that. The FBI's been preparing for a long
    time, waiting for an emergency.You get horrified at
    South Africa, or Israel, or Haiti where they detain
    people without trial, just pick them up and hold
    them incommunicado. You never hear from them, don't know
    where they are. The FBI's been preparing to do this
    for a long time. Just waiting for an emergency."

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