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Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 11:32:37 -0700
From: Bob Anderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Stop the War Machine movement under attack by FBI
Dec 16, 2002
FBI Warns Corporate Leaders Of Possible Attacks By Antiwar Activists out to
Stop the War Machine - by Bill Berkowitz
See the article below or at http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/6918
FBI Warns Corporate Leaders Of Possible Attacks By Antiwar Activists
Bill Berkowitz is a long time political observer and columnist.
At a time when the peace movement appears to be gaining traction, it is
troubling to read the latest e-mail advisory from the FBI's Awareness of
National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program. A December 4
communication, sent to thousands of "corporate security professionals,"
warns that "a loose network of antiwar groups" opposed "to possible U.S.
military action against Iraq, are advocating 'explicit and direct attack
upon the war machine.'"
According to the advisory, the week of December 15-21 has been set aside as
a "week of action against warmongering." An Internet posting by a group
calling itself "Every Day a Circle Day" has "called for attacks on the
headquarter facilities and other assets of oil companies and defense
contractors, singling out Boeing and Lockheed Martin," claims the FBI
e-mail. It also points out that "Department of Defense (DoD) assets also
represent potential targets for attack." Does the FBI know more about
upcoming activities of the antiwar movement than the antiwar movement
Other possible targets, says the e-mail, could include "major media
companies by 'sanitizing' newspaper vending machines, jamming or hijacking
radio and television signals, or attacking broadcast towers and damaging
Does the FBI know more about upcoming activities of the antiwar movement
than the antiwar movement itself? Or is its recent communiqué a blatant
attempt to scare the public, smear the antiwar movement and discourage
Jason Mark, the Communication's Director at Global Exchange, the Bay
Area-based international human rights group, said neither he nor his
colleagues had heard of Every Day a Circle Day. He did, however, think that
the timing of the ANSIR advisory was suspicious.
"Clearly this is a time when the antiwar movement is reaching more and more
people, and we believe we are beginning to affect the debate over going to
war with Iraq," said Mark. "The administration is obviously concerned that
support for war is eroding with recent polls showing that four out of 10
Americans are against a war with Iraq."
Global Exchange is one of more than 100 peace, social justice and religious
organizations that have joined together to form United For Peace, a new
"Given the FBI's notorious history for trying to discredit social justice
and peace movements, I wouldn't be surprised if the agency is trying to leak
the idea that this peace movement involves some violent factions," Mark
The FBI's ANSIR program, formerly known as DECA (Development of Espionage,
Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism Awareness) began in 1995 as a fax
service and shifted to e-mail a year later, and has the capacity to service
100,000 subscribers. The program started out warning businesses of potential
economic threats from foreign sources. Currently, ANSIR's e-mail project is
a component of the government's National Threat Warning System (NTWS), which
aims to quickly distribute terrorist threats and warning information
throughout the federal government, law enforcement, and the private sector.
There is an ANSIR coordinator in each of the FBI's 56 field offices around
ANSIR communications are sent by request to thousands of people involved in
corporate security as well as "others who have requested to receive
unclassified national security advisories." To receive communications from
ANSIR, recipients must "provide business card information, i.e.,
organization name, address, phone, fax, etc., to email@example.com for
processing, with a brief description of the product and/or service provided
by your organization."
What caused the FBI to e-blast this particular warning?
In the pre-dawn hours of October 19, "Every Day a Circle Day" posted a
message at "Infoshop News," a website providing anarchist, activist, and
alternative news, calling for a worldwide week of actions -- beginning on
December 15 and ending December 21 -- to combat warmongering. The warning
comes at a time that the peace movement has become increasingly focused,
better organized and more broad based.
According to the message, the week "culminate[s]" on December 21 because it
is "the date of winter solstice, the day of the most darkness, [and is] a
legendary time of revolution and change." The communiqué's author(s) makes
it clear that they are interested in "soliciting damage" and they call for
"resistance, not merely demonstration or advocacy, or scripted acts of
'civil disobedience' where all the participants politely go to jail." (For
the complete text of the message, click here.)
A little over three weeks later, the message was posted at the Maritimes
Independent Media Centre website, a site that features "Independent,
democratically produced coverage of issues, culture and events in Canada's
Maritime Provinces," and several other anarchist-leaning websites.
At that point, December 10, ASIS International, an Alexandria, Va. based
professional security organization picked up the FBI warning and posted it
at its Web site and a hurricane in a teacup was born. ASIS is an
organization of security professionals that claims a membership of 32,000.
Activists started getting phone calls from reporters asking if they knew
about violent antiwar protests scheduled for the week in question, a query
that left them scratching their heads in confusion.
Curiously enough, the warning comes at a time that the peace movement has
become increasingly focused, better organized and more broad based. Instead
of the tendency of melding together a number of assorted "oldie but goodie"
lefty issues, antiwar activists have trained their sights on stopping the
Bush Administration's war with Iraq. Some have called their efforts
"mainstreaming" the movement.
Indeed a broad cross-section of organizations formed United For Peace, a new
national campaign that brings together such organizations as the National
Organization for Women, National Council of Churches, Peace Action, the
American Friends Service Committee, Black Voices for Peace, Not In Our Name,
September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Veterans for Peace. On
December 10, International Human Rights Day, United For Peace sponsored more
than 130 events -- including teach-ins, Christmas caroling for peace and
civil disobedience -- in 37 states. All of the events were peaceful, none
involved violence or sabotage.
Some antiwar activists called their efforts "mainstreaming" the movement.
The next large United For Peace mobilization is set for January 18-20, when
actions are planned to coincide with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Meanwhile, the events scheduled by United For Peace for the week of December
15 are all relatively low key. They include an interfaith-organized vigil
and candle light procession in Chicago; a forum on "The Role of the UN in
Build-up to War" In San Francisco; a "Five Day Fast to Let Iraq Live" in San
Jose, California; a peace fair including workshops, panels and exhibits in
Los Angeles and many more locally staged activities.
Do any of these events qualify for a special ANSIR advisory? And if so, why?
(At press time, an e-mail to Every Day a Circle Day had not been answered,
and the FBI ANSIR office in Palo Alto had not returned my phone calls.)
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Published: Dec 16 2002
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