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Author Topic: FBI watches an anarchist  (Read 734 times)

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Offline XajowTopic starter

FBI watches an anarchist
« on: June 01, 2011, 10:32:26 AM »
This is the U.S. we live in now. And somehow it doesn't make me feel safer.
         The investigation of political activists is an old story for the F.B.I., most infamously in the Cointel program, which scrutinized and sometimes harassed civil rights and antiwar advocates from the 1950s to the 1970s. Such activities were reined in after they were exposed by the Senate’s Church Committee, and F.B.I. surveillance has been governed by an evolving set of guidelines set by attorneys general since 1976.

But the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 demonstrated the lethal danger of domestic terrorism, and after the Sept. 11 attacks, the F.B.I. vowed never again to overlook terrorists hiding in plain sight. The Qaeda sleeper cells many Americans feared, though, turned out to be rare or nonexistent.

The result, said Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent now at the American Civil Liberties Union, has been a zeal to investigate political activists who pose no realistic threat of terrorism.

“You have a bunch of guys and women all over the country sent out to find terrorism. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of terrorism in many communities,” Mr. German said. “So they end up pursuing people who are critical of the government.”

Complaints from the A.C.L.U. prompted the Justice Department’s inspector general to assess the F.B.I.’s forays into domestic surveillance. The resulting report last September absolved the bureau of investigating dissenters based purely on their expression of political views. But the inspector general also found skimpy justification for some investigations, uncertainty about whether any federal crime was even plausible in others and a mislabeling of nonviolent civil disobedience as “terrorism.”

Offline Noelle

Re: FBI watches an anarchist
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 07:09:50 PM »
Considering the article gives a brief history of domestic surveillance in the last half century or so, sounds to me like it's not so much "This is the US we live in now" so much as it is "This is the US you've been living in".

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: FBI watches an anarchist
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 07:24:28 PM »
I feel for Mr. Crow, he's not the target that we should be watching but how many of the folks who he trained in his protestor's school might have gone on to more radical forms of civil disobedience. While small, there are groups that do see that the goal justifies the means, and like the Thatcher Government said while I lived in Europe, 'We have to be on the spot all the time, they only have to succeed once."

I know of cases of Arson that was tied to eco-groups. One went as far as to set two sets of bombs, one timed to go off 20 minutes after the first set. These were laced with nails and debris. That was for the first responders. The firemen, ambulance and police.

It's a terribly delicate balance between vigilance and oppression and I've seen it tip out of sorts too often since public opinion turned against individual rights after 9/11.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. " Ben Franklin

Offline Malefique

Re: FBI watches an anarchist
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 07:32:07 AM »
It is a delicate balance and I for one am deeply disturbed by my own government's handling of it.  An elderly lady was arrested under terror laws in London for handing out cupcakes with the peace symbol iced on them; but men who stood on the streets burning poppies on Remembrance Sunday while holding banners saying 'Behead the Infidel' and shouting that British soldiers were rapists and murderers who should be killed, mostly got away with it apart from two charged with minor public order offences and fined.  I'm old enough to have lived through serious bombing campaigns in Britain, and I don't ever want my children to have to go through it, but I think someone should be explaining to our intelligence services and police the difference between a terrorist and a political opponent.  A political opponent will only try to argue their way to victory: a terrorist will kill and maim their way to victory.