cj#1091> FBI’s new main target – the left

2000-05-14

Richard Moore

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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 23:10:25 EDT
Subject: FBI's new main target - the left
To: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••, <snip>

Jim Redden is publisher of PDXS newspaper, has done
lots of research on federal law enforcement abuses. He
co-wrote with Adam Parfrey the article "Patriot Games,"
Village Voice, Oct. 11, 1994, pp. 26-31.

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POLICE STATE TARGETS THE LEFT

by Jim Redden,  4/17/2000

Forget about the Militias. The feds are now
targeting the Anarchists.

For most of the last decade, the domestic paramilitary forces
of the National Security state have been battling far-right
political dissidents. Especially since the Oklahoma City
bombing, the FBI, the BATF and numerous state and local police
agencies have targeted the anti-government Patriot Movement.
Law enforcement agents infiltrated militias, Christian
Identity churches, anti-abortion groups and suspected
terrorist cells.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-respected
civil rights watchdog organization, coordinated law enforcement
efforts broke the back of the radical right by the end of the
century. "Where the FBI typically worked about 100 domestic
terrorism cases at a time in the early 1990s, it was
investigating close to 1,000 as the millennium came to a
close," the SPLC reported recently. "Hundreds, if not
thousands, were sent to jail as authorities cracked down on
the far right - many in revolutionary conspiracies that
included planned mass murders."

Now the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have apparently
shifted their focus to left-wing political dissidents. The
shift began in early Summer 1999. That was when a coalition of
labor, environmental, human rights and other liberal organizations
began planning a series of massive demonstrations for the World
Trade Organization meeting set for late November in Seattle.

The protesters shut down the WTO meeting and fought the police
in the streets of Seattle. The size and fury of the
demonstrations seemed to catch the authorities by surprise.
But, as the Seattle Weekly reported on December 2, law
enforcement officials had been spying on the activists for
months before the demonstrations. According to the Weekly,
"Sources say ... that police and 30 other local, state, and
federal agencies have been aggressively gathering intelligence
on violent and nonviolent protest groups since early summer
(FBI agents even paid personal visits to some activists' homes
to inquire about their plans). In past weeks, undercover
officers have tailed several groups as they moved about the
city in cars and vans, and were doing so after the WTO
meetings began."

The Weekly also discovered that members of the Pentagon's top
secret Delta Force were deployed in Seattle during the
demonstrations. This is the same unit which was secretly sent
to the Waco stand-off. As the paper reported in its December
23 issue, the elite troops set up a command headquarters in a
downtown hotel and operated undercover dressed as protesters.
"Some Deltas wore lapel cameras, continuously transmitting
pictures of rioters and other demonstrators to a master video
unit in the motel command center, which could be used by law
enforcement agencies to identify and track suspects," the
paper reported. "'These guys are the Army hot shots, the
cowboys,' says [a] former Ranger who shared a few beers with
the unit in Seattle."

Hundreds of protesters occupied an abandoned office building
in downtown Seattle during the protests. Numerous press
reports quoted police as saying the squatters were being
monitored by infiltrators.

Four months after the protests, the Seattle Police Department
called for the repeal of a city ordinance prohibiting
political spying. The ordinance, passed in the wake of the
Watergate Scandal, prohibits the police from gathering any
information on anyone solely because of their political or
religious beliefs. "The SPD Criminal Intelligence Section
contributed little hard intelligence because of our inability
to investigate any of the individuals or groups that
ultimately did the most damage," the report said.

But by then the government had already increased its spying on
the anti-globalization movement which crystallized in Seattle.
Many of the same groups were planning to protest meetings of
the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in mid-April in
Washington DC. Operating under the umbrella organization
Mobilization for Global Justice, they scheduled mass
demonstrations for April 16, 17 and 18. But as these activists
began planning their demonstrations, they were targeted by
federal, state and local law enforcement officials. The
activists found their meetings infiltrated, their public
gatherings disrupted, their phones tapped, and police posted
outside their homes and offices.

On April 7, veteran political commentator Sam Smith reported
that police were visiting activists all over Washington DC.
Writing in his Progressive Review newsletter, Smith said,
"While the use of informers and agents provocateurs by the
police, military, and intelligence agencies is not unknown in
the capital, open efforts to intimidate participants prior to
an event is virtually unknown."

Smith also reported that police were watching student
activists at Washington's America University, which was
scheduled to hold a series of public forums on the IMF and
World Bank in the days leading up to the mass protests. As
Smith discovered, university officials were cracking down on
the activists at the urging of the police. Here's what UA one
student said: "To our wonderful surprise we found out the
metro police have been tapping our phones and emails and have
been sending spies to our meetings. They found out about two
students leafleting against Marriott and sent 30 plain-clothed
policemen to spy."

And Smith also discovered that the police were checking up on
area high schools. He found that school authorities in
suburban Montgomery County were circulated a flyer urging
people to be on the look out for mobilization materials in the
schools, and to report them to the school safety office. The
memo, from the schools' Department of School Safety reads as
follows:

"This office has received the following information from the
Montgomery County Department of Police, Special Investigations
Divisions. Detective Thomas Cauffiel asked Mr. Douglas Steel,
field security coordinator, to notify school based staff to be
observant for any material referring to the upcoming
International Monetary Fund rallies which are scheduled for
April 9-17, 2000 in Washington, DC Police are concerned that a
group named "Mobilization for Global Justice" might attempt to
recruit high school students to join in a planned rally. The
police reported the following: "Splinter groups, possibly
associated with this group, took part in the recent
demonstration in Seattle that turned violent." If you see any
materials on your campus which refer to these rallies, please
contact the Department of School Safety and Security at
301/279-3066."

Some of the best reporting on the police harassment was done
by Jason Vest, a former Business Week editor and Village Voice
reporter who now works for the SpeakOut.com website. Among
other things, Vest discovered that activists at George
Washington University were under surveillance. "We know
they're reading our emails, and I'm fairly convinced my phone
is tapped too," GW student Dan Calamuci told Vest over a phone
line replete with loud, regular clicking noises. "Last week,
we did a speakout - just seven of us with a bullhorn - at the
corner of 21st and H. Within a few minutes, five cops showed
up, three of whom were undercover, or trying to be - talking
into cell phones saying, "We have three guys and four girls on
the corner and this is what they're saying.'"

Vest also reported that the authorities were harassing people
providing housing to the demonstrators gathering in
Washington. "Last Tuesday [April 11], Bettie Hoover, the head
of the DC chapter of the American Friends Service Committee
and a veteran social justice activist, was surprised to learn
that two Howard Country police detectives were casing her
Maryland farm," Vest wrote. "'One of my family found these
detectives walking around my property,' says Hoover, who had
listed her farm on the a16 [April 16] organizing Web site as a
camping haven for protesters. 'I said, "Excuse me, who told
you to come by," but they never really did tell me. But they
did threaten me with zoning violations if I let people camp.
'This guy didn't know diddly - he didn't know what the
regulations were and I did - and I said to him, "I don't
appreciate this harassment." He said, "Oh, no, ma'am, we're
not harassing you, we're just here to help.""

Vest also discovered the city tried to shut down a homeless
shelter when protesters were staying."In all the years he's
run the homeless shelter at 11th and M streets in Northwest
Washington, Harold Moss has never had the fire marshal show up
demanding to inspect the premises," Vest wrote. "Never, that
is, until last week. Moss opened his doors to the Midnight
Special Legal Collective, a handful of progressive activist
lawyers from Seattle in town for the massive protests against
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Suddenly,
the fire marshal was interested in going over the place with a
fine-tooth comb. 'I couldn't prove it one way or another, but
in all probability, he showed up because of [the protesters]
being here,' said Moss, who has managed to stave off the
inspector inspection."

Even the establishment media reported the government was
harassing activists in the days leading up to the mass
protest. "Some protesters think they are being watched. 
They are correct." the Washington Post reported on April 1O.

Executive Assistant Washington Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer
confirmed the police were infiltrating the protest groups. "If
it's an open meeting and it says, 'Come on over,' then anybody's 
welcome," Gainer told the paper.

And the Post printed this account of an encounter between
police and activist. After Detective Neil Trugman of the
intelligence unit got word that an organizer named Adam
Eidinger was planning to lead six crews to hang protest
posters around town, he and his partner stopped by for a talk.
"Eidinger said the detectives identified themselves and said
he didn't have to speak to them," the paper reported.
"Eidinger agreed anyway, and they talked on the stoop. The
detectives, Eidinger recalled, said they hoped there wouldn't
be any violence, and Eidinger said he hoped so, too. Then the
detectives warned him against hanging posters, saying
protesters could be arrested. 'I felt intimidated,' Eidinger
said."

A few days later, on April 13, USA Today reported government
agents were going undercover online to thwart the protesters.
"[T]hey have been monitoring 73 internet sites where the
groups have been exchanging messages to learn more about their
plans. Sometimes, officers have even gone online posing as
protesters," the paper said.

According to USA Today, law enforcement agents were physically
following suspected anarchists throughout the capitol city.
"They have been monitoring the movements of nearly two dozen
self-proclaimed anarchists who have arrived in Washington,"the
paper reported, adding that police had been reviewing "dozens
of videotapes" from the Seattle protests, identifying
suspected leaders and plotting riot-control strategies.

What did the law enforcement agencies learn? That's a secret -
but they reacted like it was a prophesy for the end of the
world. Police agencies all around the Washington area were
mobilized. All 3,500 DC police officers were put on alert,
along with unknown number of law enforcement agents from 12
federal and state agencies, including the FBI and Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The authorities spent over $1
million on new body armor and bullet-proof shields. They set
up three mass detention centers where arrested protesters
would be taken. They removed 69 mailboxes where bombs could be
hidden.

"They ain't burning our city like they did in Seattle," Police
Chief Charles Ramsey told USA Today. "I'm not going to let it
happen. I guarantee it."

The authorities started cracking down on the activists the
weekend before the IMF/World Bank meetings were scheduled to
begin. On April 9, administrators at American University
abruptly cancelled the town hall meeting on globalization set
for Wednesday. As Vest reported, "Carrie Ferrence, an AU
student activist, says she asked David Taylor, chief of staff
to AU's president, for the rationale behind the cancellation.
According to Ferrence, Taylor replied that Washington's
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) told him that 'they had
information from both on and off campus sources that this
event would be targeted for some kind of disruption,' but that
'they said they wouldn't provide any security for the event.'"

On April 13, three days before the protests were scheduled to
begin, seven activists driving to a planning meeting were
pulled over by the police. According to a Washington Post
account of the incident, the Secret Service frisked one
passenger, showing him a photo that had been taken of him
earlier.

The activists were charged with possession of the implements
of a crime. The National Lawyers Guild protested the arrests.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, NLG President
Karen Jo Koonan said the "implements of a crime" were
materials and tools for building signs and banners. According
to the Post, the police seized 256 PCV pipes, 45 smaller
pipes, 2 rolls of chicken wire, 50 rolls of duct tape, gas
masks, bolt cutters, chains, an electrical saw, and lock
boxes. "These activists construct signs, puppets, sound
stages, and other tools for expressing their political views,"
Koonan wrote. "They were in fact arrested for possession of
implements of First Amendment activity. We have been told by
an MPD officer that the FBI directed them to make this
arrest."

Koonan also complained that the authorities had turned
Washington DC into an armed camp: "The Foggy Bottom
neighborhood resembles an occupied city. Streets are closed,
and public sidewalks are open only to people with acceptable
identification. An officer with a video camera sands on the
roof of the PEPCO building at all times, and other officers
wander the area taking still photographs and video of people
in the area, even if they are not attempting to enter the
restricted zone. Anyone wearing buttons or carrying signs is
given especially close scrutiny. The result is a chill on the
expression of political views."

Said Denis Moynihan of the Mobilization for Global Justice,
"Despite assurances to the contrary, we are beginning to see
an escalation of police tactics similar to the gross
violations witnessed in Seattle."

A short time later, Vest reported a follow-up to his original
stories. "Since then, a number of other activists and
organizers (as well as a few journalists) have also been
subjected to measures ranging from surveillance, implicit
threats and bureaucratic intransigence apparently

designed to marginalize the effectiveness of their mission,"
he wrote. "What makes the situation all the more maddening is
that such actions are apparently being taken based on the
ridiculous view that every protester or activist is an
anarchist time bomb waiting to go off - a view apparently
buttressed by unspecified police 'intelligence' that may or
may not be true."

On the morning of April 15, law enforcement authorities
unexpectedly raided a warehouse that served as the
demonstrators' headquarters. According to eyewitness accounts,
the agencies involved in the raid included the federal Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Washington Metropolitan
Police Department and the Washington Fire Department. Claiming
the warehouse violated fire codes, the authorities threw all
the activists out and closed the building. Police claimed they
found a Molotov cocktail in the building, a charge denied by
the activists. "They found a plastic bottle that had rags in
it that were being used to get paint off of people's hands,"
organizer Eidinger said.

A short time later, the Troy Skeels of the Independent media
Center reported that the authorities were preventing them from
printing and distribution their publications. "As we are
attempting to go to press with the 'Blind Spot,' IMC's print
publication due to hit the streets tomorrow, we are
confronting a serious technical difficulty: Citing 'riot
activity' the Kinkos print shops in the area are either closed
already or thinking about it." Skeels wrote. "I learned about
this turn of events this afternoon as I and some people I was
trading literature with were asked to leave a Kinkos near the
White House. The employee at the Kinkos we were at was polite
as he asked us to leave, but explained that our presence was
putting his shop in danger of being closed. Continuing our
discussion on the sidewalk, I learned that other Kinkos had
already been closed at police direction."

Continued Skeet, "Philip, from Oberlin College, Ohio, sporting
a box of freshly printed pamphlets told me that he had left
one Kinkos (24th and K street) that closed after police came
in and harassed people printing up pro-demonstration, or
simply anti-IMF literature. There was of course, no riot
activity in sight. At least three Kinkos have already closed.
It remains unclear how long the other popular '24 hour'
printing outlets will remain open."

Reviewing the events unfolding in the Capitol, Smith wrote,
"Illegal sweep arrests. Print shops intimidated into closing
by police. Universities canceling public forums under pressure
from officials. Homes of opposition leader' broken into and
ransacked. Headquarters of the opposition raided and closed by
police. These were the sort of things by which we defined the
evil of the old Soviet Union. These were some of the reasons
we said we had to bomb Yugoslavia. And now they have become
characteristics of the federal government's handling of the
current protests.

By the morning of Saturday the 16th, the police had blocked
off 50 blocks around the headquarters of the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund. The first mass arrests
happened that afternoon when thousands of protesters marched
toward the headquarters of the two financial institutions. The
police blocked their way, then isolated and arrested
approximately 635 activists - far more than the 525 protesters
arrested during a full week of demonstrations in Seattle -
declaring their march illegal.

The authorities quickly revealed that they were obsessed with
identifying the protesters. As the Associated Press reported,
those who provided identification were fined $50. Those who
didn't were fined $300. Of course, all of the names provided
to the police were quickly entered into the vast web of
computer databases used by law enforcement organizations
across the country.

Demonstrators clashed with police all Sunday. The activists
were not able to prevent the international finance ministers
from meeting, but the protests were still the most direct
challenge to global capitalism ever seen. Even the police
admitted the activists had gotten their message out. "The
media is here, and that's how I gauge success," a uniformed
captain told the NBC Evening News.

By Sunday evening, the Establishment Opinion Cartel was
clearly worried.

"Police said they must keep the World Bank and IMF open at all
costs," CNN reporter Bob Franken said with a straight face.

By Monday it was apparent that these global financial
institutions are more important than the U.S. government
itself. Because of the protests,

most downtown federal workers were given the day off. At the
recommendation of federal and local law enforcement officials,
nonessential workers at the State, Treasury, Commerce and
Interior departments, and other key agencies in the area
around the World Bank/IMF headquarters, were told to stay
home. "This is obviously a decision that we don't take
lightly. It's very unusual and very rare," a spokesman for the
Office of Personnel Management said.

As a result, the anti-globalization protesters forced a
partial shut-down of the federal government - something the
Patriot Movement has not achieved after nearly a decade of
bombings, shoot-outs, armed confrontations and rallies.

Organizers declared victory even before the protests ended. "A
few days ago most Americans didn't know the first thing about
the World Bank or the IMF," Patrick Rensborough, a spokesman
for Mobilization for Global Justice, told the New York Times
on Sunday. "These institutions can't survive public scrutiny.
This is the first step toward shutting them down."

Beca Economopoulos of Mobilization for Global Justice agreed.
"In Seattle on November 29th, nobody had heard of the World
Trade Organization and the impact that it had on the
degradation of the environment and people's lives on the
planet," she told reporters early Monday. Now folks can tell
you about the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,
its violations of human rights, its degradation of the
environment and lowering of labor standards."

Even the IMF released a communique which acknowledged the
protesters had made its policies a matter "of growing public
debate." As the ABC Evening News reported on Monday, "The
demonstrators outside the building did their best to be heard.
The delegates inside the building said they got the message.

And that's why the anti-globalization activists are the new
Public Enemy Number One.

============================================================================
Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org
cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/
book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri.html

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

                Capitalism is not the same as free
                enterprise - it is a very specialized
                ideology which holds the accumulation
                of wealth as the only economic value,
                and which demands that such economics
                dominate all other societal values.
                        -- rkm

Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT 
include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits,
and notices - including this one.
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