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Posted by: BLOWBACK
FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies, Studies Tactics Of DemonstratorsMemo Spells Out Agents' Mission: Report All Suspicious Activity To Counterterrorism Squad By ERIC LICHTBLAUPublished on 11/23/2003Washington — The FBI 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.FBI 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 FBI'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 well-documented abuses of the 1960s and ‘70s, when J. Edgar Hoover was the FBI director and agents routinely spied on political protesters like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.“The FBI 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 FBI history, said collecting intelligence at demonstrations was 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 FBI files.”The abuses of the Hoover era, which included efforts by the FBI to harass and discredit Hoover's political enemies under a program known as Cointelpro, led to tight restrictions on FBI investigations of political activities.Those restrictions were relaxed significantly last year, when Attorney General John Ashcroft issued guidelines giving FBI agents authority to attend political rallies, mosques and any event “that is open to the public.”Ashcroft said the Sept. 11 attacks made it essential that the FBI 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 FBI 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 FBI 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 U.S. 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 FBI. It warned about an array of threats, including homemade bombs and the formation of human chains.The memorandum also discussed “innovative strategies” used by demonstrators, 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.American and foreign law enforcement officials have observed such tactics in responding to crimes in protests, the memorandum said. FBI counterterrorism officials developed the intelligence cited in the memorandum through many methods, including firsthand observation, informants and public sources like the Internet, officials said.Officials said the FBI 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 FBI regards as potential terrorism,” Romero of the ACLU said, “strikes me as civil disobedience.”

11/21/03: Post by Franklin

Posted by: BLOWBACK
geepers, all that energy directed at people you don't even know!! i'll read the latest hugo posting soon. in the meantime, play nice!
Posted by: BLOWBACK
If you're so inclined, you can spend the week listening to long speeches by George Galloway and Harold Pinter. Or you can cut to the chase and get the message from Maulana Inyadullah. In late September 2001 Mr Inyadullah was holed up in Peshawar awaiting the call to arms against the Great Satan and offered this pithy soundbite to the Telegraph's David Blair:"The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death."That's it in a nutshell - or in a nut's hell. And, like Mr Inyadullah, if it's Pepsi or death, the fellows on the streets of London this week choose death - at least for the Iraqis. If it's a choice between letting some carbonated-beverage crony of Dick Cheney get a piece of the Nasariyah soft-drinks market or allowing Saddam to go on feeding his subjects feet-first into the industrial shredder for another decade or three, then the "peace" activists will take the lesser of two evils - ie, crank up the shredder. Better yet, end UN sanctions so Saddam can replace the older, less reliable shredders, the ones with too many bits of bone tissue jammed in the cogs.Well, Saddam's gone, on the run with no Grecian 2000 and all out of Quality Street. But it's a measure of the intensity of this psychosis that the "Stop The War" crowd may well manage to turn out more people this week than they did during the war. The war stopped six months ago, some 80 per cent of Iraq is peaceful and well governed, and the overwhelming majority of Iraqis I spoke to when I was there want the Americans to stay, rather than cut and run like the UN, Oxfam and co. But screw the Iraqi people; the "peace" crowd know better than the ignorant natives what's good for them. So this week they'll be splashing red paint hither and yon to symbolise all the Iraqi blood spilled by Bush. In yesterday's Independent , Dr David Lowry noted that Medact, a respected NGO of British medical chappies, has decided that, since the start of the Iraq war in March, between 7,800 and 9,600 civilians have died. This is presumably the same Medact that a year ago predicted that in the Iraq war and the three months following 260,000 would die, with a further 200,000 succumbing to disease and famine, and another 20,000 getting killed in the ensuing civil war.Given that they've now revised their figures downwards by 98 per cent, it would be nice to think the protesters might reduce their budget for gallons of Dulux Mesopotamian Burgundy Gloss by a commensurate amount. The rest of us should pelt Medact with rotten tomatoes symbolising all the blood that wasn't spilt. Alternatively, they could symbolise Harold Pinter's graphically leaking rectum. In this paper before the war, Mr Pinter assured us that millions of Iraqi children's rectums were chronically leaking blood - something to do with depleted uranium from the Yanks. In every medical facility I visited in western and northern Iraq, I inquired about this phenomenon and found no one who knew of a single sufferer. If the anti-war cause is so just, it seems odd that it has to be so risibly "sexed up" by Medact and the rest, but the post-9/11 grand harmonic convergence of all the world's loser ideologies, from Islamic fundamentalism to French condescension, is untroubled by anything so humdrum as reality or logic. There's "no connection" between Saddam and al-Qa'eda, because radical Islamists would never make common cause with secular Ba'athists. Or so we're told by pro-gay, pro-feminist Eurolefties who thus make common cause with honour-killing, sodomite-beheading Islamists, apparently crediting Saddam with a greater degree of intellectual coherence than they credit themselves. The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist. And even its imperialism is too vulgar and arriviste to appeal to real imperialists: let's face it, the ghastly Yanks never stick it to the fuzzy-wuzzy with the dash and Úlan of the Bengal Lancers, which appears to be the principal complaint of Sir Max Hastings and his ilk. To the mullahs, America is the Great Satan, a wily seducer; to the Gaullists, America is the Great Cretin, a culture so self-evidently moronic that only stump-toothed inbred Appalachian lardbutts could possibly fall for it. American popular culture is utterly worthless, except when one of its proponents - Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon - attacks Bush, in which case he or she is showered with European awards and sees the foreign-language rights for his latest tract sell for six figures at Frankfurt. The fact that the best-selling anti-Americans are themselves American - Moore, Chomsky - is perhaps the cruellest manifestation of the suffocating grip of the hyperpower. Too Christian, too Godless, too isolationist, too imperialist, too seductive, too cretinous, America is George Orwell's Room 101: whatever your bugbear, you will find it therein - for the Continentals, excessive religiosity; for the Muslims, excessive decadence; for Harold Pinter, excessively bleeding rectums. So be it. This is a psychosis so impervious to reason that on Thursday those in the most advanced stage will pour into the streets to re-enact the toppling of Saddam's statue with Bush on the podium. The 40 per cent of Britons who merely think the President "stupid" will cheer from their sofas. Two years ago, NBC held a discussion on the growing alienation of the Muslim world: the al-Munaif family who, after the Kuwaiti liberation, had "slaughtered sheep in tribute to one President Bush", were now disenchanted and had named their newborn son "Osama". While the Arabists on the NBC panel chewed over the problem thoughtfully, on this page I was more insouciant: there's no point trying to figure out which way a guy who sacrifices sheep will jump. That's the way I feel about this week's polls and protests. The Min of Ag has already sacrificed all the sheep, but, that detail aside, much of Britain is now about as rational on America as the al-Munaif family. My advice to Bush is: make sure you know where the exit is and try to avoid eye contact.
Posted by: BLOWBACK
To Euro-Trash wannabe "League of Morons":Go get on all fours and bray to Mecca, you slime ball bumper-sticker fool. People like you will soon be smashed
Posted by: BLOWBACK
Fuck you League of NationsAmerica is a cesspool of idiots like you
Posted by: BLOWBACK
God Bless you George W. Bush Europe is a cesspool of fascism and socialism

11/16/03: Post by Franklin

Posted by: BLOWBACK
Will do, Laura! I like your message.Unfortunately John the drummer's been laid off with an injury, but come soon, we hope to be out there again. In the meantime, expect a new release between now and February.
Posted by: BLOWBACK
Shut Up and Sing!!!!!