AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEFT RADICAL COMMUNITY IN THE UNITED STATES [AND ELSEWHERE] ON CONTEMPORARY FBI AND RELATED REPRESSION/SURVEILLANCE: HUNTER GRAY    7/23/01

(This was sent via e-mail to an estimated 6,000 individuals.)

 

Note 7/27/01    Immediately following An Open Letter, see this excellent, critical national summary and analysis from Portland, Oregon:  Report on Terrorism and Task Forces (1-11-01) :

__________________________________________________

Special Insert (7/29/01)  From  W.H. at Cincinnati, Ohio

Mr. Hunter Gray,
I am so grateful for the material you are posting on the FBI, then and
now.  We just held a workshop here in  Cincinnati for activists who are
being targeted by a similar (if unclear) "task force," of local, state,
fed. and corporate surveillance/law enforcement in the wake of the april
unrest and now Black United Front boycott of the city.  I printed out
your "open letter" and brought it with me to the workshop, where it met
with great interest.  Many thanks from these young activists here in
Cincinnati.


____________________________________________________________________________

 

An Open Letter :

It is generally well known at this point that the Federal Bureau of
Investigation  is presently under heavy criticism from many directions and
that
at least a half-dozen  official investigations  into its nefarious affairs
are  underway.  Spies,  the derailing of several thousand Oklahoma
City/McVeigh bombing investigatory records, the Ruby Ridge/Weaver situation,
Waco, evidence tampering, guns and equipment lost and stolen,  scandals,
sloppy management, are among the many tributaries that make up this river of
mounting concern about multi sin and sickness in the chief law enforcement
agency of the USA.

How basic and how broad these investigations will go is always  -- given the
essentially
reactionary ethos of the US -- speculative.  Nothing has been said in the
high national media sense about the FBI's sordid role in the Peltier
tragedy:  the Pine Ridge events of 1975, evidence tampering at his Fargo
trial,  the massive and venomously effective FBI role in blocking a Clinton
pardon.

And I have heard very little nationally about the matter of pervasive and
repressive  FBI
surveillance of people purely because of their political  and social
beliefs.

But I think there is a hell of a lot of this repressive/surveillance stuff
going on under the direct aegis of FBI.

I think it's axiomatic that the FBI's main target has  consistently been,
since its very
earliest beginnings, the Left.

And it's also clear that the FBI and its predecessors  [and certainly the
capitalists]  have  just as consistently used deliberately manufactured
periods of fear and hysteria to suppress constructive political and social
dissent,  build  the bones of fascism, broaden
and deepen FBI's power base and sweeten its coffers with burgeoning
appropriations.  We've had the Espionage Act of the World War I and
aftermath period  -- and this had nothing to do with "espionage;"    the
Smith Act from 1940 well into the 1960s -- and this had nothing to do with
"sedition";  and various [Clinton fostered and bi-partisan supported]
"anti-terrorism" measures in a national context of very little on-going,
tangible "terrorism."

We ourselves -- our family -- have been having some very strange experiences
here in Idaho for the past four years -- although for us they really are, I
guess, quite familiar.

An active Left radical since the mid-1950s,  I secured, under FOIA/PA, about
3,000 documents from my FBI files -- not counting a great many that they
have refused to give me.  The documents I have cover the period from the
late 1950s to 1979.  At various points, I was listed by FBI on Section A of
the Reserve Index/Security Index and Rabble Rouser Index.  [I've placed
copies of all of these in my collected papers at State Historical Society of
Wisconsin and Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  I've also
made public hundreds of documents concerning me that were held by the old
and utterly infamous Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission -- a kind of
secret police, intelligence-gathering outfit that existed from the mid-1950s
into the 1970s.]

So I and my family are no strangers to "goons and ginks and company
finks" -- including FBI bird-dogs and hatchet-men.  For us, it's part of the
conventional  creature scenery that  Left radical activists conventionally
encounter in the
Everglades of Free America.  Since my radical activism has continued right
along over all these years, we, ourselves, have always assumed that FBI kept
its binoculars on us -- at least intermittently.

In July, 1997, we came to southeastern Idaho:  Pocatello.  From  the
outset, we encountered very substantial delays in our mail; and, again from
the outset,   police surveillance was blatantly obvious.  Very weird
telephone problems began and continued. Strange people appeared in the
vicinity of our 'way far up home.There was -- and there have been right
along -- a myriad of other very strange things but the most consistently
obvious has been our postal situation: substantial delays, then holes poked
in Priority and other packages, and finally some examples of just plain
sabotage.

Interference and sabotage vis-a-vis the United States mails  are heavy
felony crimes.

It became obvious to me right away that some sort of Federal force was
involved:
something that, in addition to FBI management,  obviously utilized local and
state
police.  In January, 1999, I wrote a detailed letter to the  regional Postal
Inspection office at Seattle -- attaching  many dozens of examples of
substantially delayed mail and
damaged packages.  There was no response from Postal Inspection -- not even
a bare acknowledgement -- and only, after a long delay, a weak and
ostensibly in-the-dark response from the local postmaster. Serious problems
continued and, in January, 2000, I wrote a very detailed letter once again
to  regional Postal Inspection at Seattle -- with no response of any kind.
And I wrote once again in March 2000 and there was only silence.

All of this continued.  Late in 2000, word came from  radicals in Portland,
Oregon that
Left and liberal forces had discovered that the City was entering into an
"anti-extremist" task force accord with FBI which also involved local and
state police.  Controversy from the Left -- and from genuinely liberal
elements --  boiled. It got into the media. In the course of all of  this,
FBI finally admitted it has over 30 of these task force creatures  [FBI /
local and state police] operating in the United States!

Our problems continued.  In late April, 2001, a United States Priority Mail
Package -- extremely tough,  totally waterproof material --  was sent to us
from New
York City by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
Containing  20 copies of the always excellent CCDS publications, the package
took an inordinate period of time to reach us.  When it did, and I opened
it, I saw immediately that water had been channeled into it and the 20
publications functionally ruined. CCDS immediately protested this via
letters to the New York City Postmaster and, very much aware of our Idaho
context in all of this, to the US Postmaster General.  There has been no
response.

The fact that interference and sabotage vis-a-vis the United States mails
are heavy felony crimes, and  that we and others have reported these to the
United States Postal authorities without even getting an acknowledgement,
takes the whole situation right to the FBI: the ultimate Federal law
enforcement agency.  Obviously, these sorry and vile activities are being
conducted -- to use a phrase from the Southern civil rights days -- "under
color of law."

In February, 2000, we began to develop our very large social justice
website -- Lair of Hunterbear:  www.hunterbear.org.    This deals extensively
with Native American rights, radical unionism, civil rights.  Although our
focus is certainly far, far deeper and broader than our own particular
problems, we did begin posting a candid and detailed discussion and analysis
of our obvious FBI/state police/local cops situation.

We do get some data from our website host regarding visitation to our
website -- and we've been intrigued by some of the official visitors that
have come.  Last month,
June, 2001, saw visitations by several military agencies, Fema, the U.S.
Postal
Service, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Courts.


Quien sabe? What does this weird entourage of visitors mean?  We certainly take nothing for granted and remain sensibly vigilant always. But, much more importantly,   through this, we have continued our social
justice activities in this very interesting and challenging Idaho setting:
e.g., Native rights, civil rights, labor, civil liberties.

We shall certainly keep on keeping on -- just as we always have and  always
will.

I am, and have been for some time, the  publicly listed Idaho/regional
contact person for Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
And our Hunterbear website is publicly listed by the Anti-Racism Commission
of Democratic Socialists
of
America as its Native American website contact.

Other Left people from whom we've heard have had similar experiences in this
time frame.  And I'm certain there are a great many more indeed who are
similarly situated.

We're contacting some of the [relatively]  more liberal US senators and
Congresspeople.  We suggest others, quietly or otherwise, file formal complaints -- and make their
repression/surveillance situations known to comrades and fellow workers,
Left organizations, friendly media, responsive politicians.  

For an up-to-date and  quite detailed discussion and analysis of our Idaho
situation, see this link on our website:

http://www.hunterbear.org/camp.htm


Solidarity -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]   www.hunterbear.org

 

REPORT ON TERRORISM AND TASK FORCES FROM PORTLAND, OREGON  [1-11-01]

Note by Hunter Gray:  Among the many fascinating and sinister dimensions indicated in this excellent summary and analysis, be sure to note the massive financial boondoggle pay-offs for "law enforcement" agencies at all levels,  for equipment-producing outfits and for consultants; the heavy emphasis on a sweeping and vague "potential" dimension vis-a-vis "social" and "political" "terrorism"  etc. and the frightening formulation of the concept of "Potential Threat Element" relating to an individual or individuals -- and utilizing the vaguest kind of hearsay and rumour; and the virtual lack of any actual terroristic activity in the United States within the meaning of these Federal statutes and policies!

 

The Report:

Report on Terrorism and Task Forces 1/11/01
Diane Lane, Portland, OR
The U.S. General Accounting Office in a 1998 report on combating terrorism
defined terrorism, counterterrorism and antiterrorism based on a consensus
among some of the different agencies responsible for combating terrorism:
the Department of Defense (DOD), the State Department, the Justice
Department (DOJ) and the Treasury Department. The definitions are as
follows:

Terrorism: The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful
violence to inculcate fear, intended to coerce, intimidate, or retaliate
against governments, the population as a whole, or foreign societies in the
pursuit of goals that are political, religious, or ideological.

Antiterrorism: Defensive measures used to combat terrorism.

Counterterrorism: Offensive measures used to combat terrorism. 1
The FBI defines terrorism as an unlawful act or threat of force or violence,
committed by a group of two or more individuals against persons or property
to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any
segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. The FBI
uses counterterrorism to refer to its full range of activities directed
against terrorism, including preventive and crisis management efforts. 2

Nationally and federally, counterterrorism measures have been steadily
expanding especially since the 1996 Anti-Terrorist Act. The expanded
measures include the authorization of more than $1 billion over five years
for various federal, state, and local government programs to combat or deal
with terrorism in the U.S. and overseas, and the authorization of the
Secretary of State to designate groups as terrorist organizations. The
designations are decided after analysis of FBI intelligence submitted to the
State Department. It is considered a felony to provide any kind of support
to such a group even if that support would serve humanitarian purposes. 3

The annual federal budget for combating terrorism is over 5 billion dollars.
4 The FBI budget just for its Counterterrorism program has grown from $78.5
million in 1993 to $301.2 million in 1999.5

According to a 1998 article by Ehud Sprinzak, Professor of Political
Science, the huge amount of money spent on counterterrorism measures by the
U.S. benefits defense contractors and other commercial interests who are
cashing in on a greatly exaggerated threat of terrorism involving chemical
and biological agents. The Professor mentioned three examples of such profit
in his article: When Dycor Industrial Research Ltd. developed a monitoring
system which can detect contaminants such as poison gas in the air, the
president of the company admitted to the press that "Dycor is sitting on the
threshold of a multi-billion dollar world market." Two members of a
scientific advisory panel that endorsed a plan by the Clinton administration
to stockpile vaccines around the country would profit handsomely if the plan
were enacted. A former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on the board
of an investment firm which recently purchased a biological product
laboratory, "the sole maker of an anthrax vaccine". The lab has a contract
with the Pentagon and expects future contracts with international buyers.

Sprinzak stated that the more than 40 U.S. federal agencies involved in
combating terrorism, including the Pentagon, also benefit from big
counterterrorism spending. Those agencies claim that anyone is capable of
using chemical and/or biological weapons to the extent of taking out a major
city. But, as Sprinzak pointed out in his article, over 30 years of field
research indicates the likeliness of this is quite low due to several
factors. One is that most terrorists use violence to bring public attention
to what they think is a vital issue needing immediate political change. The
public will hardly be sympathetic to a cause advocated by a group
responsible for killing thousands of people. Another factor is that it takes
time for terrorists to build up to justifying the use of violence and in
that time period, they usually do things that make future violent acts
predictable by the most inept intelligence entities.

For instance, Sprinzak mentioned that the group, Aum Shinrikyo, which killed
12 people a few years ago by the release of sarin gas, was not an
underground group. In fact, the group's intentions were widely known since
the leader often wrote about an impending universal violent upheaval. The
Aum Shinrikyo failed 6 times in four years to develop the ability of
creating a massive attack using biological weapons.6

Although killing 12 people is by no means something to be dismissed, it does
not justify the vast amount of counterterrorism programs especially when
over 40, 000 people die in automobile accidents every year and there is no
evidence of government plans to outlaw vehicles.7

John Parachini, Director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, stated
in a lengthy report issued July 26, 2000, in which he analyzed
counterterrorism measures in the U.S., that the spending has been vast but
not smart.8 He claimed that the huge amount of money is not based on actual
need or threat but on vulnerabilities and worst case scenarios.9 And yet
many federal agencies and commissions including the FBI regularly ask for
more federal funding claiming that terrorism is an increasing threat,
despite evidence to the contrary. For instance, according to Parachini's
study, most of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) cases the FBI
investigated in recent years were anthrax hoaxes.10

Louis Freeh, the Director of the FBI, stated in 1999, "We are fortunate that
in the nearly six years since the World Trade Center bombing, no significant
act of foreign-directed terrorism has occurred on American soil."11

According to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, there were 51
terrorist incidents in 1982, 2 incidents in 1997, 3 in 1996, 1 in 1995 and 0
in 1994.12 And yet the Clinton administration is requesting $9.3 billion for
fiscal year 2001 to combat terrorism.13 Also in May of this year, President
Clinton approved $300 million to expand counterterrorism programs, which
will also enable the amount of state and local Joint Terrorism Task Forces
to increase from 26 to 37.14 According to Janet Reno, the Attorney General
(AG), the FBI has established Joint Terrorism Task Forces in several major
cities composed of state and local officials, in addition to local
representatives from the FBI AND other federal agencies such as the BATF,
the Secret Service, the INS and the Custom Service. All members hold
security clearances to share information and investigate terrorist
activities.15 According to Reno, the FBI has the authority to establish such
task forces because it is the lead agency for responding to acts of domestic
terrorism. The creation of the task forces is part of a "comprehensive
approach to all states which will help prevent, deter, and respond to
terrorist threats by collecting, analyzing and disseminating intelligence
broadly and consistent with security concerns."16

According to Louis Freeh, the Joint Terrorism Task Forces also include
members of other federal agencies such as the CIA, the State Department, the
Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Postal Inspection Service and the
IRS. Freeh recently stated that "The 5-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and
Technology Crime Plan supports further expansion of FBI Joint Terrorism Task
Forces where warranted by assessments of activity." (emphasis added) 17

What kind of terrorist activity triggered the formation of such a task force
here in Portland? One of the Portland FBI agents mentioned the "torching" of
police cars sitting in a parking lot this summer and that there had been
half a dozen terrorist type incidents in the area.

In October 1996, members of a terrorist group known as the Phineas Priests
who are affiliated with the Christian Identity Church famous for its
opposition to, among many things, mixed-raced couples and abortion, were
arrested in Portland by the FBI for attempted bank robbery. Prior to arrest,
the Priests used diversionary tactics such as pipe bombings at locations
close to targeted banks in Spokane, leaving letters behind expressing their
extreme religious beliefs, which support acts of violence.18

According to a report by SBC Com Online in March 1998, the Portland Metro
area police received terrorism training involving a, "Soldier and Biological
Chemical Command" training course per Public Law 104-201. The training was
provided by the FBI, FEMA, DOE, EPA, DHH and the Department Of Defense,
further blurring the line between the police, federal law enforcement and
the military. The report indicated that the need for such training included
a 1984 terrorist incident involving the use of salmonella bacteria placed in
salad bars in restaurants by the Rajinesh Religious Group which sickened 750
people.19

In September of 1999, the Oregonian did a four part series entitled, "Crimes
in the name of the environment. Eco-Terrorism Sweeps the American West."
According to this lengthy report, "Arson, bombings and sabotage in the name
of saving the environment and its creatures have swept the American West
over the last two decades and Oregon is increasingly the center of it all.
At least 100 major acts of such destruction have occurred in the West since
1980, causing $42.8 million in damages." The newspaper based such statements
on its examination of police, government, and court files. Most of the
incidents involve arson, some using incendiary devices and pipe bombs to
destroy property such as the Vail Ski Resort because of its plans to expand,
which could have a harmful affect on the lynx. No one was harmed or killed
in any of these acts of so called eco-terrrorism.

According to the series, the incidents occurred in eleven Western states and
included acts such as the release of animals kept in mink farms and research
institutes. The series pointed out that even though there is a federal law
called the Animal Enterprise Act, passed in 1992, which prohibits the
physical disruption of an animal enterprise, and individuals have been
prosecuted under arson charges, some political figures such as U.S. Senators
Orrin Hatch and Dianne Feinstein as well as U.S. Representative Helen
Chenoweth are pushing for tougher federal laws and more FBI involvement in
combating the property damage they refer to as ecoterrorism.20

Apparently the FBI is growing more concerned with the arson allegedly
perpetrated by some environmental and animal rights activists and is indeed
labeling it as domestic terrorism. Freeh stated in February, 1999, that,"The
most recognizable single issue terrorists at the present time are those
involved in the violent animal rights, anti-abortion, and environmental
protection movements." He specifically calls attention to the arsons and
property damage claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth
Liberation Front (ELF).21 It is interesting to note that although all of the
law enforcement personnel, politicians and business owners interviewed and
quoted in the Oregonian series expressed grave concern for the damage to
property, there was no evidence of concern regarding the activists who were
injured or killed in their quest to protect natural resources such as the
death of David Chain, an Earth First! activist who died when a Pacific
Lumber Company logger felled a nearby tree, and the bombing of Judi Bari.
which shattered her pelvis and damaged her spine.

Although the Oregonian does mention the 2 incidents, they are cited as an
interruption of the onslaught of eco-terrorism and a possible motive for the
incidents, respectively. The newspaper doesn't note that a 10-inch pipe bomb
was found in the mailbox of the Forest Guardians in March 1999.22

It is possible then that the FBI could be using the above mentioned
incidents to justify the formation of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task
Force, especially when the FBI Director claims that although the number of
terrorist acts has decreased, the ease of obtaining chemical and biological
weapons makes a major incident much more likely. He made such a claim
immediately after referring to the violent actions by animal rights and
environmental activists.23 This elucidates the point made by John Parachini
that counterterrorism measures are based on worst case possibilities rather
than actual past incidents. Also, the interpretation of certain criminal
acts, though covered by other laws, as acts of terrorism further exacerbates
the illusion that the threat of terrorism is worth the billions of dollars
spent fighting it.

In the spring of 2000, the U.S. Justice Department sent out assessment
application forms to all fifty states. Local jurisdictions, (including
Portland most likely), were instructed to fill the forms out in order to
assess the local terrorist threat, assess vulnerable targets such as
government structures and public utilities, and compare the threats and
targets to the jurisdiction's current counterterrorism and antiterrorism
resources such as those needed by first responders (emergency medical units,
fire departments, police, etc.) This process helps to decide how to divide
up the multimillion dollar DOJ grant money among states and local
jurisdictions, and is also part of a domestic preparedness program by the
DOJ which will reach 120 major cities in the U.S.

The terrorist threat assessment section was prepared by the FBI and is
interested in only terrorism involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
According to the form, WMD include conventional weapons such as bombs and
incendiary gases as long as they have the ability to cause death or serious
bodily injury to a significant number of people.24 The following language is
on the assessment form: "If your jurisdiction is a member of a FBI Joint
Terrorism Task Force or a Joint Terrorism Working Group, this would be the
appropriate venue for the assessment process, especially in light of the
pre-clearance to review sensitive information and the FBI's participation in
each group."25 The local jurisdictions are not supposed to identify the
Potential Threat Element's (PTE) on the assessment form; however, they can
keep the information in their files for reference.26

According to the tool kit instructions, Domestic Terrorism has the following
definition:

The unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or
individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto
Rico, without foreign direction, and whose acts are directed at elements of
the U.S. Government or its population, in the furtherance of political or
social goals.27


The police in local jurisdictions are instructed by the form to identify no
more than 15 PTE's which are defined as:

Any group or individual in which there are allegations or information
indicating a possibility of the unlawful use of force or violence,
specifically the utilization of a Weapon of Mass Destruction, against
persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian
population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of a specific motivation
or goal, possibly political or social in nature.


The following is added after the above definition: "Note: This definition
provides sufficient predicate for the FBI to initiate an investigation."28

Each PTE is to be given a threat factor which ranges from 1 to 10 for each
of the following categories:

Existence - (If the PTE exists it gets 1 point.) The form defines
"existence as follows: "The presence of a group or individual, operating
within the jurisdiction in which there are allegations or information
indicating a possibility of the unlawful use of force or violence,
specifically the utilization of a WMD, against persons or property, to
intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment
thereof, in furtherance of a specific motivation or goal, possibly political
or social in nature.

History - (If the PTE has a history of terrorist activities it gets 1
point)

Intentions - (If the PTE has terrorist intentions, it gets 2 points)

Capability - (If the PTE is capable of terrorism acts using WMD, this
includes merely an ability to acquire, store and deliver WMD), it gets 2
points)

Targeting - (If the PTE has picked certain targets for acts of WMD
terrorism, it gets 4 points)29


Such concentration on WMD terrorism by the Justice Department is interesting
if you consider studies such as the one by John Parachini, mentioned above,
in which he reports that unconventional weapons such as chemical and
biological agents (included in WMD definition) are an unlikely choice by
terrorists, based on research about terrorist acts.30

The primary duty of a Joint Terrorism Task Force is the investigation of
terrorist activity. Here in Portland, the ordinances recently passed
unanimously by City Council indicate that the task force must follow Oregon
statutes for the collection of information on individuals and groups if in
certain situations the statutes are more restrictive than the FBI
guidelines.31 Oregon statute 181.575 states the following:

No law enforcement agency, as defined in ORS 181.010, may collect or
maintain information about the political, religious or social views,
associations or activities of any individual, group, association,
organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information
directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are
reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be
involved in criminal conduct. (emphasis added)

In its investigation of alleged terrorists, the FBI follows what is called
the Smith guidelines (based on a former Attorney General Smith who modified
the guidelines in 1983). Sections of the guidelines pertaining to
intelligence gathering are as follows:

Domestic security /terrorism investigation may be initiated when facts or
circumstances reasonably indicate that two or more persons are engaged in an
enterprise for the purpose of furthering political or social goals wholly or
in part through activities that involve force or violence and a violation of
the criminal laws of the United States.

[Section III (B) (1)] The standard of reasonable indication is substantially
lower than probable cause. In determining whether there is reasonable
indication of a federal criminal violation, a Special Agent may take into
account any facts or circumstances that a prudent investigator would
consider. However, the standard does require specific facts indicating a
past, current, or impending violation. There must be an objective, factual
basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient.32

The FBI can initiate investigations in advance of criminal conduct as long
as they're not based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment.
Such investigations can be initiated if there are statements which advocate
criminal activity or indicate an apparent intent to engage in crime,
particularly crimes of violence, unless it is apparent that there is no
prospect of harm.33

The ACLU quoted directly from the AG guidelines during a statement issued in
1995:

On some occasions the FBI may receive information or an allegation not
warranting a full investigation -- because there is not yet a "reasonable
indication" of criminal activities -- but whose responsible handling
requires some further scrutiny of initial leads. In such circumstances,
though the factual predicate for an investigation has not been met, the FBI
may initiate an "inquiry" involving some measured review, contact, or
observation activities in response to the allegation or information
indicating the possibility of criminal activity. This authority to conduct
inquiries short of a full investigation allows the government to respond in
a measured way to ambiguous or incomplete information.34


According to the ACLU and the Center for National Security Studies, the
review, contact and observation activities of an "inquiry referred to above,
include the use of informants, physical surveillance, under cover operations
and electronic surveillance.35

According to the revised ordinance establishing the PJTTF, the task force is
to identify and target for prosecution those individuals or groups who are
responsible for acts of criminal terrorism. At the City Council hearing on
November 22, 2000, FBI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Favreau stated: "the
types of cases involve criminal acts of individuals who are involved in
extremist types of activity which we refer to as domestic terrorism which
would have some type of federal nexus involved, violations of federal
statutes such as the Hobbs Act, intimidations, forcing business out of
business through the use of force or violence, arson, things of that
nature."36

A violation of the Hobbs Act is considered a federal crime. The Act
prohibits persons from depriving or attempting or conspiring to deprive
someone (or commonly a business) of their property through the wrongful use
or threat of force, violence, or fear, in a manner that affects or could
have affected interstate commerce. The term 'property' also includes the
right to conduct business, provide service, and any money spent on security
measures as a result of being threatened. The violation does not have to
intentionally affect interstate commerce.37

A "threat" must be what is considered a "true threat"; in other words, it
must be a threat with the specific intent to threaten so that a recipient of
the threat interprets it as a serious expression of intent to cause bodily
harm or to assault. Such threats are considered against the lives and
physical safety of persons and they are not protected by the First
Amendment.38 An example of "interstate commerce" could involve a medical
facility that purchased supplies made in another state.

Because a violation of the Hobbs Act is a violation of federal law, it
constitutes a racketeering act under the Racketeering Influenced and
Corruption Organization Act, known as RICO. A person violates the RICO Act
if he or she participates in the conduct of the affairs of an enterprise
through a pattern of racketeering activity. There is no need for an
"enterprise" to be a formal organization with an economic purpose; it could
be a political group. The enterprise or group must have an affect on
interstate commerce, which it does if in any of its activities it crosses
state lines through either travel, phone calls and/or the U.S. mail. (By
crossing state lines this a federal crime rather than a state crime). The
"pattern of racketeering activity" is met if at least two racketeering acts
(including violations of the Hobbs Act) occur within 10 years of each other.
The acts have to be related and continuous and can include the threat of
future criminal conduct.39

Cecil Greek of the University of South Florida stated in a report about
RICO:

RICO has also been used against both prolife demonstrators (Northeast
Women's Center v. McMonagle 1989) and antipornography protesters (Walden
Book Co. Inc. et al v. American Family Association of Florida 1989), raising
questions about RlCO's possible effect on freedom of assembly (Kilpatrick
1989). In McMonagle an abortion clinic had the Supreme Court uphold a civil
RICO suit they filed against anti-abortion protesters who staged four
sit-ins at the clinic. Equipment worth $887.00 was damaged during one of the
demonstrations after protesters forcibly entered the clinic. The defendants
were charged with extortion and robbery as RICO predicates (Melley 1989
5-6). (emphasis added)40


Greek also claims that "...in some cases one person acting alone can be,
charged and one crime (if it violates both state and federal statutes)
considered sufficient {to}show a racketeering pattern."41 The Department of
Justice Criminal Resource Manual provides guidelines for the criminal or
civil prosecution under RICO but makes it clear that " These guidelines do
not limit the authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct
investigations of suspected violations of RICO.42

Portland activists are concerned about the guidelines that the PJTTF will be
following in order to gather intelligence. Another concern is whether or not
the task force will follow any reasonable guidelines especially since the
Portland Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) has violated the Oregon statutes
by investigating non-criminals such as Dan Handelman and Douglas Squirrel.
The investigations were not only a violation of the statutes, but included
mistakes such as incorrect names and affiliations. This could lead to, at
worst, the arrest of innocent citizens. Also, David Cole, a NY University
professor stated in 1996, "By criminalizing those who associate with a
group's lawful ends, it deters precisely the people who might have some
moderating influence on the group in question."43

By creating the PJTTF, 8 members of the Portland Police Bureau have formed a
joint operation with the FBI, famous for its First Amendment abuses. (See
Shira Zucker's report for a more detailed historical perspective of FBI
abuses.)

Gregory T. Nojeim of the ACLU Legislative Council stated the following in
1995: "Recently, the AIDS activist group ACT UP learned that the FBI had
maintained a file of over 100 pages on the group, and refused to make most
of the file public.44

The FBI is not the only federal intelligence agency with a record of past
abuses: David Kopel, Associate Policy Analyst, made the following statement
before the U.S. Senate in 1995:

On February 5, 1993--23 days before the Waco raid--BATF ransacked the home
of Janice Hart, a black woman in Portland, Oregon, terrorizing her and her
three children for hours, destroying her furniture, slamming a door on a
child's foot, forcing two children to wait outside in a car while Ms. Hart
was interrogated inside, and refusing to allow her to call an attorney,
until BATF discovered that there was a case of mistaken identity. (BATF had
been looking for Janice Harold, who bears no resemblance to Mrs. Hart.) In
this case, unlike most others, BATF did at least send a check for damages,
although no apology was offered."45 This is important because the BATF is
one of the agencies listed by Attorney General Reno as being affiliated with
local Joint Terrorism Task Forces.


Because such abuses have occurred locally and nationally, before
establishing Joint Terrorism Task Forces, it would be prudent to have
independent audits conducted of all intelligence agencies and to establish
independent civilian oversight of local and federal law enforcement,
including the FBI. For instance, San Francisco, well known for its
independent civilian police review board, the OCC, also conducts audits (by
the civilian Police Commission) of all San Francisco Police Department First
Amendment activities, according to OCC Director, Mary Dunlap.46

Two groups recently issued recommendations which would increase the already
vast counterterrorism measures. A brief list follows of some of the
recommendations from the National Commission on Terrorism mandated by
Congress. (It should be noted that an ex-CIA director, an ex-FBI agent and a
retired Army general were included in the 10 members of this Commission.
Several FBI and CIA current and former agents were listed in the Appendix as
being interviewed by the Commission):

-CIA guidelines adopted in 1995 restricting recruitment of unsavory sources
should not apply when recruiting counterterrorism sources.

-The President should impose sanctions on countries that, while not direct
sponsors of terrorism, are nevertheless not cooperating fully on
counterterrorism. Candidates for consideration include Pakistan and Greece.

-Funding for counterterrorism efforts by CIA, NSA, and FBI must be given
higher priority to ensure continuation of important operational activity and
to close the technology gap that threatens their ability to collect and
exploit terrorist communications.

-The President and Congress should work together to create an effective
system for monitoring the status of foreign students nationwide.47

The following are just a few of the many recommendations by an advisory
panel called the Gilmore Commission which the Secretaries of Defense,
Energy, and Health and Human Services as well as the Director of FEMA
created by contract with the National Defense Research Institute of RAND to
study the issue of Domestic Terrorism:

- Create a "National Office for Combating Terrorism" - Director appointed
by the President, confirmed by the Senate

- Improve human intelligence by rescinding CIA guidelines on certain
foreign informants (DCI)

- Review/modify guidelines and procedures for domestic investigations

- Provide security clearances and more information to designated State and
local entities

- Develop national strategy approved by the President

The Gilmore Commission's report issued December 14, 2000 included an
interesting statement:

The terrorist incidents in this country - however tragic - have occurred so
rarely that the foundations of our society or our form of government have
not been threatened. Conventional explosives, traditionally a favorite tool
of the terrorist will likely remain the terrorist weapon of choice in the
near term as well.48


The Commission supported the above statement by citing the current
difficulties in acquiring or developing, and in maintaining, handling,
testing, transporting and delivering a device that would actually have the
capability to cause mass casualties.49

There have been other suggestions for combating terrorism besides the
escalation of expensive counterterrorism programs. Professor Sprinzak
recommended in his above-mentioned article that "psychopolitical" research
was one of the most neglected means of countering terrorism. In other words,
well-trained psychologists and terrorist "experts" could try to learn the
psychological reasons behind using terrorism. According to Sprinzak,
"Systematic group and individual profiling for predictive purposes is almost
unknown." He claimed that many former terrorists and members of radical
organizations are believed to have considered and rejected the use of WMD.
Sprinzak suggested that such people could be interviewed and studied to gain
understanding about the considerations involved in using terrorism.50


1 Letter Report, 11/20/98, GAO/GGD--997, p.27,
(http://www.fas.org/irp/gao/ggd-99-007.htm)
2GAO report, p.3
3Close Up Foundation, page 8-10, Domestic Terrorism, Jan. 1997, Washington
DC, (http://www.closeup.org/terror.htm)
4John Parachini, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Testimony before the
House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International
Relations, July 26, 2000, Figure 1, p. 1, [http://cns.miis.edu]).
5 Louis Freeh, Director FBI, Statement before the U.S. Senate Committee on
Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and
State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, February 4, 1999, page 1,
(http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1999_hr/990204-freehct2.htm)
6 Ehud Sprinzak, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, "The Great Superterrorism Scare", Foreign Policy, September 28,
1998, pp. 110-124, (http://www.foreignpolicy.com)
7 National Center for Health Statistics, 1998,
(http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/Default.htm#c)
8Parachini, page 2
9Statement of John V. Parachini, p.5
10 Ibid, page 5
11Louis Freeh, p.4.
12U.S. Justice Department, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, page
334, (http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/1995/pdf/t3195.pdf)
13Parachini, p. 9
14Terence Hunt, "President Wants to Spend More to Combat Cyber-Terrorism",
AP, Foxnews.com , (http://www.foxnews.com/vtech/051800/cyberterrorism.sml)
15Statement of Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States before the
United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce,
Justice, and State, The Judiciary, and Related Agencies. Feb. 4, 1999, pp.
7-8, (http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/testimony/1999/agappro020499.htm)
16Ibid.
17Louis Freeh, page 10
18David Neiwert, Threat From Within, 10/96,
(http://www.msnbccom/new/257143.asp?cpl=1)
19"Domestic Preparedness", SBC COM Online, 3/31/98,
(http://dp.sbccom.army.mil/pr/pr_dp_19980331.html)
20 "Crimes in the Name of the Environment," 9/26/99 - 9/29/99, Bryan Denson
and James Long of The Oregonian, Portland,
(http://www.landrights.org/ALRA.Oregonian.ecoterrorism.htm)
21Freeh 1999 statement, p.8)
22Outside Magazine, Profile on Barry Clausen, October 2000, Page 5,
(http://www.outsidemag.com/magazine/200010clausen5.html)
23Freeh 1999 Statement, p.8
24(Office of Justice Programs, State Domestic Preparedness Equipment Program
Needs Assessment and Strategy Development Initiative Assessment Form, May 15
2000, http://www.Ojp.usdoj.gov/osldps/assessment/assessment.txt, p. 23)
25Ibid, p. 27
26Ibid, p. 28
27Ibid, p. 23
28Ibid, p. 23
29Ibid, p. 24
30Parachini report, p.5
31Memorandum of Understanding, Ordinance passed November 22. 2000, Portland)
32Direct Quote on the Smith Guidelines from the Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) letter on FBI Domestic Security Investigations to
the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Intelligence and Gov't
Information, April 26, 1995, p.2)
33EPIC, Washington, DC, p. 2, (http://www.lectlaw.com)
34Gregory T. Nojeim, Legislative Council, ACLU Washington National Office,
Statement about the Comprehensive Antiterrorism Act before the U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, June 12, 1995, p.19)
35ACLU Nojeim statement, p. 20, and the Center for National Security
Studies, "The FBI's Domestic Counterterrorism Program", April, 1995,
Washington, DC, p.2, (http://www.emergency.com/fbicntrt.htm)
36Transcript of CC hearing, November 22, 2000, prepared by Dan Handelman of
Copwatch. Such testimony was only possible because Mr. Handelman noted the
task force items listed on the City Council Agenda for November 22 and asked
that they be pulled off the consent agenda.)
37Department of Justice Criminal Resource Manual, 2403 The Hobbs Act,
October, 1997
(http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm02403.htm)
and, Transcript of trial proceeding, US District Court for the District of
Oregon, PP vs ACLA, 1/26/99, pp. 26-29,
(http://www.lektrik.com/PPvsACLA/T990126a.txt)
38ACLU, (http://www.fsu.edu/~crimdo/rico.html)
41ibid, p. 10)
42DOJ,/USAM/Title 9 Criminal Resource Manual, 9-110.320,
(http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/110mcrm.htm#9
-110.300)
43David Cole, visiting Professor at NYU Law School, "Terrorizing the
Constitution:, The Nation, March 25, 1996, (http://www.thenation.com)
44Nojeim Statement, p. 20
45The Congressional Record, Excerpts From Written Testimony Before the U.S.
Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Submitted by David B. Kopel, Associate
Policy Analyst, 1995, p. 16.
46 email interview with Mary Dunlap, December 29, 2000
47National Commission on Terrorism, "Countering the Changing Threat of
International Terrorism", Washington, DC.,
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/commission.html)
48The Gilmore Commission, "Towards a National Strategy for Combating
Terrorism", RAND, December 14, 2000.
(http://www.rand.org/organization/nsrd/terrpanel/)
49Gilmore Commission, p.18
50Sprinzak, p.7



 

previous

index

continue