Last Friday morning, FBI agents raided the homes, and an office, of some Twin Cities peace activists. Nobody was arrested, but grand jury subpoenas were issued. Raids were also conducted, and/or subpoenas issued, in Chicago and elsewhere.
First, if you haven’t already seen it, please review this diary, by regular MnPP contributor Curmudgeon.
This post is primarily about informed speculation as to the real motives of law enforcement in this. It is possible that at least some of the people and organizations targeted really have seriously broken, or were planning to seriously break, the law. But given that nobody was arrested, and nobody targeted seems to have a history as the type that could reasonably be regarded as posing a serious “terrorist threat,” I think that those of us that suspect far less noble and worthwhile motives on the part of “The Bureau” are not lacking in justification. And that’s about as “fair and balanced” as I’m prepared to be. If you don’t agree with me that this whole thing has all the trappings of an egregious, self-serving, vicious stunt (though of course it’s also deeply disturbing, in numerous ways), you may not wish to keep reading.
So what do you suppose that the FBI and its associates are really up to?
1. Nowadays, it apparently doesn’t take much to be considered a threat, according to our great nation’s highest court. From the Minnesota Independent article linked at the top of this diary:
Peter Erlinder, the controversial William Mitchell College of Law professor and a longtime Anti-War Committee member, told the media that the committee was being targeted under an expanded definition of what constitutes “material support for terrorism,” upheld by a recent US Supreme Court decision. The Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder case, he said, confirmed that a US citizen could be prosecuted for even offering legal counsel to a member of a group labeled as a terrorist organization by the State Department. He suggested that the Anti-War Committee’s fact-finding meetings with Palestinian and Colombian dissidents may have opened themselves up to these raids under the loose guidelines.
In other words, the grossly politicized farce that is the United States Supreme Court, strikes again.
More below the fold.
Harassment, intimidation, and far worse, for those who don’t care to toe the line, is a long and contemptible practice among twisted powermongers, throughout human history. (If you read the linked post, be sure to get to the update, about CNN coverage. Though don’t neglect the part about the agents confiscating a photo of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
3. Given that peace activist Coleen Rowley used to work for the FBI, I do believe that her commentary is highly relevant. She covers a lot of ground, but I’d like to highlight this, as another motive:
But perhaps what is more important here than a “let’s make work on a slow day” is the perverse career incentives that serve to pressure FBI counter-terrorism agents to produce “stats” (statistics). An agent gains “stats” for serving subpoenas, national security letters for records, executing search warrants, contacting confidential sources, etc., whether or not any relevant evidence is obtained via this “work” and whether or not it leads to prosecution or preventing a crime. It is a well known fact that nearly 1,000 people were rounded up and detained (mostly in New York City) immediately after 9-11. None of those detained were ever identified as “terrorists” but that’s when these career enhancing “stats” began to be awarded for each detention, arrest, subpoena, search warrant, etc.
FBI Director Robert Mueller was nominated, in July 2001, by then-President George W. Bush. And confirmed by the Senate 98-0. He’s rarely been hesitant to “push the envelope.”
And, especially since 9/11, few elected officials have dared to stand up to apparent misbehavior, to say the least, on the part of those ostensibly charged with “protecting” us against the unholy forces of evil. Go back and look at the photo at the top of the Minnesota Independent post. No wonder the reactionaries are terrified, and anything goes.