Saturday, December 10, 2005


Terror and Politics: If You're Right, You're Right

Three recent pieces on “domestic terrorism” point out the real function of all the emphasis on counter-terrorism in the U.S.: keeping the population in line—not really fighting terrorists from overseas like the ones who did 9/11. There’s no mention, either, of chasing down those who spread anthrax. Crimes against people don’t seem to have the importance of those against property, do they?

The FBI considers the animal rights and environmental activists the biggest domestic terror threats. They announced this before 9/11 and the anthrax attacks and even after the terrible Oklahoma City bombing by members of right-wing militia groups. There’s something wrong with this picture.

What’s wrong is that the people on these “terrorist” watch-lists are people not supportive, as a rule, to corporate capitalism, are not supporters of the rising power of the fundamentalist-militarist religious groups, and who don’t support the growth of the U.S. Empire. They’re people on the left of the political spectrum. That’s been the history of political police work in this country for the last one hundred or so years—ever since the growth and power-grabbing of capitalism. Seriously. The police and military, since the days of labor’s struggles to obtain justice, have been used to squash those who dissent against the big money interests—or who are perceived to be against the interest of the rich. That’s what the Palmer Raids were all about; that’s what the post-World War Two pursuit of “communist sympathizers” was about, and the constant scrutiny of groups opposed to imperial policies in Latin America, Africa, South-East Asia, as well as anti-war groups here at home.

The only time the Nazis got squashed was at the actually declaration of war against Nazi Germany. Up until then, they operated here in America without government interference. The only times the Klan and various white-power groups were busted was when their crimes became national scandals.

Same old same old.

ACLU: Protesters Placed in Terror Files
By Anslee Willett
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
Friday 09 December 2005

The names and license plate numbers of about 30 people who protested three years ago in Colorado Springs were put into FBI domestic-terrorism files, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado said Thursday.

The Denver-based ACLU obtained federal documents on a 2002 Colorado Springs protest and a 2003 anti-war rally under the Freedom of Information Act.

ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said the documents show the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force wastes resources generating files on "nonviolent protest."

"These documents confirm that the names and license plate numbers of several dozen peaceful protesters who committed no crime are now in a JTTF file marked 'counterterrorism,'" he said.

"This kind of surveillance of First Amendment activities has serious consequences. Law-abiding Americans may be reluctant to speak out when doing so means that their names will wind up in an FBI file."

FBI Special Agent Monique Kelso, the spokeswoman for the agency in Colorado, disputed the claim the task force wastes resources gathering information on protesters.

"We do not open cases or monitor cases just based purely on protests," she said Thursday. "It's our job to protect American civil rights. We don't surveil cases just to do that. We have credible information."

The documents cover the June 2002 protest of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association convention at The Broadmoor hotel and an anti-war protest at Palmer Park in February 2003, the ACLU said.

The FBI files contain the names and license-plate numbers of 31 people at the 2002 protest, Silverstein said.


The file was classified as domestic terrorism and acts of terrorism, Silverstein said.

"The FBI is unjustifiably treating nonviolent public protest as though it were domestic terrorism," Silverstein said. "The FBI's misplaced priorities threaten to deter legitimate criticism of government policy while wasting taxpayer resources that should be directed to investigating real terrorists."


Friday, December 9, 2005 - 12:00 AM

Arrests may be key in UW arson

By Peter Lewis
Seattle Times staff reporter

University of Washington officials are hopeful that the arrests of six people in connection with a series of eco-terrorism attacks in the Northwest could lead to a break in the unsolved 2001 arson that destroyed the UW's Center for Urban Horticulture.

Among the arrests announced Thursday are two people who have been charged with an arson at an Oregon tree farm that occurred at the same time as the UW arson. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a group that has carried out sabotage against targets it deems to be threats to the environment, has claimed responsibility for both fires.

Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier of the UW Police Department said his department will meet today with federal law-enforcement officials to discuss the possibility of a link between the UW arson and the fire at the Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie on May 21, 2001. The UW fire caused between $1.5 million and $2 million in damage.

"Even if it isn't the same people, just the coincidence of the same type of arson happening the same day would be amazing," Wittmier said. "It definitely will be interesting to confer."

Seattle FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs said she was unwilling to make any definitive statement beyond acknowledging that the FBI "has a lot more investigation to do in this state."


The ELF and the Animal Liberation Front, two loosely knit radical groups, have claimed responsibility for many of the acts, authorities said. After the UW and Clatskanie arsons, ELF sent a communiqué that said the attack on the tree farm targeted hybrid poplars grown on the farm because they threaten native biodiversity in the ecosystem. The same communiqué said the UW arson was directed at the work of UW researcher Toby Bradshaw on genetically engineered trees.

Among those arrested Wednesday were Stanislaw G. Meyerhoff, 28, and Daniel G. McGowan, 31, both charged with arsons at the Jefferson Poplar Farms on May 21, 2001, and the Superior Lumber Company in Glendale, Ore. on Jan. 2, 2001. Damages in each fire exceeded $1 million. Both face up to life in prison if convicted.

Authorities said Meyerhoff was separately indicted for the toppling of a Bonneville Power Administration electrical-transmission tower in Bend, Ore., on Dec. 30, 1999.

Also charged are William C. Rodgers, 40, and Kevin M. Tubbs, 36, for the June 21, 1998, arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services facility in Olympia. Damage was estimated at $1.2 million. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison.

Also charged are:

• Sarah K. Harvey, 28, for the arson at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Ore., on Dec. 27, 1998. The fire caused an estimated $500,000. She faces up to 20 years if convicted.

• Chelsea D. Gerlach, 28, for destruction of the BPA tower in Bend, for which she faces up to 20 years, and also with torching a meat company in Eugene on May 9, 1999, causing about $1.2 million. She pleaded not guilty to the destruction of the tower Thursday.

The FBI has said groups like ALF and ELF have been responsible for arsons and other destructive acts that have caused more than $110 million in damage across the U.S. John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, told a Senate committee earlier this year that environmental and animal-rights activists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation's top domestic-terrorism threat.


Peter Lewis: 206-464-2217 or

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company
US Terror Watchlist 80,000 Names Long
Agence France-Presse

Thursday 08 December 2005

Stockholm - A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks is now 80,000 names long, a Swedish newspaper reported, citing European air industry sources.

The classified list, which carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington had grown to 1,000 by the end of 2001, to 40,000 a year later and now stands at 80,000, Svenska Dagbladet reported.

Airlines must check each passenger flying to a US destination against the list, and contact the US Department of Homeland Security for further investigation if there is a matching name.

The list contains a strict "no fly" section, which requires airline staff to contact police, and a "selectee" section, which requires passengers to undergo further security checks.

Some 2,000 passengers checking in at Stockholm's Arlanda airport have had to be cleared with the US authorities because of name matches on the "selectee" list this year, although none was prevented from boarding, Svenska Dagbladet said.

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