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Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.
Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.
The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.
Tag Archives | Domestic Terrorism
Acting as “a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America,” the FBI surveillance of Occupy Wall Street from the beginning, and shared its findings with private corporate interests. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund writes:
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FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.
Billions of dollars have been poured into a surveillance and information-sharing network connecting the Department of Homeland Security with state and local law enforcement, nothing resembling a domestic threat has been uncovered. The New York Times reports:
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One of the nation’s biggest domestic counterterrorism programs has failed to provide virtually any useful intelligence, according to Congressional investigators.
Their scathing report, to be released Wednesday, looked at problems in regional intelligence-gathering offices known as “fusion centers” that are financed by the Department of Homeland Security and created jointly with state and local law enforcement agencies.
The report found that the centers “forwarded intelligence of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.”
More broadly, the flaws uncovered by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations raise questions about the role of the Department of Homeland Security in the nation’s fight against terrorism, and whether the department can ever live up to its original purpose of “connecting the dots” to prevent another surprise like the Sept.
They are often students, are paranoid and resent authority, and hatch their plots in coffee houses and underground clubs. Via Green is the New Red, meet the FBI’s public enemy number one:
The materials…to train agents to identify and investigate “domestic terrorist” groups such as “black separatists,” anarchists, animal rights activists, and environmentalists…were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU. They offer additional insight into a disturbing pattern of FBI activity misrepresenting political activists as “terrorists” and manufacturing “domestic terrorism threats” where none exist.
Juxtapose this with militia extremists and white supremacists, who have murdered, lynched, bombed, assaulted government officials and created weapons of mass destruction. To most reasonable people, such a stark disparity between these groups would raise questions about how the FBI is allocating its domestic terrorism resources. How did such misguided policies come about?
The ethical quandary we now face: can we afford not to have Homeland Security ethnically profile conservative whites? The Atlantic Wire reports:
In a disturbing report out of Georgia, prosecutors say four U.S. soldiers plotted to overthrow the government and assassinate President Obama. The soldiers allegedly bought $87,000 worth of “guns and bomb-making materials and plotted to take over Fort Stewart, bomb targets in nearby Savannah and Washington state, as well as assassinate the president.”
The plot was apparently uncovered in relation to a murder case surrounding the killing of in December. On Monday, Pfc. Michael Burnett, one of the accused soldiers, plead guilty to manslaughter and gang charges in the murder case. Burnett told a Long County judge that Roark, who had just left the Army, knew of the militia group’s plans and was killed because he was ‘a loose end.’
Check out WIRED’s Danger Room blog for a story about Daryl Johnson, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security whose analysis about the threat of domestic right-wing extremism eventually cost him his job:
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[Daryl] Johnson’s career took an unexpected turn in 2009, when an analysis he wrote on the rise of “Right-Wing Extremism” sparked a political controversy. Under pressure from conservatives, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) repudiated Johnson’s paper — an especially bitter pill for him to swallow now that Wade Michael Page, a suspected white supremacist, killed at least six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For Johnson, the shooting was a reminder that the government’s counterterrorism efforts are almost exclusively focused on al-Qaida, even as non-Islamist groups threaten Americans domestically.
“DHS is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism, as is Congress,” Johnson tells Danger Room. “There’ve been no hearings about the rising white supremacist threat, but there’s been a long list of attacks over the last few years.
Everyone gripes about how ridiculous it is when security checks for bombs inside the shoes of 75-year-olds at the airport…but it turns out that Grandpa in fact is a menace. Via the Daily Mail:
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Federal agents arrested four suspected members of a Georgia militia on charges of plotting attacks with toxins and explosives against unnamed government officials. The four – all over 65 years old – who authorities arrested on Tuesday, were expected to appear in federal court in Gainesville on Wednesday afternoon.
Court documents state that 73-year-old Frederick Thomas told others he intended to model their actions on the online novel Absolved, which involves small groups of citizens attacking U.S. officials.
Thomas is part of a group that also tried to obtain an unregistered explosive device and sought out the complex formula to produce ricin, a biological toxin that can be lethal in small doses, according to a federal complaint.
Jonathan Kay writes in the National Post:
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Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after the Norway killings, Alex Jones’ massively-surfed Infowars site already is fronting with the theory that the tragedy was all part of a conspiracy by European elites to deflect populist disgust at bailouts:
The false flag attack in Norway arrives as populism grows in Germany, Europe’s reluctant paymaster for the contrived debt-based economic crisis. Establishment politicians in Germany have balked at a second bankster bailout … The EU and the European political establishment are beholden to the bankers and their “free market” — as in free to loot and plunder — neoliberal policies and have now pulled out all the stops in an effort to crush resistance to endless bailouts designed to crash local economies and destroy national sovereignty.
It is no mistake the corporate media is comparing Anders Behring Breivik to Timothy McVeigh.