September 4, 2008
As Amy Goodwin notes at one minute, thirty seconds into this video, the anarchist RNC “Welcoming Committee” will be charged with acts committed by other anarchists, i.e., the agents provocateurs responsible for most of the violent acts committed during the largely peaceful demonstrations in Minnesota. As the authorities admit, the activist group in question was infiltrated by the government, thus casting suspicion over the entire case.
The FBI, working closely with local law enforcement, has a long track record of inserting agents provocateurs in activists groups, from black, Indian, and Puerto Rican “liberation” movements and antiwar organizations — under COINTELPRO and the CIA’s Operation Chaos — to the Judi Bari case in the 90s and beyond.
As the ACLU revealed in 2006, the Pentagon has surveilled Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups, and has shared this information with other government agencies through the Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database.
As well, 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,” Eric Lichtblau reported in November, 2003.
In 2004, the Joint Terrorism Task Force worked with the NSA to monitor antiwar groups, going so far as to document the inflating of protesters’ balloons.
Law enforcement has an established track record of dispatching agents provocateurs, most notably at the Montebello summit in Ottawa last year.
“My own knowledge is that the FBI along with other Federal law enforcement agencies has been involved in a campaign of bombing, arson and terrorism in order to create in the mass public mind a connection between political dissidence of whatever stripe and revolutionaries of whatever violent tendencies,” admitted David Sannes in an interview on WBAI radio. Sannes worked with the FBI in the 1970s to frame activists.
For a recent example of how far the FBI will go to manufacture terrorist scenarios, consider the case of Miami’s “homegrown terrorists,” charged in a ludicrous plot to bomb a federal building in Miami and the Sears tower in Chicago. As it turns out, they putative terrorists were framed by the FBI who sent in an agent provocateur claiming to be with al-Qaeda. “To obtain money and support for their mission, the conspirators sought help from al-Qaida,” that is to say the FBI.
“(COINTELPRO) is still in operation today, but under a different code name. The operation is no longer placed on paper where it can be discovered through the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act. A clear example of the FBI’s continued COINTELPRO is in the FBI’s alleged involvement in the 1990 bombing of the vehicle occupied by Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney … which was an effort to neutralize [environmentalist] Judi Bari,” writes M. Wesley Swearingen, a retired career FBI agent with first-hand inside knowledge of COINTELPRO, in his book “FBI Secrets — An Agent’s Expose.”
It is significant that the eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee, who did not actually participate in a crime, will be prosecuted under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal PATRIOT Act. This comes at a time when the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 is working its way through the Senate after it received almost unanimous support in the House of Representatives.
No doubt the case in Minnesota will provide ample grist for this draconian bill, especially if the government is successful in making its case that the RNC activists are “homegrown” terrorists, never mind the accused did not engage in a crime and the government intends to blame them for the violent acts of anarchist agents provocateurs.