September 23, 2010
The Justice Department’s Inspector General has issued a report critical of the FBI for its spying on anti-war activists, animal-rights groups, and environmentalists. The report, entitled A Review of the FBI’s Investigations of Certain Domestic Advocacy Groups, said the “terror” investigations were “unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy.”
|The effort to “neutralize” opposition to the government reached its zenith in the 1960s with the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. Photo: Dave Newman.|
In fact, since the creation of the FBI in 1935, the agency has served as a secret police force and has been used against official enemies of the state, including the civil rights and anti-war movements.
Prior to the establishment of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, as special assistant to attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer, used the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 to launch a massive campaign against official enemies, mostly labor activists, communists, and anarchists. The effort to “neutralize” — as Hoover called it — opposition to the government reached its zenith in the 1960s with the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO.
If the Inspector General’s report reveals anything, it is that COINTELPRO is alive and well today. “From this broad review we identified particular FBI investigations and other activities that potentially implicated the First Amendment activities of the groups or their members,” the report explains.
“A separate Justice Department investigation released earlier this year concluded that the bureau used lies and trickery to illegally obtain thousands of records, then issued after-the-fact approvals in an attempt to cover it up,” writes Alex Newman for the New American. “That report claimed agents repeatedly and knowingly violated the law by invoking non-existent ‘terror emergencies’ to get access to information they were not authorized to have. And among those targeted were journalists.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“The FBI gave inaccurate information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible terrorism link to justify surveilling an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Monday in a report on the bureau’s scrutiny of domestic activist groups,” reports CBS and the Associated Press.
In other words, the agency lied to the American people when it said the Thomas Merton Center, a nonviolent anti-war organization, was a haven for terrorists. According to the FBI, people involved in civil disobedience, trespassing and vandalism are engaged in terrorist activities.
The Justice Department report underscores a pattern of continuing government abuse. Last week it was revealed that the Pennsylvania department of Homeland Security had hired an Israeli company to spy on Second Amendment activists and the Tea Party. “Pennsylvania militia groups apparently are planning on attending” a pro-Second Amendment rally, the Israeli company, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, said in a bulletin. It warned law enforcement might have to provide “crowd control.”
The release last year of a federal Department of Homeland Security report on “right-wing extremism” reveals that the government is concerned about the political activity of returning veterans, Second Amendment advocates, pro-life activists, and members of the sovereign citizen movement.
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