Police state : FBI targets environmentalists


Richard Moore

    Destruction of property in the name of a political cause is
    now deemed an act of terrorism that can carry with it prison
    terms equivalent to first-degree murder and allows the FBI to
    deploy the extra-constitutional powers granted by the Patriot
    Act and other anti-terrorism laws.


The Cancer Agents of the FBI 

Monday, October 03 2005 @ 01:28 PM PDT 
Contributed by: Admin 

With nothing much better to do and an unlimited budget to
burn, the FBI is turning its mighty inquisitorial arsenal on
environmental groups across the country. Even now the feds are
scouring green outfits from Moscow, Idaho to Cancer Alley
Parish, Louisiana, looking to round up bands of
eco-terrorists, the Osama Bin Ladens of the American outback.

October 3, 2005 
The Cancer Agents of the FBI 
The Great Green Scare 


With nothing much better to do and an unlimited budget to
burn, the FBI is turning its mighty inquisitorial arsenal on
environmental groups across the country. Even now the feds are
scouring green outfits from Moscow, Idaho to Cancer Alley
Parish, Louisiana, looking to round up bands of
eco-terrorists, the Osama Bin Ladens of the American outback.

Back in Reagantime the rightwingers smeared environmentalists
as watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. In
those halcyon days, economist John Baden, major domo of a
rightwing think tank called FREE and the Svengali of the
Sagebrush Rebels, made a small fortune hawking watermelon
ties, woven of the finest petro-polyester, to his retinue of
oil execs, federal judges and range lords. Now that cap-C
Communism has faded into the oblivion of high school history
text books, the corporate world's pr mavens have had to
concoct a new spine-tingling metaphor to evoke the threat
environmentalism poses to their bottom line: eco-terrorism.

Apparently, it's just a short step from al Qaeda to PETA.
That's right, the money you save from not buying fur may be
going to finance terrorist raids to liberate condemned mink
from their isolation cages on rodent death row in Corvallis,

Of course, the feds haven't had much luck finding Bin Laden.
And our mean-spirited Clouseaus didn't stop any of his
kamikazes, even though their own agents shouted out repeated
internal alarums. And when the whistleblowing agents went
public, the FBI brass cracked down on them, gagged some and
gave others, such as the courageous Sibel Edmunds, the boot.

Several of the feds' biggest terrorism arrests have blown up
in their faces. In Portland, Oregon, the FBI dramatically
seized attorney Brandon Mayfield, trumpeting to the press that
the mild-mannered immigration lawyer was a long-distance
mastermind behind the Madrid train bombings, a kind of Fu
Manchu in Birkenstocks. The feds said the technicians in their
crime lab had detected Mayfield's fingerprints on a bag found
near the bomb site that supposedly was linked to the
terrorists. After several harrowing weeks, he was released by
a disgusted federal judge, over the FBI's virulent objections,
after Spanish investigators revealed that the fatal
fingerprint bore not the faintest resemblance to Mayfield's
and, in fact, belonged to an Algerian. Yet another crushing
blow to the FBI crime lab.

And after four years, the FBI's snark hunt for the anthrax
killer has also come up empty.

So perhaps tree huggers shouldn't sweat these menacing
invigilations from the big heat.

Then again perhaps they should worry.

What the FBI is truly proficient at is destroying the lives of
innocent people, such as Brandon Mayfield, Judi Bari and Wen
Ho Lee. That's when they don't simply kill you outright, as
they did to Fred Hampton, the blameless men, women and kids in
that house of flames in Waco and Randy Weaver's wife, Vicki,
as she held an infant in her arms on the front porch of their
cabin at Ruby Ridge.

Armed with the bulging array of new police and surveillance
powers handed the agency in the wake of 9/11, the FBI is now
free to prowl unfettered by even the thinnest strands of
constitutional due process through the lives, email and bank
accounts of activists trying stop chemical plants from
flushing toxins into their water or logging companies from
slaughtering 800-year old trees on lands that are purportedly
part of the public estate.

In other words, the FBI is acting as a federally-funded
paramilitary force for the cancer industry and Extinction,
Incorporated, as the Pinkerton Agency and National Guard once
did for Anaconda Copper and Standard Oil.

Apparently, no one has told Robert Mueller that the corpse of
Edward Abbey has been moldering in the Arizona desert for 15
years, his place taken by touchy-feely greens funded by
organic body products companies, such as Julia Butterfly, who
would rather talk to trees than drive spikes into them for
their own good.

Of course, this kind of glaring nuance won't deter an agency
that persists in peddling the repeatedly discredited slur that
Judi Bari bombed herself.

Over on FoxNews, blinking eco-terrorist alerts have replaced
Tom Ridge's color-coded threat level as the latest alarmist
metronome to distract viewer attention from the plight of Karl
Rove, the convictions of corporate tycoons and the deepening
bloodbath in Iraq.

FoxNews devoted extensive coverage to congressional testimony
earlier this summer by John Lewis, the FBI's Deputy Director
for Counterterrorism. Deftly sidestepping border vigilantes,
anti-abortion zealots, and white supremacists, Lewis pointed
to environmentalists as the great looming internal threat to
the security of the nation. Lewis breathlessly claimed that
the FBI had documented more than 1,200 acts of eco-terrorism
over the last 15 years, inflicting $110 million in property
damage-or about the same amount that timber companies steal
from the national forests each year. Oddly, executives at the
Weyerhaeuser Company--a repeat offender--haven't done any time
in Pelican Bay lately.

Once again these hotly reported stories have mostly fizzled
out, with the supposed acts of eco-terrorism turning to be
insurance scams, disputes between neighbors or angry employees
venting their rage with a match and a gallon of gasoline.

In December of 2004, more than a dozen homes in a Maryland
subdivision near a wildlife reserve were torched. Before the
embers from the smoldering houses had cooled, the FBI publicly
fingered eco-terrorists for the arson. But it soon emerged
that the fires in the largely middle-class black neighborhood
had been committed by a drunken gang of white power
pyromaniacs called The Family. Close, boys, but no cigar.

Meanwhile, the Reverend Pat Robertson broadcasts assassination
proclamations on national television. Praise the lord and pay
the hit man. Operation Rescue's Randal Terry publicly
threatened federal judges during the national trauma over
Terri Schiavo. One of David Horowitz's featured writers on
Frontpage, a certain Michael Calderon, called for "Chomsky,
Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Michael Moore, Ward Churchill,
and [Justin] Raimondos to be found shot full of holes."
Another group of beer-gutted ultra-Patriots in Chicago openly
pleads online for the execution of Stan Goff, Alexander
Cockburn and your humble scribe.

None of these would-be terrorists is currently deemed a public
menace by the FBI. Rev. Robertson's notoriously corrupt
Operation Blessing is even sanctioned to receive FEMA money.

Over the past quarter of a century, only abortion providers
and Muslim clerics have been on the receiving end of more
death threats than environmental organizers. It comes with the
territory. But these virulent acts of harassment--messages
often driven home with dead spotted owls, bullet casings, and
rocks through the front window--rarely rouse the interest of
the FBI or even local cops. Apparently, the agency doesn't
consider the violent suppression of political speech a
terrorist act.

The environmental movement hasn't issued any fatwahs lately.
(Although there may have been discussions at the crusty League
of Conservation Voters of taking some kind of preemptive
action against Ralph Nader on the eve of the last election.)
Indeed, the greens haven't had many successes at all, since
Clinton and Gore drained the spinal fluid out of the big
greens back in the mid-90s. With a few feisty exceptions in
Montana, Oregon and Louisiana, the movement is a paper tiger
these days. Paper tigers are easily intimidated into turning
on their own, which may be the point.

The lack of a body count from green sleeper cells hasn't
stopped the FBI from amassing robust files on dozens of
environmental organizers and environmental groups. Of course,
this is an agency that harbored files on Sinatra, Liberace and
Louis Armstrong. Satchmo, though, certainly posed a greater
threat to the nation's ruling elite than has ever been evinced
by the National Audubon Society. In these tremulous times,
it's the environmental activist who doesn't have an FBI file
who should bear the greatest scrutiny--there's your potential
infiltrator. So perhaps the FBI had done the environmental
movement a service. The next time you're thinking about giving
a green group a contribution, ask to see their FBI file. If
it's thinner than 100 pages, donate to another group.

The feds seem to have a special fetish for Greenpeace. A
recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU forced the FBI to reveal that
it had accumulated more than 2,400 pages of information on
Greenpeace. While Greenpeace may be the Bush administration's
most visible environmental critic, this isn't your
grandfather's Greenpeace, which has largely abandoned the
flashy direct actions of yore for glossy direct mailings and
run-of-the-mill lobbying efforts--think National Wildlife
Federation with tongue-piercings.

And let us never forget that while Greenpeace has never been
charged with any terrorist act, it has been the victim of a
lethal terrorist bombing. In 1985, two French secret agents
detonated three limpet mines on the hull of the Rainbow
Warrior while it was docked in Auckland Harbor. The explosions
killed Fernando Pereira, a Portuguese photographer.

Even the feds can't cite a single death resulting from an
alleged act of eco-terrorism. But that doesn't matter. After
the horrors of New Orleans, it should be clear to all that
it's the protection of property, not people, that really gets
the feds going.

Destruction of property in the name of a political cause is
now deemed an act of terrorism that can carry with it prison
terms equivalent to first-degree murder and allows the FBI to
deploy the extra-constitutional powers granted by the Patriot
Act and other anti-terrorism laws.

Take the strange ordeal of Tre Arrow, who faces a
life-sentence on federal charges of burning a cement truck and
logging equipment in the ancient forests of Oregon. Today, Mr.
Arrow, who denies the allegations against him, is being held
in Canada, where he is fighting extradition. Those machines
torched in the Oregon forests were valued at less than
$500,000 combined. Yet Arrow, still in his twenties, is
looking at 70 years hard time in federal prison. Compare that
to the Nero of Tyco, Dennis Kozlowski, convicted, along with
his partner in crime Mark Swartz, of stealing $600 million
from his company. Kozlowski will be eligible for parole in
seven years. Enron's Meyer Lansky (AKA Andrew Fastow), the
numbers man responsible for engineering an accounting scheme
that resulted in the largest bankruptcy in US history, got 10
years in Club Fed--and he almost certainly won't serve all of
that. They never do.

As disclosed by former UPI editor Kelly Hearn in an excellent
recent piece for Alternet, under several state laws, and a
bill currently being shepherded through the US congress, you
don't even have to destroy property to be considered an
eco-terrorist. All you have to do is block access to an animal
research facility. Chain yourself to the door of entry into a
Dachau of the chimp world and you might find yourself staring
down a 20-year prison term, with all of your personal and
organizational assests seized, as if you were a Colombian drug
kingpin. Here the barbaric RICO statutes are being cast out as
the agency's prosecutorial driftnet.

The crackdown on greens is happening at a time when legally
sanctioned avenues of dissent against polluters and pillagers
of nature are being foreclosed daily, as congress and the
administration curtail abilities to appeal and litigate
federal rulings threatening the environment. It's even getting
tougher and tougher to find out what is actually going on.
With 9/11 as the inevitable rationale, the Bush administration
has shuttered the Toxic Release Inventory, which disclosed the
kinds and amounts of pollutants spew into the water and air by
chemical plants, and squeezed the Freedom of Information Act
in the name of national security (read: corporate wet dream).
What was once a fundamental right of remonstrance against
governmental and corporate outrages is now considered an act
of sedition.

So this FBI witchhunt is already well underway and will soon
be coming to a community group near you. The lives of
part-time activists, mothers, nurses, students, will be turned
upside down. They will be harassed, bullied and encouraged to
inform on their colleagues. Organizations will be infiltrated
and wrecked from the inside. False stories will be planted in
the press. Environmental funders will be scared off.
Foundations will be audited, hauled before hostile
congressional committees and threatened with revocation of
their tax status. It's a creepy new twist in an old narrative.

They got it all wrong, you say? Tough luck.

Being an FBI agent means never having to say you're sorry.
Just ask Richard Jewel, the man they wrongly fingered for the
Olympic Park bombings.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It
Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand
Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the
War on Terror.



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