The FBI’s Monkeywrench Alert
Lockheed Martin, beware. There are property-destroying anarchists out there who may want to throw a monkey wrench in the works. These anarchists are determined to stop you from manufacturing the high-tech grist Bush and his neo-con world conquerors need to invade Iraq.
According to an advisory issued by the FBI’s Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program, these devious anarchists are against the up-and-coming war with Iraq and are advocating “explicit and direct attack upon the war machine” during the week of December 15-21. The curious announcement encouraging attacks was posted on the internet by a mysterious group supposedly going by the name “Every Day a Circle Day” and calling for “attacks on the headquarter facilities and other assets of oil companies and defense contractors, singling out Boeing and Lockheed Martin” as well as the “assets” of the Department of Defense.
The FBI’s ANSIR program, formerly known as DECA (Development of Espionage, Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism Awareness) began in 1995 as a fax service and moved to email a year later. It has the capacity to service 100,000 subscribers, mostly corporations, “corporate security professionals,” law enforcement, and other government agencies. ANSIR releases unclassified information on the “techniques of espionage” to corporations worried about their proprietary information falling victim to the corporate snooping of rivals or foreign agents. Now, in addition, ANSIR warns the titans of industry about the threat posed by pernicious antiwar activists.
According to the FBI’s ANSIR website, the agency “has a unique capability to respond when [terrorist] activities are identified in the United States… The FBI does more than simply identify problems; it does something about them.” Of course, considering the less than vigilant response to ample warnings the agency received in regard to al-Qaeda and 911, this may be nothing more than a PR boast. Nonetheless, if history serves, the FBI may use the suspected threat of Every Day a Circle — either real, imagined, or (certainly not out of the realm of possibility) covertly created by the FBI — as a pretext to go after a real, growing, and sincere threat to “national security” (as defined by Bush and his neo-con coterie of chicken hawks): the non-violent antiwar movement.
The FBI has a long and sordid history of not only monitoring and snooping on civil rights, labor, and antiwar movements — from the Palmer Raids, to COINTELPRO, and beyond — but of also infiltrating these organizations and inserting agents provocateurs to discredit them. As the Church Commission in the 1970s discovered, under COINTELPRO the FBI had used bogus mail, evidence fabrication, sent fictional material designed to “create dissention and cause disruption,” leaked information obtained by informants to the media, and adversely affected the credit and employment status of activists. But it wasn’t strictly wild-eyed anarchists and Weathermen the FBI targeted, but also mainstream political groups. For example, from 1946-60 the FBI conducted 3,000 wiretaps and 800 bugs on the NAACP. Other threats to order and national security were posed by the ACLU, American Library Association, American Jewish Congress, Common Cause, National Education Association, the New York Review of Books, and Rolling Stone
But the most vicious COINTELRPO attacks were reserved for the Black Panthers, tactics that ultimately led to the murder of Panther leader Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago. In Los Angeles, FBI agents provocateurs were partly responsible for the murder of BPP leader John Huggins and Alprentice Carter. J. Edgar Hoover characterized the Panthers as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and allowed his agents to treat them accordingly.
Will John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge soon be saying the same about those of us who refuse to cooperate and who actively resist Bush’s up-and-coming war on Iraq — and the wars of extension surely to follow against Iran, Syria, Libya, and possibly North Korea? Bush’s multiplication of war and unprecedented bellicosity in the name of empire will surely require a neo-COINTELPRO (no longer illegal, as its predecessor, but enshrined in law) in order to subvert and render ineffectual a growing antiwar movement. Is it only a matter of time before the newly christened Ministry of Homeland Security reactivates the dirty tricks of J. Edgar Hoover and his brainchild COINTELPRO — working to get activists fired from their jobs (ask Michael Parenti), collecting salacious personal information (as Hoover’s boys attempted to do with a bug planted in Martin Luther King’s hotel room), framing dissidents for serious crimes (ask BPP leader Geronimo Pratt who spent 25 years in prison, only to be released when it was discovered the FBI concocted the evidence against him), or initiating violence between political groups (as the FBI tried to do with the BPP and the followers of the African-American nationalist Ron Karenga)?
It can be argued COINTELPRO never really went away, but only experienced a short hiatus when Gerald Ford’s Attorney General Edward Levi issued guidelines of conduct for the FBI in 1976. In 1983, Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, William French Smith, revamped the guidelines: “In its efforts to anticipate or prevent crimes, the FBI must at times initiate investigations in advance of criminal conduct.” In other words, the agency under Reagan became a de facto Department of Precrime, investigating and harassing such criminal threats as the American Indian Movement and the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. Bush Senior and Clinton rolled back civil liberty protections even more in the guise of “anti-terrorism” (as a precursor of things to come, Clinton proposed a “partnership effort” between the Justice Department, the FBI, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies). Bush Junior stirred the methodically prepared totalitarian stew with USA-Patriot and added extrajudicial ingredients: mass arrests, interrogation of immigrants (and US citizens), disappearances, detaining suspects without charge or access to lawyers, military tribunals, possible use of torture to obtain information, wiretapping of attorney-client conversations, widespread ethnic and religious profiling of Muslims, Arabs and Asian people, warrantless searches, pervasive electronic snooping of email and internet travel, and even assassination of US citizens by presidential directive.
Is it beyond the Bushites, many of whom are Iran-Contra alumni and hardly strangers to dirty tricks and covert operations, to have the CIA (now firmly established in FBI offices nationwide) create a bogus anarchist group designed to engage in “explicit and direct attack upon the war machine,” and thus discredit the larger, mostly non-violent antiwar movement? Is it coincidental that Every Day a Circle Day plans its violent disruption at the same time United For Peace will hold an interfaith-organized vigil and candle light procession, forums, fasts, workshops, panels, and exhibits across the country?
Now that ANSIR has announced violence in response to violence, antiwar activists are receiving phone calls from the corporate media asking questions about the anarchists (reporters are generally not interested in boring and peaceful protesters marching around with candles, but violence, well, that plays great on the idiot tube and also delivers the appropriate message — the bomb-throwing, window-smashing, capitalist-hating baddies are back). As the journalist Bill Berkowitz has reported, none of the antiwar activists he’s talked with have ever heard of Every Day a Circle Day.
Was Every Day a Circle Day created by the FBI/CIA, or is it a genuine threat? If the latter, it couldn’t have arrived on the scene at a more inauspicious time for the antiwar movement — and a more advantageous time for the Bush warmongers.
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