RE: FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force/JTTF

March 31, 2014

From the FBI’s origins it has been used primarily as an instrument to repress ideological enemies. In the late 1910s and 1920s, after collecting names of 150,000 US residents, it ravaged with jail, deportations, and killings, those labeled labor and immigrant “radicals” who were harshly condemning US entrance into World War I and intelligently critiquing economic injustices rampant in the US capitalist economy. At the same time, the FBI virtually ignored white supremist groups like the KKK whose six million members – nearly 25 percent of the white male population at the time – were lynching with impunity six African Americans every month on average. Similarly, it consistently ignored with impunity countless paramilitary thugs hired by corporations who killed hundreds and injured thousands of labor organizers seeking better pay and working conditions.

Today, the FBI and CIA devastate through jail, torture and long-term imprisonment many marginal people of Arab, Muslim, and South Asia backgrounds, while effectively ignoring the criminal white collar Wall Street banksters deemed immune because they are too big and important to jail. Over the years, including during the FBI’s notoriously illegal and secret Cointelpro campaign, 1956 – 1971, the FBI has systematically, and illegally, repressed a broad array of citizens who righteously sought to correct serious social injustices and illegalities, representing the women’s, civil right’s, anti-war, Black power, American Indian, and occupy movements, among many others.

President Reagan re-ignited Cointelpro in 1981 signing Executive Order/EO-12333, an explicit policy using “terror” as a pretext to repress what he preposterously claimed were efforts to create a Soviet Beachhead in the Americas. It authorized the FBI, CIA, and other agencies to restore domestic surveillance that included infiltration, manipulation, and disruption of domestic organizations, even in absence of any evidence of wrongdoing. This was particularly applied to persons who were condemning Reagan’s truly gruesome terrorist policies killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of impoverished citizens seeking long overdue justice in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Two-Hundred thousand Central American campesinos were savagely murdered by Reagan’s policies. EO-12333, along with National Security Decision Directive/NSDD-138, “Combatting terrorism,” which approved pre-emptive strikes and retaliatory raids against so-called “terrorists”, became policy with subsequent amendments having the effect of what White House officials once described as “licenses to kill” and “go anywhere, do anything authority.”

Since 9/11, under every president, the JTTF, with over 100 offices and a $3 billion/year budget, using 15,000 registered informants, and as many as 50,000 unofficial ones, many with criminal records seeking immunity from their own prosecution, has carried out an ideological campaign effectively instilling fear in the US American public. Its agents direct particularly vulnerable people to consider committing an act which normally hadn’t been independently thought of, an act the subject is clearly not capable of carrying out on his/her own. Trevor Aaronson, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War On Terrorism (IG Publishing, 2013), documented 508 defendants the FBI targeted as terrorists since 2001 using informants, agent provocateurs, or sting operations. He describes the overwhelming majority as “fantasy terror operations.” Stephan Salisbury, author of Mohamed’s Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland  (Nation Books, 2010), concludes that if homegrown “terrorist cells” are not simply elusive but an illusion as appears increasingly to be the case, the entire war on [OF] terror collapses. He finds over and over that the FBI provides the means to carry out plots with marginal suspects who have little capability to launch an attack without the government’s help – the government instigates, plans, and brings it to fruition.

The definition of domestic “terrorism” now broadly encompasses historically constitutionally protected expressions such as labor pickets/strikes, nonviolent direct actions/civil disobedience and peaceful assemblies. Prosecutors increasingly target these activities as “terrorist” actions.

In 1986, I participated with three other war veterans, one a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, in an open-ended water-only fast on the US Capitol steps to protest the lawless polices in Central America of the President and Congress. We ended the fast on the 47th day after receiving notice from around the country of 500 nonviolent actions in solidarity with our message. How could we even imagine that this water-only fast was ridiculously considered a sufficiently serious threat to “national security” that we became FBI suspects under their formal category, “domestic security/terrorism sabotage.” Later the nation learned of hundreds of suspicious harassments and break-ins, including surreptitious entry into private homes and offices, including our veteran’s fast office. Over 1,600 groups were investigated and nearly 7,000 US citizens were targeted as “terrorists.” In my case, this labeling led to my nearly being killed at a nonviolent protest that took my legs and fractured my skull. I describe this violent crime in my psychohistorical memoir, Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson (PM Press, 2011). [SEE Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Human Rights and Peace Law Docket, 1945-1993, PL-234/41.2; Brian Willson v. Cagle; 717 FSupp 1521 (ND CA 1988)].

CONCLUSION: Portland is far better off terminating its relationship with the FBI’s JTTF. Serious oversight has been lacking. This is grossly irresponsible. But it is doubtful that any effective oversight is possible with the amount of secrecy demanded by the FBI. In fact, working with the JTTF has the potential of instilling fear and distrust among citizens with its regular resort to “fantasy terror operations.” This in turn continues a vicious cycle that justifies retention of their jobs and security infrastructures not to mention a forever war of terror, without any serious public scrutiny in our fear-laden, terrorama society. The enemy is everywhere, and nowhere!


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