Wednesday, July 20, 2005

FBI Keeping Lengthy Files on Groups Opposed to Bush's Policies

Yahoo! News

FBI Keeping Lengthy Files on Groups Opposed to Bush's Policies

Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Tue Jul 19,11:40 AM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jul 19 (OneWorld) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has amassed at least 3,500 pages of internal documents from political protest groups in what the targets say amounts to political surveillance of some of President George W. Bush's leading critics.

The FBI has obtained 1,173 pages of internal documents on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since 2001, the rights watchdog and prominent administration critic said Monday. Federal agents also have collected some 2,383 pages from environmental group Greenpeace, a leading voice of anti-Bush protest, the ACLU added.

The figures have emerged as part of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) brought by the ACLU and other groups alleging that the FBI is engaging in politically motivated spying against law-biding organizations.

''We now know that the government is keeping documents about the ACLU and other peaceful groups,'' said Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director. ''The question is why.''

The ACLU, in court documents, has contended that joint terrorism task forces set up across the country and led by the FBI are structured and funded in ways that facilitate violations of groups' and individuals' rights to assemble and speak freely.

The organization said it filed its FOIA requests in response to widespread complaints from students and political activists who said FBI agents were questioning them in the months leading up to the 2004 political conventions.

The FBI and Justice Department have said that any such intelligence-gathering was aimed at preventing criminal activity, not silencing speech.

Documents obtained through lawsuits also showed the FBI was monitoring groups' Web sites and had prepared an internal report on at least one anti-war protest organization, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), and its efforts to organize a demonstration in the run up to the 2004 Republican National Convention, the ACLU said.

''The UFPJ report underscores our concern that the FBI is violating Americans' right to peacefully assemble and oppose government policies without being branded as terrorist threats,'' said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director. ''There is no need to open a counterterrorism file when people are simply exercising their First Amendment rights.''

The ACLU is seeking FBI surveillance files on itself, Greenpeace, UFPJ, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The Justice Department has said it will take up to a year to review the material the ACLU seeks. The civil rights group has accused the government of stalling and has asked a judge to order federal agents to turn over the documents sooner.

The FBI's ability to monitor political protest groups had been curtailed since the 1970s amid outrage over a decade's worth of abuses under then-agency director J. Edgar Hoover.

Many of the restrictions were lifted or relaxed after the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, however, despite some lawmakers' stated concerns that the expanded police powers granted under the USA Patriot Act, in particular, could prompt civil rights violations and result in the targeting of legitimate and legal dissent.

Key Patriot Act provisions are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. Bush was scheduled to speak about the law in Baltimore, Maryland, Wednesday, as part of a sustained White House campaign to make permanent the law's expanded powers.

Critics have said the powers infringe on citizens' civil liberties but Bush has described the Patriot Act as ''one of the important tools federal agents have used to protect America.''



The New Standard
News Brief

Government Asks Court to Deny Release of FBI Files

by Brendan Coyne (bio)

Jul 20 - In a motion filed in federal court earlier this month, the FBI admitted having thousands of documents relating to civil liberties, environmental and anti-war groups, but asserted that it will take half a year or more to complete a request to make them all public, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed in a statement yesterday.

The group released one document it did manage to obtain through the request. It shows the FBI monitored the websites of groups planning to protest last summer’s Republican National Convention and referred the information to a counterterrorism unit.

In its court filing, the FBI and Department of Justice asked that the court deny a motion for "expedited" disclosure of the documents and asked that that future FOIA actions dealing with the same matter be peremptorily denied, pending fulfillment of the existing request, according to the motion, filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia on July 5.

The government’s motion is the latest volley in a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace, the ACLU and several other organizations after the FBI ignored several requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The May filing sought "expedited processing" of the FOIA requests for information. Responding to the lawsuit, the FBI and Department of Justice said it will take until February to provide the ACLU documents and another four months to process the Greenpeace portion. According to the FBI filing, federal law enforcement agents have at least 2,383 separate documents on Greenpeace and another 1,173 related to the ACLU.

The existence of the FBI files on the organizations does not necessarily suggest wrongdoing on the part of the Bureau.

Nevertheless, key observations and conclusions in the already-released document are entirely blocked out by government censors, but the readable portions mostly contain several excerpts from websites quoted at length, including political statements by United for Peace and Justice, Global Exchange and RNCNotWelcome. The excerpted speech simply details the reasons why people planned to protest the Bush administration and calls for diverse groups to demonstrate.

The document, which is addressed to "counterterrorism," then reads, "This information is being reported to recipients for review and action deemed appropriate."

© 2005 The NewStandard. See our reprint policy.



Ex FBI agent sentenced in US-China spy scandal

Tue Jul 19, 3:08 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A former FBI agent who had an affair with an accused Chinese double agent he was handling was sentenced to three months in home confinement in the climax of a bizarre spy saga.

Ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent James Smith, 61, was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and sentenced to three years' probation for his role in the scandal that shook the US police agency.

Smith was sentenced under a plea bargain with prosecutors after admitting in court Wednesday that he had lied to his bosses about his two-decade "sexual relationship" with accused Chinese spy Katrina Leung.

Smith, who was arrested along with Leung in April 2003, had recruited and handled California businesswoman Leung to work as an agent for the FBI to pass on information about the Chinese government.

But wealthy Leung was also in pay of the Chinese government, prosecutors allege.

Smith was sentenced by the same judge who in January threw out charges of taking and copying national security documents against Leung, 51, after finding that prosecutors engaged in misconduct in the case against her.

Prosecutors, who allege Leung sneaked information out of Smith's briefcase during liaisons at her home, have appealed the dismissal to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors had urged the judge to put Smith behind bars for two months for his role in the scandal, a sentence they said would reflect the seriousness of his offence.

"This is not mere adultery. This is an affair with an intelligence asset, who was a double agent," Assistant US Attorney Rebecca Lonergan told US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper on Monday.

The prosecution cited Smith's alleged inability when being interrogated to remember what information he may have given Leung during their affair.

Lonergan said the FBI would be "struggling for years to come" to find out what damage the now-retired counter-intelligence agent and his affair had done to US national security.

"What may have been compromised ... we will not know," the prosecutor said.

But defence attorney Brian Sun accused the US government of seeking prison time for Smith in an attempt at "saving face in a case that's been disastrous for all concerned."

"The government's position smacks of some vindictiveness," said Sun, who stressed Smith's long career with the FBI and what he described as 100 hours of interviews in an attempt to cooperate with investigators in the case -- in which his plea deal called for him to testify against Leung.



WorldNet Daily Commentary

Why the FBI watches the left

By Michelle Malkin


Posted: July 20, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Civil-liberties activists, anti-war organizers, eco-militants and animal-rights operatives are in a fright over news that the nefarious FBI is watching them. Why on earth would the government be worried about harmless liberal grannies, innocent vegetarians, unassuming rainforest lovers and other "peaceful groups" simply exercising their First Amendment rights?

Let me remind you of some very good reasons.

In March 2003, I reported on a manifesto disseminated across the Internet by infamous eco-radical Craig Rosebraugh – former spokesman for the violent Earth Liberation Front – who called on fellow leftists to take "direct actions" against American military establishments, urban centers, corporations, government buildings and media outlets. His instructions included:

Attack the financial centers of the country. Using covert or black block techniques ... physically shut down financial centers which regulate and assist the functioning of U.S. economy. This can be done in a variety of ways from massive property destruction, to online sabotage, to physical occupation of buildings.

Large-scale urban rioting. With massive unrest and even state of emergencies declared in major cities across the country, the U.S. government will be forced to send U.S. troops into the domestic arena thereby taking resources and political focus away from the war.

Attack the media centers of the country. ... Using any means necessary, shut down the national networks of NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, etc. ...

Spread the battle to the individuals responsible for the war and destruction of life – the very heads of government and U.S. corporations. No longer should these people be able to hide behind their occupations, living their lives in peace while they simultaneously slaughter countless people. Hit them in their personal lives, visit their homes, and make them feel personally responsible for committing massive atrocities.

Make it known publicly that this movement DOES NOT support U.S. troops as long as they are serving an unjust and horrifying political regime. Create an atmosphere lacking of support to assist U.S. troops at home and abroad in losing their morale and will to fight. ...

Actively target U.S. military establishments within the United States. ... use any means necessary to slow down the functioning of the murdering body.

In April 2003, I reported on a mob of "peace" activists from an outfit called Direct Action to Stop the War that coordinated a seditious blockade of an Oakland port involved in shipping military supplies. The anti-war mob's primary target at the Port of Oakland was American President Lines, a longtime carrier of military cargo. For Operation Iraqi Freedom, the carrier made nine of its vessels available to the Defense Department to move ammunition and sustainment cargo to support U.S. military forces.

The anti-war obstructionists weren't simply exercising their "free speech." They blocked trucks, employees, entryways and streets in order to stop the shipment of things like bullets, rations, lubricants, medical supplies, repair parts and chemical defense equipment to our troops. They also targeted Stevedoring Services of America, which handled some 3 million tons of humanitarian aid.

In August 2004, radical guerrilla activists from the "Black Bloc" group publicized plans to disrupt the GOP convention by attempting to distract police dogs, halt trains in New York City and spur the evacuation of Madison Square Garden.

In January 2005, the anti-war extremists of Code Pink traveled to the Jordan-Iraq border and doled out $600,000 in aid to "the other side."

In February 2005, civil-rights attorney and left-wing darling Lynne Stewart was convicted on five counts of conspiring to aid murderous Islamic terrorists and lying to the government about smuggling messages from her jailed client, terrorist mastermind Shiekh Omar Abdel Rahman, to his followers in Egypt.

In June 2005, moonbat celebrity professor Ward Churchill suggested to a Portland audience that killing military officers with explosive devices was a more effective anti-war tactic than conscientious objection. "Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect," Churchill advised.

The FBI's job is to take threats to our domestic security seriously and act on them before catastrophe strikes. Given the suspect words and actions of left-wing groups over the last several years, "dissent is patriotic" is a bromide no responsible agent can swallow blindly. Tolerating the unfettered free speech of saboteurs has threatened enough lives already.



Should civil liberties always trump national security? "In Defense of Internment" is Michelle Malkin's airtight case for profiling in today's terror war ... and her courageous defense of World War II internment measures.

If you'd rather order by phone, call WND's toll-free customer service line at 1-800-4WND-COM (1-800-496-3266).


Michelle Malkin's column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate and appears in about 100 newspapers nationwide. Her book, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores," is a national best seller and now available at ShopNetDaily. All copies of the book sold at ShopNetDaily are personally autographed.




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