FBI Target Oregon Activists
THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 12/6/2000
TARGETED FOR PROSECUTION BY FBI AND POLICE
A remarkable memorandum of understanding between the FBI
and the Portland OR police states that the Portland Joint Terrorism
Task Force will "identify and target for prosecution those
individuals or groups who are responsible for Right Wing and/or
Left Wing movements, as well as acts of the anti-abortion movement
and the Animal Liberation Front/Earth Liberation Front."
OREGONIAN: A coalition of community activists urged the Portland
City Council to rescind its recent support for a joint Portland
police and FBI task force on domestic terrorism. The Portland
Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of eight Portland criminal
intelligence officers, 12 federal agents and three other state
law enforcement officers, was formed in September to investigate
"criminal extremist activity." But some community members
are concerned the task force will inappropriately target special-interest
groups. Members of the League of Women Voters, the American Civil
Liberties Union of Oregon, the Portland chapter of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Portland Copwatch,
the National Lawyers Guild and the Portland Accountability Campaign
stood together outside City Hall to call for its demise. They
criticized Mayor Vera Katz, who serves as police commissioner,
and the City Council for issuing support for the task force last
week without public input and wondered why the task force was
formed this fall.
The FBI has similar task forces set up in 30 of its 56 divisions
nationwide, said Gordon Compton, FBI spokesman in Portland . "We
want to be proactive and keep these things from happening,"
Compton said. Much of the community concerns arose from the initial
wording of the City Council ordinance. It said the group's mission
was to identify and target for prosecution those individuals or
groups who are responsible for Right Wing and/or Left Wing movements,
as well as acts of the anti-abortion movement and the Animal
Liberation Front/Earth Liberation Front.". Commissioner
Charlie Hales called the wording "something out of the Nixon
administration." In the adopted ordinance, unanimously approved
Nov. 22, the wording was altered to restrict task force activity
to the investigation of "criminal terrorism."... But
those speaking out said the task force's mission is too broad.
They are concerned law enforcement will investigate anyone who
engages in political activity or associates with an activist group
... The task force's mission statement, signed in late September
by David Szady, special agent in charge of Oregon's FBI, and
Portland Chief Mark Kroeker, still holds that it will identify
and target individuals or groups who are responsible for acts
of "criminal terrorism within the traditional criteria of
the Right Wing or Left Wing movements, as well as acts of criminal
terrorism committed by special interest groups, such as the anti-abortion
movement and the Animal Liberation Front/Earth Liberation Front."
When Do Demonstrators Become--Terrorists?
The Anti--Terrorist Act of 1996 appears aimed at public dissent.
The ACT contains language which can charge law--abiding citizens
of being agents or affording support to terrorist organizations.
Broadly written intent to commit terrorist acts is defined: (Appeared
To Be Intended Toward Violence or Activities Which Could Intimidate
or Coerce a Civilian Population.
To Influence the Policy of a Government
Any picket line or demonstration, alleged by police to have
blocked or obstructed public access, could qualify as "Terrorist
Activities" to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.
Terrorist charges make it possible for police to forfeit attending
demonstrators; homes used for meetings and the vehicles they
used for transportation to the event. Concern: Police agencies
may selectively charge a person or organization with either a
low level offense, or terrorist offense, for the same illegal
act:. Example: A fist fight between union demonstrators and persons
crossing a picket line, can be upgraded by police to charge union
members with (Terrorist Activity). The 1996 Anti-Terrorist Act,
broadly redefined "Terrorist Acts involving any violent act
or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal
laws of the United States or any state."
The violent or physical act need not cause bodily harm.
The Act can be used by police to target any group of persons
that would dare demonstrate for or against any issue.