Who’s a Terrorist? Probably You; or, Don’t Profile Me, Bro!

Who's a Terrorist? Probably You; or, Don't Profile Me, Bro!

by Dan Clore

“We melt you with acid rain / Keep you poor for economic gain / Convince you your biggest threat / Is drugs and terrorists.”

Jello Biafra with NoMeansNo, “Bruce's Diary”

Terrorism means the use of violence or the threat of violence against civilians (non-combatants) for political ends. To identify terrorists, therefore, one would logically look for evidence that such acts have been committed and attempt to identify the perpetrators.

However, much in the same manner that law-enforcement profiles consider African Americans likely drug dealers, a new Missouri Information Analysis Center  (MIAC) report profiles militia members as likely terrorists, and in turn gives signs to help identify militia members that include support for Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party (mistakenly called the Constitutional Party in the report), the Campaign for Liberty, opposition to the UN, IRS, CIA, FBI, etc., and displaying symbols associated with the American Revolution such as the famous “Don't Tread On Me” flag.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other MIAC reports target groups of white supremacists and black separatists, along with reports on the “anarchist movement” and “anarchist tactics” (the latter should put an end to speculation that the center only targets rightists due to a “liberal” bias).

Meanwhile, reports produced by other “fusion centers” enlarge the field of likely terrorists. A report issued by the North  Central Texas Fusion System identified organizations and individuals that have  supposedly turned public support toward terrorism, including CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), IAC (International Action Center, headed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark,) and Cynthia McKinney, former US Congressmember and Green Party candidate for president.

And then there's the Virginia Fusion Center's report, “2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment“. You know things are getting off to a bad start when you see the center's symbol bearing the motto SCIENTA EST POTENTIA. That would mean “knowledge is power”, if they hadn't misspelled the Latin word scientia.

This report has garnered little public attention other than criticism of its characterization of colleges, including what it calls “Historically Black Colleges”, as important centers of ideological “radicalization” and thus breeding grounds for terrorists.

The Virginia report gives an area by area breakdown of terrorist/extremist (note the shift from terrorism to simple political dissidence) group presence and activity along with entries for various groups of likely terrorists, also noting “intelligence gaps” — a term very difficult to mention without adding an ironic comment.

Concerning “Anarchist Extremists” we learn that: “Anarchist extremists adhere to the anti-government movement which rejects governmental rule and police authority and advocates violent means to overthrow social, political, and economic hierarchies.” and that “Although the anarchist threat to  Virginia is assessed as low, these individuals view the government as unnecessary, which could lead to threats or attacks against government figures or establishments.”

The report describes various anarchist groups, such as the Garbage Liberation Front, whose terrorist activities seem to bear a remarkable resemblance to dumpster diving. Another group profiled is Anonymous, who protest against  the Church of Scientology. It also includes  a motley assortment of Islamists, white supremacists, black nationalists, and many environmentalist and animal-rights groups, such as Earth First! (with the exclamation point usually omitted), ELF (Earth Liberation Front), ALF (Animal Liberation Front), and SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty).

In the report's “projections” we find the following: “Current calls for vandalism, boycotts, and other 'direct action' by environmental extremists such as Blue Ridge Earth First[!] against financial institutions in Virginia deemed to be supporting environmental degradation are likely to continue.”

And so merely failing to patronize certain businesses seems to have become an act of terrorism. Some people are easily frightened–

Update: After complaints from Paul, Barr, Baldwin, and many others, the MIAC has apologized for and retracted its report on militias. Other mischaracterizations of peaceful political dissidents and activists will most likely require a similar public outcry before the government takes any action to atone for labeling them likely terrorists.

Digg this column.

Also see “Who's a Terrorist? Probably You, Part Deux


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