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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Monday, July 26, 2004

FBI making the rounds to keep you safe

With the 9/11 commission citing intelligence failure as one of the key components that allowed the 9/11 hijackers to carry out their plans, with several intelligence agents and U.S congressment making the rounds to announce that a similar attack will occur not "if" but "when" and with Homeland security officials informing the public that "danger levels" are at their highest since 9/11, the FBI is on the move. Having been publicly embarrassed the past 3 years by accusations of ineptness, poor leadership and ridiculous selection of "targets" the FBI is rising to dispel all doubts about it's effectiveness.

So what "threats to national security" have the FBI been pursuing? One, some interns at the American Friends Service Committee in Denver, and another, a group of anarchists out in Lawrence Kansas.

On thursday, 4 FBI agents and 2 Denver Cops(Joint Terrorism Task Force) visited 2 homes. At the first, they questioned a 21 year old intern, Sarah Baldwell, for the American Friends Service Committe(a pacifist quaker organization). The 6 agents wanted to know 3 things.

1. Are you planning to be involved in any criminal acts at the national conventions?
2. Do you know anybody who is?
3. Are you aware that if you assist or know anybody planning any criminal acts and do not report them, it's a crime?

After receiving declines to answer, and poking around, the 6 man team visited another house. There, with all donning bullet proof vests and at least one in full SWAT gear, they arrested 2 young men on traffic violation warrants. One can imagine these 6 agents triumphantly slapping each other on the back after having put away 2 traffic violaters thus preventing another 9/11 style attack.

said Baldwell
Bardwell said she and her housemates believe they were visited because they have participated in protests in the past - including one the day before against the recent shooting death of a 63-year-old disabled man by a Denver police officer who was looking for someone else and mistook a soda can the man was holding for a gun.

Other causes in which she has been active include protests against Columbus Day as a celebration of oppression of native people, work with an organization that collects food donated by grocery stores for homeless people and anti-war protests, Bardwell said.

She is an intern with the American Friends Service Committee, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1940s for its work against violence. AFSC also advocates for prisoners' rights.

"I think it was an intimidation tactic and it was designed to threaten people who are analyzing our current government and its policies and the system in the United States - an intimidation tactic that is used to crush any form of resistance or dissent or public expression of disapproval," Bardwell said.

She said the visit from law enforcement officers motivated her to learn more about her rights and to be "even more active in my community. full article


The next day, in Lawrence Kansas, FBI agents were going door to door, trying to locate and interview members of a Lawrence based anarchist group.

Meanwhile, nervous anarchists waited at their headquarters on 14th & Massachussets for the FBI agents to arrive.
(Scott)Pinkelman and about a dozen friends spent all day at the Lawrence anarchist headquarters near 14th and Massachusetts streets, a building with red signs outside that say "Solidarity -- Revolutionary Center & Radical Library." Group members smoked cigarettes, ate bagels, talked on cell phones and clutched hand-held cameras to use for documentation in case agents arrived.
  
"Unfortunately, we are kind of scared," said group member Vanessa Hays.

Hays said FBI agents went Friday morning to her mother's home in Topeka asking for her and saying she might know someone who was planning a violent act. Hays said she thought such visits were an attempt to put pressure on protesters by getting family members involved.

"I'm in the phone book," Hays said. "If they wanted to find me, they could find me very easily." full article


Above photo:2 anarchists(along with a reporter and a photographer) patiently wait for the FBI to find and interview them

In the midst of such dire warnings about imminent attacks, what could these Lawrence Anarchists have done so that FBI agents are frantically scouring the city in search of them?
In the past year, anarchists here have protested various issues, including the Iraqi war, a $500-a-plate dinner at the Dole Institute of Politics dedication and the length of the prison sentence given to an Oregon man convicted of setting fire to SUVs.

Members of the group said they thought they were being painted as terrorists even though they were philosophically opposed to violence.
"It's a crime when it's nongovernmental, but it's a war when it is," said David Strano, one of the group members.


Why are there FBI agents going around and the country, door to door, looking for and questioning young people who, and this is to greatly understate it, are not very likely to be planning a 9/11 style attack on the U.S? Mark Silverstein of the Colorado ACLU has an idea.
"It's an abuse of power, designed to intimidate these kids from exercising their constitutional right to protest government policies and associate with others who want to protest government policies," Silverstein said.


There is no word yet, from FBI head Robert Mueller about the possible thwarting of a terrorist attack as a result of the arrest of the 2 young men in Denver for traffic violations. Also, no word from the FBI as to whether or not they eventually found the Lawrence Anarchist headquarters.

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