It’s an appalling story and indicative of the level to which America's internal security forces have sunk.
A few days ago, the FBI solicited a Minneapolis college student to show up at youth events throughout the Twin Cities and sniff out Republican National Convention (RNC) protestors.
After that, the student (Paul Carroll) was expected to weasel his way into the groups, find out their plans and report back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. If his snitching led to arrests, he would be paid, though no amount was specified.
Carroll declined. But how many strapped college students, facing a reduction in student aid, will be forced to say yes? Fascism (what else can we call this kind of solicitation?) typically feeds on the needs and fears of the weak to support the overweening ambitions of the powerful.
Call it the result of 9/11, or the maneuvering of the New World Order (which pits one against another to obscure the real playing field), these kinds of duplicitous machinations are nothing new. The 2004 Republican National Convention saw NYPD members surveilling such varied and potentially harmless groups as street theater bands and church organizations. According to NYCLU’s executive director, Donna Lieberman, documents from this episode of insanity, declassified and released in 2007, reveal:
A picture of a surveillance program that was broad, clumsy, and often unlawful. The NYPD failed to differentiate between unlawful behavior and behavior that is not only lawful but should in fact be cherished and protected.
In 2007, the Minneapolis branch of Critical Mass conducted a bicycle rally to target U.S. automobile use (and related global warming). Cyclists were joined by protestors targeting the upcoming RNC, scheduled for September 1-4, 2008 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Minneapolis. A minor skirmish with one rider led the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to call in four dozen policemen from six different agencies/municipalities, who used Mace on the angry crowd while a helicopter hovered. Nineteen out of approximately 200 bicyclists were arrested. Participants suspect the riot was provoked by a pair of MPD moles, since the two hooded cyclists supposedly associated with the RNC protest were never apprehended.
The U.S. government is suspected of having massive spy programs directed at discovering dissidents, according to former deputy attorney general James Comey, who admitted that in 2004 he refused to verify the legality of certain aspects of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance protocol. One of these programs may be "Main Core," a program that authorizes massive searches of electronic databases for possible threats, and reportedly maintains a list of more than 8 million Americans who have, by their words or searches, made themselves potential targets for not only surveillance but monitoring, questioning and even confinement.
Citizens are ramping up, too, as presidential politics takes center stage and Obama hopefuls now live in fear of a pre-election assassination attempt, thanks to Clinton’s recent unfortunate choice of words.
In Denver, lawyers are holding “know your convention rights” seminars, advising potential attendees (and protestors) how to conduct themselves to avoid confrontation with and defend themselves in the event of a heightened and equally apprehensive police presence.
Farther north, the right-wing and well-armed Michigan Militia is also preparing for the 2008 elections. This group, which publicly expresses concern for public safety in the interim between the election and the proclamation of a president, is running a contest - a light-hearted affair that has, according to many, deeper motivations. Without targeting any independent militia groups, I would like to express the opinion that the desperate are easily suborned, and militia groups from Michigan to California are strengthening on a faltering U.S. economy and regional pockets of poverty.
Fortunately, as far as I know, the U.S. Army is still working on its paralysis beam - a modified, massive candlepower strobe light which apparently has a significant effect on the nervous system. This would be a dandy crowd-controlling measure, if somewhat drastic, as would the Voice-to-Skull device, a weapon that uses a neuro-electromagnetic device to broadcast the microwave transmission of sound into the human skull via pulse-modulated microwave radiation. I'm not sure this one is real yet either, though the web page has mysteriously disappeared.
For all intents and purposes, the 9/11 terrorists have now won the war, reducing the U.S. to a state of paranoia in which all dogs look the same, all rights are abrogated in the name of public safety, and all trust in institutions vanish at the hands of a few who would hold all power, no matter what the cost to democracy.