Homeland Security Says Timothy McVeigh Isn’t a Terrorist, But Peace Activists Are

by Will Potter on October 8, 2008

in Government Priorities

mcveigh not a terrorist?This is what fighting “terrorism” in this country has become.

Timothy McVeigh is responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing, the deadliest act of terrorism in this country prior to 9/11, killing 168 people, but a Homeland Security official says he’s not a terrorist. Neither is Eric Rudolph, who killed two people and injured hundreds others in a bombing campaign against abortion and a “homosexual agenda.”

Pennsylvania’s Homeland Security Director James Powers said:

“Tim McVey [sic] is not a terrorist, just very angry with the U.S. government,” Powers said. “Whether a person is a terrorist or a criminal is irrelevant to me.”

You know whom he and the state police do consider terrorists? The Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, even though actions by those groups have been “relatively minor,” by their admission. Those groups have never injured anyone, let alone killed hundreds, but the Pennsylvania state police is offering free, yes free, “risk and vulnerability assessments” for corporations to help protect their profits from pesky activists. [Sounds kind of like that leaked State Department presentation, doesn’t it?]

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated, “news of the weird” kind of incident. It’s systemic.

The Maryland State Police have admitted classifying 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists, including opponents of the war and the death penalty, and tracking them in state and federal “terrorism” databases. Cops infiltrated organizing meetings and rallies, and spied on political email lists, similar to the government infiltration of the RNC.

The groups targeted, including the Maryland Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Baltimore Pledge of Resistance, aren’t suspected of harming anyone, aren’t suspected of bombing anyone, aren’t even suspected of vandalizing property.

Their crime? They’re “fringe people,” says Thomas E. Hutchins, the former state police superintendent who authorized the operation.

“I don’t believe the First Amendment is any guarantee to those who wish to disrupt the government,” he said.

Get this, one activist was described in police databases as having a “primary crime” of “terrorism-anti-government” and a “secondary crime” of “terrorism-anti-war protesters.” This wasn’t an isolated abuse of power, this is a coordinated campaign of harassment and intimidation.

The gloves are really starting to come off, folks. Years ago, government officials were using these same tactics, but under the pretext of going after illegal, underground groups like the Earth Liberation Front. Now, they are openly, brazenly, harassing and infiltrating nonviolent activist groups with no connection–not even an ideological connection–to saboteurs. Why? This “War on Terrorism,” above all else, is an ideological war.

In some ways, though, I think folks should take some pride in that. Considering what is mainstream government policy now, I’d much rather be in the camp of “fringe people.” As Billy Bragg said, “If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it.”

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