Interview on FBI Raids, Grand Juries & Political Repression

by Will Potter on July 31, 2012

in Terrorism Court Cases

FBI training documents on anarchists

FBI agents being trained that anarchists are all "criminals seeking an ideology

I had a great discussion with independent journalist  about the recent raids in the Northwest seeking “anarchist literature,” grand juries, and the tactics the FBI has historically used against dissidents.

Gosztola posted a transcript of the interview on his site. Here’s an excerpt:

GOSZTOLA: How would you relate this to the other mechanism or tactic that the FBI uses, which is the infiltration—the sending in of people you could call provocateurs—as we’ve seen quite clearly in Cleveland and even in Chicago around the NATO summit? They’ve used coded language to specifically isolate individuals arrested and insert language and make it seem these are “self-proclaimed anarchists” intentionally. How would this relate to the grand jury use?

POTTER: I think that’s a great question. There are a couple immediate connections between them. One is that they are all part of the FBI’s obsession with identifying people perceived as leaders. The FBI historically has a difficult time conceptualizing anti-hierarchical movements. So, anarchists are very difficult for them to understand and they are always attempting to find the so-called leaders. And like you said, to point them out at protests for arrests, to target them with raids, grand juries, to some cases use entrapment attempts with informants.

More importantly, I think some of the parallels of the two are this criminalization of this ideology. I would argue that these entrapment attempts really grew out of not specific individuals and not the alleged crimes they were alleged to be a part of but their perceived politics. That’s what really happened everything that happened in Cleveland, everything that happened in Chicago. That’s what guided the timing of those announcements of the arrests of those people as “terrorists.” And that’s what guiding everything that’s going on in the Northwest with the focus on “anarchist literature.”

I think what we’re seeing is the scope of tactics that are being used against radical movements. In some cases, it’s extremely heavy-handed of directly targeting people through I would argue entrapment attempts, such as the five people in Chicago. In other cases, you have these raids and grand juries that are quite different and they’re not arresting and not charging them terrorists but the intent is to criminalize them because of their politics.

Read the full interview on FireDogLake’s “The Dissenter.”

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