Who is really the Bush Administration's "Most Wanted"?
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in US federal court charging that the
FBI iswrongfully withholding information about its investigations
of peacefulorganizations. The FBI has thousands of pages on
Greenpeace, the ACLU,and other organisations but to date less than
20 pages have beenreceived under Freedom of Information Act
The lawsuit seeks to compel the Justice Department to comply
withrequests that the ACLU filed last year for records kept on a
wide rangeof organisations, including Greenpeace, the
American-ArabAnti-Discrimination Committee, People for the Ethical
Treatment ofAnimals, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, the
Muslim PublicAffairs Council, the National Lawyers Guild and the
The controversial Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF)
createspartnerships between the FBI and local police, in which
local officersare "deputized" as federal agents. This allows police
to targetpeaceful political and religious groups with no connection
toterrorism. It's pure coincidence, of course, that targets
forinvestigation tend to be vocal opponents of George Bush's
environmentaland social policies.
A classified FBI memorandumdisclosed publicly in
November 2003 revealed that the FBI has actuallydirected police to
target and monitor lawful political demonstrationsunder the guise
of fighting terrorism. Under policies put inplace by former
Attorney General John Ashcroft, the FBI - working withlocal police
through JTTFs - can now gather information about peoplewho express
their disagreement with U.S. government policies - for nobetter
reason than that they disagree.
Ivan Blokov, campaign director for Greenpeace Russia, is
familiar withthe model. "This looks exactly like the mandate that
the KGB had inSoviet times in my country."
John Passcantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, says
"Americawill have no credibility as an advocate of democracy abroad
if we can'tconduct democracy at home. A government that can't
maintain adistinction between terror and non-violent dissent is not
In July 2003 the Bush administration brought an unprecedented
legalcase against Greenpeace in attempt to shut us down. It was
thefirst time ever in the US that an organization was
criminallyprosecuted for the free speech activities of its
supporters; in thiscase, a non-violent direct action against a
shipment of mahogany whichwas itself illegal under US law. Despite
massive resources andtruly strained legal manoevering by the
Justice Department, whichattempted to prosecute Greenpeace under a
century-old law barringprostitutes from boarding ships in port, a
federal judge threw out thecharges during trial in May
Having failed to shut us down via the courts, it appears the
BushAdministration has decided that, given how hard it is to
findterrorists abroad, the investigative resources of the fight
againstterror should go into spying on Greenpeace. This is a bit
likelooking for a coin across the street from where you lost it
because thelight is better.
It's also an absurd and criminal waste of time and money.
As Rainbow Warrior captain Pete Willcox said recently, "We're
prettyopen about what we're doing and don't have many secrets.
InfiltratingGreenpeace is like infiltrating the YMCA."
The FBI has better things to do than ensure George Bush is
insulatedfrom criticism. A government that wants to promote
democracy hasto practice it.
Check out the ACLU's story
on the case
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