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From LPSG-France <LPSG-France@wanadoo.fr>
Date Fri, 11 Aug 2000 08:16:16 +0200
Subject globe_l: fwd: FBI to Monitor European Activists

(dÈsolÈe d'encombrer la messagerie de celles et ceux qui ne lisent pas
l'anglais mais je n'ai pas le temps de traduire)




FBI to Monitor European Activists
Ezekial Ford, Freezerbox
August 8, 2000
Viewed on August 10, 2000


Once upon a time the FBI investigated leftists at home, and the CIA
subverted them abroad. This started to change in the 1960s, when crack
intelligence squads from the CIA were required to stamp out domestic
'threats to stability.' The Black Panthers, anti-war groups and the
American Indian Movement were all targeted by the CIA, which according to
its own charter was restricted from doing so. Once the precedent was set,
it was a smooth transition to gun running and drug smuggling onto private
US airstrips in the 1980s, when the agency wiped its patriotic rear with
the Constitution and helped turn Black America into a nation of crack
zombies in order to illegally fund the Contras. 

If the 1960s saw the CIA cut in on the FBI's turf, then recent years are
witnessing the opposite trend. The FBI has caught globalization fever, and
is currently dotting Central Europe with offices to complement its already
impressive network of 43 centers operating off US soil. Along with one in
Budapest, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is launching an office in
Prague. According to Czech State Television, FBI chief Louis Freeh met with
Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross to finalize arrangements and
discuss an agenda for the joint US-Czech project, which is to include at
least one agent and an administrative force. Although the training and
intelligence gathering center is supposed to be fighting organized crime,
the Central and Eastern European Review reports that one of the "main
topics of discussion during Freeh's visit was the upcoming joint IMF/World
Bank annual meeting in Prague in September." 

Something tells me that those Albanian heroin rings aren't going to be out
in full force next September 26th during the protests. No, the FBI is
colluding with the Czech police to gather information on citizens
exercising their constitutional rights. Not that anybody should be gasping
at this. 

In terms of practical obstruction, it is not clear what a bunch of G-men
can accomplish. They can plant moles, monitor the listserves, collect
names, and forward everything to the mother database in Washington; but
they can't stop tens of thousands of European activists from trying to get
into the country and filling the streets. It is no secret where activists
are organizing in Prague, and anybody can join the email list offering
detailed information about the protests. The FBI will basically be
eavesdropping on an open conversation. 

The FBI may be convinced, along with Czech political elites, that the
"largest threat to stability in the country is the extreme left" (Czech
Prime Minister Milos Zeman), but they should not be surprised to find no
bomb making materials in opposition quarters. Unlike the extreme right,
which actually kills people and has explicit political ambitions, the Czech
anarchists, whose political expression is limited to an annual street party
powered by a couple of diesel generators, are harmless. A minority of
militants hold a penchant for breaking the occasional window and many of
them fancy shocking imagined bourgeois sensibilities with pierced faces and
various flavors of self-imposed disfigurement, but their actions cannot be
anticipated or controlled by anyone, not even their fellow anarchists. 

In short, they are isolated, unpredictable and largely unaffiliated. If the
FBI is after an imagined clique of well organized Fidelistas buried deep
within some Molotov cocktail factory, they are wasting their time. 

A more cynical and dystopic view of FBI involvement posits that global
elites are merely integrating their intelligence networks as part of a
long-term project in countering international movements for economic and
social justice; which is to say, in countering the pan-European Left. Just
as these movements gathered force in the 1960s and challenged traditional
structures of power, it is possible that we are moving toward a similar era
at the dawn of the new century. 

The Battle of Seattle -- followed by Mayday demonstrations around the world
and the IMF protests in Washington -- was a wake up call to those
interested in seeing popular struggle against the reign of capital stunted
or reversed. We must remember that the 1960s were viewed by elites not as a
flowering of consciousness or a period of liberation for subjected groups,
but constituted a "crisis of democracy," according to the Trilateral
Commission, the collective voice for elites in the US, Europe and Japan.
Networks of activists involved in the struggle against the investor-centric
model of globalization may become future targets of state repression, just
as they were in the 60s and 70s. And the FBI is apparently doing the
preparatory fieldwork. 

Attempts to undermine or track these activist networks will be more
difficult than in the past. They are extremely decentered. They extend
beyond both national and hemispheric boundaries. They overlap. They have
excellent communication systems. But perhaps most importantly, it is
extremely difficult to garner popular approval for repression against them.
For they are overwhelmingly nonviolent and support causes with widespread
support. Unlike the Black Panthers, which worked out of a lone office and
had an arsenal of guns aimed against 'whitey', the new protest
organizations cannot be so easily raided and shut down. They can try, as
they did in Washington, but it is all to little effect. 

Clearly, the groundswell of global opposition to corporate tyranny -- as
represented by the policies of the IMF/World Bank -- is bigger than the
FBI, or any other organization for that matter. Even within the limited
context of a single protest, I cannot see how their function can be
anything but symbolic. Given the thousands of people who will descend on
Prague in September -- from Germany, Spain, England, Poland -- the image of
a handful of ear-wired US FBI officials in their three room office is
almost laughable. 

What isn't laughable are the priorities of those in power, who feel that
democratic opposition to fascist structures of world governance should take
law enforcement precedence over serious criminal syndicates operating in
Central Europe. For there are in fact well funded and well organized
cliques who warrant international cooperation between intelligence
operatives in the US and Europe. But these cliques are not interested in
sustainable development or debt relief, however. They have other interests,
like the abduction and forced prostitution of teenage Ukrainian girls,
kilos of heroin, cases of Kalishnakovs, and little vials of weapons grade

I say let the FBI worry about these things, and let the citizens of the
world take care of the IMF. But if the Bureau is really worried about us
activists, they can start their files with me. 




G            L            O            B           E

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