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E-M:/ Anti terrorism and environmental groups
- Subject: E-M:/ Anti terrorism and environmental groups
- From: Cubbagec@aol.com
- Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 16:40:31 EDT
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Cubbagec@aol.com
I received this from another former member of the American Chemistry Council Responsible Care Public Advisory Panel, and thought you might all appreciate it since MSU is mentioned. The full story can be seen at the website below, but I cut and pasted the part of interest to we enviros :>)
Greetings to former PAPers -
Thought you might find this article of interest
The reference to environmental activists is near the end, so don't tire of
reading before you get there.
Having spurred many states and localities into launching or intensifying programs to monitor dissident groups, Ashcroft's Justice Department is now supporting a series of training programs that explicitly urge police to worry not just about Al Qaeda-style terrorists but also about environmentalists and other troublesome activists. The core program was launched by one of Justice's twenty-eight Regional Community Policing Institutes, based at Wichita State University in Kansas, which helps train police from 650 departments in Kansas and Nebraska. In its curriculum, called A Police Response to Terrorism in the Heartland: Integrating Law Enforcement Intelligence and Community Policing, the Wichita institute urges police to collect information on "enemies in our own backyard," including "the Green Movement" --described in a footnote as "environmental activism that is aimed at political and social reform with the explicit attempt to develop environmental-friendly policy, law and behavior."
"We have a virtual buffet of political extremism out here," says David Carter, a professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University and one of two authors of the curriculum. Carter, an instructor at the Wichita training site, warns that the police ought to be concerned "not just with Al Qaeda but with the groups involved in the [World Economic Forum] protests in New York, or the World Trade Organization protesters." Sorting out the means to do this without violating the civil liberties of protest groups is tricky, says Carter. "How do we balance--which is a real conundrum--homeland security with our constitutional rights? Which is more important? Are our rights important, if we are being blown up?"
At the Justice Department, Dr. Sandra Webb, an official in the policing institute division, tried to distance herself from Carter's curriculum, asserting that the material used in Wichita reflects only the opinions of the authors. But she did not disassociate the Justice Department from it, and she said that it will be presented this summer to representatives of all twenty-eight institutes so that it can be made available to police departments across the country. "We are trying to make it better known," she says. "There will be a lot of interest."
With polls showing large majorities of Americans willing to sacrifice civil liberties for security, and with Congress competing to outbid Ashcroft and Ridge in the war on terrorism, there is little to restrain the agglomeration of police powers by the FBI and state and local law enforcement. In the past, such restraints have been imposed only when widespread abuses have come to light, often many years after they began, leading to a public outcry. As the permanent war on terrorism unfolds, a decade may pass before the trauma of September 11 wears off and the pendulum begins to swing back--and by then, it's more than likely that Congressional committees and investigative reporters will be unearthing new, cold-war-style abuses.