-Caveat Lector-

>From The New American,
Vol. 15, No. 25
December 6, 1999

Criminalizing Dissent
by William Norman Grigg

The FBI’s Project Megiddo, which warns against millennial terrorism, paints
constitutionalists, devout Christians, hate groups, and militias with the
same broad strokes.

Project Megiddo, the FBI’s "strategic assessment" of potential
millennium-related domestic terrorism, represents a significant victory in
the radical left’s "long march through the institutions" of U.S. law
enforcement. The report, which was unveiled on November 2nd at a conference
of the International Association of Chiefs of Police at Charlotte, North
Carolina, has been distributed to law enforcement agencies nationwide. While
no author is mentioned in the publicly available version of Project Megiddo,
its contents are largely indistinguishable from the materials generated by
leftist "watchdog" organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which regularly furnish law
enforcement agencies with lurid reports intended to catechize law
enforcement agencies about the supposed threat posed by the "radical right."

This fact was not lost upon John Foster "Chip" Berlet of Political Research
Associates (PRA), a Marxist pressure group based in Boston. Berlet’s vita
includes such distinctions as his role in founding the "Chicago Area Friends
of Albania," a stint as contributing writer for the drug culture periodical
High Times, and participation in numerous Communist front groups, including
the National Lawyers Guild. In a November 1st e-mail message to the "Militia
Watchdog" mailing list (a restricted list whose membership includes law
enforcement and military personnel), Berlet complained that the FBI’s
Megiddo report "recapitulate[s] previously released reports and conference
papers" from both the PRA and the SPLC, among other sources.

To his credit, Berlet correctly pointed out that "the way the Megiddo report
has been leaked creates a hysterical atmosphere where law enforcement is
likely to overreact. Because of superficial reporting, the public is
learning to lump together ‘hate groups,’ militias, terrorists, and devout
Christians." As one of the "experts" on "right-wing extremism" frequently
consulted by both the media and law enforcement officials, Berlet has done a
great deal to advance the notion that Christian conservatives and
constitutionalists occupy the same continuum as terrorists and hate groups.
Thus Berlet’s objections should be viewed not as an illustration of his
reasonableness, but rather of the FBI’s radicalism.

Megiddo Genesis

During a May 13, 1997 Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on terrorism,
FBI Director Louis Freeh disclosed the existence of Presidential Decision
Directive 39, which designated the FBI the "lead agency" for
counter-terrorism efforts. Freeh also explained that the FBI’s new
counter-terrorism center "contains representatives of 16 other federal
agencies and … is dedicated for the first time to a central collection [or]
analytical point in the federal government for threats, particularly those
regarding domestic terrorism."

During the same hearing, as reported in these pages more than two years ago,
Freeh stipulated that the chief domestic terror threat emanates from
"various individuals, as well as organizations," who possess "an ideology
which suspects government and particularly the federal government, of
world-order conspiracies — individuals who, for various reasons, have
organized themselves against the United States." Possession of "ideologies
inconsistent with principles of federal government," declared Freeh, could
be construed as a marker of criminal or terrorist intentions.

While the Megiddo report is clearly a product of the FBI’s counter-terrorism
center, there are strong indications that the State and Local Anti-Terrorism
Training (SLATT) program was involved as well. As THE NEW AMERICAN recently
reported, SLATT is funded, through the Institute for Intergovernmental
Research (IIR), by a grant from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice
Assistance (BJA). The SLATT program is an outgrowth of the 1996 post-OKC
bombing anti-terrorism act; its purpose is to provide "anti-terrorism
preparedness training" to state and local police agencies, including
"pre-incident awareness" training to help identify potential terrorist

Documents obtained by THE NEW AMERICAN under a Freedom of Information Act
request suggest that SLATT may have played a substantial role in composing
Megiddo. IIR’s 1998 proposal for the "continuation and expansion" of the
SLATT program states that the program’s main purposes include providing
"state and local law enforcement … [with] a general awareness and working
knowledge of domestic terrorist and ‘political’ extremist movements
(including ideologies, illegal activities, tactics, and strategies), and
provid[ing] an initial assessment of the threat potential posed by
extremists...." The document refers to "individuals adhering to ‘patriot’
extremist or other domestic terrorist philosophies," indicating that, by
SLATT’s definitions, those who espouse "extremist" views are ideational
co-conspirators with those who commit crimes against persons or property.

Among SLATT’s purposes, according to the IIR’s grant proposal, are "early
identification of extremist-generated illegal activities and tactics;
recognition of extremist movements operating within a jurisdiction and
lawful monitoring of such movements." It recommends the "establishment of an
effective working relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), the designated lead agency," and points out that "the SLATT Program
and the many activities and tasks set forth herein are based on the
continued participation of the FBI."

In light of the FBI/SLATT relationship, it is significant that the
"Background" section of the grant proposal reads very much like an early
draft of Megiddo. That section asserts that "right-wing political and racist
extremist groups have re-emerged [in recent years], mostly with new names,
in somewhat different forms, and with variations in organization and
differing tactics" than those used by previous groups in the 1980s.
"Extremists" can be recognized, according to the SLATT grant proposal, as
those who "identify with one or more of the following philosophies:
anti-tax, anti-federal government, anti-state government, anti-authority,
anti-world alliances, pro-racial purity, pro-white supremacy, anti-Semitic,
and a fear of loss of Constitutional rights … with an equal fear of a one
world order...." Under SLATT’s definitions, any American who looks upon the
central government with educated mistrust, who has concerns about the
protection of his individual rights, or who believes that we should
dis-entangle ourselves from entangling alliances abroad espouses a "domestic
terrorist philosophy" and should be monitored by the police as a potential

The section of the grant request referring to "Identification and Delivery
of Technical Assistance" mentions "behavioral science extremist profile
presentations" to be made to state and local police by SLATT officials. The
Megiddo report, which draws upon analyses of "extremists" and "cultists"
prepared by the FBI’s behavioral science unit, emphasizes that "the FBI only
focuses on radical elements of the militia movement capable and willing to
commit violence against government, law enforcement, civilian, military and
international targets." This distinction offers little comfort in light of
the fact that, as will be seen below, the FBI’s working definition of the
"militia movement" parallels SLATT’s expansive and flexible definitions.

Targeting Religious and Political Views

"Many extremist individuals and groups place some significance on the next
millennium, and as such it will present challenges to law enforcement at
many levels," declares Megiddo’s executive summary. "The significance is
based primarily upon either religious beliefs relating to the Apocalypse or
political beliefs relating to the New World Order (N.W.O.) conspiracy
theory.... The purpose behind this assessment is to provide law enforcement
agencies with a clear picture of potential extremism motivated by the next

The publicly available version of Megiddo, significantly, "excludes specific
guidance given to law enforcement as well as names of groups who are viewed
by the agency as the most dangerous," reported the APBnews.com on-line news
service. FBI spokesman Neil Gallagher explained that the agency did "not
want these groups to know these details."

"Religious motivation and the N.W.O. conspiracy theory are the two driving
forces behind the potential for millennial violence," according to Megiddo.
"The volatile mix of apocalyptic religions and N.W.O. conspiracy theories
may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as
prophesied in the Bible." The section of the report describing "Apocalyptic
Cults" offers a detailed list of "cult" characteristics. Law enforcement
officers are advised to be wary of organizations led by "charismatic
psychopaths or those with narcissistic character disorders," and are warned
that "the longer the leader’s behavior has gone unchecked against outside
authority, the less vulnerable the leader feels." Equitably and
dispassionately applied, these guidelines would require that the Clinton
administration be defined as a violent cult.

According to Megiddo, "Religiously based domestic terrorists use the New
Testament’s Book of Revelation — the prophecy of the endtime — for the
foundation of their belief in the Apocalypse. Religious extremists interpret
the symbolism portrayed in the Book of Revelation and mold it to predict
that the endtime is now and that the Apocalypse is near." Of course, this is
true not only of potential terrorists but also of millions of law-abiding
Americans who harbor no violent intentions toward anyone — but who have been
marked by the FBI nonetheless as potential domestic enemies.

Maligning JBS and TNA

Similarly marked as enemies of the state are those who subscribe to
globalist "conspiracy theories," especially those who suspect that
Y2K-related social unrest may be exploited by forces seeking to create a
world government. "Unlike religiously based terrorists, militia anxiety and
paranoia specifically relating to the year 2000 are based mainly on a
political ideology," declares Megiddo, describing concerns expressed by many
Americans about a potential loss of U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations.
"Under this hypothetical N.W.O./One World Government, the following events
are to take place":

1) private property rights and private gun ownership will be abolished; 2)
all national, state and local elections will become meaningless, since they
will be controlled by the UN; 3) the U.S. Constitution will be supplanted by
the UN charter; 4) only approved churches and other places of worship will
be permitted to operate and will become appendages of the One World
Religion, which will be the only legitimate doctrine of religious beliefs
and ethical values; 5) home schooling will be outlawed and all school
curriculum will need to be approved by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and 6) American military
bases and other federal facilities will be used as concentration camps by
the UN to confine those patriots, including the militias, who defy the
N.W.O. Other groups besides the UN that are often mentioned as being part of
the N.W.O. conspiracy theory are Jews, Communists, the Council on Foreign
Relations, the Bilderbergers and the Trilateral Commission. Law enforcement
officials will probably notice different versions of this theory, depending
upon the source."

Although this section of Megiddo is not footnoted, most of the first five
items used in this capsule summary of the political beliefs of potential
terrorists was borrowed wholesale from The United Nations: A Look into the
Future, a video documentary produced by the John Birch Society (JBS), of
which THE NEW AMERICAN is an affiliated publication. That documentary
projected, on the basis of UN and U.S. government documents, how present
trends may culminate in a dystopian UN-administered world government unless
they are arrested by an informed, mobilized electorate. Item number three on
the FBI’s list was taken verbatim from the documentary, and item number four
includes language taken verbatim from the video as well; items one, two, and
five are very close paraphrases from material in the same presentation. The
FBI neglected to mention, of course, that nothing in the video endorses
terrorism or violence of any kind, but rather demonstrates how principled
political activism can restore our national sovereignty and constitutional

Furthermore, the thumbnail sketch offered by Megiddo, in classic Leninist
fashion, co-mingles the JBS perspective with other views that "already have
a bad smell" — specifically, anti-Semitic nostrums and alarmist rumors about
the existence of concentration camps. The purpose behind this is twofold.
First, by advising police to watch out for "different versions of this
theory," the FBI is instructing police to regard critics of the UN as
potential terrorists, most likely of an anti-Semitic bent. Second, the FBI
is attempting to immunize police against outreach efforts by law-abiding,
well-informed Americans who seek to educate their neighbors — including
police officers — about the documented threat to our national sovereignty
and constitutional system.

THE NEW AMERICAN itself was similarly targeted for misrepresentation by the
FBI regarding this publication’s treatment of the "Y2K bug": "The New
American, an organ of the ultraconservative John Birch Society, speculates
that the Y2K bug could be America’s Reichstag fire, a reference to the 1933
arson attack on Germany’s Parliament building that was used by Hitler as an
excuse to enact police state laws." Once again, this reference was a
Leninesque "sandwich smear," inserting the reference to THE NEW AMERICAN
between an anti-Semitic quotation from former Posse Comitatus leader James
Wickstrom, and an alarmist quote from a militia leader from Michigan.

The reference to this magazine’s treatment of Y2K was not footnoted, and
with good reason: Were law enforcement officers to be directed to our
September 14, 1998 story ("Millennium Mayhem: Y2K and the Fear Factor,")
they would realize, upon closer inspection, that this magazine has sought to
dispel Y2K alarmism, while soberly taking inventory of potential problems
that may result from the millennial rollover. In subsequent reports (see
"Mock-up for Martial Law" and "Soldiers in Your Backyard" in our April 26,
1999 issue), THE NEW AMERICAN has documented how the Clinton administration,
using potential Y2K-inspired social turmoil as a pretext, has been
amalgamating the military and law enforcement functions. Those reports
included warnings from such noted "extremists" as Admiral Thomas H. Moorer,
the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Medal of Honor recipient
Colonel Lewis Millett (U.S. Army, retired); and Brigadier General Andrew J.
Gatsis (U.S. Army, retired), who is one of our nation’s most highly
decorated fighting soldiers.

The John Birch Society’s treatment of the Y2K problem received very grudging
praise from Money magazine columnist Joseph Nocera. In a September 1998
column about a nine-page treatment of the issue published by the JBS, Nocera
wrote, "I never thought the day would come when I found myself in agreement
with the John Birch Society, but I think those boys got this one exactly
right." While he was content to regurgitate the spoon-fed canards about the
JBS’s supposedly extremist views, Nocera favorably quoted the paper’s
conclusion that the Y2K problem "will prove to be simply annoying … and
therefore will not likely cause the downfall of mankind."

Presumably, the FBI — the world’s largest and best-funded investigative
agency — had research resources that equal those available to Mr. Nocera,
who was able to access the JBS report at the organization’s website with the
click of a mouse.

Truth Is No Defense

In predictable fashion, Megiddo depicts concerns about civilian disarmament
(commonly called "gun control") as a symptom of right-wing extremism. "The
passage of the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban in 1994 were interpreted
by those in the militia movement and among the right-wing as the first steps
towards disarming citizens in preparation for the UN-led N.W.O. takeover,"
declares the report. "Some are convinced that the registration of gun owners
is in preparation for a confiscation of firearms and eventually the arrest
of the gun owners themselves.... Speculation like this only serves to fuel
the already existing paranoia of militia and patriot groups."

As THE NEW AMERICAN recently documented, with specific citations from
relevant UN documents (see "Global Gun Grab" and "Gun Grabbers’ Global
Gestapo" in our November 22nd issue), there is nothing speculative about the
UN’s drive for global civilian disarmament and our nation’s eager
participation in that drive. Dr. Edward J. Laurance, a consultant to the UN
Register of Conventional Arms, has explained how El Salvador’s
UN-administered program of "micro-disarmament" — that is, confiscation of
firearms from civilians — began with laws "requiring all citizens to
register hand guns and personal weapons. A new police force was created
[and] trained under UN supervision … [which] received specialized training
in searching for, confiscating and destroying" banned firearms. He also
points out that the UN Center for Disarmament Affairs has carefully studied,
for global implementation, "buy-back programs as practiced in many American
cities" and those "conducted by the U.S. Army in Haiti" as part of a
UN-mandated "peacekeeping" mission. Last August 19th, the UN published its
"Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms," which called
upon all member states to prohibit "private ownership of small arms and
light weapons."

>From the FBI’s official point of view, however, those who take notice of
such developments and work to inform others are guilty of anti-government
"extremism" and "paranoia." Truth is no defense once the FBI has decreed
certain political views off-limits.

"Socially Dangerous Persons"

The Megiddo report illustrates that the FBI, once the world’s premier
investigative agency, is morphing into a national political police agency —
a law enforcement organ with a mandate to defend the regime, rather than to
protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. It is worth remembering, once
again, the July 4, 1994 observation made by FBI Director Louis Freeh upon
signing a cooperation pact with the successor organization to the Soviet
KGB: "Today our two nations have more in common than ever before."

The FBI’s Megiddo report has more than a little in common with the Soviet
Union’s Fundamental Principles of Penal Legislation, which was adopted on
October 31, 1924. According to The Black Book of Communism — a detailed
study compiled by six French scholars that was recently published in English
translation — that measure "codified the notion of a ‘socially dangerous
person.’ Among counterrevolutionary crimes, the law included any activity
that, without directly aiming to overthrow or weaken the Soviet regime, was
in itself ‘an attack on the political or economic achievements of the
revolutionary proletariat.’ The law thus not only punished intentional
transgressions but also proscribed possible or unintentional acts."

The category of "socially dangerous persons" was based on "extremely elastic
categories" that permitted individuals to be sentenced to the gulag "even in
a case of total absence of guilt"; under Soviet law, the state "may use
these measures of social protection to deal with anyone classified as a
danger to society, either for a specific crime that has been committed or
when, even if exonerated of a particular crime, the person is still reckoned
to pose a threat to society." Enshrined in Soviet law as Article 58 of the
penal code, the concept of "socially dangerous persons" served as "the legal
foundation of the [Soviet] terror."

The key distinction between the Megiddo report and its Soviet precursor is
that the FBI has not — just yet — called for the pre-emptive arrest and
incarceration of the "socially dangerous" religious "extremists" and "N.W.O.
conspiracy theorists" identified as a pool of potential terrorists. Perhaps
all that is missing is a precipitating event. In the case of the early
Soviet Union, the Cheka used an assassination attempt against Lenin to
justify its initial crackdown on "counter-revolutionaries." Speaking with
reference to a reprisal attack upon a Ukrainian secret police official,
Cheka official Karl Lander organized a "day of Red terror" and issued these
instructions to his subordinates: "[T]his act of terrorism should be turned
to our advantage to take important hostages with a view to executing them,
and as a reason to speed up the executions of White spies and
counterrevolutionaries in general."

To arrest our descent into the same police state tyranny that has engulfed
so many unfortunate nations, Americans must, above all else, support and
uphold the rule of law under the U.S. Constitution. Well-informed and
conscientious Americans who would find themselves marked as "socially
dangerous persons" must actively reach out to state and local law
enforcement agencies, first of all to express support and gratitude to those
who are appointed to protect ordered liberty, also to counteract the
indoctrination taking place under the aegis of the FBI. Just as importantly,
Americans must pressure Congress to de-politicize the FBI and confine it
once again to its original function as an investigative agency.

 © Copyright 1995-1999 American Opinion Publishing Incorporated

Dan S

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