Have you, like millions of your fellow Americans, expressed outrage over the trillions of dollars being poured into the unending series of government bailouts?
Are you concerned about the escalating violence in Mexico and upset over the refusal of our government to secure our border and stop the continuing deluge of illegal aliens entering our country?
Do you support the Second Amendment and oppose the prohibition, restriction, and confiscation of privately owned firearms and ammunition?
Do you criticize and/or oppose the United Nations?
Does your automobile sport any politically incorrect bumper stickers?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you already may have been singled out as an "antigovernment" terrorist suspect. A report issued on February 20 by the Missouri Information and Analysis Center (MIAC), a branch of the state's Highway Patrol, tells law-enforcement personnel that these indicators are characteristic of "right-wing extremists" and "militia members" whose "mindset" poses a "threat to law enforcement."
The eight-page MIAC report entitled "The Modern Militia Movement" is very dangerous; it erroneously conflates law-abiding citizens and their principled concerns with violent racists and terrorists. As a result, citizens may be harassed, have their rights violated, and even have their lives endangered because law-enforcement officers have been wrongly advised that these innocent actions and expressions are actually marks of dangerous and aggressive individuals.
There is good reason to believe that reports similar to the MIAC report will be surfacing in other states as well. The Missouri Information and Analysis Center is what is known as a "fusion center"; it assimilates and disseminates information to state and local agencies. This is what the federal Department of Homeland Security's Web page entitled "State and Local Fusion Centers" has to say on the subject:
Many states and larger cities have created state and local fusion centers to share information and intelligence within their jurisdictions as well as with the federal government....
As of February 2009, there were 58 fusion centers around the country. The Department has deployed 31 officers as of December 2008 and plans to have 70 professionals deployed by the end of 2009.
It goes on to report that DHS "has deployed intelligence officers to state fusion centers in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin."
What is most disturbing about the confusion being sown in the MIAC report is that it appears to draw heavily from the intentionally deceptive reports produced by Morris Dees and the left-wing extremists at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Dees and the SPLC are notorious for demonizing Christians, political conservatives, patriots, pro-lifers, libertarians, gun owners, and constitutionalists as violence-prone white supremacists. Over the past couple decades the SPLC has wormed its way into the federal Department of Justice and today injects its political venom into police departments through the training it provides via the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
The SPLC sees no enemies on the left; it does not warn law-enforcement officers of dangers from the many Maoist, Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Trotskyite, Castroite, or Islamic jihadist terrorist suspects and their support and affinity groups operating within the United States. Instead, it works assiduously to convince law enforcement that they should keep their guns cocked and pointed at the political right. The MIAC report states:
You are the Enemy: The militia subscribes to an antigovernment and NWO [New World Order] mind set, which creates a threat to law enforcement officers. They view the military, National Guard, and law enforcement as a force that will confiscate their firearms and place them in FEMA concentration camps. [Bold emphasis in original.]
The MIAC report then states: "Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate [sic]: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr."
Thanks to a strong public outcry, the Missouri Highway Patrol this week retracted the controversial report and will change how future reports are reviewed before being distributed to law enforcement agencies. James Keathley, superintendent of the Highway Patrol, also pledged to open an investigation into the origin of the report. This followed demands by Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin for a retraction, as well as calls by angry Republican legislators for an investigation and urging by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder that Department of Public Safety Director John Britt be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the report.
Under escalating heat and pressure, the newly installed Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, distanced himself from the report, pointing out that it was his predecessor, Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, who created the MIAC:
Nixon noted the Missouri Information Analysis Center was "formed under my predecessor." "I was not governor, I did not hire any of the people there and nobody in my administration — the director of public safety — saw this stuff before it went out," Nixon told reporters gathered in his office after signing his first law as governor.
Gov. Nixon has a point, one that this magazine has underscored repeatedly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: Republicans who abandon constitutional principles in support of calls by their party leaders for unchecked police powers in the name of fighting terrorism will find those same powers turned against them.
If you do not fancy being profiled as a domestic terrorist, you would do well to contact your state and federal representatives and urge them to investigate the proliferation and politicization of these "fusion centers" in your state, and to find out if reports similar to the MIAC report have been issued or are being prepared.
Photo: AP Images
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