Monday, August 09, 2004

Threats, Domestic and Foreign 

Courtesy of Avedon Carol, here's Ward Harkavy of the Village Voice on a program you should know about before you book that Labor Day trip to NYC: the U.S. military's plan to quell civil disturbances, code-named "Operation Garden Plot":
The web's crawling with references to this very real and chilling plan, which has been around since the urban insurrections of the '60s but was pried from the government for public perusal only after an arduous freedom-of-information struggle. (See some of the documents and the FOIA requests, by John Greenewald Jr. and others, here and here.)

One of the most detailed analyses of the documents is by Frank Morales, who won a Project Censored prize in 2003 for his investigative work on Operation Garden Plot. His award-winning and now updated story for Canada's Global Outlook magazine, "'Homeland Defense' and the Militarization of America," makes a point that's particularly appropriate for New York City in August 2004:
The Army "civil disturbance" manual, correlated to present-day realities, also makes the point that "civil disturbances include acts of terrorism," which "may be organized by disaffected groups," who hope to "embarrass the government," and who may in fact "demonstrate as a cover for terrorism.

The sophistry involved in turning a peace rally into a pro–Al Qaeda rally is precisely the logic that is operative within Pentagon-driven civil disturbance planning situated within the broader context of so-called "homeland defense." In fact, rather than protest being the occasion of "terrorism," the "war on terrorism" is the cover for the war on dissent.
(Tellingly, the Department of Defense defines "domestic intelligence" not as having to do with outside threats to the nation's security, but with people or things that are "potentially or actually dangerous to the security of the Department of Defense.")
Also: do not miss Avedon's post on how the Department of Homeland Security could save itself a boatload of trouble by shutting up and doing its job:
The only intelligent response to these terror alerts is absolute certainty that they are there for political reasons, because if a competent administration recognizes a real threat, they don't say anything, they just find out what's going on and make sure it doesn't happen.

Don't you guys get it yet? Why do you think that the most secretive government in our lifetime is constantly announcing to the media the one thing that everyone has always agreed government should be secretive about? The color codes, the showy Homeland Security apparatus, the whole bunch of it is just a charade - they are doing it instead of doing their jobs. It's all political. Good security is not showy; it happens where nobody sees, and nobody knows until the threat is over.

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