Saturday, March 14, 2009

Back to that MIAC report on militias--an answer to Tom Knapp and cassandra...

... both of whom challenged me for suggesting that the MIAC report on the modern militia movement encouraged Missouri LEOs to focus on supporters of third-party candidates.

Knappster said,

The report doesn't say that CP/LP/CFL/Paul/Baldwin/Barr supporters are "militia-influenced terrorists" or any other such blather. It says the reverse -- that the militia bubbas tend to be CP/LP/CFL/Paul/Baldwin/Barr supporters.


cassandra said:

[quoting a previous comment by liz allen]: "Yet the Missouri Police got the Alert to go after Ron Paul supporters! Thats a fact."

This is NOT a fact. The Alert (and you can read every word of it) provides a briefing of militia and other extreme right groups, history, motivations, typical associations, relationships to law enforcement and other data that tell law enforcement about these kinds of groups. This Alert isn’t much different that those that law enforcement would prepare and circulate about known or suspected gangs in the area.


Both of these comments have a point--in a limited sense. First the mea culpa: I should have used considerably more care in my phrasing. However, a look at the entire report will document the fact that I was not very far (if at all) off base.

Recall that you can go here and read the entire report for yourself. And you should.

The alert, as cassandra says, is predominantly a briefing and history of milita/extremist groups, and it shows signs of having been lifted from other sources rather than having been generated in the Missouri Information Analysis Center. Why do I say that? Because other than in the Implications for Missouri segment, the report contains no material specific to Missouri militia or extremist groups whatever. This is an important point. The Implications section lists potential targets for domestic terrorist attacks, and there was apparently intended to be one illustrated captioned thus: Missouri Militia Members during a Field Training Exercise (FTX).

But, other than that, there is absolutely no information of groups either in Missouri or surrounding areas.

There is not even a link to the very prominent web page of the Missouri Militia. This is a really curious omission, as that website including the f**king Missouri Militia training schedule with dates (and often locations), as well as the names and contact information of the movement's leaders. The absence of even this simple piece of intelligence supports the idea that the Strategic Alert was cookie-cuttered from another non-Missouri source.

So the alert passes up a major legitimate source for identifying/locating people actually associated with the Missouri Militia.

But following the Implications segment, there is the only part of the report that deals with information pertinent to identifying possible militia members.

Here is the text from that portion of the report:

Common militia symbols

Political and anti-government rhetoric:

Political paraphernalia: 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: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.

Anti-government propaganda: Militia members commonly display picture, cartoons, bumper stickers that contain anti-government rhetoric. Most of this material will depict the FRS, IRS, FBI, ATF, CIA, UN, Law Enforcement and "The New World Order" in a derogatory manner. Additionally, Racial, anti-immigration, and anti-abortion, material may be displayed by militia members.

Militia symbols:

[There are nine flags/crests in this section with short write-ups; only the one quoted next has any specific reference to Missouri]

1st BN/3rd BDE MO Militia Patch: Unit patch displayed by Missouri Militia members.

Literature and Media common to the Militia:

[This section lists two films and one book that have been associated with militia membership.]


There is no conclusion to this report.

So let's take what the British refer to as the reasonable man approach. What would the reasonable law enforcement officer, reading this report, find that he or she could use in the field?

Other than the overt display of one of the nine militia flags/crests, the only specific information about identifying militia members is that they may display 3rd party bumper stickers or anti-government bumper stickers on their vehicles.

Does this go beyond profiling?

First, note that there is no disclaimer: the report does not tell law enforcement officers that Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin were legitimate candidates of legal political parties who do not condone or support militia/extremist violence. The report does not caution LEOs that since 26,000 citizens in Missouri voted for Ron Paul in the 2008 GOP primary, that 11,000 voted for Bob Barr and 8,000 for Chuck Baldwin in November 2008, that there are likely to be tens of thousands of Missouri citizens driving around the state with one of those bumper stickers on their cars. Instead, the report places identification of material belonging to those three candidates and their political parties on an equal footing with militia insignia for identification purposes.

I would argue that this goes significantly beyond profiling, into misrepresentation.

Now, let's add the following injunction from the report to the mix:

You are the Enemy: The milita subscribes to an anti-government and NWO [New World Order] mindset, 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.


Ask yourself about a Missouri state trooper on an isolated stretch of the interstate stopping a vehicle for speeding, which carries a Chuck Baldwin for President bumper sticker--given this report, how does this change the way in which you would approach that vehicle and its occupant?

And go back to my post about the guy in Oklahoma recently stopped (and then interviewed by the Secret Service) for an anti-abortion bumper sign that mentioned the President's name:

Now let's go back to the guy stopped in Oklahoma for his Abort Obama not the unborn sign on his truck, had the it confiscated by the police, and was then interviewed by the Secret Service. The police chief, interestingly enough, considered the cop who stopped the motorist to be over-zealous.

Here's the response from one commenter (noman) at Delaware Politics:


The pro-life movement has stated over and over that abortion is murder. It is entirely reasonable to construe the slogan as a threat.

There are plenty of nuts who would be happy to use that slogan as a dog whistle for a real threat. Even if the guy was just using it as symbolic language, it was worth checking him out.

Well done, officer.


I would argue that this incident suggests the possibility that the officer in Oklahoma had read a similar alert to the one passed out in Missouri, one that told him that people with anti-government propaganda on their vehicles should be considered--prima facie--dangerous and suspect.

So here's what I said in my original post that Knappster and cassandra considered to be over-the-top:

Let's get this straight: we have developed a police state in which Federally funded and cooperating law enforcement agencies are issuing strategic alerts to beware of people based on the presidential candidate they support or the fact that their f**king bumper stickers may criticize the government!


The grim reality here, Tom and cassandra, is that this strategic alert does present political party preference and government criticism as significant identification markers for dangerous right-wing extremists.

Feel free to show me how it doesn't.

3 comments:

PlanetaryJim said...

I have concluded from this report that the government of Missouri wants to do exactly what the report says that militia members fear. Take away our guns, herd us onto cattle cars, and put us in concentration camps. When the Jews were herded onto cattle cars and sent to camps, it later developed that those were death camps.

The idea that "it can't happen here" doesn't even bear a moment's notice. Of course it can happen here. It HAS happened here, to Americans of Japanese ancestry, whose property was stolen from them by California establishment fat cats during WW2.

MIAC's report is a call to war. It says that people with Ron Paul bumper stickers should be exterminated. It may mince words and try to avoid explicitly outlawing support for Ron Paul, but it is designed to create that idea in people's minds, especially the dimwits who work law enforcement.

But the likes of Tom Knapp have to pretend to a moderate position, whether they feel it or believe it or not. So, it is going to take acts of atrocity to get him off his ass and oppose this garbage. Which, as I've reflected elsewhere, is sad.

Hube said...

Columbia Tribune report on this topic, via Instapundit.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Campaign For Liberty in Missouri, and I have read the M.I.A.C. report. First, this is a document that comes through a 'fusion center', which is the information conduit of the Department of Homeland Security, so I am immediately concerned about the format of the report. If I were a teacher, I would give it back, red inked in its entirety, for its aimless structure, and its lack of focus. "What is the message?"
As a citizen of the State, I am very concerned about Federal (feral) mandates as it is, let alone when it is delivered in the form of innuendo.