Accuracy in Media

While the Washington Post and other Bush-bashing media are focusing on the cost of the January 20 Inauguration, a much more serious issue has emerged. Communist and anarchist groups may be planning to disrupt the inaugural and possibly commit violence.

One organization sympathetic to a Colombian terrorist group that planned to assassinate President Bush last November wants to get thousands of its supporters as close as possible to the presidential motorcade, including the President and his family, on inauguration day.

In a possibly related development, Fox News reported that the FBI’s Washington field office has obtained an intelligence bulletin warning of “suspicious activity” around buildings where the presidential inaugural and the parade are scheduled to occur.

Accuracy in Media (AIM) is urging that immediate press attention be focused on the Workers World Party (WWP), a communist group operating through several front organizations, and the so-called Anarchist Resistance. Both groups are extremely active in “counter-inaugural” activities.

The WWP has had a “violent orientation,” according to a congressional study of the group, while Anarchist Resistance vows to “bring anarchy to the streets of DC?make resistance visible, and ring in the next four years with a smash!” It has advised its members to get on the parade route early in the morning. In 2001, the group claims, “we smashed a secret service check point.”

The group advises its members to understand the details about “state security planning,” including road closings and security checkpoints for the inaugural and to “blend in with the crowds” by taking “careful consideration concerning ones wardrobe.”

The WWP supports the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army of Colombia (NLN). Both groups are labeled terrorist by the U.S. State Department, with the FARC having just been accused of ordering an assassination attempt on President Bush when he visited the country in November. Bush offered support for the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, a strong U.S ally in the fight against drug trafficking and global terrorism.

The BBC reported, “The FARC have a long list of reasons for wanting Mr. Bush dead, most pressing is the fact that Washington provides over $600m in mainly military aid to Bogota and supplies intelligence from US listening stations, satellites and spy planes that are focused on Colombia? The US has indicted much of the FARC high command on drug trafficking charges and two senior FARC commanders in prison seem set to be sent to face American justice.”

One of those commanders, Ricardo Palmera, has since been handed over to the FBI, “prompting fears of reprisal attacks” against the U.S., the Associated Press has reported. This is the first case of a FARC commander being turned over to the U.S. for federal trial.

It appears that rulings by a Clinton-appointed federal judge, Gladys Kessler, have so intimidated federal and local agencies in Washington, D.C. that the protesters this year are being given unprecedented access to the inaugural parade route so that their “civil rights” may be protected. But will the President, his family and Bush supporters be protected from the radicals and communists?

The result: “Protesters Get Prime Spot for Inauguration” was the headline over an Associated Press article. AP writer Sam Hannel reported that the National Park Service “has agreed to give thousands of anti-war demonstrators a prime spot along President Bush’s inaugural parade route that will allow them to protest during the procession.”

Plans for possible disruptions and violence at this year’s inaugural have largely escaped the attention of the Washington Post, the major daily in the nation’s capital, which insisted in a January 15 story by Joel Achenbach that anti-Bush activities planned by “some liberals and radicals and ultra-leftists” are intended to be “polite.” At worst, the story said, some of the anti-Bush protesters plan to stand on the parade route and turn their backs on Bush when he passes by.

But could something more ominous be planned?

The Department of Homeland Security says that about 6,000 law enforcement personnel will be in D.C. from dozens of federal, state and local agencies. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge warned on January 11 that “any attempt on the part of anyone or any group to disrupt the Inaugural will be repelled by multiple layers of security.”

Ridge went on to say that “there is no specific threat directed toward the Inaugural or the Inaugural activities,” when the fact is that some of the same people who caused disruptions and destroyed property four years ago are back in D.C. again, openly threatening violence.

Some of the protesters are led by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, a front group of the communist Workers World Party that, in addition to supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, supported Iraq under Saddam Hussein and the Stalinist North Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il.

A.N.S.W.E.R stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

In a 1974 staff study, “The Workers World Party and its Front Organizations,” the House Committee on Internal Security documented how WWP members had been involved in prison revolts and support for Arab terrorists and communist regimes. WWP leaders were pictured, including one who had traveled with the “Venceremos Brigade” to Cuba for communist indoctrination. No congressional committees conduct such investigations today.

While A.N.S.W.E.R. says its protest against the Bush inauguration will be peaceful, the WWP has a “violent orientation” and history, according to the House study. It cites criminal actions and convictions of WWP members, especially in the area of “prison agitation.”

The study also cites a WWP front, “The Committee to Support Middle East Liberation,” which “operates in support of Arab terrorists in the Middle East.” The study says that the WWP newspaper, Workers World, blamed “U.S. imperialism” for the slaughter of Israeli athletes in Munich during the 1972 Olympics.

Currently working directly with A.N.S.W.E.R. is the Muslim American Society, whose executive director, Mahdi Bray, has attacked President Bush as a “modern-day Pharaoh.”

MAS says its members will be among demonstrators urging “Stop religious and racial profiling,” “U.S. Out of Iraq Now, End the Occupation?Bring the Troops Home Now,” “Faith Over Fear and Justice For All,” “End the occupation from Palestine to Haiti, and Everywhere,” “End discrimination against the Muslim community,” and “Health Care, Education, Housing, and a Job at a Living Wage Must be a Right!”

Other groups, such as Anarchist Resistance, are openly promising civil disobedience and disruptions.

In testimony on the “Threat of Terrorism to the United States,” Clinton’s FBI director, Louis J. Freeh, told Congress on May 10, 2001, that the WWP and other “anarchists and extremist socialist groups” have “an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States.” He added, “For example, anarchists, operating individually and in groups, caused much of the damage during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.”

The Seattle protests of the World Trade Organization resulted in over $3 million of property damage. Similar protests were held in other cites.

Major media keep the American people in the dark about the potential for disruptions on January 20 by failing to expose the connections between the WWP and the groups sponsoring the demonstrations, including the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and the International Action Center (IAC). The links are personified by Brian Becker, a prominent member of the WWP who serves as national coordinator of A.N.S.W.E.R. and co-director of the IAC. Becker, who has traveled to Baghdad, Iraq (under Saddam Hussein), Havana, Cuba, and Pyongyang, North Korea, has written that “it is crucial that revolutionaries fight tooth and nail for their values, their principles and the revolutionary conceptions put forward by Marxism and Leninism.”

The IAC was founded by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who recently agreed to be a lawyer for deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Clark helped arrange for Dan Rather’s softball interview with Saddam before the U.S. invasion.

When Islamic terrorists beheaded American Nick Berg in Iraq, the IAC issued a statement saying that it considered him “a victim of the war that the Bush administration planned, conspired, lied to justify and carried out in violation of U.S. and international law.”

In 2000, an IAC delegation headed by Clark traveled to Colombia to meet with FARC leaders.

If violence does occur at the inaugural, some of the blame will have to be put on a Clinton-appointed federal judge, Gladys Kessler, who has made a series of little-known rulings over the last several years that have made it all but impossible for law enforcement agencies to monitor or restrict the activities of groups which might disrupt inaugural events.

In response to litigation filed by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney representing the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, Kessler ordered law enforcement agencies to disclose what security procedures they used to keep anti-Bush protesters from disrupting 2001 inaugural activities and to reveal the identities of undercover police officers who had infiltrated or monitored the groups doing the protesting.

As part of the discovery phase of the litigation, legal counsel for the District of Columbia said on July 30, 2002, that it “produced in excess of one thousand pages of documents, thirty-eight video tapes, and numerous photographs and audio tapes.”

The security data handed over to the IAC included:

  • Lesson plans and handbooks on use of aerosol sprays, force and tactical batons.

  • Documents on “Management of Mass Demonstrations” and how to handle civil disturbances.

  • Instruction manuals on police use of firearms.

  • Documents dealing with police and federal operations to prepare for the inaugural.

  • The identities of all of the police officers who were detailed for Inauguration Day to intelligence teams.

However, the D.C. government objected to disclosing still more data, saying that, “the violence encountered during demonstrations in other countries and cities?Seattle, Quebec, Prague, Genoa and Australia?coupled with the current concerns about domestic terrorism, underscores the need to maintain the confidentiality of these documents.”

It also said, “There is a public interest in and privilege against disclosure of documents that would tend to reveal law enforcement techniques, procedures or sources.” As part of the discovery proceedings, the D.C. police department acknowledged that it was so concerned about disruptions of the inauguration and potential violence that undercover police officers from the Metropolitan Police Department had monitored or infiltrated the anti-Bush groups behind the protests.

The District of Columbia’s filing in the case said that these officers “conduct on-going investigations to monitor and report on individuals and groups who may be planning actions that threaten property or persons or otherwise violates the law.”

Violence did occur, as demonstrators marched in one section of the city, without a permit, damaging cars and property. Vending machines were also reportedly thrown into the street.

But when D.C. objected in the court case to disclosing the identities of undercover police officers, whose “operation (and safety) depends on their ability to ensure their anonymity,” Kessler rejected this reasoning. In a July 10, 2003, ruling in the case, Kessler said that the government could only spy on “political advocacy organizations, such as plaintiffs,” if there was evidence that they were engaging in criminal activities. Finding no such evidence and ignoring the communist and foreign affiliations of some of the protest leaders, she rejected the claim that “the disclosure of the identifications of undercover officers” would damage the police department’s intelligence operations.

The failure by protesters to get close enough to Bush four years ago during his inaugural led to the lawsuit, International Action Center, et al. v. United States, et al., 01-CV-72, in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit claimed that the use of checkpoints, barricades and street closings violated the rights of “peaceful” protesters to get near the President and obtain “equal access” to the inaugural parade route.

Taking the side of the protesters, David Montgomery of the Washington Post wrote a May 12, 2003 article hailing Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and her law partner and husband, Carl Messineo, as “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation.” Messineo and Verheyden-Hilliard are on the steering committee of A.N.S.W.E.R. and run the Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense and Education Fund.

In a December 17, 2003 editorial, the Post took the side of Kessler and A.N.S.W.E.R, saying that the D.C. police department had failed “to handle large demonstrations and protests while remaining on the proper side of the Constitution.”

However, Accuracy in Media has documented how the Post has a pattern of failing to tell its readers and the public about the foreign and communist connections of the A.N.S.W.E.R. and IAC activists. In a postcard campaign to Post publisher Bo Jones, AIM members said, “Your newspaper seems to have a blind spot on communist activities in America.”

Verheyden-Hilliard was once quoted by the New York Times as saying any questions about communist involvement in the “anti-war” movement should be rejected as “classic McCarthy-era Red-baiting.” She appeared on the March 5, 2004, “NOW with Bill Moyers” program on public television to argue that the government was “criminalizing” dissent by subjecting communist and radical groups to scrutiny.

Another organization assisting her in the litigation is the National Lawyers Guild, a group so extreme that it used to be listed by the government as an official communist front organization. A report of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, dated September 17, 1950, labeled the NLG the “Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party.” The group is still proud of Guild members having represented the Rosenbergs and “thousands of victims of the anti-communist hysteria.” The Rosenbergs, of course, were convicted and executed as Soviet spies.

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Comments are turned off for this article.