FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Missouri Information Analysis Center report demonstrates need for local control of police departments The John Birch Society’s “Support Your Local Police” campaign helped free local police departments from federal control
APPLETON, WIS. — March 20, 2009 — In an action The John Birch Society classifies as asinine, the Missouri Information Analysis Center released a strategic report on February 20, 2009, called “The Modern Militia Movement.” In it, the center equates supporters of the U.S. Constitution and third party candidates and those against abortion and illegal immigration with white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, so-called “rightwing extremists” and domestic terrorists. This poorly written report was released to those law enforcement officers and agencies, intelligence agencies and Department of Defense organizations operating in Missouri.
The 8-page report briefly describes the unsavory and immoral actions of violence-embracing militia groups pre and post 9/11/01. It does not, however, provide detailed or even accurate accounts of federal intervention at Ruby Ridge, Waco or Oklahoma City, merely broad brushing the examples as reasons why militia membership flourished.
Its repeated use of the phrase “rightwing extremists” is never fully defined, but readers are led to believe it is anyone who opposes gun control, abortion, taxes, illegal immigration, a Constitutional Convention, the North American Union, the New World Order, forced conscription, and citizen radio frequency identification as well as those who want to lobby government officials and confront corruption. This illogically puts law enforcement on one side and responsible, law-abiding folks who support the Constitution on the other.
The report recommends profiling by stating that “it is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material.” It continues, “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 manor (sic).”
In an interview with the “Columbia Daily Tribune,” Lt. John Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol suggests that the “report is being misinterpreted.” “All this [report] is an educational thing. Troopers have been shot by members of groups, so it’s our job to let law enforcement officers know what the trends are in the modern militia movement.”
But James Fitzgerald, National Director of Field Activities for The John Birch Society and former police officer, points out that the report is misleading at best and potentially highly dangerous. “Police officers are trained to anticipate the worst in situations, so they are prepared to effectively do their job and go home safely. They rely on intelligence information to keep them apprised of threats in their areas. Unfortunately this report is totally irresponsible. It places an unworthy veil of suspicion over responsible citizens that respect the rule of law.”
Missouri State Rep. James Guest has a meeting next week with officials at MIAC. He wants them to retract their report and apologize for their overstepping. He commented, “It is profiling to the highest degree to identify citizens of this country who display bumper stickers or other labels as being part of a modern militia movement. I thought anybody who spoke out was protected by the First Amendment.”
Guest wrote in an editorial, “I and others will not be intimidated by this threat to our freedom but I believe it will energize Missourians to stand up for their constitutional protected rights. This assault on Americans by profiling us as militant instead of profiling those who are here illegally, or terrorists, amazes me.”
In 1963, The John Birch Society began its “Support Your Local Police” campaign with a goal of keeping police departments under local control and not being merged into a national police force. For decades, JBS members formed partnerships with local police departments, which proved very beneficial to certain communities in the late 1960s during the era of civil rights riots. Members met with local police chiefs and then went door-to-door to create awareness, sparing some of those communities from violent riots.
Fitzgerald explains that what is needed is a better relationship between citizens and their local police. “By getting to know those in your community and opening up those communication lines, you know where the real threats lie. You begin to understand who you can count on. This was standard operating procedure when I was on the Vice Squad in New Jersey.”
What this report does bring to light is how this “intelligence” is gathered and distributed. The Missouri Information Analysis Center is part of a network of Department of Homeland Security “Fusion Centers,” which demonstrates that the information in this report was probably sent to many more states than Missouri.
The John Birch Society is urging members and all constitutionalists to work on bettering relationships with local police as well as the DHS Fusion Centers. It also is urging law enforcement to place the report exactly where it belongs … in the trash.
Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, The John Birch Society is dedicated to restoring and preserving freedom under the U.S. Constitution. Members come from all walks of life and are active throughout the 50 states on local, regional and national issues. United by a strong belief in personal freedom and limited government, plus a sense of duty, members have played a continuous and pivotal role in halting legislation and federal policies that threaten the independence of our country and the freedom of American citizens. Visit JBS.org for more information.