[News] Worcester organizers getting harassed 'terror' alert'

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 17 09:02:42 EDT 2004


Friends. i'm just back from Eugene Oregon where a successful event to 
support Jeff 'Free' Luers  was held. i spoke along with Ramona Africa and a 
great Native American group 'Blackfire'. That event was also targeted with 
FBI 'terror' warnings (in the NY Times, local papers and NPR).
That explains why no news for a few days. This story is an indication of 
how the environmental movement is being targeted. In Eugene the attack 
includes a grand jury which is focused on 3 single mothers who have 
preferred not to cooperate with the FBI. Unclear what will happen to them. 
The movement in Eugene is making connections to other political prisoners 
and educating about the history of Cointelpro. These activists should have 
our support!
claude



The event for Jeff Luers in Worcester, Mass has gotten a lot of attention 
from the Worcester Police and the FBI. Hard to imagine how a film screening 
can do this but they are idiots so perhaps that it to be
expected.
-------
June 16. 2004 4:50AM

Local activists cry foul over FBI 'terror' alert

John J. Monahan
T&G STAFF
<http://us.f530.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=jmonahan@telegram.com&YY=63712&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b>jmonahan at telegram.com

WORCESTER- City police detectives in concert with other state and
federal police agencies have begun an undercover investigation of local
environmentalists, based on apparently false FBI reports that targeted the 
environmentalists as possible terrorists.

The investigation began last week when the FBI put out a national
terrorism alert regarding environmental activists in 10 cities across the 
country - including Worcester - they suspected may be planning what they 
consider terrorist acts.

The alert focused on plans by several local environmental activists to
show a movie Friday night at a private art studio. The movie that includes 
an interview with Jeff Luer, a man convicted of burning two sport utility 
vehicles in Oregon five years ago.

The video, "Green with a Vengeance" was produced by an Australian
television network and has already been broadcast throughout Australia.

The Worcester showing of the movie, as listed on a Web site supporting
Mr. Luer's cause, was being presented by a small group of local activists 
to raise funds for Mr. Luer's appeal this July of convictions for arson 
that resulted in a sentence of 22 years in Oregon state prison.

Yesterday some of those who organized the fund-raiser arranged to meet
with several local reporters at Elm Park to comment on the FBI alert that 
targeted them, and announce they had changed the location of the movie Friday.

During the press conference, a woman wearing blue jeans and a pink tank
top who appeared to be walking casually through the park at a distance 
began taking photographs of the meeting with reporters.

Later, the woman, when asked, identified herself as a Worcester police
detective and said she had been assigned to photograph the meeting for the 
Worcester Police Department. Three police cruisers also staked out the 
event and parked across Russell Street observing the small meeting.

Matthew Feinstein of Worcester told reporters that he is not a member
of Earth First, a radical environmental group, and said the group showing 
the movie were just unaffiliated local environmentalists. He said they 
wanted to "clarify" what they were doing and respond to federal accusations 
that they could be terrorists.

He said the movie was planned to be shown in the studio of local
photographer John Bean, and only eight or 10 people were expected to 
attend. In light of the highly publicized national FBI alert they got 
caught up in, he said, the group has decided to make it "a more public 
event" and will show the movie at 6 p.m. Friday in Room 001 at Jonas Clark 
Hall at Clark University.

"We hope people will come out and see the movie and participate in a
discussion. There will be an open microphone," he said.

"We are hoping there won't be any more fear spread about people who are 
just trying to address issues that are of concern to them," he said.

He said the FBI and Worcester police response to the FBI alert was aimed at 
creating fear about local environmentalists.

Worcester police reportedly advised numerous car dealerships they had
information that activists might try to burn their cars at their car lots last
weekend and urged them to take precautions.

"The accusations that were made were totally off-base," Mr. Feinstein
said. He said the FBI alert was apparently part of "a government plan to 
generate fear," and that he suspected it was supported by the logging 
industry and possibly automakers worried about activism in protest of 
gas-guzzling cars.

He said the concerns about terrorism were completely unfounded. "This
is an absurd accusation. We are just showing a film and having a 
discussion," Mr. Feinstein said.

Mr. Feinstein said he and other people who organized the movie showing
were among a group that protested the cutting of old growth forest at 
Wachusett Mountain to build ski trails. Some of the group, he said, 
supported two demonstrators who sat in trees at the mountain last fall to 
protest new ski trail development around the old growth forest area there, 
and that it was a "legal peaceful nonviolent protest."

Mr. Feinstein said he has also been involved in other community activities 
in recent years, having supported the Worcester nurses' strike at the 
Worcester Medical Center hospital several years ago, walking the picket 
line there in support while the nurses were on strike.

He has also helped set up community gardens in several neighborhoods of the 
city, working with the Regional Environmental Council, and said he passed 
out leaflets in support of the AmeriPride Linen workers during a union 
issue there in the past.

He said he and some of the people organizing the movie showing have
also worked with the group Food Not Bombs, which has distributed food to 
needy in the city, and with political activities of the Worcester Global 
Action Network that has opposed the NAFTA free trade agreement and other 
federal foreign policy actions.

Acting City Manager Micheal V. O'Brien was caught unaware of the nature
of the police response to the FBI alert yesterday.

Mr. O'Brien said that while he had been told of the FBI alert last Friday, 
he was not aware that the police were undertaking an undercover terrorism 
investigation of local environmentalists and were using surreptitious 
surveillance.

It is unknown whether police or federal investigators plan to photograph or 
keep records of people who attend the movie showing at Clark University on 
Friday.

Worcester police have a history of surveillance of civil demonstrations
and protest events in the city as well as of tracking politically active 
citizens.

The operations are conducted in part under little-known and longstanding 
provisions of the Worcester Police Rules and Regulation that call for 
police to conduct investigations, file reports and maintain dossiers on 
citizens not
involved in any reported crimes, but whom police believe may commit a crime 
in the future.

Mr. O'Brien said he had not authorized the investigation by city detectives 
and uniformed officers. "At this point in time I have to work to get the 
relevant facts. I think it warrants a full review," Mr. O'Brien said.

A person answering the telephone at the FBI Boston office of the Regional 
Director of Community Relations, identifying himself as Frank Amoroso, said 
he had "no idea" what the investigation in Worcester was about.

A spokesman for Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said
yesterday the attorney general "was not brought in on this" and did not 
comment on the appropriateness of the investigation.



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