Skip to comments.Report: Region may be a hotbed for terrorist recruiting (Police: White Veterans, Black Colleges)
Posted on 04/26/2009 3:25:01 AM PDT by csvset
A new report produced by a branch of the Virginia State Police portrays the state's colleges and universities as potential breeding grounds for terrorism.
The 200-page report, intended for distribution to law enforcement, intelligence and military organizations, says "a wide variety of terror or extremist groups" have links to Hampton Roads and singles out the area's two historically black universities for special mention.
It also cites the region's "diverse population due to the strong military presence." In addition, it mentions Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach, and a Chesapeake-based anti-abortion group.
The report acknowledges that none of the Virginia groups it singles out has engaged in any violent activity and says there is no intelligence indicating that terrorists are planning attacks in the state.
Nevertheless, it adds: "In order to detect and deter terrorist attacks, it is essential that information regarding suspected terrorists and suspicious activity in Virginia be closely monitored and reported in a timely manner."
The report drew critical attention across the political spectrum as it began circulating around the Internet.
The American Civil Liberties Union has gone on the offensive, saying the report makes unwarranted assumptions based on race, religion and other demographic data and could have a chilling effect on Virginians' First Amendment rights.
Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office, cited the Virginia report in testimony last week before a Senate subcommittee in which she urged more congressional oversight of terrorism-related information gathering by law enforcement agencies.
Such bulletins "would be laughable except that they come with the imprimatur of a federally backed intelligence operation, and they encourage law enforcement officers to monitor the activities of political activists and racial and religious minorities," Fredrickson said.
"What is clear is that these abusive intelligence reports do nothing to improve security. Sharing misleading information about the ideologies and activities of nonviolent groups only undermines public support for law enforcement."
The report contains little or no explanation of its methodology - for instance, why it singles out Regent and the historically black schools.
Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the State Police, said that because the report was not intended for public release, she couldn't comment on its contents.
In a prepared statement, the State Police said the report "inadvertently made its way onto the Internet and it is likely some will view this information and misinterpret the 2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment in a false manner."
The purpose of the report is to convey "potential terrorism threats," the statement said, underlining the word "potential."
The 2009 threat assessment is a product of the Virginia Fusion Center, a multi-agency intelligence clearinghouse that opened in the basement of State Police headquarters in Chesterfield County in 2005.
Funded in part with grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the center shares information with a variety of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, private industry and the military.
At least 58 such centers have sprung up around the country since the terrorist attacks of 2001, supported by more than $250 million in federal money.
The Virginia center has operated largely under the public radar. Its records are exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act, and disseminating information received from the center is a misdemeanor.
The new report calls attention to the ethnic diversity of Hampton Roads and the state's other urban centers, especially the presence of people with cultural ties to the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia "and other areas heavily impacted by terrorist activities."
"While the vast majority of these individuals are law-abiding, this ethnic diversity also affords terrorist operatives the opportunity to assimilate easily into society, without arousing suspicion," the report says.
"Virginia's network of colleges and universities also represent a potential avenue of entry for terrorist operatives and a possible forum for recruitment of sympathizers."
In a regional breakdown of potential terrorist threats, the report notes that Hampton Roads and the Richmond area each have two historically black universities. Although it doesn't cite them by name, the apparent reference is to Norfolk State University, Hampton University, Virginia State University in Petersburg and Virginia Union University in Richmond.
University-based student groups "are recognized as a radicalization node for almost every type of extremist group," the report says.
"Richmond's history as the capital city of the Confederacy, combined with the city's current demographic concentration of African-American residents, contributes to the continued presence of race-based extremist groups," the report adds.
Sharon Hoggard, a spokeswoman at Norfolk State, said the report contains "several glaring over-generalizations."
"It is true that colleges and universities attract diverse populations of people," Hoggard said. "But for the most part, those diverse groups share a common interest, and that is a passion for learning and teaching, which is our core business."
Carol Pretlow, an associate professor of political science at Norfolk State, said she was "baffled" by the report's singling out of historically black schools.
Perhaps it was prompted by memories of radical groups such as the Black Panthers that were active in the 1960s, she said.
"But the reality is that the global scene has changed," Pretlow said. "When you look at the students of today, whether it's at Old Dominion or Norfolk State or Tidewater Community College, they're pretty much 'Show me the money, people. This political ideology stuff is good, but what's in it for me?'... They want to be part of the mainstream.
"So this assessment that these are breeding grounds for terrorism - I don't see it."
At Regent, the Christian university founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, the reaction was similar.
"We appreciate the Virginia Fusion Center's diligence in identifying potential threats," said Carlos Campo, vice president of academic affairs at Regent. "However, we believe that specifically naming Christian universities and associating them with radical extremists is overreaching."
Robert Stacey, an associate professor of government at Regent, said he is generally a supporter of fusion centers but he found the Virginia report largely unhelpful in the fight against terrorism.
"In terms of actually assessing threats, it does not do that very well," he said. "And it casts such a broad net.... In some of the categories, they don't produce evidence of a serious threat and yet throw it in the report anyway."
"I know the fusion center does more than this report reflects," Stacey said. "But if this were it, if this were all the work they were ever going to do, they wouldn't be doing much for us."
A Department of Homeland Security report issued earlier this month on right-wing extremism drew widespread outrage in conservative circles, including a blast from Robertson on his daily TV show "The 700 Club."
"Somebody who doesn't think we should have abortion on demand is suddenly labeled a terrorist," Robertson said, urging viewers to call the DHS and complain. "It's outrageous.... This is stigmatizing a vast swath of our people."
A February report from a Missouri-based fusion center on the militia movement stirred similar resentment on the right.
Among the potential terrorist threats identified in the Virginia report were:
- Two anti-abortion groups, including the Chesapeake-based Army of God and Life.
- White nationalist groups, said to be recruiting "military veterans skilled in weapons and tactics."
- "Anarchist extremists" at Virginia Military Institute and the College of William and Mary.
- "Environmental extremists" protesting against energy companies.
- The state prison system, said to be "an attractive venue for recruitment and radicalization relating to terror organizations and hate groups."
- "The size, courses of study, and significant population of international students" at Virginia Tech.
- The Virginia Commonwealth University chapter of the Muslim Student Association, said to be "possibly involved with terrorism financing and recruitment" as a front organization for the Mideast-based organization Muslim Brotherhood.
- "Suspicious photography" of military aircraft, bridges and tunnels in Hampton Roads.
Incidents that might seem mundane to some are chronicled in the report as potentially terrorism-related.
For instance, an employee of the marine container terminal in Portsmouth "noted that two males approached him and asked to come inside and look around. The subjects were told they could not come inside the facility at which point they left the area."
At the Martinsville Speedway, "a temporary employee called in a bomb threat during a Sprint Cup race in March 2008 because he was tired of picking up trash and wanted to go home."
Bill Sizemore, (757) 446-2276, email@example.com
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Had these special 'protected' words not been involved, the ACLU would not be doing ANYTHING, period.
My guess is the person or persons who wrote this will be charged with a 'hate crime' against blacks.
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DC is worried sick about conservatives awakening from their prolonged slumber. Witness the demonization of the Tea Parties. Watch for lurid headlines about the funding behind the tea parties; truth will have little to do with it. We’ve got to keep the pressure on. The fact that MSNBC etc has sicced their liberal lunatic attack dogs on us means they have heard and are cranking the Alinsky-style smears to new heights.
“This is getting real serious, real quick.”
Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do. Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat. Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity. Rule 5: Ridicule is mans most potent weapon. Its hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. If your people arent having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic. Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues. Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage. Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of OHare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the citys reputation. Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, Okay, what would you do? Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Dont try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.
The real audience is people who make decisions about where to send funding. This addiction to government money, along with elected officials' concern for re-election rather than the well-being of the country, is killing the USA. The voters are the only ones who can stop this, but they seem to enjoy the outcome.
I thought the DHS had banned the word “terrorist”...oh, yeah, I forgot, only when it comes to Islamic terrorists. It’s okay to call your fellow Americans terrorists, especially if they espouse conservative values like pro-life and pro-marriage ideals.
This area is heavily military in all branches. This is going to provoke some criticism from them.
Actually DHS sounds more like the SS which monitored the military command for any deviation in devotion to Hitler.
We all could. They are really easy to counter, disrupt and distract one you realize how puny their ‘weapons’ are and refuse to fall into their trap.
This is not a DHS report, but one from the state police of Virginia.
This demonization is spreading.
That is worrisome!
OK, here's some suspicious activity in Virginia: State police captain charged with sex crime
I could do a terrorist report on the EPA, including illegal harassment of farmers, ranchers and landowners, trespass on private property by armed federal terrorists, perjury, theft, terroristic threats, bribery, possession of stolen property and Nazi goon tactics.
I’m sure someone could do similar terrorist reports on other criminal bureaucrats infesting the federal government.
I bet big liberal cities harbor and grow various terrorist threats, as do liberal universities. We could name Detroit, Chicago, LA and Washington DC as laboratories of terrorism and write that the mayors there support the expansion of terrorist groups with our tax money.
Let’s make everyone and everything in America a terroristic threat.
Sure has been a lot of that lately /s
William and Mary, ok. Anarchists at VMI?
There’s a smiling imbecile in the White House, the DHS is collectively j*rking itself off, and, meanwhile, the Muzzies watch and gloat and chuckle to themselves make their plans....
When you’re watching a losing team on the field, there’s never any one thing wrong - it just all unravels at the same time. Well, the US has a fool for a coach and we’ve fielded a losing team.