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Homeland Security nabs another one....

Started by Woolly Bugger, August 28, 2006, 13:53:19 PM

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Woolly Bugger

An environmentalist is labeled as a torrest because of comment about dam removal....



Jim Bensman thought his suggestion during a public hearing was harmless enough: Instead of building a channel so migratory fish could go around a dam on the Mississippi River, just get rid of the dam.

Instead, the environmental activist found himself in hot water, drawing FBI scrutiny to see whether he had any terrorist intentions.

The case "shows just how easy it is to be labeled a suspected terrorist," he says.

Do you feel safer now?

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Silver Creek

Here's the same story from the New York Times.

A Man, a Plan, a Dam. Then, an F.B.I. Call.

Published: August 22, 2006
On July 25, Jim Bensman of Alton, Ill., attended a public meeting on the proposed construction of a bypass channel for fish at a dam on the Mississippi River. Less than a week later, he was under investigation by the F.B.I. — the victim, depending on how you look at it, of either a comedy of errors or alarming antiterror zeal.

The meeting was organized by the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains Mississippi River navigation systems, including the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in East Alton, Ill., where it is considering construction of a fish passage.

At the meeting, Mr. Bensman, a coordinator with Heartwood, an environmental organization, suggested the corps simply destroy the dam. It was an idea the corps itself had considered. In fact, a photograph of an exploding dam was included in the corps' PowerPoint presentation, explosive demolition being by far the most common method of dam removal.

Mr. Bensman said he had long criticized the system of locks and dams as environmentally damaging and an unfair government subsidy benefiting boat traffic over railroads. "I've been fighting these things for decades," he said.

But news accounts of the hearing did not put it quite like that. One newspaper said simply that he "would like to see the dam blown up."

On July 31, he said, he got a telephone call from someone who identified himself as Matt Federhofer, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There is such a person at the agency's office in Fairview Heights, Ill., a St. Louis suburb, but he did not respond to a voice mail message yesterday.

When Mr. Bensman learned what the call was about, "it was just kind of disbelief," he said. "How could anyone be so utterly stupid as to think that was a terrorist threat?" For one thing, he said, it would be ridiculous for a would-be terrorist to announce explosive intentions at a public meeting, much less a meeting sponsored by an arm of the military.

But when the agent said he wanted to visit him at home, Mr. Bensman became frightened. "I was thinking, I need to talk to an attorney," Mr. Bensman recalled. "And he said, 'Well, O.K., I will put you down as not cooperating.' "

That was when Mr. Bensman got angry. "I know what Bush is doing with all these secret programs spying on the so-called terrorists, all these provisions in the Patriot Act that I think crosses the line, being able to spy on a suspected terrorist without the check and balance of a court or a judge," he said. "That's just something that really worries you."

He said he also remembered that the F.B.I. had a history of spying on civil rights, antiwar and environmental activists. He said one reason he knew his caller was a genuine agent was that he could cite items in Mr. Bensman's own F.B.I. file.

Mr. Bensman said the agent had told him that someone from the corps had asked the F.B.I. to investigate him. "I was saying, 'What in the world?' There is no way anyone in the corps could reasonably think I was a terrorist threat. They know me."

Kevin Bluhm, the corps official who moderated the meeting, said he doubted the call came from the corps. Though he conceded that Mr. Bensman had long been a thorn in its collective side, "he's not malicious, oh no," Mr. Bluhm said. "This was just Jim. He comes to a lot of our meetings, and he is anti a lot of the stuff that we do."

Mr. Bluhm, who leads the corps' public communication efforts along the Mississippi, said he could understand why the F.B.I. felt obliged to check Mr. Bensman out, but "if they would have asked me first, I would have said no, there's not that kind of risk there."

Marshall Stone, a spokesman for the Springfield, Ill., office of the F.B.I., said, "A lot of things we look into turn out to be things we don't have to be concerned about."

Mr. Bensman, who wrote an account of his experience that is circulating on the Internet, said he had been informed that he is not now suspected of anything. But he worries that his phone may be tapped and wonders what will happen if he is pulled over for a traffic violation: "Are the cops going to think I am a terrorist? You never know what is going to happen nowadays."




"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

peter p

I feel a lot safer now.  What is next, I can't bring water on the plane?  I am sure commenting on this article will get my phone tapped so I will leave it at that.     



I CAN'T BELIEVE I've not gotten one of those calls yet... guess Uncle Sam learned not to take me seriously during the Clinton administration.  ;D

Tight Lines & Put-Em-Back!


Peter P and Psycho

both yawls phones are tapped.

Brad -- we need to talk (but not over the phone)

Moon Dawg

peter p

It may be time to develop a secret code!    // ;)



If they infiltrate us we will have to make up another secret handshake