On this date January 2, 1920 Woodrow Wilson approved the Palmer Raids.
A little backgrounder on the raids:
From the FBI’s point of view:
December 28, 2007
The bomb hit home, both literally and figuratively.
On June 2, 1919, a militant anarchist named Carlo Valdinoci blew up the front of newly appointed Attorney General A. MitchellPalmer’s home in Washington, D.C.—and himself up in the process when the bomb exploded too early. A young Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who lived across the street, were also shaken by the blast.
The bombing was just one in a series of coordinated attacks that day on judges, politicians, law enforcement officials, and others in eight cities nationwide. About a month earlier, radicals had also mailed bombs to the mayor of Seattle and a U.S. Senator, blowing the hands off the senator’s domestic worker. The next day, a postal worker in New York City intercepted 16 more packages addressed to political and business leaders, including John D. Rockefeller.
It was already a time of high anxiety in America—driven by a deadly wave of the pandemic flu, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and ensuing over-hyped “Red Scare,” and sometimes violent labor strikes across the country.
The nation demanded a response to the bombings, and the Attorney General—who had his eye on the White House in 1920—was ready to oblige. He created a small division to gather intelligence on the radical threat and placed a young Justice Department lawyer named J. Edgar Hoover in charge. Hoover collected and organized every scrap of intelligence gathered by the Bureau of Investigation (the FBI’s predecessor) and by other agencies to identify anarchists most likely involved in violent activity. The young Bureau, meanwhile, continued to investigate those responsible for the bombings.
|Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer|
Later that fall, the Department of Justice began arresting, under recently passed laws like the Sedition Act, suspected radicals and foreigners identified by Hoover’s group, including well-known leaders Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. In December, with much public fanfare, a number of radicals were put on a ship dubbed the “Red Ark” or “Soviet Ark” by the press and deported to Russia.
At this point, though, politics, inexperience, and overreaction got the better of Attorney General Palmer and his department. Hoover—with the encouragement of Palmer and the help of the Department of Labor—started planning a massive roundup of radicals.
By early January 1920, the plans were ready. The department organized simultaneous raids in major cities, with local police called on to arrest thousands of suspected anarchists. But the ensuing “PalmerRaids” turned into a nightmare, marked by poor communications, planning, and intelligence about who should be targeted and how many arrest warrants would be needed. The constitutionality of the entire operation was questioned, and Palmer and Hoover were roundly criticized for the plan and for their overzealous domestic security efforts.
The “Palmer Raids” were certainly not a bright spot for the young Bureau. But it did gain valuable experience in terrorism investigations and intelligence work and learn important lessons about the need to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights.
Today, as Director Mueller has said, we realize that the FBI will be judged not just on how well it protects the nation, but also on how well it protects our nation’s constitutional freedoms along the way. We are committed to doing both.
From the Marxists point of view:
The Palmer Raids were a series of controversial raids by the United States Department of Justice and Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1919 to 1921 on suspected radical leftist citizens and immigrants in the United States, the legality of which is now in question. The raids are named for Alexander Mitchell Palmer, United States Attorney General under Woodrow Wilson.
Radical inequality meant that labor and political tensions were already high before the beginning of World War I, with government repression of radical left-wing political groups beginning even before American entry into the war. But after a series of labor conflicts and violence—including bomb attacks of court buildings, police stations, churches, and homes of government officials attributed by the authorities to violent immigrant anarchist groups—the Department of Justice and its small Bureau of Investigation (BOI) (predecessor to the FBI) had begun to track their activities with the approval of President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1916, Wilson warned of:
Hyphenated Americans (who) have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty and anarchy must be crushed out.
The Bureau of Investigation significantly increased its workload on anarchist movements after 1917 when the Galleanists (followers of Luigi Galleani) and other radical groups commenced a new series of bomb attacks in several major American cities. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was also a background factor: many anarchists believed that the worker’s revolution there would quickly spread across Europe and the United States. This idea terrified the wealthy.
On June 15, 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. The law set punishments for actions interpreted as acts of interference in foreign policy and espionage—including many activities that would be seen by contemporary standards as dissent, such as the publication of magazines critical of the government. The act authorized stiff fines and prison terms of up to 20 years for anyone who obstructed the military draft or encouraged “disloyalty” against the U.S. government. After two anarchist radicals, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, continued to advocate against conscription, Goldman’s offices at Mother Earth were thoroughly searched, and volumes of files and detailed subscription lists from Mother Earth, along with Berkman’s journal The Blast, were seized. As a Justice Department news release reported:
A wagon load of anarchist records and propaganda material was seized, and included in the lot is what is believed to be a complete registry of anarchy’s friends in the United States. A splendidly kept card index was found, which the Federal agents believe will greatly simplify their task of identifying persons mentioned in the various record books and papers. The subscription lists of Mother Earth and The Blast, which contained around 10,000 names, were also seized.
Congress also passed a series of immigration, anti-anarchist, and sedition acts (including the Sedition Act of 1918 and the Anarchist Exclusion Act) that sought to either criminalize or punish (through deportation) advocacy of the violent overthrow of the government or desertion from the armed forces, defiance of the draft, or membership in anarchist or revolutionary organizations.
In 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to seat Socialist representative Victor L. Berger from Wisconsin because of his socialism, German ancestry, and anti-war views.
On June 2, 1919, several bombs were detonated by Galleanist anarchists in eight American cities, including one in Washington, D.C., that damaged the home of newly appointed Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. The same bomb detonated near Franklin Roosevelt who lived across the street and was walking home with his wife. Palmer was badly shaken up (the bomber, Carlo Valdonoci, was killed by the bomb, which exploded prematurely). All of the bombs were delivered with a flyer reading:
War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
Palmer, twice the intended victim of assassination, had a personal as well as public motivation to win the battle against the radical left and those preaching violence. After his close calls at the hands of the Galleanists, he appears to have grouped all those identified with the radical left as enemies of the United States. He stated his belief that Communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American workman,” and that socialists were responsible for most of the country’s social problems.
Calls from a less-than-impartial press and a worried public quickly escalated for the federal government to take action against those perpetrating the violence. Pressure to take action intensified after anarchists, communists and other radical groups called on draft-age males to refuse conscription and/or registration for the army, and for troops already serving to desert the armed forces. President Wilson ordered Attorney General Palmer to take action.
At the time, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Luigi Galleani were in the forefront of the anti-conscription movement. Valdonoci, the Palmer house bomber, was later identified as a militant follower of Luigi Galleani. Attorney General Palmer requested and received a massive supplementary increase in Congressional appropriations in order to put a stop to the violence. Palmer then ordered the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Investigation to prepare for what would become known as the Palmer Raids.
In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover was put in charge of a new division of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation, the General Intelligence Division. By October 1919, Hoover’s division had collected 150,000 names in a rapidly expanding index. Using this information, starting on November 7, 1919, BOI agents, together with local police, orchestrated a series of well-publicized and violent raids against suspected “radicals” and foreigners, using the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Palmer and his agents were accused of using torture and other illegal methods of obtaining intelligence, including informers and wiretaps.
Victor L. Berger was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a charge of sedition, although the Supreme Court of the United States later overturned that conviction. The radical anarchist Luigi Galleani and eight of his Galleanist adherents were deported in June 1919 under the provisons of the Anarchist Exclusion Act, three weeks after the June 2 wave of bombings. Although authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest Galleani for the bombings, they could deport him because he was a resident alien who had overtly encouraged the violent overthrow of the government, was a known associate of Carlo Valdonoci and had authored an explicit how-to bomb making manual titled La Salute Ã© in Voi (The Health is Within You), used by other Galleanists to construct some of their package bombs.
In December 1919, Palmer’s agents gathered 249 citizens and immigrants of Russian origin, including well-known radical leaders such as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, and placed them on a ship bound for the Soviet Union (The Buford, called the Soviet Ark by the press). In January 1920, another 6,000 were arrested, mostly members of the Industrial Workers of the World union, a legal labor association. During one of the raids, more than 4,000 individuals were rounded up in a single night. By January 1920, Palmer and the Department of Justice had organized the largest mass arrests in U.S. history, rounding up at least 10,000 individuals.
Louis Freeland Post, then Assistant Secretary of Labor, cancelled more than 2000 of these warrants as being illegal. Of the many thousands arrested, 556 people were eventually deported under the 1918 Anarchist Act.
For most of 1919 and early 1920, much of the public sided with Palmer, but this soon changed. Palmer announced that an attempted Communist revolution was certain to take place in the U.S. on May 1, 1920 (May Day). No such revolution took place on May 1, leading to criticism of Palmer. However, on September 16 of that year the Wall Street bombing by Galleanist anarchists killed thirty-eight persons and wounded 400; it was the deadliest bombing attack to date in the United States.
The the milieu of Occupiers around the country consisting of anarchists/Marxists/Communists/Socialists, etc. that have shown tendencies toward resistance, will history repeat itself?
With abetters the likes of Bill Ayers, Heather Booth, Frances Fox Piven, Steve Lerner, et.al instigate periods of “unrest” or “resistance”? Will Anarchists create havoc across the country?
Nancy Pelosi, Obama and Biden understand where the Occupiers stand.
Will the FBI take action against sedition, even if it is within the “Occupy whatever” movement?
In 2010 the FBI raided Marxist/Leninist homes:
BUT one thing to ponder that Obama has just signed: The NDAA Act for 2012
Obama signs NDAA into law, dismantles Bill of Rights
December 31, 2011
Rumors have been floating around the internet for the past week or so that Obama signed NDAA into law before Christmas. Well, he didn’t. But that doesn’t really matter now, because today he did.
According to the ACLU, President Barack Obama just signed one of the most controversial bills into law since the Patriot Act. The sad part is that neither the House nor the Senate nor Obama seemed to think it was all that controversial, as it passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, and the president just signed it (even though he had at one time threatened to veto).
In case you haven’t heard, H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 or NDAA, is not your typical defense spending bill. It gives authority to the president (or perhaps it’d be more fitting to call him king or ruler at this point) to order the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without official charge or trial on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist or linked to a terrorist organization.
Obama did add a signing statement that reads, in part, “My Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” While his promise might comfort some, there is no guarantee of future presidents doing the same.
Many in government will argue that there is nothing for Americans to worry about — unless you’re a terrorist that is. But as our government slips further and further from the rule of law and the founding principles of our nation that once made us great, tyranny inevitably creeps in to take its place. And when tyranny reigns, the line between who is a terrorist and who isn’t becomes easily blurred. A “terrorist” could simply mean a political enemy of the state.
The citizens of our country that understand what happened when Obama lifted his pen off the dotted line (while in Hawaii) wonder why their elected representatives don’t remotely represent them or stand up for the Constitution as they swear to do. In a previous article I pointed out that the U.S. senators from Utah were divided in their vote on this bill. Senator Orrin Hatch voted for NDAA, while Senator Mike Lee was one of only seven senators in the country that voted against it.
68 percent of the House voted in favor, and only one of three U.S. congressmen from Utah earned his title of “representative” by voting against the bill: Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
Under White House Pressure, American citizens can be Indefinitely Imprisoned Without Trial
15 December 2011 © DOJgov.net newswire
If December 7th was to be “A day that would live in infamy,” on Wednesday December 14th 2011, congress approved a new rule for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will go one better.
Pressured by President Barack Obama, any American citizen can be indefinitely imprisoned without counsel if they are deemed by the White House to pose a threat to the security of America. Obama threatened to Veto the legislation unless this provision was inserted. But what does this really mean?
In April of 2009, Obama’s head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano declared that the greatest threat to the Security of America seemed to be returning “right wing” vets and conservatives.
Her criteria distributed to law enforcement identified alleged “right wing Militia members” as people opposed to abortion on demand, listeners to conservative talk radio and owners of firearms.
Previous Obama signed legislation gave the President power to shut down websites and web hosting providers without the need to validate this decision other than repeating the mantra of “national security.”
As such, it is not unreasonable for people to suspect that America is heading towards ominous times, in a society where constitutional protections are becoming artifacts of the past. History has shown that when a legislature gives a national leader dictatorial power, this is exactly what they become.