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    Raw Story: Fusion center declares nation’s oldest universities possible terror threat

    Raw Story discusses a report (3.4 MB) from the Virginia Fusion Center (“VFC”), which states: “While the majority of individuals associated with educational institutions do not engage in activities of interest to the VFC, it is important to note that University-based students groups are recognized as a radicalization node for almost every type of extremist group. A small number of [a certain VFC division’s] area college students also align themselves with anarchist or animal and/or environmental groups.” (The report was first published by Cryptome.)

    “Fusion centers,” are defined by (pdf) the Department of Justice as a “mechanism to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability to fight crime and terrorism by analyzing data from a variety of sources,” which includes private sector firms and anonymous tipsters. There has been considerable controversy about fusion centers’ actions and powers. 

    Raw Story notes that the list of suspected organizations sweeps political dissension groups up with Al Qa’ida, Hamas, Hizballah, and white supremacists. Here are the organizations the Virginia Fusion Center singles out as possible international or “domestic terrorist threats.”

    • Al-Qa’ida
    • Al-Shabaab
    • Anarchist Extremists
    • Animal Defense League
    • Animal Liberation Front
    • Anonymous
    • Anti-Abortion Extremists
    • Army of God
    • As-Sabiqun
    • Black Separatist Extremists
    • Blue Ridge Earth First
    • Earth First!
    • Earth Liberation Front
    • Five Percent Nation
    • Green Anarchism Movement
    • HAMAS
    • Hizballah
    • Homegrown Islamic Extremism
    • Iqaamatiddeen Movement
    • Jama’at al-Tabligh
    • Jama’at ul Fuqra
    • Katuah Earth First
    • Lashkar-e Tayyiba
    • Lone Wolf Extremists
    • Militia Extremists
    • Moorish Science Temple of America
    • Muslim Brotherhood
    • Nation of Islam
    • Neo-Nazis
    • New African Black Panther Party
    • New Black Panther Party
    • Racist Skinhead Movement
    • Sovereign Citizen Extremists
    • Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty
    • White Supremacists

    This report from the Virginia Fusion Center follows recent scandals about reports from Missouri and Texas Fusion Centers. The Missouri Information Analysis Center published a report (1.7 MB pdf), “The Modern Militia Movement,” that cautioned police to look for certain signs that individuals are part of the militia movement and to be wary of such people. The fusion center labeled as suspicious people who are supporters of third-party presidential candidates such as Ron Paul and Bob Barr, or anti-tax protesters. The backlash led to a denouncement of the report from the Missouri governor, though he initially backed it.

    A recent bulletin (pdf) from the North Central Texas Fusion System asked law enforcement officials to report activities by advocacy groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protesters so the fusion center can “identify potential underlying trends emerging in the North Central Texas region.” The bulletin lists former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the US Treasury Department, and others as attempting to “gain[] support for Islamic goals in the United States and providing an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish.” 

    For more on privacy and civil liberty questions surrounding fusion centers, you can read the archives and reports from the ACLU and the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office (pdf), which identify problems with fusion centers, including: ambiguous lines of authority, role of private corporations and the military, use of data mining and secrecy surrounding the centers. You can also read the testimony from a recent Congressional hearing about privacy and civil liberty issues surrounding fusion centers.

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