What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 17, 2010

Go Read Potter

He's done yeoman's work on the recent Homeland Security "Intelligent Reports" that's causing Governor Rendell such agita.

The OPJ has the beginnings of the story here.

In one recent blog, the pertinacious Potter posts:
But what pisses me off is ... how come it's only lefties who merit government scrutiny?

The Intelligence Bulletin that kicked off this mess is 12 pages long. Among the events it warns of presenting "additional risk factors" are the Jewish High Holidays and Ramadan (see? Muslims and Jews have some things in common after all! Let the healing begin!). Also supposedly presenting an opportunity for trouble: zoning hearings in Upper St. Clair, a Pittsburgh City Council hearing, and gatherings of such bloodthirsty groups as the Brandywine Peace Community.

It's a comprehensive list, except for one thing: It's only interested in political activity on the left.[italics in original]
And he boils things down to an irritating rhetorical question:
So see if you can follow this logic. On the one hand, you have a pseudo-populist movement that noisily asserts its Second Amendment rights, and whose members widely consider the current government to be illegitimate and marching toward socialism. On the other hand, you have a demonstration slated to burn the flag used by an armed rebellion against the U.S. government. And guess which of these two groups apparently merits scrutiny?
If that hasn't pissed you off, he's got more on the group doing the surveillance. Like any good security firm, it's difficult to dig up much info on it. As Potter has found out:
Mystery continues to surround the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, the non-profit group that apparently received $125,000 of state money to compile a controversial report on environmentalists opposed to natural-gas drilling.

I first reported on this controversy -- which was opened up by online journalism organization ProPublica -- last week. Since then, Gov. Ed Rendell has disavowed the whole enterprise, while other politicians are calling for an investgation. City councilor Doug Shields, for example, asserted, "I want to see the 990s on this group," referring to documents that tax-exempt organizations must file.

That may not be so easy. While today's Post-Gazette notes that the group is registered as a non-profit with the state, I've been having some difficulty tracking down those 990s. The ITRR doesn't have a listing at Guidestar, a widely used clearinghouse for information about non-profit entities. Nor could I find a listing for the organization on the IRS website. (The agency does list two other Philadelphia-based terror-related groups,)

My colleague at the Philadelphia City Paper, Isaiah Thompson, has hit a similar brick wall.
Go read Potter. As often as you can.


Pgh_Knight said...

He asks: how come it's only lefties who merit government scrutiny?

Interesting, when you consider the "lefties" are in charge of the government right now.

Jared McLaughlin said...

I tend to think... well, intelligence and related activities are military-like enough that I'd bet there's some cultural and personnel overlap. The military, in my experience, runs rather conservative for the most part.

Bottom line, I think it's always going to be that way because of the types of people that do the work. Get more lefties in combat arms, intel, the FBI and the CIA and those sort of things might change.

Pgh_Knight said...


The "lefties" are in charge and they place who they want where they want.

Maybe the reason lefties are watching the lefties are because they know their own. But, I suppose it just easier to blame the mean conservatives.

One of my best friends lost a leg because of a "spiked" tree. I wonder if that tree was spiked by a conservative or a "leftie"?

EdHeath said...


Each year since 2007 has seen a new record in filibusters. Obama's nominees are being held up. Conservative billionaires are funding the Tea Party to the tune of hundreds of millions. And the state senate is controlled by the Republicans, the state house of representatives has a razor thin democratic majority. This myth that "lefties are in charge" is entirely baseless and is contributing to an erosion of the effectiveness of government nationally, and is contributing to the possible destruction of the national economy. Conservatives try to block the extension of unemployment benefits for those rendered jobless by the actions of Republicans when they were in power, but apparently it's Democrats trying to look our for the poor and disenfranchised who are supposed to be the mean ones.