|In a fax dated March 23, Missouri Department of Safety Director John Britt assured 2008 presidential candidates Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), Bob Barr (Libertarian Party) and Representative Ron Paul (Republican) that they and their supporters will no longer be profiled as potential terrorists. This news was just released by Phil Jose, communications director of the Constitution Party, an organization self-proclaimed to be based upon the Declaration of Independence, Us Constitution and Bill of Rights which sets forth rules of law. They adamantly oppose profiling.
In a strategic report entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” released in February 2009 to law enforcement agencies within the state of Missouri, by the Missouri Informational Analysis Center. citizens with various political views were characterized as having the potential to be violent "militia members." Included were those opposed to a possible Constitutional Convention, a North American Union, Radio Frequency Identification, and illegal immigration.
Under the heading “Political Paraphernalia,” the report states: “Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional [sic] Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate: [sic] Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.”
Following a formal letter from the three former presidential candidates to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Director Britt replied in a fax that he has ordered the report to be edited “so as to excise all reference to Ron Paul, Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin and to any third-party political organizations.”
Britt reportedly went on to apologize to the candidates with this statement: “The Missouri Department of Public Safety regrets any inconvenience or issues caused inadvertently by the unnecessary inclusion of certain components by MIAC in its militia report.”
Among the many citizens who contacted the Joplin Independent with serious concerns about the document was Madelynn Frazier of Springfield. In part she wrote:
My concern with this report is that it's sophomoric presentation of facts unfairly and inaccurately characterizes certain peaceful political organizations as militant. I believe that the sloppy manner in which the report makes its points could possibly lead well-meaning law enforcement officers to misinterpret common, peaceful political paraphernalia as a "red flag" indicating radical militarism. Law enforcement officers' jobs are hard enough without being given misleading information about who they should be looking out for.
My contention is not that this report misrepresents those who are violent, but that it names activities and groups without making it clear that the vast majority of the people that make up these groups are in no way militant or violent. For instance, the report lists and displays the First Navy Jack Flag as a "Militia Symbol." Perhaps some members of some militia that I'm not aware of display this flag as theirs, but until I read this report, the only time I've seen such a flag flown or displayed was by current or former Navy servicemen. As a matter of fact, the entire U.S. Navy was instructed to fly this flag at the beginning of the War on Terror. Are they a violent, radical militia? Certainly not, but how would a law enforcement officer that had no prior knowledge of this flag know that? My grandfather served in the Navy during World War II and I find it disturbing that he may be thought of for even a second as a radical militant for simply displaying the flag that so many of his fellow servicemen proudly fly.
The Joplin Independent had attempted to verify the report by questioning Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts about it. His reply was, "The document you refer to is classified by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) as Law Enforcement Sensitive and cannot be released to the public...I don't like being evasive but MIAC is very careful with sensitive information."
Based upon the MIAC's own description of itself, it appears to be an attempt to partner all law enforcement agencies with the public and private sector in order to disseminate information and intelligence, it says, "to the agencies tasked with Homeland Security responsibilities....." Labeled a "fusion center" like others set up around the country, it was created by the 911 Commission Act of 2007.
What comes to mind are flight schools whose instructors trained the 9/11 terrorists using phony documents who learned only enough to commandeer jet planes and crash them. The chief intent of the MIAC document apparently was to create "red flags" that they consider a "vital key to the 'War on Terrorism and Crime."' Unfortunately, this intent in ignorant hands leads to abuse and ultimate ridicule, not a Missouri first.