THE ORIGINAL TERRORIST THREAT TO AMERICA:
OUR EARLIER WAR AGAINST TERRORISM
By Chuck Morse
Upon becoming Attorney General in 1919, Mitchell Palmer confronted a subversive terror movement that had been building up steam since the 1917 Bolshevik coup in Russia in a manner similar to the boost the contemporary Islamic terrorist movement received as a result of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Leftwing terrorists had already wracked considerable havoc in America even before the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia. Examples of the growing terror threat to the U.S.A. included the September 6, 1901, assassination of President William McKinley by self-described Emma Goldman disciple Leon Czolgosz, the July 22, 1916, dynamiting of a parade in San Francisco by leftist Tom Mooney which resulted in 10 dead and over 50 injured, and numerous political strikes and brutal acts of violence. The Tom Mooney bombing in San Francisco held the record as the worst single terror assault on American soil, until the April 19, 1995, attack on the Murrah building in Oklahoma City and the September 11, 2001, hijack attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. During the early years, the extremist and violent political Left established a principle adhered to by terrorists ever since--the principle that the use of revolutionary violence and terror is desirable, acceptable, and totally justified.
Immediately following the establishment of the Soviet-directed American Communist Party in Chicago, on September 2, 1919, massive political strikes against the American infrastructure were launched, starting with the Boston police strike, September 9, the steel strike led by Communist William Z. Foster, September 22, and the coal miners' strike, led by John L. Lewis. These political strikes, involving deliberate violent action, threatened to shut down the nation. The Communist Party, at the time, circulated a manifesto calling for a nationwide general strike on November 8--a general strike to be staged in honor of the second anniversary of the Bolshevist seizure of power in Russia. The manifesto called for the overthrow of the U.S. government and victory for the "proletariat."
Previously, on June 2, 1919, a bomb exploded outside Attorney General Palmer's Washington, D.C., home. The bombing was conducted simultaneously with bombings and assassination attempts against prominent citizens and government officials in nine states. The Attorney General and his family escaped injury, while the two Communists who planted the bomb were blown to bits. Palmer's neighbor across the street, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, witnessed the gruesome scene.
Palmer acted decisively in January, 1920, when, after the U.S. Justice Deparment meticulously compiled a list of terrorist illegal aliens, federal agents swept in and, with the help of state law enforcement agencies, arrested thousands of subversives across the country on the same day. Former Communist Party official Benjamin Gitlow described the scene in his memoir, The Whole of Their Lives. In Boston, 500 were arrested, shackled, and led through the streets on their way to the Deer Island Prison. In New York, 3,000 were arrested in raids in which detectives charged into buildings with war whoops reminiscent of the Wild West. In cities from coast to coast, raids were conducted with spectacular success. Terrorists without American citizenship were, virtually overnight, forever banished from our shores. The entire Leftwing terrorist infrastructure was virtually destroyed in one day, never again to pose as a violent threat to our government and people. The Leftwing terrorist threat against our country did not reemerge until the inner-city ghetto race riots of the mid-1960s.
The Communist movement, however, continued to exist and function, since Communists who are U.S. citizens enjoy the same constitutional protections the rest of us enjoy. American Communists used their constitutional rights to free speech, free press, and peaceable assembly to organize politically and engage in political activities vigorously opposing the U.S. government's national-security and foreign policies during the Cold War. At the same time, ironically, Communist regimes around the world denied those same rights to their political opposition. As a matter of fact, the Communist regimes did every thing they could to make certain that anti-Communist and non-Communist opposition movements did not exist.
In the 1920s, Mitchell Palmer was the hero of the day. Of course, Palmer, like other American heroes with the courage, patriotism, and common sense to stand up and take action to save our country, was later vilified by those who had no respect for the constitutional rights of others but did not hesitate to use those rights to achieve their own subversive ends. Many of those who criticized Palmer for upholding the law of the land would have abolished the Federal and State Constitutions and all other laws protecting the lives and property of Americans, had the revolutionary political Left succeedrd in its conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government.
To destroy the contemporary terrorist threat to our nation, we need men and women in positions of authority who have the courage and conviction to do the right thing.
Terrorism & Homeland Security
Chuck Morse is the author of THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM. He is also a radio talk show host on Salem Radio/WNRB Boston.
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