Operation Save America

Operation Rescue Reboots Their Terror Campaign In New Website

Here's a big reason I don't like nor trust the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe. It is either reluctant or afraid to acknowledge or pursue domestic terrorists. The largest civilian agency in the Federal government (over 200,000 employees, over 200,000 contractors) should have no excuse keeping tabs on domestic terror groups. Yet, it seems to constantly fail, time and again. And the latest press release (!) from Operation Rescue is an example how domestic terror groups can operate in plain sight without any hint of action from the Feds to stop them.

This past week, Operation Rescue launced two new websites as part of a campaign to ban pergancy termination on a state by state basis. Call it a reboot of their origianal objective, since up until this point, thier websites have been relatively low budget. But this new campaign, called Pro Life Nation, features all new branding, a Facebook page (which only has 100 likes so far), and a downloadable, 17 page booklet, explaining their new strategy. But the centerpiece of their new campaign is a separate, database driven website, called AbortionDocs. I try not to link to terrorist websites, since the National Security Administration supposedly keeps an eye on who visits them, right? What's that? The website has not been declared a terrorist website? My point exactly.

AbortionDocs is farily simple enough. It uses a SQL database and a Google Maps API to list the names and locations of stand alone clinics, hospitals, and individual providers who they suspect or know perform terminations. The database also contains the names of hospital executives and board members, in an attempt to intimidate hospital brass over the legitimate and legal medicine being practiced in their institutions. The site invites visitors to submit photographs and home addresses of doctors (presumably so they can be harassed or worse). There's even a link to volunteer one's services as a researcher, editor, or spotter. In addition to photographs and addresses, there is the capacity to upload documents for each entry so that lawsuits, patient complaints, and state prosecutions can be accessed by visitors. As of today, most providers who have photographs attached to their records are not real doctors at all. They are practitioners without board certification, and many have been prosecuted as such, which is good. I want fake doctors out of business. Operation Rescue, of course, wants to see all doctors out of business. And a few of Operation Rescue's followers want them dead.

And that's where terrorism comes into play. This website is not designed to lobby state governments to ban abortion. It is intended to intimidate providers and staff out of the practice of medicine. It is also intended to be used by people outside of Operation Rescue who are willing to break laws in order to stop women from obtaining abortions. Operation Rescue does not explicity say what should be done to clinics and doctors, but history tells us what has been done since the 1980s. There has been vandalism. There have been threats. There has has been harassment (via phone, email, and post). And there have been nine homicides since 1993. Five doctors have been murdered, along with two security contractors, and two clinic staffers. And there will surely be more. This new website is designed to ensure that vandalism, harassment, and violence continue under the guise of protected free speech.

You see, the website does not explicitly call its database a list of "targets" (althought it does label those who support abortion access as an illegal "cartel"). A list of names, addresses, and photographs is merely free information that Operation Rescule hopes others use as they see fit. Operation Rescue has one or more lawyers, so it has covered itself with a "disclaimer" on the site which reads:

This site is meant for informational purposes to aid in the end of abortion through peaceful, legal means. It is in no way meant to encourage or incite violence of any kind against abortion clinics, abortionists, or their staff. We denounce acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers in the strongest terms.

Supposedly that's all a domestic terrorist organization needs to protcect itself from prosecution and civil suits? I wonder why international terrorist groups haven't taken the same route. Oh, right. They can't, because they are internationally recognized as unlawful terror groups.

Operation Rescue has not been classifed as a terror organization by the US Department of Justice. Over 100,000 employees there and they still can't quite link 9 murders and millions in properly damage in 19 years. Not enough evidence I guess. Wanted posters hung in the victims neighborhoods apparently weren't enough to prove that there has been an effort to intimidate and discourage doctors from being abortion providers through acts of violence and threats, both direct and implicit. 

Back in the 1990s, there were two ways for anti abortion groups to target providers and staff. Once was to produce flyers and posters locally. The other was to compile information online. This latter method led to the creation of the now infamous (and illegal) "Nuremberg Files" website circa 1997, which listed the names of providers, judges, law enforment officers, and politicians who all practiced or help protect the medical practice of abortion in some way. On that list, eight names are crossed out (the first 8 homicides between 1993 and 1998, beore Tiller's murder in 2009).

The new Pro Life Nation downloadable booklet was written by Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger. Ms. Sullenger, you might recall, is the Operation Rescue executive who helped the organization move from California to Kansas, in an effort to to stop Dr. George Tiller from performing third trimester abortions -  either through legal or illegal means. She is also a convicted felon. In 1988, she and her husband pleaded guilty to Federal terrorism charges, for conspiring to detonate a gasoline bomb in the Family Planning department of the Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in Sn Diego. She served two years in Federal prison, and then relocated Operation Rescule to Kansas to concentrate on Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and wounded three years later.

Most people heard of her name in the wake of Dr. Diller's murder. She alledgedly assisted Scott Roeder in locataing and stalking Dr. George Tiller, before Roeder assisinated him in the foyer of a Wichita church. Scott Roeder is celebrated by anti abortion extremists as a "Christian Terrorist." That is a correct term for him and men like him. many of whom have been involved in locial militia groups, and in some cases, white supremicist groups. In my opinion, the Southern Poverty Law Center has done a better job in connecting these dots than the DOJ. It is simply outragous.

Why is going after Right Wing terrorist groups a poilticially sensitive issue? The US governemnt has stated for over 30 years that it has zero toloerance for terrorism, but this is clearly not the case. If this nation is serious about stopping all terrorists, then the harassment, assault, attempted murder, or murder of a medical care worker over idology, personal, or religious beleifs should be a Federal crime.

But it also needs to be made clear: Operation Rescue does not supply weapons or explosives to Christian terrorits. Operation Resucue does not coordinate bombings and assiassinations. But it does implicitly encourage them. Sometimes, in the case of Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue is contacted by the terrorists and assassins and provides both moral and tactical support. 

We at this blog join other blogs and reproductive rights organizations in condemning Operation Rescue's public database of providers, their photos, and home addresses. And we encourage the Department of Justice to investigate the Pro Life Nation website as a possible violation of the 1994 FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances), as well as any other Federal law on the books regarding online harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers. As a step further, we ask the DOJ to investigate the site itself and find out if it is collecting queries from healthcare workers who might be trying to see if their names or clinics are in the database. And we ask that the webside be taken down, as it is effectively a reboot of the late 1990s Nuremberg Files website, which was taken down following a Federal appeals court decision in 2002.  (The site continues to be cached and mirrored in violation of that court order that ruled that the site is not procted free speech).

Here's where I should stop and let Rachel Maddow explain the rest of this history, since she explains it better than anyone in American TV news today:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Terrorist Anti-Abortion Groups to Stage Two Separate July Events

Many, many thanks to Moiv and Fred Clarkson, two of the writers at Talk to Action for staying on top of this development.

Christians, they are not. Compassionate, they are not. Violent militants with martyr fantasies, they are. They are also terrorists. I'm referring to militant wing of the anti-abortion movement, and the recent discovery of two notable (albeit small) anti-abortion events this summer, just a week apart. One is in Birmingham, and is sponsored by Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue, before they rightfully lost their tax-exempt status). The other, being held in Milwaukee, is a week-long show of support for executed murderer Paul Hill. Actually, it is a celebration of the murders he committed in Pensacola, Florida, complete with a reenactment of the crime. Let that sink-in a bit before I continue.

Let's take a look at the Operation Save America protest first. It is scheduled to take place in front of Birmingham's two last remaining clinics from July 14-22. At first glace, it doesn't seem as terrorizing as the Paul Hill Memorial. Their website praises pressure to make doctors stop their practice, or to close their clinics, but does not call flor violence against doctors. The website attempts to link the anti-abortionist movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The author of the event page makes this fascinating insight:

Rev. Martin Luther King's famous “ Letter from the Birmingham Jail ” was actually written from the Birmingham jail.

I'm impressed. Who would have thunk it? And did Bob Dylan really perform on 4th Street? And where is President Grant buried again?

But he or she goes on to compare abortionists to the Ku Klux Klan. Uh oh. Perhaps the author didn't see the reports from the Southern Law Poverty Center, the FBI, and several journalists that have established a significant link between white supremacists, violent anti-abortion opponents, and what was known as the 'patriot' movement in the 1990s. The "wanted" posters featuring the names and photos of abortion providers actually originated with the KKK in 1985. Nice try, OSA. But the white supremacist link is stuck to folks like you.

But why is the protest happening in Birmingham? Is it really an homage to the legacy of Dr. King? Are the anti-abortion activists the abolitionists of today? Well, not exactly. You see, one of the two remaining clinics in Birmingham happens to be the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic, a site that was bombed with dynamite by Eric Robert Rudolph of the domestic terrorist group, Army of God (and I don't use the word terrorist lightly). You might remember that bombing, since it is the only fatal bombing of an family planning clinic in the USA. An off-duty cop moonlighting as the clinic's security guard was killed and a nurse was seriously wounded. That was in January 1998. It was Rudolph's final bombing before going into hiding in the North Carolina woods.

That clinic is not taking the upcoming protest lightly. They are reading it as a threat and another wave of intimidation. The Feminist Majority Foundation writes:

The New Woman All Women Heath Care clinic in Birmingham, Alabama is facing a siege by the anti-abortion group Operation Save America in July.

This clinic has been the target of extreme anti-abortion violence. Remember, this very clinic was bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph in 1998, killing a security guard and severely injuring a nurse...

Our senior field organizer just returned from Birmingham where she met with clinic staff and law enforcement officials to prepare for the siege. This clinic is important because it is one of the few clinics in Alabama that serves patients from across the state and from as far away as Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. In the weeks leading up to the event, and during the protests themselves, the Feminist Majority Foundation will provide critical security assistance to keep clinic workers and patients safe.

We have worked with the New Woman All Women clinic for more than 13 years—first in 1994 when we mobilized and trained hundreds of volunteers and succeeded in keeping the clinic safe and open during Operation Save America's "Holy Week Passion for Life" protests. And we were there again in 1998, less than 24 hours after the Rudolph bombing, helping the clinic to clean up and reopen and assisting law enforcement in their investigation.

Now, a Birmingham pastor is inviting Operation Save America to "let us bring glory and honor to God by finishing the work that was begun in Birmingham thirteen years ago." Operation Save America is promoting the Birmingham siege on their web site, saying their goal is to "push what is left of the abortion industry [of Birmingham] into a deep grave." How outrageous!

I wish them luck. I hope no on on their side is injured if things get heated.


Moving on, I turn my attention to the less subtle celebration of the crimes of Paul Jennings Hill in, of all places, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was not born there, nor did he go to school there. Paul Hill was a son of the south, from Misassippi to the Florida panhandle. For the 10th anniversary of the murders, the Paul Hill Memorial Tour went to Pensacola. But this time they are in the cheese state. In any case, there are two known clinics in Milwaukee, and they are being targeted by this event, scheduled for July 26-29.

March 1993 through December 1994 was quite a period in the militant anti-abortionist movement. There were five murders (three in Florida, two in Massachusetts), a spike in violent protests and threats, fierce Easter week protests staged by Operation Rescue, and the Christian identity / militia movement was exposed by the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Paul J. Hill had to have been inspired by the murder of Dr. Gunn in March 1993. Less than two weeks after Gunn's death, Hill appeared on Nightline and the Donahue show advocating the murder of abortion providers. He had what he felt was a purpose in life, and in July 1994, he slaughtered Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard, James Barrett as they drove-up to their parking spot at the doctor's clinic in Pensacola, Florida. With over four blasts from his shotgun, Paul Hill murdered the two unnarmed men as they sat in the truck's front seat, and also seriously wounded Mrs. barrett, the bodyuard's wife, who sat in the back. All the shots were fired after the truck pulled into the parking area, and Mr. barrett had rolled down his window to tell Paul Hill to step aside to let the truck through. All shots were fired from behind the victims, through the rear windshield. Mrs. Barrett ducked for cover, while the two men were both hit in the back and head multiple times.

That's an act bravery by a Soldier of God, isn't it?

Anyway, the Army of God has Paul J. Hill listed in their hall of fame. The webmaster for the Army of God, the Reverand Donald Spitz, is on-record praising Hill's acts. Furthermore, the Army of God has confirmed that they were associated with Eric Robert Rudolph. And Rev. Spitz is a co-sponsor of the Paul Hill Memorial events in Milwaukee next month. The event itself is being presented by George L. Wilson, operator of the pro-violence site Children Need Heroes, and Drew Heiss of StreetPreach, a pro-gun, anti-abortionist group that features links to both "extremists" (as their site lists them) and various non-violent pro-life minitries (all of which refer to clinics as "mills," I see).

I should point out that Children Need Heroes is a creepy site. I wonder if Dr. George Tiller has seen it. There he would see the only convicted female anti-abortion terrorist, the one who shot him once in each arm, Shelley Shannon, who will remain in prison until at least 2018. The FAQ page for Children Need Heroes is extraordinary, but it certainly makes sense in the contect that they see violence as a heroic, rightous act. A sample question from the FAQ reads:

Q: But isn’t it wrong to present these convicted criminals to children as heroes?

A: These heroes protected children. They saved children’s lives. The children Paul Hill protected would be 12 years old now. These heroes are truly childrens’ heroes. All of us, but especially children, should know about Paul Hill, Shelly Shannon, James Kopp and other great men and women who have used force to protect innocent children from abortion.

Got that, kids? You should admire James Kopp. He only shot that dirty Jewish doctor, Barnett Slepian in the chest with a sniper rife in the name of Jesus. His wife and children could do nothing as they saw Dr. Slepian bleed to death on their kitchen floor (and later in an ER) in Amherst, NY nine years ago. It's a beautiful story, kids. You should aspire to be just like Mr. Kopp, who heroically fled to France and evaded capture for years before being brought back to the USA and sentenced to life behind bars.

So when you go to the Paul Hill Memorial 2007 page, the first thing you read is this:

On July 29, 1994 Paul Hill defended the lives of innocent babies by killing a filthy baby killer and his good for nothing bodyguard. He acted in accordance to Holy Scripture.

On September 3, 2003 the State of Florida executed Paul Hill. We will never forget our dear brother or the truths for which he lived and died.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will produce a new post if video of the murder reenactment turns-up anywhere, or if eyewitness accounts turn-up. The best place to follow this for the time being is Talk2Action and perhaps the event sites themselves.

I wish the four target clinics and their patients all the best.

I usually refrain from doing more than one post about abortion rights in a month, but this news has me riled-up. The obscenity and the violence of the other side always strikes a nerve in me. There are more than a few shameless, bona-fide terrorists on the other side. These are people who have bombed or set fires to clinics, attacked doctors, murdered doctors and clinic staff, threatened doctors, associated with white supremacist groups, threatened anthrax attacks, and have dreamt of inflicting greater death and destruction upon clinic sites and staff.

I'm frankly amazed they have never attempted to bomb Planned parenthood's headquarters in New York City (they have certainly made threats). But for how much longer will New York be free of sensationalist protests such as these? Again, I refer to my post from yesterday. Have these domestic terrorists conceded Manhattan as a place of accessible abortions, or do they dream of bringing their holy war here? Or are they just sending a message to doctors to be afraid? That's the first priority of terrorism: to scare people. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Kill one, frighten ten thousand." Thing is, there are far fewer than ten thousand licensed abortion providers in the USA.

I end this post with lyrics to a song I only just discovered while writing the words above. It seems fitting. Here are the lyrics to "Hello Birmingham," a fine protest song by Ani DiFranco:

hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my home town
on election day

what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?
did the hate filled wanna build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they want to build them
in our shiny white snow

now i've drawn closed the curtain
in this little booth where the truth has no place
to stand
and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth with this useless
little lever in my hand
and outside my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge and praying
for the next doctor

it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet ensuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengeance was divine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham
it's buffalo
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i'm just calling to let to know
that someone understands

i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bulletproof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day