I went to Congo to write a comic book about a terror group — and ended up being labelled a terror supporter myself by the Treasury Department.On one level, it may seem as if it is not a big deal, but it is.
The bizarre tale of my graphic novel Army of God, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Congo and Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a window inside a little-known counter-terrorism campaign that captures more than a few innocents in its wide net.
Nearly 12 years since the massive expansion of federal powers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, OFAC’s collateral damage — myself included — is a reminder that defeating terrorists can come at the cost of our freedom.
It began two years ago. In the fall of 2010 I spent a month in the Democratic Republic of Congo reporting on the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal Ugandan rebel group that was chased from its homeland and has spent the last decade hiding out in the forests of eastern Congo. Led by charismatic madman Joseph Kony, the LRA pillages farming villages for supplies, kills or mutilates the adults and enslaves the children.
In early December our agent wired [artist Tim] Hamilton his share of the advance, but the money never reached the artist’s account. After a few weeks the agent made some calls. “He was told that the party holding the funds was the federal wire fraud unit which suspected that they were laundering funds for a terrorist organization,” Hamilton says.
Basically, this means that they can take everything you have with out any recourse at any time, and if they are wrong, or if they are malicious, it does not matter, because they are above the law, because if anything goes wrong, all they need to do is go, "Yadda, yadda, terrorism."
We have deliberately created a lawless national security state.