Fear and submission? Point in case, from the Baltimore Sun:
Documents show state police monitored peace, anti-death penalty groups
Undercover Maryland State Police officers repeatedly spied on peace activists and anti-death penalty groups in recent years and entered the names of some in a law-enforcement database of people thought to be terrorists or drug traffickers, newly released documents show.
The files, made public Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, depict a pattern of infiltration of the activists’ organizations in 2005 and 2006. The activists contend that the authorities were trying to determine whether they posed a security threat to the United States. But none of the 43 pages of summaries and computer logs – some with agents’ names and whole paragraphs blacked out – mention criminal or even potentially criminal acts, the legal standard for initiating such surveillance.
In other words, the State has become so afraid of “terrorism” that it has violated the law to spy on Americans who speak out against State sanctioned executions. Unless I missed something, we’re still allowed to dissent? Remember, freedom of speech and all that? First Amendment?
The ACLU says it best:
“Everything noted in these logs is a lawful, First Amendment activity …. For undercover police officers to spend hundreds of hours entering information about lawful political protest activities into a criminal database is an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars and does nothing to make us safer from actual terrorists or drug dealers.”
Because this is what the undercover agents found:
The only potentially unlawful activity mentioned anywhere in the documents, she said, were two instances of nonviolent civil disobedience. In one, activists refused to leave a guard station during a protest at the National Security Agency after bringing cookies and drinks for the guards, and in the other, they hatched a plan to place photographs of soldiers who died in Iraq on the fence surrounding the White House.
Do you still wonder why I’m so upset about Barack Obama’s vote on FISA? These rights are worth protecting. If we don’t speak up now, will we be be able to later?
UPDATE: From RawStory:
Kucinich to investigate police surveillance of protest groups
“[M]ost people would be upset to know that police were spying on lawful citizens and infiltrating peaceful organizations, rather than chasing down real criminals,” said Kucinich in a press release delivered to RAW STORY. “At a minimum, such police spying is clearly a waste of taxpayer dollars and a diversion from the mission of protecting and serving the people.
“I want the subcommittee to determine how widespread these activities are and who ordered them,” the Ohio Democrat and former presidential candidate said.
Things that frustrate me to no end: The short guy with big ears from Ohio loses out big time to the charming smooth-talker from Chicago. But who’s got your back, folks?