Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
4 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Big Brother Terrorizes More Activists

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 3   Supported 3   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 9/28/10
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)

opednews.com

It's like McCarthyism all over again.

On September 24, FBI agents raided the homes of some anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis on suspicion that they were providing material support to terrorism.

This follows only a few weeks after it was discovered that Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security had been spying on activist groups in the Keystone State.

The Chicago Tribune quotes one of the harassed activists in Minnesota as calling the searches "an outrageous fishing expedition."

Indeed. But this is apparently how our tax dollars are being used.

Apparently the authorities still subscribe to the George W. Bush-style assumption that if you're not in lockstep with the government's policies, then you must be with the terrorists.

And the Bush administration's knee-jerk, fear-based policies in response to 9/11 have arguably made it legal for agencies to conduct these witch hunts.

The Patriot Act broadened the definition of domestic terrorism to an extent that it "may have a chilling effect on the U.S. and international rights to free expression and association," says Amnesty International USA.

Amnesty continues: "The law defines 'domestic terrorism' as acts committed in the United States 'dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws,' if the U.S. government determines that they 'appear to be intended' to 'influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,' or 'to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.' Such ambiguous language allows for loose interpretation that might violate civil liberties and international human rights."

As we're seeing right now.

To further complicate things, as I wrote back in June regarding Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is not unconstitutional for the government to block speech and other forms of advocacy supporting a foreign organization that has been officially (and arbitrarily) labeled as terrorist, even if the aim is to support such a group's peaceful or humanitarian actions.

Coincidentally, the Justice Department's Inspector General released a timely report last week after a review of FBI crackdowns on peace and social justice activists during the George W. Bush administration. The report is rather critical of the FBI.

The ProPublica Blog summarizes:

"The FBI activities reviewed by the Justice Department took place from 2001 to 2006, and involved groups including the Thomas Merton Center (a Pittsburgh social justice center), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Greenpeace, The Catholic Worker (communities of religious pacifists) and a Quaker peace activist.

"The report by the Justice Department watchdog didn't find that the FBI targeted these groups on the basis of their free speech activities - which would be a serious violation of FBI guidelines - but did fault the agency for other reasons, most notably a 'factually weak' basis for opening investigations.

"'FBI agents and supervisors sometimes provided the [Office of the Inspector General] with speculative, after-the-fact rationalizations for their prior decisions to open investigations that we did not find persuasive,' the report said.

"The report also found that that the FBI unnecessarily classified its probes as domestic terrorism investigations, even though some of the potential crimes were trespassing or vandalism - acts not normally considered to be terrorism. This classification resulted in several individuals improperly being placed on terrorism watchlists.

"The Inspector General also found that the FBI gave 'inaccurate and misleading' explanations to justify its attendance at a 2002 rally against the Iraq war organized by the Merton Center."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

No Excuse for Racial Profiling

No, Dan, America is Not a Christian Nation

Tea Party Talking Points, Translated

The Myth of the Christian Right

Racism Then and Now

They Still Cling to Guns and Religion

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
We must all be terrorists here on OpEd. I perfer ... by Michael Morris on Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010 at 6:15:58 AM
It is becoming clear to more and more people that ... by Bruce Morgan on Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010 at 11:02:21 AM
Obama has declared war on the anti-war movement. ... by Samson on Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010 at 9:06:28 PM
as more and more demos are in trouble in the Nov. ... by Michael Morris on Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 at 5:12:05 PM