Joined: Jul 2009
THIS Is The Kind of Government Excess That All Should Worry About.
DOJ Probe Reveals FBI Conducted Surveillance on Greenpeace, Antiwar Activists.
Tuesday 21 September 2010
by: Mike Ludwig, t r u t h o u t | Report
The Thomas Merton Center, located in a humble storefront in Pittsburgh, is an inviting social justice space where visitors can pick up some pamphlets on non-violent civil disobedience or hold a community potluck. The center, named for an activist and Trappist monk, proudly promotes pacifism, but that didn’t prevent the FBI from spying on Merton Center activists in 2002, branding them terrorists and then later lying about it to Congress.
That was one of the critical findings of a report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine. The report said that between 2001 and 2006, the FBI also kept tabs on a Seattle antiwar activist as well as individuals affiliated with Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Catholic Workers and Quakers. The agency improperly placed these activists on terrorist watch lists, according to the report.
The report found that the FBI gave inaccurate and misleading information to Congress and the public in 2006 when it claimed that an agent who spied on an anti-war rally organized by Thomas Merton Center activists was investigating individuals with possible links to terrorism.
The surveillance of a Merton center rally in November 2002, which consisted of antiwar activists distributing information in a public space, was “an ill-conceived project on a slow work day,” according to the report. The FBI's surveillance of the rally was initially revealed via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which subsequently sparked Fine's probe.
The report said an agent asked his superior for something to do on a slow day of work, and he was directed to monitor the rally for potential terrorism suspects. Fine's investigation found that the agent’s “make work” assignment had nothing to do with any specific terrorism investigation.
But that’s not what the media and Congress were told in 2006 when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller as to whether his agency was using its enhanced counterterrorism capabilities to spy on Merton Center activists and other law-abiding Americans because of their opposition to the Iraq war.
In his testimony, Mueller said the agent who attended the Merton Center rally was there to identify an individual with potential links to terrorism. The FBI also asserted this in a press release.
The inspector general’s investigation, however, revealed that the agent who attended the rally was not tracking specific individuals, although the FBI operatives in Pittsburgh made up two conflicting stories about a local Muslim activist and a “Person B” to cover-up their decision to spy on the activists.
The report concluded that the FBI did not investigate the Thomas Merton Center based on its antiwar activism, rather the surveillance was based on the poor judgment of agents. Moreover, the investigation found that a 2003 memo circulated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force created an “inaccurate representation” that the Merton Center was the subject of an international terrorism investigation.
The report was harshly critical of the FBI for planting an informant to collect information on the Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG), a Merton Center affiliate and anarchist group. Fine concluded that the informant's attendance in POG meetings between 2004 and 2005 had nothing to do with trying to obtain intelligence about terrorism and was likely a violation of the Privacy Act” and the “First Amendment rights of individuals.”
“The FBI has a long history of abusing its national security surveillance powers, reaching back to the smear campaign waged by the American government against Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Michael German, ACLU Senior Policy Counsel and former FBI agent. “Americans peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights were able to become targets of FBI surveillance because spying guidelines that were established after the shameful abuses of the 60s and 70s were loosened in 2002. Unfortunately, they were loosened again in 2008, even after this abuse was uncovered.”
The inspector general’s report recommends that the FBI tighten investigative guidelines review the difference between First Amendment-related cases, like those involving non-violent civil disobedience, and cases involving actual terrorist threats. The ACLU, however, is pushing for more substantial changes.
“Unless the rules regulating the FBI are strengthened to safeguard the privacy of innocent Americans, we are all in danger of being spied on and added to terrorist watch lists for doing nothing more than attending a rally or holding up a sign,” German said.
Joined: Jul 2009
F.B.I. Searches Antiwar Activists’ Homes
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
Published: September 24, 2010
F.B.I. agents executed search warrants Friday in Minneapolis and Chicago in connection to an investigation of support of terror organizations.
The searches in Minneapolis took place early in the morning at the homes of people who have helped organize demonstrations against the war in Iraq and protests held two years ago during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
“It is rather patently political,” said Ted Dooley, a lawyer who represents Mick Kelly, a food service worker at the University of Minnesota and one of those whose homes was searched. “My client denies any wrongdoing.”
Steve Warfield, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Minneapolis, said the agents executed six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.
“They were seeking evidence related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation,” Mr. Warfield said. “They are looking at activities connected to the material support of terrorism.”
He said no one in Minneapolis had been arrested while the warrants were executed. He added that agents in Michigan and North Carolina had also questioned people in connection with the investigation.
Mr. Dooley said the F.B.I. broke down Mr. Kelly’s door around 7 a.m. and gave a search warrant to his companion. The warrant said agents were gathering evidence related to people “providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support” to terrorist organizations, and listed Hezbollah, the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The warrant also authorized the agents to look for information connected to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and to unnamed “co-conspirators” and allowed them to seize items including electronics, photographs, address books and letters.
Mr. Kelly is known in Minnesota as a prominent organizer of the Anti-War Committee, a group that has protested United States military aid to Colombia and called for the removal of American soldiers from Afghanistan.
During the Republican gathering in 2008 he was a primary organizer of a march that drew thousands of participants.
Mr. Kelly was also served with a summons to appear before a grand jury on Oct. 19 in Chicago. The order directed him to bring along pictures or videos related to any trip to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian territories or Israel, as well as correspondence with anyone in those places.
Jess Sundin, another member of the Anti-War Committee whose home was searched, said a warrant also was executed at the group’s office. She said she had not done anything to help terror groups.
“I’ve protested the government’s policies and spoken out and tried to educate people in my community,” Ms. Sundin said. “That is the extent of what I’ve done.”
Apparently, it is once again illegal to protest against war. Hoover would be proud.
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Yeap, this is what we should fear. Be sure to watch it all.
Last edited by SiriuslyLong; 09-26-2010 at 08:52 PM.
Joined: Jul 2009
Watched it all.
What's your point?
Obama had nothing to do with it. The guy could have been with PETA and the same thing would have happened.
He was belligerent. Cops don't like that - regardless who is belligerent.
Cops can be thugs - power corrupts small-minded people. Testosterone rules.
Posts said that this was private property. A consideration for the cops, right or wrong.
Your common tactic is to try to refute something with a "well, you stink too". Never debating specific points in their entirety. Never analyzing individual points with objective facts both pro and con. Too much work, obviously.
And you have a history of not replying to specific points except generally and with the above taunt.
Do you remember people with anti-Bush LICENSE PLATE stickers being denied entrance to Bush rallies during the election cycle? And arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts. He NEVER let questions that were from hostile people become public. All screened - all the time.
What this all means to me is that ALL authority must be questioned and held accountable. I have said this before. Do you remember it?
A waste of time. "You stink too. " Happy?
Last edited by Atypical; 09-26-2010 at 09:23 PM.
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI