2006/03/15

The Prying FBI Peeks At Pacifists

The ACLU's Freedom of Information Act requests against the FBI are paying dividends in the form of memos that detail the Bureau's surveillance and infiltartion of, "a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism." Pacifism? Say it isn't so! How un-American can you get. Certainly worthy of scrutiny in an "ongoing terrorism probe," because after all they were..."handing out leaflets".

The organization in question is the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice of Pittsburgh, PA, and they are the latest in a long string of antiwar protesters, environmental groups, and religious organizations that have been monitored by the FBI's anti-terrorism investigators. Raw Story notes that over 150 FOIA requests have been filed on behalf of the targeted organizations.

Well, at Blognonymous we say, "Money well spent". After all, we can't have pacifists running around this great country--might lead to more serious offenses like disagreeing with Bu$hCo.


13 Comments:

Oh god, it's just getting a little too absurd, don't you think? Imagine someone equating terrorism with pacificism. "Yes, folks, we're talkin' about the terrors of peace here! Dirty, rotten, filthy, America-hating 'Peace'! These are terrorists, folks! They are the enemies of the War Machine! They must be stopped before their 'Picnic By The Stream' mentality infects us all!"
Ah, Thomas Merton... back when the predominant Christian voices thought peace makers were blessed and warmongering was cursed.

My how things have changed.
Well in much the same way as they have successfully portrayed all followers of Islam as violent extremists, they are resurrecting the 'unamerican activities' committee apparently to witch-hunt. Nothing new there, they've always spid on activists. At least real ones that actually are a challenge, often your more credible groups.But sobbing about our victimization does little to convince the public that we hippies are not the scary goons of society. All the more reason to act reasonable and be mindful of our participation in and perpetuation of what amounts to hysterics because it hurts our credibility on matters where we REALLY have the facts on our side.

I am not suggesting people ever back away from dissent but do realize how successfully they portray the left as crazy and paranoid and self aggrandizing. The public eats it up. Image matters, right or wrong.

But let's be objective. Not all peace or environmental groups practice peaceful methods. Some do have a few nefarious goals, not most.I am not condoning their spying, but clearly their rationale is to target would-be sympathizers and those that might possibley be inclined to use violent or disruptive means toward a goal. Most groups of course do not fall into these categories!!! Again,I say that this is less about WHO should be spied on and why, more about these two things: EXPENSE and OPPORTUNITY COST.

Expense of course refers to how much is spent on a perceived threat and its PROPORTION to probability. For example, it is more probable that you will die of the flu than a terrorist act based on sheer numbers. Some of us are of the opinion that we should look at priorities with a lens of reason, versus hysterics. It just does not make SENSE to infiltrate and spy on peace groups. Fact is, it is not a reasonable use of tax payer's money.

On OPPORTUNITY COST, this refers to what they are NOT doing or spending on real threats while they spend money on the above. The schools that are not built, the infrastructure not maintained, the lapses in other critical areas when decisions are made politically rather than a place of common sense.
The Quakers and the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice are extremely violent and dangerous! Because they support peace and justice. Hey, doesn't the Bush administration say it supports peace and justice?
Whoops, forgot to add: So who's watching the Bush administration?
Hey, and they like to look at the SAW - Students Against War at UC Santa Cruz. These are some dangerous undergrads, now aren't they?
This, of course, is in addition to the Pentagon's spying on peace activists.

Doesn't it seem like they could save money if they just combined their operations?
Lily,
"have successfully portrayed all followers of Islam as violent extremists"

There's the pot calling the kettle extremist! Eh?
I have actually printed out, but not sent in, a FOIA request, just to see if they are monitoring me for any reason.

I think we should all send them in. Then maybe they'd be too busy with that to bother actually spying. Heh.
Neil, you sound like Rex. :-)

Windspike, I think I heard about SAW being surveilled. Weren't they one of the groups that claimed that the FBI had placed an informant in their meetings?

Helen, we can choke them with FOIA paperwork, but at the rate their processing (or delaying) them, it might be the next century before the backlog is cleared.
On OPPORTUNITY COST, this refers to what they are NOT doing or spending on real threats while they spend money on the above. The schools that are not built, the infrastructure not maintained, the lapses in other critical areas when decisions are made politically rather than a place of common sense.

Lily, this is an excellent point. Seems the thrust is to make the public perceive that they're safe rather than actually making the public safe for real.

Bruce Schneier (of Schneier on Security) has many excellent pieces on how the administration, and specifically DHS, keeps on responding to what he calls "movie threats". Worth a read.
I am sickened at the mere thought that the Shrub's minions are spying on peace groups with MY friggin Tax Dollars..they waste enough of it paying Halliburton for shoddy services and goods..now this.

Paranoid bunch of yahoo's..J.Edgar is smiling from whereever the hell he is..surely its not heaven..
The linkage is my pleasure Kvatch.

This is some seriously fictional sounding silliness Bu$hCo is traipsin' into. Thank you for postin' on it.

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