Monday, July 18, 2005

NYT: "Large Volumne of F.B.I. Files Alarms U.S. Activist Groups" (Eric Lichtblau)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected at least 3,500 pages of internal documents in the last several years on a handful of civil rights and antiwar protest groups in what the groups charge is an attempt to stifle political opposition to the Bush administration.
The F.B.I. has in its files 1,173 pages of internal documents on the American Civil Liberties Union, the leading critic of the Bush administration's antiterrorism policies, and 2,383 pages on Greenpeace, an environmental group that has led acts of civil disobedience in protest over the administration's policies, the Justice Department disclosed in a court filing this month in a federal court in Washington.
The filing came as part of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act brought by the A.C.L.U. and other groups that maintain that the F.B.I. has engaged in a pattern of political surveillance against critics of the Bush administration. A smaller batch of documents already turned over by the government sheds light on the interest of F.B.I. counterterrorism officials in protests surrounding the Iraq war and last year's Republican National Convention.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Large Volume of F.B.I. Files Alarms U.S. Activist Groups" in this morning's New York Times.

Also from the article:

Leslie Cagan, the national coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of more than 1,000 antiwar groups, said she was particularly concerned that the F.B.I.'s counterterrorism division was discussing the coalition's operations. "We always assumed the F.B.I. was monitoring us, but to see the counterterrorism people looking at us like this is pretty jarring," she said.
At Greenpeace, which has protested both the Bush administration's environmental record and its policies in Iraq, John Passacantando, executive director of the group's United States operation, said he too was troubled by what he had learned.
"If the F.B.I. has taken the time to gather 2,400 pages of information on an organization that has a perfect record of peaceful activity for 34 years, it suggests they're just attempting to stifle the voices of their critics," Mr. Passacantando said.

Life in the Bully Boy's America. (Trust me, you don't want a longer opinion of my disgust over the above topic -- topic, not article. It's an important article.) I will say again that due to the way things are going, it would be a public service if The Nation and The Progressive would make available online their coverage of the Church and Pike Committees. And note that we've returned to bold for quotes as most members seem to favor.

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