Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Any More Doubts(2)?

Well, well -the Houston office of the FBI violated FBI procedures in investigating - now get this - environmental protesters.

This report from The Guardian details how procedures were skipped and that protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline were labeled "environmental extremists."  The major subject was a group called the Tar Sands Blockade.  The article states:  "Environmental activists affiliated with the group were committed to peaceful civil disobedience that can involve minor infractions of law, such as trespass. But they had no history of violent or serious crime."   A key organizer stated that some members were arrested  "but not one of them was accused of violent crime or property destruction." Folks who photographed oil-related facilities were also scrutinized.

Mike German, a former FBI agent, now fellow at Brennan Center for Justice in NY, and who consulted with The Guardian on this article had this to say:  “It is clearly troubling that these documents suggest the FBI interprets its national security mandate as protecting private industry from political criticism,” he said."

While the FBI has done good work, we cannot forget that they spied on Dr. King and other civil rights leaders.  SHAME on RFK for authorizing the spying.  There's also another report here. And the FBI apparently had a role in crushing the Occupy protests.  I hadn't seen this article by Naomi Wolf at the time; I just ran across it while doing another search.  I think it makes clear that there was a concerted effort against a peaceful movement which a conglomeration of security state and corporate interests labeled a "terrorist threat."

And lest we forget our neighbor to the North, we've mentioned before Canada's C-51.  Watch out!  The government may use hate crime laws against groups there involved in the BDS movement - that's Boycott, Divest, Sanction against Israel.  You might want to read The Intercept's two-part story (the link here is to the first part, and that story contains a link to part 2).

This is somehow making us more safe?  Remember the President's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board did not find mass surveillance to be effective.  Is monitoring peaceful protest and dissent the role of even tightly targeted surveillance?   I think not.  We must continue to speak out against mass surveillance, especially now with Sec. 215 of the Patriot Act set to expire if not renewed. 

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