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FBI labeling more lawful groups 'terrorists'

“This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities. When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern.”
— Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney and counsel, in a lawsuit seeking release of additional FBI documents

It’s yet another instance of peaceful protest organizations being monitored by Bush goons and given the “terrorist” seal of disapproval for disagreeing with the Chimperor’s policies. Two Michigan organizations, an affirmative action and an anti-war group find that they have been under Dumbya’s microscope.

This behavior by the government was first covered back in July on the Blend, when the ACLU, through a Freedom of Information Act request, unearthed 1,200 pages on the ACLU’s activities tracked by the FBI.

The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially “involved in terrorist activities.” The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI’s use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance.

The document released today is an FBI report labeled, “Domestic Terrorism Symposium,” and describes a meeting that was intended to “keep the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies apprised of the activities of the various groups and individuals within the state of Michigan who are thought to be involved in terrorist activities.”

Among the groups mentioned are Direct Action, an anti-war group, and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a national organization dedicated to defending affirmative action, integration, and other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The FBI acknowledges in the report that the Michigan State Police has information that BAMN has been peaceful in the past.

Kary Moss

Labeling political advocacy as ‘terrorist activity’ is a threat to legitimate dissent which has never been considered a crime in this country,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Spying on people who simply disagree with our government’s policies is a tremendous waste of police resources.”

The FBI report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of nine local organizations and individuals, including Direct Action. ACLU affiliates in 15 additional states have filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals.

We’re disturbed and dismayed that the FBI is misusing its power by spying on anti-war groups and monitoring political dissent to target activist groups,” said 23-year-old Sarah McDonald, a member of Direct Action and recent graduate of Michigan State University. “We’ve protested the war, racial discrimination and the military recruitment of the high school students, but we’re certainly not a terrorist group.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding