Sunday, December 7, 2008

Spying on Pacifists, Environmentalists and Nuns

An undercover Maryland State Police trooper infiltrated nonviolent groups and labeled dozens of people as terrorists.

"At one demonstration, I remember her showing up with a laptop computer and typing away," said Mike Stark, who helped lead the anti-death-penalty march in Baltimore that day. "We all thought that was odd."

Not really. The woman was an undercover Maryland State Police trooper who between 2005 and 2007 infiltrated more than two dozen rallies and meetings of nonviolent groups.

Maryland officials now concede that, based on information gathered by "Lucy" and others, state police wrongly listed at least 53 Americans as terrorists in a criminal intelligence database - and shared some information about them with half a dozen state and federal agencies, including the National Security Agency.

Among those labeled as terrorists: two Catholic nuns, a former Democratic congressional candidate, a lifelong pacifist and a registered lobbyist. One suspect's file warned that she was "involved in puppet making and allows anarchists to utilize her property for meetings."

The case is the latest to emerge since the Sept. 11 attacks spurred a sharp increase in state and federal surveillance of Americans. Critics say such investigations violate constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly, and serve to inhibit lawful dissent.

Josh Tulkin, 27, a registered lobbyist with the Virginia state Legislature, is cited under "terrorism - environmental extremists." Tulkin was deputy director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group that claims 15,000 members and regularly meets with governors and members of Congress.

"If asking your elected officials a question about public policy is a crime, then I'm guilty," he said.

Barry Kissin, 57, a lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006, heads the Frederick Progressive Action Coalition, a group that works "for social, economic and environmental justice," according to his police file. Their protests "are always peaceful," it added.

He was labeled "Terrorism - Anti-Government."

This is the result of the Patriot Act, an ACT that our Congress and Senate passed without even reading it. I will be sending this article to Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is on the Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, claims that spying on the American Public just isn't true. He told me himself that there has been no evidence presented to Congress that this spying is taking place. I think someone should tell Pete Hoekstra and the rest of congress that they need to pay attention and start answering our Petition for Redress, (Another First Amendment Protected Right) regarding the "Patriot Act".

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