Wednesday, March 15, 2006

FBI Spies On U.S. Peace Group

FBI anti-terrorism agents spied on a U.S. peace group simply because it opposed the Iraq war. This all part of an "unprecedented campaign" to spy on innocent citizens, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
FBI documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act & given to reporters show that the FBI conducted surveillance of the Pittsburgh based Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice at anti-war demonstrations & leaflet distributions in 2002 & 2003.
FBI documents which were shown at a news conference by the 2 groups had the headline, " International Terrorism Matters", & referred to the FBI's work with an anti-terrorism task force that includes several agencies.
Another of the FBI documents said the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force had learned that " The Thomas Merton Center...has been determined to be an organization which is opposed to the United States war with Iraq."
A seperate document noted, " One female leaflet distributer who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, inquired (name withheld) was an FBI agent. No other TMC participants appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent."
FBI officials said they were engaged in legitimate investigations, & in one case admitted that a person photographed at one demonstration was not whom they were looking for. "We had a legitimate purpose for being there", FBI special agent Bill Crowley said.
In an FBI memo, it called the Merton Center, "a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism."
The FBI said it was pursuing leads from another source possibly establishing a link between the 2, & finding no such link, terminated the surveillance.
I think these FBI guys finally realized they were wasting their time & our taxpayer dollars on a bunch of "hippies" protesting war. I mean, the title of the organization alone should have told them something, 'Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice'!
It's really sad for this country that organizations & American citizens can't protest or disagree with war without being " investigated", "photographed", "followed", etc. Isn't that what this country was founded on? Freedom of speech & expression. Freedom to disagree with anyone, including the goverment or the president, without being punished or harassed for it.
I think it's so ironic that the people calling for peace & love & no war are the targets of FBI "surveillance". Talk about ass-backwards!