From the ACLU, a post-9/11 intelligence sharing and surveillance program spied on peace groups, including activists like Cindy Sheehan and the late Howard Zinn:
We now have proof of what peace groups and activists have long suspected: Boston Police officers have worked within the local fusion spying center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), to monitor the lawful political activity of local peace groups and track their movements and beliefs. This information has been retained in searchable electronic “intelligence” reports bearing labels such as “Groups – Civil Disturbance,” “Groups–Extremists,” “HomeSec-Domestic” under the heading “Criminal Act.”
Under what interpretation of the US and Massachusetts Constitutions can the non-violent First Amendment activity of groups like Veterans for Peace and United for Justice with Peace be routinely classified as a criminal act?
If you have glanced at the US Senate subcommittee report on fusion centers that came out earlier this month, you may not be surprised to hear that Boston’s fusion center has been collecting dubious “intelligence” and violating civil liberties in the process.
The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed more than 600 reports from these fusion centers and found the giant bureaucracy surrounding the program produced almost nothing that had to do with countering terrorist threats.
“The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot,” the report said.
“When fusion centers did address terrorism, they sometimes did so in ways that infringed on civil liberties,” the AP reported. “The centers have made headlines for circulating information about Ron Paul supporters, the ACLU, activists on both sides of the abortion debate, war protesters and advocates of gun rights.”
Some of these intelligence centers even investigated Muslim-American community groups and their book recommendations. No evidence of criminal activity was ever found, but the government did store the information, which it is prohibited from doing for First Amendment activities.
Again and again, history proves that the state views antiwar activists and peaceful dissident political speech as grave threats to “national security.” Antiwar.com was reminded of this, perhaps too personally, when it was revealed last year that the FBI had their eyes on us too.
Check out this video the ACLU put together about the state’s spying on people exercising their first amendment rights: