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Why Is the Government Spying on the Black Lives Matter Protests?

March 19, 2015 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton, Salon

President Obama? Care to explain this chilling new low in America's disturbing surveillance apparatus?

It’s comforting that we have the assurance of everyone from the president on down that the government has no interest in intruding on the lives of fellow Americans without cause as they did back in the bad old days. After all, in these days of hyper awareness over the terrorist threat, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how that sort of thing could get out of hand, so it’s important that they follow the rules. Now there was a time when the cause of anti-communism required that we be extra-vigilant because the Russians were coming and dissent was closely monitored by police and the FBI in order that the government keep tabs on all those potential commie infiltrators such as Martin Luther King and John Lennon.

And even quite recently, it was found that the authorities had peace activists under surveillance in the wake of 9/11. The Washington Post reported in 2006:

A database managed by a secretive Pentagon intelligence agency called Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, was found last month to contain reports on at least four dozen antiwar meetings or protests, many of them on college campuses. Ten peace activists who handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside Halliburton’s headquarters in Houston in June 2004 were reported as a national security threat. So were people who assembled at a Quaker meeting house in Lake Worth, Fla., or protested military recruiters at sites such as New York University, the State University of New York and campuses of the University of California at Berkeley and at Santa Cruz.

The protesters were written up under a Pentagon program called Talon, which is supposed to collect raw data on threats to defense facilities in the United States. CIFA, an agency created just under four years ago that now includes nine directorates and more than 1,000 employees, is charged with working to prevent terrorist attacks.

The logic that peace activists must be in league with terrorists has never been adequately explained, but it follows along the same line of …read more


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