25
Nov
08

Environmentalists, peace activists, are now “terrorists”: in the national security state

FROM PR WATCH.ORG:

In November 2005, activists from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network peacefully protested against the failure by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr to significantly curb pollution from coal-fired power stations in Maryland. After their protest, Maryland police categorized them as terrorists and added them to a federal database of people to be monitored. Lisa Rein and Josh White report that other groups spied on by an undercover police operation included those opposing the death penalty, the Iraq war, “the manufacture of cluster munitions, globalization and the government’s expansion of biodefense research at Fort Detrick.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which has been acting for some of those spied on, commented that records made public so far reveal the “infiltration of activist meetings, dossiers on activists’ political affiliations … and more spying on individuals who have never committed any crime and were never suspected of committing any crimes.”

FROM Washington Post, November 19, 2008:

Maryland State Police labeled members of a Montgomery County environmental group as terrorists and extremists days after they held a nonviolent protest at an appearance by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. at a Bethesda high school.

Police files released to the activists reveal that the governor’s security detail alerted the state police’s Homeland Security and Intelligence Division to what troopers guarding Ehrlich described as “aggressive protesting” by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in 2005.

A review by The Washington Post of those and other files given in recent days to many of the 53 Maryland activists who were wrongly labeled as terrorists in state and federal databases shows an intelligence operation eager to collect information on the protest plans of a broad swath of nonviolent groups from 2005 to at least early 2007.

Those groups included not only death penalty and Iraq war protesters who were spied on by undercover troopers in a 2005-06 surveillance operation exposed in July, but also those who opposed abortion, the manufacture of cluster munitions, globalization and the government’s expansion of biodefense research at Fort Detrick.

The intelligence officers were particularly interested in determining the groups’ intentions ahead of specific rallies scheduled in the Washington area.

The files, whose release and eventual purge were urged in an independent review of the undercover surveillance operation, are heavily redacted in black ink. Many contain about five pages, consisting largely of tidbits of information about each person and his or her protest group. Some list what they call “monikers” for the activists, which are also blacked out.

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