Friday, May 05, 2006

They Are Watching!

Democracy Now! | FBI Counterterrorism Unit Spies on Peace Group School of the Americas Watch: "JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Ann, this seems almost a complete replay in the 1970s, when the government was involved in massive spying on all kinds of legitimate groups of dissent. And, obviously, there were congressional hearings at the time and new legislation passed. But how has the Bush administration been able to get away with just completely renewing this all over again?

ANN BEESON: Well, that's exactly right, and I'm glad you raise that, because one of the things that’s remarkable when you look at what’s happening today is the utter lack of imagination of the F.B.I. In fact, you see precisely the same groups being targeted now as terrorist sympathizers that used to be targeted as communist sympathizers during the Cold War. And that includes the American Friends Service Committee and other Quaker groups. It includes groups like the National Lawyers Guild. A whole range of groups that were spied on then are now being spied on again today.

And, in fact, as you say, there were protections, we had thought, put in place during that era when Americans cried out and said this is not the American way. We can't have the F.B.I. routinely spying on protesters. And right after 9/11 then-Attorney General John Ashcroft basically overturned many of the guidelines that in the last several decades had limited this kind of spying on protest groups."

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