Thursday, March 16, 2006

Smile, You're on Candid Camera

As a follow up to yesterday's post, Is Pacifism a Felony?, on the most recent revelation of governmental spying on anti-war activities, Keith Olbermann interviewed Ken Wizner, the attorney coordinating the national effort on FBI surveillance for the ACLU, on Countdown.

Olbermann begins the segment with: "Why let the terrorists destroy our freedoms when we can do it perfectly well ourselves?"

The Interview continues:

OLBERMANN: That draft FBI letter that-the one the bureau says was not included in the investigative file at any point, titled "International Terrorism Matters," with the Merton Center and other peace organizations as its content, is that the focus here? Is that the idea that everybody who is, who was opposed to governmental policy was in the same stew, didn't matter, pacifist, terrorist, anything with "-ist" in it?

WIZNER: You know, we have to look at the broader picture here also. I mean, we have released other documents, this is not the first one, where the FBI has labeled the Catholic Worker group as advocating a communist-like redistribution of resources, that talk about vegans, that talk about Quakers.

And when the administration says, with respect to the NSA spying that you led with, that we don't have to worry about it, this is a terrorist surveillance program, and therefore we don't need permission of courts, we don't need oversight from Congress, whose definition of terrorism are they using? Are they using this one?

If they're using this one, then the program may be a lot more troubling than people even think. I mean, terrorism is defined here so broadly, as anyone really opposing the administration's war policy, that I think it really highlights the need for both the courts and for Congress to play a little bit more of a role.

The full Transcript is available at: 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann,' and a portion of the video is here: ACLU on FBI Spying on Americans.

See also, a post at Daily Kos, Is Bush Spying on His Political Opponents?, for a discussion of the history of spying on disidents by the government, from Nixon to LBJ, and the need to be vigilant to prevent abuses. A good compilation of articles on this issue is also provided.


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