Friday, December 16, 2005

Watch the Watchers

Have you ever been to a demonstration? A political meeting? A (gasp!) Protest? You know, exercising those things that are guaranteed by our Bill of Rights? Like, your Rights as a citizen of the United States? Inalienable rights?

What would you say if I told you that, simply by doing these things, you may have landed on a Federal Terrorist Watch list? Things are truly getting out of hand.

Don't believe it? Check out these real, actual news items:

Quakers are "suspicious" domestic groups:

Official of the Green Party grounded:

The assistant legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights is stopped at airport and forced to pull her pants down in public. That keeps us safe!

Senator Kennedy stopped from boarding an airliner:
(scroll down to "Homeland Insecurity" - or read the whole page- it's great)

What can you do? How about going to this site - the American Friends Service Committee - as you see, they've been personally singled out for this harrasment by the Feds. They have a form where you can customize a letter to send to your representatives, asking them to do something about this.

Here's the one I just sent Senator Feinstein:

Dear Senator Feinstein,

Remember the Bill of Rights? That quaint old document? Well, it needs your help!! Please speak out and act to protect the rights to free speech and the freedom of assembly.

The Counterintelligence Field Activity, an agency of the Department of Defense, has been spying on individuals and organizations who believe that the Iraq War has been a mistake. I, and The American Friends Service Committee, who has been targetted, have been increasingly concerned about this threat to our fundamental rights. Have you ever been to a protest, a demonstration, a public political gathering? Of course you have! Well, chances are you have a file with the feds. Your name may even be on a "terrorist watch list." Remember when Senator Kennedy was stopped from boarding an airliner? It's happening more and more.

As a constituent, I am deeply concerned, as I know you must be, by the idea of our government spying on people who are doing no more than speaking their mind on the issues of the day. Frankly, I am outraged. I thought that we left this sort of thing behind in the McCarthy era.

And, after all, you are part of the government.

The Department of Defense has characterized concerned citizens as threats. I see a government agency spying on Americans exercising their rights as the real threat.

I know that Congress is about to take its holiday recess, but this is an incredibly important issue. Please write back to me and let me know what you plan to do in the new year to protect our country's bedrock principles.


Steve Della Maggiora


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