Sunday, December 18, 2005

They Know If You've Been Bad or Good...

I sometimes joke with several of my friends in the political activism community about us being on a government troublemaker list somewhere, due to either to our activities or our known associations with perceived troublemakers.

In light of discoveries by NBC News - which I saw on, you guessed it, Countdown with Keith Olbermann - our joking may not be far off the mark.

In a segment on Thursday's show, Keith reported that the Pentagon's TALON database, used to keep track of possible threats to national security within the United States, is also keeping track of such high security risks as Quaker educational meetings (scroll down one third of page - the actual MSNBC report is here ).

Today, Pentagon officials admitted that some of the information on antiwar protesters included in this secret Pentagon database should never have been on the list in the first place.

A Defense Department spokesman also announced a thorough review of domestic intelligence operations and refresher classes on how to properly collect and store intelligence, especially involving U.S. citizens.

The database of suspicious incidents obtained by NBC News includes legitimate potential threats, such as someone taking pictures outside a recruiting station, and a lookout for a suspected al Qaeda terrorist.

But it also contains information on antiwar meetings or protests, including this group‘s peaceful discussion at a Quaker Meeting House.
At one point they showed a printed copy of the database which had entries that read, "Counter Military Recruitment Planning Meeting" and "Anti-War Demonstration scheduled for 13 November 04."

When such news is paired with news of Homeland Security agents showing up on the doorstep of a student who had requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "The Little Red Book" for a class paper, well, a girl's gotta start wondering when she's going to be paid a visit due to progressive political activities, phone calls to overseas friends and checking the Qu'ran out of the local library because she's curious about what Islam really is about. Not to mention association with her more politically radical friends.

Maybe I should make sure to post everyday so y'all know I haven't been dragged out of my bed in the dead of night...

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