"Listen in on Terrorists..."

The primary defense the Administration and its defenders have used to rationalize the commission of years of violations of federal criminal laws is that typical calls made by average Americans are not monitored. "We aren't listening in on your call to Grandma Tilly in Philadelphia," the line went. "We're only listening in on terrorists, so the Democrats that oppose our violation of law only feel that way because they don't want to listen to terrorists' phone calls." Despicable logic, I know, even if it were true.

Unfortunately, it is not true that only "terrorists" are being spied on - or, at least, not for any sane definition of "terrorists." The ACLU has just received documents proving that the Defense Department has declared all sorts of political opponents "potential terrorists," and therefore deserving of clandestine, unlawful surveillance.

Internal military documents released Thursday provided new details about the Defense Department's collection of information on demonstrations nationwide last year by students, Quakers and others opposed to the Iraq war.

The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, show, for instance, that military officials labeled as "potential terrorist activity" events like a "Stop the War Now" rally in Akron, Ohio, in March 2005.

The Defense Department acknowledged last year that its analysts had maintained records on war protests in an internal database past the 90 days its guidelines allowed, and even after it was determined there was no threat.


A document first disclosed last December by NBC News showed that the military had maintained a database, known as Talon, containing information about more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" around the country in 2004 and 2005. Dozens of alerts on antiwar meetings and peaceful protests appear to have remained in the database even after analysts had decided that they posed no threat to military bases or personnel.

Quakers, huh? Quakers are a threat to America? I believe the pacifism more or less precludes them being a threat to anyone, unless you equate dissent with threat. Oh wait... Democrats are routinely called traitors because they oppose Bush's pointless war. So, if the Quakers' dissent is a threat worthy of having their constitutional rights suspended, how can the Democrats expect their rights to be respected?

How can you be such a baby, to be threatened by words? Don't most people move past that hurdle in middle school? Why are conservatives so afraid?

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