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POLITICS: Documents Show FBI Surveilled Protest Groups

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posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:11 AM
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Documents released to the ACLU and made available to The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act reportedly show that the FBI used broader anti-terror policies to conduct surveillance and intelligence operations on diverse advocacy groups within the U.S. The groups include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an Indianapolis Vegan group, and a Catholic Workers' charity. The ACLU says this shows a pattern of disregard for civil liberties by the Bush administration; however, the FBI claims that no investigations were conducted soley on the basis of a group's political or ideological stance, only in conjunction with an active criminal investigation
 



www.nytimes. com
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, John Ashcroft, who was then attorney general, loosened restrictions on the F.B.I.'s investigative powers, giving the bureau greater ability to visit and monitor Web sites, mosques and other public entities in developing terrorism leads. The bureau has used that authority to investigate not only groups with suspected ties to foreign terrorists, but also protest groups suspected of having links to violent or disruptive activities.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I think this story stinks to high heaven...I have no idea about the Catholic charity, but PETA is certainly linked to organizations that commit environmental terrorism and numerous other crimes, and I have no doubt that they'd naturally tend to appear often in FBI files.

It appears to me that The New York Times has apparently declared war on this administration using its front page as its main weapon to deliver hyped-up stories in an effort to smear the President.




posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:18 AM
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I couldn't agree with you more. The Bush Administration probably gets better press in Iran and North Korea than it does from the New York Times. It's disgraceful and makes a mockery of the First Amendment.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:28 AM
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I'm going to have to agree with the previous two posters although I don't want to parrot them. I agree with the idea the NYT is just rabble rousing blind hatred against the administration regardless of the danger it poses to the war effort.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:45 AM
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I agree aswell. Reading between the lines you could surmise that the NYT thinks the anti-terror laws should apply only to certain types of people rather than any group which might commit acts of terrorism.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:22 AM
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from the article
"You look at these documents," Ms. Beeson said, "and you think, wow, we have really returned to the days of J. Edgar Hoover, when you see in F.B.I. files that they're talking about a group like the Catholic Workers league as having a communist ideology."
. . .

But the groups mentioned in the newly disclosed F.B.I. files questioned both the propriety of characterizing such investigations as related to "terrorism" and the necessity of diverting counterterrorism personnel from more pressing investigations.

"The fact that we're even mentioned in the F.B.I. files in connection with terrorism is really troubling," said Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace. "There's no property damage or physical injury caused in our activities, and under any definition of terrorism, we'd take issue with that."

Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, rejected the suggestion in some F.B.I. files that the animal rights group had financial ties to militant groups, and said he, too, was troubled by his group's inclusion in the files.

"It's shocking and it's outrageous," Mr. Kerr said. "And to me, it's an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism."
(emphasis added)


I think you're being a bit alarmist. I also think people have a right to know what their governments are doing. The fact that the NYT reported this doesn't constitute a war on the administration.



djohnsto77
but PETA is certainly linked to organizations that commit environmental terrorism and numerous other crimes,


care to elaborate? I could argue that PETA is a tool of economic warfare.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:14 AM
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I don't like PETA much, don't particularly care too much for Green Peace, bunch of tree huggin' hippies ... Catholic Charities? Well, they're going to pretty much do what they're going to do.

However, I have a problem with people getting their backs stiff when someone reports that our beloved Prez, hereafter known as Spanky and Our Gang, is caught, once again, with his fingers in the cookie jar ... Then it becomes Anti-American for the American Public, all those little John and Jane Does, to know what the government is doing.

One would almost think that there are certain elements on this board who are all for people not finding the truth, nor understanding where, when and what our government is doing.


It would be ok if the checks and balances and "in place" watchdogs were working, but apparently, as in past administrations, this is not the case.
(I add this so folks will understand that I'm not anti-Republican and this is not a partisan statement)... It's a statement whereby a man is in office who cares not that he runs rough shod over civil liberties and rights and freedoms, and then rationalizes it anyway he can to try and look good.

I don't have a problem with the government taking care of security... That is, after all, their job. I do, however, have a real problem with a government that continually gets caught, lying, waffling, cheating, and being defended as doing what's best.

I don't care much for the NYT, either, but at least they are doing what they can to keep us informed.

Edited because I can't type well this early in the morning, nor apparently, can I spell, or edit well, this early in the morning.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by sigung86]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:08 AM
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This is my first ATS post, so be gentle.


I agree with sigund86. PETA and Greenpeace aren't my favorite, and indeed tend to be more like money making pyramid schemes for hippies than real activist groups. However, whenever I see something tangible lobbed at this administration there's always an immediate defense (usually consisting of going on the offensive with whomever lobbed the criticism... i.e. NYT) from the same folks that seem to think our President is infallible.

But, if you step back and look at the last 5 years and think about the PATRIOT act, the questionable classification of "enemy combatants", the detainment of American citizens with no access to legal counsel, and this... It starts to really really look like this Administration is run like a Monarchy. I think they've done an excellent job keeping both sides (Dems/Reps) at eachother's throats and distracted everyone from the glaring fact that they're running rough shod over American liberties.

I don't think the framing fathers would enjoy seeing a new King George ruling America. It just seems there's no accountability for Bush because everyone automatically says.. "Yeah, but it's the New York Times and they hate Bush!"

Maybe it's time we stopped considering the source and started considering the issues.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:24 AM
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archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com...

This shows that the FBI was watching citizens before the Patriot Act and Bush II. did we as a nation truly think no one was watching us? We didn;t because too many people were enjoying the INternet boom, and the money, and there was alot of oversight if you ask me. Then 9/11 happened, everyone wants payback, we ahve a president who shoots straight, and now again our own country is attacking hte preident for instailling powers that have stopped further attacks on US and foriegn soil.

The FBI have always infiltrated groups, especially colleges, for information . Google for links.

Besides, The NYT is a semi-controlled left wing blog as far as I am concerned.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 10:50 AM
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I think this story stinks to high heaven...I have no idea about the Catholic charity, but PETA is certainly linked to organizations that commit environmental terrorism and numerous other crimes, and I have no doubt that they'd naturally tend to appear often in FBI files.

It appears to me that The New York Times has apparently declared war on this administration using its front page as its main weapon to deliver hyped-up stories in an effort to smear the President.


But what kind of terrorism are we talking about here? PETA doesn't fly passenger aircraft into large buildings. They don't send letters laced w/ Anthrax to unsuspecting victims. They throw paint on fur coats & promote veganism! Exactly what kind of security threat does this organization pose to national security? This is like J. Edgar Hoover's FBI all over again.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by esdad71

This shows that the FBI was watching citizens before the Patriot Act and Bush II. did we as a nation truly think no one was watching us? We didn;t because too many people were enjoying the INternet boom, and the money, and there was alot of oversight if you ask me. Then 9/11 happened, everyone wants payback, we ahve a president who shoots straight, and now again our own country is attacking hte preident for instailling powers that have stopped further attacks on US and foriegn soil.

The FBI have always infiltrated groups, especially colleges, for information . Google for links.



No offense, but was that link supposed to support a position that the FBI is getting into normal citizens groups? If so, using the survelliance of
Elohim City as an example serves the opposite purpose.

When people visit Elohim City, they get greeted with assault rifles... the FBI is not allowed in. It is a militia based white supremecy group that looks forward to the end of the world, when god will wipe the "inferior races" off the earth...
If the FBI didn't follow that, then they weren't doing there job.

On the other hand, the Patriot act has taken us back to the days of "hunting reds" and Macarthyism... Where anyone who disagrees with the president is judged a threat, and monitored... BIG BRO refined to a gentle art.

The contention is: If you critisize this administrations policy on anything, you stand as a target. Here is the way that these powers are being abused and used as a punishment for questioning official policy.
a quaker group meeting, to schedule a protest of recruitment methods of highschool students locally, labeled as threats
abuse of spy power

Personally, I also think PETA and perhaps even greenpeace are potential grow sites for eco terrorists, but am i worried about what they will blow up next? NOT I!
as far as the catholic group goes... they got a similiar deal as the "pro peace" churches getting audited by the IRS while bush buddy war monger Pat Robertson sits on high...

[edit on 20-12-2005 by LazarusTheLong]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
I couldn't agree with you more. The Bush Administration probably gets better press in Iran and North Korea than it does from the New York Times. It's disgraceful and makes a mockery of the First Amendment.


Wow, I cant believe you actually said that the NYT is making a mochery of the 1st Amendment by disclosing illegal activity by our government...

WHO CARES if the NYT is a leftist corporation!! Are you that blinded by your party loyalty that you will ignore any proof that this administration is engaged in illegal spying on Americans? That is what is truly disgraceful.
You know darn well that if this was a Democrat in office you would be up in arms.

Esad71: So are you saying that just because the FBI was watching citizens previous to this administration, that it is justified to illegally spy on Americans now? ...



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:41 PM
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I may no agree with much of whats going on in our nation, and I agree that security is of much important.

But I also see the NYT as the truly place that do not abide by the gag our administration has on the media when it comes to first give the news to the public without retributions.

I know I will make many angry but I am going to say it, I am glad that we have the NYT times to exposed our bad government deals that affect us the citizens of this country

Bush wanted the Patriot act, he wanted Gonzales and he wanted to have the power to do what he wanted.

All in the name of national security.



How many people were prosecuted and arrested after invading their privacy with illegal surveillance?

none.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by xEphon
Wow, I cant believe you actually said that the NYT is making a mochery [sic] of the 1st Amendment by disclosing illegal activity by our government...


The New York Times published classified intelligence information received from sources who are current and former NSA employees in a time of war. That act makes a mockery of the First Amendment. Not only that, but the NYT has had that information for about a year and chose to publish it when it was most politically beneficial for their agenda. Furthermore, the illegality of the the Administration's action has not yet been decided. My guess is that when this all shakes out, it will be found to be not only legal, but was done with the approval of Congress members from both sides of the aisle.

[edit on 2005/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:52 PM
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Those organizations sound so benign to me...I cant imagine, it, but what do i know....

I agree with Marg, thank goodness for the New York Times



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott

Originally posted by xEphon
Wow, I cant believe you actually said that the NYT is making a mochery [sic] of the 1st Amendment by disclosing illegal activity by our government...


The New York Times published classified intelligence information received from sources who are current and former NSA employees in a time of war. That act makes a mockery of the First Amendment. Not only that, but the NYT has had that information for about a year and chose to publish it when it was most politically beneficial for their agenda. Furthermore, the illegality of the the Administration's action has not yet been decided. My guess is that when this all shakes out, it will be found to be not only legal, but was done with the approval of Congress members from both sides of the aisle.

[edit on 2005/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]


Not true, the NYT actually sat on the information on request from BUSH prior to the 2004 election when that information would have been more detrimental than it is now.
As reported by Newsweek:
www.editorandpublisher.com...

The information was not classified otherwise Bush would not have had to ask for the NYT to sit on the information, he could have mandated it.
Once again your just showing your party loyalty without regard to the substance in discussion.

As far as spying on organizations such as PETA, although they are not the greatest organization and they do have ties with the ALF, they are not part of this "War on Terror" It is not because of groups like these that we have the Patriot Act and we didnt go to "war" because of these groups, however, this is exactly what happens when we give the government the power to spy on whoever they want. They misuse it. Both parties included. This is tyranny, everytime someone overtly disagrees with whats on the governments agenda, they will fall under the blanket of "terrorism."
Is this the type of power you want to give our goverment?

Sacrificing freedom in the name of freedom...the biggest orwellian lie ever.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by xEphon
Once again your just showing your party loyalty without regard to the substance in discussion.


I do not belong to any political party. I am a registered independent. I cannot vote in party primaries. I have no allegiance to any party, only to my nation. You know not whereof you speak.


Originally posted by xEphon
The information was not classified otherwise Bush would not have had to ask for the NYT to sit on the information, he could have mandated it.




NYTimes

Following is a transcription of President Bush’s weekly radio address yesterday as recorded by The New York Times.

[...]

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies.

Yesterday, the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have.

And the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies and endangers our country.

[...]

[emphasis mine]


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.




NYTimes

President Bush and two of his most senior aides argued Monday that the highly classified program to spy on suspected members of terrorist groups in the United States grew out of the president's constitutional authority and a 2001 Congressional resolution that authorized him to use all necessary force against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Offering their most forceful and detailed defense of the program in a series of briefings, television interviews and a hastily called presidential news conference, administration officials argued that the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was not written for an age of modern terrorism. In these times, Mr. Bush said, a "two-minute phone conversation between somebody linked to Al Qaeda here and an operative overseas could lead directly to the loss of thousands of lives."

Mr. Bush strongly hinted that the government was beginning a leak investigation into how the existence of the program was disclosed. It was first revealed in an article published on The New York Times Web site on Thursday night, though some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists had been omitted.

"We're at war, and we must protect America's secrets," Mr. Bush said. "And so the Justice Department, I presume, will proceed forward with a full investigation."

[Emphasis mine]



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



[edit on 2005/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:09 PM
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Just because something is classified doesn't mean it shouldn't be exposed if its wrong and unamerican. If the times reported classified documents that exposed a communist conspiracy amongst our elected officials and military to undermine our nation from within would you still be complaining?



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:12 PM
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Originally posted by boogyman
Just because something is classified doesn't mean it shouldn't be exposed if its wrong and unamerican. If the times reported classified documents that exposed a communist conspiracy amongst our elected officials and military to undermine our nation from within would you still be complaining?


Thats a pretty weak response. I mean how would a conspiracy group make their own classified documents within the federal government, that would be too big of a risk. If there was some god awful plan in action they certainly wouldn't be relaying it through government documents.

The NYT is risking national security by stalling and preventing measures that would protect you and I.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:16 PM
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The exposure of classified information is a crime and a serious incident regardless of the content. Whoever did this must be caught and prosecuted, regardless of how one feels about the Administration.

[edit on 2005/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:47 PM
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I dont understand how you can sit there and say that our government has the authority to do whatever it wants...EVEN IF ITS ILLEGAL (which this is) ...under the pretense that its in the countries best interest. There is a reason we have a system in place to decide these matters. And that system is not the President.

That is absurd. Our leaders are not above the law. We live in a DEMOCRACY. Stop trying to put a spin on the issue by saying that an illegal operation is justified just because it was classified. Now, why do you think this operation was classified? Hmmmm, because it was illegal maybe?
Given your logic, our government can do whatever they please as long as they make the operation classified.

Once again, goodbye freedoms, hello dictatorship.



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