Thank heavens our tax dollars are being spent safeguarding us from the evils of—bike lanes. You can’t make this stuff up. From Truthout…:
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 4, 2009; Page A01 The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored – and labeled as terrorists – activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.
Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a “security threat” because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.
One of the possible “crimes” in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: “civil rights.”
But some observers say Sept. 11 opened the door. “No one was thinking this was al-Qaeda,” said Stephen H. Sachs, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to review the case. “But 9/11 created an atmosphere where cutting corners was easier.”
Maryland has not been alone. The FBI and police departments in several cities, including Denver in 2002 and New York before the 2004 Republican National Convention, also responded to the threat of terrorism by spying on activists.
Sachs’s review, released in October, condemned the Maryland spying as a severe lapse in judgment. No one has been reprimanded or fired, and the undercover trooper has been promoted twice.