If You Are a Protester, You Are a Terrorist

10 10 2008

William Ayers has been in the news a lot recently, and if you don’t know who he is by now then you haven’t been listening to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. In that case, read a little more about the radical 60’s activist here.

The Bush administration has become famous for its divisiveness, unlawfulness, and lack of transparency. It should come as no surprise that this week the Washington Post covered a news story about non-violent Maryland activists and protesters (a.k.a. opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war) who have been put on a terrorist watch list.

“Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.”

“The surveillance took place over 14 months in 2005 and 2006, under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The former state police superintendent who authorized the operation, Thomas E. Hutchins, defended the program in testimony yesterday. Hutchins said the program was a bulwark against potential violence and called the activists ‘fringe people.’ “

“Stunned senators pressed Sheridan to apologize to the activists for the spying, assailed in an independent review last week as ‘overreaching’ by law enforcement officials who were oblivious to their violation of the activists’ rights of free expression and association. The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, does not apologize but admits that the state police have ‘no evidence whatsoever of any involvement in violent crime’ by those classified as terrorists.”

The series of articles is best read in this order:

Maryland State Police Put Activists’ Names On Terror Lists

Activists Mislisted as Terrorists Are Blocked From Keeping Copies of Intelligence Files

Spying Gone Awry: A covert surveillance operation in Maryland tramples on civil liberties.

The real surprise is that some people are surprised by this. Isn’t this par for the Bush administration course? Really – how big of a jump is it to go from suspending habeus corpus to listing “protesters” as terrorists?

Sure, sure, President Bush didn’t personally do this – it was the Maryland State Police. Well, here comes a politically charged comparison: Hitler didn’t personally kill millions of Jews, but he did instruct others, to instruct others, to instruct others to do it. It’s called leadership – and it has a direct hand in local government by both actively supporting some initiatives and by neglecting to disallow other initiatives.

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