Tuesday, June 28, 2005

California National Guard Spying on Mothers of Dead Soldiers

I thought we were at war with "terrorists", and not with parents who have lost children in Iraq?

A stomach-churning story today from the San Jose Mercury News:

SACRAMENTO - Three decades after aggressive military spying on Americans created a national furor, California's National Guard has quietly set up a special intelligence unit that has been given ''broad authority'' to monitor, analyze and distribute information on potential terrorist threats, the Mercury News has learned.

Known as the Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence Fusion program, the project is part of an expanding nationwide effort to better integrate military intelligence into global anti-terrorism initiatives.

Although Guard officials said the new unit would not collect information on American citizens, top National Guard officials have already been involved in tracking at least one recent Mother's Day anti-war rally organized by families of slain American soldiers, according to e-mails obtained by the Mercury News.

...Creation of California's intelligence unit is already raising concerns for civil libertarians who point to a string of abuses in the 1960s and 1970s when the military collected information on more than 100,000 Americans, infiltrated church youth groups, posed as reporters to interview activists, monitored peaceful protests and even attended an elementary school Halloween party in search of a ''dissident.''

...Last month, a group of anti-war activists, including the parents of American soldiers killed in Iraq, held a small Mother's Day rally at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial near the California Capitol to call for the return of all National Guard troops by Labor Day.

Three days before the rally, as a courtesy to the military, an aide in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's press office alerted the Guard to the event, according to e-mails obtained by the Mercury News.

...But he said the military would be ''negligent'' in not tracking such anti-war rallies in the event that they disintegrate into a riot that could prompt the governor to call out troops.

''It's nothing subversive,'' said Zezotarksi. ''Because who knows who could infiltrate that type of group and try to stir something up? After all, we live in the age of terrorism, so who knows?''

Isn't that breezy? Hey, we're in an endless age of terrorism, so "who knows?" what we'll find with our spying. The idea that a group of 36 people would turn into a "riot" that would require quelling by the Guard is beyond ridiculous. The notion that mothers of dead soldiers - and having a child killed in Iraq is a prerequisite for joining their group - would allow without question some terrorist type to infiltrate their group and do all kinds of Dirty Deeds is just fucking bullshit, an utter lie to allow them to harass this group.

The only individuals we need to worry about "infiltrating" anti-war groups are FBI thugs - a common tactic used by the FBI during the Vietnam war. So will the California National Guard now spy on FBI infiltrators?

Why is our government so scared of Cindy Sheehan, a mother from Vacaville whose son was killed in Iraq? Is it because she is openly and courageously speaking out against the lies that preceded this war?

Californians should rise up against this misuse of their National Guard. Perhaps they should contact the governor...oh, wait.


Blogger MarchingOrders said...

(You should enable trackback :-) )

Thanks for the heads-up on this article; I echoed on my own site and added some commentary:

"With the cooperation of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff, the California National Guard's new intelligence unit is monitoring the (legal, non-violent, First Amendment-protected) activity of peace activists, including the parents of soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Ironically, one of their surveillance targets was a rally that was held, in part, in support of of the California National Guard's troops who are deployed in that conflict. (see emphasis, which is mine). ...

Remember, now, there are police at all such events anyway, so the riot control justification that one might offer doesn't apply — local cops do a good job of keeping the peace at anti-war demonstrations, to the extent that organizations like Code Pink and the Raging Grannies need anyone's help staying non-violent.

I just getting up to speed on the rules restricting the military from collecting intelligence on civilians, but it seems likely that at least part of the CNG's behavior in monitoring the rally is in violation of federal law (see the main text of the excerpted article)."

8:51 AM  

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