A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.Every once in a while, I get a ".mil" address in SiteMeter, and I just figure it's somebody in the vast military-industrial complex, on a computer, who's bored.
A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.
“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.
“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”
The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.
But it's not like somebody wouldn't be clumsy enough to "investigate" without trying to cover their Internet tracks.
I mean, who would consider 14 Quakers a threat to anything, either? Except maybe radical Islamic militants.
And we're nothing like them!
Well, since I'm not part of a "group".....
(Yes, this is appalling, but it isn't unprecedented (as the article points out later). And while:
The Department of Defense declined repeated requests by NBC News for an interview. A spokesman said that all domestic intelligence information is “properly collected” and involves “protection of Defense Department installations, interests and personnel.” The military has always had a legitimate “force protection” mission inside the U.S. to protect its personnel and facilities from potential violence. But the Pentagon now collects domestic intelligence that goes beyond legitimate concerns about terrorism or protecting U.S. military installations, say critics.But basically, it's COINTELPRO all over again. And with the PATRIOT ACT on the books for 4 years now, and all of its provisions up for renewal, 16 permanently, why is this really a surprise?)
[of course, I wrote this before Bush decided to finally take responsibility for something he'd done. It's even more chilling now.]