When Boston Police Spy on Free Speech, Democracy Suffers

This post was submitted to CopBlock.org by utilizing the submission tab. It’s an eye opening piece by Nancy Murray about police monitoring. Isn’t it scary to know that if you preach peace or care about veteren’s rights the police will monitor you, even after they are the only ones doing something illegal? Don’t believe me, continue reading or watch the video below.

By Nancy Murray, Education Director, ACLU of Massachusetts at 9:51am

Originally posted by boston.com.

Psst! Check out this super-secret Boston Police “intelligence report”:

Local activists have been trying to get ‘celebrity guest speakers’ (Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon) for the March 24th demonstration, but at this time it appears that they have been unable to book any of these speakers for their event.

But some well-known speakers will be there. According to this intelligence report,” compiled by the Boston police under the heading “Criminal Act–Groups-Extremists,” among them will be Cindy Sheehan and a “BU professor emeritus/activist” whose name is redacted–it was the late Howard Zinn.

These excerpts come from one of several documents and videotapes obtained through a lawsuit brought against the Boston Police Department by the ACLU of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. We are making these criminal “intelligence” reports public today, along with a report analyzing its significance–and avideo of some of the peace activists who have been targeted.

We now have proof of what peace groups and activists have long suspected: Boston Police officers have worked within the local fusion spying center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), to monitor the lawful political activity of local peace groups and track their movements and beliefs. This information has been retained in searchable electronic “intelligence” reports bearing labels such as “Groups – Civil Disturbance,” “Groups–Extremists,” “HomeSec-Domestic” under the heading “Criminal Act.”

Under what interpretation of the US and Massachusetts Constitutions can the non-violent First Amendment activity of groups like Veterans for Peace and United for Justice with Peace be routinely classified as a criminal act?

If you have glanced at the US Senate subcommittee report on fusion centers that came out earlier this month, you may not be surprised to hear that Boston’s fusion center has been collecting dubious “intelligence” and violating civil liberties in the process.

Fusion centers were set up in the aftermath of 9/11 to facilitate the sharing of “terrorism-related” information among local, state, and federal law enforcement and private entities. But the Senate subcommittee report finds that the nation’s 70 or so fusion centers (the exact number is in dispute–DHS, which contributed the seed funding for the centers, doesn’t know how many exist today) have not uncovered a single terrorist plot.

Indeed, the spying centers have produced “nothing of value,” and instead needlessly duplicate the “more efficient information-sharing process already in place between local police and the FBI-led Terrorist Screening Center.”

Their output is often, in the words of one government official, “a bunch of crap.”

Continue Reading…


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