Thursday, February 09, 2006
from the LA Times:
The Department of Homeland Security in May 2003 urged 18,000 local and state police departments to treat critics of the war on terror as potential terrorists, according to a confidential DHS memo made public in 2004.
The Transportation Security Administration is also extremely arbitrary in how it designates names for its "no-fly" list. There are an estimated 70,000 names in the registry — many of them stuck there for reasons that even the government cannot explain. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) were placed on the list. Everyone with the common name of "David Nelson" is treated like a would-be bomber — as are 4-year-old children unlucky enough to have a name matching one on the list.
And the Pentagon has its own catchall definitions of suspicious and/or terrorist-related behavior. Its "counterintelligence field activity" program, ostensibly set up to protect domestic military bases and personnel, has been covertly gathering information on Americans who have done nothing more suspicious than protest against the Iraq war, including at last year's antiwar rally at Hollywood and Vine. Names gathered in such fishnets are being added to a Pentagon database involving the "terrorism threat warning process," according to Newsweek.