"The Wondering Jew"
Aug. 07, 2004 - 20:39 MDT
THE WONDERING JEW
The Mills Of The Gods
I guess that nit-picking about things that happen here in my city is going a bit far. Only I think similar things are happening in other cities of our country too. An article by Karen Abbot of the Rocky Mountain News in today's paper -- in part:
City must pay $470,000 in lawsuit over 'spy files'
"A federal judge has ordered Denver to pay more than $469,000 in lawyer's fees and legal costs in the "spy files" case."
"The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado sued the city in federal court in 2002 over police surveillance files compiled for half a century on political activists and organizations."
"The plaintiffs contended Denver police watched thousands of activists and protesters of all stripes, despite the fact that they never were implicated in criminal activity."
"Officers went undercover to infiltrate groups, observed demonstrations and noted license plate numbers on cars parked near protests."
"The files categorized the American Friends Service Committee, which won the Nobel Prize in the 1940's for its support of peaceful resolutions of disagreements, as a "criminal extremist" group.
A Franciscan nun in her mid-70s who helped raise money for the poor in Mexico also was labeled a "criminal extremist."
"ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein estimated the city compiled as many as 1,000 files on organizations and 10,000 on individuals."
"The ACLU contended the spying interfered with the citizens' freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including freedom of expression, freedom to peacefully gather with others, and freedom to poeacefully petition the government of redress for grievances."
"Denver agreed to settle the lawsuit last year."
"The Denver Police Department has instituted new rules for intelligence gathering, limiting it to situations in which there is "reasonable suspicion" of serious criminal activity."
My opinions. How soon will the "reasonable suspicion" bit be expanded to be used against us all ? From a few references I have read in the paper from time to time, it would seem that those "spy files" were backhandedly passed to other arms of the law. Never were purged really, from what I read. It sounds logical to me, some pooh-bah in the upper echelon thinking, "Geez all those files we spent so much time on gathering can't be wasted, we must save them at any cost."
"Criminal Extremist" people ? I think that many of the groups who are putting extreme pressure on ordinary citizens are criminally guilty, but are looked on with favor due to preudices among some of us. For one thing, a woman who has determined to have an abortion, one who has thought the whole thing over thoroughly, probably prayed, cried and finally reached the conviction (for whatever reasons) to have an abortion. Then having to run the gauntlet of screaming, taunting, murder calling people just to get in the door of a gynecologist's office. Until forced to stand a certain distance from a person walking up to the door, those women were often grabbed, pulled at and spit upon. I think abortion is a much too serious matter to let radical anti-anythings interfere in such things and I think that treatment they receive is criminal extremeism.
Protest, to my mind, is something that must be done peacefully and with respect for others. But I do not think that groups must apply for a license to protest, nor should they be put behind wire away from parade routes so that the protests can't be seen.
For over 50 years our taxes paid the tab for those "spy" files to be accumulated and stored, just to be used against some one the police were upset or paranoid about.
It wouldn't surprise me a bit to some day find out that a new set of "spy" files has been built up concerning people who exercised their right to protest. I know that I am not all that too popular for some of my opinions, but - - - - they are mine - - - - this is my diary - - - - and it is my right to express my opinions without some dingbat, paranoid official to decide that I am a "criminal extremist," opinionated -- truly, my right to be so.
It might be a good idea for everyone to take a look in their own community to see what files are being kept on the citizens there.
Seems like more and more the surveillance of me and you is focusing on us. TV cameras mounted here and there feeding into official quarters.
The lawsuit mentiond in the article told that Denver was sued in 2002, but there was great hoorah in the news for a long time before ACLU made the move that some of us should have made earlier.
One of the reasons that I have been "flacked" is my thoughts on the ACLU. It does seem to me that such a group who is fighting to further and protect every citizens civil rights under the constitution should be encouraged to continue. Certainly the ACLU sometimes fights for unpopular people or causes, sometimes for a cause we believe in which is unpopular with others . . . . but, shouldn't we all make room for folks who live or think differently than we do ? What a nation of clones we would be if there were no differences of opinion between us ! ! ! !
What's to happen down the road ? Will we be hemmed in by a Big Brother type of government ? Good things don't seem to happen rapidly, in that case, slowly run The Mills Of The Gods . . . . . . . . . .0 comments so far