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article imageOp-Ed: Policing Free Speech - ACLU Releases New Report June 29

By Paige Donner     Jun 30, 2010 in Politics
United States law enforcement agencies from the FBI to local police have a long history of spying on American citizens and infiltrating or otherwise obstructing political activist groups. Political spying was rampant during the Cold War under the FBI.
Thus begins the 27-page report prepared by ACLU attorney and former FBI officer on U.S. Surveillance and arrests of U.S. Citizens for exercising their First Amendment Rights.
The report was released June 29 and can be downloaded here.
Wired carried the story today stating "accounts and studies of questionable snooping and arrests in 33 states and the District of Columbia over the past decade..."
As Wired reports:
“Our review of these practices has found that Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by the police just for deciding to organize, march, protest, espouse unusual viewpoints and engage in normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public,” Michael German, an ACLU attorney and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, said in a statement.
Notable is the fact that journalists have also suffered this type of persecution and harassment for exercising their First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech. The mainstream media in the U.S., including outlets touted for their cutting-edge and citizen journalism reporting, have refused to run stories about this abuse and harassment for fear of legal and monetary reprisals and/or because their political leanings do not jibe with the member of the press that is being harassed.
This situation in the U.S. has only taken firmer root since the new administration has been in office. On this point at least, of surveillance and policing its citizenry's first amendment rights, the U.S. political front has shown bipartisan solidarity.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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