The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored -- and labeled as terrorists -- activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.
Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a "security threat" because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.
One of the possible "crimes" in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: "civil rights."
Read it here.
Being labelled a terrorist in the US is no small matter: under the so-called "Patriot Act," anyone suspected of terrorism can be held indefinitely without charges or trial. More here. Will Obama change this?
In related news, only 10 days ago a Canadian judge ordered Hassan Almrei be released from prison. Almrei was the last remaining person being held on a "security certificate" at what is sometimes called "Guantánamo North" in Kingston, Ontario. (I can't use that expression, knowing how people in the real Guantánamo Prison are suffering.)
These "certificates" are obvious Charter violations, and were unanimously struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in February 2007. The Government then wrangled some new legislation that supposedly works around those concerns, allowing accused persons more access to the evidence against them. Mighty white of them. It remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will allow Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act to stand in its present form.
I had some trouble following the chronology of the Canadian laws and court decisions, so if readers who are more familiar with this can correct or fill-in, please feel free.