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BOSTON HERALD: "Police State Unnecessary"

By Dan K. Thomasson
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - Updated 13 hours ago
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WASHINGTON — In the near future the noise you hear in your outside trash container might not be that pesky raccoon or the neighbor’s dog, but the FBI, looking for evidence to link you to some criminal or terrorist activity. That would be particularly true if you have had any contact knowingly or unknowingly, socially or otherwise with someone the bureau finds suspicious. If past experience is any guide, that could be nearly anyone.

According to recent news reports, officials of the national police force are preparing for another assault on our civil liberties. They are planning to give their agents more leeway to intrude into the lives of those they decide need further looking into by amending the domestic operations manual that sets out guidelines for conducting investigations. They would have enhanced ability to search not only household trash but also databases and could assign surveillance teams to scrutinize every aspect of American lives — shades of J. Edgar Hoover and his infamous Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

At the risk of overstating the case, that’s just plain scary.

Link that with reports of a mysterious FBI investigation into the activities of peace advocates and politically active labor organizers, and the past is not only prologue, it never went away. The Washington Post reported that the probe involving raids on seven homes and the issuance of subpoenas for 23 people last fall has triggered a major protest at the Justice Department. The investigation apparently is examining possible material support for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated as terrorists, the newspaper said.

Read more http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2011_070...



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