The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

COINTELPRO Comes to My Town: My First-Hand Experience With Government Spies

Posted by invizweb on July 24, 2008

David Zirin writes the following account for the Huffington Post:

Finally, at long last, I have something in common with Muhammad Ali.

No, I’m not the heavyweight champion of the world, and haven’t been named spokesperson for Raid bug spray. Like “the Greatest” – not to mention far too many others — I have been a target of state police surveillance for activities — in my case against the death penalty — that were legal, non-violent, and, so we assumed, constitutionally protected. In classified reports compiled by the Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security, I am “Dave Z.” This nickname was given by an undercover agent known to us as “Lucy.” She sat in our meetings of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, smiling and engaged, taking copious notes about actions deemed threatening by the Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich. Our seditious crimes, as Lucy reported, involved such acts as planning to set up a table at the local farmer’s market and writing up a petition. Adding a dash of farce to this outrage, she was monitoring us in the liberal enclave of Takoma Park, Maryland, a place known more for vegans than violence, more for tie-dying than terrorism.

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the ACLU, we now know that “Lucy” was only one part of a vast, insidious project. The Maryland State Police’s Department of Homeland Security devoted near 300 hours and thousands of taxpayer dollars from 2005 and 2006 to harassing people whose only crime was dissenting on the question of the war in Iraq and Maryland’s use of death row.

My dear friend Mike Stark, a board member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty is at times referred to in “Lucy’s” report as a “socialist” and an “anarchist.” One can only assume this is the pathetic time honored tradition of reducing people to simple caricatures, all the better to garner Homeland Security grant money.

Veteran peace activist in Baltimore, Max Obuszewski, who initiated the suit, was as well consistently shadowed as he walked down the streets. His “primary crime” (their lingo) was entered into the homeland security database as “terrorism – anti govern(ment).” His “secondary crime” was listed as “terrorism — anti-war protesters.” The database is known as the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA. Yes, a respected peace organizer of many decades standing is checked as a terrorist, his actions listed as criminal, for doing nothing more than exercising his rights. It boggles the mind.

Read more.

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