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Surveillance

By Matthew Yglesias

"Surveillance"

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Via Steve Benen, I’m shocked to learn that police surveillance power is sometimes abused:

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.

See, I’d been soundly informed by everyone in the conservative movement plus many leading Democratic Party politicians and all manner of sensible centrists that allowing unlimited government surveillance power is the only reasonable response to terrorism. Obviously, anyone raising concerns about this sort of thing just doesn’t understand that it would be bad if there were to be a successful terrorist attack. And folks concerned about abuse of this kind of power clearly belong to some kind of tinfoil hat cult. Or something.

It seems Amnesty International was among the targeted groups, perhaps out of an impish sense of irony.

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