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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Our Civil Liberties, RIP

Amidst all the justified outrage over the apparent targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups by the IRS, not to mention the Associated Press phone tappingbrouhaha, an important point is being lost: this is nothing new. The Tea Partiers may be shocked – shocked! – that the Big Government they have spent the last few years complaining about really is a threat to our liberties, but the government targeting certain political groups wholly on account of their views is hardly breaking news. Just ask the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), which had set up an “Antiwar Committee” whose members have been spied on, indicted, and arrested for engaging in legal, constitutionally protected activities.

The FBI had sent a pair of infiltrators into the Antiwar Committee, and, on September 24, 2010, a veritable army of FBI agents launched simultaneous raids on antiwar activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Grand Rapids (Michigan). They seized computers, cell phones, passports, documents, family photos and even children’s artwork. Agents issued 14 subpoenas ordering the recipients to testify before a Chicago federal grand jury, and showed warrants indicating that the feds were searching for evidence related to “material support for terrorism.” A total of 23 people have since been handed subpoenas commanding them to appear before the grand jury in Chicago: all have refused. The FBI “investigation” – i.e. fishing expedition – is continuing.

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