Look Beyond Obama for Leadership on Gov’t Infiltration of Peaceful Protest
The Division of Homeland Security and Intelligence of the Maryland State Police have been caught infiltrating an activist groups peacefully and legally organizing against the death penalty and for world peace, even sending undercover agents to spy on meetings that included a United States Senator. Absolutely no evidence of any illegal behavior was uncovered, and yet police infiltration of these constitutionally protected gatherings continued as DHSI agents classified attendees, putting their identities into an official database as participants in “terrorism – anti govern(ment)” and “terrorism – anti war protesters”.
Such police infiltration in the face of peaceful political activity, despite a complete lack of evidence for any illegal behavior, spits in the eye of the American guarantee of the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and the Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unwarranted surveillance and searches.
Think this is an isolated incident? Think again. This has been happening nationwide, and not just at the state level but at the federal level as well.
One would hope that the Democratic Party nominee for President, Barack Obama, would have something to say about this. He does not. His campaign has issued no statement on this matter. And indeed, what could Barack Obama possibly say to the Maryland Division of Homeland Security and Intelligence, now that he has himself acted in favor of legislation that violates Americans’ civil rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution?
If you’re looking for leadership on the issue of constitutionally-protected liberty, don’t look to Barack Obama. Americans’ civil rights take a back seat to his personal ambition for higher office.
Look elsewhere for leadership. Senator Benjamin Cardin, the man who was spied on as he attended a Maryland meeting for world peace, is raising a ruckus. Good for him. Representative Dennis Kucinich, as Chairman of the House Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is going further and opening an official federal investigation of the matter. Says Kucinich:
“I think that most people would be upset to know that police were spying on lawful citizens and infiltrating peaceful organizations, rather than chasing down real criminals. At a minimum, such police spying is clearly a waste of taxpayer dollars and a diversion from the mission of protecting and serving the people. I want the subcommittee to determine how widespread these activities are and who ordered them.”
Let’s not fall into the trap of depending upon some 20th Century Messiah to come along and miraculously save us. Your next president will not save you. Others, like Cardin and Kucinich, may be more helpful. Whether their efforts for justice get anywhere depends on the vigilance, persistence and public protest of people like me and you.