Recent FBI bulletins about anti-war protests have urged local police to ``be alert'' and report ``potentially illegal acts'' to federal terrorism task forces. Illegal activity -- such as bombings, vandalism or trespass -- ``falls outside the scope of the First Amendment,'' the Justice Department concluded.When was the last time a protest event featured a bombing? When was the last time a protest event resulted in serious physical injury or death--not meted out by authorities trying to suppress the event? Since when does the FBI concern itself with cases of vandalism or tresspassing?
In recent weeks, several people linked to anarchist groups in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and elsewhere have reported being "harassed'' by federal agents about the convention.
Many activists fear a repeat of the last Republican convention, in Philadelphia, where authorities were accused of rounding up protesters on trumped-up charges before they could take to the streets. Police raided a warehouse and seized puppets that protesters planned to use as props, and arrested an organizer on misdemeanor charges and held on $1 million bail before his case was dropped.
Authorities in New York say no pre-emptive strikes are planned.
You'd think the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the group actually doing the surveillance, would have something more important to work on these days. Sheesh.