Target: Boston Police Department
Goal: Stop monitoring the lawful activity of local peace groups and remove them from databases of domestic terrorist threats
Rallying for peace is not and never has been a criminal activity; in fact, peaceful public demonstrations count among our most important expressions of protected free speech. But that hasn’t stopped the Boston Police Department from tracking peace groups like Occupy Boston and Veterans for Peace as though they were domestic terrorists. New records obtained by the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild indicate that the BPD has been working with the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), a “fusion center” established after the September 11 attacks, to monitor the activity of these activist groups and compile electronic intelligence reports on their behavior.
The reports stored in the BRIC’s files bear such labels as “Civil Disturbance,” “Extremists,” and “Domestic Home Security.” All these titles indicate that the BPD is treating the peaceful activity of nonviolent activist groups as dangerous criminal behavior. Compiling such intelligence on these groups stands as an obvious violation of their First Amendment rights to organize peaceful protests in public places.
All citizens have the right to peacefully criticize the actions of their own government. Fighting for peace is not and never should be classified as a criminal act. What the Boston Police is doing is blatantly unethical and, in many cases, strictly illegal. Stand with Boston peace groups and support their right to demonstrate in public without being monitored by signing the petition below today.
Dear Boston Police Department,
When did peacefully protesting the wars of the United States government become an illegal activity? At what point did nonviolent activist groups become considered dangerous extremists? It stands to reason that organizations like Occupy Boston and Veterans for Peace have the right to demonstrate publicly and disseminate information about their pacifist causes, yet now they are unable to do so without being monitored by the Boston Police.
Compiling intelligence reports on these peace groups as though they were domestic terrorists is a blatant abuse of your authority. Spying on peace activists using intelligence centers intended to monitor terrorist threats does nothing to further the safety of Boston citizens. I demand that you stop violating the First Amendment rights of peace groups immediately and cease collecting intelligence on their behavior.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: openmediaboston via Flickr.