Mar 25, 2007

The NYPD and Political Repression

Some of the estimated 500,000 protesters to the Republican National Convention in New York City, August 29, 2004 (AP)

I just read a disturbing article in the New York Times about teams of undercover New York City police officers who conducted covert observations of protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Known as the "R.N.C. Intelligence Squad," the New York officers traveled to Europe, Canada, and at least 14 states to infiltrate groups that were believed to be participating in the mass protests in New York.

Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the NYPD overstepped its authority in the covert surveillance program.

"The police have no authority to spy on lawful political activity, and this wide-ranging N.Y.P.D. program was wrong and illegal," he said. "In the coming weeks, the city will be required to disclose to us many more details about its preconvention surveillance of groups and activists, and many will be shocked by the breadth of the Police Department’s political surveillance operation."

I think that police surveillance of lawful political groups infringes upon freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, and sets a frightening precedent for other governmental bodies. That being said, too many Americans are content to sit back allow government entities to usurp their civil liberties.

Just make sure that nothing preempts their American Idol episodes, because nothing is more important than keeping up with the mindless inanity of the likes of Melinda, Lakishia, and Sanjaya, as we have become a nation of drooling imbeciles who can really get fired up only when our favorite manufactured AI star gets axed.


Anonymous said...

Get over it, Bush won!

John Spalding said...

anon. You suck.

Good post Mike. I will follow the story.

microdot said...

Anonymous would rather you save all your angst for American Idol like he does.
I read this in the Times today. It's a world wide trend, you know, everyone who's anyone is doing it, even here in France!

historymike said...

(laughing at John Spalding)

Anonymous is too much of a partisan to be bothered by the idea of police harassing citizens legally exercising their political rights.

What next - cops infiltrating the VFW halls and League of Women Voters?

Will people wait until the police start monitoring the local GOP and Democratic meeting rooms before they begin to object?

And - let's face facts - despite hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of expenditure, the NYPD could uncover plots no more sinister than the guy with the bike that could create chalk messages on the sidewalk: see Bikes Against Bush for more information on this dangerous radical.

historymike said...


Anerican Idol, to me, is a metaphor for all that is wrong in contemporary American society.

News Grinder said...

Mike, I don't think this is an either/or world. I enjoy American Idol from time to time, I follow celebrity news, and I live on political blogs that deal largely with politics, the loss of our rights, and new legislation. I also surf news sites all day and night long. I want it all -- the cotton candy and the veggies.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

I'm curious why NYPD cops were being shipped all over the world to follow these groups--or was this a plan these guys thought up to get some great taxpayer-paid vacations?

Of course, Bloomberg is busy suing gun store owners across the country because weapons sold at their stores ended up in NYC, so I guess it's not that far a stretch to see them developing their own international intelligence agency.

liberal_dem said...

Anyone taking bets on a White House connection?

microdot said...

White House Connection? Quel Persiflage!!
After all, this was the Republican National Convention.
There were mass arrests and the unused deteriorating hulks of the old Staten Island Ferries were used as detention facilities where people were kept with out trials and booking for over 3 days. The city is still trying to settle law suits. I have a very good friend who participated in the theatrical protest group Billionaires for Bush who were able to get around the strict rules for the use of Central Park for protests by applying for a permit under the name of the group for a Croquet Match on the great lawn. They got their permit and great fun ensued!

Hooda Thunkit said...


Why would anything that the NYPD does surprise you?

I am surprised though that you knew the names of AI contestants, assuming that those were the names of AI contestants; you couldn't provi it by me. . .