Monday, January 16, 2006

more on that horrible organization that conducts 'suspicious' activities; the QUAKERS

they make more than oats.............and of course their activities are NOT suspicious. they are all above board and out in the open. several organizations in connecticut are pondering getting together and filing freedom on information paperwork to see if they too are under surveillance. why is being a pacifist equated to being a terrorist by some?

quaker meetings in the southern new england area

The Pacifist `Threat' Disclosure Of Recent Government Surveillance Of Quaker Activities Doesn't Surprise Members
Courant Staff Writer January 16 2006

A group of Quakers who were protesting military recruitment efforts at a Florida high school recently learned their meeting was included on a secret Pentagon database of "suspicious incidents." When that news broke last month, it had a familiar ring for many American Quakers."With the restriction of civil liberties goes surveillance," says Don Weinholtz, a Quaker who lives in Windsor. "It just seems to be a very unfortunate natural course of events."The Religious Society of Friends is one of the largest groups of Quakers in the United States, with about 600,000 members worldwide. They embrace beliefs, called testimonies, that include peace, equality and rejection of war in all its forms.Quaker groups and members have come under government surveillance and infiltration at various times in history, from the McCarthy era to Vietnam. The pacifist church was in the forefront of protest in the run-up to the Iraq war and since then has worked to counter military recruitment efforts in high schools. "There are points in time where it is just a bedrock matter of faith that Quakers feel they must step forward," says Weinholtz, a member of the Hartford Quaker Meeting. Last month, NBC News broke the story that the meeting of Quakers in Lake Worth, Fla., was one of about 1,500 allegedly suspicious incidents included in the Defense Department's secret TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice) reporting system. Recent reports have said Quaker activities in Ohio and Vermont also may have been scrutinized under the program.The database obtained by NBC showed that the Pentagon also had labeled as "threats" counter-military recruiting protests and other planned demonstrations around the country, including one at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.A Defense Department spokesman said last week that the TALON program is intended to deal with suspicious activity and threats to national security before an attack occurs. "Unfiltered" information in the database can come from law enforcement, counter-intelligence or even concerned citizens, he said. The information then becomes a "dot" that could later be connected to other "dots" to identify a possible terrorist attack plot in its early stages. The information is shared with law enforcement, intelligence and other government security agencies and analyzed. The spokesman, who declined to be identified by name, said information that does not belong in the database is not deleted but is instead placed in an oversight file after a period of time. Peter Goselin, an attorney for the Connecticut chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, said Thursday that a number of peace organizations are considering joining together to file mass Freedom of Information requests of the state and federal government to determine if lawful political protest is under surveillance here. "Over the last couple of months, there have been a number of disclosures concerning improper and illegal surveillance actions by everything from the [National Security Agency] and the [Defense Department] to the New York Police Department," Goselin said. "These activities would be a violation of political or religious freedom."..........

................John Humphries, a Hartford resident and Quaker activist who traveled to Iraq before the war in defiance of U.S. sanctions, says that as citizens and people of faith, Quakers are called on to follow a higher law and to take personal responsibility when their government violates international law, which he believes has occurred with the Iraq war..................

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