Posted on April 7, 2009

GOP and ACLU Join Forces to Combat Homeland Security Data Abuse

Big Brother is Watching

Only rarely does one find the Republican Party and the ACLU on the same side of an issue. Even rarer is an issue that can cause the two organizations to work together. But it has happened in Missouri. The issue: use of homeland security data to target and demonize conservatives.

As the Belleville News-Democrat reports, a government agency with the vaguely Orwellian-sounding name of “Missouri Information Analysis Center” has used the formidable homeland security data at its disposal to compile a report detailing the characteristics of potential militia members. It appears that the report is intended for law enforcement personnel as a way of knowing who to keep an eye on. The News-Democrat describes the report as follows:

Among other things, the report claims militia members usually are supporters of third-party political groups and “often subscribe to the ideology of other right-wing extremist movements.”

It highlights specific ideologies: Christian Identity groups, white nationalists, militant anti-abortionists, tax resisters, illegal immigration opponents.

It also identifies specific 2008 presidential candidates that militia members likely would support - Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman who ran for president as a Libertarian.

Republicans have decried the report as “an attack on conservative ideologies and the politicians who espouse them.”

Speaking for the ACLU, policy counselor Michael German called the report “part of a national trend … [of] turning attention away from people who are actually doing bad things to people who are thinking thoughts that the government, for whatever reason, doesn’t like.” German added that “intelligence fusion centers,” which have been springing up all over the country in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks are “‘an equal opportunity infringer’ on civil rights, in some cases targeting the political right, in other cases the political left.”

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