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If you happen to be a New York City taxpayer, you might want to ask for a rebate, because city police officials are frittering away your tax dollars on total nonsense.
This all started when the NYPD went on a spying spree in 2003. Citing the horrors of 9-11 and the prospects of future terrorism, the department began a spook operation to infiltrate groups that planned to protest at the 2004 Republican national convention in Manhattan.
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Were these terrorist groups? No, these were church people, environmentalists, and the like – American citizens merely planning to use their right of free speech and peaceful assembly. The surveillance of these people was totally silly – not to mention unconstitutional and a vast waste of time and money. Indeed, NYPD’s special spook squad jetted off to California, Florida, Oregon, New Mexico, Montreal – even Europe! – to do its snooping. This wasn’t police work, it was a police junket scam!
Worse, they produced a bunch of fluff. In their secret reports, they turned mere organizing by these peaceful people into something threatening, essentially trying to criminalize legitimate political opposition to George W.
That’s wasteful enough, but now city lawyers have trotted out to try keeping the records of NYPD’s silly surveillance a secret. You want silly? The lawyers – paid with New York tax dollars – say the records of this spycapade cannot be released because “The documents were not written for consumption by the general public.”
I’ll bet they weren’t! All the more reason that We the People should know what’s in those records and what mischief the police were up to. After all, taxpayers paid for the records – they ought to be able to read them.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Remember, this spy squad was not just silly – it was a thuggish and dangerous infringement on the basic freedoms of the American people.
“City Asks Court Not to Unseal Police Spy Files On Convention,” New York Times, March 26, 2007