April 04, 2007

Sometimes when you are paranoid...

...they really are out to get you (emphasis mine):

A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs, newly uncovered documents and interviews show.

For years, law enforcement authorities suggested it never happened. The FBI and D.C. police said they had no records of such an incident. And police told a federal court that no FBI agents were present when officers arrested more than 20 protesters that afternoon for trespassing; police viewed them as suspicious for milling around the parking garage entrance.

But a civil lawsuit, filed by the protesters, recently unearthed D.C. police logs that confirm the FBI's role in the incident. Lawyers for the demonstrators said the logs, which police say they just found, bolster their allegations of civil rights violations.

The probable cause to arrest the protesters as they retrieved food from their parked van? They were wearing black -- a color choice the FBI and police associated with anarchists, according to the police records.

Better break out the pastels, people.


Posted by binky at April 4, 2007 08:57 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Free Speech | J. Edgar Hoover | Liberty | Shine the Light on It | The Ever Shrinking Constitution


A reader points out via email that there is a reason people wearing black are watched.

Without data on what percentage of folks wearing black to a protest are planning to be a) members of a black bloc and b) part of the subset that engages in violence, it's hard to say what the payoff is on watching folk in black, and my guess is that the signal to noise ratio is not so high as to justify the random stoppage of folks unloading snacks from minivans. The data tell us if we are concerned with violence we should watch white guys, but that's not an effective targeting tool. Likewise with black, especially in protests that draw a lot of philosophy majors.

Posted by: binky at April 4, 2007 12:45 PM | PERMALINK
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