Skip to main content

By Raquel Ronzone, ACLU of Massachusetts communications content specialist

Boston Police say (B), according to records the ACLU of Massachusetts and National Lawyers Guild Massachusetts Chapter obtained and released yesterday.

Thanks to "cooperation and information-sharing" with other local departments and through partnership with the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), Boston Police have monitored protests, tracked activists and labeled groups and individuals as "extremists," "homeland security" threats and civil disturbances.

Zinn, along with groups such as Veterans for Peace, United for Justice with Peace and CodePink, have records in the Boston Regional Intelligence Center--records that should have been purged after 90 days, in accordance with BRIC's policies, were it not for an "error in computer software."

But why did the files about peaceful, lawful protestors exist in the first place?

As a so-called "fusion center," BRIC was created to fight terrorism and crime--not to keep track of political assemblies or the people participating in them. Moreover, this information-gathering violated both BRIC's own policies, which prohibited information-gathering "solely on the basis of religious, political or social view or activities" or participation in "noncriminal organization(s) or lawful events," and federal guidelines, which prohibited information-gathering unless "there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal conduct or activity."

Unfortunately, BRIC is not alone in either its track record or its disregard for the policies that govern it--and the main reason for its existence in the first place.

Perhaps BRIC's greatest value is in illustrating the continuing 21st-century value of 18th-century documents like the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Massachusetts Declaration of Rights--and challenging us to work towards legislation to enforce and protect the rights and liberties enshrined in those documents.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site