Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Thomas Merton wouldn't be surprised

at the Bush folks Soviet-like intimidation techniques.

It goes with the territory.

An FBI report from November 2002 indicates that an agent photographed members of the Thomas Merton Center as they handed out leaflets opposing the impending war in Iraq. The report called the group a "left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism."

"All we were doing was handing out leaflets, which is a perfectly legal way to spend an afternoon," said Tim Vining, the center's former executive director, who said he participated in the Nov. 24, 2002, protest monitored by the FBI. "All we want to do is exercise our First Amendment rights . . . Is handing out fliers now considered a terrorist activity?"...

Another memo from February 2003 said the center was "opposed to the United States' war with Iraq" and described its Web site and activities. That letter was a draft that was never included in an investigative file, the FBI said.

Heavily censored documents from 2005 also refer to information about the center from an unidentified source. An FBI official said those reports were from a separate probe that did not involve terrorism.

A political "crime," perhaps?

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