Records Released Concerning Maryland's Treatment of Protesters as Terrorists

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network doesn't sound much like a terrorist organization, does it? It does to the Maryland State Police. The executive director and three staff members were entered into the agency's terrorism database, apparently because the group held a nonviolent protest at a high school where Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. was speaking about the need to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Network didn't believe Ehrlich's proposals were adequate, so its members let him know. In less troubled times, this was known as petitioning the government to redress a grievance, or was recognized as the exercise of free speech, both protected rights under the First Amendment.

Newly released files reveal previously unreported details about the actions of the Maryland State Police, a topic discussed in earlier TalkLeft posts here and here. The decision to label the Network's Executive Director as a terrorist seems odd since he didn't attend the protest. [more ...]

"I believe this was political retribution," [Executive Director Mike] Tidwell said yesterday.

The group's deputy director, Josh Tulkin, attended the protest. Here's what happened:

[Tulkin] recalled that when he walked into the school, security guards grabbed his shoulder and wrist, led him into an empty classroom and questioned him.

Other leaders of organizations that exercised their right to protest in Maryland -- and were labeled terrorists -- include members of Code Pink and a host of other organizations.

Those groups included not only death penalty and Iraq war protesters who were spied on by undercover troopers in a 2005-06 surveillance operation exposed in July, but also those who opposed abortion, the manufacture of cluster munitions, globalization and the government's expansion of biodefense research at Fort Detrick.


Files were also compiled on two Catholic nuns from Baltimore and a former Democratic candidate for Congress, Barry Kissin. Kissin, his wife and two colleagues have marched peacefully through downtown Frederick since the anthrax attacks in 2001 to argue that the government's planned expansion of biodefense research poses a health threat.

Terrorist nuns must be a bigger problem in Maryland than they are in the rest of the nation. In any event, police were quite methodical in their construction of the database:

The individuals are listed under headings for "terrorism" with such labels as "anti-war protestors," "threats," "environmental extremists" and "anarchists," although there is no explanation why any of the groups or individuals would be considered terror threats or extremist groups.

An extremist, as understood by the Maryland State Police, seems to be anyone who expresses open disagreement with state government about a political policy. Those of you who thought you were free to disagree with your government without having a police file opened might want to avoid residence in Maryland. Or better yet, move to Maryland and protest daily until the state police give up their paranoid overreaction to peaceful dissent.

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  • Display: Sort:
    And republicans wonder why the (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CST on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 03:43:42 PM EST
    "palling around with terrorists" line didn't stick.  Case of the boy who cried wolf.

    I guess I've been "palling around with terrorists" my whole life.  Who knew?

    I don't know CST... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 03:51:53 PM EST
    I wake up in cold sweats worrying about what terrors the Chesapeake Climate Action Network have planned for us:)

    If we wait for the mushroom cloud it will be too late!..:)


    No Sh*t (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 04:08:02 PM EST
    Morels stuffed with Chesapeake blue crabmeat, mmmmm. A disaster if they burn. Terrorist food, no doubt.

    Be careful what you wish for (none / 0) (#8)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:17:07 AM EST
    The Federal Government, aided by most local and state police forces, has developed a policy of harrassment and intimidation of protesters, known by the affectionate name "Catch and Release". They take you by force, from a lawful activity they object to, and arrest you. After the event, and any meaningful protest is over, they release you, dropping the charges. No blood, no foul, no harm done.

    Get used to it as no lawyer can do anything about it.


    Tiny D (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by koshembos on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 05:11:56 PM EST
    People from outside the state think of Maryland as a Democratic state. Baltimore, Montgomery and Price George county hold more than 70% of the state population and are extreme Democratic. Only the rural counties are Republican..

    Nevertheless, Maryland feels, behaves and the laws and regulations that resemble South Carolina. It has been like that forever and no real progress was done by a local assembly always governed by Democrats and Governors the majority of which were Democrats. It is like a confederate state.

    The rest is obvious.

    This sort of stuff - (none / 0) (#4)
    by liminal on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 04:15:22 PM EST
    - is so absurd.  I can't imagine that anyone in the state police was foolish enough to really believe that any of these people posed a "terrorist" threat of any kind, whatsoever. But I can almost guarantee that the Feds paid for that terrorism database with some juicy Homeland Security grant money.  Wonder if that was the institutional incentive?  

    Meh.  What nitwits.  

    McCarthy and Hoover would be so proud! n/t (none / 0) (#5)
    by Maggie Mae on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 04:35:54 PM EST

    this didn't particularly (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 08:25:47 PM EST
    surprise me when i first heard about it. the PG County police have a long, long history of abuse, this is merely the next "logical" progression of events.