Navy Deserter Misses The Spotlight
Former Sailor Pablo Paredes, last seen being booted from the Navy for a high-profile desertion from his ship USS Bonhomme Richard, is trying to make the news again. This time it's because of a recent story by NBC News that the Pentagon is "spying" on domestic anti-war groups. From the San Diego NBC affiliate:
"The Pentagon database showed how government agents were tracking a May 11 protest at the 32nd Street Naval Station. That protest was in support of Pablo Paredes, who is a former Navy Petty Officer who refused to board his ship for Iraq. While Paredes was facing a court martial inside the Naval base, his sympathizers offered support outside the gate.
"Paredes said the Pentagon was trying to stifle public debate on the war.
"Of course they see it as a threat," Paredes said. "Where there's civil disobedience and public awareness in trying to raise awareness of what an unjust and immoral war this was."
"The Paredes support rally was one of 1,500 incidents tracked by the Pentagon. The local protest was listed as a "threat." Organizers said that was ridiculous, adding that government surveillance scares away some potential supporters."
Unadulterated bullshit. Despite the scary words "military spying" and "domestic spying" being thrown around in articles like this one, this isn't a case of the military sending people out to spy on local peace groups. It's a damn database of information collected from local agencies! Someone looks at the information, decides if the people in the upcoming protest are likely to start throwing Molotov cocktails at the gate guard, and sends out a threat assessment. Base security is then ratcheted up for the day of the protest if needed. The biggest problem seems to be that they aren't purging it after 90 days as required. I suppose one can believe that Bushitler, Cheney, and Rove personally ordered the administrative weenie in charge to keep the data in a computer in order to "stifle debate", or you can believe that it's more likely an example of someone forgetting to do their job. And, "Organizers": How is the existence of a heretofore "secret" database, that no one knew existed until a week ago, supposed to have scared away supporters at a protest seven months ago? The Chewbacca Defense really doesn't cut it...