Now, that long list includes photographers.
On Thursday, civil liberties groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, filed a lawsuit against the governments Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) program. In its press release, the ACLU noted:
“The lawsuit…was brought on behalf of five Americans who had their information entered into law enforcement databases for innocent things like taking pictures, buying computers, or standing in a train station, and were then subjected to investigation (emphasis added).
The supposedly dangerous plaintiffs include:
James Prigoff , an 86-year-old renowned photographer of public art who has lectured at numerous universities and had his work exhibited at the Smithsonian and other museums around the world.
Wiley Gill, a custodian at Chico State, and had a “flight simulator type of game” open on his computer during a police raid. The police believed a domestic violence suspect had fled into his apartment, which later turned out to be unfounded.
Khaled Ibrahim, a former purchasing agent for Nordix Computer Corporation. He attempted to buy a large amount of computers, and his name was entered into a Suspicious Activity Report.
Tariq Razak, who was looking for the county employment resources center, spent too much time in the train station. A Santa Clara, CA officer filed an SAR.
Aaron Conklin, a student at Diablo Valley College, and an amateur photographer, took pictures of the Shell Refinery in Martinez, CA from a publicly accessible lot. Sheriff’s Deputies told him he was going on an “NSA Watchlist.”
Nearly all of the rest of the SARs, not included in the lawsuit, received by the ACLU are related to photography and/or video, including of police.
Yet even with such low standards, under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, you could be detained, held without trial, and even sent to foreign countries for that “terrorism.”
At least one of these plaintiffs, Mr. Razak, was reported due to the FBI/BJA (Bureau of Justice Assistance) documents we have been warning about since 2012. This set of documents, handed out to business owners in various fields, lists a wide ranging series of actions that could land someone on a terrorist watchlist, including “insisting on paying with cash,” “possibly mumbling to themselves,” and “note taking and sketching.”
Photographers and artists beware: taking the wrong picture might just land you in a government database.
Take Action Now: http://pandaunite.org/resistfeed/
Dan Johnson is the Founder and National Director of People Against the NDAA.