Police Watched Green Party Supporters

The Courant reports on this highly disturbing piece of news from 2006:

The state police Central Criminal Intelligence Unit set up a surveillance operation to watch Green Party supporters during an Oct. 18, 2006, gubernatorial campaign debate at the studios of WVIT, Channel 30, in West Hartford.
 
The police were on the alert for a protest by Green Party supporters who were upset that their candidate for governor, Cliff Thornton, was not being allowed in debates between Democrat John DeStefano and incumbent Gov. M. Jodi Rell. The Greens had protested a week or so earlier outside a debate in New London.
[…]
The criminal intelligence unit’s surveillance of citizens at a political event was a police operation above and beyond the normal protection provided to Rell by her regular state police security detail.(Lender)

This came to light as part of a pending federal lawsuit filed by Ken Krayeske, who was arrested by Hartford police during the 2007 inaugural parade after taking pictures of Gov. Rell.

What possible reason could police have had to set up a surveillance operation to watch peaceful Green Party protesters at a political event?

How many other times have citizens been watched by police while exercising their right to free assembly and free speech?

The police need to answer these questions.

Source
Lender, Jon. “Surveillance Of Citizens Bared In Files.” Hartford Courant 31 May, 2009.

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11 responses to “Police Watched Green Party Supporters

  1. What possible reason could police have had to set up a surveillance operation to watch peaceful Green Party protesters at a political event?

    Probably because…

    The state police Central Criminal Intelligence Unit set up a surveillance operation to watch Green Party supporters during an Oct. 18, 2006, gubernatorial campaign debate at the studios of WVIT, Channel 30, in West Hartford. The police were on the alert for a protest by Green Party supporters who were upset that their candidate for governor, Cliff Thornton, was not being allowed in debates between Democrat John DeStefano and incumbent Gov. M. Jodi Rell. The Greens had protested a week or so earlier outside a debate in New London.[…]

    Seems to me you answered your own question.

    The Greens were upset, had protested.

    Just think if there wasn’t surveillance and something happened or someone got hurt.

    And what do you think surveillance involved in this case? Microphones in street lamps, SWAT teams? Was probably just two extra undercover cops keeping an eye on the crowd that didn’t show.

    Big deal.

    I’m glad they took precautionary measures.

  2. Bruce Rubenstein

    well i am not glad they took those precautionary measures….its an afront to our civil liberties and and civil rights

  3. How many other times have citizens been watched by police while exercising their right to free assembly and free speech?

    The answer is often. The police were performing vigilance rather than drinking tea during the recent tea parties.

    Here’s a question no one seems willing to discuss: How often do legislative committees – the Ethics Committee, no less – start “investigations” on groups that are exercising their constitutional rights on the Capitol lawn?

    Once, that I can think of — here:

    The state’s Ethics Committee is now “investigating” the Catholic Church with a view to determining whether the Diocese of Bridgeport, which paid for some busses to transport people to a rally on the Capitol lawn, is in violation of lobbying ordinances. The Catholic Church is suing the state to secure its constitutional rights.

    There is some danger here that watchful citizens may lose sight of the trees because they are too close to the forest.

    The Catholic Church has been under successful attack for some time by its natural enemies in the legislature, but one recent sally by the church’s opponents in the legislature has been beaten back by the church. Some people are keeping score, obviously.

    The Judiciary Committee, headed by co-chairs Rep. Michael Lawyor and Sen. Andrew McDonald have been successful in forcing the church affiliated hospitals, which are opposed both to contraception and abortion, to provide their patients with a birth control pill the church regarded as an abortifacient. Under considerable pressure from the legislature and the media, the church has relented and agreed to provide the contraceptive devise, Plan B, to patients seeking care that have been raped. The Catholic Church unavailingly also opposed gay marriage, now permitted by law in Connecticut.

    When the two chairs of the Judiciary Committee several weeks ago proposed a bill that would have abolished the apostolic structure of the Catholic Church by preventing bishops and other clerics from controlling the way funds are distributed in their parishes, there was, as might be expected, some push-back from Catholics. A massive rally and protest at the Capitol succeeded in killing a pestiferous and recklessly destructive bill, Raised Bill No. 1098, which, had it passed, would have resulted in the emasculation of the church. The bill, some Catholics hope, was defeated not so much because of the protest and rally, but because a sufficient number of legislators on both side of the aisle regarded it as a ruinous, constitutionally flawed bill.

    After this struggle had been waged, some Catholics began to wonder whether it might not be more efficient for its opponents in the legislature to imply abolish the Catholic Church in Connecticut, Is it not better to be executed at once than to be stomped to death by furious geese?

    The Ethics Committee now has stepped into this rat’s nest. And, assuming Connecticut citizens are still attentive to constitutional irregularities, the Catholic Church ought to be able similarly to beat back the Ethics Committee’s unconstitutional objections to its rally and protest.

    The first right of Americans is the right to be free of pestiferous governmental institutions that would strip them of their imprescriptible, God given constitutional rights; among these rights are the rights to challenge the government through the exercise of free speech and to peacefully assemble for the purpose of petitioning their government for a redress of grievances. That is what happened at the rally.

    The rally was a protest against an insufferable attack on constitutional religious rights. It was a political protest hastily organized by a church that is under unremitting attack for having defended its religious interests, and one cannot help but wonder where exactly in this most recent tiff between cConnecticut;’s government and the church such paragons of constitutional probity like Attorney General Blumenthal will come down in the struggle for basic constitutional rights. The protest, incidentally, was hastily organized because the Judiciary Committee, overseen by Lawler and McDonald, had attempted to slide their bill past watchful eyes.

    It should be very interesting to see where in this struggle the usual custodians of the First Amendment – which provides for freedom of speech and, in the very same sentence, assures the liberty of churches freely to exercise their religion – park their tents.

    Blumenthal, whose relationship with constitutional rights is warm and cuddly, is by law required to defend those who are now assaulting both the Catholic Church and the Catholics and non-Catholics who turned out at the rally and protest; it’s his job to do so. But in the past, Blumenthal also has “advised” state agencies – and, depending on his humors, pretty much everyone else — to drop oppressive measures that are constitutionally questionable. One wonders: Has Governor Jodi Rell asked Blumenthal to advise her whether the Ethics Committee should shelve its constitutionally objectionable “investigation?”

    That would be just peachy.

    Someone tell Krayeske, please.

    And, pray tell, where are all the First-Amendment-as-bible thumpers on this one?

  4. well i am not glad they took those precautionary measures….its an afront to our civil liberties and and civil rights

    I agree.

  5. well i am not glad they took those precautionary measures….its an afront to our civil liberties and and civil rights

    Better than the usual radar traps.

    Maybe we could find other useful things for them to do; they certainly don’t seem interested in ticketing any0ne in the left lane for failure to yield.

    Next week maybe they’ll keep track of those pesky Cub Scouts when they set up a sale in front of a Walmart or something.

  6. Clickety_Clak

    Don….just so we’re all clear, there is no “Ethics Committee.” If the Senate Democrats hadn’t voted it down this past week, there would be. Right now all we have is an Ethics Commission that is still full of political appointees.

    To all those Connecticut kids who are thinking of going into politics for all the right reasons (aka. money, paramours, power, zero accountability)…the CT Democrats have an office for you to run for.

    (P.S. to the Dems lining up to remind me of the GOP rogues gallery, save it. I fully recall each and every one of them. But, then again, the GOP never casted a vote to ‘make it all go away.’ And let’s also not forget that we still have one State Rep who witnessed a bribe and didn’t report it and another State Rep. who directly contributed to the death of a woman…both of whom remain in the chamber and have not been prosecuted.)

  7. What possible reason could police have had to set up a surveillance operation to watch peaceful Green Party protesters at a political event?

    I know an older fellow who spent much of his career in military intel; even retired as a General.

    Like most of those guys, he doesn’t say much but over a period of years I’ve gleaned this:

    In another time; 40ish years go there were at the height of the cold war over 170 known KGB agents in CT alone.
    Many of them were photographed at various rallies and/or protests.

  8. Bruce Rubenstein

    In another time; 40ish years go there were at the height of the cold war over 170 known KGB agents in CT alone.Many of them were photographed at various rallies and/or protests.

    Of the approximately 800,000 registered Democrats today, how many do you suspect are KBG agents?

  9. Of the approximately 800,000 registered Democrats today, how many do you suspect are KBG agents?

    None.

    Working Families, or Green Party???
    Well that’s another thing……but somehow I don’t think the KGB is our biggest problem anymore.

    Now it’s mostly 3 letter depts., many that begin with the letter “F”, such as FDA, FAA, FCC; or others such as the DEP or EPA – but even there the “I’s” have it with the IRS being the biggest single problem most Americans will ever face.

  10. they certainly don’t seem interested in ticketing any0ne in the left lane for failure to yield.

    ACR, we might not agree on many things, but on this consider us soul mates.

  11. ACR, we might not agree on many things, but on this consider us soul mates.

    I thought of you as I typed it actually.

    Rude morons that simply refuse to drive in a courteous fashion seem to offend those of that do of all political stripes.

    I know you’ve traveled in Europe, did you have a car?

    I noticed right away while driving in the UK that regardless of how far over the posted limit a driver might already be going – they got out of the way immediately when someone wishing to go even faster approached.

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