I have long been hesitant to openly discuss my years-ago participation in ACT UP. And it's not just paranoia; it's knowing the facts. Once you get arrested for dissent, some powers that be remain curious about your activities.
What started as a small item on a local news site has thankfully spread to Yahoo/AP News, when the Alabama Dept. of Homeland Security was criticized for having gay rights groups, abortion rights and antiwar organizations listed possible terrorists.
The Web site identified different types of terrorists, and included a list of groups it believed could spawn terrorists. The list also included environmentalists, animal rights advocates and abortion opponents.
The director of the department, Jim Walker, said his agency received a number of calls and e-mails from people who said they felt the site unfairly targeted certain people just because of their beliefs. He said he plans to put the Web site back on the Internet, but will no longer identify specific types of groups.
Howard Bayliss, chairman of the gay and lesbian advocacy group Equality Alabama, said he doesn't understand why gay rights advocates would be on the list.
"Our group has only had peaceful demonstrations. I'm deeply concerned we've been profiled in this discriminatory matter," Bayliss said.
The site included the groups under a description of what it called "single-issue" terrorists. That group includes people who feel they are trying to create a better world, the Web site said. It said that in some communities, law enforcement officers consider certain single issue groups to be a threat.
"Single-issue extremists often focus on issues that are important to all of us. However, they have no problem crossing the line between legal protest and ... illegal acts, to include even murder, to succeed in their goals," it read.
Walker said the site had been up since spring 2004, and had gotten a relatively small number of hits until it recently became the subject of blogs, he said.
Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro Life Coalition, said he was concerned about any list that described people doing social justice work as terrorists.
"Our group's main mission is educational. The thought that we would somehow be harboring terrorists escapes me," he said.
The news has quickly spread to hundreds of other media sources, putting these good ole boys to deserved shame.
Funny how this branch of Homeland Security failed so miserably to consider including groups that are the polar opposite of the targeted peaceful groups, like abortion clinic bombers led by rightwing fundamentalist Christians, white supremacist hate groups that torch churches, and neoNazis that piep bomb gay bars.
But that's not what Alabama Republicans and Bushco underlings consider terrorists. Those are called constituents and donors.