published Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

ACLU bristles over terror list

NASHVILLE -- State anti-terrorism officials listed the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee on an Internet map detailing "terrorism events and other suspicious activity" after the group warned schools to ensure holiday celebrations "are inclusive."

ACLU-Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg called the Tennessee Fusion Center's tracking of First Amendment-protected activity "deeply disturbing."

While saying improving and sharing anti-terrorism intelligence among different levels of government is "legitimate and important," Weinberg said, "Equating a group's attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous. Religious freedom is a founding principle in our Constitution -- not fodder for overzealous law enforcement."

Tennessee's Fusion Center was created in 2007, one of dozens established nationwide following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The purpose was to help state agencies pool and analyze information about terrorism and other threats. It is a collaborative effort by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security.

Mike Browning, a spokesman for the Office of Homeland Security, said "certainly it was not our intent to post it [ACLU's letter to schools] as a terrorist incident. That was a mistake."

"But," Browning said, "I don't believe that it's outrageous that we're basically taking information that was published in an open service media source and ... making sure it gets to the appropriate law enforcement."

The Fusion Center's Internet map is part of a national map maintained by Information is provided by agencies across the U.S. It includes various blinking icons. The map's label originally was titled Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity.

Near Nashville, a blinking hexagon-shaped symbol with an exclamation point read "ACLU cautions TN schools about 'observing one religious holiday.'" The hexagon symbol, when clicked on, originally stated "suspicious activity." But it later was changed to say "general nonincident terrorism news" after inquiries by reporters.

The map's label also was changed. It now says Open Source News Reports. An icon near Chattanooga features a symbol of a person along with a question mark.

When a cursor is placed on the symbol, a caption reads: "Turkish National Salih Acarbulut Indicted in Chattanooga for Alleged $12 million Ponzi Scheme." That stems from an FBI news release. When clicked on, the caption characterizes the information as "Other Suspicious Activity."

Browning said information about the ACLU's letter was intended for Tennessee school resource officers, whom he described as "customers" of the Fusion Center.

ACLU's Weinberg said in an interview she spoke to state officials about the posting.

"I will take at their word that they made a mistake by posting it under terrorism activity," she said. "I have not heard a good explanation for why school resource officers, who have a very important job in schools, would at all be interested or need to know about the letter we sent to local school superintendents about the need to keep holiday celebrations all inclusive."

Weinberg said there "seems to be no oversight on what's posted on these maps and how it's categorized."

She said there have been other incidents in U.S. history regarding domestic spying into legitimate activity by citizens.

"The best thing about this is there's a dialogue now beginning and this clearly is a good opportunity to explain to the commissioner of Homeland Security and the TBI why there need to be better guidelines in place, which include better oversight and transparency," Weinberg said.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
acerigger said...

Does this mean that YOU could be a terrorist and don't even know it? What a sorry "state-of-being" we Americans are becoming!

December 22, 2010 at 4:52 a.m.
rolando said...

The ACLU needs to be on that list.

Great shot of its patron saint can be found here"

December 22, 2010 at 12:48 p.m.
LibDem said...

I've been an ACLU member for many, many years. I thought the groping at the airport was because I'm such a good looking guy.

December 22, 2010 at 3:09 p.m.
acerigger said...

By not knowing the purpose and history of the AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union,(and I emphasize AMERICAN), their efforts and accomplishments in upholding the laws and the Constitution of The United States can be skewed to fit the fascist narrative of the power-brokers in our society. I urge everyone to make themselves aware of what the ACLU is all about.

December 22, 2010 at 3:59 p.m.
LibDem said...

If your cause is popular, you probably don't need help. The ACLU takes the unpopular causes. Freedom of religion isn't a problem for the majority religion. Freedom of speech isn't a problem if you're saying what the majority wants to hear.

December 22, 2010 at 4:27 p.m.
Rivieravol said...

The ACLU is the biggest threat to the Security of our country of any organization.

It is the last refuge for murderers, rapists, child molesters and terrorists.

December 22, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.
rolando said...

Add anti-Christians to your "last refuge" list, Riveravol.

December 22, 2010 at 6:50 p.m.
rolando said...

Let's get it right, LibDem; the ACLU MIGHT have started out that way but their ideals have lowered considerably since then.

Today, the first two questions ask before launching ANY lawsuit are:

1- Will we win? and 2- How deep are their pockets.

They do NOT, as a rule, do pro bono work [beyond tax/publicity advantages]. No quiet little trials for them, no-siree-bob.

Face it -- they are in it SOLELY for the money these days; their idealism has faded [if it ever really existed].

December 22, 2010 at 6:58 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

rolando, I'd LOVE to see evidence for such outlandish claims. (beyond the ACLU defending what you personally disagree with)

December 22, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

"rolando, I'd LOVE to see evidence for such outlandish claims."

(crickets chirping)

Why am I not surprised? This happens every time rolando is asked to provide evidence for what he posts.

December 22, 2010 at 8:56 p.m.
ceeweed said...

Our politicians lie went they swear to uphold our Constitution. They must all have their fingers crossed behind their backs. Big business is in a 3-way with law enforcement and the government. I am thankful there is an ACLU, a Southern Poverty Leadership Council, an a Anti-Defamation League. Chomp on that all you haters!

December 22, 2010 at 10:15 p.m.
Marlene said...

If it were not for the ACLU, we would be in an even sorrier state than what we are now!

The ACLU's mission is protecting the Constitutional rights of everyone! They've protected the rights of Christians as well as non-Christians!

Our Constitution was written to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority, not to mention the people when the government itself violates the Constitution in the name of "security!

These so-called "centers" are illegal, immoral, and un-Constitutional, and this attack on the ACLU is proof positive of that!

December 24, 2010 at 9:11 a.m.
bikerman777 said...

where does the aclu get it from in the consttution that religion is against the law . there is nothing there about separation of church and state , so the aclu is still telling lies for over 50 years . and 99% of judges whom are masons or freemasons support the aclu .

and also why does the aclu support our enemies like cair , and the builders of the new york islamic mosque , but will not support christians . and don't let me forget the illigal aliens who are destroying this country , they are given more rights than even real americans , thank you aclu . as far as america is concerned the aclu abides and supports terrorists all over america . and their training camps .

oh yeah i almost forgot one more group that the aclu supports real well , which congress and most of the senate of the united states support and that is homosexuality , wait till the dadt is implemented , things will change in the us armed forces and not for the better .

this country is collasping very rapidly and will be destroyed soon thanks to the aclu .

December 24, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

bikerman, learn something about the cases the ACLU supports before you post such nonsense. The ACLU has protected the rights of Christians many times. They do not insist on illegal aliens having "more" rights than legal residents of this country. Illegal aliens have fewer rights, but are not treated like less than human beings even if people like you think they should be.

methinks thou art a sockpuppet for Francis

December 24, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
rolando said...

lkeith, the reason I refuse to respond to any of your inane or outright childish questions is the same in each and every case:

  • You refuse to accept or even acknowledge ANY contradictory or opposing opinion or factual statement REGARDLESS of the source; that includes such scientific notables as Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, or other acknowledged leaders in their field be it philosophy, religion [especially religion], celestial mechanics, and a myriad of others.

Answering you is a study in worthlessness. Anyone debating you has made that same discovery.

You sit tightly in the little box you have built around yourself, blindly thinking you all-knowing and are the center of The All, refusing to look up and see the boundaries you have set on your thought process [such as they is]. As I have told you many times before, screw up your courage and look outside your box -- there is an entire cosmos out here.

Then again, most Liberal-Progressives have that same set of parameters/paradigms so you are not in there alone.

With that, I am back to ignoring your posts. They reek with sarcasm from the first capital letter.

And I have bettter things to do than sit here reading the TFP, waiting with bated breath for your next post.....

December 24, 2010 at 12:21 p.m.

HA HA HA! They had it coming. The ACLU is one of the most subversive groups in the country. One of the founders,Roger Baldwin stated, "I am for Socialism, disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itself ... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."

December 24, 2010 at 12:22 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

rolando, that is an awful long way of saying you have no evidence.

December 24, 2010 at 12:51 p.m.
acerigger said...

Roger Baldwin also stated "I can’t despair when so many people all over the world are determined to advance, at any sacrifice, the cause of justice and equality and freedom. This universal ferment cannot result if these forces(all dictatorships and of all tyrannies) prevail, either in the false salvation of communism, or the desperate resort to fascism, or in the catastrophe of another World War. Democracy, I firmly believe, not reaction, is the answer to communism, but only a democracy which recognizes that only by abolishing poverty can we abolish communism". Sounds real subversive huh? As I said an earlier post, people should educate themselves about the ACLU(and it's founders)so that they know the truth,not some knee-jerk,fear-mongering propaganda being pushed by the power brokers.

December 24, 2010 at 1:33 p.m.
flippitygibbit said...

The ACLU does this on a daily basis:

"163.275 Coercion. (1) A person commits the crime of coercion when the person compels or induces another person to engage in conduct from which the other person has a legal right to abstain, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which the other person has a legal right to engage, by means of instilling in the other person a fear that, if the other person refrains from the conduct compelled or induced or engages in conduct contrary to the compulsion or inducement, the actor or another will:

  (a) Unlawfully cause physical injury to some person;

  (b) Unlawfully cause damage to property;

  (c) Engage in conduct constituting a crime;

  (d) Falsely accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against the person;

  (e) Cause or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action injurious to some person’s business, except that such a threat is not deemed coercive when the act or omission compelled is for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;

  (f) Testify falsely or provide false information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or

  (g) Unlawfully use or abuse the person’s position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely.

  (2) Coercion is a Class C felony. [1971 c.743 §102; 1983 c.546 §4; 1985 c.338 §1; 2007 c.71 §45]"

It is their specialty. Do this or we will sue. Do not do this or we will sue. Every day, all over the United States. Does this not make them terrorists under "color of law?"

December 24, 2010 at 9:30 p.m.
Think_about_it said...

OK Acerigger, I'm confused. Maybe you can help. You seem to accept that Roger Baldwin made both those statements (the one you quoted and the one Kateikins quoted.) So here's the conundrum. Those statements are direct opposites. In one he advocates Communism, in the other he proposes a way to destroy Communism. He can't be pro and anti Communism at the same time. So, which statement is the lie? Let's work on that. Someone who is in opposition to Communism doesn't need to lie about his thoughts. However, Communists lie as part their operational process. One of Karl Marx's main tenets is deception (i.e. "Give the land to the peasants, ultimately to take it away again.") So...though uncharacteristically open... the first statement has to be the truth. His goal is Communism. Therefor, the second statement has to be the lie. The man is proven a liar by his own mouth. So... a Communist founded the ACLU and "the apple never falls far from the tree." The ACLU began as a group of like minded people with the goal to advance Communism. Do you suppose that today, for some unknown reason, they have abandoned that goal? Having said all that, I must say that I do admire the ACLU for one thing...they are one of the top three slickest organizations at disguising their true goals. They are very sharp at picking and choosing which causes they take on, and thereby cover their tracks almost completely. That's how they get people such as yourself, who are sincere believers in helping others, to accept them as freedom fighters. Finally, my suggestion to you is, rather than telling others to educate themselves, you take on that task and really analyze what the "main tilt" of the ACLU really is.

December 24, 2010 at 9:57 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Think about it:

Please provide links where the ACLU has acted in a way that promotes communism over democracy as our constitution dictates. All I can find if the ACLU protecting the rights of individuals based on the constitution. You have other sources?

December 24, 2010 at 10:08 p.m.
acerigger said...

It's very simple, google "Roger Baldwin" and read what, when, and in what context quotes attributed to him were said. Communist??,I don't think so.

December 24, 2010 at 10:20 p.m.
acerigger said...

and I hope nobody's kneejerk hits 'em in their mouth or anything!

December 24, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.
MPalevo said...

The ACLU is a Terrorist organization. Simple as that!

December 24, 2010 at 10:37 p.m.
hambone said...

MPalevo, The ACLU's swarn mission is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If that terrorizes you then too bad!

December 25, 2010 at 3:18 a.m.
anniebelle said...

It's really telling when you can go through these comments and tell the ones that have no information on the ACLU, or have their lie du jour from Fake News and run with it. If there were ever a terrorist organization in this country, it's the GOPer's klan organization - they have a big tent that lets in all the haters, liars and deniers and call them their "base". Their lack of clue is disturbing.

December 25, 2010 at 6:24 a.m.
acerigger said...

Yeah Annie, are these the same ones who resented their school teachers trying to make 'em "git book learnin"?

December 25, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.
Blindweb said...

All those who throw the term terrorist around lightly disgust me. You dishonor all those who have been harmed in true terrorist attacks like 9/11. There are people who have been harmed by real terrorist attacks, yet you like to use the term for your own personal gain against political organizations you disagree with. Lowered standards lead to lax laws and arbitrary enforcement. Thanks for helping to drive the country into the gutter.

December 25, 2010 at 11:44 a.m.
billstewart said...

The website address is spelled "" - the word in the middle is spelled "incident", not "incendent", in spite of how it sounds in some dialects. It's a good thing for editors to check URLs now that they're showing up in the news... Meanwhile, it seems to be a bunch of right-wing fearmongering, but there are customers for that sort of thing.

December 25, 2010 at 1:48 p.m.
fairmon said...

The ACLU is staffed by lawyers so I have no problem having them identified as terrorist as most if not all lawyers should be. Look at the number we have elected to congress and the damage they have done to our economy and in many cases to the economy of 46 of the 50 states. Terrorism does not automatically equate to bombs and other instruments of sudden death. Take a look at the number in our country enticed to forsake all else and be totally dependent on government. Is being the aggressor in two unfunded wars against other countries/governments without a stated mission and end point with thousands killed and injured bordering on terrorism.

Is taking a country from the world's largest lender to the world's largest borrower and increasing the number of those impoverished a form of terrorism. In summary, #$%^ the ACLU, they are light weights compared to those that really do us harm.

December 25, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.
Tarliman said...

Thanks to the trolls and fascists and teapartiers for all the inflammatory comments on this article. You reminded me why I needed to renew my ACLU membership. Either all Americans have the exact same rights as all other Americans, no exceptions for any reason whatsoever, or we have failed as a country.

December 27, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.
redmulberry said...

Flibbitygibit says: "Do this or we will sue. Do not do this or we will sue. Every day, all over the United States. Does this not make them terrorists under "color of law?"

No, flibbity, it does not. Not under "color of law", "color of common sense", nor any other color.

It does make them willing to use the courts of the United States to uphold the constitution of the United States. A laudable endeavor.

Quit using the word terrorism to mean "something I don't like".

December 27, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.
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