Chicago: Police records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times confirm The Chicago Police Department routinely spied, within the last 6 years, on activists and associated groups. The spying activities extended to anarchists, anti Olympics protesters, union members, the Occupy movement, Chinese government critics and those demonstrating against NATO. Police records also confirm that this has continued unabated. The Chicago Police Dept fought to withhold these records previously not released in to the public domain. Under their own rules they can not interfere with individuals exercising their free speech rights. However to attempt to justify their actions the police dept fear civil disobedience and disorder.

A protest group is subject to surveillance some ten months on, police records confirm. The department will not commit to what group is under investigation and/or methods. An attorney investigating has expressed the infringement on First Amendment rights is “deeply disturbing”. However the police department say they strictly follow protocol and policy. A police department spokesman confirmed time limits on monitoring are there to preserve constitutional rights.

Police records also confirm Chicago police operated a separate unit identified as The Red Squad. While any neutral might assume this was an anti communism entity it was in fact spying on anti war critics and activists, civil rights groups and anarchists. Questionable tactics were also used to disrupt and infiltrate group activities. The 80’s saw The Red Squad disbanded and a Federal decree directed new rules for the safeguarding of citizen rights.

However under the purposes of “reasonable law enforcement” police are still allowed to procure information. It appears to be a blunt yard stick whereby crime prevention is touted irrespective if laws have been broken. July saw the office of The Illinois Attorney general advise that work sheets, which outlined investigations, were public records within Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act. The office ordered police records/work sheets to be made available which were unredacted. For access to the full story please follow this link