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JIC Post: By John AravosisAmericaBlogJesus f-in Christ. This has gone far beyond the pale. We need to do something now, and in massive numbers. I've been talking with several of the blogs and politicos in the last few days. This is even worse than I thought.From the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a great organization that was created ten years ago to help overturn the military's anti-gay Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. According to recent press reports, Pentagon officials have been spying on what they call "suspicious" meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. The story, first reported by Lisa Myers and NBC News last week, noted that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon. A UC-Santa Cruz "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a "credible threat" of terrorism. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) condemned the Pentagon surveillance and monitoring. "The Pentagon is supposed to defend the Constitution, not turn it upside down," said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. "Students have a first amendment right to protest and Americans have a right to expect that their government will respect our constitutional right to privacy. To suggest that a gay kiss-in is a 'credible threat' is absurd, homophobic and irrational. To suggest the Constitution does not apply to groups with views differing with Pentagon policy is chilling." In January, the Department of Defense confirmed a report that Air Force officials proposed developing a chemical weapon in 1994 that would turn enemies gay. The proposal, part of a plan from Wright Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, was to develop "chemicals that effect (sic) human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected (sic). One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior." SLDN also condemned that report, and the Pentagon later said it never intended to develop the program. "The Pentagon seems to constantly find new and more offensive ways to demean lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Osburn. "First, we were deemed unfit to serve our country, despite winning wars, medals and the praise of fellow service members. Then, our sexual orientation was suggested as a means to destabilize the enemy. Now, our public displays of affection are equated with al Qaeda terrorist activity. It is time for new Pentagon policy consistent with the views of 21st century America." SLDN announced it plans to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to learn if it or other LGBT organizations have also been monitored by the Pentagon. To date, only a small portion of DoD's total database of information has been made public.Sources that show the Pentagon keeping tabs on gay groups include this news report: A secret Pentagon document obtained by NBC News reveals that the military has been spying on what they call "suspicious" civilian meetings - including many "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protests. Only eight pages from the four-hundred page document have been released so far. But on those eight pages, Sirius OutQ News discovered that the Defense Department has been keeping tabs NOT just on anti-war protests, but also on seemingly non-threatening protests against the military's ban on gay servicemembers. According to those first eight pages, Pentagon investigators kept tabs on April protests at UC-Santa Cruz, State University of New York at Albany, and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school's gay advocacy group "OUTlaw," and was classified as "possibly violent." All of these protests were against the military's policy excluding gay personnel, and against the presence of military recruiters on campus. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says the Pentagon needs to explain why "don't ask, don't tell" protesters are considered a threat.
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