by Dave Zirin
July 21, 2008
Finally, at long last, I have something in common with Muhammad Ali.
No, I’m not the heavyweight champion of the world, and haven’t been named spokesperson for Raid bug spray. Like “the Greatest” – not to mention far too many others — I have been a target of state police surveillance for activities — in my case against the death penalty — that were legal, non-violent, and, so we assumed, constitutionally protected. In classified reports compiled by the Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security, I am “Dave Z.” This nickname was given by an undercover agent known to us as “Lucy.” She sat in our meetings of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, smiling and engaged, taking copious notes about actions deemed threatening by the Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich. Our seditious crimes, as Lucy reported, involved such acts as planning to set up a table at the local farmer’s market and writing up a petition. Adding a dash of farce to this outrage, she was monitoring us in the liberal enclave of Takoma Park, Maryland, a place known more for vegans than violence, more for tie-dying than terrorism.
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