AlertNet (a site dedicated to watching right wing media and political groups) has a report on the FBI's monitoring of fringe groups. The warning is "Early this March an FBI agent's presentation at the University of Texas law school listed Indymedia, Food Not Bombs, the Communist Party of Texas and "anarchists" as groups on the FBI's "Terrorist Watch List" for central Texas."
The goal of this article is to raise fear. So it does not go into the details of what "watching" means. The article wants to raise fear that the FBI is trying to thwart open discourse.
Let's be honest. The government should be monitoring the above organizations. The government needs to keep tabs on media, educational facilities, and even religious groups.. The questions isn't if the government is keeping tabs on things, but how intrusive they are, what they are looking for and what they do with the data they collect.
Monitoring a dissident group does not say that that dissident groups are terrorists. History has shown that terrorist groups have infiltrated and used dissident groups.
The ideals of the United States is not that people will go through their lives unseen. The ideals in the United States is to create a world where we are free to pursue their interests.
One of the truly innovative ideals of the U.S. was in the creation of a free press. The free press has the effect of decentralizing public discourse. The result is that we end up with groups like AlertNet, IndyMedia and a billion of blogs that are all engaged in monitoring and commenting on what's going down in the world.
The charge of AlertNet is that they will expose all of the evil people on the right who are subverting culture. The government should be checking up on media and other influential groups to see who is subverting who.
Speaking of subverting media, the Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece on people manipulating Internet News Aggregators. Since the aggregators are not edited by humans, people have found it easy to inject advertisements and hoaxes into the news channels.