They were both monitored by the NYPD in the months leading up to the immaculate propaganda bonanza that was the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Files just released courtesy of the New York Civil Liberties Union, despite attempts to block them by city officials, list hundreds of organizations and individuals put under surveillance due to concerns about their possible actions relating to the convention (the New York Times has an accessible presentation of it here). Of special interest to this site, the list includes both a cartoonist – the infamous Ted Rall – and, as far as I can tell, several hip hop MCs and activists who had participated in Russel Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network: Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, LL Cool J (yes, even him!), and Alicia Keys, amongst others. Uh maybe Puffy was right, after all, when he proclaimed himself to be “Public Enemy #1” a few years back… NOT.

Nice one NYPD, I would feel much safer now, were I still in New York.

If nothing else this piece of news gives me an occasion to post this chillingly hilarious edit of the speeches held at the convention. Pretty much says it all:

It can also be seen i slightly better quality here. Check the Ted Rall document here, and the Hip Hip Summit Action one here (warning: PDF!).