Just to follow up on my recent post on cartoonist Ted Rall, along with a plethora of other “activists”, including a number of hip hop MCs being put under surveillance by the NYPD in the months leading up to the 2003 Republican National Convention in New York, I wanted to link to this instalment of Rall’s syndicated column about the issue. He is convinced that he is under FBI observation and that his phone is being tapped.

“Government agencies began spying on me shortly after 9/11. I have repeatedly suffered service interruptions–loud static, whispered voices, even outages–at the hands of a government whose laughably inept phone-tapping skills match its inability to respond to a hurricane or tornado. Finally, a security official at Verizon confirmed that my telephone had been tapped. “That’s already more than I should have told you,” he explained, requesting anonymity. “Under the Patriot Act we’re not allowed to inform our customers about intercepts.”

Eventually I was seeing my local Verizon repair guy, who was repeatedly being summoned to my home to restore service, more often than my best friend. So I was naturally suspicious when I caught an unfamiliar man, no uniform or badge, fiddling with the posts in my building’s phone box. “Who are you and what are you doing?” I demanded. The dude knocked me down and bolted out a door into an alley. Giving chase, I watched him drive off an unmarked white van with U.S. government plates.”

The last part sounds like something out of a badly scripted movie (esp. the bit about ‘government plates’). It may be true, in which case it is truly chilling, but like the dudes on the TCJ message board, one wonders why the unfailingly vocal Rall has not talked about before.