NEW YORK – If you happened to be in downtown Manhattan on Election Night, you might have seen a 20-by-50-foot demonic specter of John Ashcroft overtake the giant billboard at the corner of Houston and Lafayette, usually splashed with slinky models in tight jeans.

No, Halloween was not extended this year.

The locally-based, three-year-old culture jamming group,, dropped the gigantic banner with the Orwellian subtitle: “John Ashcroft is Watching You.”

Will, a member of who participated in the drop, said, “We wanted to remind people that while everyone – especially activists – has been distracted by the war on Iraq, Ashcroft has hidden himself away and pushed further and further with his agenda. … We wanted to remind people of our lost civil liberties.”

The group was able to avoid arrest, after a passer-by flagged down a policeman, by convincing cops they were a film crew. They say they are advising New Yorkers to be on the lookout for similar Public Service Announcements in the near future.

– IndyMedia