View Full Version : US Military Illegally Spying On Progressive Protesters/Activists

Peter Lemkin
07-28-2009, 01:08 PM
Just heard detailed and damning report on today's http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broadcast_exclusive_declassified_docs_reveal_milit ary. This is VERY significant - as horrible as things under Bush/Chaney, but under O-Bomb-A! ['You can bet on Nothing Changes' Prez]. This is a total abuse and abrogation of the Posse Comitatus Act! Welcome to the National Security State....or should I say Martial Law - Light. Not anything new, but are we never to rid ourselves of these past sins?!?!...but only increase them?!?!? Peace Activist =?= terrorist and targeted by US Military?!....its like the 60s all over again....

ANJALI KAMAT: We begin with a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive. Peace activists in Washington state have revealed an informant posing as an anarchist has spied on them while working under the US military. The activists are members of the group Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance, which protests military shipments bound for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before his true identity was revealed, the informant was known as “John Jacob,” an active member of antiwar groups in the towns of Olympia and Tacoma. But using documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, the activists learned that “John Jacob” is in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at the nearby Fort Lewis military base.

The activists claim Towery has admitted to them he shared information with an intelligence network that stretches from local and state police to several federal agencies, to the US military. They also say he confirmed the existence of other government spies but wouldn’t reveal their identity.

The military’s role in the spying raises questions about possibly illegal activity. The Posse Comitatus law bars the use of the armed forces for law enforcement inside the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: The Fort Lewis military base denied our request for an interview. But in a statement to Democracy Now!, the base’s Public Affairs office publicly acknowledged for the first time that Towery is a military operative. The statement says, quote, “John Towery performs sensitive work within the installation law enforcement community, and it would not be appropriate for him to discuss his duties with the media.” Fort Lewis also says it’s launched an internal inquiry. We invited John Towery on the broadcast, but he didn’t respond to our interview request.

In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we’re now joined in Seattle by the two activists who exposed John Towery as a military informant. Brendan Maslauskas Dunn counted John Towery, or “John Jacob,” as a close friend. But he discovered Towery’s identity after obtaining government documents under a Freedom of Information Act request. Brendan is an Olympia-based activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. We’re also joined in Seattle by Drew Hendricks. He is an Olympia activist with Port Militarization Resistance who worked closely with John Towery, aka “John Jacob." This is their first broadcast interview since coming forward with their story.

Brendan, let’s begin with you. Just lay out how you found out about this military spy.

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: Well, thanks for having us, Amy.

I actually did a public records request through the city of Olympia several months ago on behalf of the union I’m in, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the records request I did, I had asked for any documents or emails, etc., that the city had, especially in discussions or any kind of communications between the Olympia police and the military in the city generally, anything on anarchists, anarchy, anarchism, Students for a Democratic Society or the Industrial Workers of the World. I got back hundreds of documents from the city.

One of the documents was an email that was sent between personnel in the military, and the email address that was attached to this email was of John J. Towery. We didn’t know who that was, but several people did a lot of research to find out who that was, and they identified that person as being John Jacob.

AMY GOODMAN: And what was your first reaction? Who was John Jacob to you?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: John Jacob was actually a close friend of mine, so this week has been pretty difficult for me. He was—he said he was an anarchist. I met him over two years ago through community organizing and antiwar organizing I was involved with in Tacoma and Olympia with other anarchists and other activists.

And he was really interested in Students for a Democratic Society. He wanted to start a chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society, which is connected to SDS. He got involved with Port Militarization Resistance, with Iraq Vets Against the War. He was—you know, knew a lot of people involved with that organization.

But he was a friend of mine. We hung out. We gave workshops together on grassroots direct democracy and anarchist struggle. I mean, he was a friend. A lot of people really, really did like him. He was a kind person. He was a generous person. So it was really just a shock for me this week when all of this was determined.

ANJALI KAMAT: And, Brendan, what did John Towery, who you used to know as “John Jacob,” say to you when you confronted him?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: Well, after it was confirmed that he was in fact John Towery, I knew he wouldn’t call me, so I called him up the day after. This was this past Thursday. And I called him up; I said, “John, you know, what’s the deal? Is this true?” And he told me; he said, “Yes, it is true, but there’s a lot more to this story than what was publicized.” So he wanted to meet with me and another anarchist in person to further discuss what happened and what his role was.

So, when I met him, he admitted to several things. He admitted that, yes, he did in fact spy on us. He did in fact infiltrate us. He admitted that he did pass on information to an intelligence network, which, as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies ranging from municipal to county to state to regional and several federal agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Homeland Security, the Army in Fort Lewis.

So he admitted to other things, too. He admitted that the police had placed a camera, surveillance camera, across the street from a community center in Tacoma that anarchists ran called the Pitch Pipe Infoshop. He admitted that there were police that did put a camera up there to spy on anarchists, on activists going there.

He also—one other thing he spoke of—I don’t know if this is true. I mean, honestly, I don’t know what to believe from John, but he said that the police in Tacoma and Olympia had been planning for a while on raiding the anarchist Pitch Pipe Infoshop and also the house I lived in with several other activists in Olympia. And they had approached John several times, saying, you know, “Do they have bombs and explosives and drugs and guns and things like that?” which is just disgusting to even think that they would suggest that. They’re just trying to silence us politically. They’re going after us for our politics and for our work, you know, around Port Militarization Resistance and around antiwar organizing. And, of course, John told them, no, we didn’t have any of those stuff. He told them the truth.

But he also mentioned that there were other informants that are among us.

AMY GOODMAN: Brendan, we’re going to break. Then we’re going to come back to this discussion. I really want to talk to Drew Hendricks about John’s involvement in IT, in the technical aspects, the coordination of the LISTSERVs.

Today, a Democracy Now! exclusive, an exposé on a military spy in peace groups in Olympia, Washington. Brendan Dunn is our guest, Olympia activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. He discovered that his friend, fellow activist “John Jacob,” was actually a military spy. And Drew Hendricks will be joining us in a minute, talking about his involvement. John Towery, their friend, “John Jacob.” Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Today, a national broadcast exclusive. A military spy in the ranks of antiwar activists in Olympia, Washington.

We have a number of guests. We’ve just been speaking with Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, Olympia activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. He discovered, through an FOIA request, a Freedom of Information Act request, that his friend, fellow activist “John Jacob,” was actually working with Fort Lewis base in Washington state, was a military spy in his organizations.

Drew Hendricks is with us, as well, in Seattle, also an Olympia activist with the same groups, Port Militarization Resistance. He worked with John Towery, his real name—“John Jacob” is how they knew him—before the exposé that has now coming out.

Drew, tell us how you met John and how he was involved in the organizations.

DREW HENDRICKS: I first met John in September of 2007, and he approached me as somebody who claimed to have base access, which turned out to be true. He did admit that he was a civilian employee for the Army. And what he was offering me were observations and inside knowledge of operations on Fort Lewis.

I let him know that I wasn’t willing to have any classified information from him and that I wasn’t engaged in espionage. I was looking for open source information and looking for insight into movements of military materials over the public roads, so that people other than myself could organize protests or organize blockades, as they might see fit, and it wasn’t appropriate for me to be involved in their plans. It was only appropriate for him let me know things that I could confirm from open ground, from public spaces. He abided by those rules, for the most part.

And he did not reveal his role to me that he was actually part of a force protection cell, that he was actually reporting to DES fusion and part of the intelligence operation of Fort Lewis. He wasn’t admitting to me that his reports were going to Washington Joint Analytical Center, which is a function of the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Intimidation—I’m sorry, Investigation.

But he did provide what he purported to be observations of operations on Fort Lewis, and he was involved with the group for a few months before I mistakenly and stupidly, in retrospect, trusted him with co-administration of our LISTSERV, our shared means of talking to each other over electronic media.

AMY GOODMAN: And the LISTSERV involvement, how much control he had over who was involved in your groups, Drew?

DREW HENDRICKS: Well, he could tell from that access who all was subscribed to the LISTSERV. He couldn’t control who was coming into or out of meetings, but he could find out who people were, if they were subscribed to the LISTSERV. And he did challenge some people who were attempting to get to the LISTSERV for their credentials, for people who could vouch for them being people who were not law enforcement or people who were not military intelligence who were coming into that activity. He wasn’t in control of what messages people could send, but as an administrator on RiseUp, he could have unsubscribed people, and there were some people that were disruptive that he did unsubscribe, in a way that the other LISTSERV administrators, for the most part, agreed with.

He wasn’t found to be abusing his authorities as a LISTSERV administrator directly, although he probably reported that list upwards in his chain of command or his chain of employment. And that served a significant chilling role for him as a military employee. He’s a civilian employee, but he is a former military-enlisted person. And so, he understood, or should have understood, that what he was doing was legally inappropriate. I’m not a lawyer, but in my opinion and from the history I’ve read, what he was doing was rather extraordinary, from the histories that I’ve read.

ANJALI KAMAT: I want to bring three others into this discussion. Joining us from Washington, DC is Mike German. He’s the National Security Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. He previously served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counterterrorism from 1988 to 2004.

Also joining us here in New York is Eileen Clancy. She’s a founding member of I-Witness Video, a video collective that has documented government surveillance of activist groups for years. Her group was targeted by police raids last summer during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

And on the line with us from Bellingham, Washington is Larry Hildes, an attorney and National Lawyers Guild member who has represented Washington state-based activists with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in criminal and civil cases.

Larry, I want to go to you. Can you talk about your involvement with this and on what bases you have represented these activists?

LARRY HILDES: Absolutely. Good morning, by the way.

Yeah, I’ve been—I got involved—there was a sit-in at the gate of the Port of Olympia back in May of 2006 to protest use of the port for military shipments to Iraq and Afghanistan. And it’s been a wonderful experience. I have represented these folks through several rounds of criminal cases throughout Pierce and Thurston Counties, Tacoma and Olympia. And now we are suing, based in part on spying, in conjunction with the Seattle office of the ACLU.

And it got strange fairly early. We were in trial in March of 2007, arguing that these folks were not guilty of criminal violations for sitting at the gate, when they weren’t allowed into the port itself. The prosecutors kind of hinted that there was—that they had inside information that they shouldn’t have had. And the fourth day of the trial, as it’s clear that we have the jury, prosecutor’s office came out with a confidential jury analysis sheet that my office had done, that was circulated only on the internal attorney-client LISTSERV that was exclusively for the defense team, and announced that this was all over the internet and got a mistrial.

And we’re trying to figure out in the courtroom what’s going on here. Never seen anything like this. We know it’s not on the internet. And the person who set up the LISTSERV—so we’ve got LISTSERV stuff going on even before Mr. Towery’s involvement—person on the LISTSERV discovers that there’s two people who we never heard of, who they had not subscribed, he had not allowed onto the list. Those two turned out to be Tacoma police officers. And we’ve now found that the Tacoma police knew that this document was going to be revealed, knew it would probably be a mistrial, and was speculating—and knew exactly when it would be and was speculating what the effects would be. So, the spying started early.

It was very clear that they treated these folks—the worst thing they’ve ever done is acts of civil disobedience, peacefully, nonviolently trying to stop military blockades by standing in front of tanks and Strykers—that they were treating this like a very, very serious situation. So we knew that early. And it’s become clear that there was a lot of spying going on throughout this process. We kind of knew that this was coming.

Right now I’m defending a group of demonstrators who were arrested in Olympia in November of ’07, allegedly trying to block a troop convoy or a Stryker convoy from coming out of the port to go back to Fort Lewis to be repaired and sent back to Iraq again. And the police reports talk about—the incident commander talks about the fact that they had Army intelligence sources reporting to them detailed discussions that were going on in private meetings that Port Militarization Resistance was having, where they were discussing tactics and strategies. And based on that information, they decided that our clients from that action, who were sitting in an empty road outside of a closed gate, with no military vehicles in sight, were intending to blockade traffic and were arrested for attempted disorderly conduct, a charge we’ve never seen in our lives.

So we started trying to find out what’s going. We got the judge to agree to sign subpoenas, which were immediately refused by the head of the civil division of the US attorney’s office in Seattle, Brian Kipnis, saying they had no standing and they weren’t going to respond, and ordered the Army not to give us this information. So—

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us more about this US attorney. And also, isn’t he the attorney who prosecuted Ehren Watada—

LARRY HILDES: That’s exactly—

AMY GOODMAN: —the first officer to say no to going to war in Iraq, refusing to lead young men and women there for a war he felt was immoral?

LARRY HILDES: That’s exactly right, Amy. He handled the Ninth Circuit appeals and stood up in the courtroom and said, “OK, he’s had his appeal. Now we need to go forward. He needs to be prosecuted. We want a second court-martial,” and continued to argue that. And the day that the decision came—Ninth Circuit decision came down saying, “No, this was double jeopardy; you can’t do this,” he said, “Well, we’re going to prosecute him on the remaining claims anyway,” which, of course, has not happened.

He was also involved in a number of the Guantanamo cases and has been arguing that evidence of torture shouldn’t come out, because it would reveal confidential information about how Guantanamo was set up. So, his role has been, throughout this, to obstruct.

I sent him a letter saying, “OK, now we have this information. I ask for your help in investigating this, because this is a crime.” Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1887, it is a crime for the US military to become involved in civilian law enforcement. And they’ve chipped away at it, but it’s still a crime. I got a letter back now telling me I have to ask the Army. I got this yesterday, saying, “You have to go through channels with the Army.” I’ve gone through channels with the Army, and the Army has told me they’re not allowed to talk to me, because he told them not to. So we’re going back and forth with this guy.

He has been in the US attorney’s office throughout much of the Bush administration. And apparently his job is to obstruct and punish those involved in protesting the war and those protesting torture. Interesting character. I had never heard of him before this. Apparently has a close relative—there aren’t that many Kipnises, but there are some—who runs a security firm that specializes in analysis of national security issues. So it’s a cozy little family network there. So—

ANJALI KAMAT: I’d like to turn to Mike German and bring him into the conversation, National Security Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, DC. Mike German, what’s your response to all of this?

MIKE GERMAN: Well, I think his analysis is exactly right. This is a pretty clear violation of Posse Comitatus. Now, what the military would argue, and has argued, is that they have a right to engage in force protection, which obviously, in its normal understanding of that term, is a defensive sort of capability, i.e. they can put guards at the gates of military bases and protect from threats from without. But they seem to have been, since 2002, considering that as an offensive capability, where they’re actually sending operatives out to spy on community activists, which is, of course, prohibited and something that, you know, the First and the Fourth Amendment become engaged.

And, you know, this is something that we found out through a FOIA back in 2005 the military was engaged in through a group called the Counterintelligence Field Activity. And they had a database of activists called Talon that, again, collected this US person information that the military has no business collecting. And that was shut down. But unfortunately, you know, they just created a new mechanism. This appears to be the fusion centers and these fusion cells that they’re using that, they seem to think, give them a method of circumventing Posse Comitatus and the restrictions on military intelligence gathering in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean, Mike, by fusion centers.

MIKE GERMAN: About two years ago, me and a colleague at the ACLU started investigating a lot of federal money going to what were called intelligence fusion centers. And I was only two years out of federal law enforcement at that point, and I had never heard this term, so I became concerned. And what these centers are is multi-jurisdictional intelligence centers that involve state, local and federal law enforcement, as well as other government entities—you know, a lot of times there are emergency services type of entities, but actually can’t involve any government entity—but also involve oftentimes the military and private companies.

So we produced a report in November of 2007 warning of the potential dangers that these multi-jurisdictional centers had, because it was unclear whose rules applied. Were we using federal rules? Were we using state rules? Local rules? And what was military and private company—what rules govern their conduct? So we put out this report in November of 2007. At that point, there were forty-two fusion centers. By July of 2008, we had found so many instances of abuse, we put out an updated report. At that point, there were fifty-eight fusion centers. Today, the DHS recognizes at least seventy-two fusion centers. So these things are rapidly growing, without any sort of proper boundaries on what activities happen within them and without really any idea of what it is the military is doing in these fusion centers and what type of access they have to US person information.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn back for a moment to the two activists in Olympia. They’re speaking to us from Seattle today, first time they’re speaking out nationally, Brendan Dunn and Drew Hendricks. Just give us a sense, Brendan, of why you got involved in activism. People might be listening and watching right now and wondering, “I’ve never even heard of Port Militarization Resistance,” or perhaps the new Students for a Democratic Society, based on the old. What’s your background, Brendan?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: Well, I guess I really started to get involved with activism and organizing—it was in high school, but it wasn’t until after high school, when my friend’s brother was shot and killed by the police in Utica, New York. His name was Walter Washington. And the community developed a response to that, and, you know, that’s what really started to get me thinking and actively organizing. That’s really when I got involved.

I moved to Olympia a little over three years ago. Since then, I’ve been involved with a lot, with Students for a Democratic Society. And, you know, the more police repression I’ve learned about or experienced and just repression, generally, that it’s moved me in a more radical direction. That’s when I started to pick up anarchist politics and organizing.

So I’ve been involved with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance—just makes sense to me, because the military—this is one of the most highly militarized areas of the country, if not the world, western Washington is. And it just makes sense to me that if we want to throw a gear in the war machine, the best way to do it is in our own backyard, our own towns. And in our case, it’s in the Port of Olympia, the Port of Tacoma, the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen. And that’s where direct action makes sense and community struggle makes sense.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Drew Hendricks, your involvement in Port Militarization Resistance, known for trying to stop some of the—for example, the Stryker vehicles from being sent to Iraq?

DREW HENDRICKS: Yes. My primary activity with Port Militarization Resistance is as a coordinator for intelligence collection, so that people have the time that they need to make good decisions about what it is that they’re going to do. I’ve taken one direct action myself against said activity early on in the end of May 2006. I blocked a couple of gates shut overnight and was arrested during that action and found and put in jail for a few hours. But for the most part, my role has been to collect information and disseminate it to the people who need to know, so that they can make timely decisions.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, then come back to this conversation. We are doing a national exposé today on a person who worked in the military spying on peace groups in Washington state. His name—well, they thought his name was John Jacob. His name is John Towery. We asked that he come—we wanted him to come on the broadcast, but he didn’t respond to our request. We also asked the military to join us; we read the statement earlier, yes, admitting that John Towery worked with them. We’ll continue this conversation in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: We bring you this exclusive on peace activists in Washington state revealing an informant posing as an anarchist has spied on them while working under the US military—the activists, members of the group Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance, which protests military shipments bound for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, this is Democracy Now!, and we urge you to go to our website at democracynow.org, where we’re video and audio podcasting, where you can see the documents that they got under Freedom of Information Act.


ANJALI KAMAT: The government documents also show that intelligence officers from other government and military agencies inquired Olympia police about the Washington state peace activists. In an email to an Olympia police officer from February 2008, Thomas Glapion, Chief Investigations/Intel of New Jersey’s McGuire Air Force, writes, quote, “Good Morning, first let me thank you for the effort. To the contrary you were quite the help to me. You are now part of my Intel network. I’m still looking at possible protests by the PMR SDS MDS and other left wing anti war groups so any Intel you have would be appreciated…In return if you need anything from the Armed Forces I will try to help you as well,” end-quote.

Now, we contacted the McGuire Air Base, and they also denied our interview request. They released a short statement saying only, quote, “Our force protection specialists routinely research local and national groups in response to potential risks and threats to Air Force installations and to ensure the safety of our personnel,” end-quote.

Another declassified email from February 2008 comes from Andrew Pecher of the US Capitol Police Intelligence Investigations Section in Washington, DC. The email is also addressed to an Olympia police contact. It says, quote, “I am just droppjng [sic] in to see if you had a problems with the below action that we had talked about a few weeks ago. Any information that you have would be helpful. Thank you!!” end-quote. The “action” Pecher refers to is the “Northwest DNC/RNC Resistance Conference,” an event that was held at Evergreen State College to prepare for protests at last summer’s Democratic and Republican conventions.

I want to go to Brendan Maslauskas Dunn. Brendan, how did you find this information? When you first saw this information, can you talk about your reaction?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: Well, when it all surfaced through the public records requests, I wasn’t surprised. I guess I had been expecting this, especially with the level of activity that activists have been involved with in Olympia, in the last few years, especially. But, I mean, it still was a shock. I didn’t know it was that extensive. I guess that’s why it was a shock to me.

I didn’t know that the Air Force from New Jersey was interested in activities that activists in Olympia were involved with. And I didn’t know that the Capitol police in Washington, DC was trying to extract information from people in Olympia, as well.

So I always suspected that there was surveillance going on. It was obvious it was going on locally from local agencies and local police agencies. I had no idea how widespread it is. And I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have no clue what’s below the water.

AMY GOODMAN: Eileen Clancy, I’d like to bring you into this conversation. You have long been documenting police and federal authorities’ activities in antiwar and peace protests at the conventions in 2004 and then 2008. You, yourselves, at I-Witness were targeted. You were detained by police. The places that you were setting up video to video police actions on the streets were raided by the police in St. Paul. Your reaction to what you’re listening to and watching today?

EILEEN CLANCY: Well, I have to say, I think this is one of the most important revelations of spying on the American people that we’ve seen since the beginning of the Bush era. It’s very clear that there’s no such thing as one spy, especially not in the Army. So—and it’s very clear that this problem is national in scope, in that sort of casual manner that these folks are interacting with each other.

It’s really like in January 1970. Christopher Pyle, who was a former US Army intelligence officer, revealed in Washington Monthly that there was an extraordinary program of spying by the Army on political protest groups. And he said that—well, what was written in the New York Times was that the Army detectives would attend some of these events, but the majority of material that they gathered was from police departments, local governments and the FBI. And at that time, they had a special teletype, pre-internet, that connected the Army nationwide and where the police could load up their information on this stuff. They also published a small book that was a blacklist, which is similar now to the terrorist watch list, where the police share information about activists with maybe no criminal basis whatsoever. And at the time, in January 1970, Pyle said that there was a hope to link the teletype systems to computerized databanks in Baltimore, Maryland, which, of course, is the general area of the National Security Agency, which does most of the spying for—it’s supposed to be foreign, but apparently they do domestic spying, as well.

So this now, what we have here—and after these revelations, there was a Church Committee. There was a great deal of investigating that went on. And while a lot of it was covered up, the military was pushed back for a while on this front. But because now we have the capability of gathering an extraordinary amount of information and holding onto it and sharing it, through the internet and through other means, we really have this 1970s problem amped up on steroids, twenty-first-century-style. And this had been going on for a while.

Something terrible has been going on in the Pacific Northwest in terms of police spying. There are other documents that had been revealed—the Tacoma police, Homeland Security, meetings, minutes. And you can see that one of the essential problems with this kind of model and the fusion center model is that in the same meeting, they’re talking about a Grannies Against the War group handing out fliers at the local mall, and they’re talking about new information about what al-Qaeda is going to do. It’s a model that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, and it’s a model that’s based really on hysteria.

When you see those pictures that were just shown on the screen, pictures of people with no weapons standing in the middle of a road with giant Army vehicles in front of them, you know, it’s clear that the protest is of a symbolic nature. There’s no violence involved on the part of the activists. It’s a traditional sit-in type of protest. The idea that the Army, the Navy and the Marines would become hysterical at this threat, I mean, it is the Army, it’s the Navy, it’s the Marines. And when—that’s the reason the Army shouldn’t be involved in this, because the job of an army—and they’ll tell you this—is to kill people and break things. The motto of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team that’s housed at Fort Lewis, that this force protection cell was trying to protect, their motto is “strike and destroy.” They’re really built for one thing, and it’s certainly not policing. It’s certainly not dealing with community activist groups, Grannies Against the War, or local activists in Olympia.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask about Rush Holt, the New Jersey congressman—we’re talking about McGuire Air Base, actually, in New Jersey—who has just in the last weeks been calling for a Church-like, Pike-like investigation of the intelligence community, starts by talking about the CIA. He’s raised this with the Washington Independent, with the Newark Star-Ledger, even raised it on Lou Dobbs a few days ago. And the significance of something at this level of the Church Committee hearings that investigated spying—Sy Hersh exposed it decades ago in a major article in the New York Times. Mike German, at this point, the significance of something like this? And do you think we would see this under President Obama?

MIKE GERMAN: I would hope so. You know, when we first came out with our report on fusion centers and warned about the military presence, you know, people told us that that wasn’t something we needed to be concerned about. And, you know, so this is a very important revelation, that there is actual evidence of abuse, that hopefully will open the eyes of the people who are responsible for overseeing these types of activities. And I believe something like a select investigative committee to investigate such activities is certainly called for. And, in fact, Representative Barbara Lee had introduced back in April a bill that would allow a select committee to investigate national security policy and practices. So, we’re hoping that this will bring support to that effort.

AMY GOODMAN: I also wanted to ask Brendan Dunn about the evidence of other spies in your organization. In fact, didn’t John—“John Jacob,” now known as John Towery, who worked at Fort Lewis—didn’t he tell you about others that he actually wanted out of the organization sometimes and called the military to get them out?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, that’s his story, at least. He admitted that there were a few other informants that were sent.

He had a weird story, which, you know, we know isn’t true, based on the public records and the documents that we have in our hands, that he was, you know, forced into this position to spy on us, that he didn’t do it for pay, that he only reported to the Tacoma police and wasn’t connected to the military whatsoever. I mean, it’s a good cover story to, you know, let the military free and blame it on a bunch of Keystone cops in Tacoma, but there was actually another email I got through the records request that was sent between a couple Olympia police officers, and they had mentioned something about their Army guy that was working for them and something else about someone in the Coast Guard that was also perhaps, still perhaps, currently acting as an informant.

AMY GOODMAN: We also, in doing research on John Towery, have information, addresses that he had at both Fort Drum, Upstate New York, and also in Brussels, which we associate with NATO. Is there any understanding or knowledge you have of this, either Brendan or Drew? Did he talk about this in his past?

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: This is actually the first I’ve heard of it. I’m actually surprised, because I used to live near Fort Drum. I used to go to school near Fort Drum before I moved out to Olympia. So this is news to me. I’ve never heard anything.

AMY GOODMAN: Right now, in figuring out how you go forward, I wanted to bring Larry Hildes back into this conversation. Information about one activist actually having a locator put in his car to figure out where he was going from one protest to another, can you tell us about Phil Chin, Larry?

LARRY HILDES: Yes, I can. And we’re actually suing about this in conjunction with the Seattle ACLU now. Mr. Chin was on his way to a demonstration at the Port of Aberdeen. It was going to be a peaceful march, not even any civil disobedience. His license plate was called in, and Washington state patrol sent an attempt-to-locate code—we didn’t know what an attempt-to-locate code was until this—saying, “There are three known anarchists in this car, in this green Ford Taurus. Apprehend them, and then let the Aberdeen police know.”

So he gets pulled over for supposedly going five miles an hour under the speed limit in heavy traffic and charged with DUI, despite the fact he hasn’t had anything to drink, hasn’t done any drugs, total—every single test comes up absolutely negative, except for the fact that he had trouble standing on one foot because he had an inner ear infection. The lab tests come up negative. And they still go forward with this, until we move to dismiss and ask what this attempt-to-locate code is. And we find out that it’s—we’ve got the tape, the dispatch tapes of them calling in this car with the three known anarchists—by the way, none of whom was Phil. But on the dashboard of the car that takes him away is a picture of Phil’s other car.

ANJALI KAMAT: Eileen Clancy, we just have a minute left. What does this, all of this information that’s come out, what does this do for activists? Does it create a climate of fear? What you, who have been spied on, who have had so much experience with this—what are your final words?

EILEEN CLANCY: I think people should try not to be afraid. They should consider what these fine activists have done here, which is done an extraordinary public service by putting this information out. This could be one of the key revelations of this era, if this is followed up on. It’s very important that people be aggressive about this. And thank goodness they did it.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you all for being with us, Eileen Clancy of I-Witness Video; Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union; Larry Hildes, National Lawyers Guild, based in Bellingham; and the two activists who have exposed this story through their Freedom of Information Act request, Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, Olympia-based activist, and Drew Hendricks, as well. Thank you both very much for being with us.

Peter Lemkin
07-30-2009, 08:34 AM
Ya gotta watch this - things are worse than most think on how peaceful citizens are being spied upon http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/29/pyle

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a follow-up on our exclusive broadcast yesterday. We spent the hour looking at a story out of Olympia, Washington, where antiwar activists exposed Army spying and infiltration of their groups, as well as intelligence gathering by the Air Force, the federal Capitol Police and the Coast Guard. Declassified documents obtained by the activists revealed that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state was actually an informant for the US military. The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis.

The infiltration appears to be in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act preventing US military deployment for domestic law enforcement and may strengthen congressional demands for a full-scale investigation of US intelligence activities, like the Church Committee hearings of the ’70s.

Well, Christopher Pyle was a captain in Army intelligence in 1970, when he first disclosed the military’s widespread surveillance of civilian groups. The disclosure triggered fifty congressional inquiries within a month. Pyle went on to work for Senator Sam Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights and Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence, that led to the founding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Christopher Pyle joins us now from Chicopee, Massachusetts. He teaches constitutional law and civil liberties at Mount Holyoke College, and he’s the author of four books. His most recent is called Getting Away with Torture.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Good morning, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted you to first start off by talking about the significance of these revelations yesterday, with the young activists on Democracy Now! having simply applied under Freedom of Information Act [ed: public records request] for any information on anarchists or on their organizations in Olympia, Washington, and finding this one email inside that referred to this man named John Towery. They started doing some digging, and they realized it was their friend. Well, they knew him as “John Jacob.” He came out of Fort Lewis base. Christopher Pyle, the significance of this?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: I think the significance is less that the Army is monitoring civilian political activity than that there is a network, a nationwide network, of fusion centers, these state police intelligence units, these municipal police intelligence units, that bring together the services of the military, of police, and even private corporations to share information about alleged terrorist groups in cities throughout the country. I was fascinated by the story of the Air Force officer from New Jersey making an inquiry to the police in the state of Washington about this group. This is an enormous network. It’s funded by the Homeland Security Department. Police departments get a great deal of money to set up these intelligence units. And they monitor, largely, lawful political activity, in violation of the First Amendment and, when the military is involved, in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play just two clips from yesterday. This is one of the activists in Olympia who exposed that his friend John Jacob was actually John Towery, a military informant and a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. I asked Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, the Olympia activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance, what his first reaction was when he found out.

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: John Jacob was actually a close friend of mine, so this week has been pretty difficult for me. He was—he said he was an anarchist. I met him over two years ago through community organizing and antiwar organizing I was involved with in Tacoma and Olympia with other anarchists and other activists.

And he was really interested in Students for a Democratic Society. He wanted to start a chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society, which is connected to SDS. He got involved with Port Militarization Resistance, with Iraq Vets Against the War. He was—you know, knew a lot of people involved with that organization.

But he was a friend of mine. We hung out. We gave workshops together on grassroots direct democracy and anarchist struggle. I mean, he was a friend. A lot of people really, really did like him. He was a kind person. He was a generous person. So it was really just a shock for me this week when all of this was determined.

AMY GOODMAN: Brendan Maslauskas Dunn went on to describe exactly what his so-called friend, John Towery, said when he confronted him with the evidence.

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: He admitted that, yes, he did in fact spy on us. He did in fact infiltrate us. He admitted that he did pass on information to an intelligence network, which, as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies, ranging from municipal to county to state to regional, and several federal agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Homeland Security, the Army in Fort Lewis.

So he admitted to other things, too. He admitted that the police had placed a camera, surveillance camera, across the street from a community center in Tacoma that anarchists ran called the Pitch Pipe Infoshop. He admitted that there were police that did put a camera up there to spy on anarchists, on activists going there.

He also—one other thing he spoke of—I don’t know if this is true. I mean, honestly, I don’t know what to believe from John, but he said that the police in Tacoma and Olympia had been planning for a while on raiding the anarchist Pitch Pipe Infoshop and also the house I lived in with several other activists in Olympia. And they had approached John several times, saying, you know, “Do they have bombs and explosives and drugs and guns and things like that?” which is just disgusting to even think that they would suggest that. They’re just trying to silence us politically. They’re going after us for our politics and for our work, you know, around Port Militarization Resistance and around antiwar organizing. And, of course, John told them, no, we didn’t have any of those stuff. He told them the truth.

But he also mentioned that there were other informants that are amongst us.

AMY GOODMAN: Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, the Olympia activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance, the one who put in the Freedom of Information Act request [ed: public records request] and found out his friend, who he thought was named “John Jacob,” was John Towery out of Fort Lewis base in Washington state.

Christopher Pyle, you’re now a professor. You were in military intelligence, a captain. When you started to uncover the military, what, almost forty years ago, investigating civilian groups, give us the history.

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, I was teaching law at the US Army Intelligence School, and I was asked to teach a class on CONUS intelligence and spot reports. CONUS is the acronym for continental United States. So I delivered a lecture about the need for the use of the military to put down riots, which did not require identifying any persons. You simply go in, clear the streets, declare a curfew, quiet things down, restore order.

And an officer came up to me after class and said, “Captain Pyle, you don’t know much about this, do you?” And I said, “No.” And he said, “Well, I can arrange a briefing.” And he did.

He took to me across the post to the headquarters of the US Army Intelligence Command’s CONUS Intelligence Section. There I discovered thirteen teletype machines reporting on every demonstration around the country of twenty people or more. The reports were coming from 1,500 Army plainclothes agents working out of 300 offices. They had it all covered.

They showed me a mug book of persons who could be rounded up in case of a civil disturbance. The military really believed that if you had a civil disturbance or a protest, it was very important to know the names of the people who might be protesting, because, you never know, they might be connected with a cadre of agitators and communists behind them.

Well, the same pattern is now developing under the Northern—the US Army’s Northern Command, which coordinates domestic intelligence work for the US Army and tries to prepare for what they call “military assistance to civil authorities.” It was out of this that the TALON reports came, but I also helped to disclose, reports on lawful, constitutionally protected antiwar activities. And so, history is repeating itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Who were some of the people in the mug shots, Christopher Pyle?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, the first one—

AMY GOODMAN: Who did they say could be rounded up?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: The first volume, under letter A, was Ralph David Abernathy, who was head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King. And there were many more of that type.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re saying—

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Perfectly law-abiding citizens.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re saying some protest happened somewhere, or a riot, and they can go to where Ralph David Abernathy is, in a wholly different place, and round him up.

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Yes, today, particularly, with the power of computers and internet communications and monitoring the public airwaves, this network of seventy-two fusion centers, plus all of the subordinate groups that provide information and seek information, can follow you and me and just about anybody all around the country. They don’t have to put transponders in our cars. They could use E-ZPass on the highway. But in your case from the state of Washington, they apparently used a transponder in an antiwar protester’s automobile. This is the kind of surveillance society this country does not need.

AMY GOODMAN: Who else was listed at the time?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Say that again?

AMY GOODMAN: Who else was listed at the time, both individuals and organizations that you saw targeted?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, one of the printouts that the military gave me of their surveillance for a particular week in 1968 included the infiltration of a Unitarian Church. In more recent years, surveillance of Quaker groups, the infiltration of Quaker groups in Florida, who were planning to protest military recruitment in their local high school. These are the people who, according to the TALON reports, are considered to be potential threats to military security.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean by TALON.

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: TALON is a collection of intelligence reports of threats to military bases that were collected by an unknown group for many years after 9/11 called the Counterintelligence Field Activity. It had a thousand employees. It was located in the Pentagon. And it was monitoring civil disturbances around the country, following a pattern very much like the 1960s and ’70s.

The idea was that if you could follow enough protesters in the—protests in the country, or enough disturbances, you could tell when the country was going to overheat and the military would have to be called in. In the 1960s, they thought that if they could tell how many protests there were on college campuses, they could then predict riots in the black ghettos of the major cities of the United States. It was ludicrous intelligence work, but that’s what they had in mind.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you left there that day, saying you were going to write an article. You were going to expose this. You learned about huge databases, places like in—where? In Baltimore, Maryland.

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, a big center was in Baltimore, Maryland, and—but there were six other computer databanks back then. Computers were still in their infancy. They were still being fed with computer punch cards. Nothing like we have today. They were bush league compared to what now exists in these fusion centers, that you’ve reported on, from the state of Washington.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened as a result of this information? You’re a military intelligence captain. You’re appalled by what you see: the targeting of civilians. You write an article. What ensued?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, what was really interesting is I began to hear from my former students, who had been doing this work on active duty. And I eventually recruited 125 counterintelligence agents to tell what they knew about the domestic intelligence operations of the US Army. I shared this information with the press and with congressional committees. Senator Ervin, in the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, held hearings, which I organized and disclosed the existence of this system. The military was embarrassed by the system and eventually disbanded it and burned all the records. I checked on that by interviewing the guys who did the burning of the records.

AMY GOODMAN: There’s a discussion right now among the people who are involved—Congress member Barbara Lee; in New Jersey, Rush Holt, congressman; chair of the Judiciary Committee, Conyers—weighing a committee be set up to once again investigate, as the Church Committee did, intelligence in this country and its far-reaching effects. For example, the example we brought out yesterday of the military infiltrating peace groups, and this was just one individual that we looked at. Talk about what came from the Ervin and the Church Committee hearings.

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, the Church Committee did the most extensive investigation of all the agencies. Ervin’s committee just did Army intelligence. But nobody had ever done anything to investigate intelligence agencies before Senator Ervin took it upon himself to do so. Once Ervin proved that there was extensive misconduct and abuse of authority, then others got interested. And the House created a committee under Otis Pike, and the Senate created a special committee under Frank Church. They had to create special committees, because there were no standing committees to oversee the intelligence agencies.

And as the result of the work of those two committees, we now have standing congressional committees whose job is supposed to be to oversee the work of the intelligence committees. So the proposal for yet another select committee to do the work of existing committees seems to me a political nonstarter, but maybe Barbara Lee knows something more about the politics of Capitol Hill than I do.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think needs to be done right now?

CHRISTOPHER PYLE: I think that we need to prosecute the torturers. I think that’s the biggest single message that we could give to the intelligence community, that it is not above the law. That’s even more important than the domestic intelligence, and the domestic intelligence, to me, is extremely important. That’s the untold story that you’ve begun to tell, but there have been many other abuses of authority. And when you get into torture, kidnapping, secret illegal detention and assassination, it seems to me you’ve gone over the hill to the most serious abuses any intelligence community can possibly commit, and that’s the place to start. Don’t lose our focus on that.

And then, after that, we need to investigate ways of curbing domestic intelligence activity. And there’s an area of this which has not yet become publicly known, and that is the role of corporations working with the intelligence agencies, corporations which do data processing and data mining, which are totally exempt from any state or federal privacy laws. There’s no control on them at all. And when they’re part of this network, they can use Google and techniques like Google, sophisticated techniques, to gather a great deal of information on the personal lives of the young men you had on your program yesterday.

AMY GOODMAN: Christopher Pyle, this is just the beginning, and we’re going to have you back. Your new book, Getting Away with Torture. Christopher Pyle was a military intelligence captain when he exposed the surveillance of civilian groups in this country, now a professor at Mount Holyoke College. Thank you for being with us.

Peter Presland
07-30-2009, 09:22 AM

Granted it's is pretty brazen stuff; an illustration of just how arrogant the 'National Security State' apparatus has become. But I have to say I'm not in the least surprised, or even -dare I say- outraged by it (my outrage equipment is becoming dulled and jaded by overwork these days :burnout:)

One thing I know, with absolute clarity, is that the moment ANY grouping potentially threatening (or even mildly interesting) to so called 'national security' interests, starts to organise for action; that is the moment it will be targeted for penetration by NSS Agencies. Any such organisation that works on the assumption that its chairman or membership secretary, or some other key member, is NOT reporting back to one of those Agencies is, quite frankly naive.

The same applies to discussion groups like this except that, if no action is being organised, it is probably deemed sufficient to apply techie-type monitoring and filtering with triggers for 'take a closer look' or whatever - a bit like the old Echelon system. The odd bit of disinfo may be attempted and no doubt members cards are marked in come fashion, but otherwise it keeps us out of mischief.

Big Brother IS watching us in other words. That is my own working assumption anyway.

Peter Lemkin
07-30-2009, 09:57 AM
Well, I think we better get outraged - or more so!....or we will go the final step to fascism, IMO. I'm also not surprised, but it isn't often we can prove such things happening. I think they must be reversed, curbed and then stopped - not adapted to or accepted. Maybe it takes one's life being 'messed with' - as mine was - way beyond just being monitored - to feel the rage I feel that never goes away and in fact is growing.

Peter Presland
07-30-2009, 12:13 PM

I suspect we are in pretty much full agreement about the nature of the problem. Viz a combination of State power (largely covert) serving the interests of a privileged, self-perpetuating, trans-national Elite at the expense of the mass of humanity, together with apathy, naivety, stupidity etc etc on the part of 'the masses' - the 'consensus trance' in the words of Richard Heinberg. With both strands of the problem exacerbated by relentless developments in surveillance/control/propaganda technologies and the problem of effectively organising to counter them.

If anything it is the latter where our disagreement may lie. I may come across as apathetic, but I am not. It's just that I find defining the 'We' in 'We better get outraged' problematical; not because outrage is not justified in spades, but because it is simply not going to happen on a mass scale. For much of my life I too lived the 'consensus trance'. I have arrived at my present opinions on political power, the nature of the state, etc. slowly and very painfully. To have held them 20 years ago, let alone to have voiced them publicly and 'with outrage' would probably have killed my business career, so I didn't hold them. No conscious decisions involved, just an instinctive grasp of the persona I needed to project to be 'successful' in business and thus feed my family etc. - studied ignorance was bliss in other words, not to mention it paid the bills. A hell of an admission to make eh? - but it's the truth and not a million miles from the mindsets of countless others trying to make their way within the system. But The System is past master at massaging the mindsets, abilities egos and loyalties of those it needs to perpetuate itself (It's called 'The Honours System' over here and it is rotten to the very core) - the net result is that it is essentially fawning but psychopathic personalities that tend to 'get to the top' with corporations being the archetype of the psychopathic personality.

I haven't given up by any means. It's just that these days I tend to confine myself to gentle persuasion of those I am in any position to persuade, that's all. Besides, as a certain demonstration in Parliament Square on September 15th 2004 proved to me in spades, I'm no longer much use when it comes to physical confrontation with tooled-up, hyped-up Police State enforcers determined to crack a few sculls and demonstrate who's boss.

Ed Jewett
07-31-2009, 02:11 AM
Oh, gosh, don't let this thread "peter" out...

It's providing fruitful stuff for a forthcoming project, if I can get a round tuit, to which I will also add the following:

“... our society is founded upon a Puritanical mindset, which is hierarchical, controlling, and ultimately pathological. … This is at the core of America's current political and social realities.

All hierarchical and controlling systems fear difference because difference, interestingly, begets freedom, and difference, paradoxically, is one of the key elements of union.

Clarity and union are the greatest threats to a dominating psychopathic worldview and, interestingly, are also the harbingers of real joy. …

Once we surrender to what is real, we just might have the opportunity to feel moments of genuine joy.”

Martha Ireland, the creator of GLOBAL DYSFUNCTION AND UNSUSTAINABILITY (http://www.sustainablestrategicsolutions.com/)
( (http://carolynbaker.net/site/content/view/1213/1/)Sustainable Strategic Solutions (http://carolynbaker.net/site/content/view/1213/1/)for Social Entrepreneurship) at http://www.sustainablestrategicsolutions.com/


Austin Kelley
06-09-2010, 11:47 PM

Watching the Protesters

These spies may have known too much.

By Rick Anderson
published: June 09, 2010

Phil Chinn's Ford Taurus moved along with the traffic on Highway 12, heading west in Grays Harbor County and beneath the Devonshire Overpass, where Washington State Patrol trooper Ben Blankenship was waiting. Blankenship put his cruiser in gear and moved down to the four-lane highway, pulling in behind Chinn's vehicle. Within a few miles, he hit his emergency lights. Chinn pulled over. It was May 6, 2007, early afternoon, the beginning of what the state patrol considers a routine traffic stop, but one that would cost taxpayers a half-million dollars.

A student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Chinn and four friends were en route to Aberdeen for a second day of protests against the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They considered themselves anarchists in the Tiananmen Square mold, protesters in a peace movement called Port Militarization Resistance. It comprised mostly Olympia and Tacoma members of revived historic protest groups—Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Wobblies, among others. Many were students at idealistic Evergreen, where the curriculum includes Imperialism, Marxist Theory, and Alternatives to Capitalism.

Beginning in 2006, protesters hoisted antiwar signs, marched arm-in-arm in the streets, and engaged in acts of civil disobedience, which were rewarded with streams of pepper spray and drag-away arrests. They attached their own locks to military gates and sat down in front of the chrome bumpers of Army semis loaded with war machinery. It could be exhilarating. After one demonstration, a 15-hour standoff at the Port of Olympia in 2007, Chinn wrote down his fond recollections:

The most vivid memory in my mind at the moment is huddling under a tarp, in a makeshift tent at 3:00 AM in the pouring rain. I remember being soaked to the bone, drinking hot tea with a few unfamiliar faces. We had constructed the tent out of a tarp and a barricade, which was blocking the street on two sides...We had held the road for nearly 12 hours at that point, with another barricade at the main entrance to the port blocking off every path that military vehicles and equipment could be driven down. Somewhere, between the rain and the cold wind, was a sense of joy. We had turned back police from our barricades, and we were going to maintain them as long as we could. While in most other situations the chant "Whose port? Our port!" would be little more than wishful thinking, for a while, it was true.

Impeded by the activists in sending its convoys to and from the ports of Olympia and Tacoma, the Army was forced to launch Plan C: shipping Fort Lewis Stryker vehicles and other heavy equipment out of Grays Harbor, about five miles from where Chinn had just been pulled over.

Trooper Blankenship came to the Taurus' window. In his mirror, Chinn could see other state patrol vehicles pulling onto the highway shoulder, along with a Grays Harbor County sheriff's deputy. As Chinn, now 22, recalled in a recent interview, Blankenship asked if Chinn knew how fast he was going. The speed limit, 55, Chinn said. No, the trooper said, he'd been doing 53, and was hitting his brakes erratically.

Chinn was asked to step out of the car and take a sobriety test. Blankenship would later claim Chinn's eyes were bloodshot and that he had white spots on his tongue, suggesting he was under the influence of drugs, likely marijuana. Chinn performed the coordination tests successfully, he recalls, but wobbled a bit on one leg due to an ear infection. That was enough for Blankenship: Chinn was arrested for DUI and put in the trooper's car.

That's when Chinn noticed, on the trooper's dashboard, a computer printout with a picture of Chinn's car—actually, his parents' vehicle, a Ford Explorer. He'd been driving it the day before. Today he was driving his Taurus. Chinn suddenly realized this was hardly a routine stop: They'd been looking for him, in either car.

Unbeknownst to Chinn and others at the time, Port protesters had a double agent in their ranks. He went by the name John Jacobs and identified himself to fellow demonstrators as a civilian employee at Fort Lewis. When he joined the movement in early 2007, he offered to provide the inside scoop on Fort operations, and over the next two years would prove a trusted, loyal anarchist. He was given access to the activists' confidential communications, and told his new friends he wanted to start his own faction of war resisters.

Most of his inside information, it turns out, was flowing the other way, according to interviews, court documents, and public records reviewed by Seattle Weekly. He was indeed a civilian employee at the fort—in its Army Force Protection intelligence unit. His true name was John Towery, and his mission was to spy on the protesters from within.

While posing as both sympathizer and faithful organizer, Towery secretly communicated with military and law-enforcement agencies throughout Western Washington. He tipped off the Army about some of the same demonstrations he was helping to coordinate, and at times gave local police play-by-play details on demonstrators' movements. Protesters believe that collaboration violated federal law.

The state patrol denies activists' claims that political motives were behind the arrest of Phil Chinn. WSP spokesperson Bob Calkins says the patrol made the stop simply because its trooper witnessed a traffic violation. But he concedes the patrol had received a request that day from Aberdeen police to locate "three known anarchists" who were traveling in Chinn's car.

A Grays Harbor County police task force had been spying on Chinn and his friends in Olympia that morning, Aberdeen police tell the Weekly. After seeing Chinn load up his Taurus at a carpooling site, the task force requested that the patrol report the car's location on the highway so Aberdeen police could pick up the trail once Chinn entered the city. (Aberdeen cops were keeping close watch on demonstrators, including trailing them around town.) But, says Aberdeen deputy chief Dave Timmons, his department "did not ask the Washington State Patrol to stop the vehicle or question or arrest its occupants."

As for the photo of Chinn's parents' vehicle, WSP's Calkins says he doesn't know how the officers obtained it. Aberdeen says it did not provide photos with its request.

Taken to jail in Montesano—a timber town watched over by a picturesque county courthouse on the hill—Chinn, who has no criminal record, later posted bail and was released. He arrived late for the Port protest. Though lab results clearly showed he had not been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Chinn's DUI was left hanging in the air for three months before charges were dismissed.

Using information belatedly discovered in a records request, along with other evidence assembled by his attorney, Larry Hildes, Chinn filed a federal civil lawsuit last year for false arrest. After a year of fighting the legal action, law enforcement caved last month. To settle Chinn's claims of harassment and false arrest, the state patrol agreed to pay $109,000, while Grays Harbor County and the city of Aberdeen each will pay $30,000. The three entities will also pay Chinn's legal fees, estimated at around $375,000.

The patrol stands by its arrest, claiming it was justified. "It cost less to settle than go to court," says Calkins, "where a jury, with 20/20 hindsight, might agree with Chinn." Responds Chinn: "It was cheaper to settle because there was no question it was a false arrest."

By settling, the agencies did not have to reveal details of the intelligence network that aided the stop. Those details could expose a broader spying operation, says Hildes. He is now trying anew to pry loose those sensitive police and military documents with another federal lawsuit, filed in January on behalf of other protesters. Hildes alleges the Army's infiltration of the Port resistance group and its military intelligence–sharing with local cops violates the federal Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from undertaking any unauthorized role in local law enforcement.

The Army says it is currently investigating whether the actions of its double agent violated the law or military policy. But the service appears to have anticipated and prepared for such lawsuits. A new how-to manual, issued Army-wide to its military police and intelligence operatives, offers advice on how to avoid violating the federal act, citing one of the Western Washington protests as an example. It concludes that such spy activities can be justified.

To Hildes, a Bellingham attorney working with the Seattle office of ACLU of Washington, the arrests of Chinn and others have helped expose the tip of a nationwide effort by police and the military to illegally spy on and preemptively arrest peaceful opponents of America's wars—not unlike the illegal spying on Vietnam-era protesters and (as the ACLU has documented in recent years) similar spying on antiwar groups after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"It's an ongoing thing," says Hildes matter-of-factly. He's a member of the National Lawyers Guild, and specializes in civil and human-rights cases—an activist attorney who sometimes takes part in demonstrations himself. He suspects the intelligence net stretches from local police stations to military spy ops across the U.S. After all, "Why did the Air Force in New Jersey and the Capitol Police in D.C. want to know about some college kids in Olympia?" he asks, referring to e-mails that are part of another of his court cases. And what, really, goes on behind the doors of those offices in downtown Seattle that some are calling Spy Central?

What until recently was known—at least in intelligence circles—as the Washington Joint Analytical Center was renamed a year ago the Washington State Fusion Center. It is the state patrol's intelligence nerve center, housed in the Abraham Lincoln Building on Third Avenue in Seattle, on the floor below the FBI's Seattle Field Office. The Center is one of roughly 75 fusion centers across the U.S., the brainchild of the Bush administration and organized by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The intention was to collect and distribute civilian, industrial, and military intelligence to keep America safe from criminals and terrorists, replacing the older, less-centralized intelligence ops of local communities.

To critics, the fusion centers represent a de facto national intelligence agency. Opponents worry about privacy invasions and political spying, and suspect that local intel could be shared far and wide, such as with the nation's biggest spy operation, the National Security Agency (which has a secure listening facility at the Army's Yakima Firing Center and a massive intel-intercept antenna farm on a mesa in Brewster, Okanogan County).

In an interview, fusion-center critic Bruce Fein, a D.C. constitutional lawyer and think-tank analyst, says the apparently false arrest of Phil Chinn "was not an aberration. It exposes the larger problem with fusion centers. These kinds of efforts to spy on First Amendment activists is a chronic problem with them. Their mission is to ascertain who might harbor resentment against the U.S. government and express it openly. Ordinarily we call that democracy."

According to the Fusion Center's charter, its personnel are to operate "in accordance with" the U.S. and Washington state constitutions—"as applicable." "The laws on privacy prohibit us from collecting info on the activities of individual protesters," says the Center's spokesperson, state patrol Lt. Randy Drake.

More specifically, says patrol headquarters spokesperson Calkins, the Fusion Center played no role in the Chinn case. "They [Center officials] have been through the records and say they did not handle that data," Calkins says.

The Center's operations are not open to public inspection, but Drake says there's not much to see. "It's not like the movies or TV," he says of the physical layout. No war-room frenzy or dazzling big-screen monitors with flashy graphics. Just "Cubicles and people at computers," he says. "Office space. Not very exciting." Funded with both federal and local money, the Center's 17 employees, says Drake, scour the Internet and sift through e-mails and law-enforcement tips on "suspicious activities, that type of thing."

Through a series of security corridors, Center employees can also reach the nearby offices of the Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Task Force and the regional FBI Field Intelligence Group. Besides state investigators and analysts, Seattle Police and the King County Sheriff also have full-time intelligence officers at the Fusion Center. Almost every city and county law-enforcement agency in the state is linked to the Center through the secure State Intelligence Network. Operatives also have access to the FBI computer system, and, depending on their security-clearance level and the type of case, can access intelligence from around the globe.

Seattle's Fusion Center is "a model" for other centers, according to Security Management magazine, an industry publication, which reports that Boeing was seeking to place a full-time company intelligence analyst at the Center. Starbucks, Amazon, and Alaska Airlines "have also expressed interest" in working with the Center, the magazine says.

That's a proposal yet to be worked out, say officials. But Richard Hovel, Boeing's senior advisor on aviation and homeland security, told a U.S. House subcommittee last year that "Hopefully, this [Seattle plan] will be the first of many similar efforts across the nation that will establish a collaborative partnership between the public sector and industry, and protect our critical infrastructure more effectively and expeditiously."

Hildes, the demonstrators' attorney, is most worried about the military's ties to the Fusion Center and local police, a bond that seems to be expanding. As Federal Computer Week reported last fall, "Some non-federal officials with the necessary clearances who work at intelligence fusion centers around the country will soon have limited access to classified terrorism-related information that resides in the Defense Department's classified network." State, local, and even Native American tribal officials will be able to see pre-approved data on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, the magazine reported.

Dennis Blair, President Obama's former intelligence czar, felt the military should share more of its secrets with federal and corporate entities. The government's 16-agency intelligence community (with a collective $75 billion budget and 200,000 worldwide operatives) needs to get over "this old distinction between military and nonmilitary intelligence," as he put it. But that was before his forced resignation last month, due apparently to several intelligence failures and attempted terror bombings, including the Times Square incident last month and the December "Underwear Bomber" arrest.

The problem, says critic Fein, is that fusion centers tend to operate independently, with little review and oversight. "They can just go gather information on anyone, spying on anything unconventional or unorthodox. And to what end? There's not a single instance I'm aware of where a center has led to the prosecution of any terrorist."

One of the few known intel operations undertaken by the Fusion Center in Seattle led to a memorable 2007 manhunt for two Arab-looking men spotted on a Washington State ferry. They were reported to police as "looking suspicious" and taking pictures. FBI agents and analysts from the Fusion Center worked together on the case and turned up photos of the men taken by a ferry skipper. The FBI and the Fusion Center issued the photos with a press release seeking the public's help in identifying the men.

Nine months later, the FBI announced the men had gone to an unidentified U.S. embassy in Europe to clear things up. They were, the FBI said, nothing more than European business consultants who took a ferry ride while visiting Seattle. In a news release, the FBI and the Fusion Center thanked "the many media organizations worldwide that published the photographs and ultimately played a prominent role in resolving this matter..." The agencies did not reveal how much money and effort had been expended on the global manhunt.

The Army also isn't saying much about its Fort Lewis–based double agent, John Towery, though it confirms he was employed as an intelligence analyst who infiltrated the Port resisters, and that he continues to work for the Army. He was outed last year after protesters obtained public documents from the City of Olympia that contained his name and some of the e-mails he had sent. The Army declined to make him available for an interview.

After his role was exposed, Towery did agree to a short meeting with two Olympia protest leaders, Brendan Dunn and Drew Hendricks, apparently to justify his role. He confirmed he was a spy, says Dunn, and admitted he reported to a network of local police and military intelligence officers. Hendricks, who has spent the past few years delving into U.S. spy nets, says in an e-mail that the experience with Towery shows him that today's intelligence gathering is "less obvious, more pervasive, [with] fewer conspirators," but the result is familiar: "We are right where we were in the 1960s with domestic military spying."

Both Seattle Fusion Center spokesperson Drake and WSP spokesperson Calkins say that to their knowledge the Center was not involved in the Army's possibly illegal efforts to infiltrate and spy upon protesters. But copies of e-mails obtained by protesters through the Olympia public-records request show that the Army passed intelligence about demonstrators to local law-enforcement agencies that are part of the Fusion Center operation, and attorney Hildes says his research indicates the intel passed through the Center's network.

For example, Tacoma and Pierce County law-enforcement officials—whose agencies are part of the Center's nine regional intelligence systems—received messages in March 2007 from Tom Rudd, Towery's boss at the Fort Lewis Force Protection Center. The heavily redacted documents include instant messages about protesters moving toward a Port of Tacoma demonstration ("You have some of the more aggressive protesters involved, which means Anarchists and SDS folks to say the least," reads one).

Towery is among the e-mail recipients; he also apparently was passing along info, perhaps from the scene. "Per Towery," says another e-mail whose sender's name is blacked out but whose recipients included Rudd, Tacoma intelligence officers, and the Coast Guard, "pro-war counter protesters enroute to POT [Port of Tacoma]. Numbers unknown."

The Olympian newspaper last year obtained additional e-mails from the City of Olympia (also part of the Fusion Center regional network) that confirm Towery and Olympia police were sent a "threat assessment" by Fort Lewis' Force Protection unit, outlining demonstrators' plans for a November 2007 protest and how it could be countered.

"As of 900 [9 a.m.], 14 Nov.," one e-mail reads, "protesters continue surveillance of the port and appear to be focused on determining rail movement plans. Protesters are comprised of two main groups; the Olympia Port Militarization (PMR) and the self-described anarchists calling themselves the Port Liberation Front (PLF), and various other groups, and individuals who align themselves with these groups or take individual actions based on their beliefs."

The Army seemed to know a lot about the protest plans. If demonstrators launch their blockade, the e-mail said, "tactics will continue to include the use of makeshift barricades, 'sleeping dragons' (chains protected by plastic pipes), and more decentralized staging at intersections along viable routes from port to I-5."

To Hildes and the ACLU, that e-mail indicates that the Army, likely relying on the intelligence of its double agent, was directly involved in local law-enforcement activities in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. What's more, "Unless there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity," says Randy Tyler of the Seattle ACLU office, such spying "violates the protesters' First Amendment rights."

It has happened before, Tyler notes. In 2005, NBC News reported that the Pentagon had added the names of antiwar protesters to a database of suspected terrorists; the Pentagon called it a "mistake" and apologized. In 2007, an ACLU study showed that the Pentagon had monitored at least 186 anti-military protests in the United States in recent years and had collected extensive information on Americans in a terrorist database. The Bush administration was justifying the "unchecked surveillance" as a national security measure, the ACLU said.

Tyler says the ACLU has now launched a study of government surveillance in Washington state, intending to determine the extent of information-sharing among law-enforcement agencies, the federal government, the private sector, and the military.

The spying wasn't merely a local op, as the document dump from Olympia shows. Police and military agencies across the nation wanted to know about the protesters.

In a 2008 e-mail to an Olympia police officer, Thomas Glapion, Chief of Investigations and Intelligence at New Jersey's McGuire Air Force Base, wrote: "You are now part of my Intel network. I'm still looking at possible protests by the PMR SDS MDS and other left wing anti war groups so any Intel you have would be appreciated...In return if you need anything from the Armed Forces I will try to help you as well."

Also in 2008, Andrew Pecher of the U.S. Capitol Police Intelligence Investigations Section in Washington, D.C., wrote to Olympia police for "any information that you have" on a conference of antiwar protesters held at Evergreen.

Fort Lewis' tactics in combating protests have apparently inspired the rest of the Army to follow the base's lead. A confidential 60-page 2009 manual from the Army Military Police School, posted online by Wikileaks, appears to guide operatives around the Posse Comitatus Act. As a kind of hybrid military/police operation, the Army's Force Protection units can gather "institutional knowledge of threat, physical and social environs, as well as [maintain] long-term relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies," the manual states.

As an example, the manual cites a scenario that seemed to come right from the Olympia protest, describing the movement of 300 Stryker Brigade vehicles across eight law-enforcement jurisdictions. "The fusion cell [the intel unit of the Force Protection operation] coordinated police information, intelligence and civilian security with over 22 local, federal, and DoD agencies...The coordinated effort gave law enforcement agencies the knowledge to identify and prevent disruptive actions by violent protesters. The operation was considered by Corps leadership to be a watershed event..."

There's no mention that the intel for such a move might have come from a double agent the Fort had placed behind enemy lines. But Hildes thinks the manual confirms some of his suspicions about how deeply involved the Army was with law enforcement. It was such intelligence, he adds, that led to the bizarre arrest of some demonstrators for "future crimes."

In 2007, 41 protesters, mostly women, were gathering and planning a protest on the roadside near a military staging area when they were busted by Olympia police. Police, assuming the group was going to block the convoy, moved in, arrested them all, and bused them to jail for "attempted" disorderly conduct. Hildes and the ACLU filed suit this year against the Army and the City of Olympia for allegedly violating their civil rights. (A similar lawsuit against Tacoma police was filed last September.) Hildes thinks the women were prematurely arrested because Towery had told police what they'd planned to do—peacefully block and protest the war convoy. The Army and police mission was undertaken, says Hildes, because the agencies "did not like the content of the speech involved."

Of course, government agencies routinely investigate and share info about potential terror threats, Hildes allows. But, he argues, the Olympia and Tacoma demonstrators have an established record of nonviolent protests. "When you consider how many agencies are involved in watching and infiltrating—federal, state, county, local—you have more spies than organizers," he says. He hopes to determine the true extent of that involvement by convincing the court to order the agencies and the military to reveal more background documents in the latest civil suit, in which Towery is also a defendant.

It was just such a request that apparently prompted a conclusion to the Chinn case.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle—which was not party to the suit—stepped in late last year and claimed local police and military documents were secret. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kipnis told the federal court that "at least some of the disputed records contain 'Sensitive Security Information'" and their release is restricted. Which records those were, however, had not yet been decided, added Kipnis. But, he said, "We will certainly advise the court immediately when a decision has been reached."

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan didn't intend to wait, however. He ordered the police agencies to produce the records requested by Hildes, and told Kipnis the U.S. might have to do the same "in the interest of justice." Settlement talks quickly began.

Last week, Chinn was still awaiting his check. But he will eventually walk away with about $170,000, before taxes. Still, who won? Though the Grays Harbor charges were dropped, Chinn has a DUI arrest etched on his state driving record. He hopes that won't come up as he continues to look for a job around Olympia, after graduating last year from Evergreen. He's also less active in the protests, which have shifted back to the Port of Tacoma, where turnouts have fallen off.

Tacoma police have been more successful in cordoning off the area, keeping demonstrators at bay. "It's difficult," says Chinn, "to have a protest anymore."


Ed Jewett
06-10-2010, 12:06 AM
Thanks, Austin. COINTELPRO is alive and well... hope and change renewed. :secruity:

Peter Lemkin
02-25-2014, 07:29 PM
More details have come to light showing how the U.S. military infiltrated and spied on a community of antiwar activists in the state of Washington. Democracy Now! first broke this story in 2009 when it was revealed that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance was actually an informant for the U.S. military. The man everyone knew as "John Jacob" was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent from Towery using his military account to the FBI, as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane. He wrote, "I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro." Meanwhile, evidence has also emerged that the Army informant attempted to entrap at least one peace activist, Glenn Crespo, by attempting to persuade him to purchase guns and learn to shoot. We speak to Crespo and his attorney Larry Hildes, who represents all the activists in the case.

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: More details have come to light showing the U.S. military infiltrated and spied on a community of antiwar activists in the state of Washington and beyond. Democracy Now! first broke the story in 2009 (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broadcast_exclusive_declassified_docs_reveal_milit ary) that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance was actually an informant for the U.S. military. At the time, Port Militarization Resistance was staging nonviolent actions to stop military shipments bound for Iraq and Afghanistan. The man everyone knew as "John Jacob" was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. The antiwar activist Brendan Maslauskas Dunn helped expose John Towery’s true identity as a military spy. In 2009, Dunn spoke on Democracy Now!

BRENDAN MASLAUSKAS DUNN: After it was confirmed that he was in fact John Towery, I knew he wouldn’t call me, so I called him up the day after. This was this past Thursday. And I called him up; I said, "John, you know, what’s the deal? Is this true?" And he told me; he said, "Yes, it is true, but there’s a lot more to this story than what was publicized." So he wanted to meet with me and another anarchist in person to further discuss what happened and what his role was.

So, when I met him, he admitted to several things. He admitted that, yes, he did in fact spy on us. He did in fact infiltrate us. He admitted that he did pass on information to an intelligence network, which, as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies, ranging from municipal to county to state to regional, and several federal agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Homeland Security, the Army in Fort Lewis.

So he admitted to other things, too. He admitted that the police had placed a camera, surveillance camera, across the street from a community center in Tacoma that anarchists ran called the Pitch Pipe Infoshop. He admitted that there were police that did put a camera up there to spy on anarchists, on activists going there.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Brendan Maslauskas Dunn speaking in 2009 on Democracy Now! He’s now a plaintiff in a lawsuit against John Towery, the military and other law enforcement agencies.
Since 2009, there have been numerous developments in the case. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent by Towery using his military account. It was sent to the FBI as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, in Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane, Washington. He wrote, quote, "I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro." Towery also cites "zines and pamphlets," and a "comprehensive web list" as source material, but cautions the officials on file sharing becase, quote, "it might tip off groups that we are studying their techniques, tactics and procedures," he wrote. The subject of the email was "Anarchist Information."
Meanwhile, evidence has also emerged that the Army informant may have attempted to entrap at least one of the peace activists by attempting to persuade him to purchase guns and learn to shoot.
We’re joined now by two guests. Glenn Crespo is a community organizer in the Bay Area who used to live in Washington state, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the military and other agencies. He’s joining us from Berkeley. And with us in Seattle, Washington, longtime attorney Larry Hildes, who represents the activists in the case.
The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office declined to join us on the program, saying, quote, "Because this case is still in litigation we are unable to provide comment."
Let’s go first to Washington state, to Larry Hildes. Can you talk about the latest developments in this case, and what has just come out?
LARRY HILDES: Sure. Good morning, Amy. It’s interesting. What came out did not come out from this case. It came out from a Public Records Act request from a different client of ours who was arrested in an anti-police-brutality march and falsely charged with assaulting an officer, that the civil case is coming to trial in a couple weeks. He put in a Public Records Act request because he was active with PMR and was concerned that he had been targeted, and he was then subject to a number of citations and arrests.
And, yeah, the Army’s investigative reports claimed that, well, there may have been some rules broken, but Towery was doing this off the job in his off-hours, unpaid, for the sheriff—for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the fusion center. Here he is at his desk, 10:00 in the morning, using his military ID, his military email address, and identifying himself by his military titles, writing the law enforcement agencies all over the country about forming this mini-group to target and research anarchists and leftists, and it’s coming out of what’s called the DT Conference that the State Patrol was hosting here in Washington, Domestic Terrorism Conference. They created a book for this conference based on information largely from Towery that included Brendan Dunn and one of our other plaintiffs, Jeff Berryhill, and two other activists with PMR, listed them as domestic terrorists and a violent threat because of their—basically, because they were targeted by Towery and because of their activism and their arrests for civil disobedience. So, he’s taking something he created, labeling these people as terrorists, going to a conference with this information, and saying, "We should disseminate this and work on this more broadly."
It also puts the lie to Towery’s claim and his supervisor Tom Rudd’s claim that Towery was simply working to protect troop movements from—between Fort Lewis and the public ports of Stryker vehicles going to the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re not shipping out of L.A. They’re not shipping out of Portland or Eugene. And they’re not—none of these are agencies that are directly involved in protecting military shipments from Fort Lewis. So it’s clear there’s a much larger agenda here.
And we’ve seen that in some other ways. There are extensive notes that we’ve received of Towery’s spying on a conference of the Evergreen State College in Olympia about tactics for the protests at the DNC in Denver in '08, Republican—Democratic National Convention, and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in ’08, and who was going to do what, the red, yellow and green zones, and specifically what was going to happen on the Monday of the convention. And it was the RNC Welcome Committee, which then got raided and became the RNC 8—claimed that they were planning acts of terrorism, which were in reality acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. So this goes way beyond Fort Lewis and PMR, and there's a full—there seems to be a much larger agenda, as we’ve seen in other places, of nonviolent activism equals terrorism equals anarchism equals justification for whatever spying or law enforcement action we want to take.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to—
LARRY HILDES: And obviously this is not—sorry, go ahead, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to read from your lawsuit. You write, quote, "In addition to the Army, Coast Guard, and Olympia Police Department, the following agencies are known to have spied on, infiltrated, or otherwise monitored the activities of PMR and/or related or associated activists: Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Ft. Lewis Police Department, 504th Military Police Division, Aberdeen Police Department, The Evergreen State College Police Department, the Lacey Police Department, the [Tumwater] Police Department, the Seattle Police Department, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Protective Service, other Divisions of the Department of Homeland Security, Naval Investigative Services, Air Force Intelligence (which has created a special PMR SDS taskforce at McGwire Air Force Base in New Jersey), The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Seattle Joint Terrorism Taskforce, as well as the previously discussed civilian employees of the City of Olympia. This list is likely incomplete," you write. That is a very extensive list, Larry Hildes.
LARRY HILDES: It is. And it turns out it is incomplete. And those were all agencies that we had documents obtained from Public Records Act requests showing that they were directly involved. So now we’re finding out there’s more agencies. The Evergreen State College was giving regular reports to the State Patrol, to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and to Towery and Rudd about activities of SDS on campus at Evergreen. And there’s an extensive discussion about the conference about the DNC and RNC protests and that the chief of police is the source for the information. But, yeah, now we’ve got L.A. This gets bizarre. And we received 9,440 pages of sealed documents from the Army as a Christmas present on December 21st that—that I can’t even talk about, because they insisted that everything was privileged. It was supposed to be privileged as to private information and security information, but it’s everything, all kinds of emails. So, yeah, I mean, it starts out sounding very encompassing, and we’re finding out we were conservative about what agencies were involved.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Glenn Crespo into this conversation, a Bay Area community organizer. You were the peace activist who John Towery, you say, attempted to persuade you to purchase guns, to learn to shoot. How did you meet him, and what happened when he tried to get you to do this?
GLENN CRESPO: Well, this kind of relationship spanned over a two-, maybe two-and-a-half-year period of time. I first met him at a weapons symposium demonstration in Tacoma, Washington, in downtown Tacoma. I didn’t introduce myself to him at that point, but I saw him there. He came out—he actually came out of the symposium, and this was a conference where Lockheed Martin and all these other weapons manufacturers and distributors were showing their wares. He came out of that, and it appeared to me as if other activists in Olympia had already become friends with them. He was very friendly with them, they were very friendly with him. That was the first time I saw him. That was in mid-2007. Not long after that, he organized a Tacoma PMR meeting, and I wasn’t really involved—
AMY GOODMAN: Port Militarization Resistance.
GLENN CRESPO: Yeah, exactly. And I wasn’t very involved in that, but I did get the mass email. So I figured, because I lived in Tacoma, I might as well go check it out. He was the first person there. I was the second person there. He introduced himself. I introduced myself. And he asked me about a poster that he had made regarding an upcoming demonstration, and he said he was going to bring it to the group and see if we could get consensus on whether or not it was OK if he put it up. And I told him that—I looked at the poster and said, you know, "This is pretty general." There’s no particular reason I really think that he has to get consensus on whether or not he can put a poster up that’s kind of basically just time and place and description of the event. And that was the first time I met him.
He later on used that conversation as a way to boost our rapport between each other, when he said that he thought that that conversation was really profound to him, that he believed that it was interesting that I kind of wanted to—or suggested that he bypass some sort of consensus process regarding this poster, so that he can just do—you know, that he could do what he wants. You know, he could put the poster up if he wants to. That was very interesting. I realized that in retrospect, that that was a way that he tried to broaden or expand upon our friendship in the beginning.
AMY GOODMAN: And then, where did the guns come in?
GLENN CRESPO: Probably within the six to seven months after meeting him, so late—late 2007. He had started coming to events at the house I was living at in Tacoma. We were doing—we did a lending library. And we were doing a lot of organizing regarding the Tacoma Immigration and Customs detention center, so the ICE detention center. He would go to those meetings. He would come over for potlucks. So both public and private events, he kind of worked his way in as a friend.
He produced handgun to me in our kitchen, just between he and I. He carried it in his side pocket. He said he always carried a handgun on him. And he emptied it. He put the magazine out. He cleared the chamber, and he handed it to me. And he said he always carries one on him. And that, that was the first time he really talked about guns with me. And I was caught off guard, because at the time I was in my early twenties. I had never held a—I don’t even think I had seen a handgun, really, like that before. And that was kind of the beginning of him starting to talk more about guns. And he said—he had said that if we ever wanted to go shooting, being me and my friends, or myself in particular, that he would take us shooting, or, you know, he knows where all the gun shows are at, so we could go to gun shows if—you know, if we’re interested. And then, later on, these things did happen, when he prompted myself and others to go to the Puyallup Gun Show and purchase—purchase a rifle. And then, that went into going to shooting ranges that he was already a member of. He would drive us to all of these things, take us to these shooting ranges.
And this seemed fairly innocuous to me, in the beginning. I mean, Washington is a pretty gun-owner-friendly state. It didn’t—it didn’t really surprise me, because he wasn’t saying anything crazy or really implying anything crazy at that point. But about a year into that, there was a significant shift in his personality. Whereas in the beginning he was very optimistic and very—seemed very hopeful and kind of seemed lonely—I mean, he was, you know, in his early forties, early to mid-forties. He primarily surrounding himself with people who were in their early twenties. And he just came off as if he was kind of a sweet, harmless guy and was kind of lonely and wanted to hang out with people that he felt like he had something in common with, as far as his ideas went. But like I said, into a year into that relationship, he started to become a little bit more sinister and dark in his demeanor, in his—the things he would talk about.
And this continued to go into him giving myself and another friend a set of documents that were military strategy documents, and he said that he—he suggested that "we," whatever that meant, use those documents in "our actions." And these were documents on how to properly execute military operations. And then, following that, he showed people at my house, including myself, how to clear a building with a firearm. And these things were prompted by him. He would basically say, "Hey, do you—you know, check this out. Look, I could explain this stuff." And he would just go into it, on how to, for example, in this case, clear a building with a firearm. So he had a mock—you know, he would hold a rifle up, or a make-believe rifle, and clear—stalk around the lower levels of our house and up the stairwell, all the way up the second stairwell into the attic, and the whole time talking about how he would—you know, how he was clearing corners and checking angles and all this stuff that nobody particularly had any interest in.
And around the same time, he had, you know, conversations with me about how he believed that anarchists were very similar to fascists, in a—almost in a positive light, where he was saying that they both don’t care about the law and don’t use the law to get what they need or what they want, and that he believed that the only way anarchism or anarchy would ever work, in his words, would be if five billion people died. So this is kind of in his—in the midst of his weird, sinister behavior that started to happen, that I thought that he was depressed. I thought that he was basically going through some sort of like maybe existential crisis, or maybe he was fed up with things. I wasn’t really sure. He always talked about him having issues at the house—at his home. He had implied that his wife was concerned that he was cheating on her, and that’s why we could never go to his house, because his wife didn’t like us, his other friends, or whatever.
He submitted an article in the same—like the last—you know, that last half of the time that I knew him as a friend. He submitted an article to a magazine that I was editor of in early 2009, that was written from the perspective of 9/11 hijackers. And I remember this very specifically, because he gave me a copy, a physical copy, when we were on our way to go get coffee. And I remember reading it, and probably about a quarter of the way through realizing I didn’t even feel comfortable touching it, like touching the physical document with my hands. It was the weirdest thing in the world, because it was kind of—it was basically implying—or seeming sympathetic with the 9/11 hijackers. And he wanted me to publish this in his—in the next issue of the magazine I was editor of. So I just—I actually—because he was being so forceful, I just didn’t do the magazine again. That first issue was the last issue. And once he submitted that paper, I didn’t publish it ever again.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask your lawyer, Larry Hildes, is this entrapment, I mean, when you’re talking about this whole progression that Glenn Crespo went through with the man he thought was named John Jacob, who in fact is John Towery, working at Fort Lewis? He’s military personnel.
LARRY HILDES: I think, absolutely, it was an attempted entrapment. He went step by step. He misjudged our folks. He thought our—he correctly saw that our folks were angry and upset about what was going on, but misjudged them. It feels like we could have ended up with a Cleveland Five or an 803 situation very easily, if he had had his way. Fortunately, our folks’ reaction was: "This is really weird and creepy. Get away from me." And it speaks to how little he understood the nature of the antiwar movement and how little he understood people’s actual commitment to nonviolent action, to not seeing the troops themselves as the enemies—
LARRY HILDES: —but seeing the war—yeah, I’m—yeah, go ahead.
AMY GOODMAN: Larry Hildes, we don’t have much time, but I just want to ask about Posse Comitatus and the laws that separate the military—I mean, they’re not supposed to be marching through the streets of the United States.
LARRY HILDES: Yeah, right.
AMY GOODMAN: What about this issue of investigating? And how far and extensive is this infiltration campaign, where you put in people, they change their names, and they try to entrap or they change the nature of what these actions are?
LARRY HILDES: I think they crossed the line. They claim they’re allowed to do some level of investigative work to protect military activities, military shipments. But entrapping people—attempting to entrap people into conspiracies where they can get charged with major felonies they had no intention of committing, dealing with law enforcement agencies around the country to keep tabs on activists, following them to protests in Denver and St. Paul that have absolutely nothing to do with military shipments, they crossed the line into law enforcement, into civilian law enforcement.
And they did so quite knowingly and deliberately, and created this cover story that Towery was working for the fusion center, reporting to the sheriff’s office, not doing this during his work time, because they were well aware—in fact, he got paid overtime for attending the RNC, DNC conference at Evergreen, by the Army. So the Army was expressly paying him to monitor, disrupt and destroy these folks’ activism and their lives. I mean, we had—at one point, Brendan Dunn had four cases at the same time in four counties, because they kept stopping him. Seven times he got arrested or cited; Jeff Berryhill several times; Glenn Crespo. People would get busted over and over and over. Towery was attending their personal parties, their birthday parties, their going-away parties, and taking these vicious notes and passing them on about how to undermine these folks, how to undermine their activities, how to destroy their lives. This is way into Posse Comitatus. This is way beyond any legitimate military role.
And it’s exactly why Posse Comitatus exists. The job of the military, as they see it, is to seek out the enemy and destroy them, neutralize them. When the enemy is nonviolent dissenters and the First Amendment becomes the enemy, as Chris Pyle, our expert, who was the investigator for the Church Committee, put it—the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment are an inconvenience to the Army; they ignore them; they’re not sworn to uphold them in the same way—it becomes a very dangerous situation. And yes, they are way over into illegal conduct. They’re into entrapment operations. They’re into trying to silence dissent against them, and apparently much larger. This case just keeps getting bigger as we go. And we’re set for trial, I should say, on June 2nd—

Magda Hassan
03-01-2014, 12:48 AM

Peter Lemkin
03-01-2014, 09:35 AM

Pretty sad, isn't it - Peace, Freedom, Democracy, Privacy the biggest threats to the US Government and Military. So, by logical deduction they stand for: War/violence; a Freedomless Police-State of fearful compliant zombies; Plutocracy and anti-democracy; unlimited eavesdropping on everything we do, say, know, who we know - etc. Fascism hardly begins to capture it....we've entered new territory in the world of tyranny.