Documents confirm US military spying on antiwar groups [World Socialist Website]

By Patrick Martin
1 March 2014

Newly released documents confirm that the US Army was the prime mover of the surveillance and infiltration of antiwar groups on the West Coast. The documents shed light on the circumstances surrounding a protracted lawsuit against federal government spying on antiwar activists.

The lawsuit, Panagacos v. Towery, was filed in 2010 by Julianne Panagacos and six other antiwar activists against a government spy, John Towery, who infiltrated at least four different organizations in the Puget Sound, Washington area: Port Militarization Resistance, Students for a Democratic Society, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Towery was identified in 2009 as the man who, under the pseudonym John Jacob, became active in all these groups. He supplied information to the Washington State Fusion Center, which links federal state and local police agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Until now, however, Towery had always denied that he was acting at the behest of the US military, even though he was a member of the Force Protection Service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a huge military base in Tacoma, Washington. Domestic spying by the armed forces is illegal under the Posse Comitatus law and has been officially banned—while continuing in secret—since the exposure of Pentagon spying on the 1960s movement against the Vietnam War.

The new documents came to light as the result of a Public Records Act request in a separate case, involving a member of Port Militarization Resistance who was framed up on charges of assaulting a policeman during an antiwar march.

One of the newly released documents is a 2007 email from Towery, using his military account, to the FBI and police departments in Everett and Spokane, Washington, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Los Angeles. He proposes that they form a cross-agency group for intelligence sharing on “leftist/anarchist” activists.

Larry Hildes, the National Lawyers Guild attorney who filed the lawsuit, said in a press statement issued February 24, “The latest revelations show how the Army not only engaged in illegal spying on political dissidents, it led the charge and tried to expand the counterintelligence network targeting leftists and anarchists. By targeting activists without probable cause, based on their ideology and the perceived political threat they represent, the Army clearly broke the law and must be held accountable.”

Full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/01/anti-m01.html

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