As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raged on, and the body count of US soldiers as well as Iraqi and Afghani civilians continued to climb, I was involved in blocking military shipments in Washington State. I helped form a group called Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) in 2006 that through civil disobedience was able to slow down and reroute these shipments away from Northwest ports. What many activists did not know at the time was that there were spies in our midst.
Panagacos v Towery is a landmark civil liberties case currently in the US District Court in Tacoma, WA. It is a lawsuit that antiwar activists filed against the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and countless law enforcement agencies in 2010. It was filed after it was discovered that a fellow activist was outed as a military spy. To us he was known as our friend "John Jacob" "“ in reality he was Army intelligence agent John J Towery who worked with a Fusion Center at nearby Fort Lewis (Joint Base Lewis-McChord). Towery spied on and infiltrated our antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR).
We discovered that local law enforcement agencies, federal agencies such as DHS, FBI and ICE, and the military all worked together in Fusion Centers to monitor individuals and groups falsely deemed terrorists and a threat to national security.
Peace activists and antiwar protesters were labeled terrorists and put on watch lists.
As Panagacos v Towery inches closer to its June 2014 trial date, more and more evidence of what appears to be a national surveillance program that heavily involves the Army is surfacing. Organizations such as PMR, Students for a Democratic Society, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the labor union Industrial Workers of the World were just a few of the organizations targeted in this surveillance.
On a personal level, the spying has been emotionally difficult for me to deal with, even now. I was arrested and harassed by the police countless times, received anonymous and threatening emails, was detained at the border with Canada twice (and once threatened with time in a Canadian jail without cause), my house in Olympia was regularly spied on and targeted by the police, I was detained without reason at demonstrations, shot at and pepper sprayed by the police... the list goes on! At one point I was in four different court cases in four different counties for false and unjust charges all connected to this spying.
The Army tried to target me because I dared to take the 1st Amendment seriously, but they will not be successful in silencing me.
My co-plaintiffs and I are hoping that this case will unearth more details about how the military, federal agencies, and local law enforcement are tirelessly working to violate our constitutional rights.
We must stand up collectively to demand our rights, freedom, dignity and justice. I am hoping that you can give a small donation to help with this case move forward. As my union, the IWW has always stated, "an injury to one is an injury to all." Although this surveillance has had a very direct impact on my life, it has had just as much of an impact on yours as we are all in this together.
My family and I are asking just for my legal fees (10,000) and a nominal travel fee to help me get from my current home in New York State to Tacoma, Washington for the trial in June. Any assistance of any amount will be gratefully accepted.
In solidarity, for justice, for dignity,
Brendan Maslauskas Dunn
The story of this spying has received local, national and international media coverage. Below are just a few links with more information.
Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/25/exclusive_inside_the_army_spy_ring
Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/24/new-documents-prove-u-s-army-actively-targeted-leftist-protesters-group-says/
PressTV (which features DDF): http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/02/25/352195/us-army-spied-on-antiwar-protestors/
The Dissenter (Firedoglake): http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/02/26/lawsuit-attempted-entrapment-of-activists-by-military-officer-further-evidence-of-domestic-spying/
This case was also mentioned in the books Breaking the Sound Barrier (2009) by Amy Goodman and Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance (2013) by Heid
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