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US Military Spied on Domestic Peace Groups

July 28, 2009

From Democracy Now:

Newly declassified documents reveal 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 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.

This took place just an hour from where I live in Seattle. According to ACLU National Security Policy Counsel Mike German this is a clear cut case of the military violating the Constitution:

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.

[Video below the fold.]

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