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Lawyer: Military Employee Admitted He Was Paid by Army to Attend Private Activist Meetings in Homes

John Jacob Towery

An attorney pursuing a lawsuit against alleged domestic United States military spying says during depositions in the case a civilian employee who worked for the Army admitted he was paid to attend activist meetings at private homes in the state of Washington. And a  fusion center intelligence employee, who coordinated with the military, also considered civil disobedience to be “terrorism.”

The lawsuit is known as Panagacos v. Towery. It accuses the US military of directing John Jacob Towery, who worked for the US Army Force Protection Division at Fort Lewis, to infiltrate a group called the Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) in Olympia and Tacoma, Washington. It also accuses the cities of Olympia and Tacoma of coordinating with the military to violate the First and Fourth Amendment rights of activists.

PMR organized demonstrations from 2006 to 2009 against the “use of civilian ports in Puget Sound for striker vehicles and other military cargo being shipped over to Iraq and then shipped to Pakistan or Afghanistan,” according to Larry Hildes, who is one of the National Lawyers Guild attorneys representing activists targeted by the military.

Nonviolent civil disobedience was a part of some of the demonstrations, and at one demonstration in May 2006, police used pepper spray on demonstrators.

Thomas Rudd, head of Force Protection, is accused of directing Towery to identify activists “in order to facilitate their arrest without probable cause.” Rudd apparently instructed Towery to build friendships and provide reports on what activists were planning, which Rudd could share with government agencies.

Both Towery and Rudd are accused of coordinating with local law enforcement in the state of Washington to “silence” PMR activists.

According to Hildes, Towery admitted during depositions that he had not only been paid by the Army to go to PMR meetings in private homes but was also paid to attend meetings related to actions planned for the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention in 2008.

CommunityThe Dissenter

Lawyer: Military Employee Admitted He Was Paid by Army to Attend Private Activist Meetings in Homes

John Jacob Towery

An attorney pursuing a lawsuit against alleged domestic United States military spying says during depositions in the case a civilian employee who worked for the Army admitted he was paid to attend activist meetings at private homes in the state of Washington. And a fusion center intelligence employee, who coordinated with the military, also considered civil disobedience to be “terrorism.”

The lawsuit is known as Panagacos v. Towery. It accuses the US military of directing John Jacob Towery, who worked for the US Army Force Protection Division at Fort Lewis, to infiltrate a group called the Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) in Olympia and Tacoma, Washington. It also accuses the cities of Olympia and Tacoma of coordinating with the military to violate the First and Fourth Amendment rights of activists.

PMR organized demonstrations from 2006 to 2009 against the “use of civilian ports in Puget Sound for striker vehicles and other military cargo being shipped over to Iraq and then shipped to Pakistan or Afghanistan,” according to Larry Hildes, who is one of the National Lawyers Guild attorneys representing activists targeted by the military.

Nonviolent civil disobedience was a part of some of the demonstrations, and at one demonstration in May 2006, police used pepper spray on demonstrators.

Thomas Rudd, head of Force Protection, is accused of directing Towery to identify activists “in order to facilitate their arrest without probable cause.” Rudd apparently instructed Towery to build friendships and provide reports on what activists were planning, which Rudd could share with government agencies.

Both Towery and Rudd are accused of coordinating with local law enforcement in the state of Washington to “silence” PMR activists.

According to Hildes, Towery admitted during depositions that he had not only been paid by the Army to go to PMR meetings in private homes but was also paid to attend meetings related to actions planned for the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Chris Adamson, who was the director of a regional intelligence group of the Department of Homeland Security’s Washington Fusion Center and a lieutenant of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, stated in depositions that “civil disobedience is terrorism,” according to Hildes.

He claimed to attorneys that, while he admired Martin Luther King Jr., even what the civil rights movement had done had a “criminal nexus” and “he would have expected them to be investigated as terrorists.”

Hildes said Adamson believed if activists were using up “law enforcement resources with the intent of committing any criminal act,” it was “terrorism.”

Adamson played a key role in having two of the plaintiffs in the case, Brendan Dunn and Jeffery Berryhill, listed in a database as “domestic terrorists.”

Hildes recalled that during a deposition with Colonel Lois Beard, who was one of the commanders in the 42nd Military Police Battalion, she said “of course we’re monitoring the peace movement because they’re anti-military.” They might demonstrate against us so we need to have an “operational awareness of what they are doing.”

Attorneys gave Beard multiple opportunities to change her answer, but she stuck to it. She was one of Towery’s arrest supervisors. (more…)

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."