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.