Deborah Dupre

January 11, 2012

http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/fbi-spies-on-prisoner-advocates

Spying, mass surveillance and data collection leave no peaceful human or Earth rights defender behind according to new Freedom Of Information documents.

As Iran condemns to death an alleged CIA spy, possibly due to his link to a video game called “Assault on Iran,” Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by a rights group this week reveal that the FBI, in Cointelpro and Phoenix Program modus operandi, is listing and possibly investigating and targeting innocent peopleof goodwill who write to eco-prisoners being tortured in the U.S. prison-industrial-complex. The rights group is urging the public to take a stand for First Amendment human rights and urging prisoner advocates to not allow fear of being spied on prevent them from their humanitarian work.

“For years people have been speculating that writing political prisoners would result in a person being ‘put on a list.’ Unfortunately, it seems that those speculations were not unfounded,” stated North American Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network after obtaining FOIA documents this week.

The Network had filed FOIA to learn about Eric McDavid who was arrested (with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner) on January 13, 2006, as part of the government’s ongoing Green Scare campaign it says. After entrapment, all three were charged with “Conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive.”

[McDavid’s] arrest was the direct result of a government informant – known only as “Anna,” who spent a year and a half drawing him in and working with the FBI to fabricate a crime and implicate Eric in it, explains the advocacy group.

According to Walsh, Denny Walsh in his 2007 article, “Leader or led by the FBI?”. The Sacramento Bee (The McClatchy Company), “Anna” encouraged the activities of the three young people and provided them with bomb-making information, money to buy the raw materials, transportation and a cabin to work in, and produced consensual audio and video recordings of their activities.

According to “Anna,” McDavid threatened to kill her if he found she was working for the government. Anna was paid over $65,000 for her work with the FBI.

“Eric was imprisoned for what amounts to thought-crime – no actions were ever carried out, and Eric was charged with a single count of ‘conspiracy,’ a powerful legal tool often used by the state to crush dissent,” asserts the Prisoners Network.

The North American Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network filed FOIA to learn about “We will not allow the FBI to stop us from writing those who have given so much for the Earth. Don’t let them stop you either,” responded one of many prisoner advocate groups, Deep Green Resistance Massachusetts, in a written statement this week.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states on its “Spy Files” web page, “The erosion of reasonable restrictions on government’s power to collect people’s personal information is putting the privacy and free speech rights of all Americans at risk.”

(Watch the YouTube on this page left the Global Report about spying on innocent human rights, animal rights and other peace workers)

American spies and spying are not taken lightly by other countries. Iran has just convicted Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a former Marine from Flint, Mich. now on death row in an Iranian prison for allegedly spying for the C.I.A.

Hekmati is connected to a computer game that officials say “was to convince the people of the world and Iraq that what the U.S. does in Iraq and other countries is good and acceptable.”

Prisoner advocates call for increased advocate courage despite being spied on

On the domestic front, after receiving FOIA documents about political prisoners and secret spying on their contacts, the North American Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network stated, “We are not sharing this information to raise alarm or spread fear. We have every intention of continuing to write political prisoners, and we urge others to do the same.
 
“That said, we hope to expose the FBI’s politically motivated investigations and, unlike the FBI, we believe people have a right to know when they have been spied on.
 
 
“This kind of government intrusion could cause the ‘chilling effect’ so often thrown about in conversations about 1st amendment activities. But when we give in to those fears, political prisoners are the ones who suffer. And this is exactly what the government wants.”
 
In its statement, the North American Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network reminds the reader that Cointelpro of yesteryear is active today, with implications for all peaceful human and Earth rights defenders.
 
“The state is constantly trying to expand its reach by gathering information about social movements and those who participate in them.”
 
“Instead of letting this new information scare us into silence, we should use it to make informed decisions about how we support and prioritize political prisoners. “This kind of repression has implications for more than just people involved in ‘activism.’
 
“Millions of people are incarcerated in this country.
 
“It is possible that the government uses similar tactics to investigate other communities that they actively repress,” the prisoner support group stated. (Emphasis added)
 
In the article, “‘State Secret’: Persecute innocent Targeted Individuals, 8000 watch-listed,” this author reported that heavily redacted F.B.I. documents obtained by the human rights group, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) show 8000 American targeted individuals are being secretly persecuted because their names are on a strictly confidential government watch list, including people who never committed a crime.”
“Targeted Individuals on the watch list can be kept off of planes and be ‘subjected to delays and greater security at airports, border crossings and traffic stops.”
“Writing our friends, family members and comrades should not be a justified excuse for investigation – no matter who our friends are,” says Prisoners Support Network.
 
Nevertheless, people throughout the nation report being targeted and thus experiencing ongoing persecution: spying that many call “multi-stalking” or gang-stalking,” unforced house entries, mail tampering plus some allege being targeted with directed energy weapons assaults including shocks, stings, burning, nausea and disorientation.
 
A notice issued December 21, 2010 to field officers from “Counterterrorism” stated in capital letters: “DO NOT ADVISE THE SUBJECT THAT THEY MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST.”
 
The Prisoners Support Network says it received hundreds of pages documenting inmate Eric McDavid’s correspondence and that these letters are not just kept on file.
 
“[T]he Sacramento County Main Jail forwarded all of these letters to the Sacramento FBI field office, which then forwarded them to local field offices around the country (and to law enforcement internationally) to warn the FBI in other cities of a ‘possible environmental/animal rights extremist’ or ‘a possible anarchist extremist’ in their community.
 

ELF Destroys Ski Lodge Built on Lynx Territory, Vail Colorado, 2008

 
“Originally, the FBI’s communications included a statement that ‘Sacramento is forwarding this communication for information purposes only.’
 
“But later, they began including a much longer statement which read, in part: ‘this information has been determined to be of such a nature that some follow-up as to the possibility of criminal activity is warranted…’
 
The advocacy groups says these statements were included regardless of the content of the letter and that “often, the documents include the statement that the letter was ‘benign in nature.’”
“We are attaching three documents. The first is typical of the documents the FBI sent towards the beginning of Eric’s time at Sac County. The second is an example of what they sent to international law enforcement agencies. The final document is an example of the later version with the language about “follow up” being “warranted.”
ABC News reported in Sept. 2010 that the “FBI improperly targeted Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and two antiwar groups in domestic terrorism investigations between 2001 and 2006″ according to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice.

“The IG found there was ‘little or no basis’ for the terror investigations, and that they were ‘unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy.’

“At least two of the investigations resulted in innocent people being placed on the domestic terror watch list for years, and one resulted in FBI Director Robert Mueller providing Congress with ‘inaccurate and misleading information,’ according to the report.”

Motive for the baseless persecution of progressives is provided by independent researcher Marshall Thomas, who has documented the history of today’s Phoenix Program and its computerized database program and persecuting innocent people in his documentary, “Monarch, the New Phoenix Program.”
 
In the article, “Shocking state secrets: Patriot ACT illegal spy domestic terror campaign, the author detailed how the new Phoenix Program has secretly escalated since September 11, 2001.
 
Two years ago, to expose names and halt the illegal spying on innocent people, a nation-wide effort called Expose and Expunge was initiated by the public interest legal organization, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).
 
“Some of these illegal spying programs were suspended and yet the government maintains the illegally collected data. These databases should be expunged,” PCJF asserted in a statement to President Barack Obama. “We also oppose the continuation of other programs initiated during the Bush era which continue on in wholesale data collection and mass surveillance, unchecked and unabated.
 
“For instance, federal agents, local law enforcement and U.S. military personnel, with input from private right-wing political groups, continue to collect and report surveillance data, including fabricated disinformation, to the 72 government Fusion Centers around the United States.”
 
The ACLU notes how the FBI is directly connected to multiple agencies, each of which spies on innocent people and shares that information with the click of a mouse.
“The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships.
“Fusion Centers have been found to target political, student, and religious organizations and activities,” explains PCJF.
“The people of the United States have a legal right to be free from government surveillance, the type of which was initiated by the Bush administration on an enormous scale. Using the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext, the Bush White House permitted the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA, Pentagon and other law-enforcement and military agencies to conduct unprecedented data collection against the people.

The PCJF campaign, thus far dismissed by President Obama, includes a sign-on letter with initial signers including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark plus many others representing a broad and diverse cross-section of leaders, human rights advocates, attorneys and legal scholars.

Learn more

To learn if the FBI has been collecting information on you, the website explaining how to request information under the Freedom Of Information Act is: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/press/information/topic.aspx?topic=how_to_FOIA

Navigate ACLU links below for updated information on spying conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the military, intelligence agencies, state and local police, and even private companies. Read about specific spying platforms, such as fusion centers, Joint Terrorism Task Forces and Suspicious Activity Reporting programs.

Spy Files: FBI

Spy Files: Department of Homeland Security

Spy Files: Department of Defense and NSA

Spy Files: Intelligence Agencies

Spy Files: State and Local Law Enforcement

Spy Files: Fusion Centers

Spy Files: Joint Terrorism Task Forces

Spy Files: Suspicious Activity Reporting Programs

Additional Resources

MAP: Spying on First Amendment Activity State-by-State

ACLU of Massachusetts’ log and document resources