Nov. 28, 2006 – More evidence emerged last week showing that the Pentagon has used counterterrorism resources to spy on peace activists.
As previously reported by The NewStandard, the military has been cataloging nonviolent anti-war protests through its terrorism-watch database, Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON). The Pentagon says the database is meant to track potential terrorism threats.
The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents through a lawsuit filed in June, after the Pentagon ignored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request initiated in February. The ACLU made the FOIA request to follow up on repeated reports that the Department of Defense was monitoring protest activities and anti-war organizations.
The newly released TALON reports reveal the Pentagon has been monitoring groups that planned demonstrations against military recruitment.
In a November 2004 TALON document, "a federal law enforcement agency" reported that Veterans for Peace was planning to protest at the Sacramento Military Entrance Processing Station. The report said Homeland Security agents had been notified, and it warned that while the protest was likely to be peaceful, "some type of vandalism is always a possibility."
According to a news report about the event, also included in the TALON database, the veterans group read the names of 18 soldiers who had been recruited through the Sacramento station and later died in Iraq.
In February 2005, a "special agent" with the Department of Homeland Security reported that the War Resisters League, along with Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice, and other groups, were planning civil disobedience and other protests at recruiting stations in various cities to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.
The report warned that several marches would culminate with civil disobedience and that other protesters would "leaflet, hold banners and coffins, and talk to people."
Additionally, the report included a "church service for peace" as a planned action.
The two other new TALON reports, both from April 2005, notified the Pentagon that Veterans for Peace was planning anti-war actions on college campuses.
The ACLU is calling on Congress to investigate the surveillance of political and religious groups.