By Brenda Norrell
After the Denver police spy files were revealed in 2002, my friends, the spied upon, said, "It isn't just happening in Denver. It is happening all over the United States."
In Denver, the secret police spy files became public through attorney discovery in a local court case. The spy files did not become public because of the integrity of the Denver Police Intelligence Division. Those secret police spy files included cases that went back 30 years. Of course all of the American Indian activists names were there, the usual suspects working for peace and justice. But there were surprises in the list of 3,200 individuals and 208 organizations.
Denver police spied on an 80-year-old grandmother because she had a "Leonard Peltier" bumper sticker on her car.
Denver police also spied on American Indian attorneys at the Native American Rights Fund and a senator who worked for Native American rights. South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk, who once headed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, was spied on. Abourezk obtained a copy of his spy file and said he still didn't have a clue why he was targeted. Abourezk said he hadn't been in Denver in 15 years. The Abourezk spy file just said the Denver police were watching him.
Anyone helping Navajos at Big Mountain or Zapatistas in Chiapas in Denver was under Denver police surveillance.
The Quakers, it turned out, were among the most spied on in the US, revealing the insanity of US police probes of the peace-seeking.
In the end, after a lawsuit was filed against the Denver Police Department by American Indians, the ACLU and others, the spied-upon could go and retrieve their spy files in Denver. However, this required updating Denver police records with current IDs and personal information, so many passed.
Now, years later, spy files are worming their way out of police file cabinets everywhere, like maggots in wait, feeding on the dark and decaying fecal matter of failed trust.
American Indians were a primary target of the Denver police. In retrospect, it appears Denver activists were a sort of pilot project for extensive domestic spying because of the large network of multi-agency task forces in Colorado and secret US military operations in Colorado Springs.
Elsewhere in the United States, groups of peace activists opposed to the Iraq war and organizations working against the death penalty were targets. Their meetings were infiltrated by liars and deceivers. In Maryland, peaceful climate change activists were listed as "suspected terrorists." Code Pink women who never came to Maryland were tracked in spy files by Maryland State Police.
Now, it is revealed that one million Americans are on the US watch list. One million Americans are being spied on. How can any government provide manpower to spy on one million people?
One of the ways that the US spies on 1 million citizens is to place secret spy rooms at telephone companies, including Verizon and AT&T, as revealed in the book, The Shadow Factory. The US subcontracted Israeli companies to data mine the operations, so now Israeli companies have sensitive information on most Americans. Still there was so much information from recording everyone's phone calls and e-mails, it was often ineffective. Those plotting the 9/11 attack were within two miles of the NSA. Although the NSA was listening, probably even eating at the same cafes, the US agents said they did not know the 9/11 plotters were in the neighborhood.
The CIA has a new strategy: Advertising for CIA spies in American Indian newspapers.
In reality, this means that those Native American newspapers are now funded by the CIA. Advertisements for the CIA Clandestine Services have appeared now for months on the websites of Indian Country Today and Native American Times, even on the same webpages with articles about American Indians struggling against this same oppression.
Mohawk Nation News states that spies for foreign nations forfeit their birthright. The US and Canada are foreign governments.
"Espionage is a violation of the Kaianerehkowa, the Great Law, our constitution. A spy breaking their own nation's laws can be imprisoned. Wampum 58 provides that, 'any persons who submit to laws of a foreign people are alienated and forfeit their birthright and claims of the Rotino'shonni:onwe and territory,'" Mohawk Nation News states.
During the Earth First! trial in Prescott, Arizona in 1991, a particularly sleazy informant was on the witness stand, one of many who revealed a trail of FBI misconduct. Of course, that revelation of FBI misconduct did not prevent the majority of the five defendants from going to prison. The FBI even had to drive the monkey wrenchers to their so-called crime because they didn't have a ride.
The sleazy informant was a former boyfriend of one of the defendants. He was placed back in her home as a babysitter to be an informant. He bugged his former girlfriend's bedroom with a listening device. When the federal prosecutor was asked why she placed this sleazy informant on the witness stand, her response was, "Everyone knows that informants are always sleazy."
As a news reporter covering the Earth First! trial as a stringer for AP, this was the first of many revelations in federal court for me, including the fact that the federal prosecutors and the federal judges are on the same team. This trial also opened a window into the corrupt world of US spying and how federal agents coax people into what appears to be a crime.
The question remains, "Who is the criminal now?"
ACLU, July 2008: Watch list hits 1 million
Israeli firms listen to your cell phone calls
More on the Israeli telephone spy subcontractors:
AT&T whistleblower exposes network monitoring room
Tacoma, Wash., police spy files; police shared files with private prison contractor GEO (formerly Wackenhut)
Brandon Darby, exposes himself as federal informant in Katrina aid at Common Grounds and RNC, New York Times
Obama says Freedom of Information Act is back in 2009:
ACLU: Denver police spy files
FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force
Spy Files documents indicating that the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force is tracking peaceful protesters. Spy Files Documents relating to the Multi-Agency Group Intelligence Conference (MAGIC). http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/samplefiles.htm
Maryland State Police spied on activists