BRANDYWINE PEACE COMMUNITY - P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA, 19081--(610)544-1818
UPDATE, 2/25/2011 click here
updated 11/17/2010 click here
Watch Brandywine's video: "WAR ON DISSENT"
Read Brandywine's report on the March 8, 1971 break-in and subsequent circulation of FBI Cointelpro spy files reproduced from the March 1972 issue of WIN magazine. (To download, right-click here. Choose "Save As" or "Save Link As" and specify your desktop as the folder for the download. Then click Save and it will start downloading. It will only take a couple of minutes.)
Brandywine Peace Community ‘tracked’ as part of PA ‘Terror Watch’ Bulletins…
Bulletins compiled by Israeli/U.S.firm under contract to the PA Department of Homeland Security ‘tracked’ activist groups across the state.
Democracy NOW - News Headline, Sept. 16, 2010
Penn. Paid Firm to Monitor Activist Groups
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has apologized following the disclosure his administration paid a private firm to monitor a number of local activist groups. The Philadelphia-based Institute of Terrorism Research and Response received $125,000 to gather material for state anti-terrorism bulletins. The bulletins included information on an anti-BP candlelight vigil, a gay and lesbian festival, and even a rally to support Rendell’s own campaign to increase spending on public education. The company also monitored opponents of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, noting their plans to attend public hearings and screen the documentary Gasland. In addition to law enforcement agencies, the "intelligence" was also passed on to private entities, including gas companies. At a news conference, Rendell apologized to the targeted groups.
Gov. Ed Rendell: "I apologize to the Marcellus Shale protesters*. I apologize to the taxpayers protesters. I apologize to the Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival. I apologize to virtually every single name that was on this list." [*www.ProtectingOurWaters.com]
Rendell says he just learned of the monitoring in the past week but has refused to fire the director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security. The company that carried out the spying, Institute of Terrorism and Research Response, has extensive ties with the Israeli government. On its website, the company bills itself as "the preeminent Israeli/American security firm." The website also touts the company’s "Israeli-style training" and says all its courses "are approved by the Israeli Ministry of Defense."
It all, ostensibly, came to light when one of the PA ‘Terror Watch’ bulletins compiled by the Institute of Terrorism and Research Response (ITTR), in a no-bid contract with the PA Department of Homeland Security, made its way to the attention of Governor Ed Rendell during a news conference. The bulletin warned of demonstrations the beginning of September 2010 around Pennsylvania, including ones organized by Anti-Fracking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing) and anti-deportation activists as well as a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Plowshares 8 action (September 9, 1980) organized by the Brandywine Peace Community and the Atlantic Life Community at the Brandywine Peace Community’s long established and ongoing target of nonviolent direct action campaign protests: Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, PA.
The bulletin listing about the Plowshares 8 celebration concluded with an “analysis” stating: Aggressive protest tactics are possible. Furthermore, as the anniversary of the Plowshares Eight "direct disarmament action" approaches, there is an increased risk of escalation in anti-nuclear and anti-war activism by other militant groups in Pennsylvania (See PIB no. 127 for additional potential targets of anti-war protesters). http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/8193/pennsylvania-intelligence-bulletin-no-131-aug-30-2010.pdf),
In the immediate wake of Governor Rendell’s news conference, TV, radio, and newspapers across the state and country began carrying the story, including Rendell’s promise not to renew the contract with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response that expires in October 2010. However, despite calls for the firing of Thomas Powers, the Governor has chosen to retain the former Green Beret colonial as director of the PA Department of Homeland Security. It was Powers who in October 2009 established the contract with the shadowy firm for “their middle-priced plan of three bulletins per week plus Monday – Friday consultations.”
Founded in 2004 by co-directors Michael Perelman, a former York, PA police commander, and Aaron Richman, a former Israeli counter-terrorism commander, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response boasts offices in Jerusalem and Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, that means a P.O. Box, and ties to Philadelphia University, where it has held seminars. One is planned for October 22.
Most of what we know now of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response is from their own website, http://www.terrorresponse.org/, that presents a very small glimpse into the post 9/11 burgeoning phenomenon of private security and surveillance firms depicted in the Washington Post’s TOP SECRET AMERICA series by Dana Priest and William Arkin. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/.
Harah!: Israeli Company Hired by State Government to Spy on Pennsylvanians
Must Reading! Dave Lindorff’s excellent article on the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response at the This Can't Be Happening blog, Mon, 20 Sept. 2010 16:48 CDT - http://www.sott.net/articles/show/215368-Harah-Israeli-Company-Hired-by-State-Government-to-Spy-on-Pennsylvanians
Democracy is at stake!
See what the bulletins say and who was ‘tracked’. Here's the link to where all the released PA ‘Terror Watch’ bulletins are posted:
Out of just thirty-three bulletins reviewed as of September 22, 2010, there were forty-one listings for the Brandywine Peace Community!
Here are just a few sample items:
“Thanksgiving Eve” Protest On 25 November 2009, from 12-1PM, peace activists are planning to congregate on the
west side of Philadelphia‟s City Hall (15th and Market Streets) – beneath the statue of
William Penn - to protest the war in Afghanistan.
The event is organized by the Brandywine Peace Community and the American Friends Service Community. Organizers have called on demonstrators to wear giant placards (“postcards”) that read: “Dear President Obama, Don‟t Send More Troops to
Afghanistan, War is Not the Answer.”
Analysts of the Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center (TAM-C) note that this “Human Postcards” event is a forerunner of a much larger protest planned for major cities across the United States. TAM-C analysts reported in PAIB05: 9 November 2009, Protesting the President’s War Decision, that anarchist and anti-war groups were preparing to hold nationwide demonstrations the day following President Obama's announcement that he would be sending additional troops to Afghanistan. TAM-C analysts have since identified the Pennsylvania-specific times and locations for this nationwide “emergency protest” that will take place, again, on the next business day after the President‟s announcement: Pittsburgh: Schenley Plaza, 4100 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 at 6PM.
Philadelphia: West Side of City Hall (15th and Market) from 4:30-6:00PM. TAM-C analysts have identified the organizers behind the seemingly benign Human Postcards event on 25 November 2009 as the same organizers behind the Philadelphia version of the nationwide protest. This nationwide protest appears to be more belligerent, judging by the rhetoric and imagery surrounding its planning phases. TAM-C analysts also note that many of the organizers behind the Pittsburgh version of the nationwide event were leading organizers behind the G-20 riots in September 2009. In fact, they see the upcoming nationwide protest as a continuation of the G-20 protest. FROM: PENNSYLVANIA ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING #11 TARGETED ACTIONABLE MONITORING CENTER 23 NOVEMBER 2009
Update: Anti-Nuclear Activism in Philadelphia
A "Walk for Nuclear Abolition" (see PAIB No. 61) that began 8 April 2010 in Washington DC is
currently making its way to New York City ahead of a United Nations session on nuclear nonproliferation
(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, 3-28 May 2010). Updated information on the Philadelphia-area activities related to the aforementioned caravan to New York include: 20-22 April 2010 - "Earth Week" in Philadelphia and New Jersey
21 April 2010 - a "Peace Vigil" at the offices of Lockheed Martin, behind the King of Prussia Mall 22 April 2010 - a Nuclear Free Earth Day Rally in Independence Mall, Philadelphia 22-29 April 2010 - Philadelphia-to-New York City Interfaith Peace Walk for Nuclear Abolition. The Brandywine Peace Community is apparently hosting out-of-state marchers while they are in the Philadelphia. For the International Day of Action in New York, on 2 May 2010, the Coalition for Peace Action is co-sponsoring a Peace Train to New York City. From Philadelphia, activists will be able to board a Septa train to Trenton, New Jersey, at Market East, Suburban Station and 30th Street Station.
****** ANALYSIS ****** T/I/W Rating: LOW-to-MODERATE
ITRR analysts expect the above events to conform to conditions of a legal protest, although
ITRR has no current information regarding needed police permits. Law enforcement personnel
will primarily be called upon to provide crowd control. Of particular note in this regard is the potential for disruptions surrounding the 2 May 2010 coordinated group train excursion to New Jersey. As in other protests and events of this nature, there remains a small chance that more radical elements will be inspired to take "direct action," such as civil disobedience. FROM: PENNSYLVANIA ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN #75 TARGETED ACTIONABLE MONITORING CENTER 21 APRIL 2010
Plowshares Eight Anniversary Event in King of Prussia Anti-war and anti-nuclear activists will be marking the thirtieth anniversary of the first direct action of the Plowshares Movement. The Brandywine Peace Community and the Atlantic Life Community, along with others, will hold protest actions at Lockheed Martin facilities in King of Prussia (Montgomery County) on 5 September 2010. As the anniversary of the Plowshares Eight "direct disarmament action" in King of Prussia approaches, there is an increased risk of escalation in anti-nuclear and anti-war activism by other militant groups in Pennsylvania. Such individuals or small cells may decide to take "direct action," such as civil disobedience, against Lockheed Martin, nuclear facilities or military assets. Other private organizations or companies in Pennsylvania dubbed "war profiteers" by anti-war activists include: Bechtel Corporation in Bethlehem (Lehigh and Northampton Counties) and Pittsburgh; the Washington Group International in Mechanicsburg (Cumberland County) and Philadelphia; the Nuclear Utility Services Laboratory in Pittsburgh; and Fluor Daniel GTI in West Chester (Chester County). FROM: PENNSYLVANIA INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN NO 132 1 SEPTEMBER 2010
Thomas Powers, resigned his post as director of the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security on October 1, 2010, and cancelled his speech at an Institute for Terrorism Research & Response (ITRR) seminar at ITRR partner, Philadelphia University, where a protest had been planned calling on the university to sever its ties with ITRR. The PA State Police announced that its Intelligence Unit will be bolstered, increasing its own monitoring of activist groups. Though the contract with the PA Department of Homeland Security was terminated, the ITRR continues, through its contracts with private industries and local police agencies to collect and disseminate its ‘Terror Watch’ bulletins on activist groups and events .
On September 24, just as the PA ‘Terror Watch’ monitoring bulletins were in the news, the FBI raided the homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis and Chicago, confiscating computers, email and mailing lists, cell phones , cameras, videos, books, and passports and serving warrants to appear before federal grand juries convened “seeking evidence of ties to "FTOs," or foreign terrorist organizations, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).”, and “providing material support to terrorists."
In dozens of cities around the country people rallied at Federal Buildings and FBI offices to protest. The Brandywine Peace Community co-sponsored the protest rally at the Phila. Federal Building. video
Citizens throughout U.S. history have had to protect our most fundamental civil liberties, from politicians and the powerful that, by using the fear of communism, minorities, terrorism, the foreigner or immigrant, would stifle dissent, trample the constitution, and violate our civil liberties.
The Brandywine Peace Community initiated the First Amendment Network (FAN) with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Protecting Our Waters, American Friends Service Committee, Shalom Center, and other groups, to affirm our civil liberties and the rights of free speech and dissent.
On November 10, FAN organized a noontime public media event and celebration of free speech, dissent, and civil liberties in front of Phila. City Hall that featured a large sign board of all the groups listed in the PA ’Terror Watch’ bulletins. Activists held signs – some reading DON’T SPY ON US – and spoke out calling for PA Governor-Elect Thomas Corbett to pledge that upon taking office in January 2011 he will issue an executive order banning the monitoring of activist groups.
Within hours of the event, Corbett said he was aware of the demand, saying "I don't think you need to issue an executive order to see that common sense is used." On the issue of homeland security and monitoring, he said he read up on what transpired in the transition report prepared by the Rendell administration. "I will deal with it as I see fit," he said. "I don't see issuing a whole lot of executive orders unless absolutely necessary."
The evening of November 10, there was a “War on Dissent” Town Hall at Friends Center made up of a panelists of lawyers and experts including Mike German, ACLU Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy, and former FBI agent who resigned in protest of its post 9/11 practices
For much more see http://www.aclupa.org/takeaction/trackedinpennsylvania/index.htm
See examples of press coverage of the public media event: http://whyy.org/cms/news/government-politics/2010/11/10/activists-want-promise-they-wont-be-spied-on-again/50713
The First Amendment Network (FAN) plans to continue to press Corbett on the issue of an executive order and Philadelphia University on severing ties with the Institute for Terrorism Research & Response.
To become involved in FAN, call the Brandywine Peace Community at 610-544-1818 or the ACLU at 215-592-1513, ext. 122.
Stay in touch with the Brandywine Peace Community about planned meetings and demonstrations.
Democracy and the constitution are indeed at stake.
March 2011 marks the 40th Anniversary of the FBI’s COINTELPRO [Counter Intelligence Program] disclosures following the March 8, 1971 Break-in of the FBI office in Media, PA. The thousands of files removed from the office, and distributed to the media and the persons and groups targeted by the FBI COINTELPRO Operation, revealed a widespread program of surveillance, intimidation, and harassment of anti-war and radical social change activists during the 1960's. COINTELPRO amounted to a programmed and sustained assault on our civil liberties and the right of free speech – a domestic 'war on dissent.' You can view the Media FBI files (click here) and watch the War on Dissent video for a first-hand look at what the FBI did, and what it continues to mean.
In the wake of the COINTELPRO disclosures, a Congressional oversight committee was established to curb domestic spying and harassment by the FBI and other agencies. COINTELPRO was long ago dissolved but forty years later, a technological para-military culture of surveillance – within the broad definition of the Department of Homeland Security - has grown following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; a complex of domestic surveillance that dwarfs in extent and technological reach anything ever imagined during the COINTELPRO years.
In the fall of 2010, the Brandywine Peace Community, the ACLU-PA, and other area groups initiated the Philadelphia First Amendment Network (FAN) after the disclosure of the PA Department of Homeland Security/Institute for Terrorism Research & Response ‘Terror Watch’ Bulletins, that tracked the Brandywine Peace Community and array of activist groups across the state, and news was breaking of FBI targeting of anti-war and international solidarity activists in the Midwest (see above). At the same time, FBI sting operations against young Muslims and suspected “potential” terrorists in various parts of the country, has raised considerable evidence and concern of a pattern of FBI entrapment.
The Brandywine Peace Community, working with the ACLU-PA and FAN is making plans for public education plans about the history of the FBI COINTELPRO assault on civil liberties and dissent and the current picture of domestic surveillance and FBI harassment of those acting for justice and peace. Plans will be forthcoming!
Page updated 2/25/2011