January 13, 2013

Court Rules Peace Activists Can Sue the U.S. Military for Infiltration

From The Peace Worker:

Court Rules Peace Activists Can Sue the U.S. Military for Infiltration
January 7, 2013
By Nathan Tempey

In a potentially precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that a National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG) lawyer’s challenge to military spying on peace activists can proceed. The ruling marks the first time a court has affirmed people’s ability to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Court Challenge Breaks New Ground

“This has never been done before,” said NLG member attorney Larry Hildes, who is handling the case. “The U.S. government has spied on political dissidents throughout history and this particular plot lasted through two presidencies, but never before has a court said that we can challenge it the way we have.”

The ruling is the latest development in the lawsuit, Panagacos v. Towery, first brought by Hildes in 2009 on behalf of a group of Washington state antiwar activists who found themselves infiltrated by John Towery, an employee at a fusion center inside a local Army base. Fusion centers are multi-jurisdictional intelligence facilities which house federal and local law enforcement agencies alongside military units and private security companies. Their operations are largely secret and unregulated. There are currently 77 fusion centers in the United States.

Read the entire article here.

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