By Matthew Rothschild on March 06, 2010

When the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed late last month that NorthCom had kept tabs on Alaskans for Peace & Justice, it was news to the activists. They weren’t shocked, but they were none too happy.

“To people like myself who were around in the ’60s and 1970s, it doesn’t come as a great surprise,” says Jean Kollanti. “It shouldn’t happen, it’s wrong, and I hope no individual persons were singled out in any way because all of us were completely nonviolent.”

A NorthCom “Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection” officer had downloaded information from the Internet about Alaskans for Peace & Justice and disseminated it throughout the Alaska Command on September 5, 2005, according to a Pentagon document that the Electronic Frontier Foundation obtained as part of a lawsuit.

(To view the document, go to http://www.eff.org, click on Part 1, and search within the document for Alaskans.) The NorthCom officer was warning the command about a demonstration “to be held over the weekend on 24 Sep 05,” the document states. That was the date of nationwide protests against the Iraq War, which were organized by Answer and by United for Peace and Justice. “Results of the demonstration were gathered from TV and newspaper reports,” the document states, and the information was retained in intelligence files and was discussed at a senior command staff meeting, which specifically mentioned Alaskans for Peace and Justice.

Subscribe to The Progressive

“There’s just no reason for them to be doing that,” says Paul Prebys, one of the founders of Alaskans for Peace & Justice, which came together shortly after 9/1l. “It’s an incredible invasion of my privacy.”

Kevin Morford, another member of the group, worries that there may be more here than meets the eye. “It’s only the tip of the iceberg,” he says.

Morford says the group is hardly a threat. “It’s entirely legal and nonviolent,” he says. “It sponsors speakers. It shows movies. It organizes peaceful demonstrations, mostly in the Anchorage area, including a weekly vigil. And it has float entries in the July 4 parades.”

Morford says the group has a list serve of about 700 people. “Anywhere from a handful up to a couple dozen people show up at meetings these days,” he adds.

He is concerned that the military and the FBI and the NSA are going to continue with their illegal spying.

“They’re just going to keep doing it as long as people let them get away with it,” he says.

The group’s next meeting is on Tuesday night, he says, adding that members will discuss whether to pursue the matter with the ACLU of Alaska.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine. To subscribe for just $14.97 a year, just click here.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Wisconsin workers face a lousy jobs picture this Labor Day.

Here, for Labor Day, are the top ten working class hero movies of all time.

At a swank club in Madison, Walker supporters get an earful.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter

Get Breaking News and Alerts!