This story was also featured on today’s episode of Democracy Now!  Check it out for an interview with Brendan Dunn, member of Olympia Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Spy for the US Military Exposed: Spent Last Two Years Spying on Activists

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn

July 27, 2009

“John Jacob” was an activist well liked by many in Tacoma and Olympia, WA.
He was active in the anti-war and anarchist communities in both towns. He
did extensive work with the group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR)
which blocks military shipments to and from Iraq and Afghanistan through
Northwest ports. He went to numerous Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS) events and actions, was interested in starting a chapter or Movement
for a Democratic Society, worked closely with Iraq Veterans Against the
War, but spent most of his time with anarchists. Aside from attending
meetings, events and actions organized by activists, he spent much
personal and leisure time with other anarchists in the area.

But some recent records requests done through the City of Olympia, asking
the City for any information on anarchists/anarchism/anarchy, SDS and the
radical union Industrial Workers of the World, surfaced an email from a
John J Towery II from Fort Lewis Force Protection with a daily force
protection update for Fort Lewis. Interested in this email and the name
attached to it, several activists did some research that eventually
confirmed the identity of “John Jacob” as John J Towery II.

Two anarchists met with John Towery after this information was confirmed.
By his own admission, John Towery spent the past two years spying on
anarchists, Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, SDSers and anti-war
activists in Tacoma, Olympia and the Pacific Northwest. He admitted that
he reported to an intelligence network that included county sheriffs from
Pierce, Thurston and other WA counties, municipal police agencies from
Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle and elsewhere, WA State Police, the US Army, FBI,
Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency among other agencies.

John Towery further admitted he passed information on to the above listed
network of authorities about the activities of anarchists and PMR
activists. He admitted that the Tacoma Police placed a hidden camera on a
utility pole across the street from the anarchist social space Pitchpipe
Infoshop for surveillance purposes. John Towery mentioned that the Olympia and Tacoma police were both planning on raiding the Pitchpipe Infoshop and an activist house in Olympia and he claimed that they had repeatedly approached him for any information that would give them a green light to raid the houses. He also claimed to have knowledge of other informants that were sent to spy on Port Militarization Resistance and anarchists in Olympia, but refused to reveal their identities.

In his role as an administrator of the PMR listserve, John Towery had the
email addresses of all subscribers, and the names of most persons involved
with the organization. He had an intimate knowledge of how organizations
in the activist community operated, how and when actions were planned and
the beliefs, politics and personal matters of many activists.

The records requests that leaked out John Towery’s name also leaked out
information that Thomas Glapion from the 305th SFS/S2 based out of McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey was investigating activities of SDS, PMR and “other left wing anti war groups”. Other agencies involved with
intelligence gathering and surveillance of Olympia SDS in particular and
Olympia activists in general include the Coast Guard (where there is an
informant spying on activists according to one record) and US Capitol

Attorney Larry Hildes of the National Lawyers Guild has made numerous
attempts to get information from the military and federal agencies for
court cases and civil suits connected to the port protests, only to run
into the repeated refusal of Brian Kipnis from the US Attorney’s Office in
Seattle to give this information to Hildes and other defense attorneys.
Kipnis explicitly told the US Army not to give information to Hildes and
others. Kipnis is also the same lawyer that prosecuted Lt. Ehren Watada
and was involved with a number of Guantanamo cases. This information is
perhaps the beginning of a larger network of surveillance across the

Press contacts:

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Port Militarization Resistance
(360) 878-1879

Drew Hendricks
PMR Intelligence Network for Observers
(360) 870-3127