America's Dirty Little Secret
Surveillance and Covert Disruption of
One of the most widely reported examples of the government spying on
Food Not Bombs came to light on December 13, 2005, when MSNBC reported
that the Pentagon had spied on 1,500 peace protests in the United States
from November through May of 2004. Food Not Bombs organize and
participated in one of these protests.
The Department of Defense database, published by MSNBC, states that from
November 19, 2004 to November 21, 2004 the Pentagon monitored the
"Planned Demonstration at Fort Huachuca AZ Sierra Vista." They
also listed it as a "Threat" and that it is
"Open/Unresolved" and "Credible." One man who attended
our November 19, 2004 meeting at a cafe in downtown Tucson seemed
suspicious. When we arrived at the protest three men stood at the door
of the Food Not Bombs bus and took photos of each person who exited.
This isn't the only evidence we have that the
government is spying on Food Not Bombs. The American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) published a December 7, 2004 FBI Joint Terrorism Task
Force (JTTF) documents about an FBI "routine" investigation into
Food Not Bombs. A December 7, 2004 memo to the Denver FBI office from a
Squad 5/JTTF Special Agent reads, "Synopsis: To document information
regarding Sarah Bardwell and Food Not Bombs."
It goes on to say "Details: as previously noted in serial 4,
Colorado has several active Food Not Bombs (FNB) groups in Denver,
Boulder, Fort Collins and
Durango." (We are interested to see what serial 4 has to say about
Food Not Bombs).
The memo continues, "On August 1, 2003, eight individuals were
arrested at the so-called Denver FNB house at 1435 Lipan Street. The
Charges included obstruction police/fire, disturbing the peace,
resisting arrest and assault. These arrests were noted in this
investigation due to (i) the close association between FNB and Anarchist
Black Cross movement and (ii) the close proximity of the FNB house to
923 Lipan Street, the location of the Anarchist Black Cross Denver."
It is not clear why any association between FNB and Anarchist Black
Cross would warrant the FBI to initiate this investigation. Anarchist
Black Cross sends letters of support to political prisoners and on
occasion they collect books to send to political activists sitting
behind bars. The Food Not Bombs website and
literature have stated that we work in solidarity with groups including
the Anarchist Black Cross.
The FBI's interest in the lawful actions of Colorado's
non-violent activists has had a chilling effect on movement. Due to this
FBI investigation, many Denver activists became fearful, even to the
point where it prevented them from exercising their Constitutionally
protected right of free expression.
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