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PA "Terror Watch" Bulletins Tracked Activists Across State - Those 'Tracked' Included Long-Standing Peace Activist Group

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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. Coverage from Democracy Now and thiscantbehappening.net | Background from ACLU-PA | Photo from Beyond the Curtain Read on for news summary and more links.



Brandywine Peace Community, the three plus decades old peace activist group and practioner of nonviolent resistance was ‘tracked’ as part of PA ‘Terror Watch’ Bulletins. The Bulletins were compiled by an Israeli/U.S.firm under contract to the PA Department of Homeland Security ‘tracking’ activist groups across the state.

Democracy NOW, Amy Goodman - 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-Franking (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!

Additional links...

You have a Right to know: go to PA American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), www.aclupa/rtk to find out how.

Stand up!

Stay in touch with the Brandywine Peace Community about planned meetings and demonstrations.

Democracy and the constitution are indeed at stake.

Brandywine Peace Community
P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA 19081 - 610-544-1818
brandywine@juno.com www.brandywinepeace.com