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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  February 25, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST

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02/25/14 02/25/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! admitted that he did spy on us, he did infiltrate us. he admitted he did pass on information to an intelligence network, which was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies ranging from invisible to county to state to regional and several federal agencies, including immigration customs
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enforcement, joint terrorism task force, fbi, homeland security, the army. >> spying on peace activists. new details about the army iniltrating antiwar groups washington state and beyond. one just-released e-mail shows an army employee talking to police departments in los angeles, portland, oregon, eugene, everett, and spokane about the need to collect and share intel on leftist and anarchist. then, "spies of mississippi." >> they were out to stop covert efforts of immigration. >> we're not just talking about some rednecks on the street, this is defiance at its highest level. >> we knew we were being followed. i knew my life was in danger. >> a new film looks at the state-sponsored campaign to defeat the civil rights movement. all of that and more coming up.
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this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. ukraine is delaying the formation of a new government until thursday, following the ouster of democratically elected president viktor yanukovych after months of protests they killed dozens of people. the obama administration has indicated it no longer recognizes yanukovich as ukraine's leader and has pledged financial support to ukraine. president yanukovich had come under fire for strengthening ties with russia instead of europe. the russian prime minister has rejected the interim government. there isly speaking, no one to talk to their. the government doesn't exist. some of our foreign partners are western partners who think those arey, that
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legitimate bodies. i don't know what constitution and what laws they have been reading. it seems to me it is an aberration the call legitimate what is essentially the result of an armed mutiny. theakistani official said pakistani military has conducted airstrikes on north waziristan, killing at least 30 people. the northwestern region is also a frequent target of u.s. drone strikes. the bombings come after talks between pakistan and the taliban broke down last week. the pentagon has outlined a five-year budget plan that would shrink the number of active-duty soldiers to its smallest size since before world war ii, while expanding the number of special operations personnel. if an secretary chuck hagel outlined a proposal on monday. >> these recommendations will reshape our enterprise so we can continue to protect this nation security in an era of unprecedented uncertainty and change. as we end our combat mission in
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afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect to is making after 13 years of war. >> under the plan, the number of active-duty soldiers would decrease to about 450,000, the special operations forces would torease by about 16% -- 6% 70,000. residents of beijing are suffering through a sixth day of heavy smog. on monday, authorities issued the second-highest level of pollution alert for second time after it was used for the first time ever on friday. during an orange alert, children and the elderly are warned not to go outside. dozens of factories have shut down in the brick -- bid to curb the pollution. the obama administration is calling on uganda to repeal an anti-gay law that imposes a life sentence for repeated homosexual acts and makes it a crime not report a people to authorities. white house press secretary jay carney criticized the law after it was signed by president
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museveni on monday. >> we will continue to urge the government to repeal this law and advocate for the protection of universal human rights of lgbt persons in uganda and around the world. what i can tell you about steps the united states might take in response is that we are of ourking a review relationship with uganda in light of this decision. theganda is a key ally of united states and africa. in the u.s., arizona republican governor jan brewer is facing pressure from within her own party to reject a bill allowing businesses to deny service to lgbt people. three republican state senators said governor brewer a letter urging her to veto the bill just days after they voted for it, along with the rest of the state senate's republican caucus. the senators wrote that public outcry over the law was causing arizona immeasurable harm. republican state lawmaker in
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virginia is under fire after using the term "host" to refer to pregnant women. state senator steve martin posted a comment on facebook in response to a message from a pro-choice group urging him to change his policies on abortion. he wrote -- he later edited the post, changing the word "host" to "bearer of the child." he told huffington post his remarks were meant to be sarcastic. women's health advocates plan to rally in the virginia senate gallery today wearing shirts that say "not a host." new york city has backed off on a plan to remove homeless people from subway stations following a public campaign against the planned sweep. advocates for the homeless from patrol early monday morning to
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ensure people could remain in subways where they're staying warm. participants at a rally on sunday said homeless people should not be forced to choose between shelters and jail. known as one of the greatest high schools in the city and six months later's, i was sweeping on the trains. i want to be clear to those who might be watching this and feel this is an issue that is connected to you, i never thought i would end up homeless. most new yorkers are one paycheck away from homelessness. givenerstand that at any time, a couple of bad breaks and you could be in the same situations. >> the protest comes amidst a nationwide crackdown on the homeless. across the u.s., more than 50 cities have adopted laws against camping or food sharing the make it harder for homeless people to survive. a washington, d.c.-based whistleblower group has reported a suspicious breakin at their office.
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appear to broken in, shuffled papers on employees desks, and attempted to open a file cabinet. all while leaving computers and other viable items behind. police determined the break-in was related to the groups work centers on exposing waste, fraud, and abuse by the government, particularly the pentagon. the longest serving member of congress in u.s. history has announced he will retire at the end of his term after 59 years. michigan democratic congress member john dingell is known as a champion of single-payer health care and a pioneer of early environmental laws, although he resisted some regulations in defense of detroit's auto industry. he is also criticized the deadlock in the current congress, famously sang the partial government shutdown last october "the american people could get better government out of monkey island in the local zoo." >> like many of you, i have found great disappointment in this congress. i want you to know this is not
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the reason that debbie and i are leaving the congress. we are leaving it for quite a different reason, and that is we enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet and contentment amongst the people that we have known and loved for so long. >>, is member john dingell's wife, debbie dingell, is reportedly considering a run for husband seat. a new report based on leaks by edward snowden reveals new details of how western spy agencies manipulate affirmation online. writing a, glenn greenwald reports of his secrets agency called jtrig were joint threat research intelligence group. its self identified goals are to discredit targets by posting fake material, including, for
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example, fake blog post purporting to b be a targets victim and to manipulate online discourse. a newly revealed documents list tactics like false flag operation are posting material online for then falsely attribute in it to someone else. the targets appeared to include the suspected of fact of his own -- hactivism. meanwhile, another source within the national security agency appears to have emerged. sonntagan paper bild am
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reported sunday that the nsa increased its buying on senior german officials after president obama ordered a halt to spying on chancellor angela merkel. the report cites a high-ranking nsa employee in germany. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. more details have come to light showing u.s. military infiltrated and spied on the community of antiwar activists in the state of washington and beyond. democracy now! first broke the story in 2009 that an active member of students for a democratic society and port militarization resistance was actually an informant for the was military. time, port militarization resistance was staging nonviolent actions to stop military shipments bound for iraq and afghanistan. the man everyone knew as john jacob was in fact john towery, a member of the force protection service at fort lewis.
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he also spied on the industrial workers of the world, and iraq veterans against the war. the antiwar activists brendan exposekas dunn helped john towery's dreaded notary -- identity. spoke., dunn >> after was confirmed he was in fact john towery, i knew he would not call me so i called him up today after and said, john, what is the deal? is this true? he said, yes, it is true, but there's a lot more to the story than what was publicized. me andanted to meet with another anarchist in person to discuss what happened and what his role was. so when i met him, he admitted to several things. he admitted, yes, he did spy on us and did infiltrate us. he admitted he did pass on
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information to an intelligence network, which as you mentioned earlier, was composed of dozens of law enforcement agencies ranging from municipal to county to state a regional, and several federal agencies including immigration customs and enforcement, joint terrorism task force, fbi, homeland security, the army and fort lewis. so he admitted to other things, too. he admitted police had placed a camera surveillance -- camera surveillance across the street from the community center that anarchists ran called the pitch pipe info shop. he admitted there were police who did put a camera up there to spy on anarchists. >> that was brendan maslauskas dunn speaking in 2009 on democracy now! a lawsuitplaintiff in against john towery, the
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military, and other law enforcement agencies. have been, there numerous developments in the case. a newly made public e-mail written by towery reveals the army informant was building a multiagency spying apparatus. the e-mail was sent by towery using his military count to the fbi as well as the police departments in los angeles, portland, eugene, everett, and spokane, washington. he wrote -- towery also cites zines and pamphlets and a conference of web list as source material, but cautions the officials on file sharing because -- the subject of the e-mail was anarchist in formation. meanwhile, evidence has also emerged army informant may have attempted to entrap at least one of the peace activists by attempting to persuade them to
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purchase guns and learn to shoot. we're joined by two guests. glenn crespo as a community organizer in the bay area who used to live in washington state. he is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the military and other agencies. and from seattle, washington, longtime attorney larry hildes who represents the activists in the case. the joint base lewis mccord public affairs office declined to join us on the program saying -- let's first go to larry hildes. can you talk about the latest developments in this case and what has just come out? >> sure. good morning, amy. it is interesting. what came out did not come out from this case. he came out from a public records act request from a different client of ours who was arrested in an anti-police brutality march and falsely charged with assaulting an officer.
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the civil case is coming to trial in a couple of weeks. he put in a public records act request because he was active with pmr and was concerned that he had been targeted and was in subject to a number of citations and arrest. the army's investigative reports claimed, well, there may have been some rules broken, but towery was doing this off the unpaid,is off-hours, for the sheriffs office and the fusion center. here he is at his desk at 10:00 in the morning using his military id, his military e-mail address, and identifying himself by his military titles writing the law enforcement agencies all over the country about forming this mini group to target and research anarchists and leftists .
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and it is coming out of what is called the dt conference that the state patrol was hosting here in washington. domestic terrorism conference. they created a book for this conference a stone information largely from towery that included brendan maslauskas dunn and one of our other plaintiffs, jeff berryhill, and two other activists with pmr, listed them as to mistake terrorists and a violent threat. --was because of basically basically, because they were targeted by towery and because of their activism and their arrests for civil disobedience. so he is taking something he created, labeling these people as terrorists, going to a conference with this information, and saying we should disseminate this and work on this more broadly. it also puts the lies of towery's claim and a supervisor's claims that towery was simply working to protect
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troop movements between fort ofis in the public ports striker vehicles going to the occupations in iraq and afghanistan. they are not shipping out of l.a. or portland, eugene, and they are not -- none of these are agencies that have directly been involved in protecting military shipments from fort lewis. it is clear there is a much larger agenda here and we have seen that in some other ways. there are extensive notes we have received of towery's spying on a college in olympia about tactics for the protest at the dnc in denver in 2008, and the republican national convention in st. paul in 2008, and who was going to do what, the red,
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yellow, and green zones, and specifically, what was going to happen on the monday of the convention. it was the rnc welcoming committee which then got raided and become the rnc8, timing or planning acts of terrorism, which were in reality acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. beyond fort way lewis and pmr and there is -- there seems to be a much larger agenda that we've seen in other activism nonviolent equals terrorism equals anarchism equals justification for whatever spying and law-enforcement action we want to take. lawsuito read from your . you write --
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that is a very extensive list, larry hildes. >> it is. is it turns out it incomplete.
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and those were all agencies that we had documents obtained from proper -- public records act request showing that were directly involved. now we're finding out there are more agencies. the evergreen state college was giving regular reports to the state patrol come to the thurston county sheriff's office, and to towery and rudd about activities of sds on campus at evergreen, and there is an extensive discussion about the conference about the dnc and rnc protests and the chief of police is the source for the information. yeah, now we have l.a. this gets bizarre. 9440 pages a sealed documents from the army as a christmas present on december 21 that i can't even talk about because they insisted that everything was privileged.
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it was supposed to be privileged as to private information, and security information, but it is everything -- all kinds of e-mails. veryarts out sounding encompassing, and we are finding out we were conservative about what agencies were involved. >> i want to bring glenn crespo into the conversation, a bay area trinity organizer. you were the peace activist who john towery says attempted to persuade you to purchase guns, to learn to shoot. how did you meet him and what happened when he tried to get you to do this? this kind of relationship spanned over maybe 2, 2 .5 years. i first met him as a weapon symposium to mr. nation in downtown tacoma, washington. i did not introduce myself to them at that time, but i saw him there. he came out of the symposium and this was a conference where
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lockheed martin and all these other weapons manufacturers and distributors were showing their wares. it appeared to me as if other activists in olympia had already become friends with them. he was very friendly with them and they were freely with him. that was in mid-2007. not long after that, he organized a tacoma pmr meeting and -- >> port latrines nation resistance -- port militarization resistance. >> exactly. i did not get the mass e-mail. i thought i would go check it out. he was the first person there, i was the second person there. he introduced himself and i introduced myself. he asked me about a poster he had made regarding an upcoming demonstrations. he said he would bring it to the group and cv to get consensus on whether or not it was ok if you
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put it up. i told him that. i looked at the poster and said, this is pretty general. there's no particular reason that i thought he had to get consensus on whether or not he could put it up. it was basically just time and place and description of the event. he later on use that conversation as a way to boost the report between each other. he said he thought that conversation was really profound to him, that he believed it was interesting that i kind of wanted or suggested that he bypassed some sort of consensus process regarding this poster so that he could just do what he wants, put the poster up if you wants to it was vteresting. wasalize in retrospect that the way he tried to broaden or expand upon our friendship in the beginning. >> and where did the guns come in? the six to within
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seven months after meeting him, so late 2007. he had started coming to events at the house i was living at in tacoma. we did a lending library. we were doing a lot of organizing regarding the tacoma immigration and customs detention center. he would go to those meetings. he would come over for potlucks, so both public and private events he worked his way in as a friend. he produced handgun to me in our kitchen, just between he and i. he carried it in a side pocket and said he always carried a handgun on him. he put the magazine out and clear the chamber and handed it to me. he said he always carries one on him. that was the first time he really talked about guns with me. i was caught off guard. at the time i was in my early 20's and i had never -- i don't
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think i've ever even seen a handgun like that for. that was the beginning of him starting to talk more about guns. he had said if we ever wanted to go shooting, me and my friends or my cell from particular, that he would take the shooting, that he knows where all the gun shows are at if we were interested. and later on these things did happen where he prompted myself and others to go to a gun show and purchase a rifle. that went into going to shooting ranges that he was already a member of. he would drive us to all of these things, take us to the shooting ranges. this seemed fairly innocuous to me in the beginning. washington is a pretty gun-owner state. it did not really surprise me because he was not saying anything crazy or really implying anything crazy at that point. but about a year into that,
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there was a significant shift in his personality. in the beginning, he was very optimistic and seemed very hopeful and kind of seems lonely. he was in his early 40's, early to mid 40's and primarily surrounding himself with people in their early 20's. he just came off as if he was a sweet, harmless guy, kind of lonely and wanted to hang out with people he felt he had something common with as far as his ideas when. like i said, a year into that relationship, he started becoming a little more sinister and dark in his demeanor and things he would talk about. him continued to go into giving myself and another friend a set of documents, military strategy documents, and said -- he suggested we use those documents in our actions. these were documents that were how to properly execute military
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operations. peopleng that, he showed and my house, including myself, how to clear a building with a firearm. these things were prompted by him. you would basically say, hey, check this out, i can explain this stuff. he would go into it. for example, in this case, how to clear a building with a firearm. you will hold up a they believe rifle and clear the stairwells into the attic, the whole time talking about how he was clearing corners and checking angles and all this stuff that no one had a particular interest in. he hadthe same time, conversations with me about how he believed anarchists were very similar to fascist almost in a positive way, where he was saying they both don't care about the law and use the law to
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get what they need or what they want. and that he believed the only way to anarchism or anarchy or whatever train his words, would be people died. this is kind of in the midst of behavior, sinister that started to happen. i thought he was depressed. i thought he was basically going through some sort of baby existential crisis or maybe fed up with things. i wasn't really sure. he always talked about having issues at his house. he implied that his wife thought he was cheating on her and that's why we couldn't go to his house, because his wife didn't like his "other friends" or whatever. in thattted an article last half of the time i knew him as a friend come he's omitted an article -- he submitted an article to a magazine that i was editor of in early 2009 that was
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written from the perspective of 9/11 hijackers. i remember specifically because he gave me a copy from a physical copy, when we were on our way to go get coffee. i remember reading it and probably about one quarter of the way through, i remember touching it physically with my hands. it was the weirdest thing because it was -- it basically or seeming sympathetic with the 9/11 hijackers and he wanted me to publish this in the next edition of the magazine i was editor of. because he was being so forceful, i just did not to the magazine again. that first issue was the last issue. one season to that paper, did not publish it ever again. >> let me ask your lawyer larry hildes, is this entrapment and talking about this whole progression that glenn crespo went through with the man he
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thought was named john jacob, who in fact was john towery, working at fort lewis, military personnel? >> i think absolutely. it was an attempted entrapment. -- het step-by-step misjudged our folks. he thought that she correctly saw our folks were angry and upset about what was going on, but misjudged them. it feels like we could have ended up with a cleveland five very easilytuation if he had had his way. fortunately, our folks reaction was this is really weird and creepy, get away from me. to how little he understood the nature of the antiwar movement and how little he understood people's actual action.nt to nonviolent
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to not sing the troops themselves as the enemy, but seeing -- >> larry hildes, i just want to ask about the laws that separates the military. they're not supposed to be marching through the streets. what about this issue of investigating and how far an extensive is this infiltration campaign where you put in people, they change their names, and they try to entrap or they change the nature of what these actions are? i think they crossed the line. allowedim they're to do some level of investigation to protect military shipments. but attempting to entrap people into conspiracies where they can get charged with major felonies they had no intention of committing commit dealing with law enforcement agencies around
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the country to keep tabs on activists, following them to paulsts in denver and st. that have absolutely nothing to do with military shipments -- they crossed the line into law enforcement come into civilian law enforcement, and they did so quite knowingly and deliberately and created this cover story that towery was working for the fusion center, reporting to the sheriffs office, not doing this during his work time. they were well aware -- in fact, he got paid overtime for attending the rnc, dnc conference, by the army. the army was expressly paying him to monitor, disrupt, and folks' at one point, brendan maslauskas dunn had four cases at the same time in four counties because they kept stopping.
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seven times he got stopped inside it. people would get busted over and over and over. towery was attending their personal parties, their birthday parties, they're going away going awaytheir parties and taking vicious notes and passing them on about how to undermine their activities. how to destroy their lives. this is way beyond any legitimate military role. why the lawy exists. the job of the military as they see it is to seek out the enemy and destroy them, neutralize them. when the enemy is nonviolent dissenters and the first amendment becomes the enemy, as our expert chris kyle put it, amendment, aren't in convenience
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to the army. they ignore them. inconvenience to the army. they ignore them. it becomes a very dangerous situation. and they're way over into illegal conduct. there into entrapment operations, into trying to silence dissent against them and, apparently, much larger. this case just keeps getting bigger as we go. we're separate trial june 2. >> and we will continue to cover this. larry hildes, lead attorney representing the activists by don by the military, speaking to us from seattle, washington. glenn crespo, thank you for being with us, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, community organizer in the bay area of california. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back, spies and the
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movement. we will go back to the civil rights movement. stay with us.
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to another story of government spying on activists, this time during the civil rights movement. the stories told in a new film now airing on pbs called, "spies of mississippi." ♪
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lyndon johnson said, there's america, there's the south, and then there is mississippi. >> it was the mississippi spy agency during the civil rights movement. wanted tomissioner know who the activists were in the black community. they were out to stop covert efforts of immigration. it is state government itself. we're not just talking about some rednecks on the street, this is defiance at its highest levels. >> we knew we were being followed. i knew my life was in danger. >> this is still the united states of america, and you don't treat american citizens this way. crossing legal
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lines, i think it is accurate to say they crossed them all the time. ♪ >> that is the trailer for "spies of mississippi." it is a new film that exposes how the 1950's and 1960's, little-known state agency called the mississippi sovereignty commission hired spies to infiltrate the several rights movement and squash attempts to desegregate the state and register african-americans to vote. some of the spies were themselves african-american. the commission generated more than 160 thousand pages of reports, many of which were shared with local leased departments whose officers belong to the ku klux klan. some of looks at how those reports contributed to the 1964 deaths of freedom summer activist james chaney, andrew goodman, and michael schwerner. that was 50 years ago. for more we go to jackson, mississippi where we are joined by jerry mitchell, an investigative journalist.
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he won the release of more than 2400 pages of commission records in 1989 and use those to reopen many cold cases from the civil rights era. his work helped lead to the 1994 conviction of the killer of mississippi naacp leader medgar evers, and paved the way for 23 more convictions. here in new york we are joined by dawn porter. she is the award-winning producer and director of "spies of mississippi." jerry mitchell, what are you most surprised by in the documents you got? >> well, lots of things. the fact they had spied on so had activist, the fact they spied on member evers and later tried to help basically a quick the killer in that case. as well as reports of my own newspaper from back in the 1950's and 60's. that was interesting as well.
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, why did youn porter decide to turn this into a film? thisen i first heard story, not only was there a spy agency but african-american activists involved in the spine, i thought that was a piece of civil rights history that is not widely known but fills in a lot of the -- it connects the dots in a lot of ways. i thought people would be interested in it. i was just fascinated by the links that state government will democracy.rt >> i want to go to a clip in the film. we hear from historian neil mcmillen, author rick bowers, and mississippi commerce and bennie thompson. it begins with our guest in jackson, jerry mitchell. >> i will never forget finding clyde kennard.
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his great crime against the state of mississippi was to apply to go to college. he was an upstanding citizen who had studied in the northern universities and was very ambitious and profoundly decent and good guy. the 1950's, he tried to go to the university of southern mississippi. >> in the 1950's, the few african-americans in the south who were able to enroll in college could only attend black schools. his application to attend mississippi southern was seen as an attack on segregation and set into motion the swift response from the state. his application was given to the mississippi state sovereignty commission, an organization few mississippians even knew existed. they did a report that track his
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background growing up in mississippi, his time spent with his family in chicago, his time in the military, his time at the university of chicago and his time back in mississippi helping his ailing mother on her chicken farm. trackingiple agents everybody in his background, they could not come up with anything that couldererer unders application to go to college. >> the police, with the popularly -- cooperation of the spill about $20 worth of chicken feed and planted it on his farm. he was arrested for that and was given seven years. >> he was sentenced to parchman
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penitentiary, the worst present at that time probably in the country. they let him out a couple of months before he died of cancer, but only because he was terminal. >> that sovereignty commission did all they could to hold back progress in our state. basically, discouraged any kind bringorts to black-and-white people together. >> that last voice, congress member bennie thompson. this is a clip from, "spies of mississippi." dawn porter is the director. talk more about the sovereignty commission. establishedssion is in response to brown versus board of education, the famous supreme court case that allows integration of schools. that case was seen by mississippi as almost a declaration of war.
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it was viewed as an attack on mississippi sovereignty and set into motion a vast response from the state. one thing they did was establish the spy agency. what is so remarkable about this is it was the spy agency hidden in plain sight. there was an allocation of taxpayer dollars, $250,000 -- in 1950 was serious money -- there is an office that reports to the .overnor of mississippi one of the things they did was higher spies. what you see in the 1950's is what happens to clyde kennard. his crime was applying to go to a white school. it is such a wonderful thai into the segment you just did about how when a state government feels it's directions, its authority as being challenged, anything goes. they really run this man's life. he wanted to be near his family. he came from chicago and wanted
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to continue his education. to elaborately plant evidence in prison isentence into preside o terrible. >> this is another clip from "spies of mississippi." it begins with the promotional video about the jackson police freedomnt leading up to summer. >> the jackson police department operates with the best demonstration to turn of any city in the country. in addition to thompson's tank, armor plated and equipped with nine machine gun positions, the arsenal includes cage trucks for transporting massive amounts of violators. both searchlights can light three city blocks. toice dog teams are trained search a building or disperse a mob or crowd. mounted police for controlling parades and pedestrian traffic. and compounds in detention facilities to hold an house 10,000 prisoners.
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along with these ironclad police facilities, there are new ironclad state laws outlawing editing, economic boycotting, and demonstrating. other laws to control the distributional certain types of information, and lost to dampen complaints to federal authorities. >> we called out the highway , people like that, to keep them in line. we kept them in line. lot of them.a we put them in jail. [indiscernible] the jails and jackson were full. in jackson were full. >> i will suffer for my freedom. >> i want equal rights. i want equal rights.
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>> we were not intimidated. i think that is important. if you get intimidated, you can't control anything. >> that is a member of the mississippi sovereign commission. jerry mitchell, if you can talk about who he was and the significance of this commission in your state of mississippi. >> well, it was a very powerful commission. it was headed by the governor of the state and the state's most powerful leaders. you had people who are the most powerful members of the legislature -- the lieutenant governor, all of these people that held the highest offices, basically, had control of this agency. it have law enforcement powers, judicial powers to subpoena, to get anything they wanted. it was frightening from a power perspective.
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the had the blessings of governor on down. >> we're going to take a break. when we come back, i want to talk about particularly the african-american leaders and others who were recruited by the mississippi sovereignty commission to spy on their colleagues, on their communities , on their congregations. we're talking to jerry mitchell and dawn porter. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue with the new film that is airing on pbs around the country called, "spies of mississippi." of rl to go to a clip bouldin, the former vice president of the mississippi naacp, who many believe was agent x -- who reported to the mississippi state sovereignty commission. >> they thought i was a spy.
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spy.n't no >> i knew r.l. very well. he was intimately involved with us. we did not have any indications that he was to the contrary. it was only through the due diligence of late senator henry kurtzman who began to pinpoint things to determine that he was working with the state sovereign
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commission. and that had to do with him taking off into the files and looking at reports, and sing reports being given about certain specific legions and him recollecting who was at the meetings. and everybody that attended that meeting were mentioned except one person that he knew was there, and that is when he came to the conclusion that since this is a pattern that one person who was not mentioned at these meetings that i know was there has to be the one that is submitting the reports. >> that was hollis watkins lden, thebout r.l. bo
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former vice president of the mississippi naacp. and it was revealed he was one of the spies recruited by the mississippi sovereignty commission. dawn porter, talk more about and his relationship to the three missing man. withe commission starts having white agents, former fbi men, then they move on to have high-profile african-americans. those african-americans were revealed. the commission realized it needed ordinary people. rl bouldin ended up being an ordinary american, extra ordinary spy. infiltrated the highest levels of the civil rights movement. he was at very important training that the civil rights activist conducted before freedom summer. >> in ohio. >> in ohio. all of the students that were about to go south were brought together and bolden was at that meeting. he gave pictures and license
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plates of the three men. others gave this information, but we know he gave this information to his handlers. they turned it over to the mississippi police who were infiltrated by the klan. the significance of that is, i think the way that chaney, goodman, and schwerner murders are often described as if they were pulled over randomly for being in an interracial car -- which could not be farther from the truth. they were being targeted by the sovereignty commission. your every move was watched. this was a deliberate act to pull them over. ,he results in their murders their deaths. it is one of the most important point in the civil rights movement that open that mississippi -- but what a tragic way to do it. >> jerry mitchell, what were you most surprised by in these documents that you got, especially around this issue of the recruiting of people within the movement and then those not necessarily in the movement?
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i want to play one more clip. let's go back to "spies of mississippi." this includes a civil rights activist in mississippi since 1961. it starts with rick hours, author of the book "spies and mississippi." >> there are people who end up on both sides. if we could transport ourselves back to mississippi at that time, it was a confusing time. there were many shades on all the issues related to civil rights. >> we had a lot of people who the civil was no way rights movement could possibly win, so why not get on the winning side early? theher said, well, government asked me to do it, therefore, it has to be legal. the government doesn't do illegal things, does it." jerry mitchell, talk more
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about what they are saying. spies that arese hired by detective agencies. that is basically how the sovereignty commission was able to operate and keep one bit of distance, if that makes any sense, between them and the spies so the detective agencies reported back to them. they don't actually report the name of the spy in the file. that is the way they kind of operated and were able to pull this off. add, in the case of his to he volunteered services, which i know seems odd. but one of the reasons or motivation for some of these spies, was money. they were being paid. percy green was actually sent up
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north and paid to speak. he and other speakers like him would say things like, oh, we let mississippi, we love segregation, we love the way it is right now. the idea behind this is not just spies, but spreading propaganda, which, they were paid for. >> the pastors involved, a painful part of the story. tell us. reallyall influential pastor -- you have to remember at that time, it was difficult for african americans to get that kind of influence. it turns out he was providing information to the sovereignty commission and was being paid for it. it is as if jesse jackson were betraying the civil rights community today. that is how significant he was in the state of mississippi. i think it speaks to what jerry said, there's a particular kind
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of betrayal when your spiritual leader and a person everyone wants to emulate and look up to turns out to be an informant. >> what you hope to a congress with this film? outraged everyone is by finding out there were spies during a movement like the civil rights movement, that we all now agree [indiscernible] i really love the segment you just did. i think there is a time in history, these tactics are not new. the fourth the memo and the first amendment are not convenient. you cannot sometimes have democracy. these are actually enemies of our constitution and when those tactics are still happening today, we need to understand that history. >> we will do part two and posted online at, including the conversation between trey mitchell and early evers, the widow of mint grabbers. thank you to jerry mitchell and
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dawn porter. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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