Source: SOA Watch
For a decade, the FBI, flagrantly abused its counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists with the aim of closing the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (now renamed) and ending the U.S. role in the militarization of Latin America.
Hundreds of pages of documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, on behalf of SOAW, once again reveal the FBI’s functioning as a political surveillance and intelligence operation and its use of its domestic terrorism authority against peaceful protest in the United States.
SOAW organizes annual protests in Fort Benning, Ga., the site where the U.S. Army has trained many of the military leaders and dictators in Latin America who were responsible for massacres of opposition forces and the creation of torture centers, among other crimes against humanity. The training at the SOA is ongoing and the graduates of the institute continue to engage in extrajudicial executions and the repression of social movements in countries like Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Mexico.
SOAW’s mission and proven track record are peaceful. Yet the FBI deployed its “domestic terrorism” resources, reported to the “Counterterrorism Unit” and reached out to the Miami Domestic Intelligence Terrorism Squad. It used confidential informants inside the movement to collect information. The FBI’s headquarters and counter-terrorism units were requested to provide the FBI’s Field Office in Atlanta with “all intelligence relevant to the SOA, so that this information can be provided to local/military law enforcement agencies.”