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Caught! Condi's State Dept. Found Spying on Peace Fellowship

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Headlined to H2 12/17/08

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In a stunning waste of your tax dollars, the State Dept. has been found to have spied on emails between an American human rights advocacy group and their Bogotá, Columbia partners after they compiled documentation of state sponsored brutality and disappearances. But it gets worse - email intercepts may have led to the break-in and seizure of computers in which this evidence was stolen, suggesting the U.S. government could have played a role in tipping off Columbian government thugs that the humanitarian agency had evidence on them.

plea went out today from the Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation, an international peace advocacy organization with a 94 year history and branches in 40 countries. In part:

In 2005, we informed FOR supporters that more than 10,000 pages of FBI files had been released to us, documenting decades of surveillance of the organization. Now, we have just learned that for two full years - since December 2006 - our Latin America program has been targeted and monitored by state agents. Specifically, the e-mail messages intercepted include FOR communication in the US and with Colombia.

This covert action is a direct violation of our right to privacy as a humanitarian activist organization. 

We've also learned that the Colombian military paid for computer hard drives "of interest to intelligence" agencies. The June 2007 break-in and stealing of FOR's Bogotá office computers containing sensitive files on our work with members of Colombian peace communities may have been a direct result of this state-sanctioned surveillance.

FOR is meeting this attack on civil rights by calling on U.S. and Colombian officials for a full investigation, sanctioning of officials responsible, and the erasure of intercepts. Join us in exposing this militaristic intervention. Click here to write to the State Department's chief for human rights concerns.

Also of deep concern is the possibility that this State Dept. email surveillance program inappropriately uses government resources to spy on political critics. Going beyond Nixonian paranoia, the timing and the advanced knowledge of the location and sensitivity of the data on the computers stolen from the ransacked Bogotá office suggests the thieves may have been told exactly what was there: names of perpetrators of violent attacks highlighting collusion between Colombian military, high-level civilian officials and paramilitary factions. 

FOR has stood against US aid to the corrupted Columbian government, compiling records while offering protection to threatened nationals.

 

President Bush has notoriously sought to strengthen ties with anti-labor elements in Columbia, drafting a highly unpopular so-called "free trade" deal which critics say is all a ruse to channel funding to officials and business leaders in the region who oppose Hugo Chavez. This was cemented during a Congressional junket to Medellin led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January, 2008 just days before Bush's trade deal was announced.

 

(OpEdNews Contributing Editor since October 2006) Inner city schoolteacher from New York, mostly covering media manipulation. I put election/finance reform ahead of all issues but also advocate for fiscal conservatism, ethics in journalism and (more...)
 
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And so the Dirty War continues and the blood stain... by William Whitten on Thursday, Dec 18, 2008 at 6:15:13 PM