"We 've taken it on behalf of ourselves to get to the bottom of this," Gerry Weber, 41, Legal Director for the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, said. "We have compiled a report on the spying we 've seen so far. Protesters have been spied upon, videotaped, and infiltrated. The government had no legal justification for this spying. We 've only seen the tip of the iceberg."
US Representative Lofgren 's office has advised Atlanta Progressive News that the Pentagon has tentatively scheduled an initial briefing on January 31, 2006, with her office to respond to her recent letter regarding the spying on protesters.
US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was himself a victim of unwarranted FBI surveillance as a civil rights leader, issued this statement: "It is unreal. The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition (GPJC) and other peace activists in Atlanta are working to build pockets of the Beloved Community in America. These domestic spying programs seem to clearly violate the right to privacy protected by the U.S. Constitution... These actions must be completely and extensively investigated... Those who are responsible should be made fully accountable."
US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is extremely concerned about the issue as well, Press Assistant Kaia Shivers, told Atlanta Progressive News (APN).
"The protests that we have evidence of spying of, are all peace groups, those who oppose the Administration 's policies," Weber responded to a press question from APN. "We have not heard of a case where a pro-war group was spied upon."
Three categories of documents were released. It is now clear the government has spied on (1) vegans with signs, (2) a protest medic, and (3) the protest actions around the G8 Summit.
First, the ACLU has released pages of reports and color photos assembled by the DeKalb County Police Department of a vegan protest against animal cruelty at a local Honey Baked Ham Store.
The second category of ACLU documents show that Jeanette Helen Windsor (aka Tabitha Chase), was approached and interviewed by the FBI last year regarding her plans to visit Iraq (plans which were later cancelled).
The third category of documents is a dossier of meticulously collected schedules, emails, and internet postings regarding the G8 Summit, provided by the State of Georgia.
But, getting back to the Pentagon spying on vegans. It 's difficult to imagine a more nonthreatening protest than vegans holding signs promoting the welfare of animals.
"Yes I saw mine [my file]... The ACLU sent me a page and a half, they [FBI] redacted everything else," Jeanette Windsor, 28, told Atlanta Progressive News in a phone interview.
"It 's obviously completely unwarranted," Windsor said.