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FBI files on investigation of Iowa City peace activists made public
David Goodner, a former member of the University of Iowa’s Antiwar Committee, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for files associated with an FBI surveillance of groups in Iowa City prior to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. What he discovered was the investigation was far more extensive than previously known.
Now, Goodner has turned over the files he received from the FBI exclusively to The Iowa Independent for publication.
As the documents show, the investigation into activities of peace groups in Iowa City involved staking out homes, secretly photographing and video taping members, digging through garbage and even planting a mole to spy on the peace activists up close. Known as the Wild Rose Rebellion, the protesters were described by the FBI as an “anarchist collective.” In an interview with The Des Moines Register, the FBI defended its actions.
Weysan Dun, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Omaha field office, which oversees Iowa and Nebraska, said in a statement that every investigative technique that was employed was authorized under guidelines established by the U.S. attorney general “and was deemed necessary to resolve the allegations.” …
Dun said the Iowa City investigation was warranted because of allegations that certain people were possibly going to engage in criminal activities to disrupt the national conventions of one or both major political parties.
The group’s plans were to help organize nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, such as street blockades, at the 2008 RNC convention. In an interview Monday with progressive radio host Ed Fallon, Goodner said the FBI investigation didn’t make sense.
“Nonviolent civil disobedience is as American as apple pie,” he said. “It’s what this country was founded on, it’s what every social movement in U.S. history has used to create a more just and democratic society. For the FBI to claim that peace organizers who were doing tried and true methods of civil disobedience were somehow domestic terrorist threats or threats to national security, it’s something that George Orwell didn’t imagine in his wildest dreams.”
Below are the FBI files pertaining to the Iowa City organization that were obtained by Goodner.