The Marv Davidov files: A life underneath surveillance

May 30, 2015 - storage organizer

Among Twin Cities assent activists, Marv Davidov was a long-time fixture. A proponent of pacifist proceed action, Davidov was heavily endangered in a civil-rights transformation and after actively opposite a Vietnam War by protests and pickets. Starting in a late 1960s, his anti-war activism focused on a Honeywell Corp. — afterwards a Minneapolis-based armaments manufacturer. Later in life, Davidov taught during a University of St. Thomas, though continued pacifist protests opposite invulnerability executive Alliant Techsystems, that was spun off from Honeywell in 1990.

Davidov’s genocide in 2012 presented an eventuality to inspect a communication between supervision notice and radical politics, aided in vast partial by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Once deceased, a subjects of sovereign supervision annals remove many remoteness protections afforded by sovereign law, and their annals turn permitted to a ubiquitous public. The supervision clarity nonprofit Public Record Media (PRM, of that we am owner and president) filed a FOIA ask for Davidov’s annals in Jan of 2012, and perceived a initial set of documents usually over 3 years later. The annals (obtained from a Federal Bureau of Investigation) yield a minute glance into how supervision notice and insubordinate politics interfaced over a 60-year period.

Watching Davidov

The fact that Marv Davidov had been underneath FBI notice was good documented, even during his lifetime. In a early 1980s, Davidov had been partial of a lawsuit opposite a FBI, that purported that a organisation had illegally surveilled him and other activists, and had sought to interrupt their domestic activities. The lawsuit resulted in ask releases indicating that Davidov had been a theme of supervision notice for many years.

Documents achieved by PRM yield additional sum about a border of a FBI’s courtesy to Davidov — courtesy that had started during slightest as early as 1961.

PRM’s ask cache highlights a minute filing complement that a supervision confirmed on certain domestic domestic activists during a 1960s and ’70s. Davidov’s name shows adult in anxiety to a array of index cards hold by a Criminal Division of a Department of Justice — cards that enclosed information collected by a FBI and other sovereign agencies.

The index cards tracked Davidov’s activities over mixed years, and embody all from mass protests to paltry undertakings. For instance, a cards note Davidov’s inclusion in a mailing lists of several insubordinate domestic groups such as “Californians for New Politics” and a “Fair Play for Cuba” cabinet that opposite a American embargo of Cuba. 

Hoover’s index

The FBI’s index label complement was a product of J. Edgar Hoover’s rarely sure supervision style, and grew out of his early years operative for a Library of Congress. Hoover’s concentration on radical politics stemmed from his reign underneath Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer during World War I. Palmer’s efforts to prosecute and expatriate anarchists during a fight years left an sense on Hoover, and shabby his subsequent, systematic business of domestic radicals.

Hoover’s concentration on insubordinate politics is evidenced by other files achieved by PRM’s ask — files that embody references to a Quaker American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). 1940s-era index cards underline a accumulation of claims about AFSC — including allegations that it was endangered in mail fraud, and that several members were unfamiliar agents. A 1943-era anxiety also indicates that a FBI endorsed terminating a services of AFSC responsible objectors employed during a Colorado River War Relocation Center (a Japanese-American internment camp) since their practice “may outcome in embarrassment” to a government.

Davidov arrested in 1965 Washington protests

References to Marv Davidov aspect again in mid-1960s FBI files, after Davidov had walked from Canada to Miami in antithesis to a Cuba embargo. A 1967 intelligence report [PDF] also annals that Davidov and 3 others were stopped by a Coast Guard off a seashore of Florida, reportedly en track to Cuba. The record states that a occurrence did not outcome in justification sufficient for a rapist prosecution.

Davidov is successive mentioned in several detain annals connected to sit-in protests [PDF] that occurred during a U.S. Capitol during a summer of 1965. The records [PDF] news that Davidov had unsuccessful to pierce when systematic by police, and that he was subsequently arrested and charged with unfinished conduct. 

According to a FBI’s files [PDF], notice of a anti-war eventuality was formed on information from a trusted informant. Unnamed sources also sensitive internal infantry that several demonstrators were planning [PDF] to burst a White House blockade in sequence to benefit opening to a presidential grounds. Police were offer told that still other protesters designed to rush a soap-box in a House of Representatives to make anti-war speeches.

The list of arrestees during a 1965 anti-war eventuality enclosed names that would expose adult around a criticism movements of a 1960s, including David Dellinger (spelled “Dollinger” in a files) who after warranted prominence as an organizer of a mass criticism of a 1968 Democratic convention. 

The Honeywell Project

By a late 1960s, Davidov’s activities were mostly centered around a Twin Cities area, where he was active in formulating protests opposite a Honeywell Corp. While anti-war protests flashed opposite a University of Minnesota campus, Davidov and several companions finished Honeywell a concentration of their efforts, fliering and picketing during a company’s Minneapolis headquarters, and entertainment repeated sit-in protests. Davidov’s concentration on Honeywell stemmed from a fact that a association constructed cluster bombs — air-dropped bidding that exploded into lethal, varied shards designed to widespread over a far-reaching area. Davidov’s organisation contended that a bombs were essentially used opposite municipal populations, and were nonessential as infantry weapons.

Davidov and his collaborators (including Sharon Vaughn, James Halley, Evan Stark and others) dubbed a ongoing criticism craving “The Honeywell Project.” Many of a index cards in a ask cache describe to a pacifist protests that occurred during a Honeywell campus, with dozens of such events lonesome by a FBI.

In a handful of instances, a cards exhibit rapist activity undertaken opposite corporate comforts outward of a Twin Cities. For instance, a index files exhibit bombings during Honeywell plants in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Portland, Oregon.

The FBI papers also embody files applicable to a Honeywell Corp. itself, including allegations of rapist bungle on a partial of a company. Index cards from DOJ’s rapist multiplication enclose allegations of “improper use of time, material, and equipment” by a association in tie with a supervision contract. Various purported etiquette violations, instances of fraud, and bootleg domestic contributions are also noted.

Davidov investigated for sabotage

Several FBI annals irradiate a agency’s viewpoint on a aims, plan and goals of a Honeywell Project. A 1976 minute from then-FBI Director Clarence Kelly states that a design of Davidov’s organisation was to “counter a inhabitant invulnerability bid by aggressive inhabitant invulnerability contracts and prolongation of invulnerability materials.” This viewpoint seemed to surprise a bureau’s proceed to Davidov and his associates around their interactions during a 1960s and ’70s.

FBI papers expose that a Honeywell Project mostly worked in and with an ecumenical faith classification called Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC). CALC members would infrequently coordinate directly with a Honeywell Project, and during other times would commence apart though interrelated actions.

During a 1972 anti-war plan meeting, CALC members motionless to accommodate with then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey to find his support for a relinquishment of bombing in Vietnam. According to FBI files, Davidov disagreed with a approach. Notes [PDF] from an clandestine adviser quote Davidov as observant that “discussions with Senators and Congressman had, over a years, valid fruitless.” Instead, Davidov hold that “a some-more thespian form of transformation was preferable.” 

Davidov proposed [PDF] appealing directly to plant workers by distributing printed fliers. The breeze calm urged workers to take an active step toward hostile a fight by unwell to arm cluster explosve munitions. The flier read, in part, “You can continue to collect adult your paycheck and attend in a sum effort. No one knows improved than we what creates munitions work. And no one knows improved than we what will make munitions not work. These munitions are not compulsory to strengthen remaining troops.” 

Subsequent to a plan meeting, Davidov and others placed [PDF] a novel on automobile windshields during a Twin Cities Honeywell facility. Based on a calm of a fliers, a Minneapolis FBI business opened [PDF] an review into either a defilement of a sovereign harm supervision had occurred. However, in Feb of 1974, FBI domicile advised [PDF] that “no offer inquisitive action” indispensable to be taken, and asked that a box be closed.

Honeywell shareholder protest

FBI annals account countless arrests during Honeywell protests, though few sincere acts of violence. One difference occurred in 1970, during a annual shareholders’ meeting.

Files prove that a shareholder criticism was a largest such eventuality to that point, with hundreds of participants involved. Toward a finish of a demonstration, a organisation of organisation rushed a front doorway of a Honeywell facility, though they were detered by infantry and corporate security. The organisation afterwards responded by hurling objects, effectively finale a proof as law coercion sparse a protesters.

In a issue of a violence, many Honeywell Project organizers voiced a faith that a agitators were clandestine provocateurs operative with law enforcement. Sharon Vaughn asserted as most in a 1980 lawsuit interrogatory, observant that “violent and mortal acts during anti-war demonstrations were perpetrated — as distant as we could see — by strangers to a formulation groups.”

For a part, a assault during a stockholders assembly underscored a FBI’s motive for surveilling a Honeywell Project. Documents prove that a organisation had prolonged been expecting a use of assault by Honeywell Project members, formed on a group’s publicly staid idea of crude cluster explosve production. According to annals created by FBI Special Agent David Barham, “Honeywell Project was investigated to determine [PDF, p. 16] either it was attempting, or would attempt, to grasp a purpose by bootleg means.”

Church Committee report

In 1976, a Star Tribune contributor called Marv Davidov to get his greeting to a news expelled by a Church Committee. The cabinet was an inquisitive row of a United States Senate convened to inspect supervision notice abuses and compared misdeeds. Its commentary enclosed revelations that American comprehension agencies had conducted warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. citizens, had intent in mind-control research, and had tormented and threatened a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among a saturated ancillary papers filed with a committee’s news was a minute from then-FBI Director Clarence Kelly to then-Rep. Donald Fraser that supposing an overview of a agency’s Honeywell Project investigation.

Kelly’s minute staid that a Minneapolis margin business was providing FBI information to paid informants within Davidov’s group, and was also furnishing information about a Honeywell Project to a trusted source within Honeywell itself, in sequence to assistance a association equivocate “corporate embarrassment.”

Lawsuit opposite a FBI

In a arise of a Church Committee report, Davidov and others filed fit opposite a FBI, seeking indemnification stemming from a government’s purported domestic targeting of a group. The box was rubbed by polite rights profession Ken Tilsen, who had also been active with other insubordinate and populist causes, including a American Indian Movement.

The FBI’s ask recover contains poignant batches of element from a lawsuit, including a array of interrogatories — a grave sets of questions that attorneys offer on parties to accumulate information. The interrogatories finished by Davidov and other plaintiffs yield a minute demeanour during romantic life in a 1960s, and embody mixed allegations of supervision misconduct.

Allegations of supervision intimidation

One common explain that runs around a interrogatories involves a use of danger to suppress criticism organizers and their aims. In some cases, a plaintiffs purported that vigour was practical to veteran colleagues or impending employers. James Halley — afterwards employed as an associate highbrow of prolongation during a University of Minnesota — indicated that comparison expertise members during a university had been sensitive about his domestic activities by persons unknown. Halley also remarkable that one highbrow had asked him to hindrance his domestic actions.

Similar stories were compared by criticism organizer Evan Stark. Stark taught in a sociology dialect during a U of M, and listed mixed instances [PDF] where he was told that sovereign agents had visited comparison expertise members to tell them that Stark was a “dangerous revolutionary.” Stark wrote of his faith that a withdrawal of a betrothed educational pursuit was compared to a episodes. Stark also perceived materials from a FBI (via a FOIA) that enclosed memos [PDF] referencing several “counter-intelligence” operations to be achieved opposite Stark.

Anonymous write threats also underline prominently in a interrogatories. Marv Davidov compared that he perceived “threatening phone calls” [PDF] whenever he was mentioned in news coverage. Likewise, Davidov associate Mollie Babizie mentioned threats telephoned in to a mom of dual brothers — Keith and Greg Filion — who were active with a group. According to Babizie, Dorothy Filion was contacted by an FBI representative and told that her sons would be in “considerable trouble [PDF] if they did not watch their anti-war activities.”

Allegations of break-ins and eavesdropping

Virtually all of a interrogatories filed by a plaintiffs enclosed tales of suspected telephonic eavesdropping [PDF]. Most commonly, a plaintiff’s described “clicking” or “static” listened on phone lines during their conversations about domestic matters. 

Likewise, roughly any plaintiff reported break-ins during residences or places where a Honeywell Project operated. Files were allegedly disrupted [PDF]; materials were stolen. In one instance, mimeograph machines were reportedly broken [PDF]. Sharon Vaughn’s interrogatory contains sum about a 1970-era break-in that occurred during her home when she was absent. Vaughn staid that her home was entered during approximately 1:30 a.m. by an antagonist “wearing gloves with coronet knuckles.” According to Vaughn, a antagonist exceedingly kick her mother-in-law on a face and head, and pennyless several facial skeleton that compulsory reconstructive surgery.

Impact on protesters

Each plaintiff hold that a government’s purported bungle caused them some demeanour of financial, element or romantic hardship. Marv Davidov remarkable a pernicious outcome that a use of clandestine agents had on his domestic organizing. “Informants within an classification are some-more mortal than electronic notice or personal harassment,” he wrote. “They make dishonesty instead of trust a primary assumption.”

Plaintiff Evan Stark staid that a FBI’s actions directly affected [PDF] his domestic activity as he became some-more wakeful of a inspection he was undergoing. To that point, his interrogatory compared a following story:

“In 1972, in Mama Rosa’s Pizza Parlor in Minneapolis, we met a male who told me that he had worked for Army Intelligence, reserved to me, from 1968-1970, and during this time had finished a array of attempts to forestall my securing practice or being politically effective in my work. He also told me he had proceed believe that a FBI had been intent in identical activities during this period. He also told me he wanted me to be wakeful of what he had finished before he presented this information publicly to a Senate (or Congressional) questioning committee. we had no offer hit or believe of him.”

Stark remarkable that by a mid-1970s, he was mostly divorced from domestic activity. To support his claim, he remarkable that FBI materials he achieved by a successive FOIA ask indicated that his turn of “political activity was so low” that his record was sealed in 1974.

FBI response to lawsuit

FBI files enclosed in a Church Committee news anxiety an unclear organisation that “helped” Davidov’s Honeywell Project — a organisation that espoused aroused means to accomplish a goals. In serve to seeking damages, Davidov’s lawsuit directed to expose a temperament of that sold group.

Interrogatories finished by FBI crew do not solve a temperament doubt lifted by Davidov’s suit, though they do divulge other information. For instance, a organisation endorsed that it used paid informants to penetrate Davidov’s group. However, it funded all information about a temperament of those specific individuals.

FBI interrogatories directly denied [PDF] some allegations finished by a plaintiffs — such as a use of warrantless eavesdropping to surveil Honeywell Project members. In other instances, organisation crew avoided responding questions on technical drift — objecting to questions as being outward a range of a lawsuit — or else claiming that no manageable documents [PDF] existed.

In some of a interrogatories, FBI agents claimed that memory lapses prevented them from responding sold questions. For example, FBI representative Richard Held certified meaningful Fred Clary of a Honeywell Corporation in both a “social and professional” capacity, though could not remember carrying conversations with him about Marv Davidov or other plaintiffs. Likewise, when Held served as Special Agent in Charge of a Minneapolis office, he staid that he attended quarterly meetings of a “intelligence village in Minneapolis,” though could not remember carrying discussions about about a plaintiffs.

Lawsuit’s termination

The Honeywell Project lawsuit continued until Apr of 1985, during that prove a box was settled. Honeywell and a supervision certified no wrongdoing, and equally common a $70,000 allotment costs.

The lawsuit papers paint a design of FBI notice during a agency’s COINTELPRO — or “counterintelligence” — epoch of a 1960s and ’70s. COINTELPRO was a J. Edgar Hoover beginning designed to proactively interrupt domestic activity he deemed to be damaging to inhabitant interests. The program’s existence was extensively documented by a Church Committee and other inquisitive bodies of a era. In a arise of a Church report, U.S. Attorney General Edward Levi instituted changes to inquisitive guidelines, including a serve of a rapist speculate threshold for opening investigations.

Scalia, other important total seem in records

Several important total in American politics make appearances in a FBI ask cache. For instance, former CIA executive William Webster is referenced in a Davidov files, where he appears as a suspect in a Honeywell lawsuit. At a time of a lawsuit, Webster was a executive of a FBI.

A 1978 confirmation of Mary C. Lawton of a Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) remarkable that OLC hold one record compared to a Honeywell Project. That ask was a 1976 chit from Antonin Scalia entitled “Correspondence Concerning Honeywell Project.” At a time, Scalia was an partner profession ubiquitous within OLC. He was allocated to a United States Supreme Court in 1986, where he now serves as an associate justice.

Finally, a FBI files note that Marion Barry supposing an FBI special representative with a temperament of a internal coordinator for a 1965 “Washington Summer Action” protests during that Marv Davidov was arrested. At a time, Barry was a staff executive of a Washington, D.C., business of a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil-rights organization. He was after inaugurated mayor of Washington.

Later life, additional surveillance

The Honeywell Project continued to exist around a years of Honeywell weapons production, and was rarely active during a 1980s when a association constructed barb superintendence systems and other ordnance. Davidov’s organisation garnered visit headlines by a detain of high-profile criticism participants including Erica Bouza, mother of then-Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza.

Honeywell eventually spun-off a weapons prolongation operations to Alliant Techsystems, that was also located in a Twin Cities. By a late 1990s, Davidov (then in his 70s) was training part-time during a University of St. Thomas, in a Justice and Peace studies program. During that period, Davidov continued his proceed transformation protests opposite Alliant, mostly in and with nuns from a Sisters of Saint Joseph [PDF] priory and a accumulation of tyro protesters.

2005 Alliant Techsystems protests

Based on a FBI’s files, a organisation seemed to take a renewed interest [PDF] in Davidov’s activities around 2005. Starting in Jan of that year, agents began filing surveillance reports [PDF] compared to “Alliant Action” (AA) Davidov’s Alliant Techsystem-focused criticism group. As with his Honeywell organization, Davidov finished visit open statements about a group’s goal to hindrance weapons prolongation by Alliant Techsystems, as good as equally visit statements that AA was a pacifist organization. An FBI counterterrorism report [PDF] from this duration remarkable that “nonviolent might have a opposite definition in a context of a approach a organisation chooses to use a term.”

FBI reports [PDF] from this duration chronicled a array of AA protests regulating several plan — blockading doors during sit-in arrests; portrayal physique outlines on a ground; laying flowers on a association doorstep. In a Jan 2005 report, a trusted source quoted [PDF] Davidov as observant that “corporations usually know violence.” In that same report, a source also remarkable that protesters could be listened expressing their faith that a classification indispensable to “raise a profile.”

A news from Feb of a same year remarkable that demonstrators were overheard formulating skeleton to take over and occupy offices within a corporate headquarters. The report’s author offer wrote that, “Minneapolis is endangered that this information might be demonstrative of a group’s goal to dedicate offer assault to grasp a objective.”

Reports [PDF] offer indicated that both a FBI and Alliant Techsystems were endangered about younger protesters display adult wearing “Earth Liberation Front” shirts and (in one instance) black masks. A burglary during Alliant Techsystems (the theme of a apart FBI investigation) seemed to coax additional concerns.

FBI assigns some-more agents

In Mar of 2005, a organisation seemed to be assigning additional resources toward a notice of Alliant Action. For instance, annals expose that a business not usually surveilled a protests themselves, though also stationed additional agents during a Bakers Square grill where demonstrators hold a morning dish after any of their protests.

By late spring, a FBI was filing reports that showed anomalous trends and analysis. On Apr 27, an representative reported that AA protests no longer contained most calm compared to Alliant Techsystems, and surmised [PDF] that a organisation “may be fracturing and losing direction.”

A few weeks later, an FBI report [PDF] remarkable that a pointer during Alliant’s categorical opening had been vandalized with red mist paint — paint that spelled out a word “Killers.” According to a report, “the word choice, rhetoric, and a character of desolation appears synonymous with a graffiti and plan of a Earth Liberation Front.”

By June, FBI files indicated that agents were concentrating their efforts on specific, unnamed individuals. Surveillance reports filed in Jun of 2005 expose that agents followed a aim from an AA criticism into South Minneapolis. A week later, FBI agents followed [PDF] an particular from an AA criticism to a storage strew in Edina, and afterwards to Southdale Mall and a Best Buy store.

Reports filed over a summer and tumble of 2005 chronicled several cases of tamper by AA members, sit-in arrests, and instances in that protesters hold wooden crosses [PDF] outward of a categorical Alliantech gate. One news remarkable that a specific protester certified to being a member of ELF, and of carrying defaced a “We Support Our Troops” pointer during an undisclosed location.

FBI categorizes Alliant Action as nonviolent 

By Nov of 2005, a FBI had been surveilling Alliant Action on a weekly basement for roughly a year. A report [PDF] from Nov. 16 resolved that formed on “the consistent notice of AA’s weekly protests, (the agency) determines a protesters belong to their creed of nonviolence” and sought to foster their means in a peaceful manner.

Despite this, FBI notice continued, with additional margin reports filed in late November. Dates on a final papers constructed by a FBI prove that a business was collecting [PDF] news clippings about a protests into Jan of 2006.

The final news writing on Alliant Action came from a news filed by a Star Tribune, when a paper was covering a change in an Edina bidding compared to a protests. According to a Star Tribune story, Edina reduced a assign compared with trespassing to a sparse misdemeanor, so shortening a analogous penalties as well. Alliant Action protester David Harris was quoted in a article, observant that due to a change, “it’s unfit to get taken to jail.”

Getting taken to jail was never a problem for Marv Davidov, however. As remarkable in his Star Tribune obituary, he was taken into infantry control between 40 and 50 times during a march of this life.

Marv Davidov died on Jan. 14, 2012, during Walker Methodist Health Center.

Matt Ehling is a St. Paul-based author and media writer who is active in supervision clarity and burden efforts. He is a boss of a clarity nonprofit Public Record Media.

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