Who Occupied the Occupy Movement?

220px-Day_60_Occupy_Wall_Street_November_15_2011_Shankbone_43Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

If you are like me, you remember the violent response by the FBI, DHS and local police forces to the many “Occupy” movement protests last Fall.  In those protests, the police used incredible force and firepower to break up peaceful protests and make a mockery of the First Amendment.  The police responses always seemed to be coordinated from city to city and there were allegations that the FBI and other governmental agencies were aiding the local authorities in stamping down the First Amendment rights of the Occupy protestors.  Now, a treasure trove of documents was released pursuant to a Freedom of Information request by a group called The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.  Those documents expose a level of governmental intrusion into the privacy of protestors and governmental and private bank partnerships designed to crack down on legal protestors.

“It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.” Guardian

When we have discussed how the banks and the wealthy have purchased politicians in order to obtain friendly tax treatment for their companies and themselves we may have lost sight of just how much these “too big to jail” banks are also in bed with the Government and various police agencies. When the Citizens United decision gave the corporations and wealthy carte blanche authority to pour huge sums of money into the election process, we may have missed other strings that some of those same corporations are pulling.

“The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”..”  Guardian

Does it surprise you that the portions of the documents where alleged threats of assassinations of OWS leaders were discussed were redacted and the leaders who were “targeted” are left in the dark as to who is targeting them?  Will this hint of sniper threats actually act as a deterrent to free speech and peaceful assembly?  Was that redaction and the alleged deterrent intentional on the part of the government?

When anyone opines about the huge amount of personal information that banks hold and control and the problems associated with that, I wonder if anyone ever imagined that this information could be used to curtail our First Amendment rights?  It is no longer a tin foil hat conspiracy theory that the government is in bed with corporations.  These documents prove that the government actually coordinated the police response to the peaceful protests with information from the corporations and their private security organizations.

Naomi Wolff, the author of the Guardian article linked above claims that is now clear that all of the militarizing of police forces was meant to stop all of us from finding out just how the Big Banks and corporations are breaking the law.  “Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.”

They are coming to get you and “they” are a government/corporation partnership that is designed to protect their assets and prevent any citizen from blowing the whistle on their evil entanglement.  After reading these damning documents, how can anyone be surprised that the wealthy are ready to hold the country’s economic health hostage to protect their tax breaks?  The tax rate issue just may just be the tip of the iceberg.  They are after much, much more than just a few percentage points in a tax rate.  If the Occupy Movement can be considered double secret terrorists, none of us are safe.  Do you feel safe?

100 thoughts on “Who Occupied the Occupy Movement?

  1. Larry,

    Great job and valuable information. In the past I’ve written about staving off a dictatorship of the “Corporate Elite”, with this I can no longer deny that it is already here. What exactly was the major threat this program was dealing with………..the truth perhaps?

  2. I’m glad you hit this topic, raff. It was one I had been considering until the Newtown wind blew through the news landscape. It’s important that people realize the draconian tactics used against people exercising their free speech rights by those in power who have everything to loose if their sand castles are pulled down around their venal corrupt power mongering ears by a public fed up with the inequity created by those who think they are above the law. In a truly just world, half of Wall Street would be in prison right now as well as a large number of our current and recent political leadership.

    That is something that should not be forgotten, let alone forgiven.

  3. I can only speak on Madison, Wi. I don’t rely on the press since as GeneH eloquently wrote earlier today, they’re basically horseshit. Being a a walker, I would often[~ 30 times] walk past the occupy encampment in Madison. It was almost exclusively homeless and people w/ serious psychological problems. They were often incoherent. I did not approach these folks as an adversary but as an ally. There rhetoric was incoherent @ best, crazy @ worst. I was offered drugs and alcohol routinely. That is in NO WAY disparaging, but hopefully edifying. And..I like “different.” My favorite flicks are about “different” people ala To Kill a Mockingbird, Cuckoo’s Nest, Harvey, Edward Scissorhands, etc. I combine my personal investigation w/ a hilarious and disturbing piece done by a reporter for the Daily Show[the Englishman..I forget his name] on the NYC Occupy people and I respond to this post w/ WTF??

    Madison, which is the Berkley of the midwest, has gotten fed up w/ these hooligans. If anyone here has actually gone to an Occupy site, I would be interested in your experience.

  4. It is a shameful Nixonian misconduct that should be investigated by a special prosecutor. And despite my political position, I seek the impeachment of those involved, including Obama

  5. Anybody believe that we have a chance against this oppression?

    They say that the end justifies the means. But if the end is our end and the Constitution is a paper to wipe your bum on, well are we not aware that massive demonstrations are our next move.

    Any volunteers.

    BTW, OT observation, today say EU economists that USA is goiing into a depression, and we will follow, since EU already took its cuts in welfare etc. and is dependint on US dollar loans, Sweden included. And it is in our case the banks are not taking the costs, we are. Up for discussion at our FED.

    Happy New Year. 2 minutes past 12AM here.

  6. When Eisenhower warned us to beware the “military-industrial complex,” I wonder if he could have envisioned the lengths to which the “Power Elite” would go to achieve its various, too-often totalitarian aims. Perhaps if we were better historians and actually had learned from the past, we could have prevented this Fascist ideology, strategies, and tactics from trampling on our basic our freedoms. No, probably not..

  7. nick, My husband went to one, but he no longer posts here. ;) I think they started out well but some of the sites changed. Their intentions were honorable, and they gave the American people an awareness of the 1% which hopefully will be their legacy.

  8. Thank you Larry for covering this and, yes, shame, shame on our (supply your own adjective) media . The jackboots are out and they are in service of the 1% with the servile complicity of the feds. I view this in light of the civilized discussion below (relating to taxes, the French experience, etc) of how we should be oh so solicitous of the feelings of our betters (the 1%) and not be mad or vengeful of them because they took all the money. When one juxtaposes that call for rationality against the evident conspiracy to beat down dissent . . . well I lose patience with that equation that calls for my restraint while knowing full well we are being sucked dry as a democracy by the ‘plutocrats’ and their lackeys, including the government of the United States of America.

    Here’s another look at parts of this story from Emptywheel. Regarding redaction of notes:

    “But FBI redacted all these endnotes as a b(7)(E) exemption, which allows FBI to hide techniques used in law enforcement investigations.

    “These are–at least according to the claims in the document–public websites (and would have to be to be permissible under preliminary investigation rules). And yet, the FBI refuses to tell us on which public websites these claimed suggestions were made.

    “Probably, because that would show that FBI is using the timeworn “investigation techniques” of “drawing illogical conclusions from public claims” and “just making shit up” to invent the reason to use First Amendment activities as the predicate for an investigation.”

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/12/26/dear-fbi-show-your-work/

    One asks, e.g., of our Senators and Reps., ‘where’s the outrage?’

  9. This article is fascinating, but it is decades late. The FBI, DHS, Secret Service, (Federal Government) etc has been infiltrating and dissolving groups or movements since the early 1900s (some historians believe that our government has been doing this before the 1900s). Your question of whether or not we should feel safe is something to ponder. We are safe if we follow ‘their (wealthy) formal and informal rules’. Unless the American people accept the fact that our democracy is an oligarchy, then we will always have movements, like the occupy wall street, civil rights, women rights, etc. Once we accept this fact, then we, the people, will be able to stand up against this oligarchy. However, we, the people, doesn’t even exist. We are a nation divided and-as the old saying goes-we are easy to be conquered by the wealthy or anyone else. Here is a typical example of how we are supposed to follow the rules:

    A walmart associate told me that they (walmart employees) didn’t receive their 4th quarter bonus (averaging between $150-$350 per quarter) due to their store not reaching their sales goals, non-accident goals, etc. However, Fortune magazine published a list of the wealthy americans with 4 or 5 members of the Walton Family (walmart founders and majority share holders) net worth for 2012 is roughly $23-$28 billion for each individual Walton Family member. However, noone wants to talk about it at the store. Follow the rules, and hope to get your bonuses next year, if you don’t like it then, quit. How would the walton family make their billions if every walmart employee quit? And Walmart had an average of $10 billion in profits the past few years, and now, according to this employee,they are raising the health insurance premiums and co-pays?

  10. Do I feel safe? No!
    It is interesting to note that this reporting is coming from The Guardian, a British newspaper. Our journalists are so afraid of this group that if they touch this story at all it will look like the conspiracy was Occupy Wall Street’s fault.

    As the documents prove speaking truth to power has become even more dangerous in this country that we ever thought and it was being done during the Obama administration. Shame on Obama and his head of Homeland security for selling out the Constitution and the citizens of this country.

    As to who made up OWS, I visited the group in NY. The mix of people was exactly what you would expect: intense young people, some college students, some unemployed college graduates, some young disaffected drifters; older people retired people, union workers, some off duty fire fighters, a smattering of professionals; tourists both foreign and domestic; and, police, lots of police and I was there on a very quite day. The encampment had its own library, its own medical tent and,when I was there, its own band. Where there a few eccentrics, sure but nothing threatening.

    The sad thing is that many young people avoided becoming involved because they feared arrest and a criminal record for exercising their constitutional rights. They had too much to lose.

  11. I wonder how much investigating they did on the tea party? I’m sure they did but didn’t need to use it because the media was so against them. How many positive articles on the tea party did you read vs. OWS? Police were more afraid of something the media was supportive of…I wonder why?

  12. Justice,
    You are correct that it is interesting that the Guardian reported it. Thank you for clarifying the record concerning the honor of the Occupy members.
    RWL,
    I am shocked that Wal Mart may be screwing its employees! :)

  13. Also in the Guardian is Glenn Greenwald’s column. This from section 4) of the link:

    “obviously disturbing as it is, none of this should be surprising. Virtually every seized power justified over the last decade in the name of “terrorism” has been applied to a wide range of domestic dissent. The most significant civil liberties trend of the last decade, in my view, is the importation of War on Terror tactics onto US soil, applied to US citizens – from the sprawling Surveillance State and powers of indefinite detention to the para-militarization of domestic police forces and the rapidly emerging fleet of drones now being deployed in countless ways. As I’ve argued previously, the true purpose of this endless expansion of state power in the name of “terrorism” is control over anticipated domestic protest and unrest.

    “It should be anything but surprising that the FBI – drowning in counter-terrorism money, power and other resources – will apply the term “terrorism” to any group it dislikes and wants to control and suppress (thus ushering in all of the powers institutionalized against “terrorists”). Those who supported (or acquiesced to) this expansion of unaccountable government power because they assumed it would only be used against Those Muslims not only embraced a morally warped premise (I care about injustices only if they directly affect me), but also a factually false one, since abuses of power always – always – expand beyond their original application.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/26/drones-yemen-fbi-occupy-terrorism

  14. i seem to recall several stories of leo’s transporting or otherwise encouraging homeless/street people to hang out with occupy groups.

    and no, i can’t supply links at this time. i’m trying to reboot another computer (not this one) with the help of three cats and a dog. (two of the cats are no help at all).

    hardware i can deal with, software sux

  15. DonS,

    Outrage followed courage down the Patriot Act hole.

    RWL,

    The ranks would be filled within 24 hours. That used to be called scabbing, now it is survival by holding two jobs per parent.

    I think the banks etc should be forcefully nationalized like Norway did in 1934 when their 4 largest banks threatened to croak. Yeah, finance support if you hand over the reins to the socialist government.

  16. Should we be surprised by anything in a nation that is about to start determining the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security on the theory that if hamburger becomes too expensive for seniors to afford, they will switch to cat food- and therefore need less money from Social Security?

    “Chained CPI” my ass! Just another name for the same old “Screw The Poor” policies of the Congress, Supreme Court, and yes, the President of the United States that some of you just voted for. Is it any wonder that the banks can use the full power of the U.S. Government to protect their turf?

  17. idealist707 1, December 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Anybody believe that we have a chance against this oppression?
    ====================================================
    This is the typical cycle.

    In this situation we have to wait until the animal dies. That means surviving its ugly death, which won’t get any prettier.

    Resist, but focus on coming out the other side rather than stopping it.

  18. Hate to keep bringing up the past, but Russ Baker’s book is still keeping me entranced about the Bushes et al.

    Remember Watergate. One of the cuban burglars had an uncashed check signed by a CIA advisor in the Nixon White House. Almost the smoking gun. Why it was a CIA advisor is not explained. I guess he was expendable and John Dean was not.

    When he was in, his wife got antsy and threatened to reveal what he had told her and what she herself know as a CIA employee previously.

    She was killed along with ca 68 others in a plane crash on the approach to Chicago, shortly after. Couldn’t they fix her some other way?

    Hubby went on to say on his death bed to his son, that he was involved directly in the JFK murder and knew of others, but did not reveal what he knew.

    Thread? They have been manipulating us at least since 1917, And even prior to that. But no facts on the latter.

  19. Dredd,

    FDR was a traitor to his class, just as our Olof Palme was.
    Olof was murdered by a bum or a police/military right wing action.
    FDR died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Easy to achieve administer in the form of overdose of blood thinners, known then.

    FDR help my mom and millions of others survive with his New Deal.
    And we could war and borrow our way out ot the depression when WW2 started.

    Concentrate on surviving the cycle. What says that this is a cycle?
    And what says there is a better world waiting on the other side?
    Let’s all get religion, then heaven waits. So said my dad.

    Obama is nothing but a figurehead and a puppet.

    New Palmes and FDRs don’t come often, who know the ropes and can pull them for our sake.

    Keep on breathing. Yeah, do that. Maybe the Israelis will sling a nuke at WashDC.

  20. idealist707 1, December 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Dredd,

    Concentrate on surviving the cycle. What says that this is a cycle?
    ====================================================
    It is the empire cycle.

    A nation grows into an empire.

    Then it dies.

    Once came Babylon. There are still Iraqis tending their flocks and vineyards.

    Afterwards, came Medo-Persia. There are still Iranians tending their flocks and vineyards.

    Afterwards, came Greco-Macedonia. There are still Grecians tending their flocks and vineyards.

    Afterwards, came Romans. There are still Italians tending their flocks and vineyards.

    Afterwards, came the British. There are still English folk tending their flocks and vineyards.

    Afterwards, came the USA. There hopefully will still be Americans tending their flocks and vineyards after it goes.

  21. SWM, I can certainly understand why your spouse doesn’t comment here. I remember him commenting a month or two back and being appalled @ the rancor. My first encounter w/ the Occupy Madison group was ~1 month after it started and then pretty regular after that. I wanted to get a primary source on this history, and it was not @ all impressive. I won’t question the motives, only relate the reality. I have to believe any intellectually honest person would have basically the same experience I did. That’s why I commented, I would like some other primary sources and see if there are any different experiences.

  22. Well Well, a group of governmental and non-governmental entities working together in secret to deny basic Constitutional rights to Americans. Targeting individuals and hurting them without affording either due process or common human decency. Strange. Weird. Bizarre. Would one call it conspiracy, if one were not (of course) a “conspiracy theorist”? I dunno. Let me think on that…

    It is such a peculiar phenomenon that I don’t know how to evaluate it. I mean, it’s neither fish nor fowl. Is it like a state court judge sitting in equity asking a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to issue a warrant that has no probable cause statement to accomplish an interstate goal of achieving a UFAP warrant that can be used in other states and then having a federal judge cooperate in an effort to make sure nothing untoward happens because after all there is no jurisdiction? Naw, that doesn’t seem right.

    What we should do is find these OWS protestors who think they were beaten, grabbed up, hurt, violated, and deprived of their rights, and we should let them know that they weren’t, and that they have gotten it all wrong, and that if they keep thinking all those things happened, they’re in danger of losing touch with reality.

    After all, we know better. We know, “THEY CAN’T DO THAT!” We know our rights.

  23. Nick S says ” I would like some other primary sources and see if there are any different experiences”

    We heard you the first time. What, not enough attention?

  24. BTW, OT observation, today say EU economists that USA is goiing into a depression, ~Id
    ———————oh puleeze….they are a little late to that party…..I’m just wondering when the frightened 2% are going to realize the prson they have built for themselves……and what they think will happen when they have all the $$$$$? Do they really think it will be worth a dam thing when they have it all out of circulation???? I believe it was Margaret Atwood that so aptly said, ” Debt is real, money is the illusion…”….
    [Plus, I really do resent the subsidy that we grant Walmart….]

  25. Woosty’s, your comment is right in line with Dredd, with regard to cycles. Once the people are “brought down to zero” (John Prine) they have no place to go but up. The 2%, who knows?

  26. I have to believe any intellectually honest person would have basically the same experience I did. That’s why I commented, I would like some other primary sources and see if there are any different experiences.~Nick Spinelli
    —————-
    Are you saying that your experience of 1 encampment in the Madison area is a representative sample of the movement that is not just National but Global in scope? And that your personal experience would be the standard representation of an ‘intellectually honest’ statistical anchor?
    ….i’d like some scientific background on that source….

  27. Wootsy, As stated in my comment @ 5:55p, “I can only speak on Madison, Wi.” I went on to say, I would like other first hand accounts from other sites. Why the surliness? Wootsy, Fartindog, do you have any experiences, I really want to know. I’m terribly sorry my account and experience doesn’t comport w/ your view, hopes or dreams. So..on what is your view based upon? What really astounded me is that in the numerous times I visited Occupy Madison I only met a handful of students. You need to realize UW is a very liberal campus. The fact that there were few students present[I spoke w/ none my last dozen or so visits] was really surprising to me. Finally, Wootsy I made no assertions other than Madison and the secondary source of The Daily Show report from Occupy NYC. Read the transcript.

  28. rafflaw,

    Great article! Isn’t it interesting that some of the folks who claim to hate the government/government power don’t seem to mind when federal agencies go after protesters like those involved in OWS?

  29. Nick, I’m not ‘surly’ or rancorous….but you make Occupy sound like a handful of scruffy lost boys when it has a Global footprint and is a substantial movement. I get it that your immediate experience is limited, but really…

  30. Obama was bound to win. He can get away with stuff that Romney could only dream about. He’s taken all the hijinks of Bush and escalated them. It’s no surprise to me about the coordination efforts and the parties that were part of it.

  31. I am aware of first hand reports of the good reputation of OWS in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh city council passed a resolution of support. The same thing happened in Cleveland.

  32. We just sent a check to Occupy Supply, in support of Sandy Relief, which has been apparently doing exemplary work in the NE.

  33. “However, we, the people, doesn’t even exist. We are a nation divided and-as the old saying goes-we are easy to be conquered by the wealthy or anyone else.” (RWL)

    It all started back with the 3/5ths rule.

    Every generation has to part the curtain of myth to discover the reality that is and always has been. The internet and social media has made the parting somewhat easier but has also given an equal increase of power to the dark forces.

    Pick your battles wisely and fight smart.

  34. I had often wondered to myself if the following situation is practical for humanity several hundred years in the future:

    A government with NO elected officials except the judiciary.

    Consider this. If we established, though this would be the difficult part, the most ultruistic, benevolent and pragmatic laws that had all the mechancs worked out to preserve the best overall standards in all walks of law and society and put it into place somehow, with clear directions for each government agency, would we really need to have politicians sitting in office?

    For the most part, we don’t need politicians in our daily lives currently. We follow the rules and go about our lives without their direct assistance. If we need assistance, there are agencies that fulfill that need without consulting with the pols anyway.

    I just wonder if the next social advancement in humanity would be to eliminate the political class and adhere to the rule of law and the constitution and decency. For the most part we have gone away from kings and the arbutrary rule of men/women leaders (in most countries)

    I maintain that it is worth at least considering.

  35. This links to a Robert Kuttner column in Huff po.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/fiscal-cliff_b_2386291.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

    Four years ago Barack Obama prepared to take the oath of office as a Democratic president, at a moment when free market ideology and Republican incumbency were disgraced by events. But a year that should have marked the end of the laissez-faire fantasy and the resurgence of effective government instead began an era of muddle through.
    The Republicans were voted out, but the big banks that caused the collapse were propped up rather than broken up. Their basic business model was allowed to continue, with taxpayers guaranteeing billion dollar paydays for corporate moguls. The economic rules of the game continued to tilt against regular working families, who are more precarious than ever. Obama took most of his economic advice from the very people whose belief in complete license for finance caused the collapse.
    Obama wanted to be the president who would change the tone in Washington, meaning a more collaborative relationship with the Republicans. That was not to be. The Republicans would not allow it. Now, history invites Obama to change the tone in Washington by dispatching an extremist Republican Party to the far fringes of public discourse where it belongs.

    The Democrats in Congress most certainly did NOT OCCUPY.

  36. Woosty,

    Maybe a clarification on my part is necessary.

    Europe has ALREADY experienced recession and taken the “cut back on everything (social security, medical systems, schools, raised taxes), which the Republicans are driving for, and still they sit in a bind. We have already gone over the cliff, as politicians admit. Name it what they will, they think it will get worse for the USA and are worried about USA weak demand causing further problems here in EU. It might get worse than in the Grreat Deprsssion because of higher level of interlocking economies now.

    Now puhleeze tell me what party were you talking about.

    PS. Europe has its capitalists and banks; besides institutions charged with investing to give inflation-stable pensions. (Yes, we still have those)
    So like Bernie Madoff’s clients they bought the pitch just like the rubes they were. Ie they bought the guaranteed risk free high, yielding CD’s in such large quantities so we followed them down the drain. Major pension insurance companies reduced payouts by up to 9% here.

    So I am definitely not a EU is best, nor Sweden is best. I am as you may have noticed an “all is rotten”-guy. Show me something honest and I will show you the clay feet decorated in tinsel and BS.

  37. fDredd,

    You see an empire cycles followed repeatedly by agro as base survival method.

    I do acknowledge the possibility of a new one now. But it will be a very long one, until we have destroyed the climate by our gas emissions, release of methane from the tundra, and the desertification of large agricultural areas.

    Result; mass starvation and poverty, which may bring the world commercial empire which steer the nations down earlier than my prediction of a “thousand years” life.

    But it is futile when the Earth is on a runaway cycle of heating which will make a replica of Venus. 800 degrees Celsius (ca 1400 F).

    Civilization will destroy civilization, as one said here. No, it will destroy what was once a habitable planet, which won’t support higher forms of life where we live at the top of the food chain.

    Remember the dolphins. They pity us now. Some bring tribute and gifts, pleading for the earth’s survival.

  38. ElaineM,

    “Elaine M.1, December 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    rafflaw,

    Great article! Isn’t it interesting that some of the folks who claim to hate the government/government power don’t seem to mind when federal agencies go after protesters like those involved in OWS?”
    ==============

    “some of the folks”. Anybody in particular whom you are thinking of?

    Myself, I recognize JT’s as a useless protest zone, not officially but in fact.
    Of course I have no idea what you do IRL. so that is a surmise only.
    —————————

    Ohhhhhhh! Now I get it! Thanks. Coins drop through my brain but nothing is delivered, just like the automat at the ER yesterday.

    Yes! THAT is why we know it is BS. They’ve been manipulating government to their advantage since millienia. And a commercially driven revolution in 1776. and a division of the spoils between states did NOT change the game. The constitution was just a paper contract which they promptly started subverting the day after signing. Contracts, even social ones, don’t stop the game, only provides restrictions etc. whose effect it is beneficial to subvert..

    What suckers we are. Just like Bernie Madoff’s clients. Too good to be true, but we bought it anyway. Fools. Indentured laborers working at creating wealth for the rich and powerful. Synonyms? Rich=powerful.

    PS. Thanks for the use of your launching pad.

  39. Woosty,

    Thank you for the RT video from Houston. Smart guy too.
    Guess will drop other channels and go to RT for good. And the Guardian and Al Jazeera.

    Think! The BS es and evasions come from our media. And truth comes from outside.

    Do we need to occupy PBS to get real investigative journalism breathing again? Or do we need to boycott and blockade our three top branches: WH, Sct, and Congress?

  40. Darren,

    An interesting idea that could work in theory, but never in practice unless we reached the end of applied sciences and transcended social evolution. Technological species will always have to have new laws to accommodate social changes wrought by new technologies. In addition, as social creatures our social structures in the broadest sense of the word evolve along with our social mores. Consider that the once universally accepted practice of slavery is now the universally rejected practice of slavery. There will always be a need for some law makers unless we are a technologically and socially stagnant species or – the best case scenario – a species that has reached sociological equilibrium (a proposition that probably requires infinite resources and energy and would still have the problem of technological advancement to deal with).

    Could we get by with a lot fewer law makers?

    You bet.

    It would be easier to maintain accountability and limit corruption. Making laws doesn’t require nearly the manpower that enforcing them does. However, the issue of an elected judiciary presents its own problems in the form of corruption that we already see to a greater degree in elected political positions. The only way that could work is if we had a corruption proof electoral system – something that our failing to implement illustrates (and I say implement because I think such a system is possible) may be a critical impediment to actual democracy. And a corruption proof electoral system (and a substantive alteration to the basic function of lobbying) would go a long way to fixing our current problems so as to make doing away with the political class a moot point. Even in that case? We could still do the job with less of them.

  41. Blouise,

    Welcome back. Have missed you for a while back.

    “Pick your battles wisely and fight smart.”

    Seem like most smart ones defect to the other side. If not a banquet at least bread can be hoped for, for long and loyal service to their cause.
    Not even pocket change for the richest.

    Explain why please, that Cleveland welcomed the OWS movement as one earlier above claimed.

  42. On each generation having to discover for itself the truth……….!

    Well, we are failing in our basic role as parents and humans. We should be passing on earlier generations knowledge. Teach your child when he is ready to stop believing in the one-percent Santa Claus from which the propaganda sends BS lies each day.

    Can someone please tell me that this in NOT true.

    Who do we believe lies behind the many thousand of years we used stone axe?

    I know, the stone axe manufacturers. They even traded raw materials (in SA and Africa) and finished products. Wonder what luxuries they got for ther profits. An extra cave, slave, woman, a Barney car to drive?????

    Here we are satisfied that the old system still works. At least the onepercenters are.

  43. Darren,

    Good idea. But Sweden has been there and done that.

    King Karl the eleventh in the 17th century (ca 1650) estabiished such an organization. He did not rely on the politicians (ie nobles) to be honest and just, instead he established a bureaucratic system reporting to him only and empowerd by him.

    Problem here was that it became corrupted from above, such that in the 18 hundreds, most higher jobs were make-work, and thus one could hold several positions, etc. (Described by August Strindberg in his novel “The Red Room”, ca 1880.)

    Today, the bureaucratic ills are well known in the USA as well as here.

    We have our remedies. Perhaps ours works best??? Bureaucracies are responsible only to the law, a GAO organization or two and the citizens protests.

    God help the politician who so much as raises his finger.

    There are processes for at punishing them at the national level, but unfortunately not at the county and community level.

    The most corruption exists at the lower levels. Although the largest are at the natioanl level. The Minister for Defenxe had to resign when his involvement in establiishing a Swedish weapons factory in Saudi was discovered.
    Saudi money or Swedish money, it was accepting bribes in effect.

  44. Darren,
    Interesting idea, but I agree with Gene that need a government and politicians in a democracy. I do not think it matters how many reps we have,if we get money out of politics. If we continue to allow money to control, he who has it will control the government.

  45. raff,

    I think Darren’s proposition also calls into question the validity of a bicameral legislature as a structure. In the modern world, how important is proportional representation of the House combined with the Senate? It made more sense in the world of the Founders, but today? I’m not so sure in the light of the 17th Amendment.

  46. MikeS, You’re pettiness is showing along w/ your sanctimony. The air must be getting thin on Pompous Mountain. Read my words Ivy Leauger. You’re being intellectually dishonest.

  47. @Darren: To me, the justification for politicians (or representation) is that the world is complex, and issues need to be researched and understood and sorted out. That applies to all issues including foreign relations, trade, economic issues, etc.

    I think understanding such issues is a full time job; I do not believe anybody trying to make a living as a lawyer, businessman, clerk, doctor, nurse, janitor, professor or anything else has enough mental horsepower left over to understand the intricacies of foreign trade, workplace safety, energy technology and ramifications, etc. Even the problems of foreign countries plotting harm, economic or otherwise, and keeping track of what they are doing.

    I think understanding those things well is a full time job for literally thousands upon thousands of people. Which means they need coordination, assignments, permissions, resources, etc. They need to be managed and funded. How do we choose the managers? Right now, by elections.

    It is very comforting to say we should make all the decisions ahead of time, but I think that is impossible. Times change and people are endlessly inventive, which is good if their inventions help us, and bad when their inventions circumvent the controls we intended to prevent harm to us. We are not omniscient and we are not very prescient at all; most revolutions spurred by invention, big or small, were not well anticipated at all. Before it happened, did anybody predict Twitter would overthrow nations?

    The world is not static enough to implement a “one and done” solution to law, the law needs to evolve as the dynamics of the world evolves.

  48. Malisha
    1, December 31, 2012 at 12:00 am
    Sometimes you don’t get to pick your battles.

    —————————————————————————

    I am a big fan of running especially if those confronting me have guns, clubs, and body armor (sometimes with a U) and all I possess is a sign and a cup of coffee.

  49. “Read my words Ivy Leauger. You’re being intellectually dishonest”

    I did Nick and you’re being intellectually puerile. Woosty’s comment surly? Seriously?

  50. http://news.firedoglake.com/2012/12/31/fbi-report-mentions-plot-to-kill-occupy-protesters/#comments

    “FBI Report Mentions Plot To Kill Occupy Protesters”

    By: DSWright Monday December 31, 2012 4:34 am

    “More revelations from the Occupy FOIA request.

    Photobucket

    An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Page 61)

    It remains unclear as to who or what this report is referring to, yet the FBI decided to disclose it under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund – the document is on page 61.

    All that is known is that this individual/group was identified by the FBI as having a plan to kill Occupy Protesters. Who was involved? How far did this plot go? Will there be charges?

    All unknown.”

  51. Nick S. I was involved with Occupy Philly. It was fine. The people were involved, young, old, students, disabled, you pretty much name it. I stopped being involved when they changed from the initial issue of the 99% and started to take up causes that were very divisive such as taking up for the innocence of convicted cop killer journalist Mumai abdul jabar, (Think I may have name somewhat wrong) whom some still think was railroaded (I do not) They have also been doing good things, as stated in some above posts such as feeding hungry, helping with Sandy, etc
    This cliff is perfect time for them to start up again, saddened and disappointed they have not.

  52. To Darren, GeneH, DonS, et al,

    Take a nap for 4 hours and all hell breaks loose.

    Seriously, here are a few stray observations on your comments.

    GeneH,
    I had not read your comment before my comment to Darren. A shame.
    Brilliant argument. Really. Your including the need for accomodating technology changing the social condition was very good. And you also included the competition for limited resources. Thus an ideal world would be needed. The call for unicamerally is a good one, however basing number of votes on the number of “heads” is not the ideal solution, except again in the best of worlds. Some collection of heads may be few in numbers, but have large natural resources, like Texas once did in oil So how are they to be represented. How Texas and the oil rich solved it may be seen in the Russ Baker book on the Bush family’s private empire. Sweden as an example which united the two parts has enjoyed the effect of letting the debate rage in one chamber, and the public’s ease to concentrate and follow and choose sides solely on the basis of .direct or indirect results, economically or morally motivated. Both motives are still their giving stimulus to participate in the democratic process to the public.

    Darren,
    My gripping after Karl X1 was a futile one. He was one of the feudalistic autocrats who in his case primarily wanted to control the rakeoff on taxes. That is to say that previously taken by his nobles who owned the sources of production (ie people and lands), which was difficult. So can’t say his act was a noble one for the “people”. But can still hope for a bureaucracy which can be do its job as DonS / TonyC describe it.

    TonyC,
    Yes we do believe that our voices need to be heard, but our current bunch of politicos are demonstrably listening to moneyed voices, not ours nor that of the common good which, resourced as they are by the Congressional Research Service, they could easily establish.
    Politics and politiicians are needed when compromise is needed. Something which our duoparty system does not take care of since each now is “owned” by the same finance and business sector.
    =============================================

    Now my stuff. Bureaucracies are manned by humans and leaders, who in the latter are often chosen not by merit but by their capabilities in climbing and primarily expanding their territories. They are the pharoahs priestly class who fed the pyramid workers on onions and kept the baked bread for themselves.

    Bureaucracy needs to be centered in a computerized nanny. Much of it is already (even in Sweden). Otherwise the bureaucracy like cancer will kill its host, expanding uncontrollably. That may sound like teabaggers, but it is not. I don’t believe we can have a postal service without postmen, as they do.
    The nanny would be totally subservient as long as it is not intelligent, ie based on it being aware of an own need for expansion. Its size easily determined in terms of transactions. regulation program size increase, etc.
    Can it be specialized, yes; can it be interlocking or consulting, yes; is it perfect, yet to be demonstrated.
    Maybe this will be our next technological innovation (GeneH) which we did not see coming. No, it requires a ´large portion of planning to be done, not just a risk taking on the part of the telecom industry and cell manufacturers.. This is an example of a using an existing resource and expanding its content, done primarily based on Arpanet and private enterprise which was looking for income through need satisfaction (first the elite) through then unseen services to us all.

    How then do we employ the people who are freed from bureaucratic tasks. Many answers to that. Beter education for all will at least give us better informed voices. More later on that.

    Long as usual. My brain was never known for conciseness. And don’t need a DSM label. OS gave me one for just that. And we know what DSM is. Someone else pointed that out. It is not meant as a source book for insults. And that was not meant as a snark in revenge. Don’t have those needs now. Opposition is OK with me. It is choice of weapons we are discussing—not the people who use them.

    And a Happy New Year call on the correct day, 31 December 2012.
    Lucky 13 next.

  53. @Idealist: I was arguing for politicians in the abstract sense; not our current political system. I do not think politicians are restricted to “compromise,” and as a scientist and I do not much subscribe to the idea of compromise. That may well “fall out” of considering the most probable solutions to a problem, or affordable enforcement, but as a rule I think trying to have something both ways is a very bad approach to setting policy; it almost always leaves holes at the seams through which the winds of corruption can blow.

  54. leejcarroll, Thanks very much. This is the information I was seeking. And thanks for being intellectually honest and not having the “kill the messenger” mindset of the allegedly open minded intellectuals here. I love to talk w/ people about substance. However, in my 30 or so visits[the venue changed after my initial 10 or so visits] I had few good discussions. When I’m in San Diego, I spend a lot of time talking w/ homeless people, many of them vets. I’ll buy them coffee, breakfast, etc. I’ll help carry some passed out in the rain to shelter. Well, leej, that’s what the Occupy Madsion became. My sample stretched over several months, during school and during the summer.

    MikeS, Please read your short comment from 11:28p You accuse me of drawing universal truth from anecdotes. That’s a lie on it’s face since I explicity stated this was only my experience and I asked for others. That’s what I meant about reading. You apparently have nothing of substance on this subject. I would like to spend my time on substance, not your ego and issues. Happy New Year.

  55. Nick,Thanks. I like the helping they are doing and would get involved again in a second if they would just stop the ancillary issues that have nothing to do with Occupy.

  56. leej, That’s the problem w/ many movements..they get sidetracked, marginalized, radicalized, infiltrated, etc. C’est la vie. Happy New Year to you.

  57. “Some collection of heads may be few in numbers, but have large natural resources, like Texas once did in oil So how are they to be represented.”

    On an equal and level political field of play. The structure of the bicameral legislature was originally predicated on that point as proportional freely elected members of the House were meant as a counterbalance to the Senate whose membership was appointed not by popular vote but by the state legislatures. The 17th Amendment made Senators directly electable by popular vote. If anything, the House now unbalances representation in favor of more populace states. No one state should have more sway over Congress than another. All citizens of every state should have equal representation as an egalitarian principle. To reduce the number of total law makers as Darren suggests, the answer might be to eliminate the House and increase the number of Senators from each state – say double from two to four. Or the answer may be to simply eliminate the Senate and have a unicameral legislature. This is all, however, a purely theoretical discussion. It would take a major and fundamental amendment to dispose of the bicameral structure. Essentially you’d have to rewrite most of Article I. That being said, the bicameral structure has its uses despite producing a certain amount of bloat although I’m undecided on whether those benefits outweigh the costs. I’m not really sure that in reality the structure can be more streamlined though without going to something like a unicameral parliamentary system like that used in Germany. The problem with that is parliamentary systems have distinct ties between the Executive and the Legislature that would run afoul of the Separation of Powers Doctrine which has worked well for our country until recent history when the attempt to destroy it by creating a unitary executive came into play. We could do it, but I’m not sure amending would be sufficient. We might need a new Constitutional Convention to make such a fundamental holistic systemic change in a rational manner. We’d practically have to start from scratch.

    Which given the way the current lot of pols have acted might not be such a bad idea.

    In any case, the answer to Darren’s question remains “yes, but how is the problem both practically and theoretically given the rest of the Constitution”.

  58. @HenMan “Chained CPI” my ass!”

    I think it is facts like this that demonstrate what some deficit hawks are really about.

    Social Security does have some problems. But those funding problems are decades in the future, roughly 2040. We have much time to work on funding for Social Security, and several realistic alternatives that do not include cutting benefits.

    Social Security is simply not a problem at this time. Until recently it has been the cash cow from which other government programs have borrowed.

    So why the great interest and the demand to cut Social Security now?

    What are deficit hawks really after?

  59. I am not even going to get into a discussion of the necessity of the Patriot Act to combat terrorists.

    But from the inception the Patriot Act seemed to lay the foundation for an anti democratic police state.

    Now my fears seem to have come to fruition.

    There seems to be good evidence that resources and techniques enabled by the Patriot Act have been turned on non violent demonstrators who are well within the main stream of American political thought.

    What surprises me is that some political leaders who are most vocal about the constitution and democracy are also some of the strongest supporters of the Patriot Act and other legislation to enable government intrusion into the political and private lives of ordinary Americans

  60. Gene,
    I am not sure creating just one body of the legislature out of two would be any help. As I suggested earlier, if we do not remove the money out of politics, it won’t matter how many legislators we have. The money corrupts and the corporations and the wealthy are the ones with the money that is causing the corruption. IMO

  61. raff,

    You’ve known me long enough to know that I agree 100% that money in politics is our #1 problem and that’s why I say nothing changes until we get campaign finance and lobby reform.

  62. Amen to the NRA losing its grip on congress, thus allowing the needed legislation restricting gun use to pass.

  63. Spending too much time on other threads.

    GeneH,
    I will say again, although you may tire of hearing it: Brilliantly done. With you on all your reasoning. However it was not parliamentaism and the drawing of the executive from its ranks that I supported. It was the unicameral concentration of debate and powers which I support.

    Let separation of powers exist for the nonce. However that is of dubious value, but does lead to endless squabbles, expansion and diminuation and lot of bribery money. Not likely that that will be changed.
    As it is the an unchecked (by advertizers) press should be a necessary component of a new start. As it is they are bought and paid for not by we the people, but by access granted by the Executive branch, congressional promotions, judiciary ambitions, lobby money and other numberless abuses.

    OT the saudi government has more lobbyist that all free speechers put together, I would guess.

    I would favor the expansion of the Senate as you propose. 120 members in one decision point again aids concentration on the issues, not the politics. Of course the politics need to be followed equally well. Front men as they all are now for corporations and “special interests” (read the rich).

  64. t
    TonyC,

    Haven’t forgotten your worthy reply.

    Yes, yes and no.

    It is the current system and not the abstract I speak of, but that is an embodiment of the abstract.

    Scientific choices are not respected or valued in our system of corrupt politics. I have previously given many examples chiefly of corruption effecting the guardian regulatory agencies, whatever their names: FDA, EPA, FDIC, FED, PHUCK, and XYZ and my usual etc.!

    Compromises are necessary to get anything accomplished with our current Congress. Even otherwise, compromise is necessary in truth, as we can not predict all the effects of laws, etc tools of government, in our indeterminate non-linear free will system. Excusing the overriding effect of money and related power.
    As Grayson said and I linked and excerpted here:
    Compromise to get what you must have and to live with what you can stand from the opposition. Álso break out what you can agree on, but that was not compromise he was addressing, but our congressional constipation.

    No compromise is possible on the climate issue. You can’t negotiate with the sun and the climate. Nor hopefully on life, liberty and other values we hallow in name at least.

  65. Swarthmore,
    I agree. We have to reasonably restrict so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines, to start. Along with common sense restrictions on who can own any gun.

  66. Swedish New Year’s Celebration with Alfred Lord Tennyson, even in TV

    It is now it is 00:36 in Stockholm.
    Here are Tennyson’s words to celebrate the occasion.
    .
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_Out,_Wild_Bells

    And for the free paraphrase almost even different Swedish version. Unfortunately I did not find an english translation. Perhap your translator will do it well.
    ————————————
    “Ring, klocka, ring i bistra nyårsnatten
    mot rymdens norrskenssky och markens snö;
    det gamla året lägger sig att dö…
    Ring själaringning över land och vatten!

    Ring in det nya och ring ut det gamla
    i årets första, skälvande minut.
    Ring lögnens makt från världens gränser ut,
    och ring in sanningens till oss som famla.

    Ring våra tankar ut ur sorgens häkten,
    och ring hugsvalelse till sargad barm.
    Ring hatet ut emellan rik och arm
    och ring försoning in till jordens släkten.

    Ring ut vad dödsdömt räknar sina dagar
    och forngestaltningar av split och kiv.
    Ring in ett ädlare, ett högre liv
    med bättre syften, mera rena lagar.

    Ring ut bekymren, sorgerna och nöden,
    och ring den frusna tiden åter varm.
    Ring ut till tystnad diktens gatularm,
    men ring till sångarhjärtan skaparglöden.

    Ring ut den stolthet, som blott räknar anor,
    förtalets lömskhet, avundens försåt.
    Ring in det rätta på triumfens stråt,
    och ring till seger mänsklighetens fanor.

    Ring, klocka, ring… och seklets krankhet vike;
    det dagas, släktet fram i styrka går!
    Ring ut, ring ut de tusen krigens år,
    ring in den tusenåra fredens rike!

    Ring in den tid, då andarna befrias
    ur själviskhetens sammansnörda band.
    Ring mörkrets skuggor bort ur alla land;
    ring honom in, den bidande Messias.”
    ================================

    To hear it spoken in this years program. go here:
    http://www.svtplay.se/video/935281/tolvslaget-pa-skansen-del-1-av-2
    Draw it forward to 43;00 with the >> button. Or watch it from 00:00 if you are a homesick Swede. Will cure it I believe.

  67. Swarthmore mom-

    Your obituary for the NRA may be a bit premature. The last four years have been a bonanza for the gun dealers and the NRA. You may recall that the gun dealers were rationing ammunition sales in the period between President Obama’s 2008 election and his inauguration because demand was far outstripping supply on the assumption (fanned by the NRA and the FOX) that Obama was going to “confinskate” everybody’s guns. The lack of ANY attempt by Obama to regulate gun sales in any way has not stemmed the paranoia. Currently, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are flying off the shelves of the gun dealers. The only thing that surprises me is that the NRA and the gun dealers were NOT the largest contributors to Obama’s re-election campaign- he’s the best thing that ever happened to them. That- and the perennial paranoia of the gun owners.

  68. The banks are also behind this:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/118664/article.html

    And it’s no big secret that Homeland Security is responsible for tracking financial transactions, that you can be flagged by DHS if you make a credit card payment a certain percentage larger than your average payment, that the intelligence agencies share information with local police through “intelligence fusion centers,” that the military is now stocking local police with paramilitary equipment, that some of the most controversial provisions of the PATRIOT ACT are used more to track drug crime than terrorism… Why not track protesters too? They did it in the 60’s…

  69. Indigo,
    In the body of the article the fact that banks were in on the plan to stop the Occupy protestors from being able to exercise their right to peaceably protest.

  70. rafflaw,

    FBI Surveillance Of Occupy Wall Street Detailed
    By Jason Cherkis & Zach Carter
    Posted: 01/05/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/05/fbi-occupy-wall-street_n_2410783.html

    WASHINGTON — Was Tim Franzen stockpiling weapons? What was Tim Franzen’s philosophy? What was his political affiliation? Did Tim Franzen ever talk about violent revolution?

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to know. In late 2011, an agent or agents — Franzen still isn’t quite sure — began trying to find out. It was during this time that Franzen became a well-known and central presence in Occupy Atlanta. He helped start the Occupy Wall Street offshoot, and had been arrested when police razed their encampment in a downtown Atlanta park.

    After the first police sweep of the park, Franzen told The Huffington Post that the FBI began interviewing his fellow Occupy Atlanta activists about whether Franzen might have a cache of weapons for a future violent revolution. He said the feds interviewed three different activists at their homes about his activities and beliefs.

    “It definitely rattled my cage to have these kids getting knocks on their door,” Franzen said.

    Here’s what the feds would have found out in the course of a background check on the activist: Franzen had a criminal record related to teenage drug use and robberies that supported his habit. But he last spent time in prison when he was 19. Franzen, now 35, went on to found a chain of halfway houses to help people make the transition from addiction to recovery. He later became a community organizer with the Quaker social justice organization American Friends Service Committee, a position he continues to hold while working within Occupy Atlanta.

    During one interview, an FBI agent gave one of Franzen’s fellow activists a business card, which was handed over to Franzen, who decided to call the agent and have a little fun.

    “I have an expert on all things Tim Franzen,” Franzen remembers telling the agent over the phone. “I said, ‘I’m Tim Franzen.’ … He was sort of dumbfounded. He didn’t know what to say.”

    Franzen chastised the federal agent for scaring his younger activist friends. “At first he started denying it,” he said. “He tried to write it off as not a big deal, as sort of protocol.”

    At the end of December, the FBI released internal documents that revealed a coordinated — if quixotic — surveillance of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Just about every law enforcement agency gets a cameo in the correspondence: Homeland Security, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, an entity known as the Domestic Security Alliance Council — and even the Federal Reserve. But the extremely limited disclosure makes it difficult to assess exactly with whom the government agencies were coordinating, or why. Was the FBI attempting to infiltrate and undermine the Occupy movement, or simply trying to keep tabs on protesters who were hoping to spark political change?

    Of the 110 pages released — first obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund through a Freedom of Information Act request — dozens are heavily redacted. The documents state that 287 additional pages on the FBI’s Occupy activities were “deleted” from the release by the agency for various reasons, including nine labeled “outside the scope” and 14 tagged “duplicate.”

    At times, the documents are contradictory and show FBI agents spreading false information. The earliest memo erroneously describes Adbusters, the Canadian magazine that came up with the idea behind Occupy, as a “self-identified American revolutionary anarchist group.” In another, OWS is lumped in with the “Aryan Nations (sic)” and hacker-activists Anonymous as “domestic terrorists.”

    In response to a request for comment, FBI spokesperson Christopher Allen replied via email, “The FBI cautions against drawing conclusions from redacted FOIA documents.” He continued, “While the FBI is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on 1st Amendment activity. In fact, DOJ and the FBI’s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that.”

    If there was a unified mission behind the Occupy surveillance, it appears the purpose was to pass information about activists’ plans to the finance industry. In one memo from August 2011, the FBI discusses informing officials at the New York Stock Exchange about “the planned Anarchist protest titled ‘occupy Wall Street’, scheduled for September 17, 2011.[sic] Numerous incidents have occurred in the past which show attempts by Anarchist groups to disrupt, influence, and or shut down normal business operations of financial districts.”

    ***
    Franzen suggests that federal agents conducted more clandestine activities than simple Internet searches and protest monitoring. Occupiers frequently complained that the more outspoken activists within their ranks appeared to be targeted by police for arrest. Franzen said there is a connection between the agent who inquired about him among his friends and his subsequent arrest at a protest. He chronicled the incident on his blog a year ago:

    Before the police officers warned the crowd to disperse from the street I had already gotten onto the side walk. One of the police Lieutenants yelled to his officers, ‘Get him’ and pointed at me. The police had to worm their way through the crowd in order to grab me and drag me into the street.

    When I was dragged into the street, I asked the lieutenant what he was doing and he said, ‘arresting you.’

    ‘For what,’ I asked.

    ‘For being in the street,’ he said.

    ‘But I was on the sidewalk,’ I replied.

    ‘You’re not now,’ he said with a smile.

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