Respectfully 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?