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. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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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