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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. @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?

  6. “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”.

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

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. @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.

  10. 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.


    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.”

  13. 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.

  14. @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.

  15. 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.

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

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

  16. 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.

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