ONTD Political

"Land of the Free," er...

2:32 am - 12/30/2012
FBI considered Occupy movement potential threat, documents say
By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN
updated 5:34 AM EST, Thu December 27, 2012

New York (CNN) -- The FBI extensively monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement around the United States, using counterterrorism agents and other resources, according to recently released FBI internal documents.



The heavily redacted documents indicate that FBI counterterrorism agents were in close communication with law enforcement agencies, businesses, universities and other organizations across the country about the Occupy Wall Street movement, even before Occupy Wall Street set up a camp in New York's Zuccotti Park in September 2011.

In August 2011 the FBI informed New York Stock Exchange officials of a "planned Anarchist protest titled Occupy Wall Street" scheduled for September 17, 2011. The FBI also notified several New York businesses of the impending protests, according to the documents.

The documents, released under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain references to an October 2011 FBI domestic terrorism briefing in Jacksonville, Florida, regarding the spread of the Occupy Wall Street movement and "the emergence of Occupy chapters in and around the North Florida area." FBI officials also recommended setting up tripwires with Occupy event organizers.

The FBI was concerned that the Occupy venues could provide "an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction," according to the documents

At a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting in November 2011, FBI agents reported about Occupy Wall Street activities in Anchorage, Alaska, according to the documents.

The documents also described instances from California, Colorado Mississippi, Virginia, and other states involving cooperation between the FBI and other agencies.

FBI counterterrorism agents are traditionally tasked with investigating and curtailing both domestic and foreign terrorism threats.

The agency prepared surveillance and precautionary measures despite acknowledging that Occupy Wall Street organizers "did not condone the use of violence during their events" and, and that the organizers had called for peaceful protest, according to the documents.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which describes itself on its website as a Washington-based organization "dedicated to the defense of human and civil rights secured by law, the protection of free speech and dissent, and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination," obtained the documents through the Freedom of Information Act.

"This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the organization.

"These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity."

The FBI, responding to the release of the documents regarding Occupy, said it recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity but must take precautions to deal with any potential threats of violence.

"While the F.B.I. is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement to CNN. "In fact, the Department of Justice and the F.B.I.'s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that."

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund said it believes the FBI is withholding more information regarding its surveillance of the Occupy movement, and will be filing an appeal demanding full disclosure of its operations, according to Verheyden-Hilliard.

Source

Other articles have summarized this as saying that basically the FBI is calling Occupy Wall Street a "domestic terrorist." Fuck yeah "freedom of speech."

I have my own critiques of Occupy Wall Street, but I have more critiques of FBI, so.

*waves to FBI*
weightofeons 30th-Dec-2012 09:59 am (UTC)
They're calling it a "domestic terrorist threat", not a "domestic terrorist". The former has the potential for terrorism. The latter is going about the activity of terrorism. Every individual and group has the potential for terrorist activity and it's the job of an organisation like the FBI to monitor for warning signs of such activity and act to prevent it. Larger groups and protesting scenarios are obviously more likely to contain such elements, so will be prioritised.

Your alternative is waiting until the bombs go off, and then investigating after the fact.

Of course, it's interesting watching the same attitude cross sovereign boundaries - for example, the enforced submission of information to the US by people visiting Canada with no intention of going within 100 miles of the US.
metanoiame 30th-Dec-2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
It seems to me that the issue is that is (or should be) generally illegal to investigate and monitor groups who are only assembling to protest. Doing so makes it less easy to exercise your basic political rights.

The same logic applies to search warrants. Sure, the police should be able to search your house if you've committed or are planning on committing a serious crime. But they shouldn't be able to kick down your door to look for evidence just because you love in a bad neighborhood.

Some of the reports & opinion pieces coming of this information have been overblown, but it doesn't take a huge leap to see how it's screwed up that the federal government is heavily monitoring any even potentially radical protest groups.
ennifer_jay 30th-Dec-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
This is exactly my critique of the FBI. They've infiltrated groups like the Black Panther Party, Young Lords, etc. "Freedom of speech" my ass.
alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 12:06 am (UTC)
You object to them infiltrating groups that carry around loaded shotguns, chant about killing cops, and were known for their militant violence, as well as being linked to drug, protection, and prostitution rackets?
mzflux Sounds like you've been watching a whole lot of Fox News. Try changing the channel every so often.31st-Dec-2012 12:12 am (UTC)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/occupy-wall-street-protes_n_1080250.html
One by one, the Occupy Wall Street protesters trickled in to Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely's second-floor walk-up in Harlem. They sat cross-legged on the floor or leaned in the doorways, passing muffins and listening to Blakely, a veteran activist and former nun, who praised their youth and the virtues of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But mostly she talked about the tragedy that had befallen her building, which decades earlier had been a haven for struggling mothers and their families. The building, home now mostly to elderly women, has been without heat and hot water off and on for years... According to the city's housing and preservation agency, there are currently 293 open violations at the location, including violations for not providing heat, hot water and not providing ready access to the boiler room.
Blakely claimed the landlord had refused to hand over a key to the boiler room so that maintenance workers could install a new one. That was, until a band of about a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters last week occupied the building's basement and refused to leave until the landlord complied with Blakely's demand that the boiler be replaced.

http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/08/363692/occupy-atlanta-encamps-in-neighborhood-to-save-police-officers-home-from-foreclosure/
Last week, Tawanna Rorey’s husband, a police officer based in Gwinnett County, e-mailed Occupy Atlanta to explain that his home was going to be foreclosed on and his family was in danger of being evicted on Monday. So within a few hours Occupy Atlanta developed an action plan to move to Snellville, Georgia on Monday to stop the foreclosure. At least two dozen protesters encamped on the family’s lawn, to the applause of neighbors and bystanders...Many neighbors stopped to gawk at the spectacle and even honked their car horns in support of the crowd. [...] [The protesters] set up two tents in the front yard, draped a “This Home is Occupied” sign over the porch railing and handed out bottled water and granola bars to other members...The Sheriff’s Department did not come to evict the Roreys that day.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/09/us/ows-grid.html
The Occupy Wall Street protests continue to spread around the country, highlighting grievances some Americans have about banks, income inequality and a sense that the poor and middle class have been disenfranchised. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that almost half of the public thinks the sentiments at the root of the movement generally reflect the views of most Americans.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/occupy-wall-street-park-poll_n_1094858.html
The survey, conducted only days before police officers evacuated Zuccotti Park on Mayor Bloomberg's orders early Tuesday morning, is the latest in a series of public opinion polls finding broad tolerance for Occupy Wall Street protesters who began camping out in lower Manhattan two months ago to demonstrate against income inequality, corporate influence in government and other topics.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/19/fl-dem-congressman-introduces-pro-occupy-amendment-to-constitution/
Democratic Florida Congressional Rep. Ted Deutch has proposed an amendment to the Constitution of the United States outlawing corporate money in politics and ending so-called “corporate personhood”, according to Talking Points Memo.
If passed, the amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, restoring caps on corporate election spending and rescinding the right of for-profit business interests to receive the same protections as citizens under the First Amendment. The amendment is called the “Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy”, or OCCUPIED.

alexvdl Sounds like you're confused as to who I was referring to...31st-Dec-2012 12:13 am (UTC)
The Black Panthers. I was referring to the Black Panthers.

Edited at 2012-12-31 12:14 am (UTC)
mzflux Re: Sounds like you're confused as to who I was referring to...31st-Dec-2012 12:19 am (UTC)
And I'm sure your hero Sean Hannity shares your distaste for the Panthers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/richard-aoki_n_1812167.html

alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 12:20 am (UTC)
mzflux 31st-Dec-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Try reading the article, bro.
alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 12:30 am (UTC)
I did. And checked out your journal and other comments in this thread. You've already shown that you have a habit to jumping to conclusions, I don't see much point in continuing to converse.

Hope you and yours have a Happy New Years.
mzflux 31st-Dec-2012 12:37 am (UTC)
lol

Sorry, did you make Sean Hannity one of your lj interests ironically? My bad. You are so hip.

I-vote-conservative-ironically
alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
girly123 31st-Dec-2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
If they're not also infiltrating Tea Partiers? Then yes, I do.
alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Considering that many Tea Party rallies are armed (????) I don't doubt they are.

I also think that the law enforcement climate was a lot different in the late sixties, in regards to the Black Panthers, who I was referring to. Whatever my opinions of the Occupy protests, I have heard nothing about them being armed, or linked to organized crime.
alexvdl 1st-Jan-2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
ennifer_jay brought up the Black Panthers (and the Young Lords). I was responding to her comment and referring to the Black Panthers, not the Occupy protesters.
alexvdl 1st-Jan-2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
You would have to ask the person who brought them up. I am not them. I agree with you that comparing Occupy to the Black Panthers is a bad idea.
moonshaz 31st-Dec-2012 01:43 am (UTC)
It seems to me that the issue is that is (or should be) generally illegal to investigate and monitor groups who are only assembling to protest. Doing so makes it less easy to exercise your basic political rights.

Less easy...and a hell of a lot more scary!
weightofeons 31st-Dec-2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Strikes me trust in your policing forces is the issue. Trust that they're doing what they're doing for the right reasons, trust that they aren't just abusing their power. Of course, I watch YouTube vids too, so I can understand that for the US.
That said, is there actual evidence of police services carrying out warrants based on just picking a house in a bad neighbourhood, or is that just the background griping you hear from people who got caught?
(Sounds a bit pointless, with no guarantee of there being any point in their being there, and if nothing else expensive and risky. I mean, I'm from the UK - they struggle here to find enough coppers to prod around the house of someone who deserves it, never mind someone who doesn't!)
blackjedii 30th-Dec-2012 11:47 am (UTC)
Eh - it is a possibility of people within OWS being violent or a violent group working within OWS for their own ends so that doesn't bother me. however if the government whether state or federal didn't do a crap about the visible police brutality... that is a problem.

But I have given up on that movement entirely when I saw that they were encouraging people not to vote and instead making plans for "when the time came" and democracy broke down or something. WAY TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM GUYS. :/
thevelvetsun 30th-Dec-2012 11:54 am (UTC)
however if the government whether state or federal didn't do a crap about the visible police brutality... that is a problem.

The police brutality was coordinated at a national level. The opposite of stopping it.
chasingtides 30th-Dec-2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
A whole pile of this.
mzflux 31st-Dec-2012 12:22 am (UTC)
I recommend checking out Occupy Voting Booths on Facebook. An excellent pro-voting, pro-occupy page.

Edited at 2012-12-31 12:23 am (UTC)
redstar826 31st-Dec-2012 03:03 am (UTC)
I think the tricky thing with a movement with no official leadership is that it so often just depends on who you are talking to at any given time. It's hard to tell what 'Occupy' as a group thinks about a lot of things.

I have seen some really wacky things on some occupy facebook pages, and it's hard to tell if that is just one person who happens to have been granted administrative access to the page or if they are speaking for multiple people
redstar826 1st-Jan-2013 09:53 pm (UTC)
I understand. I do social media for a local group (not occupy, but similar politics) and I'm the only person doing it right now. I'm lucky in that we mostly use our pages for posting event announcements and I only have to deal with the occasional troll, but it still can be a lot of work.

There is one occupy group near me that is pretty okay. They squabble a bit on their discussion page, but the stuff posted by the folks who appear to be leaders is rational enough even if they seem to be all over the map and have a hard time focusing their activities. There is another group near me that I stopped following because they would post some really off the wall stuff (conspiracy shit about fluoride in the water, stuff like that)
furrygreen 30th-Dec-2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
All I can say is: meh. This is not surprising at all. They look into anything and everything that could be a potential threat.

Did I ever tell ya'll that my college anime club was looked into as a potential threat by the FBI because the name of 'End of the World'? Yeah. If they can waste time at an anime club in a community college in the middle of Utah, than I suppose they have time to look into OWS.
soliano 30th-Dec-2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
This is what the FBI does. They look behind the scenes to see what is going on and how it may be twisted to other uses.
__nocturna 30th-Dec-2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
I would have been concerned if the FBI didn't look at the movement as a potential threat.
mzflux 31st-Dec-2012 12:00 am (UTC)
You mean a potential threat to corrupt industries and the wealthiest of the wealthy.

Don't worry they'll be fine.
cellared 31st-Dec-2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
seriously


these comments are so depressing
__nocturna 1st-Jan-2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
Whatever, I don't care. There was a large amount of unhappy people congregating in the same place, under the same title. I don't care if it was for a good reason. Those rallies could get violent and escalate quickly by bad people, of course the FBI is going to look into that. That's their job. Hence, I WOULD BE CONCERNED if they weren't doing their job correctly.
redstar826 31st-Dec-2012 02:54 am (UTC)
hmmm. some of the occupy folks I've crossed paths with have been rather, ummm, interesting. But, they seemed pretty harmless.
romp 31st-Dec-2012 04:07 am (UTC)
a threat up there with MEChA
alexvdl 31st-Dec-2012 04:45 am (UTC)
I'd never heard of that group before. Thanks for mentioning them.

Any good nonWikipedia references I could use to find out more about them?
romp 31st-Dec-2012 05:14 am (UTC)
I'm not aware of a good umbrella site--each school pretty much has its own group. for example, history of MEChA at the U of Washington
aznlax39 31st-Dec-2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I see nothing wrong with this. It's their job to assess groups that could potentially be exploited by "terrorism." Please read a summary of the actual report: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/30/1174818/-Actually-read-the-documents-released-by-the-FBI-about-OWS#

A lot of it concerns people that wanted to hijack large, peaceful protests for their own purposes.

Edited at 2012-12-31 06:00 pm (UTC)
ceruleanst 31st-Dec-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
In August 2011 the FBI informed New York Stock Exchange officials of a "planned Anarchist protest titled Occupy Wall Street"

This sounds like an admission that plutarchy is the only form of government they recognize. No rule but corporate rule.
alexvdl 1st-Jan-2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
It seems to me that investigating a group before they have the chance to do anything is a much better plan than just reacting after things have happened.
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