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*
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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